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counties which lie south of the river make up the most fertile regions of the state. A hoe hardly ever strikes rock, and nothing interrupts the smooth flow of plain to a distant horizon. Perhaps it can be said that the climate there is too warm for the Finns in summer, the hardwood forests unhomelike, or that the choicest lands were already picked by others anyway when the Finns arrived, but still, the almost complete absence of Finns seems unusual, since in the same state, only a few hundred miles farther north, there have lived tens of thousands of them. Red Wing in 1900 had more than 7,000 inhabitants, but all Goodhue County had only two Finns, and ten years later the figures were 9,048 - and still two - respectively.6 These two sole exceptions were Johan West (Vestola) who had come to Red Wing in 1871 and had worked first as a lumberjack near the city and then later had turned to farming, and Maria Katariina Esko, who was married to a Swede, P. Johnson, with whom she had come to Red Wing in 1866. When Ilmonen met her in 1914, she had already forgotten every word of Finnish she had ever known.7 In 1940 Goodhue County's population had grown to 31,564 and in 1950 to 32,118, but not a single Finn was left. In spite of that, during Finland's Winter War in 1939-40, there were Finnish aid committees in both Red Wing and Zumbrota, with Raleigh R. Albrecht and Walter R. Grimm serving as chairmen respectively.8

Goodhue County, already considered in this chapter, served as a gateway through which the Finns arrived in Minnesota. In what follows, the other counties of southern Minnesota will be considered, in alphabetical order.9

Blue Earth: In the first decade of the century there was one Finn; in 1920, two; in 1950, one, who lived in Mankato. During the Winter War there was an Aid Finland Committee, with W. P. Willard as chairman.

Brown: In 1920, two Finns; 1930, three; 1940, one - and after that there were none. There was a Finnish aid committee in New Ulm, sponsored by the Daily Journal.

Cottonwood: During World War I there were three Finnish farmers near Westbrook: Hans Hanson (Niemi), who had come in 1878 from Kemi with his wife Kaisa nee Kokkila and their son John J. Hanson; and Johan Jolberg and Abram Keskitalo, both from Tyrnävä.

6. U. S. Census of Population, 1900 and 1910.

7. Ilmonen, S. op. cit. II, p. 146.

8. Halonen, Arne, Minnesota's Help to Finland. Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1940. p. 13. 9. Halonen, Arne, together with 1900-1950 U. S. Census.


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