The following is a collection of newspaper articles from October, 1885 regarding the marriage of Frederick B. Finger. We have not been able to determine very much about him, but we do know that he was born about 1860 in Penn Yan, New York, and his parents are likely Hiram and Frances Finger.

Bigamy and Elopement

Adventures of a Woman Who Married at Twelve Years - She Leaves Her Rich Young Farmer Husband to Live With a Hotel Waiter, and Quits Him to Marry a Military Man of the Rank of Corporal.

[From the Syracuse Herald]

Fannie E. Slocum was the maiden name of a young woman who is in her twenty-first year, and who, it is declared, has a husband and two children living in Fonda, lived nearly four years with another man without being married and finally married a prominent military man in this city a few days ago, and last evening went with him to Baltimore. Miss Slocum's mother lives at No. 27 Cedar street. When a child Fannie went to Fonda, and, on reaching her twelfth year, she is said to have been married to Nicholas Sherman1, a wealthy farmer, by whom she had two children, Ettie and Johnnie2, but who were known here as Bella and Fred. She is a prepossessing brunette of medium height, with dark eyes, and according to outward appearances, has every characteristic of a lady. She is said to be a church member and much devoted to the Methodist belief.

Four years ago she left her husband and came to this city taking her children with her, and went to her mother's house. At this time H. K. White was keeping the Temperance Inn at No. 61 West Washington street, near the Central station. The young mother applied to Mr. White for employment and was set at work washing dishes. There she was known as Mrs. Walters, a widow, from Fonda. A week afterward George W. Lincoln applied for a place at the same eating house and was hired as tablewaiter. He is of medium height, dark features and about twenty-eight years old. He said that he came here from Utica. He has a wife and child still living at Utica. A few days after Lincoln's arrival at the Temperance Inn, according to his own story, he made Mrs. Walters's acquaintance and spoke to her on the subject of his admiration for her.

"I told her," said he, "that I had left a wife for her and asked that she live with me as a wife. From that time we lived together. About two months later she induced her mother to sell her house and property at Fonda, from which a handsome sum was realized. She gave me $500, and we invested it in a lease of White's inn, where we had been employed. For five months we carried on a successful business, clearing about $100 a month. We then sold out and I returned to Utica, disposed of my property and came back. Fannie and I gathered up all the money we had amounting to more than $1,000, left the children with her mother and went to Chicago, where we bought out a flat. She became dissatisfied, sold out and lost $100 on her account. I saw in a newspaper an advertisement of a lookinglass business and took her to see it. She thought favorably of it and we bought it. The business was unsuccesful; we sold but and lost every dollar of the investment. I sent to Utica and got one hundred dollars from my mother, let Fannie have it and leased another flat. We ran it one month and dropped it. I had to sell my diamond ring to get money to send her mother and two children to her brother's at Cleveland, Osewego county. The old lady remained there three months and we sent the children to their father at Fonda. The old lady joined us at Buffalo and we moved back to Syracuse. I started an agency and sold polish and stain extractors in which I made lots of money and turned it all over to Fannie. I continued this business, all last winter, and in the spring went again to Buffalo as an agent. During my absence she said she intended to visit her uncle in Pennsylvania and would be gone two months. After three weeks I returned to this city and found the house vacant. I learned she was making shirts in McCarthy's factory in Geddes. I went there and asked he why she acted so. She replied that she had not had time to explain in writing. She said that she loved another man and would desert me, an assertion I did not believe until I saw her in a saloon drinking with Frederick B. Finger. A month ago they went hoppicking3 to K. C. Filpot's fields in Madison county, and there passed as man and wife. They came home at 10 a. m. on Monday last and were married by Justice Oberlander in the afternoon and last night they skipped to Baltimore. At the bureau of vital statistics is filed the marriage certificate of the pair. The groom gave his name as Frederick B. Finger, twenty-five years of age, a paperhanger, born in Penn Yann and never married4. The bride gave her maiden name, age twenty-one, born at Cleveland, Oswego county, and never married. The witnesses to this marriage were F. Reschlaub and A J Kelly."

Justice Oberlander said that Mr. Finger came alone to him about 4 p. m. on Monday and asked if he would marry him. He gave the girl's name and said that he was obliged to marry her in order to save himself, as she had a claim on him. An hour and a half later the couple came in, the bride being dressed in black. The questions usual on those occasions were asked and they were answered without hesitancy. Mr. Oberlander said that at the time he had no reason to disbelieve either of them, but since he has learned of the woman's previous marriage to a Mr. Sherman in Fonda. Mr. Finger is described as tall, with a sharp face and curly hair. He was a corporal in the fortieth separate company. Mr. Lincoln said that Finger worked for him when he was proprietor of the eating house in West Washington street, and that he was then discharged by Miss Slocum, now Finger's wife, on account of drink. Finger afterward was re-engaged by Mr. White, the present proprietor of the place. Mr. Lincoln has communicated to Mr. Sherman at Fonda the facts of the case and promises his assistance in prosecuting Finger. A warrant has been issued, in which Finger is charged with bigamy. - The Times and Express 1885 (date unclear)




Bigamy and Elopement

Adventures of a Fonda Woman Who Married at Twelve Years of Age.

