C. Arthur Appelö and Carlton Appelo:
The Contributions of Two Swedish-Finns to Deep River, Washington and America
by Sandra Johnson Witt *
Karl Arthur AppelöFinnish Immigrant
Appelö in Sideby, Finland
A combination of circumstances in Finland 100 years ago forced many of its peoplemale and female, young and oldto leave their native land. Such was the case with Karl Arthur Appelö, a 16-year-old Finnish boy who left his beautiful family farm on the Gulf of Bothnia to travel to a distant country.
Karl Arthur Appelö was born on February 17, 1890 in the parish of Sideby on the western coast of Finland in Ostrobothnia into a Swedish-Finn family. He was the third child of Karl Erik Mattsson Appelö (21 Nov 1845-30 Jan 1924) and Maria Sofia Josefsdotter Appelö (20 Mar 1861-8 Jan1919), who owned the Appelö farm in Sideby. The word "Appelö" means "apple island" in Swedish; although the farm is no longer an island, it is possible that it was located on a small island before the coastal land rose to its current level.
Map of the southern part of Sideby. Appelö and surroundings. Cape of Sideby (Sideby udd) and Södra Yttergrund with the Lighthouse of Yttergrund. Click for bigger map.
I. C. Arthur Appelö and Carlton Appelo:
The contributions of two Swedish-Finns to Deep River, Washington and America
by Sandra Johnson Witt *
by Sandra Johnson Witt *
Ancestors and Family in Finland. Their
ancestors had lived in this area for several centuries. Dr. Karl Axel
Holmberg, a professor of Nordic languages at Uppsala University, wrote
Mål och Bygd i Sideby (Dialect and Settlement in Sideby)
in 1986, a book that describes the linguistic situation with regard to
the pure Swedish dialect that is spoken in Sideby. The book includes information
extracted from Sideby parish church records about persons who lived on
the Sideby farms between 1724 and 1837. These
records indicate that Mats Johansson Appelö (1717-1789) and his wife
Margareta Persdotter (1709-1800), the fourth great grandparents of Karl
Arthur, founded the Appelö farm in 1754 (p. 156). A large shipyard
was located at the Appelö farm in the 1800s. Holmberg has documented
that many of the Appelö inhabitants at that time were ship pilots.
Appelo relatives in Finland
Emigrants. Two of the seven Appelö children emigrated from Finland to North America. Their oldest son Axel Georg (1886-1950) remained in Finland, where he became a carpenter and builder. Their fourth son Lennart studied for the ministry and pursued a career in education. He became a legendary teacher and director of the Swedish Folk School in Kasaböle (Kasaböle Svenska Folkskola) for four decades.A small museum has been set up at the Kilen local museum with desks, blackboards and other items from the Kasaböle school. Another son, Emil, built telephone lines throughout Finland. Their youngest son, Arvid Rafael, also emigrated from Finland to the USA (where he took the name "Ralph Appelo"). Like his older brother Karl Arthur, Ralph settled in Washington State, where he held several jobs, including employment with the Washington Department of Natural Resources. Their daughter Sigrid became a public health nurse. Hilma, their other daughter, ran the Appelö estate during her long life.
Svenska Folkskolan in Kasaböle with Lennart Appelö and his pupils midsummer 1944
Karl Arthur left Finland during a time of mass emigration, especially from southern Ostrobothnia. In a special edition of The Journal of Finnish Studies (1998, edited by Börje Vähämäki) about Ostrobothnian history and culture, Dr. Heikki Ylikangas, professor of Finnish history at the University of Helsinki and research professor at the Academy of Finland, described the impact of Finnish emigration in the late 1800s and early 1900s on Ostrobothnia, and its considerable impact on the residents of South Ostrobothnia:
Around 1885 emigration to North America got wings and took flight. About 2000 persons from the region disappeared annually to the other side of the ocean. (By 1930 South Ostrobothnia had yielded altogether some 120,000 of its inhabitants to North America). The population of the province grew from about 100,000 in 1800 to approximately 300,000 in 1900. Although nearly one third of the emigrants returned, emigration numbers in South Ostrobothnia (and partly also in Central Ostrobothnia) undoubtedly exceeded the numbers elsewhere in Finland: nowhere else did emigration have such an impact on the region. (pp. 12-13)
At the time of Karl Arthur's emigration, the Finnish people had endured political adversity for years. The Grand Duchy period (after Sweden lost the Finnish War of 1808-1809 until about 1880) was a period favorable for economic development and Finland was allowed to abide by some of the old laws from the Swedish period. There was a dramatic increase in population in the 19th century. In Sideby, the population growth was also impacted by the prosperous shipbuilding period from 1830 to 1875. When the shipbuilding industry collapsed, many people in Sideby were no longer able to earn a living. With the infamous Manifesto of February 1899, efforts to Russify Finland began.
