Finger, Jacob (1825-1904)
Jakob Finger, Mennonite lawyer and statesman, was born 13 January 1825 at Monsheim, Hesse, Germany, and died 31 January 1904, at Darmstadt as retired Hessian Minister of State. When he was a child in the public school in Monsheim, his teachers and especially his pastor, Leonhard Weydmann, recognized his talents, the latter taking the boy along to Krefeld when he took over the pulpit there. Here the boy received thorough instruction in the classical languages.
But already in the next year he was called home on account of the serious illness of his father. Since he was now too far advanced for the village school at Worms he was sent at the age of 12 to the Gymnasium at Worms. At this time it was very unusual for the children of South German Mennonites to receive academic training. At the age of 16, he was admitted to the University of Giessen to study law, and a year later he went to the University of Heidelberg, where he became the friend of B. C. Roosen, who was a student of theology, and who later became pastor of the Hamburg-Altona Mennonite Church. Finger was tempted to study theology rather than law, but finally remained with the course he had begun. After another year at Giessen he passed his first juristic examination with honor, and continued his study at the University of Berlin until 1846.
Finger's first position was with the court at Alzey. Here he became engaged to the daughter of the state's attorney. Then for a time he was assistant judge in the court at Oppenheim. In 1855 he began to practice law in Alzey. From 1862 to 1865 he was a member of the lower chamber of Hesse. In 1872 he was called to Darmstadt into the ministry of justice, and had charge of the reorganization of the department of justice. From 1884 to 1898 he was Minister of Justice and rendered his country outstanding service. In 1898 he retired.
Until his death Finger remained a faithful member of the Mennonite Church of Monsheim, coming regularly for communion and remaining a faithful supporter. For the Mennonite Church in Hesse he acquired a legal status unique in South Germany.
His brother Christian Finger (1830-1907), a farmer and miller at Kriegsheim near Monsheim, was from 1896 to 1905 a member of the curatorium of the Vereinigung der deutschen Mennonitengemeinden and from 1885 to 1907 on the board of his local congregation.
Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 v. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe; Schneider, 1913-1967: I, 644 f.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 2, p. 330. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.
©1996-2013 by the Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. All rights reserved.
MLA style: Neff, Christian. "Finger, Jacob (1825-1904)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1956. Web. 19 June 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/finger_jacob_1825_1904.
APA style: Neff, Christian. (1956). Finger, Jacob (1825-1904). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 19 June 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/finger_jacob_1825_1904.