OUR VILLAGE ON THE RIVER

         

MERIKAARTO HISTORY GROUP

The history group was organized in the fall of 2005 under the tutorship of Erkki Minkkinen. The participants had already collected information over the years. The number of valuable, helpful narrators is very large. Jenny Pelto, née Seppala, posthumously assisted to the work through her written memoire.Kalevi Eskelä, Leif Hammar, Risto Kiviranta, Sylvi Kotivaara, Anna-Liisa Niemi, Markku Peuralahti, Onni Oksanen, Raimo Ranta, Harry and Seija Smeds, Heikki Toivonen, Jorma Vaali, Pekka Mäenpää, Alpo Parkkari and Osmo Virta have frequented the group meetings. We hope that you can enjoy this site. See also the Finnish site for maps and photos.Webmaster for this site is Lauri Kukko. Pauli Kukko stands for the text. Comments and questions are welcome at

 

photo: Risto Kiviranta 2006

Merikaarto is a rural community in Vähäkyrö parish/rural district in Southern Osthrobothnia, Finland (location). We like to call it a village. Roughly c. 1500 peolple live in the area and the local grade school for children of 6-12 years has 130 pupils. Traditionallly, arable farming, keeping cattle, pig, sheep and poultry are strong industries. We also have some mechanical industries, but many Merikaarto people earn and buy their bread in Vaasa, our town.

The river KYRÖNJOKI runs through the village and reaches the sea only ten miles away. It is about 300 feet wide and has two rapids close to each other within the lower part of Merikaarto. They are called Merikaarronkoski and Pullinkoski and their total fall is c. nine feet. Two bridges connect the sides of the river. Together with several bridges in villages up and down the stream and the roads on both sides of the river, they make good routes for hiking and cykling. We hope our picture gallery can give you a concept of the area, recent and past.

The dominant language in the village is Finnish. We also have a long tradition of Swedish speaking inhabitants and we used to have a separate grade school for their children. Now, our grade school teaches English and some Swedish to everybody.The small knolls are covered with huge and small blocks ot stone, lower places have rich soil, which is good for arable farming. In springtime, the gentle fragrance and the rich white bloom of chokeberry trees along the river and elsewhere is an emblem of the village. Chokeberries are often sweet and greedily eaten by children despite their kernels. During wartime, they were the best sweets a child could get.

The Beginning
 

The beginning for the area was sometime after the latest ice age. Only two thousand years ago, all cultivated land and all present housing lots were covered by salt water. Only small islands here and there peeped into the air. But the land continued to rise and the sea to retreat. In 900 a.d. the river started to take shape, but it was still a wide extension of the salt sea, mostly a quarter of a mile or more wide. More islands were in view and the water from inland took several routes towards the sea. Some of these former branches of the river can still be seen. Water occassionally fills them when the flood is high.

By 1200 a.d., the river had more or less taken its present shape. The stones at the head of the rapids started to emerge and the place proved rich in salmon. That is why we believe the first permanent inhabitants settled here. Inland people had visited the place for fish, and fishing tours continued to islands out in the sea. Then the sea left the village in the 17th century. Merikaarto people had started fo find better fishing in the archipelago already in the 15th century. See map below - click to enlarge.

Merikaarto area was scattered, divided by water. 16th century state officials treated it as three neighbourhoods: Merikaarto, Vartiosaari and Pikkumerikaarto which became Holttila. Merikaarto consisted of 2 Sausolannurkka farms, three Ylinenpää farms, five farms in Knookalannurkka and 8 in Alainenpää. Holttila alias Pikkumerikaarto was made up of 4 farms and Vartiosaari of 10-11 fishermen's houses. The number of Vartiosaari estates had gone down to 3 by 1600 a.d and only Kolkki is known today.

The above groups of houses used to belong to Mustasaari/Korsholm parish and were included in the new Vahakyro parish together with a number of earlier Isokyro villages. That was in 1607. The parish priest started to include all earlier Mustasaari area under the name of Merikaarto. The people accepted it, having worked closely together. Most of them had land possessions on both sides of the river, and marriages across the river were frequent.

Farm Histories
 


A farm in Finnish Ostrobothnia in the 16th century and a long time onwards was a household with some arable land in use. Forests and pastures were jointly owned. When the sea retreated and a new patch of land could be opened to cultivation, it was devided between households in proportion to their earlier possessions. Fishing and other possible means of livelyhood were in use. The parishes around Vaasa had farms and land as follows:

Parish in 1556 acres farms subtenants cows noses
Mustasaari, Merikaarto included 3000 699 5 4478 4886
Kyrö (Isokyrö + most of mod. Vähäkyrö) 4900 664 10 3863 4230
Vöyri/Vörå 1500 210 7 ? ?


(A nose is a person subject to per capita or " per nose" tax)

There were more than 30 farms in Merikaarto area in the middle of the 16th century. Their locations are not known. Most farmhouses may have stood where they were in the 1760 map, but Vaali e.g. built his new farmhouse c. 200m east of the old site. Kolkki is the only one of Vartiosaari farms that survived and was on the 1760 map. Pullo may have stood by Pullinkoski rapids, the last Merikaarto farm towards Vaasa.

The first time Merikaarto farms were recorded one by one was in 1546, but only the holder's first name and patronym were given. Last names or farm names were used only occassionally. The farms in this story are numbered in the order that is the most usual in the tax records c. 1550 a.d.

The general land survey in 1607 assessed the farms' relative ability to pay tax as compared to a basic amount called manttaali. It was given as a fraction. The then surviving farms in late 1700's were given registered names and numbers. ( Rn:o 1 SEPPALA).
The person in the tax list is not always the formal holder. A son or a son-in-law often does the work and meets the taxman, but the old man has formal command and is sometimes recorded.

There was a per capita tax, "nokkavero" (per nose tax) on every person in working age. It was paid in butter and fish, usually pike. Other payments fell on the farms and they were in proportion to the size of the farm: A) tax in cash (after acreage?); B) police chief's pay 1 basket (= 20 litres ) of barley; C) X arms of hay to the pol. chief; D) 1 basket barley for the chorister; E) X pounds of butter as food tax; F) X pounds of butter in compensation to day-work on the governor's estate; G) X pounds of butter according to the number of cows; H) nose tax X pounds of butter and 5 pounds of dried pike. Other payments could be collected, maintaining roads, fences and buildings required and tithes to the church collected. The vicar e.g. had the right to collect the fish from people's fishing gear every tenth night and to take wood where he found some.

About names: poika = son, tytar = daughter. Patronyms distort the name when the name has double k, double p or double t. Thus: Matti>Matinpoika, Mikko > Mikonpoika, Antti > Antinpoika, Erkki> Erkinpoika, Kaappo > Kaaponpoika.

Area, farms in 1560
click area to see map.

Surviving farm in c. 1760
Merikaarto:
Sausolannurkka (1-2)
Ylinenpaa (3-5)
Knookalannurkka (6-10)
1. Stor-Sauso (Rn:o 2), 2. Lill-Sauso (Rn:o 11)
3. Trasti (Rn:o 7), 4. Eskela, (Rn:o 6)
6. Knooka (Rn:o 8), Störvi (9), 9. Stor-Kukko (4), 10. Vaali (16)

Alainenpaa (12-19)
Pikkumerikaarto (31-34,
called Holttila later)

12. Seppala (Rn:o 1), 16. Liuko (Rn:o 13), 18. Parkkari (Rn:o 15)
31. Simola/Stor-Holtti (Rn:o 3), 32. Sippola/Lill-Holtti (Rn:o 5)
33. Skarra>Karra (Rn:o 10), 34 Lill-Kukko (Rn:o 14)
Vartiosaari (20-30) 23. Kolkki (Rn:o 12)
Pikkumerikaarto/Holttila (31-34) 31. Simola/Stor-Holtti (Rn:o 3), 32. Sippola/Lill-Holtti (Rn:o 5)
33. Skarra>Karra (Rn:o 10), 34 Lill-Kukko (Rn:o 14)


Area selection


SAUSOLANNURKKA:
1. Matti Juhanpoika's farm. Rn:o 2 Storsauso, 1/1 mantt.
1. Matti Juhanpoika 1548-1549
2. Tapani Matinpoika 1550-1556,1558,1560
3. Widow Elin 1557-1558
3. Lauri Tapaninpoika 1560, appears only in church records.
4. Lauri Mikinpoika 1561 possibly a mistake
5. Lauri Matinpoika 1562-1601
6. Erkki Martinpoika 1602-1632 possibly a son-in -law
7. Pertti Pentinpoika 1633-1634 son-in-law
x. Matti Erkinpoika ( -1657) (court records, the farm to Sipi)
8. Sipi Matinpoika 1635-1668
9. Jaakko Sipinpoika 1674-1691
10. Antti Jaakonpoika 1695-1703 Father of 15. Maria Antintytar
11. Widow Maria Antintytar 1704 Widow of Antti. Their dau Maria (15)
12. Matti Simonpoika, 1705-1712 Maria's second husband.
13. Simo Matinpoika 1713-1714 Son-in-law, his father Matti Jaakonpoika.
Spouse 15. Maria Antintytar. He was taken prisoner at Napue battle in 1714, never returned.
14. Matti Jaakonpoika 1715-1724, Simo's father
15. Maria Antintytar 1725-1731, Parents 10-11, spouse 13 Simo Matinpoika.
16. Simo Simonpoika 1732-, Simo's posthumous son.
The farm was cleft c. 1755.
17 a Mikko Simonpoika c. 1755- Mikko's son Johan Mikonpoika after him.
Present holder Erkki Lidman
17 b Susanna Simontytar, spouse Thomas Liuko, dau Anna and husband Jaakko Hakomaki after them.
Present holder Uuno Vennerholm and sons.

After Simo Simonpoika, the farm was cleft between his children from his two marriages. Mikko, from his first marriage, received one half. The other half went first to the unmarried Jaakko born from Simo's second marriage, and then to sister Susanna Simontytar and her husband Thomas Simonpoika Liuko. In 1558, the farm had c. 4 acres arable land, 4 noses and 5 cows. The tax was: A) tax in cash 1.5/8 pounds silver; B) 1 basket barley; C) 2 arms hay; D) 1 basket barley for the chorister; E) 10 pounds of butter as food tax; F) 3.6/8 pounds of butter instead of work; G) 5 pounds of butter for the cows; H) nose tax 4 pounds of butter and 5 pounds of dried pike.

Maria Antintytär Storsauso (15) and her brother became orphans. Their father died c. 1703, their mother in 1712. Maria's guardians promised Simo Matinpoika the possession of the farm, if he married Maria and took the custody of her brother, Matti. They were wedded late in 1713, Simo was captured at the battle of Napue on 19.2.1714 and he never returned. The only child Simo Simonpoika was born in September the same year. Maria held the farm with the help of her father-in-law and bought Matti's half in 1722. She never married again.

2. Tapani Juhonpoika's farm, Rn:o 11 LILLSAUSO, later Maenpaa, 2/3 mantt.
1. Tapani Juhanpoika 1549-1589
2. Esko Erkinpoika 1590-1595, widow Barbro 1593
3. Tuomas Eskonpoika 1598-1642
4. Pekka Yrjönpoika 1643-1668 court records 6.9.1643, p. 244;
5. Jaakko Pekanpoika 1654-1659
6. Erkki Klemetinpoika 1662-1660 born Lill-Kukko, not related.
7. Antti Erkinpoika 1674-1695
8. widow Maria 1696-1699
9. Yrjö Antinpoika 1700-1713
10 Maria Tuomaantr, widow, -1719-. lives alone in the premices.
11 Tuomas Yrjönpoika 1723-1727
12 Jaakko Juhanpoika 1728-1729 born Valtari, Saarenpaa,
13 Liisa Antintr LillSauso 1730-31 Jaakko's wife
14 Matti Juhanpoika 1732- Jaakko's brother
15 Liisa Antintytar(=13)
16. Jaakko Jaakonpoika c. 1750 Son of Jaakko, 12.

Jaakko, n:o 12 had a non contagious disease. His brother Matti tried to win the possession of the farm but lost his case. Jaakko's wife was the formal head of the farm until her son Jaakko took over. In 1558, the farm had c. 4 acres arable land, 5 noses and 6 cows. Tax paid was: A) tax in cash 1.5/8 pounds silver; B) 1 basket barley; C) 2 arms hay; D) 1 basket barley for the chorister; E) 10 pounds of butter as, food tax; F) 3.6 pounds of butter instead of work; G) 5 pounds of butter for the cows; H) nose tax 5 pounds of butter and 5 pounds of dried pike.

YLINENPAA, on the north side of the river.
3. Antti Laurinpoika's farm, Trasti, Rn:o 7, 1/3 mantt.
1. Antti Laurinpoika 1546-1566
2. Klemetti Antinpoika 1566-1582, 1585
3. Erkki Erkinpoika 1585-1598
4. Niilo Erkinpoika 1599-1630
5. Kreki Niilonpoika 1631-1669
6. Esko Kreinpoika 1669-1689
7. Jaakko Eskonpoika 1690-1707
8. Liisa, widow 1708 Her second husband Antti Paavalinpoika
9. Antti Paavalinpoika 1709-1713
10 Liisa -1719-1724 Antti was taken prisoner at Napue battle.
11 Jaakko Jaakonpoika 1725- died 30.3.1792
12 Antti Jaakonpoika born. 31.10.1728

In 1558, the farm had c. 8 acres arable land, 5 noses and 6 cows. Tax paid was: A) tax in cash 2.3/8 pounds silver; B) 1 basket barley; C) 2 arms hay; D) 1 basket barley for the chorister; E) 10 pounds of butter as, food tax; F) 5.7/8 pounds of butter instead of work; G) 6 pounds of butter for the cows; H) nose tax 5 pounds of butter and 5 pounds of dried pike. Present holders Andersson close to the original place, Valkama relocated 2 miles east. Kreki Niilonpoika (5.) bought Mikki Martinpoika's farm ( no 7) in 1643/ court records 1643, p. 244. Antti Paavalinpoika was a first cousin of Jaakko's, but he was not related to widow Liisa, so he could marry her and return to his family estate. Antti fell at Napue on 19.2.1714.

4. Esko Erkinpoika's farm, Eskela, Rn:o 6, 2/3 mantt.
1. Esko Erkinpoika 1546-1566,
2. Heikki Eskonpoika 1567-1625, others at times
3. Widow Kaarina 1626-1631, first time in 1624.
Matti Heikinpoika 1610, 1617,1621
4. Widow Kaarina 1624-1631
5. Juho Matinpoika 1632-1669
6. Klemetti Sipinpoika 1674 son-in-law from Stor Sauso
7. Margetta Juhantytar 1679-1686 widow, 8 children
8. Juha Klemetinpoika 1687.1713
9. Jaakko Juhonpoika - 1719-1750- born 18.7.1697.
Eskela exists cleft in several farms, some of them at the original site.

In 1558, the farm had c. 8 acres arable land, 5 noses and 6 cows. Tax paid was: A) tax in cash 2.1/8 pounds silver; B) 1 basket barley; C) 2 arms hay; D) 1 basket barley for the chorister; E) 10 pounds of butter as food tax; F) 5.1/8 pounds of butter instead of work; G) 6 pounds of butter for the cows; H) nose tax 5 pounds of butter and 5 pounds of dried pike. Klemetti (6 ) was not able to hire a foot soldier for the farm and he had to go himself. He fell in a fight.

5. Matti Laurinpoika's farm.
1. Matti Laurinpoika 1549-1554, 1557,1568

KNOOKALANNURKKA
6. Olavi Matinpoika's farm, Rn:o 8 Knooka, 2/3 mantt.
1. Olavi Matinpoika 1548-1598, occassionally called Niilonpoika
2. Tuomas Olavinpoika 1595-1601, occassionally called Niilonpoika
3. Martti Olavinpoika 1602-1607, Tuomas also mentioned in 1604
4. Tuomas Olavinpoika 1608-1616,
5. Jaakko Olavinpoika 1617-1642 J. Knoka 1618-19, 33-34
6. Juha Jaakonpoika 1645-1685
7. Yrjö Paavalinpoika 1686-1692 Juha's stepson
8. Simo Juhanpoika 1695-1713 Juha's son
9. Matti Simonpoika -1719-1745- died 22.1.1756
10 Matti Matinpoika born 26.9.1722
11. Jaakko Matinpoika born 14.7.1768.

