St. Alban the Martyr

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Memorial Tiles: Henry Finkle & Wife

FINKLE, Henry: circa 1759 - 1808
BLEAKER, Lucretia: circa 1768 - 1850

Tile ordered and paid for by Lucretia Gildersleeve, U.E.L., Kingston, Ontario, March 1889

Henry Finkle, born about 1759, was the sixth child and third son of George and Elizabeth (née Henn) Finckel. The family name later became Finkle. Henry’s father, George Finckel, left Germany as a young man and settled on two estates in Dutchess County, New York. These estates were confiscated during the American Revolutionary War.

At the age of sixteen, shortly after the war began, Henry Finkle made his way to Quebec and joined the British forces. Cpl. Henry Fin(c)kle served in Captain Wehr’s company from August 27 to October 24, 1777.(1) Henry’s older brother George (born about 1748) served in Capt. Jessup’s company at the same time. Henry entered the Engineer’s Department, where he learned the use of carpenter’s tools. After the war, Henry settled on the front of Ernestown (now Bath) where Finkle’s Point in Bath still retains the name. Henry’s skills as a carpenter and his ability to use both a whip saw and cross-cut saw enabled him to build the first frame house in Upper Canada where log houses were the norm at the time.(2)

Henry also erected a school house and teacher’s residence which he donated to the community, and the Masonic Hall, which he gave to his brethren of the order. For many years, he kept the only tavern between Kingston and York, and owned and operated several sailing vessels on the lake and bay. Henry is recognized as the first man in the new colony to free his slaves.(3)

Henry married widow Lucretia Bleaker Henderson, sister of Captain John Bleaker, on May 25, 1788. The marriage was performed by Reverend John Langhorn.(4) Henry and Lucretia had eight children. Their daughter Sarah married Henry Gildersleeve. Henry and Sarah’s daughter, Lucretia Gildersleeve, the sponsor of this tile for her grandparents, was still living in the fine old homestead, on King Street, opposite St. George’s Cathedral in Kingston, when St. Alban’s was built and the tiles were being installed.

Henry Finkle died on January 6, 1808, aged forty-nine and is buried in Cataraqui Cemetery. Lucretia Bleaker Finkle remained a widow for forty-two years after her husband’s death. She is described as “a woman of uncommon shrewdness and ability. She was one of the first to urge the necessity of better boats, and feasibility of their construction at Finkle’s Point, and beyond doubt, she cooperated with her sons and afterwards with her son-in-law (Henry Gildersleeve) in carrying her views into effect.”(5) Lucretia Bleaker Finkle died on March 23, 1850 at her residence on King Street in Kingston, aged eighty-two.


1. Papers of Dr. H.C. Burleigh, Queen’s University Archives.

2. William Canniff, The Settlement of Upper Canada (Toronto: Dudley & Burns, 1869), p. 648.

3. Larry Turner, History of the County of Lennox & Addington (Toronto: Macmillan, 1999).

4. Marriage records of Reverend John Langhorn (Toronto: Ontario Historical Society, 1899).

5. Walter S. Herrington, Pioneer Life on the Bay of Quinte, rev. ed. (Global Heritage Press, 1999).