Biography of William Finch

Among the prominent and well-known horticulturists of Riverside is the subject of this sketch. A brief resume of his life is as follows: Mr. Finch dates his birth in Rensselaer County, New York, in 1821. He was reared and schooled at his native place near the city of Albany, and followed the occupation of his father, which was that of a farmer. His parents, Cyrenius and Minerva (North) Finch, were both natives of New York. In 1850 Mr. Finch started for the great West, and was among the pioneer settlers of Minnesota. He first located in Ramsay County; thence went to Hennepin County, near Fort Snelling, where he was engaged in agricultural pursuits and stock-raising. He was a representative man of his section, and took a leading part in building up and developing the resources of his county, and was prominent in its government, holding positions of honor and trust, serving as the County Commissioner, and as a member of the Board of Supervisors.

In 1876 Mr. Finch decided to seek the genial climate of the Pacific coast, and in that year he came to Riverside and remained until the following summer; during that time he purchased a twenty-acre tract on Bandini avenue, at the corner of Cypress avenue, and commenced his preparations for engaging in horticultural pursuits. He returned east in 1877, and the next year brought his family to Riverside and established himself upon his land. He is a man of practical knowledge and industrious habits. Mr. Finch entered heartily into his new calling, and combined study and research with his experiments in horticulture. His mistake he discovered early, and promptly corrected, and he soon had one of the most productive groves and vineyards in the colony. At this writing he has a ten-acre orange grove in good bearing. The trees are mostly seedlings, but he has a fine variety of budded trees also, comprising Washington Navels, Mediterranean Sweets, and St. Nicholas. As illustrating the success that attends orange-growing in Riverside, when con-ducted with the intelligent care and attention such as he devotes to it, we note the following facts as regards the yield from his orange groves:

His ten acres planted in 1867, 600 seedling trees and the remainder budded, when from six to eight years old commenced to give a considerable yield, and from that time have given an increasing yield of an average from one box per year from one tree. The balance of his land is producing deciduous fruits, raisin grapes, alfalfa, etc., but is being rapidly planted with young orange trees.

Politically Mr. Finch is a Republican, and has been a strong supporter of that party since its organization in 1856. He is a consistent member of the Universalist Church, and is president of the board of trustees of his church in Riverside.

Mr. Finch has been twice married, first in 1844, to Miss Angeline Kelsey, a native of New York. She died in 1879, leaving seven children. His second marriage was in 1881, when he wedded Miss Phebe Kelsey, a sister of his first wife. No children have been born by this marriage. The names of Mr. Finch’s children are: Emma, Frances, Helen, Cornelia, Charles W., Myron and Anna. Helen is the wife of William L. Tanner, of Minneapolis, Minnesota. Cornelia married Dr. Quincey A. Low, of Wabasha, Minnesota; Anna is the wife of Thomas R. Cundiff, a sketch of whom will be found in this volume. Charles W. married Miss Berta Battles, who is the street superintendent of Riverside; Myron married Miss Flora Pryne, who is residing in Minnesota.



The Lewis Publishing Company. An Illustrated History of Southern California embracing the counties of San Diego San Bernardino Los Angeles and Orange and the peninsula of lower California. The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago, Illinois. 1890.

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