Fannie E. Slocum is the name of a young woman now in her 27th year, who, it is declared, has a husband named Nicholas Sherman and two children in Fonda, lived four years, without being married, with George W. Lincoln of Syracuse, who has a wife and child living in Utica, and finally married Corporal Frederick B. Finger of Syracuse, and last week went with him to Baltimore. It is said that she was married to Mr. Sherman when 12 years of age. She is a prepossessing brunette of medium height, with dark eyes, and, according to outward appearances, has every characteristic of a lady. She is said to be a church member aud much devoted to the Methodist belief. Four years ago she left her husband and went to Syracuse and worked under the name of Mrs. Walters in the Temperance Inn of H. K. White, at 61 West Washington street. There she met Lincoln, who was employed as a waiter. A few days after her acquaintance with him was formed they began living together. A few months later, she induced her mother to sell their house and property at Fonda. She gave Lincoln $500, and the two leased White's inn, and carried on a successful business for five months when they sold out and went to Chicago. There they were unsuccessful, and finally moved back to Syracuse. Last spring, Lincoln went on the road as an agent and during his absence Fannie fell in love with Finger. They went hop-picking 3 together and passed as man and wife. Last Monday they were married. A warrant has been issued for Finger's arrest on the charge of bigamy. - The Amsterdam Daily Democrat October 2, 1885




Some days ago Frederick B. Finger, formerly a corporal in the Forteith Separate company, and Fannie E. Slocum were married by Justice Oberlander. It has since been learned that the woman was previously married at the age of 13 to a farmer in Fonda named Nicholas Sherman, who is still alive and by whom she had two children. Finger and his wife left soon after their marriage for Baltimore.
- The Syracuse Standard October 2, 1885




SYRACUSE, Oct 1.—Fannie E. Slocum, of this city, has eloped with Fred B. Finger, captain of the 41st separate company. Miss Slocum was married when 16-years of age to Nicholas S. Harmon, of Fonda. She left him and lived here some time with George W. Lincoln, who now denies that he ever married her. She was married to Finger by Justice Oberlander just before they left town. Warrants are out for the arrest of both on charges of bigamy. - Utica Morning Herald October 2, 1885




Fannie Slocum, of Syracuse, who is now twenty-one years old, married Nicholas Sherman, a rich young farmer of Fonda when she was there on a visit, being then only twelve years of age. They have two children. Some years after she left Sherman, returning to Syracuse, and has been living with a hotel waiter named Lincoln, who has a family in Utica. A few weeks ago she went to the hop fields3, where she met Corporal Frederick B. Finger and passed as his wife. They returned to town on Monday, were married, and have left, it is said, for Baltimore. - Albany Evening Times October 5, 1855




A Fonda correspondent says: The sensational story going the rounds of several newspapers regarding the adventures of Fannie Slocum, who formerly lived in Fonda, does not appear as romantic to the people of this village who remember her as a very poor girl about 18, without any character, and as having married against her mother's wishes a colored man by the name of Nicholas Sherman, who is now reported in the several sensational articles as a wealthy farmer. She lived with him in a tenement house with several colored people three or four years, and then ran away with her two children. - The Amsterdam Daily Democrat October 6, 1885




It is reported that Fannie E. Slocum, the alleged bigamist, and Frederick B. Finger, the romantic story of whose marriage and elopement was related in the DEMOCRAT recently are now in Cleveland, Oswego county. It is also said that they went directly to that place from Syracuse. Geo. W. Lincoln, with whom the Slocum girl lived as his wife for four years, says that she deceived the Justice who married her to Finger in giving her correct age. The statement that she was first married at twelve years was on the authority of the girl's mother. She denied to Mr. Lincoln that Sherman was a colored man, although the fact of the children's unmistakable African color could not be accounted for. It is also said that the reason of the girl's marriage with Finger was because he gave her the idea that his parents were wealthy and that he would be the heir to a valuable estate. - The Amsterdam Daily Democrat October 8, 1885




ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

  1. Nicholas Sherman, shown on the census below, must have divorced Fannie and remarried. We find him on the 1900 Amsterdam, Montgomery, New York census, age 42, married for 11 years (abt 1890) to Carrie. His son John Sherman age 21 is living in the household.

  2. Shown below is a picture of the 1880 Mohawk District 56, Montgomery, New York census (the village of Fonda is in the town of Mohawk). Here we find Nicholas Sherman, age 25, farm laborer, Fannie E., listed as Emily, age 20, and children Ettie, age 3 and John age 1. This family is living with Nicholas' parents Nicholas Sherman age 80 and his wife Susan age 60. All are listed as being black.



  3. "Hop-picking is a delicate process, because the cones can break apart easily. Inside the cone is a powdery substance called lupulin, which contains the bitter resins and aromatic oil hops are prized for ...there was a time, in the 19th century, when Upstate New York... was the nation's hop capital. But Upstate's hops fell victim to a blight, competition from West Coast growers and Prohibition. The last commercial hops grown in Onondaga County appear to have been sold around 1942... according to Dennis Connors, curator at the Onondaga Historical Association. But even then, Connors said, the archives show it had been nearly 50 years since the previous crop." - from blog.syracuse.com

  4. This entry appears in the 1885 Syracuse, New York city directory:

    Finger Fred B. paper hanger

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