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The local Finns have had a small Baptist church; a temperance society, the Taisto (Struggle), which was affiliated with the Minnesota Temperance League and which was still active in the 1940s; a small workers' society, which later became communist. There was a Finnish relief committee, with Mike Krause as chairman. The store owned by Mike Sorvari is one of the biggest locally, but there is also the Northern Farmers Cooperative Society, begun in 1920, when it also joined the Cooperative Central. The first directors of this enterprise consisted of 11 men, all born in Finland; three decades later, one old Finn was left, together with 7 second-generation Finns and 3 Americans.


The name of Victor Taipale, mentioned in many instances in these pages, belongs to the history of Beatty, for this is the story he tells : "More than a century ago there arrived here from Nurmo, Finland, one Johan Nyybacka and his wife Maija (Leppilahti.) They had two sons, Herman and Jacob, and two daughters, Elisabeth and Susanna. These four, and their descendants, have cleared for farming the wilderness of almost the entire Township of Beatty in Minnesota." Susanna's son was Victor Taipale. In the year 1900, there were but 12 inhabitants in Beatty, located north of Owens and Cook; in 1910 there were 53, and in 1920 there were 139. Charles Lappi served for many years as supervisor of the township.

The tale of Finnish pioneers in Beatty was very much the tale of them all in this northern wilderness. Typical of their story is the one Matt Laakkonen told: "Clearing a place to live in this wilderness was the hardest task I ever undertook. I started to fell trees to get the logs I needed. I did that all day, lopping off branches and trimming the logs, and then I put my axe down and began to wonder why I had ever begun such a laborious task. Wondering about it didn't help, so I went back to work, and it was not until after a few hours more of that backbreaking labor that I threw down the axe with a curse. That evening such a horde of mosquitoes swarmed out of the nearby swamps that I knew I would have to dig drainage ditches, too, if I stayed." By autumn Laakkonen was ready to leave everything and go back to Virginia, but each time he made up his mind to go, some little thing like the chirping of the birds, a rosy sunset, or the sight of his flourishing potato patch made him put it off. "And here I still am," the pioneer admitted, half a century later.


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