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the area toward the end of the 1870s, and so the petition for forming the new township was signed by at least the following Finns Jacob Anderson (Pernula), Isaac Carlund, John Fräki, Nilys Johnson, Gustav Wakkinen and Isaac West.

The first Finns found paying jobs in the forests, and even at a later date there was still money to be earned from timbering: hewing ties for the railroads and hauling them out of their woods to New York Mills used to bring 25c per tie. (In 1953 such ties cost $2.75 each.)

Otto Township has two Apostolic Lutheran cemeteries : the Woodland and Prairie cemeteries, in the forest and prairie country respectively. The former lies three miles south of New York Mills and a half mile to the west of the Newton Township border, between what used to be the farms of Matti Litous and William Anttila. Litous used to sell the cemetery lots and take care of the maintenance of Woodland. The first to be buried there was Gustaf Wiik, and after him more than fifteen hundred Finns are estimated to have been buried there. The Prairie Cemetery was established in 1886, near Rush Lake, some eight miles southwest of New York Mills. The first to be buried there were Pekka Pohjonen and Pekka Määttä, and after them more than a hundred Finns have been interred there.

The total population of the township amounted to 465 in 1890, climbed to 557 in 1900, and then dropped to 522 in 1910.

Homestead Township

Due north of Newton, this was established in 1880. The first Finns here, constituting the first Finns north of New York Mills, were (in 1882) Andrew Kuukas, Peter Nevala, Gustaf Savi and John Tolppi. The township's total population in 1890 was 174, then 426 in 1900, but only 381 in 1910. These statistics reveal clearly the development in all the New York Mills region townships : up to the turn of the century the population kept increasing, and Finns played a significant part in that increase, but by then all available lands were occupied and the families raised; and when the farm youth failed to find sufficient work at home, they moved away to towns. After the first ones left and prospered in their new environments, a real flight from the land ensued, a phenomenon familiar in all farm families, Finnish as well as other.


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