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The social and economic status of emigrants in the year 1909 was tabulated as follows


Farmers (freeholders)    





Farmers' sons & daughters    





Tenant farmers    





Tenant farmers' sons &







Property owners, merchants


Leaseholders and retired    


and seamen    






Others employed in farming ....



(A total of 13,163 persons engaged

in farming activities)

This year of 1909 cited as an example is just one in that series of years of maximum emigration. Some changes in classification did take place, but a study by Kolehmainen on the changes in Finnish immigration 74 show that the percentages remained fairly constant throughout the period 1901-1915.

Skills learned at home in Finland had much to do with the possibilities of earning a living and the area of settlement in the new surroundings, but the geographical scattering within the great area of the United States was also influenced by many other factors, of which pure chance and, above all, the available roads and routes, cannot be called the least significant.

The Trip

On foot, or by horse-drawn cart, sometimes by rowboat, perhaps even by train, the young men and women began their long journey. There were no great preparations involved, no crowds of friends to bid them farewell. A few clothes were crammed into a knapsack, some food was wrapped into a package, and that was all, except with the fortunate ones who might have had a small suitcase with them. If the departure was not a secret one, father came out into the yard to shake hands in farewell, with mother sobbing quietly at the threshold and sisters at the gate to wave their kerchiefs. Some turned their footsteps toward the coastline cities of the Gulf of Bothnia, to take ship to Sweden, from there to go to Stockholm and Göteborg to take a bigger ship to England, either Hull or Liverpool, there to board the steamer that was to take them across the Atlantic. Others were already in Norway, or trudged across Lapland to Hammerfest, where they could find work enough to support themselves and in a couple of summers have money enough to buy a steamer ticket for the Atlantic crossing. That is what Johan Piippo did, one the first Finns to

73. Päivälehti, May 20, 1914.

74. Siirtokansan Kalenteri 1945.


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