Present holders are called Aura and Svens. Koskiniemi and Kiviranta are descendants. In 1558, the farm had c. 3 acres arable land, 4 noses and 4 cows. The tax was: A) tax in cash 1 pound silver; B) 1 basket barley; C) 2 arms hay; D) 1 basket barley for the chorister; E) 10 pounds of butter as food tax; F) 2.1/8 pounds of butter instead of work; G) 4 pounds of butter for the cows; H) nose tax 4 pounds of butter and 4 pounds of dried pike.

7. Martti Pentinpoika's farm, ½ mantt.
1. Martti Pentinpoika 1551-1557 Listed among Vartiosaari farms.
2. Martti Pentinpoika 1558-1574-85, "poor"
3. Martti Mikinpoika 1590
4. Martti Martinpoika 1592-1610 widower in 1610
5. Mikki Martinpoika 1611-1634 very poor in 1616.
Kreki Niilonpoika (Trast) bought the land in 1643. No taxes had been paid the latest 12 years.

In 1558, the farm had c. 2.5 acres arable land, 3 noses and 1 cows. The tax was: A) tax in cash 5/8 pounds silver; B) 1 basket barley; C) 2 arms hay; D) 1 basket barley for the chorister; E) 10 pounds of butter as food tax; F) 1,5/8 pounds of butter instead of work; G) 1 pound of butter for the cows; H) nose tax 3 pounds of butter and 5 pounds of dried pike.

8. Sipi Jussinpoika's farm, Knooka , Rn:o 9 Törvi, 1/3 mantt.
1. Antti Pekanpoika He was dead in 1546
2. Jussi Antinpoika 1546-1548 " son of Antti Pekanpoika Knoka in 1546."
3. Sipi Jussinpoika 1549-1574 "Knoka" 1551-1554
4. Widow Vappu 1575-1585
5. Martti Sipinpoika 1584-1608. Foot soldier in 1606, no tax paid.
6. Erkki Sipinpoika 1609-1625
7. Heikki Erkinpoika 1624-1640
8. Dordi, widow 1642-1668
9. Juha Störvi 1662-1669
9. Juha Heikinpoika 1674-1686
10 Antti Juhanpoika 1687-1713
11 widow Maria Markuksentytar -1719- Skarra daughter
11. Matti Antinpoika -1723-1748. Died c. 1748

In 1558, the farm had c. 4 acres arable land, 3 noses and 1 cow. The tax was: A) tax in cash 1.3/58 pounds silver; B) 1 basket barley; C) 2 arms hay; D) 1 basket barley for the chorister; E) 10 pounds of butter as food tax; F) 3 pounds of butter instead of work; G) 1 pound of butter for the cows; H) nose tax 3 pounds of butter and 5 pounds of dried pike.

9. Martti Juhonpoika's farm, Rn:o 4 STORKUKKO>KUKKO, ¾ mantt.
1. Martti Juhonpoika 1546-1548, 1557-1558
2. Martti Martinpoika 1549-1574
3. Matti Martinpoika 1574-1579
4. Markus Martinpoika 1579-1585
5. Matti Simonpoika 1586- - -1625 /a son-in-law/a second husband??
6. Heikki Markuksenpoika 1611- - -1629, born in 1573.
7. Widow Kerttu 1631-1641
8. Juha Heikinpoika 1635, 1644-1669
9. Antti Matinpoika Akkola 1674-1689 spouse Anna Juhantytar Kukko
10 Heikki Antinpoika -1690-1691- died 1691
11 Jaakko Antinpoika -1695-1713 fell at Napue battle in 1714
12 Widow Vendela Eskontr 1714-1718- Trasti daughter
13 Mikko Juhanpoika -1719-1763 LillRöwar, son-in-law,
spouse Maria Jaakontytar Storkucko born 1699.
14 Heikki Mikonpoika 1764-1795 Spouse Elisabet Samuelintr Simola alias Iso-Holtti.
Widow Elisabet Samuelintr 1796-1803
The farm was cleft in three in 1804.
15 a. Mikko Heikinpoika, 1804-. Last Kukko holder Jaakko Hilden and his dau (-1910)
The Swedish grade school started in the house in 1911-.
b. Matti Heikinpoika 1804- Holders Eino Kukko and Vilho Karila in 1960.
c. Martti Heikinpoika 1804- Holder Einar Svens in 1960, non related.
Last Kukko holder Thomas Salminen (-c. 1885)

In 1558, the farm had c. 4 acres arable land, 5 noses and 5 cows. The tax was: A) tax in cash 1.5/8 pounds silver; B) 1 basket barley; C) 2 arms hay; D) 1 basket barley for the chorister; E) 10 pounds of butter as food tax; F) 3.7/8 pounds of butter instead of work; G) 5 pounds of butter for the cows; H) nose tax 5 pounds of butter and 5 pounds of dried pike. Heikki Antinpoika (10) had 2 daughters. Walborg married Isaac Flaming. Jaakko Antinpoika redeemed the farm from Walborg and Isaac, who bought Puotu farm in Isokyro.

10. Erkki Pentinpoika's farm, VAALI. Rn:o 16, 1/3 mantt.
1. Erkki Martinpoika 1546-1549
2. Pentti Erkinpoika 1550-1608
(Erkki Martinpoika 1604,1606 Holder of Hutila, no 19 )
..................
3. Sipi Erkinpoika 1618-1650-
4. Matti Sipinpoika -1654-1669-
Tuomas Matinpoika -1674-
5. Jaakko Paavalinpoika -1679-81 spouse Wappu Matintytar_
Matti Sipinpoika, 1682-1698 her second hudsband, Stor-Sauso son.
6. Juha Jaakonpoika 1699-1706 sold the farm, became a foot soldier.
Sp. Maria Antintytar Lill Holtti daughter.
7. Juha Eskonpoika 1707-1713, was captured at Napue in 1714.
Spouse Anna -1719-
8. Juha Simonpoika 1725-1732 Anna'second husband.
widow Anna
9. Anders Hollo 1735 from Laihia, intended purchase.
10.Tuomas Tuomaanpoika 1736- From Laihia, grandson of Klemet Eskela
11.Martti Eskonpoika 1754- Started present Vaali line.

In 1558, the farm had c. 4 acres arable land, 3 noses and 2 cows. The tax was: A) tax in cash 1.1/8 pound silver; B) 1 basket barley; C) 2 arms hay; D) 1 basket barley for the chorister; E) 10 pounds of butter as food tax; F) 2.7/8 pounds of butter instead of work; G) 2 pounds of butter for the cows; H) nose tax 3 pounds of butter and 5 pounds of dried pike. At times, the farm was jointly kept with holders of Huddi. N:o 19.

11. Heikki Pekanpoika's farm, VAALI, 1/3 mantt
1. Heikki Pekanpoika 1549-1589
2. Matti Heikinpoika 1590-1625 (Matti Wali 1612,-17,-18)
3. Erkki Matinpoika 1624-1634
Erkki Matinpoika's widow Margeta Klemetintytar (LillKukko) sold the farm to Grels Kolkki c.1643.
In 1558, the farm had c. 6 acres arable land, 6 noses and 2 cows. The tax was: A) tax in cash 1.6/8 pound silver; B) 1 basket barley; C) 2 arms hay; D) 1 basket barley for the chorister; E) 10 pounds of butter as food tax; F) 4.1/8 pounds of butter instead of work; G) 2 pounds of butter for the cows; H) nose tax 6 pounds of butter and 5 pounds of dried pike.

ALAINENPAA
12. Lauri Pekanpoika's farm, Rn:o 1, SEPPALA 1/1 mantt.
1. Lauri Pekanpoika 1548-1549
2. Widow Karin 1550
3. Widow Malin 1551-1564
4. Matti Laurinpoika 1556,1567-1601
5. Markus Markuksenpoika 1602
6. Markus Martinpoika 1603-1608, 1610,1613-16, 1620-1622
7. Matti Yrjönpoika (1604-)1617-1619
8. Mikko Matinpoika 1620-1659
9. Lauri Mikonpoika 1662-1686
10. Simo Matinpoika 1687-1697 son-in-law, Skarra son, spouse Liisa Laurintytar.
11. Simo Juhanpoika 1698-1704 son-in-law, spouse Vendela Simontr
12. Simo Simonpoika 1705-1713 spouse Valborg Eskelsdotter Trast.
13. Jaakko Erkinpoika -1719- son-in-law from Alavus, died, 1741-44
sp. Maria, Simo Simonpoika's sister.
The farm was cleft in 1745 between Lauri and his aunt's family.
14 a Erkki Jaakonpoika 1745-
14 b Lauri Simonpoika (12) 1745- There are a lot of descendants in Merikaarto

In 1558, the farm had c. 2 1/2 acres arable land, 3 noses and 1 cow. The tax was: A) tax in cash 6/8 pound silver; B) 1 basket barley; C) 2 arms hay; D) 1 basket barley for the chorister; E) 10 pounds of butter as food tax; F) 1.7/8 pounds of butter instead of work; G) 1 pound of butter for the cows; H) nose tax 3 pounds of butter and 5 pounds of dried pike.

13. Pekka Laurinpoika's farm, Seppala
1. Pekka Laurinpoika 1546-1554 "P. Smed" 1551( smed=blacksmith)
2. Widow Marketta 1557-1564
3. Heikki Pekanpoika 1566-1627 "Lill Henrik Persson"
4. Mikko Heikinpoika 1628-1654

In 1558, the farm had c. 5 acres arable land, 3 noses and 2 cows. The tax was: A) tax in cash 1.5/8 pounds silver; B) 1 basket barley; C) 2 arms hay; D) 1 basket barley for the chorister; E) 10 pounds of butter as food tax; F) 3.6 pounds of butter instead of work; G) 2 pounds of butter for the cows; H) nose tax 3 pounds of butter and 5 pounds of dried pike.

14. Heikki Laurinpoika's farm, Seppala
1. Heikki Laurinpoika 1549-1575
2. Lauri Heikinpoika 1575-1580
3. Knuutti Tuomaanpoika 1581-1585
6. Sipi Laurinpoika 1586-1608

In 1558, the farm had c. 4 acres arable land, 4 noses and 4 cows. The tax was: A) tax in cash 1.7/8 pounds silver; B) 1 basket barley; C) 2 arms hay; D) 1 basket barley for the chorister; E) 10 pounds of butter as food tax; F) 4.5/8 pounds of butter instead of work; G) 4 pounds of butter for the cows; H) nose tax 4 pounds of butter and 5 pounds of dried pike
.
15. Olavi Laurinpoika's farm,
1. Olavi Laurinpoika 1549-1574 Olavi leaves the farm insolvent.
2. Heikki Ollinpoika 1586-1598
Heikki Pekanpoika (13) overtakes the farm in 1585, but Heikki Ollinpoika continues in the house. In 1558, the farm had c. 2 1/2 acres arable land, 3 noses and 3 cows. The tax was: A) tax in cash 1.2/8 pounds silver; B) 1 basket barley; C) 2 arms hay; D) 1 basket barley for the chorister; E) 10 pounds of butter as,, food tax; F) 3 pounds of butter instead of work; G) 3 pounds of butter for the cows; H) nose tax 3 pounds of butter and 5 pounds of dried pike.

16. Jaakko (Joper) Pentinpoika's farm, Rn:o 13 LIUKO, 2/3 mantt.
1. Jaakko Pentinpoika 1548-1566,1571
2. Olli Jaakonpoika 1567-1625
3. Olli Ollinpoika (1621)-1630
4. Lauri Liuko, Matinpoika 1631-1674
5. Matti Laurinpoika 1679-1691
6. Matti Matinpoika 1695-1713
7. Liisa Matintytar, widow -1719- Simo Matinpoika's sister
8. Simon Matinp.Liukola -1723-1729 Simon's mother Brita Eskontytar Trasti.
9. Juha Mikonpoika 1730- Spouse Liisa Matintytar Liuko
10. Simo Juhanpoika born 1730, Liisa's son.

In 1558, the farm had c. 4 acres arable land, 4 noses and 3 cows. The tax was: A) tax in cash 1.6/8 pound silver; B) 1 basket barley; C) 2 arms hay; D) 1 basket barley for the chorister; E) 10 pounds of butter as food tax; F) 4 2/8 pounds of butter instead of work; G) 3 pounds of butter for the cows; H) nose tax 4 pounds of butter and 5 pounds of dried pike.

17. Heikki Antinpoika's farm, Liuko
1. Heikki Antinpoika 1546-1589, "Liuko" 1550-1554;
2. Heikki Ollinpoika 1586-1590
3. Lauri Simonpoika 1592-1600
4. Pentti Matinpoika 1598-1599
5. Olli Ollinpoika 1601-1608
6. Jaakko Ollinpoika 1608-1616...1624,1630-1634, "ryttare" 1630
7. Kreki Matinpoika 1617-1620 son, later holder of Kolkki
8. Sipi Jaakonpoika 1620-1624 Jaakko Ollinpoika also mentioned frequently.

In 1558, the farm had c. 3 acres arable land, 4 noses and 1 cow. The tax was: A) tax in cash 1.5/8 pound silver; B) 1 basket barley; C) 2 arms hay; D) 1 basket barley for the chorister; E) 10 pounds of butter as food tax; F) 3.6 pounds of butter instead of work; G) 1 pound of butter for the cows; H) nose tax 4 pounds of butter and 5 pounds of dried pike. The Barkars (18) bought this farm c. 1622.

18. Martti Antinpoika's farm, Liuko, Rn:o 15 BARKAR, , 1/3 mantt.
1. Martti Antinpoika Liuko, 1546-1554
2. Widow Kaarina 1556-1563
3. Heikki Martinpoika 1564-1623 Called Barkar in 1618.
4. Tuomas Heikinpoika 1610,1623-1624
5. Niilo Tuomaanpoika 1625-1659 "Barkar" in 1632
6. Mikko Niilonpoika 1657
7. Matti Simonpoika 1662-1686 Minni, came from Isokyrö
8. Matti Matinpoika 1687-1712 sp. Brita Antintr from Sippola/Lillholtti.
9. Mikki Matinpoika 1713
10. Liisa Antintytar -1719-1726 Widow
11. Simo Mikinpoika 1727- sp. Maria Mikintytar Skarra.
12. Matti Simonpoika sp. Brita Mikontytar Kukko

Henrik Mortensson was nephew to Henrik Andersson Liukon, (17). In 1558, the farm had c. 4 acres arable land, 4 noses and 3 cows. The tax was: A) tax in cash 1.5/8 pound silver; B) 1 basket barley; C) 2 arms hay; D) 1 basket barley for the chorister; E) 10 pounds of butter as food tax; F) 3.7/8 pounds of butter instead of work; G) 5 pounds of butter for the cows; H) nose tax 5 pounds of butter and 5 pounds of dried pike.

19. Martti Tuomaanpoika's farm, Huddi?
1. Martti Tuomaanpoika 1546-1578 (Called "Tysk" in 1550)
2. Esko Martinpoika 1577-1580
3. Erkki Martinpoika 1581-1617 (sometimes Erkki Matinpoika)
4. Antti Niilonpoika 1617-1631
5. Widow Karin 1632-1635-
6. Lauri Niilonpoika -1641-1654
Not mentioned in tax lists after that.

In 1558, the farm had c. 3 acres arable land, 4 noses and 4 cows. The tax was: A) tax in cash 1 pound silver; B) 1 basket barley; C) 2 arms hay; D) 1 basket barley for the chorister; E) 10 pounds of butter as food tax; F) 2 4/8 pounds of butter instead of work; G) 4 pounds of butter for the cows; H) nose tax 4 pounds of butter and 5 pounds of dried pike.

VARTIOSAARI
20. Lasse Pekanpoika's farm
1. Lasse Pekanpoika 1548-1676
2. Martti Laurinpoika 1577-1591
3. Esko Laurinpoika 1592-1608
4. Lauri Sipinpoika 1608-1634-?

In 1557, the farm had c. 4 acres arable land, 4 noses. Lauri Sipinpoika was a newcomer. There were several vacant farms and there is no way telling, if Lauri settled here or on farm 22. The other one remained uninhabited.

21. Pekka Martinpoika's farm
1. Pekka Martinpoika 1556-1585.
2. Heikki Heikinpoika 1585-1626 (Henrik Hansson)
3. Sipi Heikinpoika 1616
In 1558, the farm had c. 3 acres arable land, 5 noses. Pekka was not able to pay tax after 1579. There was a violent flood in 1585. It washed away all riich soil from his fields. Heikki Heikinpoika (30) takes the land over and pays the tax for it as well as for his own land. There is no mention of the farm after 1626.

