Pulkkila [Siikalatva]

The municipality of Siikalatva has at least three famine memorials (as it is was formed in 2009 from a collection of smaller towns): Rantsila, Piippola and Pulkkila. This part of Northern Ostrobothnia suffered terribly in the 1860s (the fourth town of Siikalatva, Kestilä, also featured regularly in harrowing newspaper reports). In 1866, it was reported from Pulkkila that it felt like war-time, as hunger and disease fought violently against the local population. [Oulun Wiikko-Sanomia, 30 Jun. 1866). In his speech to the Pulkkila Society’s “Museum Picnic” in July 2018, Matti Leiviskä described how over six hundred (of fewer than two thousand) people from the Pulkkila chapel parish died between 1866-68.

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As with other sites in Northern Ostrobothnia, the Kirjastovirma website was my original source of information. In the entry for Pulkkila Church, it notes that in  spinney behind the church is a white wooden cross, which was the graveyard of those who fell in the Battle of Pulkkila (in May 1808, during the Finnish War between Sweden and Russia), as well as those who perished in the Great Hunger Years (1866-68).

References:  

Oulun Wiikko-Sanomia, 30 Jun. 1866

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Säräisniemi [Vaala]*

Another site in Northern Ostrobothnia (n.b. when I started this project, Vaala was in Kainuu) which I’ve not yet had the chance to visit. In August 1985, newspapers printed a syndicated report from the STT (Finnish Information Bureau) newsagency:

MEMORIALS AT TWO MASS GRAVES IN VAALA: This Sunday, two memorials will be unveiled at the old cemetery in Säräisniemi, Vaala, in connection with two mass graves from over a century ago.  Both of these granite memorials have plaques attached, on which are engraved details of these events from the mid-nineteenth century.

At the shipwreck-victims’ graveyard fifteen bodies are buried. These people were lost when a church boat sank on Oulujärvi on the 6th October 1856.

Nearby, at a second mass grave, are buried people were were lost to dysentery at the Pelsonsuo Canal worksite during the hunger years of the 1850s and 1860s.

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Old drainage ditches at Pelso. Asuttaja, 1 Nov. 1918.

The works at Pelsonsuo might be considered more of a mass drainage / drying of the bog, with canals being a part of this process.

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Suometar, 11 Aug. 1863 discusses the bog drainage scheme at Pelsonsuo.

A site visit will follow in Spring 2019, and details of the precise location etc will be included on this entry.

Note: although not of direct relevance to this blog, the wikipedia entry for “Church Boats” in Finnish indicates that there were sixteen, rather than fifteen, people from Vuolijoki who drowned on the way back from church in 1856. 

References:

Suometar, 11 Aug. 1863.

Asuttaja, 1 Nov. 1918. 

Länsi-Savo, 19 Aug. 1985.

Etelä-Suomen Sanomat, 19 Aug. 1985.

 

Pudasjärvi

All is all, but at the same time all is not all… And so it is that the flood of beggars has reached such an extent that the end is nigh for both the feeders and the fed. The year’s harvest took everything… there are lots of thefts, a large amount of reindeer thefts since the last assizes.

Oulun Wiikko-Sanomia, 8 Feb. 1868.

 

I can see that I used an image of the famine memorial at Pudasjärvi for a lecture that I gave at Lund University, Sweden, in 2013, so I seem to have been aware of the stone long before I incorporated famine memory and memorialisation into my project. To date, this is the most northerly 1860s memorial that I have found, and the only one I’ve visited so far that lies within Finland’s reindeer husbandry zone.

Along with some of the other memorials in Northern Ostrobothnia, I obviously “discovered” the Pudasjärvi memorial via the Kirjastovirma website – and finally visited in person in the late summer of 2019, during a trip to Oulu. The church is situated a few kilometres from the centre of this vast municipality, on the north bank of Pudasjärvi lake.

