Herman Finger was born in 1856, in Brookfield, Wisconsin, the sixth of ten children of newly-settled German immigrants. His family lived in Milwaukee for seven years, after which they moved to Outagamie County settling in the wilds near New London, WI. At age 13, he began working in the woods and on the river.
In 1878, at the age of 22, he bought a farm in Waupaca County, along with a large tract of land in northern Minnesota with two others. At age 23, in 1879, he married Emma Law, having met her in New London, WI. Together, they had six children: Orley, Eva, Oscar, Viola, Effie, and Harold. At age 25, he became foreman of the Sherry Lumber Company in Vesper, Wisconsin. There, he was in charge of lumbering and farming interests.
Later, in 1886, he bought an interest in Gerry Lumber Company and moved to Eagle River. He was in charge of their business including overseeing the saw and planning mills. In 1894, he was elected County Treasurer of Vilas County, representing the Republican party. He was also a charter member of the Eagle River Lodge No. 248 F.& A.M., and held the office of Worshipful Master in 1895-1896. He and his wife attended the Congregational Church and were active donors to their religious causes.
Herman was considered one of the leading business men of Vilas County, and ever a busy man, his time was exclusively devoted to his lumber manufacturing interests and developing the county. He had a home on Finger Lake, which was named after him, in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Herman also owned a parcel of land in the city of Eagle River called the ‘Finger Plat,’ which was bordered on the north side by West Division Street and on the east side by Hwy 45 or Railroad Street.
The Finger family immigrated to Canada in 1900, living in the Algoma region of Ontario and where Herman organized the Pigeon River Lumber Company. Later, the family moved to northern Manitoba, where Herman created the Finger Lumber Company in 1911., later selling it in 1920. In The Pas, the town where the family lived in northern Manitoba, Herman served as the mayor from 1912-1916. He tried to expand his political career by running for a place in the Manitoba Legislature, but was defeated. Herman Finger died in Winnipeg, Canada on November 26, 1929.