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Populism, the Free Silver movement and Catholicism. Back in 1880 one Finnish journalist argued that many Finns had let the Republicans frighten them into the belief that any non-Republican administration would lead the country to disaster: he concluded that, "in their ignorance the majority of Finns considered the Democratic party as the devil's or the pope's own party." One miner wrote : "Work is still going on in the Democratic party tempo, that is to say, one earns enough for a bowl of soup." Another Finn complained that "the wages were Democratic."

Times soon improved in Sebeka, however. During World War I, for example, there was already such a shortage of meat that a local correspondent wrote in terms of wonder: "How can there be any livestock left at all in our area when a week ago another 12 carloads went to the stockyards? One would think them on the point of extinction." During those war years, too, a flight from the land was in full progress, and in the newspapers there were advertisements of farms for sale, as many as one hundred of them in one single issue of a paper.

To return to the early period of Finnish settlement, one of the gravest predicaments of the Sebeka area pioneers was the question of money: How could farm produce be turned into cash? Dairy farming seemed to offer the answer, and if it was not on a large scale at first, every farmer kept at least a few cows. In the first years butter was churned on the farm and taken to the New York Mills stores, 30 miles away, where it brought the producer 16c a pound. This money, in turn, was spent for supplies and staples and carried back to the farms. Later, when the village of Sebeka was founded, the market was closer, and it became easier to exchange butter for other needed supplies, without money having to change hands at all.

When herds continued to grow and the production of cream increased, a middleman appeared in town, a man who purchased the cream and shipped it off to be churned elsewhere. However, if a middleman could profit from such an enterprise, the farmers began to think of joint effort which would permit them to keep the profits themselves. The meeting which started the cooperative dairy was held in 1908, and a first, temporary board of directors was elected: Matti Lindula became chairman; Abram Matti, vice-chairman; Benjamin Pantsari, secretary; Arvid Lantto, alternate. Other members included Fred Mattila, Gust Kuukas and Antti Luukkonen, all Finns. A month later a formal organization took place, and Jacob Blom became chairman; Fred Mattila, vice-chairman; Matt Pinoniemi, secretary; John Weappa, treasurer;


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