The oldest Land Register for Terjärv is dated 1549 and mentions eleven homes. In 1587 there were fourteen homes and in 1607, combined with Kronoby, there were fifteen homes. In the 1600s new land was claimed and the number of homes increased. In 1830 Terjärv was divided into three villages: Hästbacka with 61 homes; Kyrkoby with 82 homes and Kortjärvi with 69 homes.

In 1549 the oldest homesteads were:
- Granö (2 houses)    
- Storrank (Ranckabacka)    
- Fagernäs    
- Lytts    
- Byskata    
- Hästbacka (2 houses)    

(3 unnamed homes were abandoned.)

In 1650 there were 14 named houses in the village:

- Hästbacka - Lillrank  
- Kolam - Dövnäs  
- Björkvik - Lytts  
- Kieurkall - Kortjärvi  
- Emet - Widjeskog  
- Granö - Skytte  
- Byskata - Storrank  
Between 1650 and 1725 these were added:
- Häsjebacka - Furu - Gistö
- Björkbacka - Kaitajärvi  
- Sandkulla - Storbacka  
- Näse - Forsbacka  
- Svartsjö - Timmerbacka  
Between 1725 and 1750 these were added:
- Haggmans (1747) - Lilltimmerbacka - Åsvik
- Sandvik (1738) - Särs (1738)  
- Drycksbäck - Sågslampi (1739)  
After 1750 these new settlements arrived:
- Sågfors (1752) - Högnabba (1752)  
- Manderbacka (1755) - Vistbacka (1756)  
- Djupsjö (1759) - Granvik (1758)  
- Zittra (1766) - Grannabba (1775)  
- Dalvik (1790) - Åsbacka (1794)  


After Åsbacka came in 1794 there were no new settlements between 1794 and 1830. In 1910 there were 276 independent farms of over 1/2 hectare.

Population Growth

When Terjärv first appeared in 1549, the village consisted on only eleven farmers and 56 adults. There was little change in the following years until 1556 when there were 13 farms and 75 adults. Terjärv began to grow in the 1600s after the merger with Kronoby in 1607 when that parish was established. The number of farmers remained at 20 for a long time. In the 1670s when Terjärv built their own church and chapel, the population began to grow. By 1700 there were 39 farms. In 1750 there were 668 people recorded in the church books. In the 1800s 1,513 people lived there, including 770 women.

The birth rate has been high. In 1749 there were 668 people and 49 children were born that year. The death rate was also high. Hygiene in the homes was reprehensible so there was no possibility for delicate children to survive. During the year 80-90% of those who were born, died. However, some older people lived to an old age. From 1691-1828 (137 years) there were four people who lived to be over 100, five over 95, eighteen over 90, and thirty-nine over 85. One who lived 100 years was Henrik Johansson Byskata, b. 13 Jan 1667, d. 24 Jul 1769 at age 102. He was married three times and had 20 children, 55 grandchildren and 29 great grandchildren. He lived with his first wife 13 years, with the second wife 30 years and with his third wife 27 years.

Terjärv also had crop failures, famines and epidemics. There was a severe dysentery epidemic in 1763 when 84 people died, including 72 children under the age of 17. On July 17 they buried 20 bodies, for a total of 45 for the month. Normally they buried 30 bodies in a year. During the war year of 1808 nearly a tenth of the population, 149 people, died. Summer and fall were the times when plagues were the worst. Overcrowding and daily hygiene in the home were the causes for the spread of tuberculosis.

Illness and Child Care

When one looks at the communion book and other documents, one can notice the high death rate, especially among infants. There can be many explanations and during the 1600s and 1700s there were plagues as well as smallpox. Flu played a big role and the cure was often primitive. One example of medicine that was used in the 1700s was "whale oil." It was taken from seals who died in the spring. Their bodies stayed on the ice, rotted and then washed ashore.

In the 1700s blood letting was a remedy for several illnesses. In 1755 it was determined that the parish clerk would teach the skill of blood letting. In 1803 he was also ordered to be skilled in innoculation as part of the position of barber-surgeon. When the Dean visited Kronoby in 1825, he reported that the parish clerk was not concerned with vaccination and most of the children weren't vaccinated. Innoculation had begun long before in Karleby and Nedervetil by pastor Jacob Chydenius and son Anders. It was an important matter for the younger Chydenius. Of his work, he said that with the parish clerk in charge of vaccination in the parish, the mothers and other women knew about this function and many of the children had been successfully vaccinated.

Another reason for infant mortality was that child care was utterly primitive. Children often died at birth because of ignorant helpers. The women often gave vodka to the baby several times a day. The mortality was still high even if the childbirth was successful. One reason was that the mothers did not breast feed their children. In the 1750s Governor Piper was concerned about this. He went to the king and complained about the reluctance to breast feed and demanded that action be brought against all cases of neglect. Children drank cold cow's milk from a horn/antler that hung over the cradle. They thought it was too much trouble to heat the milk. In the 1800s a horn with a nipple was used in Kronoby.

