Tavern and Village Church in Atzhausen Germany
above were taken on my 1998 trip to Europe. Atzhausen is still a small village
with a few farmers while the rest of the villagers are commuters to the nearby
cities. When I asked about the Finsters, a local took me to see a couple of
women who seemed to be in their ninties. One of them got up and hobbled slowly
into the square on her canes, and shook a cane at the house above left,
indicating that it was the Finster house. Considering that the Finsters left in
1835, I found this amazing. The information that follows was supplied to me by
my cousin, Allen Weiss.
The birthplace of Frederick and Leonard Finster was a little village in
Bavaria thirty six miles from Wurzberg. It was near Kleilonkine and not far from
Kitzengen which was the home of their mother when married to Herr Lindner.
Artzhausen was a village of farmers. It consisted of a tavern, a blacksmith
shop, and tailor shop. These were built around an open square in the center of
which was the village church. Leonard was born in the tavern which was owned by
George Finster, his father. He afterward rented this building to the people who
owned the house across the square. The Finster family moved into the house and
lived there until 1835 when the tavern was sold and the money used to come to
America. Leonard tells how he sold his sister Dorothy and the Tavern for a
krantzer, for a penny.
When four years old, he went to see the Miller at Frieburg. The miller asked
"When are you going to America?" "When we sell the tavern." "I'll buy the
tavern" said the Miller, "but I must have Dorothy to keep it." Leonard agreed
that Dorothy should be included in the sale, received his kreutzer in payment
and went home rejoicing, telling his mother they would start for America
tomorrow as he had sold the tavern.
Mary Margaret Elizabeth Giger married Lindner at Kitzengen. The children of
this marriage were:
John Casper Lindner
Lindner deserted his wife and she afterward married George Finster. Leonard
bases his statement of desertion on a conversation with Dorothy in Detroit.
Dorothy and Leonard went to visit Philip, and Dorothy told Leonard that she
never owned (acknowledged) her father as he had deserted her mother, so she took
the name Finster.
The Children of George and Mary Finster were:
Paul - died in infancy
John Casper Finster
Frederick Wolfgang Finster - born Apr. 3, 1829
John Leonard Finster -
born Aug 7, 1831
Anna Barbara Finster who died on board ship four days
after sailing in 1835.
George Finster Sr. died on a farm near Lake St. Clair in Canada, in 1838,
Mary Finster, his wife, died in march, 1865 at the home of her daughter,
Dorothy Huebner, seven miles from Wayne Mich.
Leonard visited Detroit in August 1912, and on his eightieth birthday gave
the following recollections of the journey from the Fatherland.
Leonard Finster's Account of The trip to Canada
After selling the tavern the Father and Mother with seven children started
for America. They came to a place on the journey where on top of a mountain
was Luther's Church, and cut in the rock beside the roadway was the name of
"Dr. Martin Luther" in gold letters.
They stopped at a place where sugar water of was made. Here was a splendid
spring of after of which they all drank. The children ate of the sugar which
they learned was made from beats, when they asked the workmen why they did not
eat too, they said, "If you knew how the sugar was made white, you would not
eat it either." Then they learned that blood was mixed with it to purify it.
They passed a mountain with Grapes growing on the side of it.
He remembers the City of Frankfert on the River Maine. Here he saw a
company of orphan boys, cared for by the government, drilling and training for
officers in the army. There was also band music.
They saw English troops at Hanover. At Bremen they saw their first
steamship, also their first cigar. Here they took a two masted sailing ship
down the river Weser to the North Sea. He remembers hearing the sailors
singing out the measurements of the depth of the water. When it reached four
feet, they dripped anchor, for the tide was running out. Soon the river was
dry, and George Finster with another man left the ship and walked on the
bottom of the river to shore. After reaching Bremen-Haven on the North Sea,
they took a ship to America.