22. Jaakko Laurinpoika's farm
1. Jaakko Laurinpoika 1546-1575
2. Lauri Jaakonpoika 1586-1608
The farm was vacant after 1608, It is possible that Lauri Sipinpoika (20) settled here instead. In 1558, the farm had c. 2 acres arable land, 4 noses.

23. Olli Ollinpoika's farm, Rn:o 12, KOLKKI 1/3 mantt.
1. Olli Ollinpoika 1548-1601, is that a father and a son or?
2. Mikko Ollinpoika 1590, 1602-1608
3. Matti Ollinpoika 1608-1620
4. Yrjö Pertinpoika 1617-1630, maybe Matti's successor in marriage.
5. Kreki Matinpoika 1621-1668.
6. Juha Krekinpoika 1669-1686
7. Matti Juhanpoika 1687-1697
8. Yrjö Matinpoika 1698-1713, son-in-law, wife Maria Matintytar.
9. Widow Maria (Matintytar) 1714-1724
10 Simo Yrjönpoika 1725 - 1729
11.Antti Yrjönpoika 1730- , son-in-law,* 28.11.1690, wife Maria Yrjöntytar.
12.Juha Antinpoika, *. 20.12.1720,

In 1557, the farm had c. 5 acres arable land, 5 noses. Olli Ollinpoika (1) may have reached a high age and been mentioned in the lists, although his sons woe´rked the farm. Yrjö Pertinpoika ja Kreki Matinpoika appear side by side, Kreki more frequently in secular, Yrjö in clerical lists. Kreki held a small farm (17) in 1617-1619 a.d.

Matti Juhanpoika (7) died young, and the farm needed a tiller. Yrjo Matinpoika accepted to marry Mattis's daughter Maria after Maria's grandfather Juha gave him a document making him the owner of Kolkki. Maria's younger brother, also Yrjö Matinpoika, lived on the premises, but he could not win the farm for himself. Napue battle in 1714 was the fate for both of them.

Simo Yrjönpoika was son to the Kolkki son Yrjö Matinpoika, Antti Yrjönpoika married Simo's cousin Maria Yrjöntytar. Antti Yrjönpoika had sons Juho, Matti, Mikko and Jaakko and a daughter Maria. Juho, Matti and Maria married and lived on Kolkki.

Juha (12) sold his share to Abraham Falander in 1782. Abraham Falander concentrated on the rapids and the mills, Kolkki people lived on his land till the middle of the 19th century. See Kolkki mills.

24. Jaakko Ollinpoika's farm
1. Jaakko Ollinpoika 1546-1569
2. Widow Ingeborg 1570-1578
3. Heikki Jaakonpoika 1586-1608.

In 1558, the farm had c. 3 acres arable land, 5 noses. There is no obvious connection between the holders. Heikki was an unreliable tax payer.

25. Olli Laurinpoika's farm
1. Olli Laurinpoika 1546-1557
In 1557, the farm had c. 3 acres arable land. No more information.

26. Heikki Ollinpoika's farm, Mantta?
1. Heikki Ollinpoika 1546-1551
2. Mikki Ollinpoika 1552-1572
3. Matti Mikinpoika 1573-

In 1557, the farm had c. 3 acres arable land, 5 noses. Matti Mikonpoika was recorded insolvent in 1576 and 1577. He is not mentioned after that. There is no obvious successor. There is a Mickel Menthe (Mantta) in the records a few times c. 1570, but no Mikko Ollinpoika. There is a Mantta farm in Saarenpaa village. It has a share in Merikaarto possessions in Mikkelinsaaret islands.

27. Mikki Niilonpoika's farm,
1. Niilo Niilonpoika 1549
2. Mikki Niilonpoika 1550-1570.
3. The land comes into Olli Heikinpoika's (30) possession in 1570..
In 1557, the farm had c. 2 acres arable land, 2 noses

28. Perttu Mikinpoika's farm
1. Perttu Mikinpoika 1546-1554
2. Mikki Martinpoika 1571-1581, mentioned occassionally till 1600 a.d.
3. Heikki Waal owns the land after 1585

29. Paavali Laurinpoika's farm; PULLO
1. Paavali Laurinpoika 1546-1585
2. Lauri Paavalinpoika Pullo 1586-1607, lives elsewhere.

In 1557, the farm had c. 2 acres arable land, 4 noses. Paavali was a barrel maker and owned 1/3 of all Merikaarto possessions in Mikkelinsaaret islands in 1586. These possessions have come under several farms, also outside Merikaarto. The house may have stood on the south side of the river at Pullinkoski rapids.

30. Heikki Juhanpoika's farm
1. Heikki Juhanpoika 1546-1559
2. Oluf Henriksson -1568-1579, non taxpaying after 1573.
3. Henrik Hansson 1680-1626.
In 1557, the farm had c. 3 acres arable land, 5 noses. Henrik Hansson enters the farm in 1580 and he takes over farm n:o 21 in 1585.

HOLTTILA
31. Erkki Antinpoika's farm , Rn:o 3 ISOHOLTTI/SIMOLA, 1/1 mantt.
1. Erkki Antinpoika 1546-1557
2. Matti Erkinpoika 1558-1563
3. Simo Matinpoika 1564-1585
4. Lauri Matinpoika 1586-1626
5. Erkki Laurinpoika 1626-1658
6. Matti Erkinpoika 1659-1679 his spouse was from Akkola, Saarensivu.
7. Kreki Matinpoika 1681-1700
8. Antti Kreinpoika 1701-1713 Spouse Maria Erkintytar Wilför, Mustasaari
widow Maria - 1719-1723
9. Samuel Jaakonpoika 1724- son-in-law, Rinta-Nikkola, Ilmajoki
spouse Maria Antintytar Holtti, alias Simola

In 1558, the farm had c. 8 acres arable land, 6 noses and 6 cows. The tax was: A) tax in cash 2 ½ pound silver; B) 1 basket barley; C) 2 arms hay; D) 1 basket barley for the chorister; E) 10 pounds of butter as,, food tax; F) 6 pounds of butter instead of work; G) 6 pounds of butter for the cows; H) nose tax 6 pounds of butter and 5 pounds of dried pike. The farm had several island possessions and fishing grounds at salt water islands, althoug it was not with the Merikaarto team on Mikkelinsaaret islands.

32. Pentti Ollinpoika's farm, Rn:o 5, LILLHOLTI/SIPPOLA, 2/3 mantt.
1. Pentti Ollinpoika -1648
2. Mikki Pentinpoika 1549-1556
3. Sipi Pentinpoika 1557-1587
4. Lauri Sipinpoika 1589-1599
5. Pentti Sipinpoika 1600-1644 Pentti Matinpoika 1633-34
6. Jaakko Yrjönpoika 1645-1674
7. Antti Jaakonpoika 1679-1687
8. Kaarina, widow 1688
9. Matti Antinpoika 1689-1713 1. spouse Walborg Stor Sauso, no children
2. pso Anna Yrjöntytar Kolkki, Son Erkki.
10. Anna Yrjöntytar Kolkki, widow,-1727 Lived in a deserted little house.
11. Juha Matinpoika 1728-1733 Non related.
12. Erkki Matinpoika 1734- Sippola

In 1558, the farm had c. 4 acres arable land, 3 noses and 2 cows. The tax was: A) tax in cash 1/8 pounds silver; B) 1 basket barley; C) 2 arms hay; D) 1 basket barley for the chorister; E) 10 pounds of butter as food tax; F) 2 1/8 pounds of butter instead of work; G) 2 pounds of butter for the cows; H) nose tax 3 pounds of butter and 5 pounds of dried pike.

Juha Matinpoika (11) occupied the house and started to till the land. He expelled Anna from her cabin for a winter, but built a small house for her and her son Erkki the next summer. Of age, Erkki demanded his father's farm back. Juha Matinpoika explained that he had hoped a marriage between his daughter and Erkki and had kept the farm up for them. He was sentenced to leave.

Erkki lived to be 80 years old. His third wife was 36 years younger than he was. After the wedding, it became known that the wife was the predecessor's niece, and the local court of law found the marriage invalid. The Swedish law was opposed to such marriages, because the new wife's step children would have it difficult to have the due respect to theit uounger mother. The court of appeal confirmed the marriage.

33. Pentti Pekanpoika's farm, Rn:o 10. SKARRA, 1/1 mantt.
1. Pentti Pekanpoika 1546-1587
2. Erkki Ollinpoika 1590-1608
3. Yrjö Matinpoika 1609-1644(-1668)
4. Matti Yrjönpoika 1644-1668
5. Juha Jaakonpoika 1669
6. Markus Matinpoika 1674-1696
7. Mikki Markuksenpoika 1697-1713
8. Tuomas Erkinpoika, 1719-1735 son-in-law, spouse Brita Mikintytar Skarra
9. Widow Brita 1736
10. Tuomas Tuomaanpoika 1737-1749 Brita's second husband
11. Widow Brita 1750
12. Elias Elianpoika 1751- Brita's third husband
13. Matti Juhanpoika a son-in-law
spouse Liisa Tuomaantr, Skarra, s. 17.11.1739

In 1558, the farm had c. 5 acres arable land, 4 noses and 10 cows. The tax was: A) tax in cash 1 pound silver; B) 1 basket barley; C) 2 arms hay; D) 1 basket barley for the chorister; E) 10 pounds of butter as food tax; F) 4 1/8 pounds of butter instead of work; G) 10 pounds of butter for the cows; H) nose tax 4 pounds of butter and 5 pounds of dried pike. The name was spelled Karra later and some descendants adopted Kaarto in the 20th century.

34. Olli Jussinpoika's farm, Rn:o 14, VAHAKUKKO 1/3 mantt
1. Olli Jussinpoika 1546-1566 "Oleff Kukko" in court records.
2. Matti Ollinpoika 1567-1691 Matti Kukko 1602,04,07,08
3. Nuutti Matinpoika 1592-1606 Widow Kerttu with him.
4. Klemetti Matinpoika 1609-1634
5. Erkki Klemetinpoika 1635-1549
6. Matti Klemetinpoika 1654-1659 Spouse Marketta Huddi,
7. Marketta Antintytar 1660 Widow
8. Niilo Simonpoika 1662-1668 Spouse Marketta Huddi
9. Kreki Matinpoika 1674-1698 widow Marketta 1681-83
10. Kasper Antinpoika 1699-1713 Came from Veikarsby, Mustasaari
Spouse Maria Heikintytar - 1723 came from Mustasaari, died in 1751
11. Heikki Juhanpoika 1724- a son-in-law from Ilmajoki
Spouse Maria Kasperintytar Vahakukko
12. Heikki Antinpoika Her second husband from Kempus, Tervajoki
pso Maria Kasperintytar
pso Walborg Mikintytar Stoorkukko

In 1558, the farm had c. 3 acres arable land, 5 noses and 6 cows. The tax was: A) tax in cash 1 pound silver; B) 1 basket barley; C) 2 arms hay; D) 1 basket barley for the chorister; E) 10 pounds of butter as food tax; F) 2 4/8 pounds of butter instead of work; G) 6 pounds of butter for the cows; H) nose tax 5 pounds of butter and 5 pounds of dried pike. This farm was owned by a Vaasa tradesman Carl Malander and his daughter c. 1833 onwards. J.E. Smeds bought it in 1894. The farm now belongs to his grandson Borje Nyström.

 

LIFE ALONG THE RIVER


Fishing
The earliest people were attracted to Merikaarto by fish swimming upstream to spawn. There was salmon in abundance but also many other fishes. In the 16th century, the Swedish king collected barrels of salmon as tax from Merikaarto. There was also a per-capita tax, paid in pike. All fishing was made an object for assessmment in 1558. That year, all Merikaarto households paid 1/6 of their estimated catch, cleaned and dried. Baltic herring, bream, eel and smelt, all salt water fishes, appear frequently in the records.

Merikaarto is not a seaside location any more There is a numerous archipelago some 15 miles away. Mikkelinsaaret north of Vaasa is a group of some 300 islands at open sea, 40 miles away from the village. The Kolkki team in Merikaarto: holders of Kolkki, Pulli, Seppala, Kukko, Sauso, Trasti and Vaali farms, owned half a dozen islands in these islands. They had 5 seigning grounds at the islands. But every citizen had the right to catch baltic herring at islands facing open sea and at the shallows of the sea. A number of men spent their summers in the Mikkelinsaaret islands cathing, drying, cleaning or smoking fish, collecting hey or seagrass for the winter. They also took their sheep to the islands for the summer and transported the grass home during the winter.

In late 18th century, arable farming became more important, fishing less profitable, and finally, the process called isojako (the great reallotment) changed their land possessions closer to the shoreline, the fishing waters became more shallow, so fishing was finally forgot about in c. 1860. Present day fishing is mainly recreational The Fishing Club provides the rapids with transplanted salmon every year.

Boats
Seaside people needed boats for going to sea. They had travel boats, net boats and island boats for salt water, river boats and church boats for travel and transport along the river, smaller and larger punts for crossing the river. Most of these boats can be seen at

http://www.knopen.org/battyper.htm

The travel boat (fardbat in Swedish, hyljevene in Finnish) was used for travel and transport within The Baltic Sea and its arms. In late winter and spring, it was used as a moveable base for the 3 or 4 month sealing trips among the ice of the sea. There were six to eight men to a boat. They had their victuals and everything they needed, in the boat. They also slept in the boat, which was pulled on the ice for the night. They lowered the mast and spread the sail over. The travel boats were 28 - 40 feet long and had a long, gently slanting front part. This made a short water line and helped in the sharp turns among the ice. The boat was also easier to pull on the ice and it worked as an icebreaker after a frosty night.

The net boat (skotbat in Swedish, verkkovene in Finnish) was used for catching herring in the outer achipelago or at the shallows out in the sea. It was 22-27 feet long, had an almost upright bow and aft, a v-shaped hull, usually two sprit sails and two or three rowing positions. The boat was easy to sail, and could also be used for travel and transport.

The island boat, (halvknarr in Swedish, saaristovene in Finnish) was a smaller net boat, 18-22 feet long. The main difference is that it had a long, sloping aft and often only one sail. It was also a little broader than the net boat. Because of its aft, it was familiarly referred to as a swallow or a vagtail. The introduction of motors made, that these boats, because of higher speed, dived easily into waves. The remedy was to raise the bow and to build it broader.

The river boat was long and narrow. It was used by inland farmers for travel and transport along the river. They transported their tar and other products to the harbour at the mouth of the river and the communities at the seaside. On their way back they took home salt and other necessities. These boats were long and narrow and had a bar across the front part. The pulling rope was tied at the outer end of this bar when travelling upstream. Horses were used for pulling the boat and the rope was made of bristles which did not get soaked.
The church boat was jointly owned by a number of farms. In early 19th century, all Merikaarto farms were partners in church boats. There were at least three such boats. Old net boats or island boats were sometimes used for this purpose, the last we know of was one owned by Vaali, Trasti and Eskela.

The punt was called ekstock in Swedish, ruuhi in Finnish. Small punts were 14-17 feet long and 4 feet broad, flat and the front part was long and shallow. They were stable and apt for landing almost anywhere. Almost every family had one or two for crossing the river and for fishing purposes.

Larger punts, called proomu in Merikaarto, were used for transport. They could carry a horse and a cart and there were four of them, one owned by holders of Vaali, Trasti and Eskela, one by Kukko, Störvi and Knooka, one by Seppala, Barkar and Liuko. The fourth one belonged to Kolkki mills and worked like a ferry. A very large one was built to replace three of the punts in early 19th century. Old men in the village told in 1930 that it had carried four horses and their carts. This was later replaced by a floating bridge in 1873.

Bridges
The first known bridge across the lower part of the river was built at Vahakyro church in 1626. There had been a ferry at the spot before. The bridge was built up several times and it served the traffic from Vaasa northwards till 1932, when Koivulahti bridge was opened. There was a bridge at Skatila, 5 miles downstream from Merikaarto, built in 1905. These bridges and all the punts were not enough for Merikaarto people. A four feet floating bridge for pedestrians was built between Merikaarto and Pullinkoski rapids. This bridge belonged to Liuko, Barkar and Seppala in early 1900s and disappeared in early 1920s.

