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During World War I, more than 1,500 young men from Virginia served in the armed forces, among them innumerable Finns, of whom Arvid I. Hill, Ola H. Strand and Pedro Stuppa fell in battle. In World War II, which involved hundreds of Virginia's Finnish Americans, Filmer Heikkilä, Herbert Koskela, Larry Esala and Wayne Lehto gave their lives.

- Finally, to conclude this report on Virginia, estimates of the numbers of Finns living there have varied considerably. According to Ilmonen, there were more than 5,000, but at the time of his writing (1926) the total population of Virginia was just over 10,000, and the majority of population was certainly not Finnish. The 1930 Census, incidentally, lists the total population as 11,963, with 12,264 in 1940 and 12,486 in 1950. Although the total population of Virginia has remained relatively unchanged, it is clear that the Finnish element present has been in constant decline, so that, according to Moilanen in 1950, the number of first generation Finns had certainly dropped to below one thousand. Actually, the official Census statistics of 1950 credited Virginia with 830 Finns, and even that figure included a few Swedish-speaking Finns.


Just to the east of Virginia, in the same township of Missabe, is a community called Gilbert, which began its development with the opening there of the Genoa Mine. The first ore, slightly more than 17,000 tons, was brought forth from that mine in 1896, but production increased year after year until by 1920 some 8,000,000 tons had been mined and sent out to world markets. Since other mineral deposits were also discovered on the scene, a permanent settlement developed there, and this in turn led to the development of a community, named Sparta, and characterized by an overwhelmingly Finnish population.

Konstant Kykyri mentions that the first permanent residents of Sparta were two Finns, Matti Anderson and Erick Lakson, who moved there from Tower. Picking out land for themselves along the `main street,' both settled down to become the community's first businessmen. Anderson, for example, ordered a barrel of beer when he ordered building supplies sent in to him, and no sooner was the floor laid for his saloon than he was already selling beer to the thirsty, according to Kykyri in his telling about the early days of Sparta in the Siirtokansan Kalenteri for 1955. Soon after this start, Finns began to arrive in droves, and it was


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