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Fayette County, Iowa  

 History Directory

Past and Present of Fayette County Iowa, 1910

Author: G. Blessin


B. F. Bowen & Company, Indianapolis, Indiana


Vol. I, Biographical Sketches



~Page 759~


Amos A. Finch

The subject of this sketch, who is proprietor of the Alpha Rolling Mills, was born in Fayette county, Iowa, two miles east of the village in which he now lives, on December 3, 1857, being the second of a family of five children, whose parent were Amos and Elizabeth (Gardner) Finch, natives of New York and Ohio respectively. Amos Finch, Sr., came to Iowa in 1847 with his widowed mother and one sister, Matilda, who afterwards married O. E. Pooler and died some years ago in Auburn township, the mother subsequently becoming the wife of Ezra White, of Eden township. Prior to her second marriage, however, the latter entered land in the above township, where she resided until her death, at the age of eighty-eight years. Mr. White afterwards married the widow of Josiah Ostrander, of Bethel township. Amos Finch and Elizabeth Gardner were married in Fayette county. He entered a track of land adjoining his motherís homestead on Crane creek and developed a farm, on which he lived until 1878, his wife having died in 1867, at the age of twenty-nine years, after bearing him five children, whose names are as follows: Matilda, who married T. F. Saucer, of Eden township; Amos A., of this review; Charles A., of Greeley, Colorado; Reuben E., of Chickasaw county, this state, and Samantha E., wife of W. R. Patterson, of Alpha.

The death of his wife left Mr. Finch with a family of small children to look after, the oldest being eleven years and the youngest four years of age. He experienced considerable difficulty in managing his farm and caring for his family, being obliged to leave the children alone a week at a time while waiting for his grist to be ground at a mill a number of miles distant. Thinking to better his condition, he went to Kansas in 1878 and pre-empted a homestead in Graham county, but, owing to sickness, did not remain very long in that state. Starting on his return to Iowa, he got as far on the journey as Silver Creek, Nebraska, where his wifeís father, Joseph Gardner, was then living, and there, after a few days, breathed his last, being fifty-two years old at the time of his death.

Amos A. Finch was reared to manhood in Fayette county and spent his early years amid the duties of farm life. In 1878 he accompanied his father to Kansas, where he lived for a short time in a tent while erecting a cabin on the homestead, but after a brief period started back to Iowa, a movement rendered imperative by the illness of his father, as already stated. After the death of his father in Nebraska, he brought the body to Fayette county and during the year following remained with the younger children, working the meanwhile as a farm hand. In this way he was engaged for a period of nineteen consecutive years at so much per annum, among his employers during that time being V. L. Johnson, V. U. Johnson and Robert Patterson, the latter, in addition to farming, operating the flouring mill at Alpha. Mr. Amos worked for Mr. Patterson and other owners of the mill about fourteen years, first as a teamster, but later was employed in the mill where he received five dollars per month more than had formerly been paid for the services of himself and team. In due time he became skilled with machinery, and it was not long until his knowledge of milling made his services indispensable. About the year 1898 he purchased an interest in the mill, three years later bought out another partner and by subsequent purchases in 1908 and 9109 became sole owner of the enterprise. Several changes in the ownership had occurred in the meantime, Mr. Finchís last partner, E. F. Johnson, being one of the proprietors who hired him in 1880 when he first went to work for the milling company. The old miller, Robert Patterson, whose daughter Mr. Finch married, was accidentally caught in the belt of a large corn sheller and suffered a horrible death, the sad event occurring in December, 1902, and casting a gloom over the entire community.

Patterson and Johnson remodeled the Alpha mills and they have been thoroughly equipped with machinery of the latest design for the manufacture of flour by the improved roller process. No expense has been spared to make the mill in every respect first class and, to supply the large and increasing demand for its product, it is operated at its full capacity throughout the entire year. In addition to the mill, Mr. Finch is also interested quite extensively in agriculture, owning a fine farm in Fayette county, to which he gives personal attention and from which he receives no small share of his income. He has been successful in his various enterprises and is now one of the financially solid men of his community, having attained his present position in business circles by his own efforts and judicious management.

On October 2, 1881, Mr. Finch and Isabella Ann Patterson, daughter of Robert and Charlotte (Anson) Patterson, were united in the bonds of wedlock, the union resulting in the birth of three children: Sadie R., wife of Prof. A. A. Belknap; Rena B., a telegraph operator, who married Earl Webster July 6, 1910, and Jessie, who married Charles Hunerberg, and lives at Waucoma. The parents of Mrs. Finch were natives of Scotland, the father born in Aberdeen, the mother in the city of Edinburgh. They came to America a number of years ago and died in Fayette county, Iowa, Mr. Patterson, as already stated, being accidentally killed December 9, 1902; Mrs. Patterson departed this life May 11, 1906.

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