From Huntington County Biographical Memoirs, 1901
Of the well known men still living whose lives and activity in the community practically cover all of the business history of Warren, is David Finkle, who for many years has been the proprietor of the flouring mills, the firm now being David Finkle & Sons. Now in his eighty-sixth year, Mr. Finkle is still devoting his attention to the demands of the mill, though the weight of years has left its impress heavily upon him. He was born in Lebanon county, Pennsylvania, February 9, 1816, his father being John Finkle, a native of the same county and a son of John Finkle, who was born in New York, though of German origin. David's mother was Susan Plasten. He learned the miller's trade early in life, and when but twenty-two years of age came to Wayne county, Indiana, operating a mill at Milton, in company with his brother William. Deciding to go to a country which was then attracting much attention, they erected a mill at AEtna (sic), which was nothing more than a log building; though even before this he operated a mill for Isaac Dalrymple, some five miles below Marion on the Mississinewa. There he married Becky Dalrymple, the daughter of his employer, a young girl of seventeen. Her death occurred about two years later, leaving an infant child, Rebecca. In those days Mr. Finkle had hard work to live, care for his child and make any progress. In looking for a home for the child he found it in that of Henry Shanhulser, who lived in a cabin in the woods near Landessville, Grant county, and there met a young girl of seventeen, Mary J. Shanhulser, to whom he was married three months later, January 14, 1847. Mary was born in Switzerland August 20, 1828, being one year old at the time of crossing the ocean. Her father was Charles Hartig, who died in Philadelphia when Mary was four years old. Her mother, whose maiden name was Mary Parroty, of French descent, then married Henry Shanhulser, a blacksmith by trade, and who moved to Dayton, Ohio, finally settling, when Mary was fifteen years old, among the ponds and in the woods where they lived when she first met her future husband. Her parents lived and died in that place, she at sixty-seven, while he survived her about twenty years. The farm is now owned by Elmer Baker, and has attracted considerable attention from the fact of its yielding a large supply of oil from the several wells sunk thereon. As a girl, Mary rendered valuable assistance in clearing and improving the farm, much of the out-door work being done by her. She was stout and robust, the vigor of youth, coupled with perfect health, creating that natural charm of person which captivated the young miller; and, though she was married in a calico dress, which she had earned by working for the neighbors at fifty cents per week, when calico was twenty-five cents a yard, no more vivacious or charming girl was ever made a bride in Grant county. They set up housekeeping at the little mill at Kaylor, near AEtna, which he had built, having a home-made bed and a box for a table. That summer the other mills along the river had ceased running, owing to the scarcity of water, which brought dozens of new customers to his mill, and a nice little sum of money was earned by her cooking for and feeding those customers. Three years later thy (sic) came to Warren, he as a miller in the mill he now owns, originally erected by Eli Mitchell, who had operated it but one year. He remained in charge of this mill for seven years, going thence to assume charge of the Jackson mill at Marion, which he operated on shares for five years. During the time that he was in Warren he had loaned five hundred dollars upon an eighty-acre tract of land, which had been turned over to him, and this he now exchanged for a half interest in the present mill, the one he had formerly operated. His partner died some ten years later, when Mr. Finkle bought the entire property. The mill was in good condition, having two runs of stone, and a first-class and profitable business was done from the start. The product manufactured by this mill has always been of an excellnt (sic) character, so much so that it has not been deemed wise to convert the mill into the roller process, the tastes of its customers preferring the product of the mill as it now stands.
The sons of Mr. Finkle grew up in the mill, the present firm, including John and Jacob Finkle, having existed for about fifteen years. The eldest son, Henry, who was in the mill for some years, is proprietor of a mill in Pennsylvania, though his home is still in Warren; Sylvanus is still living at home, having recently become proficient in the science of "Vital Healing." The daughters living are Mary F., wife of James Christy, of Warren; and Ann E., wife of Lorenzo Woods. Those children deceased are Mary M., George, Willie, Emma, Charlie and Ellie, the latter dying at the age of twenty-nine. Mr. Finkle has devoted his attention constantly to the operation of this establishment, and, though never aspiring to an extensive business, the results have far surpassed all anticipations when he embarked as proprietor. Never lacking customers, it has been his unerring aim to please the people, which is proven by many of his present customers having used the product of his mill for more than forty years. No other man in this community has been so unceasingly associated with the conduct of one business; and it is doubtless safe to assert that Indiana can not produce another man whose years of service, as a miller, will compare with those of Mr. Finkle. Though the best years of a lifetime have been given to this business, no unjust criticism has ever been spoken touching his method of doing business. Now that the mills of time have almost exhausted the grist of Mr. Finkle's life, he may look back upon the years passed among the citizens of Warren and feel that he has been no unimportant factor in the making of this beautiful little city, and that its moral life has been elevated by his having lived. Quiet and unassuming in manner, he has not sought to make a noise in the world, preferring that opinion be formed of him from the result of his endeavors. The present home of Mr. and Mrs. Finkle is one of the landmarks of the town; its hospitality has never been exceeded, many of the memorable gatherings in the town occurring under its roof, where this worthy couple have passed the many years they have lived in Warren.
Mr. Finkle has achieved and is entitled to great satisfaction from a business standpoint, derived from his many years of devotion to his chosen line of work, having had most excellent returns. Whenever he embarked into other lines of business, he has often met with financial disappointment, his losses amounting to several thousand dollars.
JACOB FINKLE, who is associated with his father and brother in the operation of the mill, was born at Marion, Indiana, February 19, 1859, receiving the educational advantages afforded by the local schools until reaching the age of eighteen, when he engaged in the mill, becoming proficient in all the details of its management and operation. In recent years several additional features have been added to the business, such as flour and feed, an exchange warehouse dealing in salt and all kinds of seeds. Mr. Finkle was married December 3, 1882, to Miss Ida Delia Smith, daughter of Byron Smith, one of the old merchants of Warren, where she was born. They have three daughters: Ella, a young lady of seventeen, who is a student in the Marion Business College; Cora and Loraine.
In politics Jacob is a Republican, as was his father previous to 1896, since when he has acted as a Democrat. The executive ability displayed by Jacob Finkle, his well matured judgment and his probity of character, led the family of the late John D. Jones to select him as the administrator of that valuable estate, to the duties of which position a part of his time and attention are directed. He is one of the leading members of the Methodist church of this place. He is active in Masonic circles, and enjoys the esteem of numerous friends.
JOHN FINKLE was born in Warren, March 17, 1855, and like his brother, Jacob, grew up in the mill, becoming interested in its operation under the direction of his father, and with scarcely perceptible effort became an expert in the details of flour manufacture. About seven years since he and his brother became partners in the business, since which time his entire attention has been devoted to its operation. He was married on his thirty-first birthday, March 17, 1886, to Miss Belle Crum, daughter of Cynthia Crum, one of the best known pioneer residents in Warren. Mr. Finkle's abilites not being distracted by various enterprises his whole attention is devoted to the conduct of the flouring business and the society of his wife. It has afforded the publishers pleasure to present even thus briefly an outline of the career of one of the recognized men of ability, who holds to the fullest the esteem and respect of hundreds of friends, the junior members of the firm being no less entitled to public confidence than the father, with whom they have been so closely associated. It is needless to say that a continuance by the junior members of the firm of those principles which characterized the senior will certainly insure their exalted position in the community.