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The church building dates from the later part of the eighteenth century, and contains some impressive paintings . The belltower is slightly older than the current church building (dating from 1761), and paintings from 1765 by Mikael Toppelius remain above its front door.

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The parish records show that deaths outnumbered births in Pudasjärvi for three consecutive years 1866-68. In 1868 (above), there were only 152 births compared with 329 deaths. [National Archives of Finland, Pudasjävi Parish Archives, Population Tables].
The famine period hit Pudasjärvi hard, and deaths outnumbered births in the parish in 1866, 1867 and 1868. As early as January 1866, a letter from Oulu in the Hufvudstadsbladet newspaper noted large numbers of people arriving into the town from the “upland areas” such as Pudasjärvi, Hyrynsalmi and Sotkamo, “in search of life’s sustenance”. The famine memorial is next to the church, on the south-eastern side. The plaque on the memorial features rye stems, and records the 962 parishioners who perished between 1866 and 1868. It also (quoting Matthew 6:11) uses the common “Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread” petition.

 

Location: Pudasjärvi Church, Siurantie 256, Pudasjärvi.

Parish: Pudasjärvi.

Modern Region: Northern Ostrobothnia (Pohjois-Pohjanmaa).

Year of Memorial: TBC.

Inscription: In Pudasjärvi 962 people died during the Years of Dearth 1866-1868, in whose memory this stone is erected. Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread — Matt 6:11,

 

References:

Hufvudstadsbladet, 13 Jan. 1866.

Oulun Wiikko-Sanomia, 8 Feb. 1868.

“Katovuosina nälkään kuolleiden muistomerkki”, Kirjastovirma [http://www.kirjastovirma.fi/muistomerkit/pudasjarvi/04]

Marika Paukkeri, “Nälkään kuolleiden muistomerkki muistuttaa jokapäiväisestä leivästä”, Iijokiseutu, 26 Jul. 2017.

Marica Paukkeri, “Kotiseutujuhla vietettiin perinteisesti”, Iijokiseutu,

 

 

 

Piippola [Siikalatva]

The monument at Piippola is particularly notable for being the first 1860s memorial (to the best of my knowledge) to be inaugurated after World War Two. It stands in the grounds of the wooden church (built 1769), and features a large gravestone with long inscription, and a central plaque. The signpost for Piippola is familiar for many who travel between central Finland and Oulu, and is one of several memorials in the vicinity of “Nelostie” (Road 4) – as well as being close to the “geographical centre” of Finland. At nearby Pulkkila Church (approximately 10-12 km NNW), there is also a famine-era mass grave (which had earlier been used during the Finnish Wars of 1808-09).

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Piippola, July 2017

Location: Piippola Churchyard, Keskustie 3, (Siikalatva).

Parish: Siikalatva

Modern Region: Northern Ostrobothnia

Year of Memorial: 1946. Central plaque added 2003.

Inscription: “Travelling Man. We had belief in prayer, and work. You reap the harvest. Sanctify your thoughts while you stand on our resting place”. [PLAQUE: In this place are buried five hundred of parishioners who died victims of hunger and disease in the years 1866-68. Give us this day our daily bread. Matt 6:11.] “Blessings on our ancestors and gratitude for their labours – from the current generation”.  

 

References:

Suomen Kuvalehti, 10 Oct. 1975.

Anneli Laukkanen, ”Nälkään kuolleille muistolaatta Piippolassa”, Siikajokilaakso, 2 Oct. 2003.

Matti Leiviskä, “Kylmiä kesiä ja hallavuosia“, Historia arktisella asenteella-blog

Petri Hakkarainen, “Nälkä ja katkera kuolema on edessänsä“, Kaleva, 28 Sep. 2003.

 

Note: I apologise here for consistently mis-spelling Piippola in the Sesquicentennial Report.

