FREDERICK FINNUP was born in Preus Minden, Germany, December 27, 1840, and in 1845, when five years of age, he came to the United States with his parents. The vessel in which the family came to America was an old sailing ship, and twelve weeks were required to cross the Atlantic. The family located in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he spent his boyhood and where he learned the trade of cabinet maker and varnisher. April 22, 1861, ten days after Fort Sumter was fired upon, Mr. Finnup enlisted in Company E, Ninth Ohio Volunteer Infantry from Cincinnati, and as a soldier of the Union, for over three years, his career was honorable and serviceable. This regiment, under command of Col. Robert L. McCook, had 1,155 men at the beginning of its serviceall of German descent. His corps commanders were Generals Rosecrans and Thomas. Mr. Finnup was in the battles of Philippi and Cheat Mountain in the West Virginia campaign and afterwards was at Mill Springs, Kentucky, Lookout Mountain, Chickamauga and other historic engagements. At Chickamauga his regiment was on Snodgrass Hill, and suffered some of the heaviest losses of the Civil war. In this battle about forty per cent were killed and wounded. After the battle of Chickamauga, General Thomas remarked: "Whenever you meet the Ninth Ohio, lift your hats from off your head."
At the close of the war, Mr. Finnup located at Vevay, Switzerland County, in the southeastern part of Indiana, on the Ohio River, where he became a furniture manufacturer and a successful business man.
On February 11, 1866, Mr. Finnup was united in marriage with Miss Minnie Lohmann at Vevay. She was born in Germany, August 16, 1840, and was brought to the United States by her parents at the age of twelve. Her father was a farmer and her parents now rest on Tapp's Ridge in the country church yard near Markland in Switzerland County, Indiana. Mr. Finnup's parents rest in the Vine Street Cemetery in Cincinnati, Ohio. To this union three children were born: George W., Sallie M., wife of George T. Inge, and Edward G., all of Garden City, Kansas. Mrs. Finnup, who had all the traits of a noble character, and who was a loyal mother and wife, died at Garden City, August 7, 1914, four months after her husband answered the final call and both now rest, side by side, in family plot in Valley View Cemetery north of the city.
As the result of a trip through the west, and for reasons of family health, Mr. Finnup gave up his prosperous business enterprise in Vevay, for the purpose of locating in Kansas. In the early part of March, 1879, he and his family with their carload of household goods embarked on a steamboat with Leavenworth, Kansas, as their destination. It took three weeks to make the trip down the Ohio and up the Mississippi and Missouri rivers. Arriving at Kansas City, they left the boat and traveled by rail to Leavenworth where he rented a house and left his family while he came on west to seek a location, and finally decided upon Garden City.
Mr. Finnup arrived in Garden City, April 14, 1879, and where he continued to reside until the time of his death, April 6, 1914. Into those thirty-five years, he crowded a remarkable range of activities, an account of which however brief is a real contribution to the history of Finney County. To-day the Finnup family is prominently represented in this section of Western Kansas, and in point of business holdings and public activities, his oldest son, George W. Finnup, is recognized as one of the big men of the state.
At the time of his arrival in Garden City, the town was being surveyed for a town-site, and was not on the map. It was a village of four houses, without a depot or side track. There was no railroad between Garden City and the Gulf of Mexico, and the first one north was the old Kansas Pacific, now the Union Pacific. The Santa Fe was just built through here a few years before. There was only one tree in Finney County, a few miles east of town, when he came here, but he lived to see the streets of Garden City lined with beautiful trees, and the country dotted with orchards and forest trees. The early settlers were few, and generally without means. For a number of years, from 1879, the history of this section reads like a romance with its many ups and downs and its failures and disappointments which seemed endless, and tried the hearts of these pioneer men and women. Most of the people made a precarious living by gathering buffalo bones from the plains, and hunting. Mr. Finnup had considerable means, and he was always ready to extend a helping hand to those who needed assistance in the new country, and was also a large contributor to all worthy charities. His confidence in the integrity of his neighbors was hardly ever misplaced; he prospered in his business and was the largest individual taxpayer in the county from its organization in 1884, until the time of his death.
At this time Finney County was not organized and was known as Sequoyah County until its organization in 1,884 as Finney County, and was attached to Ford County for judicial purposes. For several years, the country around Garden City was covered with wild horses, antelope and buffalo, but Mr. Finnup was never a hunter of wild game. In addition to his town property, Mr. Finnup took up a homestead in the Arkansas Valley, one mile west of the town upon which he resided until he proved it up in 1882, driving back and forth to his business each day. Later he constructed a number of substantial business and residence properties in Garden City, and became extensively interested in lands and cattle. The first two deeds to property in Garden City were issued to Mr. Finnup. Deed No. 1 was for his business lots, and deed No. 2 described the ground for his lumber yard. These deeds were issued by the Garden City Town Company and were signed by George H. Peck, then president of the Town Company and also general attorney for the Santa Fe Railroad, and by C. J. (Buffalo) Jones, secretary.
With the capital which Mr. Finnup brought to Garden City, he purchased property and erected a two-story frame business house, the largest in the county until the boom days of 1885-87. Here he operated a stock of general merchandise and lumber, (using six rooms) and was continuously a merchant until the time of his death. From 1879 to 1905, he was the leading lumberman of the town and furnished lumber for many of the Western Kansas towns, and his trade extended into the Panhandle of Texas and into Eastern Colorado. The first load of lumber for the new town of Scott City went out from his yard.
His constructive influence was manifest in business and local affairs to a marked extent. He was very conservative, modest and unassuming, and while not a public speaker his opinions were sought on all vital questions, and his utterances were straightforward upon all essential matters. He had had but few advantages in the way of schooling and had acquired part of his education by attending night classes when a boy, but he was a reader, a deep thinker, and reached his conclusions slowly, but when he made his decisions he held to them firmly. He was a republican, when he came to Kansas, but finally concluding that too large a majority for any party was not good for the state he became independent and was at last classed as a democrat. He never desired or held office, but never neglected his political obligations as a good citizen. Mr. Finnup witnessed the growth of Garden City from its infancy and performed his part well in the upbuilding. He had a wide knowledge of business conditions and his acumen enabled him to succeed in many undertakings, where others failed. He appreciated fully the resources of his community, and had absolute faith in the steady development of his county. He was one of the most popular of men; and the grind of mercantile life never blunted his kindly instincts or his finer sensibilities. He was a most companionable man to all kinds of men and his profession of friendship was always sincere. Many a struggling homesteader and numerous other people received his kindly aid and his charity was extended in all directions, but he shrunk from publicity and never let his right hand know what his left hand did in good deeds.
Transcribed from A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. [Revised ed.] Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1919, c1918. 5 v. (xlviii, 2530 p.,  leaves of plates): ill., maps (some fold.), ports.; 27 cm.
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