In 1865, a similar floating bridge was built at Kukko farm in the upper end of the village. It did not prove satisfactory, and a floating bridge for heavier traffic was built in 1873. It consisted of nine sections called palkki. They were just logs tied together with a top of planks on. A team of a few farms built and maintained one of the sections, which were collected ashore after the river was frosen. It was a major social event, when all the owners arrived to give their section a coat of tar in spring before putting them afloat again.

There had been several attempts to build a bridge at Kolkki. Sometimes building material was collected, but always the attempt was abandoned. The Kolkki owner in 1922 Carl Willför built a private suspension bridge across the rapids. He imported the metal parts from Germany. This bridge was replaced by an iron bridge, which was transported from Koivulahti, when they had a stronger bridge built. This later Kolkki bridge was opened for traffic on 16 Dec 1977.

The floating bridge was old and decayed and in 1926, the violent flood and the ice that was brought by the water carried away most of it. It was then deciced to build a suspension bridge 500 feet upsream. Nine punts were used to hawl the thick steel cables across the 200 feet wide opening, thousands of loads of stone and gravel transported for the bridge peers. This happened in 1929, the next year the bridge was painted and an official opening held in August.

Kolkki mills
Abraham Falander, 1746-1815, of Swedish heritage, started a varied production at Pullinkoski rapids in 1783. He also built a manor in the turn of the 19th century. He was already engaged in tobacco production and shipbuilding with his associates in Vaasa and he realized that the river Kyrönjoki could carry timber from inland forests to his two-frame sawmill at Pullinkoski. This proved productive and he could export large quantities of lumber on his boats. He also introduced lively activity at Seinajoki.

The seven private mills at Merikaarto rapids prevented him from building his dam as high as he wanted, so he built a tariff mill with four pairs of stones in 1785 and wanted to save the farmers the trouble of maintaining their vulnerable mills. After that, he could have made use of the total water energy. His hopes were in vain. The farmes wanted to build a tariff mill of their own at Merikaarto rapids, where they owned the energy.

Abraham's son Franz Didrick and his associates built a broadcloth mill in 1828. It was a separate company, but was built along the same water channel as the earlier mills. The fulling mill was erected on the opposite bank of the river. The partners wanted to enlarge the broadcloath mill and received a permission in 1841. The fulling mill was moved close by the broadcloth mill and the tariff mill was moved to the south bank in c. 1844.

Finland fell under Russian rule in 1809. Abraham Falander had to flee for his life, as he refused to swear loyalty to the Russian Czar. The Swedish king raised him to nobility under the name of Wasastierna as a reward. Abraham was pardoned soon and he returned to Finland.

Abraham himself never resided in Kolkki manor. Neither did his son Franz Didrik, who was in charge after his father. Most masters, clerks and foremen came from Sweden, Denmark and Britain and lived in Merikaarto. There was clerk Johan Strandberg c. 1790, clerk Erik Dahlström till 1820, master weavers Henrik Hilmer and Henrik Sten and manufacturers Johan Petter Zetterberg and Abraham Hulpers in the 19th century.

The mills became under chemist Lindeback in Vaasa and his brother Franz Emil Lindebäck, who arrived in 1839 followed by a third brother Fredrick Wilhelm the same year. F. E. became sole possessor in 1841. They had hired Anders Forsberg to be the manager of the mills in 1840. Franz E and Anders married sisters Amanda Maria and Hedvig Emilia Gustava Weissmann v. Weissenstein. Anders was first married to Catharina Ulrika Hedenström. Anders Forsberg became the owner after Lindeback's death in 1844. Anders Forsberg was followed by Johan Petter Hedstrom in 1854. He came from Christinehamn, Sweden and died soon after selling the premises in 1874.

The manor and the decayed tariff mill still stand. The sawmill did very well at times and disappeared by 1874. The farm, the sawmill and the tariff mill were bought by Anders Wilfor in 1874. No one wanted to buy the broadcloth mill and it disappeared by 1881. Anders Willfor's son and his brothers-in-law built a new mill and a sawmill in 1901. The old tariff mill was sold to Snickars family in 1922. Wilfor also built a private suspension bridge over Pullinkoski rapids but sold his share of the farm and the works in 1923. Vahakyro community bought the estate to be an old people's home. The new tariff mill of 1901 was in use untill 1947 and the saw mill untill 1957.
The manor has been in private possession since 1971 and the present owner is Hannu Tissari and his family.

Flour mills
There is little written evidence of windmills in Merikaarto. Matti Kukko had one behind his house in the first part of the 19th century. Another was raised behind Knooka later in the same century. It is likely that these had predecessors and contemporaries. Some evidence of small water driven mills on small brooks has been found. They were possibly owned by landless households. Farmers had their mills at the rapids in the river.
It is mere guesswork to estimate, when the first flour mills were raised by the Merikaarto rapids. There were seven of them in a c. 1760 map and they are given names in 1785, when The Crown started to collect tax from them. The mills were for home use and owned by teams of a few farms. They had one pair of stones and were all driven by a water wheel. Turbines were introduced in the first years of the 20th century, but there were only few mills left then. The mills were located on the north side of the river and on the islands. The statutory boating route followed the south bank and prevented mills being built there.



1. Seppala mill, which became the coop mill, now a museum, was there in 1760 and stood on the north-eastern bank of the river at the head of the rapids. It was owned by Juho Juhonpoika Seppälä, Tuomas Juhonpoika Seppälä, Tuomas Tuomaanpoika Seppälä and widow Anna Seppälä, Juho Vaali ja Tuomas Vaali, Mikko Eskelä ja Tuomas Eskelä, Johan Bagg of Sauso farm, Juho Mäenpää, Herman Sauso ja Juho Liuko in 1902. They replaced the water wheel by a turbine, bought a second pair of stones, a roller, a saw for roofing shingles and a thin shingle machine.

The commercial Wilför mill, the old Kolkki mill, Koivisto mill in Merikaarto and others in the neighbourhood raised their fees in early 1900s. Kukko mill owners made an initiative to form a cooperational mill. The association was founded on 14.3.1908 and Seppala mill was bought for the purpose. Thirtysix farmers joined the enterprise. Tuomas Mäenpää, Jaakko Vainio, Jaakko Törvi, Jaakko Kukko and Tuomas Parkkari were the members of the first board.

The mill did well. The partners themselves were a safe basis for the clienteel. There were others who had milling to do, among them fishermen from the archipelago. They came with loads of fish, sold it, bought rye, oats and barley in the village and had it ground in the mill.

There was an enlargement in 1915. Kukko mill had been bought, closed, and its water rights taken into use and those of Bakar mill rented. One of the two turbines powered a dynamo that gave electricity to almost everybody in Merikaarto. That went on till 1921 when an electric power station, owned by Vahakyro community, started to work.

MERIKAARTO ELECTRICITY ASSOCIATOIN was formed in late 1914. They bought dynamos from J.E. Smeds, who had produced power in Trasti> Annala mill. One dynamo was placed in Rantamylly, one in the coop. mill. The final balance of the El. Association showed a sum of 481 marks, which was donated for building the suspension bridge in the village.

The last miller in Seppala mill was Matti Piippo in 1905-1908. The mill association has hired Mikko Raukko, J. Lehtinen, T. Koskela, Tupamäki, T. Kauström, Suovirta in 19928-1932, J Tupila and Olavi Tupila and Aarne Parkkari. During WW II, Olavi Tupila was replaced by Juha Laine, O Kleemola, A Parkkari and Mikko Raukko.

Vahakyro Electricity Company had a power plant at Hiirikoski. They bought Merikaarto coop mill in 1970 or 1971 and had plans to turn all the energy of Merikaarto and Pullinkoski rapids into electricity. This did not materialize and the mill was left to be used as a museum.
2. Kukko mill, stood at the head of the rapids, on an island 80 feet from Seppala mill in 1760. Fourteen families connected to Kukko and Knooka in Merikaarto, Uusitalo in Jarvenkyla and Jukkara in Saarenpaa were the owners of this mill. It was marked on a 1902 map, one of 1915 states that it has been closed and united with Seppala mill.

3. Trasti mill was one of the earliest mills, in the middle of the river, 30 feet from Kukko mill. Seven families, connected to Trasti in Merikaarto, Myntti in Jarvenkyla, Karra and Valtari in Saarenpaa, were the owners. J. E.Smeds, holder of Annala estate, and his associates bought this mill in 1904, installed a dynamo and sold electricity to his neighbours. The mill was called Annala mill in 1915 and the owners were J.E. Smeds, Juho Karra, Abram Skjal and Anders Smeds. There was a long suspension bridge to the mill and three pairs of stones, one pair for grinding grain, one for bone and a third with two upper stones standing vertically at the ends of an axle for breaking the bones. Small pieces were sifted and went to the second pair of stones, rough pieces returned.

4. Barkar mill, one of the 1760 mills, was on the north bank below Seppala mill. It was closed in 1909 and its rights rented to the coop. mill.

5. Talvimylly, on an island at the same level with Barkar mill in 1760, was closed by 1881. Blacksmith Juha Leander Petterson rented the lot and the water channels in 1880, but he did not make use of it. The owners of the lot were two Liuko families and some families in Miekkaby in Mustasaari. Storsauso is said to have had a share in it earlier.

6. Pitkämylly was on an island close to Talvimylly in 1760, the owners were not given ant it was closed by 1881.

7.Uusimylly (Udenmylly), the third mill on the island close to Talvimylly in 1760. It had been closed by 1875. The owners may have moved their mil to the south bank, where it stands in 1875 named Uusimylly, later called Rantamylly.

8. Kolkki private mill at Pullinkoski was owned by four familes. When it was strarted, is not known, but it was there in 1874. There was also Kolkki old tariff mill and the new Kolkki mill from 1901. There is a separate passage about kolkki works.

Later mills
The statutory boating route followed the south bank of the river. It prevented mills being built on the south bank untill middle of the 18th century. Then boating and fishing became less important and the route could be closed by mill dams.



A. Punainen mylly (Red Mill), just beneath the Annala mill bridge. Its beginnings are not known, but it was there in 1875 and in 1881 it was called Annala mill and a petition was made to turn it into a tariff mill. It is possible, that the regional agronomist I.E. Willför, holder of Annala estate, was the initiator. In 1902, this mill was called Koivisto mill after the miller. Juha Seppala>Laine bought a share in 1914 after returning from America. Merikaarto Electricity Association rented this mill for one of its Dynamos in 1915. Laiane's partners were Isac Nyman, J.E. Nyman and Evert Clockars. Later and untill 1928, the miller was Simon Södergård. The mill was pulled down in late 1930s.

B. Uusimylly > Rantamylly is possibly owned by the same team that possesed the Uusimylly on the island in 1760. The owner families were two Holttis, two Karras and two Sippolas. This mill is shown on the map in 1881 but it doesn't appear on later maps, only the water channels are to be seen.

The mills today
The old Kolkki tariff mill still stands out of use on the south bank at Pullinkoski rapids. It was built c. 1785 on the northern bank and moved to present site c. 1844. Now it is ready to fall. Seppälä mill, or the mill museum, is in good shape but not in use any more. Remains of foundations, water channels e.t.c. of the other mills can be seen at places.

Vähäkyrö Electricity Company built a mill for wheat in late 1940s. It was driven by electricity and farmers with their wheat came from a large area. Antero Kiviranta, Bertel Snickars and Seppo Kukko worked as millers among others. Mills aren't needed any more. If a farmer needs oats or barley ground for his animals, a mobile mill drives in.

Damage by the water
The history knows several boating accidents in the rapids along the river Kyrönjoki, but none in Mekaarto rapids. Spring is a dangerous time. Sometimes the snow melts rapidly, the abundant water breaks and carries away the ice, which sometimes blocks the river raising floods. Bus traffic to and from Vaasa has been impossible several times. The spring 2006 was rather bad, floes of ice hit the bridge. Several homes were flooded and a major part of Merikaarto homes on the north side were left temporary islanders.

The governer ordered an inspection to be made over the damages in spring 1703. Eleven Merikaarto farmers were recorded to have had substantial damage. The flood and the floating ice had carried away several mills, barns of hay, manure piles, and bridges (over tributaries), cut roads and washed off the top of sown fields.

Newspaper articles tell us that there was a seven day flood in 1849. The water lay two feet thick on the road and caused a 1156 rubel damage for Kolkki estate and its mills. The spring 1853 was still more disatrous, one half of Vahakyro main bridge and 15 mills were destroyed. May these serve as examples.

Emigrants



The number of inhabitants in Merikaarto rose rapidly in the 19th century. It was hard to find bread for everybody, although there were many caftsmen in various branches. The nearby Vaasa was a source of income in several ways, but emigration became popular in c. 1880. The USA was almost the sole destination. Canada and Australia became more popular after 1920. We hope to include some individual stories on reasons, conditions and sentiments of the emigrants.

The first step was to get a certificate from the parish priest. The priest also made a note in communion books giving the intended destination. The certificate was needed when applying for a passport. The emigrated people were kept in the records as absentees. Some people were recorded to have moved to another Finnish parish afterwards. With females, it mostly indicates that she has married, in the USA, a man coming from that parish, and her register follows the man's.

Most emigrants left from Hanko with a boat to Britain. Travel via several ports in Sweden and Norway was also known. Our catalogue lists most Merikaarto emigrants in 1880-1920, but is not exhaustive or reliable in detail. The emigrant's name is followed by his or her father's or occassionally mother's first name, birth date, the date for requesting the necessary certificate from the parish priest, and finally, possible notes.

Not everybody who took an ID certificate for emigration really left. Some people waited for some time. Perhaps somebody had promised to send a ticket or the money. There are several people who have emigrated although they are not found in the parish priest's books. Very many returned, a few had thought it so in the beginning. There are also those who were turned back.

THE LAND OF OPPORTUNITY

Pauli Kukko

These stories about immigrant life include:
Tomti Juha Wilheln and his sister Johanna Lyydia (Markkula)
Seppälä (Blum) Liisa and her brothers Jaakko and Tuomas
Seppälä (Pelto) Jenni
Seppälä Mikko and Tuomas
Kauppi (Mack) Fiina
Knooka (Lehti, Mannonen) Hilja Elina
Kukko (Isacsson) Mikko, his brothers abd sisters
Kukko (Salminen) Tuomas, wife Holtti Serafia and their children
Trasti Mikko, his son Simon.


A "WESTERN LOGGER'S" (Lannen Lokari) TALE

A story by a Vahakyro man back home., retold by Eino Kukko in 1980, translated by Bert Pelto
(It is practically impossible to capture the real force of these country Finnish tall tales, as they depend as much on unique playful distortions of the Finnish language as they do on the wondrous contents of the story. Many of the working men who migrated to America worked as "loggers" in the timber industry, so the prototype story-teller has come to be known as a "Lannen Lokari" ("Western logger") whether or not he had worked in the forests. /BP )

Over there on the other side of the big mud puddle [Atlantic ocean] there were many Merikaarto men in different activities. It wasn't Niagara, but it was some big river-could it have been the famed Amazon river?-but anyway it's the big river that affects the movement of the Gulf Stream. The teller of this story had been working as a helper for the "walking boss" (vuokempaas) who was certainly a German (saksmanni), so strict he was.

They had to get that there river stopped up for having a power plant. Now it happened that there was a mountain near the river, like a great huge breadloaf. Just get that turned upside down in the river and the dam would be finished. Joo-o. To work!

For the work they hired mine-workers (kaivosmiehia) and began to dig tunnels under the mountain, in the direction of the riverbank. With trains and wheelbarrows they hauled away the diggings, and the main tunnel was dug almost all the way to the other side. Then angling from that, smaller tunnels and then even smaller tunnels, where only the wheelbarrows could get in and out. Yeah, there must have been men from Laihia (neighboring parish in west Finland) in the work, since they had those "skottikarryt." (wheelbarrows). (This line is a complex dialectical joking about men from Laihia, played around the west Finnish word for wheelbarrow "kottikarry" said to be called a "skottikarry" in Laihia.)

ow the "walking-boss" didn't have any other faults, except heavy drinking. Since I was a lot the same looking as he, I often stood in for him, especially in the "loading." Hundreds of trainloads of dynamite (tinamyytia) was brought in, and then, with wheelbarrows, pushed into even the smallest tunnels. The fuse line had to be many miles long, so when we lit the fuse, it took a couple days to reach the charge. And then boys it exploded! The whole mountain rose into the air like a huge loaf of bread. Up in the air, it turned upside down and then fell into the river.