Stora Ofreden 1714-1721

During the Great Northern War after the fall of Viborg in 1710, the land lay open for enemies. Troops of refugees sought to escape the cruelty and plundering of the Russian soldiers. In the summer of 1712 Karelian refugees were found in nearly all the Ostrobothnian cities. Thousands of homeless people with horses, cattle and other personal property dragged along the roads. When the Swedish army retreated, a large part of the people followed them or sought refuge in the forests and unoccupied areas. In the coastal areas, people fled to Sweden, including people of rank and the clergy, leaving behind a desolate situation.

Churches were plundered, country people were tortured to induce them to reveal where they had hidden their possessions. Epidemics followed, but fortunately the deaths in Österbotten were not many. The Russians on their march north surrounded Jakobstad and set fire to the city. Herman Roos from Vasa, who had sought refuge in the north, was convinced by Kronoby farmers to write a plea for mercy. Four Kronoby residents were chosen to go along the road and meet the Russians with the surrender letter. They were followed by a Swedish patrol because their plan was treacherous. Chaplain Gabriel Werender, who had the courage to stay in Kronoby, was caught by the Russians and tortured.

The refugees who went to Sweden wanted to return to their farms, and despite warnings by 1718 a number of them had returned to Finland. The following year Chaplain Bogman returned to Kronoby with a handful of his parishioners.

In many places the country people had taken weapons and fought a merciless guerilla war against the overwhelming enemy, and Kronoby residents were the first to resist. The Russians took Chaplain Werander to prison and tortured him in an attempt to get information about where the farmers had hidden their guns. He was also held responsible for convincing his parishioners to resist. The Russians dragged thousands of people to Russia as prisoners. From Kronoby they took 114 people and 22 of them were from Terjärv chapel.

People from Terjärv who were taken prisoner by the Russians in 1714:

Vidjeskog: Sahl. Matts Jacobsson's son Matts 15 years old
  Farm hand Jacob 16    "
Furu: Michel Mattsson's son Hans  7    "
       "       "     daughter Anna 25    "
Svartsjö: Matts Johansson's son Matts 16    "
       "       "     daughter Lisa 10    "
Skytte: Elias Eliasson 15    "
  Michel     " 16    "
  Sahl. Matts Topfer's daughter Maria 10    "
Hästbacka: Sahl. Hans Andersson's son Hans 15    "
Granö: Sahl. Anders Thomasson's daughter Carin 17    "
Kolam: Sahl. Anders Johansson's son Johan 14    "
  Margareta Simonsdotter 26    "
  Anders Simonsson 15    "
  Anna Simonsdotter 14    "
Kortjärvi: Matts Gabrielsson's daughter Anna 16    "
  Daniel Mattsson's daughter Lisa 15    "
  Sahl. Anders Larsson's daughter Maria 18    "
Björkbacka: Matts Simonsson's daughter Brita 15    "
Lyttbacka: Sahl. Hindrich Mickelsson's Matts  9    "
Rank: Sahl. Jacob Persson's son Johan 15    "
  Michel Cnutsson's son Erich 10    "
  Sahl. Matts Topfers daughter Maria 10    "
Hästbacka: Sahl. Hans Andersson's son Hans 15    "
Granö: Sahl. Anders Thomasson's daughter Cari 17    "
Kolam: Sahl. Anders Johansson's son Johan 14    "
  Margareta Simonsdotter, went with Russians 26    "
  Anders Simonsson              "            " 15    "
  Anna Simonsdotter              "            " 14    "


The farmers hid their valuable belongings by burying them in the ground or sinking them in the sea and waterways. The enemy's methods of torture to induce the people to reveal their hiding places were well known. Often those who were tortured died and the hiding places were never found. Many never returned to their homes and their relatives searched in vain to find the hidden items.

During this time period the women had to perform part of the men's work. During tar burning the women took over a large part of the farm work, and other types of businesses that relied on male manpower were required to use female labor. So it is natural that women could not undertake all the motherhood duties. This faulty child care has cost Österbotten more lives than all the wars and pestilence together.

The War of 1808-1809

On 20 Mar 1808 everyone in Kronoby gathered for a parish meeting where Constable Yhrman reported the general situation and asked those present if they would go to war. Abraham bäck answered and said that it was madness to go to war and get shot. But the people agreed that the parish scribe Forsén should accept replies about service in the war.

Russian and Swedish soldiers passed Kronoby twice and the people had a direct knowledge of the war events. The parish residents didn't suffer any damage during the war. No farms were plundered or burned. To meet the requirements of the Russian army, on 1 Oct 1808 the parish provided grain. At a meeting in Gamlakarleby the Russians paid and no home lost horses to the Swedish or Russian troops. At a parish meeting in March 1809 parishioners declared they would not help anyone who was involved with shooting or billeting. Those who were forced to give wood or whose ovens were badly burned from so much baking received compensation in the form of a wagonload of wood.

Excerpts from "Släktanteckningar" by Nils F. Backman

Translated by June Pelo


DATABASE of IMMIGRANTS from Ostrobothnia, Finland