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Mike Fink

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).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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