village is shaped like a triangle, with the base facing northwest
toward the church village. It points to the south between Evijärvi
and Vetil parishes. It is hilly and well-forested. About 20 small
lakes and marshes are found in the village and the farms lie along
buildings are divided into three parts: the Kortjärvi farms in
the north; Högnabba in the middle and Småbönders in
the south. Småbönders lies about 60 km east of the Gulf
of Bothnia. The Swedish Ostrobothnians have not penetrated so far
into the country in any other place except here.
beginning of the 1900s there were 80 farm houses in Kortjärvi,
in addition to craftsmen and crofter cottages. Nearly all the farm
houses were painted red with white corners and had six rooms: main
living room, 2 front rooms, entry hall and 2 end rooms.
of the house names and nearly all the owners names were Swedish;
on the other hand several marshes and lakes had Finnish names. In
the Kortjärvi family group nearly all the house names ended with
backa: such as Byggningsbacka, Storbacka, Bodbacka, Österbacka,
Söderbacka, Djupsjöbacka and Långbacka. The situation
at Småbönders was the same. There were Manderbacka, Vistbacka,
Storbacka, Långbacka, Kvarnbacka and Heimbacka. But in the Högnabba
farm group not all house names ended in backa. There was Grannabba,
Sandvik, Skytte (Pållas and Simjos), Dalvik, and Granvik. There
was also Rymbacka, Bärtbacka, Skallobacka and Snårbacka,
but all of those were crofters places.
the houses were built around a square with a courtyard in the middle.
There were rarely four houses in such a farm group, but often there
were three and on the 4th side then was a horse stable
with a loft and swallows. The barn wasnt built close to dwellings.
turn of the century a quiet and God-fearing people lived there. There
were many scribes who, with their knowledge, could put the priests
down. In the Högnabba area and at Småbönders a more
restless people lived there who certainly were more go-ahead and less
conservative than the first group mentioned, but at the same time
they had a tendency to party and drink.
an old flour mill has been found. At the turn of the century there
were two flour mills along the edge of the village. At the end of
the 1800s there was also a saw mill; the saws were driven by water
power from the canal that flowed from Djupsjö to the mouth of
waiting at the mill were well-behaved. One reason was the ghost that
was around the mill. At the turn of the century superstitions were
still very common in the parish. Here and there were little hauntings,
especially at the time of death. At a place where people didnt
always live a disciplined life there were constant hauntings. One
such place was Pickvisbacka. There were goblins living near "Busas-lindå"
and when anyone stayed there for any length of time they were frightened
out of their senses.
were men of distinction living in the village during the 1800s and
early 1900s such as Anders Gustav Skytte (Pållars Anders Gustav)
and Karl Storbacka (Jakobas-Kalle). They were both large, strong men,
enterprising and wise. As a young man Anders Gustaf Skytte emigrated
to America and struck out for adventure in the Wild West. He said,
"Better to fight alone than to have a bad friend." In olden
days he owned the largest house in the village with 25-30 cows, and
4-5 horses. He also had the trust of the community.
Storbacka was busy with useful things. He was the land surveyor for
the parish. He worked in the woods and did estate inventories and
wrote up inheritances. His writing style was neat and his speech was
clear and intelligible. Karl was the uncle of economic advisor J.
those versed in the scriptures was Österback-Janne, who worked
healing the soul and body. Smith Viktor Bygdén acquainted communion
school children from Kortjärvi with the Bible.
and Högnabba there was Matts Skytte (Simjos-gubben) and Viljam
Vistbacka. In this village as in Terjärv, religion has always
been a source of spiritual strength.
strong man was Nylands-Jack or crofter Johan Dalström who, when
he cut wood placed the wood so evenly that they looked like bricks.
And when he cut spruce branches to scatter under the cows, he piled
chopped straw around neatly. He did not become rich from his neat
methods but he was a good example to those who had a talent for disorder.
He lived to an old age. He went to church every Sunday and slept in
his pew, but nevertheless when he went home he knew what happened
and could relate what the pastor said.
were also strong women in the village at the turn of the century.
One of them was Låta-Hanna (Hanna Dalvik). Although small in
size, she could handle a rye sack of 60-70 kg as easy as other women
handled a feather bed. One time she fell into a deep well and hurt
herself badly on the stone enclosure. The farm people gathered around
and wondered how to get her out of the well. But while they thought,
Hanna climbed up and calmly began to wash the blood from her face.
She was from a strong family. Her brother Karl Dalvik, the Older,
was a champion marksman and woodsman. At 75 years of age he still
crossed miles of woods and wilderness and shot his gun expertly without
the use of glasses.
turn of the century a large number of settlers who lived in Kortjärvi
village were farmers. Farming was different than it is now. There
wasnt much marsh ground. The rocky ground was planted with grain
and rye, as well as potatoes. The first year they planted turnips
and hemp and flax, but rarely did they plant spring wheat that is
now common in this area. The cow milk production was lower than now,
but each farmer had several more cows than now. As a result the farmer
had more than enough fertilizer for his stony hilly ground. They didnt
use artificial fertilizer.
the later half of the 1800s cattle breeding began to improve. This
was the case at Högnabba, Djupsjöbacka and Småbonders.
At first they skimmed the cream from the milk with hand scoops. The
milk stood for a day in a large metal vessel, sunk in cold water.
