In this branch of my family tree, there are lots of people who were born with one name but were known by something different! For example:
- Cintha Evison Finch was also called Cynthia Evison Finch
- Sarah Ellen Finch Thomas was also known as Nellie Finch Thomas
- Floyd Thomas = Lloyd Thomas
This blog is about Joseph Wesley Finch, his wife Jennette Viola Dell and their son, Howard F. Finch — who was also known as J. (aka John) Duprey.
Joseph Wesley Finch is the middle child of five children of William Frederick Finch and Cintha (Cynthia) Iona Evison.
William and Cintha (Cynthia) Evison are my great uncle and great aunt, which makes Joseph my 1st cousin, 2X removed.
Joseph was born on 5 Sep 1885 in Westminster Township, Middlesex County, Ontario (Canada).
The first Canadian Census after his birth took place in 1891 and, at that time, Joseph was living with his family in Westminster Township (Middlesex County).
In February of 1897, tragedy struck the Finch family! Joseph’s mother died and all of his brothers and sisters were sent to live with different families.
In 1901, 14-year-old Joseph was working as a farm hand for the Robinson family in Caradoc Township (Middlesex County). He had been employed by the family for a year prior to the census and earned $155.
At some point before 1906, Joseph moved to Winnipeg, Manitoba (Canada). He is listed in the 1906 Manitoba Census living with his older sister, Sarah (aka Nellie), and older brother, William. Unfortunately, the Manitoba Census did not ask for a person’s employment history — so I do not know what Joseph did for a living.
By September of 1909, when Joseph was 24 years old, he was back in Ontario!
Joseph and Jennette married two days later — on 30 Sept 1909. The licence says that they planned to marry in Dunnville, Elgin County, Ontario (Canada).
Jennette is the daughter of Robert Dell and Charlotte Tomlin and she was born in Simcoe, Ontario (Canada) on 22 Sep 1893.
As is often the case in this branch of my family, this was an “intermarriage”. Joseph Wesley Finch married his mother’s brother’s wife’s sister!
After marrying, Joseph and Jennette settled in Westminster Township (Middlesex County). It’s difficult to read the entry for Joseph in the 1911 Census, but I think it says that he is a “farm labourer”. Also living with them is Jennette’s 7-year-old sister, Daisy Dell.
On 27 Jun 1912, Joseph and Jennette crossed the border from Canada into the USA at Detroit (Michigan). The odd thing is that the border crossing document says that they have been living in the USA from 1911 until 26 Jun 1912!! Seems like they came home to Canada for a one-day visit and then returned to the States?
Joseph is described as 5’9″ and Jennette as 5’4″ tall — both with brown hair, blue eyes and a medium complexion.
Joseph and Jennette’s only child was born in the USA.
In about 1914, their son, Howard F. Finch, was born in Detroit, Michigan.
On 12 Sep 1918, Joseph registered for the American Army. The odd thing is that Joseph put that his date of birth was 31 Aug 1885, instead of 5 Sep 1885?? WWI ended shortly after that, on 11 Nov 1918 — so I doubt that Joseph was sent overseas.
In 1920, the Finch family was living at 381 Kerwin in Detroit (Michigan). Joseph is employed as a truck driver and Daisy Dell, Jennette’s sister. is still living with them. She is working as a clerk in a glass company.
The lives of the Finch family then took another tragic turn!! I’m not exactly sure what happened, but here is what I know from the documents that I found.
On 26 Jan 1926, Jennette died in Silver City, New Mexico! She was only 32 years old. I have no idea what she was doing in Silver City, New Mexico — but she was buried in Detroit (Michigan).
On 22 Apr 1926, 13-year-old Howard (son of Jennette and Joseph) applied, and was approved, to enter Canada to live with his father in Walkerville, Ontario (Canada). Walkerville is very close by to Windsor (Ontario) and across the St. Clair River from Detroit (Michigan).
Joseph died of pneumonia in Walkerville on 5 Mar 1928 at 42 years of age.
He was laid to rest in Forest Lawn Cemetery in Detroit, Michigan (USA). At the time of his death he was working as a lumber checker in a lumber yard.
The odd thing is that Joseph’s date of birth is again recorded as 31 Aug 1885 but his registration of birth says that he was born on 5 Sep 1885.
This is where the story of Joseph and Jennette’s son, Howard, gets a little bizarre and confusing!
At some point after his father’s death, Howard Finch must have returned to the USA. Because, on 27 Aug 1932, he applied to enter Canada at the border crossing between Detroit (USA) and Windsor (Canada).
He said that he was going to visit his aunt, Mrs. A. Thomas, in Lambeth (Ontario, Canada). The odd thing is that his name is recorded as “Howard Finch” but with an alias of “J. Duprey” — and a “race” of French!!?? Howard (aka J. Duprey) was rejected and not allowed to enter Canada!
In October of 1932, Howard tried again to return to Canada. This time he applied as Howard Finch with a “race” of English. And there is no mention of an alias of J. Duprey! He stated that his purpose to enter Canada was to reside with a “friend” named Mrs. Nellie Thomas at R. R. #4, Lambeth (Ontario). Howard was rejected again — with no appeal!
On 5 Feb 1933, Howard tried a third time to enter Canada. This time he again listed the alias of “Duprey” and put that he is French and that he was going to visit his half brother, Hubert Moore, in Windsor. Half brother?? That means that either his parents re-married at some point. I cannot find any documentation to prove this — but I suppose it’s not beyond the realm of possibility!
Then, on 9 Dec 1933, Howard applied a fourth time to enter Canada. On this try, he said that his name was “John Finch” with an alias of “Howard Duprey”!! And that he wanted to enter Canada to visit a friend called Hubert Moore — no longer a half-brother LOL! The other odd thing is that Howard (aka John) listed the name of an uncle as the closest relative remaining in the USA. So far, I haven’t found that person in the family tree! It’s difficult to tell but it looks like Howard was denied entry AGAIN, but appealed.
So what happened to Howard Finch (aka John alias Duprey) after December of 1933?? I’m not 100% certain — but I did find a Howard F Finch in the 1940 Census. This Howard Finch is living in Pontiac, Oakland County, Michigan (USA) and he is 26 years old (i.e. born about 1914). This may or may not be “our” Howard — but likely.
Howard is married to a woman named Clara and is working as a labourer for a trucking company.
When I googled “Howard and Clara Finch”, an obituary came up for a Daniel Joseph Finch, son of Howard and Clara (Priebe) Finch.
He married Brenda Wahls on 25 Feb 1967 in Auburn Hills, Oakland County, Michigan (USA) and had three daughters: Dana, Amy and Melissa.
I’m not sure if Daniel and his children are descendants of Joseph Wesley and Jennette Dell Finch — but likely.