The abrupt crash of the shipbuilding industry in the 1880s led to massive unemployment. The inhabitants of Sideby had not been as vulnerable to crop failures and famine as the inhabitants of the non-coastal parishes were because they could resort to fishing, especially of Baltic herring. However, after the sudden decline in shipbuilding, the traditional small-scale farming activity could no longer support the rapidly growing population. These harsh economic conditions personally impacted the Appelös. Family financial obligations forced Karl Arthur to leave school when he was only 11 years old to work on his family's farm and in the logging industry.
These circumstances contributed to his decision to leave Finland at the age of 16. Another factor was Russian rule and the possibility of military conscription. Karl Arthur realized that he might be drafted into the Russian army. His son Burton Appelo wrote the following in 1998:
The Czar was able to put down the rebellionthe first revolution in 1905. So Dad knew that the next year when he would turn 16, he would be drafted into the Russian army. He wasnt of a mind to die for the Czar, so he went out with a load of logs. In Finland they were logging small poles for the mines in England. They would bring them up by boat, so he just went out with one shipment when he was 16. (p. 97)
Karl Arthur left his native Finland to seek the opportunities that life in Americaconsidered a land of almost limitless opportunity by many Scandinaviansmight provide.
Emigration records maintained by the Finnish Institute of Migration indicate that Karl Arthur Appelö left his native Finland on June 9, 1906. This 16-year-old boy journeyed from Hangö, Finland to England on the S/S Urania, a passenger steamer, and from England to Boston, Massachusetts on the Cedric, a ship in the White Star Line.
Arrival in America. It was a common practice for immigrants to Anglicize their names. When he arrived in Boston, Karl Arthur changed his name to "Carl Arthur (or C. A.) Appelo." He had very little money and only a limited knowledge of English. He worked during the day in a factory in Worcestor, Massachusetts and studied English at night.
C. A. did not stay in Boston long. Like many other immigrants in the mid- to late 1800s, he journeyed westward. There was increased immigration to the West in the mid-1800s, partly because of the discovery of gold in California in 1849 and the 1862 Homestead Act, which provided free land in the western United States to people who settled there. The availability of railroad travel across the continent in the 1860s facilitated immigration to the West.
He worked in logging camps across the northern states and British Columbia, and arrived in Deep River, Washington in April 1912. Soon after his arrival, C. A. applied for U.S. citizenship in order to qualify for a commercial fishing license. His son Carlton Appelo (1978) wrote the following:
He had a good business head, was skilled in mathematics, taught himself to write good business letters, and most important did not drink as many loggers were wont to do. These factors led to his appointment as Deep River Postmaster on May 1, 1915. (p. 14)
C. A. held the postmaster position until 1960. He was also an accomplished violin player who frequently played at home concerts in Deep River. He and Charles Matta, a talented singer, entertained social groups in the area. In 1916 he met Agnes Paju at a dance in Knappton. She had come from Björneborg (Pori), Finland in 1909 with her mother, Emma Paju, and sisters, Bertha and Pearl, to join their father, Edward Paju, who was a logging-train engineer at Brixs Landing camp at Sisson Creek, near the mouth of the Deep River. A fourth daughter, Celia, was born in 1909 in Washington. Although Agnes and C. A. were both from Finland, they had to communicate with each other in English becauseprior to their arrival in Americashe spoke only Finnish and he spoke only Swedish.