Later they got a separator. The cream was churned to butter in a large
square wooden churn which was cranked by hand.
gave the farmers wood for their own use as well as for tar. Each summer
they burned tar along the shore. They received more money for tar
than for butter. Tar was transported by noisy horse wagons along the
road 5-6 km to Gamlakarleby.
In olden times the tar was taken to Nykarleby the road there
was twice as long. In Kortjärvi forests today one can count at
least 100 tar places. None are in working order.
and fishing provided work at the turn of the century. The many lakes
were rich with fish. Many birds, hares and squirrels were found in
the forests. The men fished with hook and net and most of them fished
for their own use. On large farms the weakest sons furnished fish
and game for the household. The men hunted with guns, but most game
was caught with traps and snares. In the fall they sold a lot of forest
birds and during the winter they sold squirrel skins. Most farms had
hounds; harriers with hanging ears were unknown animals then.
were captured only with traps in late winter. A very successful fox
hunter was farmer Matts Storbacka (Abrahams-Matt) at Småbönders.
Otters were rather common a generation back and in the late winter
they were subjected to harsh clubbing in the many brooks and rivers.
Elk were not found at that time, but had had been there previously.
According to Jakob Chydenius, in the mid-1700s elk, wolves and bears
were found in this area, as well as marten and badgers.
the late 1800s emigration provided income to many in the village.
In the fall many young people traveled to America. During spring and
summer they returned to the village with or without dollars, but always
with new ideas and customs. Craftsmen went to Petersburg, Kronstadt,
Viborg and Helsingfors for seasonal work to earn money during the
light months of summer and then returned home at Christmas time.
turn of the century there were various types of handworkers. At Högnabba
there was a good smith. Smiths were also found at Byggningsbacka in
Kortjärvi and at Långbacka in Småbönders. At
Papas in Småbönders there was a coat weaver, and farmer
Henrik Gustav Vistbacka was a glass cutter and brass worker who made
bells and horse bells. The last parish barrel maker was at Storbacka
in Småbönders. The tailor they used most was at Högnabba.
Storbacka (Sytnings-Matt) and sons were skilled carpenters. Earlier
there had been a carpenter at Peto near Svartsjö but he was most
well-known as a fantastic story-teller.
the time of Bobrikoff a large number of young men who were eligible
for military service moved from the village to Sweden. One of them,
Oskar Granö (Skalloback-Oskar) learned carpentry work in northern
Sweden and made an excellent type of ski. After he returned home he
produced by hand numerous tournament skis for the countrys best
skiers as well as hundreds of skis for the common folk.
village there were also coopers, boat builders and tanners, as well
as old women. The latter were always willing and reliable midwives.
old customs survived in the village even at the turn of the century.
No one knows their origin and significance. But they have survived
from generation to generation. When the cows were taken out in the
spring, the shepherd boys and girls were soaked with water. It was
usually done by someone who hid in the evening when the cows could
be heard on their way home. With a full water bucket one hid behind
the cow shed door or behind a rock on the road and held the bucket
over the shepherd boy or girl. Sometimes they were dragged to the
river or lake and dropped there. Or one could also drag them to a
water-filled cooking pot in the sauna. That joke was quite unsanitary.
the cows were out in the fields and wouldnt go home in the evening,
according to an old custom they were dragged by the tail backwards
to the cow shed. In the winter when the cows sweat and became ill
from lack of oxygen in the crowded cow shed, the reins from the stable
were brought and the cows went through the loop of the reins.
a man was fishing he would spit on the worm when he put it on the
hook. At the same time he would say magic words that brought fishing
from my string
in the line
I drag it into the boat.
men went out to hunt they would blend the gunpowder with crumbs in
order to get better game.
were a common occurrence in Terjärv
at the turn of the century and a little before then. At a school dance
at Högnabba, one old fighter used to carry in an armload of wood
and throw it on the floor and urge the boys to take them as weapons.
A tarred stump with nails also made a good weapon. They also used
knives, but did not have murder on their minds. Therefore, they took
measures by putting rags or a cork on the knife so that only part
of the blade stuck out. If he was fighting a large stout man, he would
leave 3 inches of the blade uncovered, but if it was a very thin man
he would fight, then he left only 2 inches of the blade exposed.
last bloody wedding in the village, when both young and old fought
with knives was at Låtas, when Nils Dalvik married Lovisa Fors
at the end of the 1860s. An Evijärvi Finn fought a house painter
from Småbönders with a knife so badly that he died several
days later. An old man "Skäggen" from Skytte tried
to save the painters life by cutting him open from the neck
to the end of his back. The wounded young mans friend Anders
Mattsson Djupsjöbacka ran to the nearest inn to borrow a horse
and carriage to get a doctor from Gamlakarleby. But it was hay-making
time and the farmers didnt take their horses to the innkeepers
place. So Anders had to run to Gamlakarleby to get the doctor. The
doctor was at his villa a half mile outside the city, so the young
man had to run 60 km. It was a "marathon run" that was talked
about for a long time.
the first two decades of the 1900s there was a growing interest in
sports and athletics. At Högnabba there were athletes who won
prizes in other countries. Fighting gradually stopped. The most famous
skiers were Axel Dalvik, who died in the war 1918, Arthur Högnabba,
Joel Högnabba, Julius Högnabba and Joel Skytte.