got into trouble again in 1652 when he became angry with Matts Granö
of Terjärv whose tar pit was too close to his land. Joseph attacked
Granö and gave him four bleeding wounds, gave Granö's son
Hans three bruises, and his son-in-law, daughter and a servant girl
one bruise each. Joseph had to pay considerable fines and reparations.
Then at the next court session, Hans Granö complained that Joseph
had driven him from his tar pit, burned the wood and kept the tar.
The court ordered Joseph to pay fines, but at the same time the lay
jurists were ordered to decide on a boundary between the properties.
(Extracting tar from split pine wood and slowly burning it in pits
was a major cottage industry in the days of wooden sailing ships.
Tar was used to waterproof the ships, ropes, etc.) By the time he
was 60 he seems to have settled down and there were no more disputes
for a while. But in 1673 Joseph was fined by the court concerning
the suspension bridge over the Vetil River. He was responsible for
maintenance of the bridge which probably was near his home.
Joseph's son Erik, b. 1616, was my 8th
great grandfather who moved to Dunkar and took the surname Dunkar.
Erik had a son Matts, b. 1649, and in 1678 there was an interesting
case concerning him. He said that in recent years his horses had been
wandering from his farm and he blamed that on a witch. Many witches,
nearly all woman, had been beheaded or burned because they were believed
to be in league with the devil. The worst witch was active in Upper
Karleby and aroused fear, especially in Kaustby, before she was brought
to justice in 1678.
She was Kreeta Prott from Pedersöre,
in her 50's, and it was believed she caused much illness, death and
arson, plus injury to farm animals. She had treated Matts badly because
she felt she was not adequately entertained at his home. One time
she had gone there hoping to get some wine, but the mistress gave
her bread and milk instead. The witch was angered and put a curse
on the livestock. At first the cat twisted its leg and then two heifers
died and sheep's tongues rotted in their mouths. The horses became
so wild that every summer they wandered far from home.
When Matts complained to officials about
Kreeta's witchcraft, she vowed to take revenge on his grandchildren.
Matts denounced her to the pastor and the sheriff and she tried to
escape the clutches of a merciless government. At court she was sentenced
to be beheaded and burned. She was put into irons pending the decision
of the Appellate court and kept in prison in Karleby for eight months.
Results of her imprisonment are not known because pertinent documents
are missing. After she was sentenced to death, the church and courts
ceased to persecute witches. But the farmers still believed in the
power of witches into the 20th century.
Matts' brother Hans had a son Hans Hansson
Warg-Varila who was sent to Viborg to fight the Russians in 1710.
Many men of the Ostrobothnian regiment died in the siege of Riga,
which ended in 1710 by surrender to the Russians. The Russians began
to encircle Viborg. To save this important location, 2400 men from
south and central Ostrobothnia were sent to Viborg without any training.
Their morale was low - the expedition was poorly planned, famine was
in the land and Viborg fell before they arrived. Even the inexperienced
farmboys knew they would be of little use in re-capturing the fort
and their mood changed to rebellion. On 28 June Hans Hansson Varila
and six others took provisions, rifles and ammunition, their own horses
and left for home. They did not hide when they reached home, but worked
more diligently than before and at the Fall court session they bravely
explained their desertion to care for their homes because they were
the only adult men at home. Their punishment was to run a gauntlet
of nine men wielding clubs.
Erik Josephsson Warg-Dunkar also had
a son Johan, b. 1645, whose descendants were the progenitors of several
members of the Swedish Finn Historical Society. They'll be the subject
of a future article.