Merijärvi

M–i S–o writes from Merijärvi on the 13th of May, amongst other things: surprisingly, not one of our poor in the workhouse has died, and at the moment, we do not have a single diseased patient, and what’s more no-one has as much as a scratch… the fish catch is very meagre this summer, as all the fish died during the winter, and the flood waters brought their corpses floating down the river like logs.

Oulun Wiikko Sanomat, 20 Jun. 1868.

Antti Häkkinen (1994), notes that Merijärvi was one of the parishes which did not include a work obligation as a part of its poor relief system, and as a result had lower mortality than some neighbouring places (Häkkinen, 1994). Despite the upbeat tone of the report in June 1868, the small sub-parish of Merijärvi – as with most other parts of Ostrobothnia – suffered excess mortality during the longer period 1866-1868. According to Finland’s Official Statistics,  41, 33, and 65 perished in 1866, 1867 and 1868 respectively (leading to a population decrease of 43 during those three years).

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Merijärvi Church during the wet summer of 2017.

As with several other sites in Northern Ostrobothnia, I was able to research this particular memorial before making the trip north, thanks to the invaluable Kirjastovirma website, as well as an entry (with picture) in the Pohjanmaa volume of Suomen Muistomerkit. The memorial, featuring two broken rye stems on a polished black stone, was erected near the gates of the graveyard in memory of those who died in the parish without receiving a formal funeral / headstone.

Location: Merijärvi Churchyard, Kirkkotie 14.

Parish: Ylivieska [Merijärvi Sub-parish].

Modern Region: Northern Ostrobothnia (Pohjois-Pohjanmaa).

Year of Memorial: 1992.

Inscription: “To the victims of the Hunger Years 1866-1868. Merijärvi Parish, Municipality and Local Society [Kotiseutuyhdistys]. 1992”.

 

References:

Oulun Wiikko Sanomat, 20 Jun. 1868

Suomen Muistomerkit. Osa 4. Pohjanmaa (Nousiainen, 1996), p. 44.

Suomenmaan Virallinen Tilasto VI – Väkiluvun-Tilastoa (Toinen Vihko) (Helsinki, 1871), pp. 100-101.

Antti Häkkinen, “Vaikuttivatko väärät hätäaputoimet vuosien 1867–1868 suureen kuolleisuuteen?” in Petri Karonen (ed.) “Pane leipään puolet petäjäistä” – Nälkä- ja pulavuodet Suomen historiassa (Jyväskylä, 1994), pp. 62–77.

Nivala

One of the more recent (i.e. twenty-first-century) memorials to the Great Hunger Years is to be found in the churchyard at Nivala, in Northern Ostrobothnia. It was designed and inscribed in 2008 (though according to Kirjastovirma it was actually inaugurated in 2009). The memorial was the creation of local artist and teacher, Riitta Latvala-Erkkilä, and is in many respects a modern take on older famine memorial themes. The familiar exhortation to “Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread” is supplmented by stylised rye stems, on the margins of a black gravestone.

The memorial lies in the graveyard of the neo-gothic wooden church (built 1803), and forms a part of the larger concentration of famine memorials in this part of Ostrobothnia (Sievi, Kärsämäki, Haapajärvi, Haapavesi, Toholampi and Reisjärvi, for example, all lie approximately 30-45 minunte’s drive from Nivala in different directions).

When I visited this memorial, in 2017, there was a QR-code attached to the memorial, but I didn’t have the equipment to check what information it was presenting. I hope to visit again in the near future.

Location: Nivala Churchyard, Kirkkotie 6.

Parish: Nivala

Modern Region: Northern Ostrobothnia (Pohjois-Pohjanmaa)

Year of Memorial: 2008 / 2009

Inscription: “In memory of the 1867-1868 victims of hunger. [erected by their] Descendants, 2008. ‘Give us this day our daily bread’”.

