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result of an incident in 1946, when an American found only Finnish being spoken at the Kalevala switchboard. The incident resulted in a `letter to the Editor' which the Star Gazette published, and then a flood of letters pro and con, some of them vehement, and one perhaps ironic: "Where is Kettle River? I had thought mass immigration to the United States had been ended. Where are these people from? Are they war refugees? In that case, let them speak Finnish. I had intended to take up missionary work in China or Mesopotamia, but I have changed my mind. How can one get to Kettle River? Are there any kind of trails into the area? Are guides available? Are the aborigines warlike? Does one need an interpreter? It is amazing to hear that there is a spot in the United States where the local people do not speak or understand English, in this Year of Our Lord 1946."

This was a wilderness region in the 1880s, with a swiftly running Kettle River draining endless swamps, thick forests filled with wolves and bears and mosquitoes, and a beginning of timber operations, with a few logs being hauled to the river's edge, waiting to be floated downstream. It was this possibility of work to be had that sent a few exploring into this wilderness, who liked what they saw and marked out homestead sites for themselves. Soon there were small homesteads being lived on, each with its clearing, its cabin, surrounded by its forests filled with game.

Indeed, the hard times, the depression years in the 1890s brought many Finns to these homestead lands, for at least there no one faced starvation. In Eagle Township, for example, Joseph Larson (Seppänen) came with his wife Eeva and their four children in 1891. The following year it was Matti Heikkilä and his wife Sophia; their oldest daughter, Ada, was the first white child bron in Eagle Town. In 1893 there were several more: Kalle Saarela and his family, widower Antti Ainala, Isak Mäki and his family, and Mrs. Mäki's sister Maria Helström, who also took a homestead site for herself, Daniel Sangala and his wife, William Saarela, who later married the widow Kristiina Granlund, Peter Kärkkäinen, who married widow Erika Muilu from Kalevala, Arvid T. Niemi, who married Henna Hiltunen, Gust Jussila and his wife, William Peterson (Pulkkinen) and his wife, Abraham Klaavo and his wife, Abraham's brother Louis Larson, who became Cromwell's first Finnish shopkeeper and married a girl newly arrived from Finland, Lydia Pollari.

Albert Johnson (Hietala) had come to Eagle Town in 1890; he built a cabin on Kreeta Peura's homestead land and eventually married her. Bertha Lehto and Cornelia Olson were two more


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