So there was the dam. It had the sluices for the powerplant already in place, and the top, what had been the bottom of the mountain, was all set for building a whole city, with railroad tracks and everything. The "walking-boss" got double pay. But boys, truth be told, I had my ticket already bought for Finland, if the thing had gone bad.
There were some negative consequences. Even in Finland the climate went bad: it became wet and cold. But little by little it got better, and the waters slowly rose and flowed over the dam

[Endnote: One suspects that this story could have originated from hearing stories about the great explosion of Krakatoa (near Java) in 1883, which blew off the entire mountain, and from which the volcanic dust darkened skies around the earth, said to have caused short term climate change.]



The USA was the most interesting country to immigrate in 1880-1920. After that, Canada, and later Australia, also aroused interest. Here are some fragmentary stories of immigrant life.

TOMTTI JUHA VILHELM and his sister Johanna Lyydia.

Juha Vilhelm Tomtti, was born Vahakyro, Finland, died Fort Bragg, CA 12.AUG 1919.
Johanna Lyydia Tomtti, Markkula, born Vahakyro 1893, died in Fort Bragg, CA 16. MAR 1948.
Their parents: Mikko Tomtti, born Vahakyro 19.10.1845, died Vahakyro
  Sofia Blomberg, born Vahakyro 14.10.1851, died Vahakyro 21.2.1912.


The parents owned a house on rented land. Father Mikko was a skilful joiner who made beautiful pieces of furniture. Their daughter Maria married a local ex soldier, a veteran of the Russo-Turkish war, Jaakko Sauso, who also knew how to make and mend shoes and harness. A second daughter Elina married Jaakko Kukko, a farmer in Merikaarto.

Mikko and Sophia's son Juha Tomtti left for America in April 1913. He settled in Fort Bragg, CA, and was engaged in redwood harvest. Redwood trees are huge. They can grow 2000 years old, although those felled were seldom older than one thousand. They were often 250 feet tall, c. 15 feet thick. There are two "drive through" trees left, the third one was recently broken by a strong wind.

These trees have huge branches, called limbs, the lowest of them c. 100 feet high up. They get loose easily and can be dangerous. Many a man has lost his life, which gives rise to the logger lingo term "widow maker." Some others were taught College education. Another hazard was being hit by the falling log when it bumps up and sideways after first hitting the ground. Broken, sharp branches or twigs have also proved dangerous.

Redwood trees are thick at ground level. A lot of work is saved, if it is cut six to ten feet high up, the stump part would be useless anyway. The fallers used to cut notches in the tree and seat planks in them. These were used as steps for going up. Then a scaffold to work on was built at the desired height. The work up there was one of the hazards.

Juha Tomti met his fate in the woods. His niece relates: "John was chopping a tree done when a limb came down and killed him. They call that a widow maker. His sister was called to see if it was John and she pointed to the ring he was wearing." Apparently, there was no mention of the incident in the local papers, as no obit has been found. The death date comes from the grave marker.

Already in November the same year he travelled himself, John sent his sister Lyydia a ticket to L.A. Lyydia met Emanuel Markkula, born Sievi, Finland on 7 JUL 1890. They married on 22 JUN 1915, but they did not inform their Finnish parishes about it. Their son Leo was born in Fort Bragg, CA on 16 MAY 1917. They then decided to return to Emanuel's home location in Finland. The problem was that there was no mention of their marriage in Sievi parish records. Emanuel hadn't even asked for a statement, that he was free to marry. That is why their intention of marriage had to be published on three Sundays in the church after Finnish law and then they were married on the 5 DEC 1920. Son Leo was recorded their son although he was born before the wedding. Their second son Lauri was born Sievi, Finland 29 APR 1929.

The Finnish winter proved too cold for Emanued, who had enjoyed the climate in California. So the couple crossed the Atlantic again. Son Leo died immediately after they reached New York in 1922. Emanuel's mother also died on the way. Back in Fort Bragg, they were blessed by the birth of daughter Laila on 3.OCT 1923 and daughter Lyyli on 22 MAY 1927. The girls grew up, married and their mother used to write to them. Her sister Elina in Finland died in 1929, but Lyydia kept in contact and sent "America parcels" to her sister Maria Sauso after WW II.

Here's a translated extract of her Finnish language letter to her daughter Laila, who seems to live elsewhere already:

-No date-
(Love) from home, Laila Dear,
Thank you for your letter. Everything is fine here. There have been some hot days, but now we have a gentle wind.
I have put up a garden as before, but not a big one. My seeds have germinated and grown successfully in a hat box and I'll place the plants where I have had them before, but tomatoes will come on the potato patch when big enough.
We were home on Easter day, but in the evening we went to the Baptist Church. They had a beautiful Easter Cantata. Then we went to get some barley seed. It was very hot there. We also saw Lauri there.
Everything is O.K. here. Pa will go and work on the bridge on Monday. . -----.



Lauri Markkula never married, Laila married Alvin H. Koskinen. They lived in Garberville and had daughter Lydia and son Leo. Lyyli Markkula>Rupe>Perry lives in Fort Bragg and has two daughters, Leah Dean Rupe Tupper and Sharon Lee Rupe Sullivan. These people can be reached.

Laila Markkula Koskinen and family

Johanna Lyydia Tomti's daughter Laila, her husband Alvin Koskinen and children Leo and Lydia.

Lyyli Markkula Perry and 3 generations

Lyydia Tomti Markkkula's daughter Lyyli Perry, granddaughter Sharon Sullivan (gr-granddaughter Liza Middle) and Liza's daughter Emily.

 

SEPPALA LIISA > Myntti > Blum, her brothers JAAKKO AND TUOMAS

Liisa Seppala Myntti, Blum, born 14.10.1871, died 29.6.1937 Winlock, WA,
Jaakko Sepppala, born 1.1.1886.
Tuomas Seppala, born 22.3.1888, died 28.1.1930in Chehalis, WA.
Maria Seppala>Brandt, 8.3.1874-5.5.1921, did not emigrate.
Simo Seppala, born 14.8.1869 did not emigrate.
Their parents: Simo Seppala, born 15.3.1840 Vahakyro
  Liisa Maanmies, born 5.3.1843 Vahakyro

Simon Seppala was uncle to Mikko Seppala (below). Their wives Liisa and Susanna were sisters. Liisa Simontytar Seppala married Jaakko Myntti in 1893. He had cabs and horses in Vaasa. Jaakko died the next year and Liisa returned to Merikaarto, where she met Mikko Blomkvist, a local boy, just back from America. They married in Merikaarto on 6.11.1898, left for the USA and returned in 1900. Then Mikko in July 1901, and Liisa with their daughter Senja in December, emigrated again and adopted the name Blum. Liisa's brother Jaakko travelled with her, Thomas followed in 1906. The Blum family lived a while in Carbonado, then settled in Winlock, WA. Their daughter Saima Blum Johnson, born 1910, died in Winlock, WA in 1982, daughter Martha Fykerud, born 1902, died in Raymond, WA in1997. Liisa and Mike also had a son, Niilo.
Mikko Blomkvist was born on 24.3.1871. His grandfather Tuomas was listed as Blomkvist in the Russian army, the original name was Lill-Holti alias Sippola. He has also Kolkki and Kukko ancestors. Mikko's elder brother Jaakko Blomkvist and his family also emigrated.
See Jenni Seppala's memoire for Mike Blum family.


SEPPALA JENNI
, Tuomas Seppala>Koskela, Mikko Seppala>Hakola, Juha Seppälä>Laine ; Sofia Seppälä>Autio, Mikko Akkola

Jenni Seppala Pelto, Maria Seppala's daughter, born in 1896.
Maria Seppala, born 10.10.1874, Jenni's mother, did not emigrate.
Liisa Seppala, born 13.11.1872, Jenni's aunt, did not emigrate.
UncleTuomas Seppälä > Koskela, born Vahakyro 30.4.1868, returned, died Vahakyro 1.8.1927
Uncle Mikko Seppala > Hakola, born Vahakyro 30.9.1876, returned, died 29.9.1950
Uncle Juha Seppala > Laine, born Vahakyro 21.1.1881, returned, died 1972
Aunt Sofia Seppala > Autio, born Vahakyro 9.9.1879, returned, died 25.7.1956
Mikko Akkola, Liisa Seppala's husband, born 13.11.1872, emigrated and was turned back.
Their parents: Mikko Seppala, born 26.4.1841, died 4.7.1888
  Susanna Maanmies, born 11.9.1840, died 22.4.1913.


Jenni Seppala emigrated in 1920. A child, she lived with her grandmother Susanna and called her Vanha Aiti (old mother). Jenni wittnessed the emigration and return of her aunt Sofia and her uncles, also of aunt Lisa's husband Mikko Akkola. She wrote her memoire in America, of the varying sentiments, hopes and fears of all involved. The uncles adopted new names. Jenny calls her uncle Tuomas Koskela "Koskela-Eno or Tuomas Eno" (Eno is a Finnish word for mother's brother.) Jenni's story will follow as told by her son Bert. Some extracts from her memoire, translated by Bert Pelto will be included. Simon Seppala's children Liisa, Jaakko and Tuomas will also be told of. Jenni's children in the States and many descendants of her family in Finland can be reached.

Jenny Maria Seppala (Pelto) by Bert Pelto

Jenny Seppala was born on 27 January, 1896, in a small hut in the Alainenpaa {"lower end") section of Merikaarto (Vahakyro). Her mother, Maria, was a young, unmarried maidservant, who was working in a wealthy Swedish-speaking household in the port city of Vaasa. When she was only about a year old, Jenny was put in the care of Maria's mother, Susanna Seppala. Susanna herself was without a regular home, as she was a widow, and her eldest son and family now occupied the small cottage in which she had raised the family of three sons and four daughters. Fortunately for the widow Susanna, and for little Jenny, the widow's youngest son, Juha was able to buy for her a one-room cottage in Holttila, just across the Kyro river from the longtime Seppala home. Jenny recalls the day, perhaps in 1900, when she and her grandmother (whom she always referred to as Vanha Aiti) walked across on the little foot bridge below the Seppala flour mill, to their new home in Holttila. (That foot bridge no longer exists).

During Jenny's childhood years the widow Susanna and Jenny were looked after by Susanna's sons, especially Mikko and Juha, and they had frequent contacts with other relatives among the numerous Seppala people. Susanna's young daughter Sofia was at that time a piika (servant girl) in the Holtti household, nearby. During the long winter Susanna spun wool into yarn for some of the wealthier neighbors, including the Karra and Valiin families. In the summer time she got out her loom and wove cloth, as did many other women in Merikaarto at the beginning of the 20th century. A Merikaarto woman, Sallin Maija, regularly collected up the woven cloth from the village women, for selling at her textiles stand in the Vaasa marketplace. In addition to the small income from weaving and spinning wool, they also regularly received small amounts from Jenny's mother, Maria, for her daughter's food and clothing. Jenny's memoirs do not speak of any hunger or other financial hardship.

Jenny's memoirs give a very positive image of rural life at the turn of the century. Their wants were simple; the aging grandmother was still healthy; and they had good relationships with the "Enkes" people very close to their house and other neighbors, as well as with their Seppala relatives, most of whom lived on the other side of the river.

Jenny wrote in her autobiography how, in the first years of the new century, her uncles Tuomas, Mikko and Juha all went off to America, one after the other. Mikko had been the first to go; Juha (her favorite uncle) was 20 years old when he went to join his brothers, in 1902. He was gone for more than 10 years. Sofia, too, migrated to America, and for a time four of Susanna's children were all together, working in the sawmill town of Hoquiam, Washington, near the Pacific Ocean. Some relatives who lived nearby in Holttila also left for America, as Jenny's cousin Liisa Seppala had married Mikko Blumquist, who took her and her brother with him to the "New World."

Uncle Juha had promised his mother and little Jenny that he would regularly send money from America, so that they would never be in need. Juha kept his promise, so the old grandmother and Jenny had sufficient funds for all their simple wants throughout the years that Juha remained in America. Uncle Juha also promised Jenny that he would help with her education when it came time to go beyond the few years of elementary school available in Merikaarto.

After elementary school Jenny went off to Vaasan Lyseo (Vaasa Girl's School) with the financial support from Juha eno. That nearby port city was named after King Gustav Vaasa in the days when Finland was part of the Swedish kingdom. At that time her mother, Maria was employed as maidservant and cook in the house of Tuomari [judge] Harald Boucht in Vaasa, so Jenny often visited her mother after school hours, although she was lodging with other relatives in Vaasa. In those days many households in Vaasa, perhaps nearly all families, had close relatives living in the market town, which is only 16 kilometers from Merikaarto. Jenny sometimes did "baby-sitting" for the young son, Christer, of the Boucht family, who later became a good friend of Jenny and her family in America.

After graduating from Vaasa Girl's School, Jenny wanted to go to the Jyvaskyla Seminaari, to continue her studies to become a teacher. She appealed again to Uncle Juha, and he supported her financially, despite the fact that he was married, returning to Finland, and facing various financial complications. Jenny's years at Jyvaskyla Seminaari (now University of Jyvaskyla) during 1914-1916 were very exciting, and formative of her later career, particularly as it came at the height of the independence movement, in the middle of World War I. Like all the students at Jyvaskyla, she was an ardent nationalist, and she always carried with her the wish that she could "serve her country."

The "civil war" in Finland, between "Red" forces and "White" nationalists broke out at the time when Jenny graduated from Jyvaskyla. Jenny was in Vaasa for a brief period, and then received a regular teaching position at Kalsila School in Vahakyro. The Kalsila school was quite near Perkio, where the Peltonen family were relatives, with whom she had visited earlier. During the period from 1918 to 1920 Jenny taught at the Kalsila school, and she also helped the Peltonen family by writing letters to Jaakko Peltonen in America (in America he was Jaakko Pelto). The correspondence was especially to keep up communications concerning the Peltonen's younger son, Vilho, who had recently migrated to America to join his brother. Their older son, Jaakko, had been a "trenki" (hired farm worker) in the Valta family in Perkio, and had migrated to America in 1901, at the age of 16, in the company of Jaakko Valta, his godfather.

The correspondence between Jenny Seppala and Jaakko Pelto developed into plans for marriage, and Jaakko came to Finland in November 1920 for their wedding. At the beginning of January 1921 they departed to America, where Jaakko was employed as the chauffeur and gardener for the wealthy family of Dr. R.C. Coffey, an internationally known surgeon. The young couple took up residence in Portland, Oregon, but when Dr. Coffey and his family moved to their newly built estate in a suburban area of Clackamas, outside Portland, Jaakko and Jenny moved into an apartment at the spacious Coffey residence. During their years at the Coffey estate, the three children, Mauri (b. 1924), Pertti (b. 1927) and Kalevi (b. 1930) were born.

Jaakko and Jenny visited Finland in 1925, when Mauri was still very small, and they planned to settle in Finland. However, to Jenny's great disappointment, Jaakko judged that there were very few employment opportunities for him in Finland, and his employers in Portland, Oregon were pleading for him to return to their service. With great reluctance Jenny agreed to go back to America.

By 1930, Jaakko and Jenny were feeling very confined and frustrated living in the cramped apartment at the Coffey estate. They decided that Jaakko would quit working for Dr. Coffey and launch a business, an auto repair shop and gasoline station, in some Finnish community.

They chose Winlock, a small town in southwest Washington, because there was a sizeable rural community of Finnish people there. Also, some of Jenny's close relatives, Tuomas Seppala, "Jakki" Seppala, and Mike Blum's wife, Liisa, all lived in Winlock. The town seemed to be a thriving, growing community. The Finnish farm families had developed chicken farming, and especially egg production, as a major enterprise during World War I, and this economic activity had converted several Finnish families into successful, wealthy entrepreneurs. Many of the Finnish chicken farmers bought pickup trucks and expanded their houses during the Depression years, as the market for eggs and chickens continued to grow in the cities, despite economic hard times.

The Pelto family moved to Winlock in 1931, at a time when, unfortunately the Great Depression was deepening the economic crisis in America. By the time they acquired land and built a house, it seemed clear to Jaakko that he should continue his employment with Dr. Coffey, in Portland, while Jenny took care of the household and three little sons in the new home.

Many Finnish migrants were unemployed or only marginally employed during the Great Depression. Jenny Pelto's cousins, Jakki Seppala and Eino Hakola were among the young men who had frequent spells of unemployment. Both Jakki and Eino found shelter at times at the Pelto household, and sometimes lived there for many months. They did farming work, and wood-cutting to pay for their lodgings. During the harvest season, from July-August to the end of September they usually found work in the apple harvests of eastern Washington, and occasionally in other kinds of season work.

