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Lieutenant Oiva Kivipelto was a bomber pilot; Lieutenant Paul E. Hendrickson was navigator in a `flying boxcar'; Lieutenant Bennet W. Kantola belonged to the Air Force medical corps; Robert William Mäki earned the Purple Heart.

Finns serving in the Philippines toward the end of World War II tell of a compatriot who became famous as a sharpshooter in the mopping-up operations : he had a knack for pinpointing Japs hiding behind trees and up in the branches, and shooting them with lightning speed. It was an easy thing, he claimed: "War is not hard, because you just have to keep your eye on one thing at a time; it was different back home in the Minnesota forest, where you had to keep one eye on the game and with the other watch out for the game warden."

Regarding the number of Finns living in Ely, there have naturally been various figures given over the course of the years. In a survey conducted in 1910 in connection with socialist party activities, it was estimated that there were 650 Finns in Ely, out of a total population of 3,572. Ilmonen, in another connection, stated there were never more than 2,000 Finns in Ely. Finally, and for a later date, the official 1950 Census indicated there were 272 Finnish-born residents in Ely, including a few Swedish-Finns, out of a total population of 5,474.

Winton and its Sawmills

Four miles removed from Ely, and nineteen miles from the Canadian border, lies Winton, where Finns began to arrive after the setting up of big sawmills in 1898. At first some 400 men were employed at these saws, but the figure soon climbed to over a thousand. Work at the mills was seasonal, but the mills did take the men to the forests for logging in the winter months, so year-round employment was assured. The area was organized as a village in the year 1900.

As soon as there were enough Finns in Winton to guarantee not only performers for an evening's social but also for an audience to be present, group activities were begun. The mills gave the Finns a plot of land free of charge, and so the building of the Peoples' Hall was begun in 1902. In spite of its name, it was not originally dependent on socialist support exclusively, although another, a temperance society, was founded soon after the hall was built. However, the latter was active only for 2 or 3 years, until lack of interest and dwindling membership


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