Memorable Manitobans: Herman Finger (1856-1929)
Lumberman, municipal official.
Born at Brookfield, Wisconsin on 13 April 1856, the sixth of ten children born to German immigrants Eva and Gottfried Finger, the family lived at Milwaukee for seven years before moving to Outagamie County near New London. In 1878, he bought a farm in Waupaca County along with a large tract of land in northern Minnesota with two others. Three years later, he became foreman of the Sherry Lumber Company at Vesper, Wisconsin where he was in charge of lumbering and farming. In 1886, he bought an interest in the Gerry Lumber Company and moved to Eagle River, Wisconsin where he was in full charge of the business including saw and planing mills. He was elected treasurer of Vilas County in 1894.
In 1900, he immigrated to Canada with his wife Emma Elizabeth Finger (1856-1921, married 1879) and their seven children, all born in Wisconsin: Orley H. Finger, Eva Finger, Oscar Finger, Viola Finger, Effie Grace Finger (wife of H. L. Weber), and Harold Finger. After living in the Algoma region of Ontario, where he organized the Pigeon River Lumber Company, they moved to northern Manitoba, where Finger developed the Finger Lumber Company in the vicinity of The Pas, in 1911. He sold the firm in 1920 to the Winton family of Minneapolis, who renamed it The Pas Lumber Company. He served as the first Mayor of The Pas (1912-1916). In 1922, he ran for a set in the Manitoba Legislature but was defeated by John Bracken.
He died at his Winnipeg home, 353 Maplewood Avenue, on 26 November 1929 and was buried in the Elmwood Cemetery. He is commemorated by the Finger siding on the Wekusko Subdivision of the Hudson Bay Railway.
Death registration, Manitoba Vital Statistics.
“Pioneer lumberman of west succumbs,” Winnipeg Free Press, 27 November 1929, page 4.
We thank Lauren Drapes (Eagle River Historical Society) for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 15 October 2019