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even among children in the schools, who have collected and compiled a local history on their own.

More than 50 Finns of Vermilion Lake Township served in World War II. Of them, Ray J. Hiltunen and Carl P. Hujanen sacrificed their lives.


One summer day in the 1890s - the precise year is apparently no longer recalled - a party of six Finns left Virginia to look for land for themselves. They were Herman Johnson (a surveyor), John Karjala, John Kivelä, John Latvala (also called `Baker' Mattson), Salomon Mänty and John Willman. They eventually hiked into Pike, and there Karjala, who was the oldest in the group, sat down on a rock at a point where the Sandy and Pike rivers meet, and said, "This is my land - and there have to be four `quarters' to it." Today, the oldest house in the region stands right there, but Karjala actually had to wait for seven years before that land was his, for someone before him had already signed for this land grant acreage. His house, however, was ready to move into at Christmas, 1896, and others followed. But in those early years much had to be done by everybody pitching in for the common good : that was the way the forest trail was widened into a passable road, vestiges of which could still be pointed out more than half a century later.

With the lands being low-lying stretches along the Pike, floods presented a recurring danger. Every year there was the breaking of the ice in the Pike, and at other times of the year torrential rains might also make the waters rise dangerously. In September 1900 the water rose so high that one could row by boat through the windows into the farmhouse of August Matts.

The first wedding celebrated in Pike was that of Gust Kivelä and Hilda Lundström, in August 1908. The first white child born in Pike was Edward Matts, who left Pike as a young man, like so many others, and who died of a heart attack in Virginia at the age of 50.

Many other Finns lie buried in Pike, which is big enough to have two Finnish cemeteries. One of them, the West Side Cemetery, was started when Henry Jacobson (Karjala) offered an acre of land for that purpose, "because it is too far to carry the dead all the way across the township." John Jacobson (Petäjä) and Jack Finn helped the donor to clear the land, fence it, and erect a big black cross in the center. Pastor John Rankkila came in August 1902 to dedicate the site. Alma Laulunen, who


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