Eino Hakola's work in clearing land, cutting wood, and other chores was a big help to Jenny's household during the first years in Winlock. In about 1933 he was able to find work in the sawmills of Hoquiam, Washington, where his father, Mikko, and other Merikaarto men had worked before World War I. Eino sometimes came to the Pelto household for Christmas, and it was during the winter of 1935 that he came and announced that he was going back to Finland, as he had earned enough to pay for his passage back to the home country.

Jenny Pelto had the full responsibility for managing the household, and the small farm, during the years from 1932 to 1938, until finally Jaakko lost his job in Portland, and joined his family full-time in Winlock. Jenny insisted that the language spoken in the home was always Finnish. She also insisted that her boys should speak "correct" Finnish, instead of the mixed Finnish-English ("Finnglish") spoken by most of the other families in the area.

She kept up a regular correspondence with her mother, Maria, throughout the decades, until Maria's death in 1959. The Pelto boys sometimes wrote to their grandmother, and Christmas season was a time when they were sure that Maijumummu (as they referred to her) would send them wonderful gifts. Usually she knitted woolen mittens and socks for all three boys, and especially exciting was the time she sent them small Kauhava puukot (knives).

The Finnish community in the Winlock area had an active chapter of the United Finnish Kaleva Brothers and Sisters (UFKBS), as did several other communities where there were numbers of immigrant Finnish families. Jenny became an active member in the middle of the 1930s. Jenny had heard of the UFKBS Finnish Lodge many years earlier, as her Uncle Juha had been a member in Hoquiam, Washington, just before World War I. Because she had excellent writing skills she was usually expected to be the Secretary-treasurer of the Winlock chapter. In the late 1930s the Winter War broke out in Finland, and the local Finnish people, in the UFKBS and many others, were very active in organizing Finnish War Relief packages and money to send to Finland. Jenny had been in the habit of sending "care packages" to her mother, particularly for Christmas, but during the war years she organized many more packages of food and clothing for needy Finnish families.

Throughout her years in the UFKBS lodge, Jenny wrote many news articles for the monthly newsletter, Veljeysviesti, and also for the Lannen Suometar, the major Finnish newspaper located in Astoria, Oregon. In the Finnish lodge she also sang in the choir, which gave performances at all the main festivals. She managed to play a major role in activities at the "Finn Hall," despite the fact that she had to care for two cows, some 40 chickens, all the other small farming activities, as well as caring for her three school-going sons.

After Jaakko Pelto lost his employment in Portland, Oregon, the family suffered some lean years, as there was very little possibility of paid employment until World War II broke out. At that time Jaakko went to work in the shipyards in Vancouver, where merchant ships were being built to support the war effort in Europe. Once again the family had regular income; and once again Jenny had to manage the farm and household work by herself. Her sons did help with some of the work, and until he left for military service, oldest son Mauri helped his mother with the milking and other barn work.

In 1945, when the World War was over, the two oldest sons, Mauri and Pertti went to off to Washington State College (now University). Only the youngest, Kalevi, remained at home. Jaakko and Jenny found occasional employment in painting and wall-papering, but their income was irregular and diminishing in those years.

Although Jenny was not fluent in English, during the early 1950s she began to explore employment opportunities, including the possibility of moving to the city of Seattle, where her recently married oldest son, Mauri was living with his wife Joan. Jenny also inquired among Finnish families in Seattle about employment for Jaakko. The family farm was rented out; Jenny and Jaakko moved to Seattle, where Jaakko was employed as caretaker of a large apartment building, owned by a Finnish family.

After a quarter of a century of separation from her mother and other relatives in Finland, Jenny at last managed to get enough money for a major trip to her native land in 1954. She spent the entire summer, partly living with her aged mother, Maria, in Merikaarto, and partly visiting other places in Finland, especially her beloved alma mater, Jyvaskyla, which had now become the University of Jyvaskyla. She was able to find a few of her classmates from those exciting seminaari days, nearly 40 years ago; and she spent many hours and days visiting the various relatives--older and younger generation Seppala descendants. That summer and fall of 1954 was the last time that Jenny saw her mother, as Maria Seppala died in 1959.

Jenny's second son, Pertti, was newly married in 1954, and he brought his wife, Marigay, to Finland in the fall of 1954, in order for them to spend a year at the University of Helsinki. In September 1954, Jenny had the opportunity to introduce Pertti to all the various relatives in Merikaarto and other communities, as well as taking the young couple to meet the Christer Boucht family--and other old friends in Vaasa.

During the 1950s Jenny was employed for a time at a large department store (Fredrick and Nelson's) in Seattle, where she did cleaning up, sweeping and other manual work. When they sold the Winlock home, Jenny and Jaakko bought a small house in west Seattle, where they lived throughout the 1960s and 1970s.

In 1971 Jenny and Jaakko again visited Finland, and spent some time in Merikaarto, where Jenny enjoyed long conversations with her old-time friend, cousin Elsa Koskela. Elsa was the daughter of Jenny's eldest uncle, "Koskelan Eno." Jenny had known Elsa since they were small children together at the little cottage in Alainenpaa. Koskelan Eno had inherited the job of miller in the "Seppala mill" after Susanna's husband died. Elsa Koskela was one of the last of the great weavers in Merikaarto. Jenny's family has several ryjjy (wall hangings) of Elsa's handiwork. Of course they visited all the various relatives in Vahakyro, and especially the family of Juha Eno. Juha was still in good health and spirits in 1971, and busied himself with some farming activities with his grown up grandchildren. Like the other Seppala brothers, Juha had changed his name--he was Juha Laine. The third brother, Mikko, had taken the name of Hakola. Thus there are very few descendants named Seppala.

During the 1970s and 1980s, the Seattle Finnish people continued to have a large and active chapter of the UFKBS Lodge, and Jenny became active again in Finnish organizational work. Sometimes at Finnish gatherings she recited long poems of Eino Leino and other famous poets, as poetry recitation was one of the classical studies she had excelled in in her years at Jyvaskyla. She also taught classes in Finnish, sponsored by the Lodge. Jenny's other activity in those years in west Seattle included regular visits to patients in a nearby Nursing Home, where she was a "conversation companion."

Jenny was again visiting relatives in Merikaarto in the summer of 1979 when Jaakko died, at the age of 94. Until that time Jaakko and Jenny had lived by themselves in their west Seattle home, visited from time to time by their sons and their families. After Jaakko's death Jenny continued to live alone for many years in that same residence.

Some time in the 1970s Jenny began to write her autobiography. She had learned to use a typewriter in the 1950s, when she was exploring ways to keep up the family income. For a time she had even had a home-based employment, writing address labels for an advertising company.

Jenny had extensive correspondence with many people, including her sons, and she enjoyed describing events and people from her Merikaarto days. She wrote pieces of biography about her beloved "Vanha Aiti," about neighbours "Enkes Paappa ja Mummu," and other people who had been central in her life at the beginning of the 20th century. Some of those biographical sketches then became part of her autobiographical writing.

One of her many interests was concerning the Finnish language, especially the bits of dialect and speech styles of the different counties of Kyronmaa (Kyro River area) people. She exchanged long letters about language and dialect words with her cousin, Eero Hakola, in Laihia. Unfortunately those letters, and that storehouse of rural Finnish language, have not been preserved.

During the 1980s her eyesight began to fail, so her typewriting contained more and more mistakes that she could not see to correct. Even while her eyesight was weakening, her memory of days in Merikaarto, Vaasa, and other recall of her years in Finland seemed to become sharper. She continued to write her memoirs, and continued to be active in the Finnish lodge in Seattle until she was over ninety years old.

Jenny Seppala Pelto died in December 1994, at the age of 98 years. Her sons carried her ashes to Finland, where she was buried in the Vahakyro cemetery, beside her husband Jaakko, with whom she had shared 59 years of her long life.

She was always an ardent Finnish nationalist, manifested particularly in her love of Finnish language and literature. She had strong loyalties for her widespread network of relatives, and friends, in both Finland and America, so that her trips to Finland were mainly taken up in an endless round of visiting all those Seppala descendants, and many others, as well as a few special schoolmates from Jyvaskyla days.

Merikaarto was always, for her, a very special, almost magical village, particularly as the centuries-old home of her Seppala people, and also the stage setting for her earliest years, living with her beloved grandmother. Very few people, especially in later years of life, have the memory for detail--of persons, events, and places--that Jenny maintained almost to her last days. In her mid-90s she could still recite long poems practically flawlessly, even remembering the emotional punctuations that she had memorized some 70 years earlier. Her long descriptions of her grandmother [Vanha Aiti], of her mother, and other persons who were there in Merikaarto at the dawn of the 20th century, give vivid portraits, as if they were somehow present as she struggled over that old typewriter.

She always carried, deeply hidden, the sadness, and the resentment, that she had not been given the opportunity to live her intended career as a teacher in her native country. Despite that inner hurt, she was basically a cheerful, positive person, and was extremely reluctant to say any bad words about anyone. In her memoirs there are glimpses of conflict with other persons, but those glimpses reflect only faintly any blaming or negativism.

The little cottage that Juha Eno bought for his mother, Susanna Seppala, which Jenny so lovingly described in her memoirs, still exists, but it has migrated from Holttila some hundreds of meters toward Vaasa. It has been prettied with some additions, and bright coats of paint, and serves as a weekend retreat for some family in Vaasa.

From Jenni Seppala Pelto's memoire:

Jenny Seppälä Pelto and Jaakko Pelto.

 


The fall of 1902 was a very sad time for both Vanha-Aiti and me. That's when Jussi-Eno left for America, and we both were very sad and lonely. I remember that once at the little school I started crying, and the Mumma asked me what's wrong, and I replied "Just that Jussi is gone." Certainly the others must have laughed and made fun of me, but I couldn't help it. It was early in November when Jussi left. I remember that Koskela-Eno was there with us when Jussi was leaving, and he tried to comfort us, saying that Jussi would certainly send me silk ribbons from America. That was a bit of consolation, as those silk ribbons were very important for us little girls, and not many had really nice ones.

Before leaving, Jussi assured his mother that he will certainly begin to take care of her, and see that she does not have any needs [for money]. And to my mother he said that when he goes to America he will send sufficient money that my mother would no longer have to contribute to my upkeep. Jussi kept his word, and regularly sent (four times a year) 50 marks each time. In those days, that was a sizeable sum of money, with which we easily managed all expenses. My own mother took care of my clothes, and I regularly received new and better clothing than most of the other children. The clothing was nicely made, "city style." [kaupunkilaismallia]. No wonder then, that the other children made fun of me and said I was "fiini." ["fine," elegant].

And I did, from time to time, receive those silk ribbons from America, as well as other little things. When someone came back from America, so Jussi sent things to his mother and to me. And the Fiia-Tati also sent things from time to time, when she went the next year, along with Koskela-Eno. All of them were in Hoquiam, and there was also Hakolan-Eno, who had gone a year earlier--in 1901, the same year Jaakko Pelto went to America.

Akkolan Eno, Aunt Liisa's husband, tried to go to America, too. It was either 1902 or 1903, sometime in the fall or winter when Lempi and I were that first year in the little school. His brothers had sent him the money for the passage. I don't know exactly how long he was gone, but I remember when Vanha-Aiti and I were there visiting at Akkola household, overnight. During the night there was a knock at the door. We children didn't wake up, but Akkola-Tati looked out the window. Then she called Vanha-Aiti and said, "I think it is Miska." [her husband]. Finally she got nerve enough to open the door.

In those days sometimes they stopped people and sent them back to their homeland. Sometimes it happened in Finland, before they boarded the ship at Hankoniemi. Other times were when they reached New York, but before they were allowed to land. That kind of nasty thing they had done to Akkola Eno.

It was of course a huge financial loss for the person who was sent back People knew about it, and feared that possibility, as it was much talked about when people were leaving. Akkola-Eno never had enough money to pay back those costs to his brothers. We are not clear as to who had to pay the return trip. After that Akkola Eno went to work in Vaasa, where they were building a large bank building, so the whole family moved to Vaasa during that time when he had that job.

During our school days [elementary school], we school children went each "post day" to wait for the mailman at Maenpaa. There we would sit on a long bench, waiting for the mailman to arrive. Often enough I was carrying the glad news to Vanha-Aiti that again there is a letter from Jussi or from Fiia-Tati (Sophia). And sometimes there were letters from others, from Tuomas (Simonson) Seppala, or, rarely, from Hakolan Eno. But the news from Hakolan Eno and Koskelan Eno we got to hear from the letters they sent to their families.

During the first year, before Fiia-Tati also went, she was still a servant at Holtti, and so she was the one who answered the letters for Vanha-Aiti. Then in 1903 Fiia-Tati herself went to Hoquiam. Probably it was Akkola Tati who then wrote letters on behalf of Vanha Aiti, until I started elementary school, and it became my responsibility to write those letters.

Mr Blum loaned Hakolan-Eno the money for that first trip to America. It was in the fall of 1901, the same year that Jaakko Pelto went to America. Hakolan-Eno returned to Finland already in the summer of 1904 and bought a part of the Seppala property [from his uncle???] Since the Hakola place was back there behind all the other houses in the Alaasenpaa [lower end] of Merikaarto, they decided that they would like to move from there to the riverside, where most of the other houses were located. But he didn't have enough money to build a house there, so he decided to go back to the Hoquiam sawmills, where he had been employed during his first trip to America.

Then Hakolan Eno began to plan his second trip to America. This time he was in America about three years, and returned in the spring of 1910, along with Fiia Tati. On his return he moved the older house down to the new location at the river side and enlarged it, as well as built the out-buildings.

I remember very well when on 16 February Tuomas (Simo Seppala's son) woke me up early, already fully dressed, and ready to go to Vaasa, from where he would leave on the next leg of the journey on 18th of February. Vanha-Aiti and I remained behind, crying as Tuomas left. Two days later Hakola Eno left by train from the Tuovila station to Vaasa to join Tuomas for the journey. By an amazing coincidence, on that same day the ticket from America arrived. Vanha-Aiti then went to the post office, and it was sent back to Blum.

Other things that I remember about the contacts with America: well, as a young girl I very much admired those beautiful shiny pictures that Koskela Eno sent to his daughters Lyydia and Alina. Elsa, in those earliest years, was too young to be interested in those things. I remember the Christmas cards decorated with silver and gold threads. And I especially remember the stand-up Valentine cards, which I very much coveted.

I remember very well when Koskela Eno returned from America. I believe there was advance notice that he was coming. It was a beautiful summer day. I was out on the river, rowing with Lydia, near their house. That is, at that house that Maijumummu lived in later.

We saw in the distance, along the road between Kukkola and Alaasenpaa [lower Merikaarto], a horse and cart was coming, and on the cart was an America trunk. Everybody recognized those America trunks in those days. Uncle was coming from the Tervajoki railway station, and had engaged the well-known guest-house Kaija [kestikievari Kaija] horse cart. Tuomas Kaija and his family lived in Merikaarto in my youngest days, and they had a store in that building which was later owned by Reijo Seppala, right beside Elsa Koskela's house (hence right beside the Iisakki Kukko "Iikka" house where Lydia Koskela lived most of the time.)

So Koskela Eno arrived at home, and Lydia and I had to quickly row to shore, where Eno had already entered the house. I remember clearly that moment when he opened the America trunk, and there were for us girls many strange and remarkable things. There were many things for Lydia and of course for her mother, and for Elsa, who was then just a few years old. Alina was no longer alive. Maybe this was in 1907 or 1908? There were a few books, too, or some kind of reading material, which Lydia and I read from later on.

It was of course very usual that friends and relatives sent something along to relatives, to be carried by the Finland-returning person. It was of course something tremendous to receive something from America. Juha Eno had not forgotten to send something along for his mother and me. My recollection is that Jussi had sent me a locket, which was something quite in fashion in America. That is the one that I was wearing in that picture that was taken about that time, in 1908. I don't remember when Juha had sent to Vanha-Aiti, but usually he and Fiia-Tati sent cloth of some sort, or sometimes they sent those long underwear, " a union suit" for winter. Vanha-Aiti particularly liked them, and Juha and Fiia made sure she had a supply of them.

