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to have dropped from sight, for no subsequent records make mention of him, but one Erick Nulus is said to have been a farm laborer who died in Franklin in the early 1870s. Again, however, records make no mention of him, while an obituary notice in the 31 December 1881 issue of Uusi Kotimaa does state that "this is to inform you that my dear husband, Salomon A. Podas, died after a long illness on 25 December at 10: 55 in Cokato, Minnesota, having lived 50 years, 6 months and 17 days. Anna Greda Podas.''

To survive Minnesota's winters the first task of the settlers was to build shelter for their families and for what scant livestock they possessed. Having settled in a region where forests bordering the river met the hay fields of the prairie, both forest and plain offered building materials. For example, Antti Rovainen made his cabin of logs and roofed it with turf cut from the fields, and for his only cow he built a simple shelter, a tentlike double row of poles, spaced a foot apart, with the spaces packed with hay and twigs. When November came and summer had suddenly given way to the grey of approaching winter and snow, life was confined to these simple cabins with their rough walls, and to the cattle shelters and the woodpiles, connected by paths trampled down in the snow. An open fire lighted the cabin and warmed it during the long winter evenings, and melted the snow drifting in under the door sill. The howling of wolves became a familiar sound, and the footprints of deer around cabins was a familiar

sight. 5

That first winter, on 17 February 1866, the wife of Matti Pokema (Bokema) gave birth to a boy, who was given the name Isaac. He was the first Finnish child born in Franklin. This new settlement was sparsely populated, but everyone in it lived close to one another. Matt Niemi-Johnson's homestead was in the Camp region, in section 5-112-33 on the map, while his son Matt Junior owned the homestead in section 20-112-33, two miles away. Peter Lahti had settled down in Birch Cooley in section 12-112-34, and Matti Pokema's land was in 1-112-34. Mikko Heikka had not taken title to any land as yet, but lived by clearing land for others or by trapping, until 1872. There is no land office recording of Antti Rovainen's farm, but all of these settlers were close neighbors, and the distance between their homes was on the average a mile or two. 6 In spite of living as close as this to one another, life for the pioneer women seemed

5. Ida Juhanna Rovainen interview. WPA Archives, St. Paul, Minnesota. 6. Curtiss-Wedge, op. cit. p. 339.


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