This week I will introduce you to my *fathers paternal relatives.
We have to go back to Isak, in Finland. Isak was born out of wedlock to Liisa Greta Lahti Yliniemi on September 19, 1857. His mother was a widow who farmed, and his father was a farmhand named Juho Mattias Ala.
In June of 1880 he began the first leg of his trip to America. Young men were being drafted, Finland was under Russian rule at this time. Isak crossed the river to Sweden and shortly after that made a raft out of logs and along with several friends they floated down the Muonio and Torino rivers to get on a sailing ship to America. He was not only illegitimate but a draft dodger.
He arrived in New York City..traveled on and settled in French Lake Minnesota. He became sick with typhoid fever. After he recovered he helped to build the Apostolic Lutheran Church in French Lake. He met Margaretta while working on the church and they were married November 29, 1885.
Margaretta was born April 3, 1867 in Finland to Briita Lissa and Alexander Impola. Isak would have been 28 and Margaretta would have been 18 years old when they were married.
They would become parents to thirteen children. While in French Lake Margaretta would give birth to six children, Greta who died as an infant, Maria, Joseph, Samuel, Isacki and Mikael.
Times were tough, so Isak decided to move his family north. He traveled with two horses, a colt, cook stove, barrel of salt pork, and three small children Marie ( Mary) age nine, Joe age 7 and Sam (My Grandfather) age 5. They travelled 170 miles north on wilderness roads, he homesteaded a parcel of land in Toad Lake Township Becker County Minnesota. He built a 10’ x 10’ home for Margaretta. She followed by train in October of 1896 with Isacki age 4 and Mikeal age 2. Isak was late picking her up in New York Mills..and while she was waiting she gave birth to John.
Imagine her thoughts of six children in a 10’ x 10’ house? She had to put the children outside while she made their beds. Levi, Ethel, Esther, Ida, Charles and William would join the family. Isak would build her a larger house:)
* Thanks to my sister Julie and my cousin Will for their tireless research.