Drawing by Axel Nelson 2002

During the Russian period - from 1809 when Sweden lost the Finnish War 1808-1809 until 1917 when Finland become an independent nation - when Finland was the "Grand Duchy of Finland" the Russian military or war service was however, to put it mildly, not very popular at least not in Ostrobothnia and many emigrated (illegally) in order to avoid the military service or later on the Russian war service in the WW1. The usual way was to sail with fishermen's boats from the west coast of Finland to Sweden from which the journey continued to a Norwegian port where they went aboard a transoceanic steamer. This traffic got so large dimensions that there were even secret routes that received their own names, the most wellknown was perhaps the Ripela Line, which got its name from the skipper Karl Haglund from Närpes also known as Ripela-Kalle. His own emigrant line traffic came to a tragic end on November 4 1916, when the boat with Haglund and 9 young men were lost in a storm.

Eight of the young men lost in 1916 came from Övermark. Already in 1937 there was a small monument raised at Märigrund in Norrnäs, Närpes in memory of these men.

The villagers of Skaftung who went to America by the Ripela line in November 1916


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