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A tale of ordinary people


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The simple lifestyle of the people often occurred in the shadows for the adults. Let us follow such a family story, not mentioned in the history books: Magdalena Eriksdotter Strang's life. In this narrative the Caino and Torp families were united, as had happened earlier.

Juryman Johan Caino was the 4th generation after Grels Caino. The homestead had been divided a couple of generations earlier into Storcaino and Lillkaino, and the people now will not want to have a new splitting of Storcaino. The juryman acquired living space for his family. The daughters married away to Känsälä, Virkkala and Rahkonen. Gabriel became the master; Johan became son-in-law at Nikula; Anders remained at home. He married Lena Saari from Karleby and they lived a long time at Vetil; his wife died in Vetil. In his second marriage to Maria Kauko he bought the Anders Kauko home from pastor Falander in 1686 and later also bought the Strang home in Palo. Anders died during Stora Ofreden. Son Mårten Strang was master and smith. The later masters, with the same names, had several children but only daughters Anna and Maria lived to become adults. Anna married son-in-law Erik Indola and remained at Strang. Their daughter Lena or Malin was born 17 September 1774. Lena's mother and stepfather moved to Lochteå where they were called Vänni. Lena had an illegitimate daughter Greta Sophia, b. 1800. Perhaps Lena followed some soldier because in 1805 she had an illegitimate daughter Maria, b. 1806 in Kaustby. The baptism was performed at the Roth soldier's torp (croft). Maria was buried in Vetil 1807, seven months old. Then they went back to Kelviå and Greta Sophia died of dysentery in 1808.

Son Johannes was born 15 October 1809 in Lochteå. The boy was four years old when Lena, together with her son, moved to Vetil 14 November 1813. She entered into marriage with the old widower Johan Jospetnäs and after his death, she married Juho Lappalainen. Son Johan moved with her and began to work as a farm hand.

At this time the Backala house in Vetil was having difficulty. Brita Johansdotter Backala, born 1816, struggled together with her father and stepmother for the homestead's existence because the son who would have taken over the management had died, along with his children. Brita had an older brother Zachris, it is true, but he was feebleminded.

Then farm hand Johan, Lena Strang's son who bore the name of Jospetnäs after his first stepfather, came to the village. And so Johan Josefsson Jospetnäs and farmer's daughter Brita Johansdotter Backala married 15 October 1833. It was no rosy marriage because Brita's father (or probably grandfather) was in debt in 1826 to townsman Hongell for two installments of 314 and 150 silver rubels. Soon Johan became a townsman and church overseer.

The children grew, but the three oldest children died. Daughter Maria married son-in-law Jonas Heikkilä, and son Matts married Maria Heikkilä. The famine was hard on the area. Church janitor Johan Backala died 1866 of typhoid and Brita died two years later during the worst years.

In spite of laborious work the homestead continued to be plagued with debt. According to tradition, the guardians didn't rely on the young couple with their underage children to manage their debts, and thus the homestead was sold. During the auction they drove the only cow into hiding so that they could at least have milk. Matts moved with his family to Toholampi, and from there the family went to America. Anders enthusiastically raised money and bought the farm of neighbor Isak, and when he married as a 20-year old he was called master. He traveled to America twice to earn money. He bought land and equipped Isak's cottage. They succeeded with the help of the capable hostess Ulrika Huusko and son-in-law Jonas Heikkilä, who lives in memory as "the old church custodian".

Johan's cottage remains at Backala in memory of Lena Strang's son, and Isak's red cottage tells the story. Anders Johansson's grandchildren now live in the cottage.

Marjatta Pulkkinen

Sources: Församlingens böcker.
Pentti Virrankoski: Kokkolan pitäjän yläosan historia.
Torp-Cainu working version.

(English translation by June Pelo)

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