C. A. was called to World War I military service in 1917. He was sent to Camp Cody, Deming, New Mexico, where he served as the mail sergeant for the post office because he was the postmaster in Deep River at the time. One of the most difficult duties of this position was to write letters to families to inform them that their son had died.
He and Agnes were married at Camp Cody on June 19, 1918. After his military discharge in December 1918, Agnes and C. A. returned to Deep River. They bought a store from N. E. "Emil" Harju (who had originally come to the area to work for a logging company and owned several businesses in Deep River) and opened a general merchandise store.
American Family Life. Agnes and C. A. had two sons. Carlton Edward Appelo was born on May 12, 1922 before there were local roads in the area on Charles Wirkkalas Columbia River salmon fishing boat while he was attempting to transport Agnes, Pearl Paju, Agnes younger sister, and Gussie Matta, Agnes midwife, to the hospital in Astoria, Oregon. Carlton was delivered soon after the boat left the Deep River landing. They faced tragedy in 1926 when their twin daughters Eleanor and Evelyn were born prematurely and lived less than a day. Burton Arthur Appelo was born on April 11, 1927.
C. A. was a motivated and self-educated young man who had a wide range of interests. Although he only completed three and a half years of formal education in Finland, he was studying trigonometry when he left school at the age of 11 years. He continued to study a variety of subjects, including the classics, religion, philosophy, politics, and business throughout his entire life.
Photo of C. A. Appelo
Professional Life and Commitment to the Community. In addition to his desire to continually educate and improve himself, C. A. was genuinely interested in other people and had an exceptional ability to communicate, qualities that served him well as he prospered in a small town in America that was very far away from his native Finland. He wrote thousands of letters on diverse topics primarily about community service projects and often on the behalf of other persons on an old Remington typewriter that was modified to add the three letters of the Swedish alphabet (å, ä, and ö).
Deep River continued to grow. By the end of World War I, it had two stores, a hotel, coffee shop, community hall, school, pool hall, railroad, church, and daily boat service to Astoria.
C. A. and Agnes were an enterprising couple. They opened a mercantile business and post office in Deep River on January 2, 1919, where he was postmaster for 45 years. He was an energetic worker who was always mindful of possible business opportunities. He began writing fire, casualty, and automobile insurance policies in 1921 (which he continued doing for the rest of his life); the same year he became a gasoline dealer for Standard Oil. His station was located next to the river, which enabled him to serve both automobiles and boats. In 1923 he contacted the U.S. distributors for the Finnish-made Lacta cream separators to ask if he could become the Lacta distributor for the Northwest. They agreed, and C. A. became the distributor of Lacta cream separators for Washington, Oregon, California, and Idaho. The distributorship required that he travel extensively while Agnes stayed at home to run the Deep River store. Everyone in town knew Agnes by her first name. She maintained individual contact with all of the area residents, including the logging camp workers. In an Astorian Budget article about the Deep River Timber Company, Jessie Hindman (1956) wrote about Agnes weekly trips throughout the entire year to the logging camp taking and delivering orders from their general merchandise store:
Agnes often walked the four miles by rail from the end of the road, where she left her car, carrying a basket of staple supplies for her customers. Many times, she carried large sums of money with which to cash the loggers checks. It was not unusual for her to leave camp as late as 10 or 11 oclock at night carrying only a flashlight. (Appelo, 1986, p. 110)
Agnes carried her delivery baskets twice weekly on an order route at Deep River Logging Camp. This photograph was taken in July 1971 at the Deep River Pioneer Loggers Picnic at Evergreen Park in Naselle. Herbert Johnson, a friendly competitor who worked for Charles A. Niemi of Naselle, is holding her second basket.
C. A. became the first president of Western Wahkiakum County Telephone Company (Telco) when it was organized in 1927. He remained a board member for almost 50 years. They opened the Appelo Red and White Store (a voluntary cooperative that handled groceries and general merchandise) in Grays River in 1934 in the remodeled Ferndale Creamery. The Wahkiakum County Telco was located on the second floor of the building. They also opened a store in Naselle in 1940.
