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Gustaava Rimpellainen Besonen was born on May 12, 1887 in a place around Rovaniemi, Finland. Her parent's were Antti and Sarah Rimpellainen. Gustaava, or Taava was raised as an Apostolic Lutheran. She had many jobs to tend to around the house to help out her mother, just like every other typical Finnish girl. At the age of twenty-one Taava decided to travel to the United States of America. She wanted to start a new and better life on her own.
Taava Rimpellainen arrived at the port of New York City in the year of 1907. She was owed by all the new sights she saw in the New World. She was anxious and a bit freightened by herself, starting a new life. Taava decided to settle in the Midwest region of the country where she knew she would fit in. No one know for sure if she had gone somewhere else before bu, later she ended up living in the state of Michigan. She met a man named Edward Besonen, whose possible Finnish name is Eetu. The family name Besonen used to be spelled with P but the Swedes changed it to a B because the way the P was pronounced it sounded more like a B. Edward and Taava waited to get married. They stayed in what is today Charlotte, Michigan, which is in the lower peninsula.
Edward and Taava wanted to find a better place to live than where they were. They wanted a place that was more open for them to raise a family of their own. Eventually they packed up all their necessary belongings and headed north to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The small village to where they moved to was and is still called Trout Creek. The land that they purchased was a wide opened field for a bit of farming. The Besonens had cows, a horse, and chickens. Today local cattle farmers use that land for making their hay. The home they lived in was a small two-story house, which still stands but is quite old. My great aunt Aino Besonen, one of Taava's daughters, lived there by herself up until a few years ago. She ended up moving out when she knew she was getting too old to take care of herself.
Edward and Taava decided to start a new family of their very own. They had four boys and three girls. Their first born was their son named Arne on July 31, 1910. This man is my grandfather who we all call ukko or ukkovaari. He is alive and is only eighty-eight years old.
My grandfather made a family with my grandmother, Kathleen Puumala, who was from South Range, Michigan. My grandmother passed away the year I was born (1987). Arne and Kathleen had eight children: seven boys and one girl. My dad was one of the boys. He was the fifth child born.
When I interviewed my father about Gustaava and what he had interesting things to say about her. My father said his grandma was always crabby. She would always yell and scold at all the grand kids (Besides that my dad claimed to love her a whole lot because she would always give the best hugs any grandma could give). I believe she was just a grandmother who was helping her own children raise their own children. Even though she would always be yelling I (especially at the boys) she always did it out of love even if it didn't seem like it. These details my father gives about my great grandmother makes me wish that I was there, and could have known her too.
Gustaava Rimpellainen Besonen was buried at the cemetery in Trout Creek, Michigan right next to her husband. Our family does not talk much about our deceased, but we all definitely still think about them much. We remember that she was a hard working woman who was strong, bold, and very loving from what I hear.
Today, Taava's descendant's can be found throughout the Midwest - in particular Michigan's Ontonagon Co. and lower Michigan and Minneapolis. Along with our relatives in Sweden and Finland our family is pretty large. When we are all together on holidays, having my grandfather there in the old family home, we are reminded of all the family stories.
© Tricia G. Besonen
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