Fink, Mike,1770?–1823?, American border hero, whose exploits have been so elaborated in legend that the actual facts of his life are difficult to discover. He was born probably at the frontier post of Pittsburgh, took part in the wars against the Native Americans of the Ohio region, and subsequently became a keelboatman on the flatboats of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers. He later turned to trapping. He accompanied the first Ashley expedition (1822) up the Missouri and was killed in a shooting scrape somewhere near the mouth of the Yellowstone River. He was noted as a marksman, fighter, and teller of tall stories of his exploits. Stories of flatboat life are associated with his name in a manner similar to the Paul Bunyan stories of the lumber camps.
See W. Blair and F. J. Meine, Mike Fink (1933) and Half Horse, Half Alligator (1956).
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Fink, Mike(?1770–1823) frontier figure; born at Fort Pitt (now Pittsburgh), Pa. A masterful scout, marksman, and wrestler, he became the "king of the keelboatmen." He died on a trapping expedition to the Rocky Mountains. His popularity as a folk hero endured until the Civil War period.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.