C. Arthur was the Postmaster in Deep River until 1960
In addition to their businesses, C. A. and Agnes were actively involved in many community activities. Agnes was a charter member and first secretary-treasurer of the Deep River American Legion Auxiliary and a 50-year member of the Eastern Star. C. A. organized the Deep River Garden Club and joined the Deep River Grange in 1915. He was elected secretary of the Deep River Farmers Cooperative Buyers League in 1916. He also served as secretary for the Deep River baseball team in 1916.
The Appelo family encountered extremely difficult economic times during the Depression when the county paid its employees with worthless warrants instead of checks. The Appelos accumulated several thousand dollars of debt when their customers could not pay their bills. Because C. A. and Agnes did not want to deny their customers credit and food supply, they had to extend their credit so severely that it became almost impossible to pay their suppliers.
Relentless worry about this unfortunate situation caused Agnes to become very ill. Her doctor advised her to leave the situation immediately if she wanted to regain her health. She insisted that she could not leave their business responsibilitieseven temporarilybecause of their financial circumstances. Their son Carlton (1998) remembers how this difficult time was resolved in what fortunately turned out to be a fond family memory:
Somehow Weyerhaeuser or Crown paid their tax bill, so all of a sudden these warrants became good and we had a couple thousand dollars. We paid the creditors and still had a little money left over. So Papa said, "Lets go to the Worlds Fair." (p. 89)
Agnes, C. A., 11-year-old Carlton, six-year-old Burton, their cousin Dorothy, and Agnes mother embarked on a 40-day trip that included visiting the 1933 Worlds Fair in Chicago. The family also visited many other places across the country. One of the highlights of their trip was seeing the graves of George and Martha Washington in Mt. Vernon.
C. A. and Agnes were Finnish immigrants with strong family values. Their sons, first-generation Americans, followed the example set by their parents. They have led productive lives and continued the Appelo family tradition of hard work and service to others.
Carlton and Burton completed elementary school at the Deep River Grammar School and graduated from Naselle High School in Grays River. Carlton became the manager of Western Wahkiakum County Telephone Company at Deep River, is a noted local historian, and is an award-winning author who has written numerous books about many of the communities in the Deep River area. Burton is vice president of the telephone company in Rosburg. He and his wife Ginger live on Treasure Island, Washington, where she is a minister. He is active in the church, and enjoys writing poetry.
C. A. was committed to his community, his adopted country, and to his family. He spent 16 years of his life in Finland and 71 years of his life in America. This remarkable man devoted his life to productive work and community service. Helping other people brought him happiness. He died on May 3, 1977 in Cathlamet, Wahkiakum County, at the age of 87.
The following passage is excerpted from a tribute to the memory of his father that his son Burton wrote for C. As funeral (B. Appelo, 1998, pp. 104-105):
Agnes Paju Appelo died on January 25, 1990 at the age of 90.
Carlton Edward Appelo was born in Deep River in 1922. He graduated from Naselle High School in 1939. He received a bachelor of arts in business administration from the University of Washington in 1943. He joined the U.S. Army Reserves in 1942 and entered active duty at Ft. Lewis in 1943. After serving in the Quartermasters and commanding a company on Okinawa, he was discharged as Captain in the Quartermasters Corps in 1946. After serving his country during World War II, he completed a masters degree in business administration at the University of Washington in 1948, followed by a graduate course at the American College at the University of Stockholm in 1950. He married Berenice Johnson from Oakland, California in 1955. They have two children, Eric and Connie.
Professional and Community Leadership Activities. Like his father before him, Carlton assumed a variety of leadership roles in professional, church, and community activities, beginning at an early age. He was the student body president at Naselle High School, served on the board of directors and as president of the Students Cooperative Association at the University of Washington, and was president of the Pacific Coast Students Cooperative Association. He was also class president at the American College at Stockholm.
