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Elias Takkala was born 1861, in Karelia, Finland. He had many brothers and sisters. He was married twice and after the death of his first wife he moved from Finland to England. After a while he enlisted in the British Army. A short time after he enlisted, duty called and he went down to Africa and fought in the Boar war.
When he returned from the war he decided to move to Canada, were he got a new name "Johnson" and job. Working in the Canadian-Pacific Railroad. After a long spell of "I've been working on the railroad's", he decided to move to Jacobsville, Michigan in the 1880's.
When he moved to Jacobsville he fell in love again and married his second wife Emma, who was nicknamed Emmi. Through there joyous marriage Elias and Emma had six kids, five girls and one boy. In Jacobsville Elias worked in a sandstone quarry. Which was used to build the first foundation of Suomi College, mentioned in the newspapers in 1898.
Then in a couple af years he moved to Ripley with his family (while still working in the quarry). He lived there for a short time, about one year when his house was burnt down accidentally by his wife. Emma thought there was a mouse in the wall and hit the wall to scare it away. When she hit it she accidentally dented the wall and hit some electrical cords, making a spark and starting a fire.
Elias is the only known person of his family to have moved to America. After his children grew up and moved out Emma sadly died. Then Elias was put in the Houghton County's Old Folks Home, nicknamed "The County Poor Farm". When Elias died, 1944, he was the age 83.
One of his daughters Sana, married a Finnish immigrant, Axel Virenius. Their daughter was Sylvia, the mother of my grandpa Gerald Kotila. Not much is known about Elias Takkala/Johnson accept for a brief history and one family heirloom, a gold watch. This watch has been handed down through generations and now belongs to my grandfather Gerald Kotila, who has it to this day and is keeping it preserved.
© Davin Kotila
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