[The following was copied from the ledgers written by my Great-Great-Grandfather as he lived out his last years in a wheelchair. Arthritis rendered him unable to be physically productive so he used his time to put down on paper his story in fine handwriting which waffled between German & English. In English he referred to himself as Henry and in German as Heinrich. He was a clear-thinking man who educated himself well with knowledge of the world in which he lived. — Thomas Finger]
Heinrich & Catharina Finger, 1893
To my future generation I will leave this small sketch of my life and memories during my life. I hope they will preserve it for their own interest, as that will show them the first beginning in this Country of the family. And as I will touch some historical points that happened during my life, so it will be interesting to the reader that wishes for a small treatment of history.
I hope that my followers will keep a family record, which I have started in some other books. We all come and go from this world, but why not leave some account of ourselves. I for one should be pleased very much had I a family history from old times.
My Native Home
In Germany, the principal State is Prussia, and said state is divided into
provinces. One of provinces is known under the name of Hessen-Nassaw, but before 1866,
Hessen and Nassaw were two states, each under a separate ruler.
Hessen had a "Kurfurst" as it was called, and it was divided into 21 Kreises, or circles. One of these circles is named "Frankenberg", after the Kreis-Stadt, (or County Seat as we would call it in America) This Frankenberg City is situated in the river Eder and has its name from the Franks, of which Charles the 1st (or Charlemagne as he is called in history) was King.
This Charles the 1st is the founder of Frankenberg, hence the name "Frankberg" would be in plain English, Franken-Mount [or small mountain of the French - ed.].
It was first off a Fortification in the war between the Franks and the Saxons in the 8th century. Part of the city is on a bluff and was surrounded by a high wall and some towers for Military defense, and parts of the wall and one tower stands yet at present day.
Now as I have defined the Kreis (or County) I will explain further this Kreis Frankenberg that consists of a number of Villages beside three small cities. One of these villages is called Willersdorf, and this is my native home.