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Juola, Andrew Mickelsen, Emil Kulla and Arnold B. Anderson. Dissension within the Apostolic Lutheran ranks led to the start of a second congregation in 1925, which also built its own church, the important pastor here has been Alex Puotinen.

An Evangelical Lutheran congregation was established in 1901; it remained independent up to 1935, when it joined the National church. The church building was put up in 1904 on land given for this purpose by Kalle Pyykkönen. This church, also, had its own cemetery, where the first to be interred was Henry Niemi, brother of Pastor E. V. Niemi. The latter, incidentally served this congregation which he had founded for more than half a century. He was succeeded by E. P. Lampela, then J. E. Nopola. In the 1930s the congregation had almost 400 members and in 1947 there were still more than 200. Thomson was host, in 1936, to the National church annual convention.

Other Finnish organizations in Thomson included, for a short time, a workers' society established in 1909, with about 20 members, and in the 1930s, a Townsend Club.

Business Undertakings: At about the same time the Thomson farmers bought a thresher jointly and built a mill for themselves, they also purchased jointly the machinery and equipment needed for cheese making. It was delivered to them in 1892, and lacking suitable quarters for the project at the time, the machinery was stored in the empty local jail. They never were able to start their manufacturing project, however, because the machinery was stolen, piece by piece, from its supposedly safe storage place.

Another enterprise had a more promising beginning: in 1911 was established the Finnish Local Farmers Mutual Fire Insurance Company, which carried 262 policies in 1918, covering more than $300,000 in values. The first board of directors was comprised of John E. Sunnarborg, chairman; Albert Olson, secretary; Matti Johnson, treasurer; and Henry Hiukka, John C. Johnson, Nels Johnson, Joseph Juntunen, J. Alfred Kusicko and Charles Pantsari. The holocaust in October 1918 could have spelled disaster for the company, for there were 114 claims submitted simultaneously, but about 150 other Minnesota insurance companies came to the rescue, as did the State of Minnesota itself. Later, the company was able to expand operations to a point where its policies were sold in more than 50 Minnesota townships, but Thomson remained its headquarters as its constitution called for. In 1952 its name was changed to Esko Mutual Fire Insurance Company; at that time the company had 1,350 policies, covering property valued at more than $6,000,000.


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