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Pelo Village During 1920 and 1930 1/2

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courtesy GSF
The village of Pelo is situated on Nedervetil hill in the parish of Nedervetil. The main road travels from the Nedervetil church north toward Gamlakarleby quite a stretch along the left bank of the Vetil River. About two kilometers from the church a traveler will see a high wooden bridge leading across the river (since 1952 it has been a steel bridge). On the opposite bank at the edge of the bridge lies Pelo village. The first buildings are on the steep edge of the river, but most of them are in a close group on the hill. The entire village of Pelo with its grain fields gives a visitor the pleasant impression of an old settlement that is well cared for.

The village of Pelo is very old. It has been proven that it was settled as early as the year 1559, but it is believed that its first settlers arrived there hundreds of years earlier. Where Pelo received its name is not positively known. The name was written in many ways: In 1650 it was Palå, in 1654 Pelå, in 1676 Peelo, in 1709 Pahlå, in 1710 Pehlå, in 1730 Pelo, in 1760 Pälå, in 1811 Palo. The Finnish version is Pelola.

An old folktale tells that a Swedish king had to flee from Sweden to Finland and settled down to live in the village of Slotte, which means palace or castle - thus Slotte received its name. But the king was afraid to live on the west side of the river, so he moved to the village of Pelo. Historians assume that King Karl VIII, son of Knut, having fled Sweden in 1465 to Finland, lived in these parts.

Interpreters do not accept this explanation, and among them they have different opinions. P. E. Ohls says that the king went across the river on a board, which was paddled; there is a Swedish word "pela" which means canoe. T. E. Karsten says the name came from the Finnish word "pelut" which means husk. Another explanation is obtained by examining the owner's name. According to old tax books Pelle Persson was the owner of a property from 1559 to 1575. With the passing of time the name Pelo could have come from the word Pelle.

The next owner in Pelo, Michel Persson, was probably the son of Pelle Persson. He was owner of the property from 1585-1633. In due time his property was put on the tax roll anew, and since then the village of Pelo has paid the whole assessment unit for land tax.

The next owner was Erik Jönsson. He was mentioned previously in 1635 and 1650. He used the surname Palå. In the year 1637 when they were taking infantry soldiers, he was 26 years old. However, at that time he wasn't taken into military service.

In the year 1652 there appeared a new head of the Pelo household named Mårten Hindersson Pelo. He is the present day Pelo family forefather. It is not known from where he came, but it is assumed that he was a native of a family in Nedervetil and came as a son-in-law to Pelo village.

There were many branches of the Pelo family, using the following family names: Ahlskog, Aurén, Backlund, Brandt, Bång, Barlund, Geddala, Granlund, Gustafsson, Haals, Hedlund, Heinola, Holmlund, Jussila, Järvilä, Kalfholm, Måttis, Nyman, Pelander, Pelo, Penttilä, Pulkkis, Skrabb, Snåre, Tast, Tylli, and Wirkkala.


From PELO FAMILY by Hugo Lagström, 1931.

Translated by June Pelo


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