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In the year 1900 there were 15 white inhabitants here, a decade later 287. When the administration was being organized in 1906, the Finns wanted to name this township Deer or Moose, for very obvious reasons. Moose seemed to meet with approval until it was reported that the name was already in use, so it was named Buyck, after Charles Buyck, and was called that for a dozen years, when the name was changed officially to Portage. At the time this change was made, several Finns served in administrative posts : William Lipponen as township president, Perry Franck and Valentin Sinsta as supervisors, and John H. Laine as treasurer. One of the pioneers of the town, A. N. Wene (born in Rauma, Finland) died in battle in France in World War I. In the next war, Hans Richard (Riesto) and William Takala lost their lives, and August Kujala was a prisoner of war in Germany.

Leiding - Orr - Pelican Lake - Gheen

West of Portage lies Leiding, once a vast wilderness. It became a vast township in 1907, and the first name on the petition requesting that status was Frank Korpi, one of the early Finns here. There were only 22 white inhabitants in 1900, but by 1910 the figure had climbed to 610 and a decade later to 892. One reason for this growth was the development of three lumbering centers within the township, at Cusson, Orr and Pelican Lake.

The residents around Pelican Lake tried in 1914 to get their own corner of the world declared a separate township, but this was denied. There were at that time many Chippewa Indians living on the shores of the lake, and the relations between them and their Finnish neighbors were good. The Indians were quite lazy but were ardent huntsmen, and many Finns learned to speak a bit of their language and to trade with them for the game they caught and for some of the things they made. However, since the best stand of White Pine in the United States covered this region, foresters moved in with their axes and saws and began to destroy the Indian hunting grounds. Some of the shore was reserved for them, however, and there the Boise Fort Reservation was built. Meanwhile, the number of men felling these forests continued to grow, and several thousand were employed there for years on end. Many of them were Finns.


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