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Abram Törrö

Carol Petrelius

My great-great grandfather, Abram Törrö was bom in Pudasärvi, Oulunlääni, Finland on January 24, 1878. He was married to Wilhelmiina Moilanen. They lived a decent life in Finland. Abram floated logs and herded reindeer for a living. While living in Finland, Abram and Wilhelmina had five children: Hilda, John, Abram, Charles and Anna.

In 1910 Abram decided to start a new life in the United States, like many others. After a three-week boat trip, he finally arrived at Ellis Island. When he arrived in the United States, Abram lived with his cousins, the Moilanens, in Elo, Michigan, a Finnish farming community south of Houghton. After staying with them for a while he moved into a poikatalo (boarding house) in Hurontown. Abram's first job in the United States was working in a mine in Hurontown.

After working hard and saving his money, he had enough to send for Wilhelmiina and baby Anna. Soon after they arrived, Abram was injured in the mine. The family moved back in with the Moilanens in Elo. Abram, Wilhelmiina, and Anna stayed with the Moilanens until their own house was finished. It was a two-story log house on forty acres in Tapiola. One year later John and Charles were sent for. Because Hilda was the oldest, she stayed with relatives in Finland. When enough money was saved for her passage, it was given to a family returning to Finland. Instead of giving the money to Hilda, this family used it for themselves. Hilda never made it to the United States because she died at age fifteen, still living her life with family in Finland. Poor young Abram never saw America either, for he died as an infant.

Abram worked as a logger in the Tapiola woods and in various lumber camps in the area. He also had a few chickens around the farm and did some farming. While living in Tapiola the family expanded. They had ten more children: Armas, Martha, Urho, Theodore, Donald, Eino, Impi, Viola and Irene. Today, of all their fifteen children, only three are still alive, with Impi (Wilma) passing away just this past month. The remaining children are Viola, Martha and Irene. Abram and Wilhelmiina enjoyed their children and they were a big help around the farm.

When the children weren't doing chores, they had a lot of fun things that they did. In summer, the children would play baseball, go fishing and swim in the pond. Things they did in the winter months were sledding and skiing in the country. They had fun wherever they were.

Abram enjoyed doing many things. He was a very religious man. He loved to go to church and attended it as often as he could. He also had members of the church gather in his home to have lauluseurat (singspirations). One of his favorite things to do was to sing with the church. Abram also enjoyed visiting people and he was a very friendly man. To get places, he would ski. He would ski all over Tapiola, visiting neighbors. Skiing was such a passion of his that he did it until he was nearly 84. Abram was very hard worker, too. He would help dig ditches. He was always one of the hardest workers. These all were things that he was remembered for.

There were a few things that Abram wasn't interested in. He never paid too much attention to learning English. He died knowing very little of the language. Abram also didn't want to become an American citizen. Different people tried to get him to become naturalized, but he refused every time. He was once even pressured by his daughter Anna's second husband, Nels Plough, when Anna decided to become a citizen. Of course, he once again refused.

Abram's wife, Wilhelmiina, died of an unknown sickness at the early age of fifty-six. After she died Abram lived with his son Urho and his wife in Tapiola. He would still ski to visit his various relatives and friends in the area. At the age of eighty-seven Abram passed away.

All these facts are things my great-great grandfather was remembered for. All the relatives and friends I spoke with said the same things. They all remember him as a very friendly, active and hard-working man. He will always be remembered as a sweet, old Man. I am very proud of my great-great grandfather, even though I never met him.

© Carol Petrelius

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