The vessel was owned in America, but had a German crew. The third day out,
they passed England - saw the lights on the shore at night. The fourth day
out, occurred the tragedy of the voyage. The father had just received his
portion of whiskey, which was daily delt out to the passengers. Little Anna
aged two years, saw her father drink from the spouted kettle and asked for
some. The father playfully put the spout to her lips and she drank. In three
hours she was dead and the disconsolate mother had to see her child burried at
The ship made the trip from Bremen to New York in six weeks and three days
- -one of the shortest trips on record. A flying fish fell into the ship on
A passenger steamer towing a flour boat took them from New York to Albany
in three days. They took two weeks going from Albany to Buffalo on a canal
boat towed as fast as the horses could walk. The U.S. mail was carried by
canal packet as fast as four horses could trot. They blew a horn and the
towline was dropped to let the mail pass.
They passed Lockport where they were carried over the mountain by many
locks. On reaching Buffalo, they took a steamer for Detroit stopping at every
wood pile for fuel. One week after leaving Buffalo they landed at the foot of
Randolf St. in Detroit. They stayed three weeks at the corner of Brush and
Fort streets, opposite the Ferry seed store, they called the Michigan Garden.
They could see the U.S. flag at the Barracks at the corner of Russel street
and Gratiot ave.
Forests were in full view. George Finster said the Bible told us to honor
the King, and as there was no king here, he thought this was a Godless
country, and so he went to Canada.
He settled on the middle road which had just been surveyed.
It was on the river Roscomb six miles from Lake St. Clair and twenty one
miles from Windsor. Here he took out a homestead of 100 acres and became a
British subject. It took five years to perfect a title but he died before that
time in 1838, The mother lived here until 1853 when the farm was sold by
George Finster for $350. The family then moved to Detroit and afterward to
Cleveland. The mother died in march 1865, the same week Lincoln was
inaugurated. She was then living with her daughter Dorothy Huebner seven miles
from Wayne, Michigan.
In 1840 Frederick Finster, then eleven years of age worked in Detroit. In
1844 he worked for George Bros. On the west side of Woodward ave., back of
J.L. Kings clothing store. In the same years, 1845 he went to New York and was
employed on Chatam st. in a Jewish clothing store. He tired of New York and
came back to Detroit. He worked on the Lakes as a waiter on the Great Wester,
with Capt. Walker of Buffalo for two seasons. When Michigan sent out the
"Mayflower", he was employed on her as a waiter and berth-maker. He also
worked on the steamer "Atlantic."
At the end of the season of 1849 he left the lakes and began the study of
medicine in the office of Dr. Ellis. The acquaintance was begun through their
mutual interest in the New Jerusalem Church. Fredeick's family had been German
Lutherns, but he did not attend services anywhere. One day walking Jefferson
ave. Opposite the Michigan Exchange, he saw a sign "New Jerusalem Church," and
remarked, "Another religious humbug." A store had been rented for church
purposes, and curiosity led him in. He was struck with the teaching, continued
to attend and soon joined. His acquaintance here with Dr. Ellis and S.B.
Thayer resulted in his beginning the study of medicine in their office. He
remained in the office four years, the partnership of "Thayer and Turel" being
formed. He went from their office to the Michigan University in 1853. He
graduated in 1855 from the Homeopathic College in Cleveland.
Dr. Frederick Finster
Dr. Frederick Finster. Born April 3, 1826-? in Atzhausen, Bavaria. Died
March 21, 1885. Dr. Finster was probably the first homeopathic physician to
practice in St. Clair county. He was a German, having born born in Bavaria.
When he was six years old, his father emigrated with his family to America so
that his sons, as they grow up, might evade compulsory service in the German
The family settled on a farm near Windsor, Ontario, but in a short time
the father died. A little later the boy was taken into the family of a Mr.
