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of the original pioneers, Simeon Palkki, born in Finland in 1812, managed to work his farm in Thomson for seven years before his death in 1880. Lassi Moilanen was still another of the 1873 arrivals, but a decade later he sold his land. Of the two Nelsons who came, Henry stayed, but Jacob sold out and left the state altogether. All in all, however, more came than left, and in 1885 there were in Thomson 25 men, 21 women, 27 young girls and 24 boys. Together, they owned 420 acres of land at that time and possessed 55 cows, 14 oxen and 11 horses.

The order in which progress was made called for building a cabin first, of course, clearing a bit of forest, then clearing land for crops. Hayfields were relatively easy to establish here, and haying could begin promptly. Up to 1895, the hay was cut with scythes, but then John Juntti bought a mower and soon others followed suit. Getting potatoes, a Finnish staple, was more difficult, but that was solved when Isaac Raattamaa managed

to introduce `early rose,' a good variety, which was promptly planted on every farm. It was not until some time after hay and potatoes were standard that the growing of grain was introduced. The first harvesting was done by hand, with sickles for reaping, and it was not until 1893 that the farm

ers banded together to buy the first thresher for the community. Abraham Mällinen owned the first reaper-thresher combine.

Although the harvests were incredibly good in those early years in this virgin soil - sometimes three barrels of rye from one bushel of seed - there was still the problem of having the grain ground. There was no mill anywhere near, and the roads were so poor that it was impossible, at least in spring and fall, to drive tens of miles to a mill and back. Again the solution was cooperative effort to build a mill on Erick Palkki's farm, at the river's edge, and again the work was completed with all the proper facilities for building it far from available but successfully improvised, forging done without a forge, suitable rock found


Thomson's first school, now a garage. The school
was built in 1887, it was also used as a church and
Rev. Abram Mallinen conducted his first confirma
tion class in this building.


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