I also remember when Hakola Eno, that is Mikko Eno, came back from America the first time. Vanha-Aiti and I happened to be there at Hakola's. Mikko Eno had not written anything about coming, but there had been many weeks since he had written, so Hakola Tati began to think that "now Miska is coming home." We were just at the point of leaving. Vanha-Aiti had gotten up to leave, and looked out the window, and with apparent excitement, said "Silloon." That indicated that something was happening. Tati went to the window and shouted, "Siunakkoon tuleeko Miska?" But at that point Mikko was already at the door, so she couldn't see him from the window, as he stepped inside. Sanni was then just a little girl, three or maybe four years old, and she didn't remember her father at all. She didn't understand what her mother meant, and she started crying because she was afraid of that man who came into the house.

Hakola Eno did not have an "America trunk." He had only a "setseli" which is a large suitcase. Inside there was a doll for Sanni, and it was quite a beautiful doll, with a red silk dress. I can still remember how beautiful that doll was. I was [in my young days] what they called a "tyttyjen aitee" a "mother of dolls. For me there were five marbles. How beautiful they were, and what a great gift for me. Now I had the marbles that I could use for hopscotch, "pipata" we used to say. I still had those marbles with me when I left for America in 1920.

I already mentioned my attraction for those Valentine cards that opened up and then could be propped up. I so desperately wished that someone would send me one, as the Koskela girls had several that people had sent. My wishes came true a few years later. When Tuomas Seppala went to America, after some time he sent me one of those. It was in a simple envelope, so it was not a large one, but I treasured it nonetheless. I still have that card that Tuomas sent me. Maybe one of you--Dunja or Beth--might want to have it as a keepsake, after I am gone.

In those days, people "came and went;" or, better to say, "went and came." Some men, particularly married men, went to America for a stipulated time period, to earn a specific amount of money for some clear purpose. Often that purpose was to build, or improve, the home. Also, another purpose was to buy some land of their own. The cost of the travel tickets was not especially large. I recall that in those days the travel to Hoquiam cost about 600 marks. For one U.S. dollar, one got 5 marks, or sometimes 5.20 or so.

In those days the daily wage in a sawmill in Hoquiam was $2.00. Very few people actually saved up the money for that travel. Either they borrowed the money, or in many cases their relatives in America sent them the tickets and a little travel money. They had to have $20.00 so-called "landing money" [maihin-nousurahaa] when they arrived at Ellis Island. Many men realized their expectations, and after a few years had accumulated the intended money and returned to Finland to buy the land and build the house as they had planned.

There were very few boys and girls who had gone before the turn of the century, and then stayed in America for long periods of time. Of course some never returned, and were not heard from any more. There were some men went and completely forgot their families, and sent neither letters nor money back home. There were in Merikaarto so-called "America-widows" among our relatives. For example there was Juha Latvala or Maamies, Jaakko Pelto's maternal uncle, who came to America and lived his life in Canada under the name of Erickson. I knew his wife, Hilja and the two daughters, Lydia and Ellen in Vaasa. They always wondered and spoke about the missing father.
It was common for the men and women to plan on five years in America and then return to Finland. Only a few were gone for 10 years or more and returned, as for example, Juha Eno. In Merikaarto nearly every house, large and small, had one or more members in America. In some cases a boy or girl had left at a young age, for sake of adventure, or in the case of boys, to avoid going into military service in the Russian army, which was not at all pleasant for anyone.

Finnish "officials" [viranomaiset] urged young men to go to America to avoid military service, and that was one motive for young Jaakko Pelto to leave to America in 1901.
Fia-Tati and her husband Edward Eno returned and got married in the fall of 1910. They lived during the winter with Vanha-Aiti at our house. I remember well that relations between me and Fiia Tati were not good. Perhaps that "American-ness" was a factor that somehow caused me to be critical of her "American-ness". However, I recall that Vanha-Aiti usually agreed with me, and defended me.

In the "spring-winter" [kevattalvella] Edward bought an old house and out-buildings from Saarenpaa, which was then dismantled and transported to Merikaarto, and rebuilt in the Holtti "old place" ( the site shown in the 1760 map/pk) which then was renamed Autio. Sophia and Edward have often been referred to as Aution Tati and Eno.]
Edward and Fiia had already "gone together", before they went to America, but then in Hoquiam Fia-Tati had married Jussi Niemi. That marriage ended after a few months. So Edward and Fiia had again begun seeing each other after her divorce. So Edward managed to save his money, and bought his ticket and still had enough money to buy that house. Fiia-Tati also had some savings from her wages in Hoquiam, although probably not very much. She had at first worked in some hotel. Later Fiia had been a cook in a ["Boy's House"] "Kyrola."

Hoquiam was a real "base of operations" [pesapaikka] for the Vahakyro people, especially people from Merikaarto, at the beginning of the century. There was a family from Merikaarto, Kalle ja Sanna Huhtanen, who kept a boardinghouse ["poortitalo"]. All the Merikaarto people went straight to Huhtanen's boardinghouse for their lodgings when they first went to Hoquiam. I don't know how big it was, or how many people they could lodge at one time. Many of the girls, too, went first to Huhtanen's and often worked as dishwashers, and whatever other work they got. For example Eliina, who later became Juha Eno's wife, went first to Huhtanen's and had her first job.
* * *

After some time the men became very critical of Huhtanen's and especially of the food, and the lack of cleanliness. So a group, mostly Merikaarto people, decided to set up their own house-keeping [huushollin]. They rented some rooms [or a building??] and hired a cook. Hakola Eno was the first manager, Isanta, "head of household", and the cook was a Merikaarto girl. Then Fiia Tati became the cook there. When Hakola Eno left to return to Finland, Koskela Eno became the Isanta. Juha Eno also lived there, and when Koskela Eno returned to Finland, he became the Isanta, and apparently continued in that position until he left for Finland in 1914.

Juha Eno Laine married EliinaEllila) when he came back to Merikaarto. They were of course already living in the same location in Hoquiam, earlier. Juha eno bought a substantial house, which was very close to the Kyro River, just down the hill from the little house where Vanha-Aiti lived. Unfortunately Vanha Aiti did not live to see her son, Juha, as she died in 1913, a year before his return. All of Vanha-Aiti's progeny had now returned to Merikaarto.

[Note: The connection between Merikaarto [Seppala] people and Hoquiam, Washington was briefly revived in 1925 and in 1934 when Eino Hakola, son of Hakola Eno, worked in the mills there. He went to America in 1924, with some financial help from Jaakko Pelto, and he worked for some time in Portland, Oregon, before going to Hoquiam. In 1931-32 he spent considerable time in Winlock, Washington, helping to clear the land for the new home of Jaakko and Jenny Pelto, when they moved there from Portland, Oregon. During the early years of the Great Depression it was extremely difficult to find work, but Eino Hakola managed to get work in the mills in Hoquiam, and earned enough money to return to Finland in 1935.

Simon Seppala children, by Jenni Seppala, traslation Bert Seppala.

In 1901, Mr. and Mrs. Blum and their daughter Senja had been back in Finland for about a year. Blum decided that he was going back, to Carbonado, Washington, where he had been before. They had that livery stable (vosikanajoliike) in Vaasa. Mrs. Blum and Senja decided to stay in Vaasa for some time but followed Mr Blum the same year. Mrs Blum's brother Jaakko went with them. (Jenni was not aware of Mrs Blum's earlier marriage/pk)

After some time in Carbonado, which was a coal-mining town in at the turn of the twentieth century, Mike Blum and family moved to Winlock, Washington. Despite their having some kind of livery business in Vaasa, they decided to make America their home.

In the fall of 1905 Simon Seppala's son Tuomas (Mrs Blum's brother) had been living with Vanha Aiti and Jenny in the little house, after his mother's death (his mother was Vanha-Aiti's sister). Mike Blum had promised to send him the money or the tickets, but weeks went by, and nothing came in the mails. Tuomas waited and waited.
When he heard about Hakola-Eno's plans to go a second time, Tuomas Seppala decided to go with Hakola, and not wait any longer for that promised steamship ticket that Blum had promised. I don't remember where he was able to borrow the money, but in any case he bought the ticket in Vaasa. The same with one Juha Latvala, and perhaps there were a few other young men who went with Hakola, as he was already experienced in going to America.

I remember very well when on 16 February, Tuomas woke me up early, already fully dressed, and ready to go with Karrala (neighbor) to Vaasa, from where he would leave on the next leg of the journey on 18th of February. Vanha-Aiti and I remained behind, crying as Tuomas left. Two days later Hakola Eno left by train from the Tuovila station to Vaasa to join Tuomas for the journey. By an amazing coincidence, on that same day, the notice came from the post office that the ticket from America arrived. Vanha-Aiti then went to the post office, and it was sent back to where it came from (to Blum, originally Blomkvist) Thomas also established a farm in Winlock, married, but died c. 1930.


SEPPALA MIKKO, SEPPALA TUOMAS, SEPPALA JAAKKO

Seppala Mikko (Mike) 13.1.1868-20.3.1933 to Harding, Buffalo, SD
Seppala Thomas 26.4.1874-0.8.1936 to Harding, Buffalo, SD
Seppala Jaakko 14.1.1872-3.3.1936 Lived in Finland
Their parents: Seppala Jaakko, 28 Jun 1834 - 21 Jul 1905 His parents Mikko Seppala *1800 and Liisa Barkar, *1799
  Blad Anna, 14. Sep 1836 - 12 Jan 1914 Her parents Juha Blad and Liisa Ronnbom

MIKKO/MIKE SEPPALA, his brothers and parents were all born Merikaarto, Vahakyro, Finland. Mike emigrated in 1887/1888, came to Lead, South Dakota, met and married Wilma/Hilma Tormala from Finland. Most of the children were born there in Terraville, a community between Lead and Deadwood. Mike worked 15 years for The Homestake Mines, except for a while in Alaska during the "Gold rush". The gold from this area made lovely jewelry, a souvenier of the region, but the life of a large family was hard.

Mike's brother Thomas settled in Harding County, SD, in 1905. He told Mike that it was good farming land. Mike wanted to quit working in the mine, bought ranch land in White River. The river was contanimated by the tailings of the gold mine, so Mike homesteaded in the Cave Hills area, SD, 1908 and moved his family to the homestead location in 1909. They lived in a dugout in Casper Gulch while Mike constructed a 3-room log house. His land patent 7-20N-4E-012-120- was granted on 4.12.1916. Edwin and the younger children were born here.

Cave Hills was part the old buffalo plains, there were good sites for ranches, timber on the slopes and tops of the hills and springs flowing. Large scale range cattle industry flourishhed till 1880's. Then it was set back by weather and market conditions, the big companies went on working, but the number of small herds increased. Mike taught his family to live by the land. They had chickens, pigs and a milk cow, they raised some wheat and had it ground. They also had a herd oif range cattle, and there was plenty of wild game to hunt. Sugar, coffee, some beans and rice were the things bought.

Sons Ted and Reuben held the family ranch after Mike's death, the other children retained the mineral rights. Then oil was found and wells opened on Seppala property. Now the oil is in Seppala Estate. The money is divided between the descendants, so everybody gets a share. Oil also begins to ebb out, so they have to pump air into the oilbearing strata, which gradually degrades the oil, as it becomes mixed with air.

Hilma and Mike and their children, who grew up, three more died in infancy:

Name Birth Cemetery information Homestead grant, LP
Mike _.01.1868 13.1.1868-20.3.1933 7-20N-4E-012-120-4.12.16
Hilma _.02.1872 22.2.1872-23.5.1931  
Jacob B.(Bert) _.08.1893   7-20-4E-11-11….7.1919
Waino W _.09.1894 14.10.1894-26.9.1964 7-21N-4E-33-17.5.1920
Thomas Leo _.11.1895 25.11.95-1987(25.11.95) 7-20-4E-025-19.2.1922
Imby/Embie _.04.1897 11.4.1897-7.5.1931 = Embie Tilus  
Tovis J.(John) 1904 5.2.1914-27.5.1995  
Arnie H.(Harold A) 1905 21.1.1905-22.4.1943  
Ruben S 1906 2.7.1906-30.8.83 7-20-5E-06-18.6.19--
Theodor M 1908 7.4.1907- 7.4.1987  
Edwin W 1910 1.3.1910-14.1.1987  
Victor M.(Niilo?) 1911 21.10.1911-21.10.1983  
Henry R 1913    
Hazel H 1915 2.7.1915-24.5.1931  
Violet L 1917    

The Seppala ranch, South Cave Hills, S. Dacota
Reuben and Ted Seppala, ranchers on old home ranch and Leo Seppala.
Leo and Viola Seppala, son James with family.
Leo Seppala's daughter Donna Uhl and her family.
Niilo and Leona Seppala, son Paul c. 1957

 


MIKE SEPPALA CHILDREN


SEPPALA BERT, or Jacob B, also Pertti, was born in 1893. He married Mamie Oinas. Bert "proved up" a homestead in Harding County, and later became sheriff. They moved to Oregon where he did carpenter work. They had four children, Mabel V, Dorothy, Max Leroy and Marjorie Bell. Dorothy married a Savonen, had son Steve and daughter Crystal.

Daughter Mabel was first married to a Mr Mathre, then to a Merv. She has children Jo Ann, Craig and Erich Mathre. Dorothy Seppala Savonen died early. Her son Steven Joel was only ten and daughter Crystal Allison seven years old. Leo Seppala and his wife Viola raised them. Steven graduated from Air Force Academy, flew in Vietnam war, lives in Colorado and is an orthopedic surgeon. His sister Crystal Allison Savonen Temple is living in Provo, Utah.

Max Seppala and his wife Dorothy are both deceased. Their children are Richard, Arthur, Sherilyn Rolen and W Robert Seppala. Marjorie Seppala Gilmore is married to Russel Gilmore. Ray D. Gilmore, Patty Gilmore Jolson, Thomas P. Gilmore and Victoria Gilmore are their children.

SEPPALA WAINA W, born in 1895, married Sadie Arnio, born. 1906. They homesteaded in the vicinity, LP, 7-21N-4E-33-17.5.1920. Waina served in WW I and later worked for Lawrence County. They had sons Norman, born 1926 and Alfred, 1927 and daughters Verna Seppala Flom, Ina Claire Seppala Roesler, Jeanne Seppala Clark and son Rodney Seppala.

SEPPALA THOMAS LEO married Viola Peterson, born 1903. The Seppala boys had a baseball team of their own and Leo wanted to become a pitcher. Father Mike mortgaged his cattle to send Leo to business college in Omaha. Leo took the census, riding from farm to farm on horseback, he owned a garage, sheared sheep, played baseball, worked in the bank in Buffalo and then started and owned his own bank in Edgemont, SD. He visited Finland twice, gave his cousin Hanna Seppala a neclace made with gold from the Homestake mine. The necklace now belongs to Reijo Seppala's granddaugter. Leo's daughter Donna married Deanne Uhl and has children Wendy Rae Martin Burnett, Bradley Dean Uhl and Dana Lynn Crook.

Leo and Viola also had an adopted son James Thomas, his widow Gillette lives in Wyoming and they have children Joleen Seppala, McIlravy, LeRoy, Linda Seppala Sibila, Michael Seppala and Susan Diane Seppala.

SEPPALA > TILUS IMBY/EMBIE MARY 1897-7.5.1931. EMBIE married Waina Tilus. They had 2 boys: Reino R.Tilus, Carl W Tilus and 1 daughter Edna Helen Tilus Tufte. Embie died of tuberculosis along with her mother and sister Edna "Hazel". It was like this: A former minister in their community had moved to Minnesota. In his parish he had a young girl who had tuberculosis. The minister wanted to help her and thought a trip to South Dakota might be good for her. He knew that Mrs Seppala (Hilma) was a nice lady and would welcome them into her house. The minister and the girl were at the Seppala house as guests for about a week. Embie lived close by with her family and visited the house. Edna Hazel was 16 years old at the time. All three came down with the disease after they left. That was a terrible turn of events, which, because of an act of kindness, caused the death of three family members.

SEPPALA JOHN D. 7.4.1903 - 19.11.1978, was a WW I veteran and remained a bachelor. He road the railroads from New Orleans to Seattle a length of time, then came back to Harding County and herded sheep for his brothers Reuben and Ted.

SEPPALA HAROLD Arno, 21.1.1905-22.4.1943, married Ida Ruona and they had two children-Ina Hawk and Dale Seppala. Harold worked as a salesman.

SEPPALA REUBEN Samuel, 2.7.1906-30.8.83, was a bachelor. He and Ted were in partnership on the home ranch that they bought from their sisters and brothers. It was Reuben who first hit his spade in oil.

