Michael Anderson’s homestead in Van Buren Township. From left to right: Three Unknown Neighbors, John (Johannes) Raihala, Briita Elizabeth Takkunen-Raihala, Michael William Raihala, Ida Sofia Raihala, Michael Anderson (Mikko Takkunen), Jacob Elmer Raihala and Magdalena (Lena) Kammunen-Anderson. Dog’s name wasn’t noted.

Mikko Worked in Mesabi

Michael Anderson, John’s father in law, was a millwright in a planning mill located in Mesaba, Minnesota. When it became known that it was going to be closed as a result of the silver depression of the early nineties he filed on a homestead in section 20 of what is now Van Buren Township May 17, 1893.

Mike Anderson, after being in America 24 years, caught and passed away from Typhoid Fever. His wife Lena said he had not been feeling well for about two weeks, but did not consider his condition critical until Sunday when he sent for the doctor who pronounced his trouble Thphoid fever. From that Sunday he rapidly grew worse until the end came. He left a widow and two married daughters Mrs. John Raihala and Mrs. Gust Beckman.

From the district court records of the Eleventh Judicial District we find that Michael Anderson filed his papers of intent to become a citizen on the 3rd day of November 1890. He swore that he was born in Finland on or about the year 1847 and that he landed at the port of Philadelphia on or about the month of May 1893. He forever renounced the Czar of Russia and Finland.

John (Johannes) & Briita Elizabeth Raihala‘s Homestead
Michael William (Bill) & Lillian Kazaiah Isojoki – Raihala’s Homestead

John & Elizabeth Raised Family in Van Buren Settlement

As the headline states our family name Räihälä was founded in 1890 in America. Passport records show John’s immigration date as 16 April 1890 and Elizabeth’s as 22 May 1891. They were both 20 years old when they emmigrated from the North Ostrobothnia region of Finland. John from Kalajoki and Elizabeth from Rautio, Finland to the same type of weather and forrests found in Northern Minnesota. Rautio and Kalajoki would be like Floodwood and Duluth in many ways.

We also know from a fragment of their wedding certificate that they were married in the Finnish Evangelical Church by Rev. Sarvela in Mesaba. Their first born Michael William, June 22, 1894 was said to be the first white child born in the wild frontier town with one possible exception. A birth that was not registered was claimed for Missabi a month earlier.

John received his Certificate of Citizenship from the District Court, County of St. Louis, State of Minnesota on the 2nd day of August, 1900.

The couple moved to the family homestead November 9, 1894 where they raised eleven children.

  • Michael William June 1894
  • Ida Sofia March 1896
  • Jacob Elmer July 1898
  • John Emil July 1900
  • Matthew Edward April 1902
  • Arthur Alfred January 1904
  • Selma Marian March 1905
  • Waino Richard December 1906
  • Jennie Elizabeth January 1908
  • Henry Ernest August 1909
  • Emma Emelia October 1910
We are often asked; “How do you pronounce your name?” Here are a couple of Raihala’s doing just that.

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