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lumberjacks were employed here, and the majority of them were Finns. It was seasonal work for the most part: in winter the camps were filled, in summer the men were away, on farms or in the mines. Mining was also apt to be seasonal at that time, being slack in winter, while quite a few of these lumberjacks owned their own farms on the fringes of the Iron Range or even farther distant.

Men for the Cusson camps were recruited mostly in Duluth employment agencies. There were not many `permanent' employees, but men simply seemed to come and go. In addition to running the camp, the company also managed the small store connected with it, where the men could buy pretty much what they needed, clothes, tools, tobacco, etc. Living conditions were fairly primitive and miserable, the food poor, sanitation nonexistent. Due to these poor conditions coupled with low pay, occasionally small strikes would take place, but it was not until the IWW encouraged and directed a major strike in 1917 that conditions improved considerably in respect to health, welfare and wages.

As the forest wealth was depleted work decreased in the Cusson area, and the 1929 depression brought a complete halt in operations. The company closed its sawmills, in Virginia, and shut down the Cusson camp. Everything was sold to smaller operators, and the big camps were torn down. Today, only a few small camps are left, together with a few isolated houses and a filling station. A few Finnish farmers still live in the vicinity.

Willow Valley - Linden Grove

Timber was also the significant factor in Willow Valley Township, located south of Leiding. Here, too, Finns with a bare minimum of cash had to leave their homesteads in winter to work in the lumber camps. Management would advance them enough against their first pay to buy clothes and tools. Willow Valley, according to records, did not have a single inhabitant in 1910, but in 1920 there were 180, many of them Finns. Local administration was organized in 1916; Esa Teppo was for a long period township supervisor.

Ilmonen has stated that in Meadow Brook, the border region between Willow Valley and Linden Grove, immediately to the south of it, the first Finns had arrived in 1905. Perhaps a few did appear at that time, at least to reserve land grant holdings, for in adjacent Silverdale the first arrivals are said to have


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