Remington, living in Detroit, who aided him in getting a common school
education. Subsequent Dr. E. R. Ellis, then living in New York City, inspired
the then young man with a desire to study medicine, and generously furnished
him the loans to attend a course of lectures at a medical school of the
University of Michigan in 1853-4, and a later course at the Homeopathic
Medical College at Cleveland, Ohio (1854-55), where he graduated in the latter
The loan for pursuing the study of medicine was afterward repaid in
full. Prior to attending the above medical schools, Dr. Finster had studied
medicine in the office of Drs. John Ellis and S. B. Thayer in Detroit. In 1855
he formed a co-partnership with Dr. E. H. Drake, of Detroit with whom he was
associated for two years. In 1857 he came to Port Huron, where he practiced
medicine for the rest of his life. He died in 1885.
Dr. Finster was a man of
slight build. An air of gentleness and quietness always seemed to surround
him. He was endeared to his patients and well he should have been, for the
charges for his medical services were so small that they amounted largely to
gratuities. He believed in giving freely to others of his life and talents,
but the resulting gain to his patients meant an uncalled for sacrifice on his
part, for it was attended with a lack of provision for his own later days and
the future welfare and comfort of his family.
His loving generous spirit
blurred that foresight which looks out for the future, yet, perhaps his ways
were wiser in the onward march toward "ultimate good." Although Dr. Finster
embraced the "minute dose" system of practice in medicine, he did not hesitate
to use the so-called "heroic" doses when occasion required. An incident will
illustrate: A gentleman suffering from tialarial poisoning met an "old-school"
physician on the street and asked what he would advise him to do. The
physician's answer was: "'Take two two-grain pills of quinine three times a
day." Later, meeting Dr. Finster - the apostle of snail doses - he wished his
opinion. He adriscd: "Take 3 three-grain pills of quinine three times a day."
Although Dr. Finstor belonged to a school of medicine looked upon at that time
with disfavor by the large majority of physicians, he was highly respected by
all his confreres.
Dr. Frederick Finster had six
Alice Finster, born 1860.
Frederick Ellis Finster (1865-1912). married 1899 Julia
Hoffnan, born 1860.
Ellis Finster, born 1902,
living Detroit, Michigan.
Nancy Edith Finster, born 1868, Port
Arthur Ray Finster, born 1874, married Barbara
Morrison, 1909, at Hancock, Michigan.
of Arthur Ray "Art" Finster
......... Andrew Westbrook Finster 1910 -
......... Georgina Ross Finster 1912 - 1992
Lester "Al" Weiss 1894 - 1975
....................Roger Leslie Weiss 1939
....................+Fern Marie Swanson 1939
....................Lyle Carolyn "Carolyn" Weiss 1942 -
....................+James Earl "Jim" Woodard 1941 -
...............................Cherie Lynn Woodard 1963
...............................Darrel Jay Rock 1956
...........................................Beate Lynn Rock 1982
...........................................Renata May Rock 1986
...............................Janice Marie Woodard 1965
...............................+James Deane "Jim" Dougherty 1956
...........................................Graham Deane Stafford
Dougherty 1992 -
...................*2nd Husband of Lyle Carolyn "Carolyn"
....................Alan Kimball Weiss 1951
....................+Gayle Ann Rathbun 1952 -
Chester Finster, born 1878, married Miranda Victoria Armitage.
CHESTER G FINSTER &
MIRANDA VICTORIA ARMITAGE
Chester G Finster and Chester G. with Miranda V.
Son of Dr. Frederick Finster and Lydia
Kimbal. His father Frederick died when he was seven. He was raised by his mother
Lydia Kimbal and his Kimbal grandparents. As I understand it, the Kimbals had a
hotel and Chester had to go fishing to supply fish for the restaurant. He also
spoke of long church services that would last all day. He may have been
religious but was not a church goer. If forced to, he would sit near the door so
he could get out if it dragged on. Although the Kimbals were Methodists, Lydia
remained a member of the Church of New Jeruselum which was based on the teaching
of Emanual Swedenborg. Despite being a high school drop out, Chester G.
continued his education by correspondence school and became a civil engineer and
Letter to my sister Kay Jones Thyr on the family history from
his son, Chester Harold Finster dated December 29, 1995.
