Finney was born in New Jersey and grew up in Pennsylvania,
Ohio, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia in the shadows
of our nation's hallowed Civil War battlefields. During
his youth, he visited Fort Sumter, Shiloh, Gettysburg, Vicksburg,
Manassas, New Market, and many other historical sites. He
attended his first Civil War reenactment in the Shenandoah
Valley of Virginia in the Bicentennial summer of 1976.
of his childhood was spent sketching historical scenes,
writing novels and plays and designing games around the important
events he had read and learned so much about in American
a high school student, Torin moved to California to graduate
from Millikan High School in Long Beach and receive his
B.A. in American Studies from UC Santa Cruz. During his
high school and college years he was involved in music,
art, drama and dance, as well as travel and historical research.
Moving across this great land yet again, he earned an M.A.
in American Civilization from the University of Massachusetts
in Boston, and a few years later an M.Div. from Pacific
Lutheran Theological Seminary in Berkeley, California. He
interned at the Lutheran Church of Honolulu and spent a year pastoring in Kansas before returning to California to work in the private sector for six years.
in his thirties, Torin revived a childhood interest in genealogy.
He soon discovered four Union Army ancestors in his family
tree and obtained their service records from the National
Archives. He inherited a collection of veteran medals belonging
to his great-great-grandfather, Michael Schneider, who served
throughout the War in Company G of the 27th Ohio Volunteer
Infantry. It was this interest in his family history that
eventually led him into Civil War reenacting in 1996.
Torin entered the teaching profession in 1998 (see Professional
Resume), earning his teaching credential from the University
of La Verne in 2000. He served as a classroom teacher for
twenty years for grades 6-12 as well as at the college level,
including courses in United States history, world history,
geography, government, economics, humanities, comparative
religions, and beginning journalism and drama. His
portrayal of James Allen Davis has been featured in documentary
films and television news stories.
book, Unsung Hero of The Great War: The Life
and Witness of Ben Salmon, (Paulist Press,
1989) was the winner of the 1990 Pax Christi USA Book Award. Numerous
articles, sketches and dispatches related to his James Allen Davis impression
have been published in The Bakersfield Californian,
Bakersfield Magazine, The Civil War News, The Civil War
Courier, the Camp Chase Gazette, and The Los Angeles Times.
met fellow Civil War reenactor Jill Forbath
at an event in Moorpark, California in November 2002, where
she was portraying a Union Army vivandiere.
They began reenacting together in 2004 and participated
regularly at living history events throughout California
and Nevada until they retired from the hobby in 2011.
Mr. Davis with President
Lincoln and the noted stage actress Mary Willey (Jill Forbath)
at an event in 2005.