Carlton Appelo has been widely recognized as a community leader and community builder who has been an active participant in numerous community service and business organizations. He has been a member of American Legion Post III and VFW Post 7825 since the 1940s. He served as master of the Grays River and Wahkiakum Pomona Grange and as chairman of the Washington State Grange Public Utilities Committee. He became executive secretary and general manager of the Western Wahkiakum County Telephone Company in 1952, and served in that capacity until his election as president and chief executive officer in 1993. He has been a Wahkiakum Port commissioner since 1966 and is a member of the Washington State Lewis and Clark Trail Committee. He is also a deacon at the Naselle Congregational United Church of Christ.
Historical Books and Publications. Carlton has spent more than three decades documenting the history and culture of his native Wahkiakum County and the surrounding areas of Washington and Oregon. He is regarded by historians and museum professionals across the country and in Finland as a significant historian and scholar of southwestern Washington and of the Finnish immigrants who settled in the northwestern United States. He has written books about the following southwestern Washington areas: Knappton (1964 and 1975), Frankfort (1965), Brookfield (1966), Pillar Rock (1969), Altoona (1972), Deep River (1978), and Cottardi Station (1980). In A Pioneer Scrapbook of the Columbia River North-Shore Communities: Wahkiakum and Pacific Counties, Washington (1986), he presents a selection of historical features about the areanews stories, poems, special reports, narratives, and photographsmany of which had also appeared in the historical supplements that he published in local telephone directories for the previous 20 years.
Awards and Recognition. In addition to receiving the Governors Heritage Award in 1997, Carlton received the Presidents Award from the Organization for the Promotion and Advancement of Small Telephone Companies in 1996 for outstanding contribution, leadership, and vision for his inclusion of local historical writings in regional telephone directories for many years. Including area history in telephone directories was a novel approach that served to communicate this history to a broad audience, thereby fostering local identity and pride. Carlton continues to document numerous community events, including all types of ceremonies, performances, meetings, festivals, weddings, and funerals with his video camera. He also organizes the annual Deep River Pioneer Loggers Picnic, a popular potluck community event that has been held there since 1971, when the first picnic was held to commemorate the 100th anniversary of logging camps in Deep River.
Ms. Linda Amaya, a writer for The Wahkiakum County Eagle, outlined some of Carltons accomplishments in an article she wrote in 2001:
In the 50s, Carlton joined the Grange and became local Historian; starting an archival collection of newspaper articles. Acting as photographer at events, creating Vista Park in Skamokawa, joining the Resource Conservation Development, and retraining displaced loggers and fishermen, restoring stream banks, writing Grange history and several other books including Pioneer Scrapbook, receiving the Governors Award for local history and serving on the Washington State Lewis and Clark Trail Committee celebration coming in 2005, video-taping the National Finnish Festival, serving as president of Western Rural Telephone Association, being selected as outstanding telephone leader and presented the Presidents Award, being a member of the Congregational Church as well as on the board of directors for the Washington-North Idaho Conference of the United Church of Christ. (p. 9)
In addition to serving as general manager of West Wahkiakum Telco, Carlton has been involved in the management of many regional and national telecommunication associations.
Carlton and Burton were both deeply devoted to their father, C. A. Appelo. Although C.A spent only the earliest years of his life in Finland, his homeland and the Finnish people made an indelible impression on him that would influence his actions for the rest of his life. He brought many important values from Finland related to family, community, and work to his newly adopted homeland. He transmitted these values to his family in America.
Carltona noted historian who dedicated Deep River: The C. Arthur Appelo Story to the memory of his fatherconcluded the foreword with a poignant personal note (1978, p. 2):
Well, Papa that is the Deep River story done the best I know how in the time I had available. I know your tale would have been more personal sparkling with incidents and humor which you alone could relate. That is not possible in this mortal world. When we next meet, you can set the record straight. I pray that I have done justice in the telling of the tale.
Your loving Son,
C. A. and Carlton are two American menan immigrant and his Finnish-American son whose considerable life-time contributions to Washington and to the country exemplify the positive values that our immigrant ancestors brought to America many years ago.
I. C. Arthur Appelö and Carlton Appelo:
The contributions of two Swedish-Finns to Deep River, Washington and America
by Sandra Johnson Witt *
by Sandra Johnson Witt *
Allingham, Ruth Busse. (1998). Glimpses of the Past, Oral Histories from Naselle. South Bend, WA: Pacific County Historical Society.
