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YLINIEMI as a family name has been used since 1840. In 1790, the Niemi house was divided into two. One became known as Alaniemi (meaning lower cape or point) and the other, Yliniemi (meaning upper cape or point).
Isak was born on September 19, 1857 in Muonio, Finland. Muonio is a small town in northwestern Finland, located along the Muonio River, which separates Finland from Sweden. He lived there with his three older brothers and sister: Karl, Johan, Abraham and Greta Matilda until he was 23 years old. On June 8, 1880 Isak left his family and moved to Kittila, Finland. He was on his way to America. At this time in Finnish history, young men were being drafted (Finland was under Russian rule). Instead of enlisting, Isak and three other young men crossed the river to Sweden for a short while. Then with encouragement from his mother to go to America, Isak and his three friends roped logs together and floated down the Muonio and Tornio rivers to embark on a sailing ship to America.
Isak first touched American soil in New York, where he left his three traveling companions and set out by train. Isak stopped in the upper peninsula of MI for a while but continued on his travels. He settled in French Lake, MN. While in French Lake, Isak became very ill with typhoid fever and suffered with this illness for a little over a year. After recovering and regaining his strength, Isak helped build the Apostolic Lutheran Church in French Lake. (Today that church is located in Pioneer Park, Annandale, MN)
While helping with the construction, he met Margaretta Impola. They were married on November 29, 1885. While in French Lake they had six children: Greta, Maria, Joseph, Samuel, Isacki and Mikael. Isak ran into financial difficulties. With the possibility of finding better farm land, a quiet place to live for his growing family and financial stability, Isak decided to move his family north. He traveled with two horses, a colt, cook stove, barrel of salt pork and three children (Mary, Joe and Sam) 170 miles north traveling on wilderness roads to Toad Lake Township in Becker County. When he found his homestead parcel, he built a small 10' x 10' home to shelter his family. A month or two later in October 1896, Margaretta followed by train with the two younger children (Ike and Mike) to New York Mills, MN where Isak was to meet them. Isak did not have a calendar and lost track of what day it was. He was a few days late to pick them up. While Margaretta waited in New York Mills, on October 9, 1896 John was born. When she recovered from childbirth she traveled with Isak to their homestead in Toad Lake Township. Margaretta saw the small house Isak had built for her and the family and named it "The Camp of Tribulation". As space within the house was limited, she had to put the children outside to make the beds on sawhorses and then let them in to sleep on them.
When Isak came through New York Mills on his way to his homestead, he witnessed a murder. He was subpoenaed to appear at the trial and the sheriff came to get him from the farm. Because he was subpoenaed, he received a payment for his appearance in court. He came back home with enough money to buy flour and other staples to last through the winter. What was a tragedy turned out to be a blessing to the Yliniemi family.
Life was difficult in the northern MN wilderness, Isak had to rely on his own abilities to support his family. He farmed for food and to make small income. He harvested grains and hay to feed his animals: cows, pigs, sheep and work horses. He had a garden for food. When he wasn't out in the fields, especially during the winter, Isak trapped and tanned the skins of muskrats and wolves. He also logged and used some of the logs to build a barn, a house for Margaretta with cupboards, as well as skis and sleds. Isak built himself a blacksmith shop where he crafted and honed knives, axes and tools. If any of the children were feeling ill, Isak had two Finnish remedies to cure everything. The first was a Norway Pine tea and if that didn't cure what was ailing them the second remedy would--balsam blister sap.
Isak kept many of the Finnish customs but he also adapted himself to America. He learned to speak some English. In 1921, he bought a new Ford truck to haul grain and cattle to market and his family to church services. Isak's trial and tribulations ended on December 9, 1932 at the age of 75. So perhaps all the strength and courage he demonstrated throughout his lifetime helped him reach this ripe old age. He was laid to rest on the top of Pickerel Lake (Hill) Cemetery. Although his body has been resting for quite some time, his memory still lives in the hearts of many and his life has not been forgotten. ---Adapted and edited from an article written by Julie Yliniemi, using William Yliniemi as a source.
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Verniel Yliniemi Latto writes about Grandmother Greta Yliniemi
I do not remember Greta very much. I was only 4 years old when she died. But I do remember her on her death bed. My dad Joe took me into the bedroom, where grandma was laying. He lifted me up in his arms, and showed me the lady that was laying there, and told me that was my grandma. It was shortly after that, that there was a gathering at the Yliniemi farm for her funeral. Her body was at the house until the funeral. Then it was brought to the church, and from the church, to the cemetery for immediate burial. Before the funeral there was a picture taken outside of her in her casket, and the close family members, and palbearers standing around, and along side the casket. I remember because Faye went up to the front. I tried to follow, but there was a man in front of me that would not let me go where Faye was. That was my uncle Ike, I realized later! I laugh about it now, but at the time I was not very happy with him! After the funeral there was a lunch served. I sat on my dad's lap, and ate all the balogna from the sandwiches. My dad sat with the breads in front of him, while I pigged out on the meat! Verniel to this day is not very fond of balogna. As I write about the Children of Isak, and Greta Yliniemi,(click on their pages) I see a thread that runs through them all. They have a quiet strength, desire to treat people fairly and honestly, are willing workers, and clean in their life styles. All had a belief in God. There was a twinkle in the eyes of the brown eyed children. And a gentle calmness in the blue eyed ones. All with a smile that cause others to smile with them.
firstname.lastname@example.org Sun Jan 10 13:29:49 CST 1999
Hi, is interesting reading. Very
Markku Ylipalo Kittilä Kittlä, Lappi Finland
email@example.com Mon Nov 27 11:52:02 CST 2000
I live in Kittlä, and there are some Yliniemis here as well. Could they possibly be some distant relatives of yours? I don't know them personally, but I'm sure I could find someone does.