PETER WILLIAM FINK is a well known and highly respected pioneer of this coast, one of the men who came to California
in 1849, and made possible the grand results that have followed in the growth and development of this great State.
Mr. Fink was born in Montgomery County, New York, March 7, 1829, son of Benjamin and Nancy (Reas) Fink, both natives
of the Empire State. His great grandparents on his father's side emigrated from Germany and settled in Montgomery
County, New York, and both his paternal and maternal ancestors were participants in the Revolutionary war, fighting
on the side of the colonies. Mr. Fink was the second born in a family of four children, all of whom are now living
in California. His parents and family removed to Michigan in 1832, and three years later to Racine, Wisconsin.
In 1849 Mr. Fink started with an emigrant party for the far West. There were twenty four wagons in the train when
they crossed the Missouri river at Council Bluffs, and after traveling up the Platte river some distance the company
divided, there being seven wagons in the company with which our friend journeyed on to California. He started March
11, and arrived here August 15. He followed the throng to the mines at Coloma, and soon afterward engaged in freighting
with oxen from Sacramento to Georgetown and Kelsey's diggings. At one time when the roads were very bad, he received
$1 per pound for hauling 2,500 pounds of freight, but ordinarily the price was one bit per pound. He used four
yoke of oxen and camped out every night, making a trip in from five to ten days, according to the condition of
the roads. After this he started a milling camp at Kelsey's diggings, and bought and sold cattle and also ran a
meat market. In the spring of 1850 he hauled and delivered fifty tons of hay to the Ten Mile House on the stage
road. Next we find him mining on the Middle Fork of the American river, where he invested in mining, kept a store
and ran a boarding house. He afterward had a store and hotel at Eagle Bar, and had mining claims at various places.
He made a deal of money in most of his claims, but like many other miners met with heavy losses. He went to the
Horseshoe Bend claim, owning considerable stock and having $12,000 in coin, and when he left that place he had
nothing. After that he engaged in prospecting on the Yuba river, mined at Dry Creek diggings and made some money;
he went to Fresno river and with others was at much expense in turning the course of the river, and a second time
found himself financially ruined; for a time he was engaged in teaming at Stockton. In 1852 Mr. Fink had a siege
of the chills, and after his recovery was taken with the small pox. In July, 1853, he went to Millerton, where
he worked at the carpenter's trade two years, being employed by the government and having charge of the Government
post. In 1856 he went to Los Angeles and purchased a band of cattle, drove them to King's river and the following
year sold them. In 1858 he bought a second band of cattle and engaged in stock raising and fanning, remaining at
Millerton until 1862, when he located on lands near his present home. He purchased 160 acres of land from the Government,
built a good adobe house and lived there till 1862. The floods of that year washing his house away, he came to
his present location, five miles north of Reedley. Here, in one body, he owns 800 acres of land. He is engaged
in general farming and stock raising; and his comfortable home, large barns, and modern machinery with which he
cultivates his broad acres and harvests his immense crops, all indicate the prosperity that is attending him.
In 1861 Mr. Fink was married to Miss Eliza Deakin, a native of England, who came to Fresno County at the age of
nine years. All of their eight children, except two (twins), a son and daughter, who died in infancy, are still
living. Their names are as follows: Alice N., wife of J. F. Hill; Julia A., wife of A. T. March; Gussie E., wife
of Thomas Street; Rosie M., Mary E. and Peter Elliott, all born in Fresno County.
Mr. Fink has been an Odd Fellow, and is in politics a Democrat.
Memorial and Biographical History
of the counties of
Fresno, Tulare and Kern,
The Lewis Publishing Company
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