Amaya, L. (2001, May 24). Historical Composite: Carlton E. Appelo. The Wahkiakum County Eagle, p. 9.
Appelo, Burton. (1998). The hills were as steep as a horses face. In R. B. Allingham, Glimpses of the Past, Oral Histories from Naselle. South Bend, WA: Pacific County Historical Society.
Appelo, C. E. (1964). A chronicle of the early days of Knappton (Pacific County) Washington. Deep River, WA: Carlton E. Appelo.
Appelo, C. E. (1965). Frankfort on the Columbia (Pacific County) Washington. Deep River, WA: Carlton E. Appelo.
Appelo, C. E. (1966). Brookfield, the Joe Megler story: Wahkiakum County, Washington. Deep River, WA: Carlton E. Appelo.
Appelo, C. E. (1969). Pillar Rock, Wahkiakum County, Washington. Deep River, WA: Carlton E. Appelo.
Appelo, C. E. (1972). Altoona, Wahkiakum County, Washington. Unpublished manuscript.
Appelo, C. E. (1975). Knappton: The first 50 years, Pacific County, Washington. Deep River, WA: Carlton E. Appelo.
Appelo, C. E. (1978). Deep River: The C. Arthur Appelo story. Deep River, WA: Carlton E. Appelo.
Appelo, C. E. (1980). Cottardi Station, Wahkiakum County, Washington. Deep River, WA: Carlton E. Appelo.
Appelo, C. E. (1986). A Pioneer scrapbook of the Columbia River North-Shore Communities Wahkiakum and Pacific Counties, Washington 1900-1985. Ilwaco, WA: Pacific Printing Co.
Appelo, C. E. (1997). CEA history. Unpublished manuscript.
Appelo, C. E. (1998). Carlton Appelo: Heritage Award winner. In R. B. Allingham, Glimpses of the Past, Oral Histories from Naselle. South Bend, WA: Pacific County Historical Society.
Appelo, C. E. (1999). Finnish settlements along the Columbia River: History and personal recollections. Unpublished manuscript prepared for the 1999 FinnFest USA.
Finnish Institute of Migration. Karl Appelös passenger list (emigration) records. Retrieved July 6, 2003 from http://www.migrationinstitute.fi/migration/ml/index_e.html
Hindman, J. (1986). A History of the Deep River Timber Co. In C. E. Appelo, A Pioneer scrapbook of the Columbia River North-Shore Communities Wahkiakum and Pacific Counties, Washington 1900-1985. Ilwaco, WA: Pacific Printing Co. (Reprinted from The Astorian Budget, 1956, December 17)
Holmberg, Karl-Axel. (1986). Mål och bygd i Sideby. Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell International.
Jennings, K., Wilson, J., & Cornell, M. Deep River Cemetery transcription. Retrieved July 6, 2003 from http://www.genealogia.fi/emi/emi52se.htm
Maxim, L. T. (1970, August 5). One hundred years of logging at Deep River. The Tribune. Ilwaco, WA.
Meserve, H. A. (1986). Pioneers Farthermost they Followed. In C. E. Appelo, A Pioneer scrapbook of the Columbia River North-Shore Communities Wahkiakum and Pacific Counties, Washington 1900-1985. Ilwaco, WA: Pacific Printing Co.
RootsWeb Volunteer Genealogy Organization (http://www.rootsweb.com). Cemetery transcription for Wahkiakum County, Washington. Retrieved July 14, 2003 from http://www.rootsweb.com/~wawahkia/cemetery.htm
Story of two hundred fishermen. (2003, April). Columbia River Gillnetter, 34(1), 18-27.
Vähämäki, Börje. (Ed.). (1998). Exploring Ostrobothnia [Special Issue]. Journal of Finnish Studies, 2(2).
Ylikangas, Heikki. (1998) Ostrobothnia in the history of Finland. Journal of Finnish Studies, 2(2), 10-19.
By the same author:
Editor and design Staffan Storteir