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LARSMO CHURCH VILLAGE

The Larsmo rural area is separated from the mainland by a narrow channel and bay. There is also a collection of islands and Larsmo is connected to the mainland by 5 bridges.

Low hills and depressions in the ground fill a large part of the main island terrain. The depressions are often marshes filled with peat moss and brush. In the church village are the following marshes: Molnviken, Degerträsket, Västerviken, etc. There are also piles of stone lying about. The largest watercourses in the archipelago are Gloskärsfjärden, Hästöfjärden and Kalvholmsfjärden. All of them are full of small hardwood growth and reed covered islets.

Larsmo church village does not consist of compact residential groups as in other Ostrobothnian villages. Nearest to Jakobstad are Risöhäll and Lillfuruholm. Then following the first group of houses in old Larsmo is Grev — named after Polycarpus Cronhjälm, most known for his great penury. His merit is that Larsmo became a parish in1787.

The next farm group is Strömsholm or Styrmans. Then follows Byggmästar or Tommosfolk, as it is still called. After Tommosfolk there is Slussnäs. Farther away lies Käld and Bräsk farms, including Byåkern, the oldest cultivation in Larsmo. It was said that the Russians had burned a farm during Stora Ofreden (the great Northern War with Russia in the early 1700’s). It was also referred to as the Great Wrath. In the west lies Kackur and Sämskar.

There are more houses and farm groups in Larsmo church village: Litens or Småsus (Småsunds), Holm, Hannula, Sandvik, Fagernäs and Fagerudd. The last two were formerly called Fagernäs-Grels.

In the neighbouring village of Eugmo is found the oldest dwelling place in Larsmo — Finnäs farm. The previously mentioned Cronhjälm lived at Gertruds in the same village. Runeberg’s hunting comrade Blyas Ant (Anders Bly) who took part in the 1808-09 war also lived there.

Fishing was of great importance for many Larsmo residents. It is the main industry for about a fourth of the population. In the winter during stormy and rainy weather, the fishermen repaired their gear and bragged of their accomplishments. Whitefish and salmon were considered the most important.

Farming had long been one of the main village industries. During the last decades it has made considerable progress. The recently determined land parceling will surely come to work to the advance of the industry.

Weddings were celebrated on a large scale during the 1890’s and beginning of the 1900’s. The bride wore a large crown and the celebration lasted three days, but on the third day the crown was put away. The crown was used for the last time in Larsmo in 1920.

Earlier it was said that the guests exchanged a separate gift for a dance with the bride. The lowest gift was 25 pennis, but each time that he danced with the bridge, he was required to drink a toast (skål). The last time this custom was followed was when Maja Lisa Litens and Kammar-Jock were married in 1885.

At funerals, the guests were invited from the nearby surroundings, both large and small, to bread and schnapps early Sunday morning, around 6 o’clock. After the burial the guests ate plentifully of food and schnapps. In 1902 the custom of serving guests at funerals ceased. The temperance movement had gotten its first foothold.

Larsmo residents are, to a large extent, characterized by special Österbottniska qualities, outspoken and fearless. They are also religious and freedom loving. The fresh, free life in the rocky inlet has reared them to be what they are.

By H. E. Fagerudd and Rafael Lilius

From Den Österbottniska Byn

June Pelo

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