"Your grandfather was a very fine man in many ways He was very inteligent
and earned a State of Michigan Registration as a Civil Engineer and an
Architect without going to college. He was God fearing, honest, trustworthy
and true to his wife. In fact he taught Engineering and Architecture for an
American College at night.
His sister, Nancy Finster (Aunt Nann) in Port Heron earned her teaching
certificate in some four years at the Michigan Teachers College at Ypsilanti,
He also learned much of the background of Engineering and
Architecture from Albert Kahn, Architectural and Engineering Company in
He arrived in their offices in Detroit when the big automobile companies
and factory business was booming. They designed some twenty new automobile
factory buildings in Detroit in two years. The truth of the matter is that
Albert Kahn and his brother were Russian Engineers who had arrived in Detroit
when the manufacturing of trucks and automobiles was being born in Detroit.
Dad moved up in the ranks very rapidly. He was always an excellent
Civil Engineer and later worked in Flint for General Motors in the Buick Motor
Company. Dad was a natural engineer.
He was also very religious and believed that Providence would take care of
him as long as he lived a truely honest life, a good life and one fair with
his fellow men.
The big depression began in the early days of 1929. Dad
closed his Engineering and Architectural office in Flint in the early days of
June 1929. The times were tough at that time in the History of the United
In the summer of 1930, he approached Albert Kahn in Detroit. Albert kahn
had received a job with the Russian Government. (Their first Five Year Plan
was an attempt to bring their nation's business of manufacturing automobiles
and trucks up to the standards of those in America.) to establish an
engineering and archtectural office in Moscow.
Dad went to Russia with some six to eight old employees of Albert Kahn from
the Detroit office. Dad Stayed with the office in Moscow for six months rather
than five years and came home. He was being paid at the time $5,000 a year,
which was like a gold mine in the United States. Dad didn't like the working
conditions. he had to wear heavy clothes and to work with gloves on. The air
temperature was frosty in the office.
He put me through a year's college in the year 1930-31 with his wages from
Russia. I have had great respect for my father's knowledge and ability in
architecture and engineering.
The years 1930-1933 were tough ones for every one in the United States. I
worked on farms for a dollar a day. I enlisted in the Civilian Conservation
Corps and was First Sergeant of the 683rd C.C.C. regiment, State of Michigan
from May 1933 to May 1934 and that kept the bread on the table at home. This
was a Michigan regiment to protect the trees that lived upon the state's
property - - primarily in the northern part of the lower peninsula. Later on,
in 1942, I joined
the United States CCC 333rd U.S. Regiment
Dad opened his office again in 1934. I worked at the Dunbar Forest
Experimental Station in the Upper Pennisula of Michigan for a year and then
went back in the fall of 1935 to get my engineering degree and received my
degree in the Spring of 1936.
Mr. Putnam Roberts, Superintendent of the 27
square miles of Forest at Dunbar told me that if I would go back to college
and get my Engineering Degree that he would see that Michigan State College
would give me enough credits in the Nursery to carry me through to my Senior.
Dad and I paid off the mortgage on the Davidson home during 1936 and '37
and 1928. Dorothy and I were going to put Bety through now that we were both
through with college. We were both through school and we wanted to help her.
Betty never finished her first term. Margaret and I were married in 1939.
Betty had problems. This hurt our Mother. Dad gave Betty $2,000.00 to go to
California. She came back broke. Mother said that the $2,000.00 was all that
she and Dad had and that Mother had collected the bank money. That amount
would equal $20,000.00 today (1995).
Dad sold the Davison home and purchased a new home in Flint. He then went
to Bermuda and died. Both Dorothy and I told Dad that he was not doing the
right thing. Dorothy and I did not want the old home. We worked to free the
home in Davison for our parents and Betty and wanted to free the home for
Betty and our parents."
