Death and Burial, Migration, Newspapers, Occupations

The Death of Frank Finnerty

Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Cloquet, Carlton County, Minnesota. Sanborn Map Company, Nov, 1901. Map. Retrieved from the Library of Congress

Edward Francis (“Frank”) Finnerty was born at Arnprior, Renfrew Co., Ontario on 7 January 1885, the fourth of the nine known children of John Finnerty and Catherine Benton. He was baptised on 9 January 1885 (St. John Chrysostom, Arnprior), with Robert Heavey/Havey and a Mary Jane [Brixton? Brighton?] serving as godparents.

At some point between 1891 and 1893, the family moved to Cloquet, Carlton County, Minnesota, where John Finnerty and his sons worked in the lumber trade.

Edward Francis Finnerty worked at the Northwest Paper Company’s mill, which had been built at Cloquet in 1898. And while the paper mill’s machinery was apparently considered the most modern of its day, I doubt they had a set of workplace safety standards in place that we would call modern.

Williston Graphic, 14 August 1902

On 9 August 1902, young Frank Finnerty was killed in a dreadful workplace accident. Apparently his clothing got caught in the machinery, and “his body was frightfully crushed.” Let’s hope he did die “instantly,” as reported in a couple of brief newspapers accounts of the tragedy. He was a mere 17 years of age when he met his untimely death (the Williston Graphic mistakenly gave his age as “fifteen years old”).

Kenyon Leader, 21 August 1902

This was not the first time Catherine (Benton) Finnerty had lost a close male family member to a dreadful workplace accident. On 7 March 1890, her father Thomas Benton had died of a fractured skull, having been hit on the head with a 75-pound block of wood while working for the McLachlin Brothers Lumber Co. in Arnprior, Renfrew Co., Ontario.

Frank Finnerty is buried at the Old Calvary Cemetery in Cloquet, MN, next to his mother Catherine (“Kate”), who died 9 January 1941.