SEPPALA THEODORE, 7.4.1907-4.10.1989, land patent 7-20-4E-1-16.7.1952. His wife was called Rose. Their marriage was childless. Ted kept the ranch jointly with his brother Reuben. The oil boom appeared during their time of possession.

SEPPALA EDWIN W. 1.3.1910-14.1.1987, lived in Arvada, Jefferson, CO with his wife Catherine (Kay). They had no children. Edwin served in France and England in WWII, graduated from the School of Mines and Technology and became a banker in Colorado.

SEPPALA NIILO, 21.10.1911-1.10.1983. Census records refer to him as Victor M or Vickler M. He was a deep believer and worked within the Pentcostal Church as a preacher. He made N Y Mills, Otter Tail, MN his residence, together with his wife Leona and son Paul.

SEPPALA HENRY P., born 1914, ran a cemetery in Oregon. His wife was Evelyn Magneson, his son Michael Seppala, daugters Mary Ellen Seppala Tolonen and Barbara Seppala Hjorten Wellas.

SEPPALA HAZEL E., 2.7.1915- 24.5.1931. See Embie for her story.

SEPPALA>ANTILLA (Anttila) VIOLET, 1918-2003, married Charles Antilla. They had sons Ted, Rodney, and Dave and a daughter Vicky.

MIKE'S BROTHERS THOMAS AND JACOB SEPPALA

SEPPALA Thomas (Tom), born Merikaarto, Vahakyro, Finland on 26.4.1874. He emigrated in 1896 and came to Harding, Buffalo, SD in 1905. He also encouraged brother Mike to settle there. He never married.

SEPPALA JAAKKO, born 14.1.1872 in Merikaarto, Vahakyro, Finland. He resided in Merikaarto, married Liisa Myntti. Their daughter Hanna was a seamstress and never married, their son Vaino was a tailor, married Sanni Hakola. Sanni and Vaino had an adopted son Reijo Seppala.
Several descendants of Mike Seppala can be reached as well as the Finnish side.

KAUPPI FIINA

Josefiina Kauppi, born Vahakyro on 25.SEP 1888, emigrated c. 1930.
Her parents: Jaakko Juhanpoika Kauppi, born 9 AUG 1853
  Amanda Kauppi, born 2.JAN.1855.

 

FIINA KAUPPI emigrated late. Most emigrants of her age had left before 1920. She headed for Canada, which was "in" at that time. She met a Finn, a Mr Mack, married and had a daughter Eila. Eila Married a Laitinen, had two children: Karen or Kaarina and Kevin. Fiina's brother Jaakko Kauppi, born 15 OCT 1892, also emigrated, met and married his wife Tyyne, who returned to Finland when she realized that she was pregnant. Jaakko followed soon after. They built a house by Merikaarto rapids at Holttila. Fiina and Jaakko's sister Maria married Mikko Raukko and raised a family in Merikaarto.

From right: Fiina Kauppi Mack, her stepdaughter, her daughter Eila Laitinen. In front: Eila's daughter Karen.

 


KNOOKA HILJA ELINA

Juha Knooka > Kiviranta, born 25.9.1870, died 22.5.1954
Sanna Knooka > Koskiniemi, born 6.8.1874, died 17.10.1944
Jaakko Knooka, born 31.1.1879
Hilja Elina Knooka > Lehti > Mannonen, born 20.5.1884, died Fort Bragg, California.
Viljami Knooka, born 12.2.1891 died 16.6.1921
Their parents: Jaakko Jaakonpoika Knooka, born 11.5.1846, died 23.12.1914, a crofter.
  Liisa Jaakontytär Heikkilä, born 24.3.1849, died 10.1.1934

 

The parents Jaakko and Liisa made plans to emigrate in 1886. This may have come true, as their daugter Hilja Elina's obit states that " she was brought to California in 1889. The family then returned and Hilja Elina emigrated again later on.

KNOOKA > Koskiniemi Sanna lived in Merikaarto, close to Knooka place. She married Juha Koskiniemi and had nine children.
KNOOKA Juha, a blacksmith, lived in Merikarto, received a blacksmith's training in the Swedish area and spoke both languages. He adopted the name Kiviranta. There are a lot of descendants and the line is hot.

KNOOKA > LEHTI > MANNONEN Hilja Elina emigrated in 1903. A letter from her makes it understood that she was staying in Montana. Her uncle in Finland was a salt sea captain, so she married a sea captain, Carl Oscar Lehti from Pyhamaa, Finland. Their two daughters were born in Aberdeen, WA. Daughter Martha worked as a typist at Acct. Dept. for Southern Pacific Company. She married Arthur P. Songey and lived at least in Lafayette and Walnut Creek, California. They have sons Don Arthur and Norman A., born Berkeley/Oakland, California.

Hilja Elina's second husband in 1924 was Anton Mannonen. The license for marriage was dated 26.12.1923 for Anton and 2.1.1924 for Hilja E. Anton Mannonen was born 24.1.1877 on Lavansaari island in the Gulf between Finland and Estonia. The contact to Finland dropped off after this marriage and has been revived only recently.
Tony Mannonen was a salt sea sailor since 1901, but started a farm at the mouth of Noyo River, in Fort Bragg, California. That may have been c. 1925. The locality was also good for catching salmon in the Pacific. The catch was big and they turned a two-car garage into a smokehouse.

Their son Eugene Edward was born in San Fransisco, CA 9.1.1925, was unmarried, and died in Willits, California on 11.7.1994.

Their second son Walter Mannonen was born 15.12.1926 Fort Bragg, CA. He worked for The Union Lumber Company, served in the WWW II and then ten years as meter reader for Fort Bragg Water Company. Walter Mannonen died in a road accident on 10.1.1968. His car came out of the road and he was thrown out of the wreck. His body was found only next morning. Walter Mannonen married Marion R. Ford of Willits, Ca. Their children are Walter A. Mannonen and Virginia Lee Mannonen. She was first married to John Dockham and then to Sherril J. Viale.

There is a live connection to Lehti and Mannonen descendants and Knooka descendants in Finland.

Hilja Elina Knooka, Lehti, Mannonen born 20.5.1884
Hilja Elina Knooka
Martha Lehti, Songey and her sons Don and Norman Songey.
Walter A. Mannonen with his son.


KUKKO > ISAACSON MIKKO and his siblings.

Susanna Kukko > Koskela, born 4.8.1866, stayed in Vahakyro
Juha Kukko b. 25.6.1870, died in America.
Isaac Kukko > Hilden, born 29.5.1873, died in America
Mikko/Mike Kukko > Isaacson, born 20.4.1877, died in America
Maria Kukko, born 24.5.1880, died in America in 1908.
Their Parents: Iisakki Jaakonpoika Kukko, born 13.11.1836
  Maria Mikontytär Vaha-Sauso, born 5.11.1840

 

Father Isak Kukko in Merikaarto had a horse and he transported mostly merchandise long distances, e.g. over the Gulf of Bothnia in winter. He is told to have pulled a printing machine from Hameenlinna to Vaasa in a time when the Finnish railroad did not extend further north than to Hameenlinna. His house and stable still stand close to Merikaarto suspension bridge. His cousin Jaakko Hilden was the last Kukko holder of their third of Kukko farm.

KUKKO > KOSKELA, Susanna married Tuomas Koskela, who emigrated, but returned. Their daughter Maria Lyydia Koskela > Saarinen had three children: Olavi, Anni and Aino. Their second daughter Elsa had one daughter Elvi > Marttila.

KUKKO ISAAC settled in Colorado, where he worked as a miner. His wife ran a boarding house. Isaac came to live with his brother Mikko after his wife died.

KUKKO MIKE, (Isaacson in the USA), emigrated together with his future wife Johanna Knuuttila, born 14.7.1881. Her mother was also a Kukko, but not very close. Before leaving, they were photographed in front of Mike's home. Their granddaughter Ruth Lysne of Minnesota was photographed standing on the same spot a century later.

Ruth Lysne in grandfather's footsteps. Her grandparents Mikko (Kukko) Isaksson and Johanna Knuuttila were also photographed in front of the Koskela House in Merikaarto when leaving for the States.


They settled in Duluth, and Mike worked as a plasterer. Johanna and Mike had a son Arthur, an engineer living in New York. He married Dorothy Moire and had two sons, Arthur Jr, an engineer and Robert, a dentist. The boys returned to Minnesota.

Lillian married Edward Norling. Their daughter Ruth > Lysne worked as a high school teacher at Faribault School in Northfield, MI. Ruth married Merle Jeronimus. They lived in California and had a daughter, Penny.

Ruth Lysne family in Minnesota, Elvi Marttila and the Saariens in Finland can be reached.

The Isaksson family: Mikko Isaksson, wife Johanna Knuuttila and son Arthur in front from the left, Merle Jeronimus and wife Ruth Isaksson, Edward Norling and wife Lillian holding Ruth and Arthur's wife Dorothy behind. Art's sons Art Jr and Robert stand at the sides.

 

TUOMAS (KUKKO) SALMINEN

Tuomas Kukko, born 1850.11.29 Merikaarto, died 1920.04.01 Ashburnham, Massachusetts.
  His parents Mikkel Raukko > Kukko, born 29.10.1815 Tervajoki, Vahakyro
  Susanna Kukko, born 24.1.1814 Merikaarto
Spouse Serafia Holtti, born 1851.03.14 Merikaarto, died 1934.01.04 Ashburnham.
  Her parents Mikko Vanhala>Holtti, born 1.1.1808 Vahakyro
  Maria Mikontytar Holtti, born 12.12.1813 Merikaarto
Their children
Mike Salminen(Mikko Kukko) 1870.11.26
Frank Salminen (/Franz Josef Kukko 1876.02.02
John Salminen (Johannes Kukko) 1879.08.03/05
Marie Salminen Waltari(Maria Aliina Kukko) 1881.10.08
Charles Salminen (Kalle Kukko) 1884.10.03
Emil Salminen (Kukko) 1887.08.30
Fina Salminen Forsell (Serafiina Kukko) 1889.11.01
Hilma Salminen Salo(Kukko) 1892.02.01

 

TUOMAS KUKKO held one third of Kukko farm after his parents. His father Mikko Raukko>Kukko was Kukko son-in-law. His first wife Susanna Kukko, Thomas' mother, was a true heir to the estate. Their farm was on the river Kyrönjoki, in Merikaarto, Vahakyro, c. 15 miles southeast of Vaasa.
Tuomas and Serafia sold the farm to the Svenns family about 1886 and In June 1887 they came to the United States. They went to New York Mills, Minnesota, where they had relatives of the Holtti family.

They had five children at the time. Their sixth child, Emil, was born in New York Mills, the only child to be born in the United States. Tuomas and Serafia Kukko returned to Finland in 1888 or 1889 and lived in Nivala, Finland, which is inland and N-E of Kokkola. The visit was not long and the family came back to the United States some time between 1892 and 1894. They again went to New York Mills, Minnesota.
In July 1905 they moved to Ashburnham, Massachusetts, U.S.A., where they remained untill they died. After arriving in Massachusetts grandfather changed his name from Tuomas Kukko to Thomas Salminen. The contact in the American end is fading.


MIKKO TRASTI

Mikko Trasti Family      
       
Mikko Simonpoika 22.10.1853 Trasti USA 1886, 1893 and 1899, returned each time.
Liisa Jaakontytär 21.10.1851 Tomti/Myntti stayed at home at all time
Simon 11.6.1876   USA 1894
Mikko 17.9.1878   USA 1892
Eliina 23.2.1881   Married Lehtinen in Finland
Johannnes 4.8.1883   14.4.1902 Returned, died in Finland 22.7.1923
Elviira 25.6.1886   USA 1907 Married Akkola
Lyydia Elisabet 23.6.1892   USA 14.4.1902 Returned, died in Finland 10.3.1909

 

Mikko Trasti and family lived in Merikaarto, Vahakyro, Finland. In 1893, the family moved into a house in Kujanperä neighbourhood in Merikaarto. It appears that the house stood on Vaali land. Mikko's mother was a Vaali. The house was left vacant, when the Ritari family emigrated. Their mother Maria Ritari was Mikko's sister. The house was later occupied by Mikko's grandson Seth Lehtinen, son of Mikko's daughter Elina.

Mikko Trasti came to the US the first time in 1886 and returned in 1890, then again on 24 Apr 1894 with two sons Simon and Johannes. Both Simon and Johannes were minors at the time. They settled in a North Eastern Ohio town named Ashtabula, which had a large Finn population and also had and established ship building industry and ports. Mikko seems to have returned, and he emigrated once more in 1899.

As Simon and Johannes became young men, they took off on a journey across America. This occurred very close to the turn of the century. Simon and Johannes made their way from Northern Lakefront Ohio across the Northern States basically walking and picking up odd jobs as they went along. They stopped in Idaho and onto Washington state, where they had photos taken. This was very much at the time of "the old west" in US History.

In or around 1905 they did settle in Seattle Washington. Simon married Hilma Makinen in June 1902 and their oldest son John was born there. Stories are told that from Washington State Simon travelled into Alaska and worked as a lumberjack. John Trasti, his Great grandson, still has the 8 foot long manual hand saw used in logging that has been passed down. Simon and Johannes made their way back to Ashtabula Ohio by 1908 where Simon and Hilma's Swande was born.

Swande and John followed their father to southern Ohio where steamships were being built. Sometime in the very early 1930's Simon worked at a shipbuilding company in southern Ohio, John and Swande accompanied him. The ship being built was the steamer Reliant. Sometime during this period both Johnny and Swande met two sisters who would become their future wives. Eleanor and Hazel Comstock.

Both married in the 1930's and moved back up to Northern lakefront Ohio where shipbuilding industry was growing. Swande and Eleanor lived in Ashtabula, Ohio, and had son Donald. Swande and Donald have collected family information and photos. Donald's son John Trasti works on the family tradition his father and grandfather have accumulated.

The separation from relatives caused troubled mindseither the relatives in the old country lived or passed away. As time went by, Simon's parents passed away in Finland and the children had difficulty keeping track on how things were settled. Simon wrote a letter to a second cousin, saying among others:

Estimated Friend, who are Mr Juha Waali
I have been waiting for information from the native place and haven't heard anything so far, I don't know why.
Mr Juho Waali, I sent a letter to you some time ago authorizing you to represent me in the matter of inheritance after both my parents had passed away. My late sister's son Seth who lives in our home told me to send you a power of attorney, which I did but I haven't heard anything afterwards.
I received a letter from my brother today saying, as also says my sister Elviira, that they fully agree with our mother's last will, including that Juho Lehtinen or his children who inherit their mother, will receive his share in money under the terms our mother has stated. I also want that our mother's orders shall be followed.
- - - -
We three agree with our mother's orders and support them. We don´t want to change them. Here are our names: Simon and Mikko and Elviira Trasti.
Will Mr Juho Waali be so kind as to send us some true and righteous information, Although we are here in America, it doesn't change anything.
-
And then, the late sister's son Seth Lehtinen has the right to live in our home until we here and Seth otherwise agree, only he pays the tax and the fire insurance and maintains the house. He may make use of everything and also sell what exceeds own need.
You may show this letter to anybody and let them read it.
Simon Trasti, Point Pleasant, W.Va. U.S.America



Family tradition also mentions an Alma Trasti, Tienvieri, whose relation with the family is not clear. Nestor Trasti, a half brother of Mikko's, also emigrated. So did Mikko's sister Liisa Trasti Virtanen, after her huband had died, and her sister Maria's family, the Ritaris. There is little information on Mikko's daughter Elviira Trasti Akkola.

Mikko Trasti house in Kujanperä, Merikaarto. It was later occupied by his nephew Seth Lehtinen.
Trasti Simon, Hilma, Mary, John. John was born in 1905.
Simon Trasti's great grandson John Trasti and his wife Moji. The Lehtinen and the Valkama families in Merikaarto are related to them.
John Trasti and his son Justin on a cruise in 1996.

These stories are based on the correspondence with the following descendants: Sharon Sullivan, Leah Tupper, Lydia Green and Alvin Koskinen; Don Songey and Ronald Arms; Pertti Pelto and his mother Jenny Pelto through her memoire; Donna Uhl, Dale Seppala, Dave Seppala, Paul Seppala, Maxine Nelson and Donald Tilus; Myrna Salminen Nancy Gunder and G.F. Gunder; Ruth Lysne and John Trasti. The photos that Hanna Seppala recdeived from America have been of great help.


Amendments, additions and new stories are welcome
at address pauli.kukko(at)netikka.fi.