I could not help but feel that both my mother Dorothy and her brother Harold
harbored some resentment towards their father for his leaving his contract in
Russia. It did put the family in a bad financial way and made finishing their
schooling more difficult. They never came right out and said it, but it was
Grandfather Finster came to live with us for a few years when I was around
ten, before he left for Bermuda. There are several things that may have
explained his desire to leave Russia. Most important I believe that he had
gotten into trouble there. He had gotten thrown into the dungeon in the Kremlin
for punching out a Russian cop. If someone from the British counsel had not
withnessed it, he probably would not have gotten out.
When I asked him why he hit the Russian policeman, he said that he had pushed
him off the sidewalk. This was the old Stalin Soviet Government where they did
not take things lightly. People could and often did disappear. He didn't like
the Soviets and did not like drafting with his gloves on when you could see the
steam from your breath. He swore he had seen dog carcuses being brought into
restaurants. In short, he was not a happy camper. I believe part of it was
depression. Mom said he just sat around for a few years after getting back from
Russia. I don't think he was capable of finishing the contract.
I thought he was the greatest and used to be his shadow. Of course he had
quite a vocabulary and would use it when working a home repair projects. At
those times us kids would be dispatched to the other end of the house. I don't
remember how long he stayed, but I think I was eleven or twelve when he left for
Bermuda. He had gotten a contract to remodel a hotel there moved there with my
aunt Betty and her daughter Alice. He liked it there and begain dating again.
However this time it was a married woman with a jealous husband. The man would
watch for letters from Finster, so grampa reversed the letters of his name and
wrote her as Retsnif. He died in 1956 and is buried there.
Betty, Harold, Dorothy at Soo locks about
Years later when I was in college, I met his cousin Ellis.
He couldn't get over how much I resembled grampa Finster. He said the way I
looked, carried my self, talked and gestered were all Chester Finster. He called
me Chet junior. My cousin Alice refuses to talk to me on the phone because I
sound too much like him.
Descendants of George Finster
Numbers denote generations
from George Finster
1 George Finster
. +Mary Margaret Elizabeth Giger
2 Paul Finster
2 George Finster
2 Frederick Finster 1829 - 1858
.. +Lydia Kimbal
1839 - 1911
. 3 Chester Finster
.... + Minerva Victoria Armitage -
.. 4 Chester Harold Finster
.. 4 Betty Finster
.... 5 Alice Sontag
.. 4 Julia Dorothy
Finster 1907 - 1983
..... +William Cornelius Jones 1889 - 1965
Kay Janet Dorothy Jones 1938 -
....... +Roger Wayne Thyr 1935 -
6 Brian Donald Thyr 1965 -
......... +Danita Jo Carlson 1966 -
7 Nicholas James Thyr 1994 -
....... 7 Ingrid Caroline Thyr 1997 -
...... 6 Lisa Karen Thyr 1962 -
......... +Scott James Barker 1962 -
....... 7 Charles James Barker 1985 -
....... 7 Natalia Lynn Barker
.... 5 Cornel Robert Finster Jones 1939 -
...... 6 David Jones
........ +Ann Summerville Kelly 1964 -
....... 7 Seamus Dylan Summerville Jones 1995 -
....... 7 Isobel Alina
Kelly Jones 1998 -
...... 6 Corey Jones
...... 6 Sarah Kay Louise
Jones 1969 -
....... + John William Clapp 1960 -
....... 7 Ashley
Elizabeth Clapp - 2000
.... 5 Dale Chester Westbrook Jones 1940 -
....... +Jeanne Adelle Finkelstein 1936 - 1985
...... 6 Tod Simeon
Hayward Jones 1976 -
...... 6 Terrence Flom Jones 1972 -
.......... 7 Iryck Jones (adopted) May 12, 1996
.......... 7 Zayde Tatania Jones 2001 -
.2 John Leonard Finster 1831