whose families emigrated from Sundby village in Pedersöre parish
will enjoy the following description of life there at the turn of
the century, written by a former resident of the village:
village in Pedersöre parish lies close to the big highway about
8 km south of old Pedersöre church. A present day traveller would
wonder how the village got its name as his eyes can discern nothing
other than the little stream that runs through the village from Kovjoki
in the south. A hundred years ago when the village acquired its first
buildings, it looked different. The names sund, näs, fjärd
and vik which are still preserved were then a reality. As late as
1933, it was still possible during the spring floods to see that one
could row a boat along the road while the entire group of farms was
isolated from each other by a body of water; then one had the impression
that the name of the village was well chosen.
us look at the village as it appeared immediately after the turn of
the century. The village land consisted of a large part of meadowland
which was inundated during the spring and early summer by water that
formed fjärds, bays and channels. During favorable summers these
low lying meadows gave a good yield in sedge and horsetail. The rural
areas of the cities of Jakobstad and Nykarleby still have large acreage
in Sundby. Between these spring-flooded bays and sounds lies a wood-clad
neck of land and fertile acreage upon which is situated some of the
most noble red-painted farms. In the middle of these acres was the
largest farm Hällnäs, and at each group of farms rye grew
during midsummer and in the fall there were splendid rows of tilled
land as straight as an arrow.
is a house in Sundby that is apart from its surroundings in both size
and color. It is the large white 2-storied building at Gästgivars,
built some time in the mid-1700's of wood that was originally intended
for Larsmo church. Because of a dispute about building a church in
Larsmo, the residents were compelled to postpone work on a church,
so part of the wood meant for the church was transported to Sundby
and used to build a house intended for four families. The timber in
the house is of an unusally coarse pine which was covered by plaster
on the outside. As one of the older houses in the village, it has
its own interesting history associated with the time more than 60
years ago when it was made into an inn.
arrived in horse and carriage. The post messenger drove his own coach
for which the best horses were used, and he blew into a horn to make
known his arrival. High Russian officials arrived in their coaches
and tossed copper coins into the mud of the yard to entertain small
boys who greedily threw themselves onto the ground without thinking
about getting their clothing dirty or of the delight they furnished
the Russian gentlemen.
to this large house in the village, there were several smaller houses
near Gästgivars and not far along the main road was the Sandbacka
house. South of the main road was Holländer, to the right and
farther along the side road was Kristoffers and at the end near the
woods was the Degernäs house. At the bend of the main road between
Smedas and Pysbacka was the elementary school where J.V. Westerlund
was a pioneer and Oskar Häggström continued to educate the
of Vannäs fjärd was the group of houses called Vannäs
which gave the fjärd its name, and Kåll, on the highest
hill in the village. From there one had a good view over the surroundings
and one could see the high pointed church steeple of Pedersöre,
also the church weathervane and bell tower. East of the Vannäs
fjärd along the road was Näsebacka, known for its hunters
and hounds. Farther along the same road was Svede. On the shore of
the stream in the middle of the village was the Grägg house which
was called Tontte and Valla, in everyday speech. At the end of Kassnäs
creek there was Stor- and Lill-Kassnäs that had a roadway leading
to Bennäs road.
went from the village to the school through Brännboa woods, it
was not very pleasant in the dark. As the old people related, Ryss-Ant
died on the road to Kassnäs and no one knew about it until the
ravens began to gather around in a mass. At the end of Bennäs
road is Hummeljut, known for its blacksmith Hummeljuts Ant.
residents are modest and reserved. All are industrious farmers who
tend their farms, their cows and horses, their houses and children
to the best of their ability. In this connection we cannot omit one
person who meant more to the village than many others. He was Gustav
Kåll who took the initiative 1898 to undertake what needed to
be done and after 38 years and many difficulties, was able to see
his life's work completed.
person of special interest should be mentioned. Along the road to
Gästgivars was a little red cottage beneath high birch and aspen
trees. There lived Kådmakars-Hann (Hanna), known for her medicine
in all the parishes. People brought their sick children to her; some
came from long distances - from Nedervetil, Oravais and Vörå.
Nearly every day some long distance visitor asked village residents
where this woman lived. She learned her profession from her stepmother
Kajs who used to journey all the way to Evijärvi once a week
to "doctor" the pastor's sick offspring.
continued along the road to Kristoffers we would see a lonely little
red cottage in the pine woods. In the window we would see geraniums
and myrtle, and along the cottage path wild rosebushes blossomed.
Rosa Hålländer, called Ros or Sammals-Ros, lived there
with her cat, her cow and her sheep, but she was often seen in the
village visiting relatives and neighbors. She was the village encyclopedia.
Ask her when anyone was born and you had an answer at once. As her
anything. She was always cheerful and talkative.
village store was at Valla. There Lisas-Fi sold 17 candy lozenges
for 10 pennies and a stick of licorice for 5 pennies, also sugar,
grain, material for clothing and many other things.
there was a special poor couple called Ant and Hann. They lived in
a little gray hut along the road. Ant fished with his net and Hann
earned a few coins helping at the house and then cooked potatoes or
a little grain. But she had long fingers. People knew it but pretended
they didn't. She only stole what she needed for household use. Funeral
feasts were a great event for the couple. Then they had a lot of good
food, and the people took up a collection for the poor. Ant and Hann
were the poor and the money was given to them. But on Monday Hann
was sick. She had obviously eaten too much good food. Then Ant had
to walk along the road to the city to buy wine. It was not the first
time. Anders and Hanna, as they called each other, went to the lemonade
shop and we boys spent all our coins on lemonade that cost 20 pennies
a bottle. We had many amusing times with these coins because Anders
was touchy and superstitious and it was fun when he became irritated.
water around Sundby was rich in fish and in addition to being farmers,
the men fished during the spring and summer. The only fisherman by
trade in the village was Skomakars-Herman, who fished mostly at Flatanabba.
third day of Christmas was the old men's day. The old men gathered
together to discuss internal village affairs. They drank many cups
of strong coffee and smoked many pipes of tobacco during the discussion.
who married in the summer usually held a two-day wedding, while a
winter wedding lasted only one day. From one of the large homes the
bridal couple and the musicians rode to the bride's home. Byggas-Vick
from Östensö was the musician used most often. He was a
quiet and considerate country musician who remained longer at his
art than most of the others. Old bridal customs no longer remain and
seldom do we see a bride with the large crown on her head. Weddings
are more simplified, but a beautiful cloth on a cushion on which the
bridal couple knelt is still used and everything is calm and serious.
life was not only sun and gladness. There was often a funeral ceremony
and burial. People gathered at the funeral feast at 6-7 o'clock in
the morning. The aroma of spruce twigs and strong coffee drifted through
the doorway. Skrädda-Mattas-Alfred would lead with his fragile
voice in a hymn and the funeral guests joined in singing. Later they
would return to the church and sing many comforting songs and hymns
from the songbook.
is an approximate picture of life and the people of Sundby during
the turn of the century. There have been many changes and the picture
we see today has changed in many ways. At the end of 1936 the entire
landscape changed. Many of the people written about moved away, customs
and practices changed but all the same, people continue to live there
even if under new conditions, and with information to improve and
preserve the best from earlier generations. May the new generation