Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Captain Richmond Finch

Post by Doris McCraw

aka Angela Raines

Photo (C) Doris McCraw

Captain Finch died on September 28, 1898, in El Paso County, Colorado, of heart disease. His story, like many of the veterans who are buried here, is one both universal and unique. 

Born in Albany County, New York in 1837 the third child to parents John and Mary Finch. Around 1850, according to his sister Theresa, (Thirza), the family moved from New York to Prince William Valley, Virginia. However, by 1858 Richmond appears to have separated from his family. So far, the reason for the break hasn't been found.

His military career began on August 1,1861. At twenty-four in 1861, he joined the 3rd New York Cavalry as a quartermaster sergeant. By November 1863, he accepted a commission with the 15th New York Cavalry as a second lieutenant. By the end of 1865, he was a Captain.

In the letters and diaries of this sister Thirza, Richmond was in Washington, N.C. during the Confederate siege of the city. He was in the Shenandoah Valley Campaign of 1864 and served under Sheridan in the campaigns of 1864-65. She mentions that he was ' an avid, apparently fearless soldier and was as aggressive as he was successful in pursuing a military career'.

He also had a younger brother, Edwin, who served with the 15th NY Calvary and also took part in Sheridan's campaigns. 

His older brother, Madison, was a Unionist sympathizer,  was drafted into the Confederate 4th Virginia Calvary. He served until November of 1863 when he was captured. After five weeks in Old Capitol Prison in Washington, he was paroled and returned to remain with his family for the duration of the war. 

His other brother, Foster, joined the 7th N.Y. Heavy Artillery in July 1863. He was captured by Mosby's Rangers and spent time in a Confederate prison in Virginia. Upon his release from prison, he spent time in the hospital to regain his strength. He rejoined his regiment in March of 1865. (One of the doctors buried in Evergreen just above where Richmond's headstone rests was with Mosby's Rangers.)

Photo (C) Doris McCraw

In 1870, Richmond married New York-born Caroline Smith. He spent two years after the war where he and his wife lived and ran a business. By 1880 the two moved to Leadville, Colorado where they had a Lodging House at 204 W. 2nd St. In 1890 the couple were in Colorado Springs where Richmond was the proprietor of the restaurant, The New England Kitchen. He had this business until he died in 1898.

As we prepare to celebrate Memorial Day, the stories of these veterans and those who followed, deserve to be found and shared. If you see a headstone of a veteran, take the time to research the stories. You never know what you will find.

For those who may have missed the earlier posts:

Sarah Jane Durkee Anderson - Prairie Rose Publications

Esther Walker - Veteran - Western Fictioneers

Esther Walker - Prairie Rose Publications

Alpheus R. Eastman - Western Fictioneers


  1. It's nice to see veterans remembered and honored. Thanks, Doris.

    1. Their stories are an important part of history. I feel fortunate I can help in keeping at least some portion of their lives available. Doris

  2. Coincidences are intriguing as in Foster being captured by Mosby's Rangers and then his grave being near a doctor who served in Mosby's Rangers.

    1. Kaye, the more I dig into the lives of these people the more I want to know. I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall if Finch and Anderson ever discussed the war. (That just might be story in the making. Hmmm?) Doris