(04/30/2021)

Here is the legend and lore surrounding the Mike Fink burial
ground where only he and the remains of an Indian foe repose

By Bob Weaver

We stopped last week to gaze upon the burial ground of Mike Fink, who reposes beside an unknown Indian, who did each other in over 200 years ago in what was certainly a primitive forest at the time.

Fink should not be confused with another legendary American folklore character by the same name.

The site, resurrected through the efforts of the late Emma Stalnaker Deel, is situated on a a crossover hill between the West Fork River at Minnora and the waters of Beech.

It is one of Calhoun's great legends, the death of wandering adventurer Fink, a comrade of Adam O'Brien, who died on the same spot with his Indian foe.

Warden W. Bailey (1888-1970), World War I veteran, farmer, school board member and a descendant of the original Calhoun Bailey's who graced this community in the the early 1800s, reveled in telling the tale, wrote:

"It was on this stream that Mike Fink, Adam O'Brien and another man were watching a deer lick when they were suddenly attacked by four or five Indians. The white men ran up the stream, but Fink was shot in the foot. By the time they reached the low gap, Fink was so weak, due to loss of blood he could go no further."

"The other two men left Mike at the low gap while they went down on the West Fork to get some men to help. When they returned they found Mike and an Indian, both dead. A grave was dug and they were buried in the low gap."

Another early account was told by Col. D. S. Dewees (1821-1905) in his "Recollections of a Lifetime."

"These two adventurers, seeking a new country, conquesting for hunters and backwoodsman's paradise, when a small party of Indians in quest of revenge, seeking to strike a blow upon the usurper of their homes and hunting grounds...coming unexpectedly together."

The Indians firing upon Fink, who together with O'Brien retreated up the branch (Fink Fork), wounded Fink in the heel, whose wound becoming so painful against they reached the low gap, that he advised O'Brien to seek his own safety, and leave him to his fate...He dispatched one of them (an Indian), which he in return was laid low in death...O'Brien in a few days returning with others, found the two common enemies cold in death's embrace, whereupon they were buried by O'Brien.

Nearby cemeteries most notable feature
is about 50 graves marked by cut stones

Near the Mike Fink burial ground is one of two Fink cemeteries, notably named for the folklore legend. The most notable feature of the nearby cemetery is about fifty graves marked with cut stones, whose identities will never be known to the world, like the unknown Indian resting up on the hill.

A second Fink Cemetery is on upper Milo, whose grounds also holds many of the early Calhoun Baileys, in addition to many of the DeWeese family, including B. C. DeWeese (1828-1907) a vet of both the Mexican and Civil War.

See related stories:

MIKE FINK AND UNKNOWN INDIAN HAVE NEW TOMBSTONES - Krack And Bell Help With Project

HARDSHIP, SURVIVAL AND THE CIVIL WAR - Calhoun Pioneer Christopher Columbus Bailey

FINK SCHOOL BARELY STANDING - Wanda Bailey Recalls A Different Time

NO MOSS GROWING ON ADAM O'BRIEN - Primitive Adventures, Murderous Times, And More Progeny Than You Can Count


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