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Mikko Andin Sarkkinen, eighth child of Antti and Briita Sarkkinen, was born on September 29, 1861 in Kempele, Province of Oulu, Finland.
In 1880, he came to America, to Marquette, Michigan, where he married Liisa Koskela, of Rantsila, Province of Oulu, Finland. They decided to try farming and moved to Ellendale, North Dakota. The young couple filed a homestead in Ada Township, SW 34-129-61. Severe drought brought poverty to the community, forcing them to find other means of living.
In February of 1890, with five children, they moved to Kearsarge, Michigan, a small mining community near Calumet. For over ten years, Mikko worked in the copper mines and seven more children were born there. In 1901, one of Mikko's legs was crushed in a mining accident, causing him to be bedridden for fourteen months. He was unable to work in the mines anymore, so the family decided to try farming in North Dakota once again.
His previous try in Ellendale had caused him to lose his homestead entry right. With limited means, he purchased land south of Gackle, North Dakota. Then in 1904, the Sarkkinens, along with the John Muonio family arrived in Windsor, North Dakota in April. The two families had rented a railroad boxcar for their belongings.
After living several weeks with neighbors, Mikko and his family were finally able to move into their own shelter. The following years brought hard work and hardship, but the farm prospered. One more child was born to Mikko and Liisa, bringing a total of thirteen children to their family, although two daughters passed away in Kearsarge - Hannah of pneumonia and Hilma during a barn fire. Liisa Sarkkinen died in 1930 and Mikko in 1934, at the age of seventy-three. Mikko and Liisa's descendants have multiplied and now number over 1,400. They have settled mainly throughout the United States and Canada.
© Rachael Marttila
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