 

References:

Pohjois-Pohjanmaan rakennettu kulttuuriympäristö 2015 

 

Haapajärvi

According to Turpeinen’s list of “Disaster Municipalities”, Haapajärvi (23rd) was one of the areas which lost over one-seventh of its population (508 deaths in 1868 according to Finland’s Official Statistics). It also lies at the centre of a far larger cluster of the worst-hit areas, including Reisjärvi, Haapavesi, Kärsämäki and Sievi. Its memorial was put in place in 1988, designed by Armas Kosonen, and features three emaciated hands praying and grasping for a single withered rye stem.

Like other sites in the vicinity, this is a memorial I have been able to visit in both winter and summer. One reason I’ve found it particularly interesting, though, is the way in which it has demonstrated the potential power of memorials in crystallising and retaining a sense of the past. Many of the memorials noted in this blog have been put in place because local recollections of the 1860s might have been fading, or because a small number of local people have been concerned about preserving the memories of the hard times faced by their ancestors. A memorial can serve as a focal point for various kinds of memory – personal or more “collective” – for example, but it is hard to predict exactly what impact a given monument might actually have.

In the case of Haapajärvi, it has had a significant impact on how the Great Hunger Years have been remembered recently, because it inspired the writing of a best-selling book. The author, Aki Ollikainen, was quite explicit in explaining his inspiration, during a Christmas-time visit to Haapajärvi Cemetery, as well as his potential role in “rescuing” the stories invested in the memorial.

We went there [Haapajärvi graveyard] to put candles at my wife’s relatives’ graves. One of the gravestones looked abandoned, and it was not illuminated by a single candle. It was a memorial stone erected in commemoration of those who had died in the “Hunger Years”. It made me pause, and consider what kind of people they really were, who died of hunger, cold and disease. The experience was powerful, and it awoke tremendous feelings of sympathy inside me. At first, they appeared to me as a faceless, grey crowd. I really had to strain so that I could envisage them as individuals. I wanted to write the story of one of them – as though I could somehow raise them out of darkness of being forgotten.

Aki Ollikainen, 2012.

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Aki Ollikainen, Nälkävuosi (Siltala, 2012)

The book, Nälkävuosi (lit. [The] Hunger Year) was exceptionally well-received on publication in 2012, and became a best-seller and award-winner in Finland. It was subsequently translated into many languages and, in it’s English-language guise “White Hunger“, was nominated for the Man Booker Prize in 2016. Certainly, this book has done more than anything else in recent times to remind (or inform for the first time) people about the 1860s Famine Years, both in Finland and overseas. It is expected that a film will be adapted from book, with filming possibly to begin in North Karelia in 2019. Maybe a “foreign-language” Oscar ™ will propel the 1860s to unexpected international attention? If so, the humble memorial at Haapajärvi Churchyard will have played a significant role.

Location: Haapajärvi Old Churchyard, off Kauppakatu.

Parish: Haapajärvi.

Modern Region: Northern Ostrobothnia (Pohjois-Pohjanmaa)

Year of Memorial: 1988.

Inscription: In memory of those who died of starvation in the 1860s.

 

References:

Jarmo Lintunen, “Kirjailija löysi palkitun romaaninsa aiheen hautausmaalta“, Kansan Uutiset, 16 Dec. 2012 (online).

Oiva Turpeinen, Nälkä Vai Tauti Tappoi? Kauhunvuodet 1866-1868 (Helsinki, 1986), p. 105.

Suomenmaan Virallinen Tilasto (VI – Väkiluvun Tilasto. Toinen Vihko) (Helsinki, 1871)

Pyhäjärvi

His first years as a priest were hard for Schwartzberg, both externally and internally. It was during those frightful years of hunger, the terrors of which were felt strongly in the remote parishes. The priests of Pyhäjärvi were quite traumatised when they came to realise that a Pietist man had died of hunger without coming to ask for help. Extremely violent internal battles raged in his heart during those early years in the priesthood.

J.A. Mannermaa, 1915.

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The prominent churchman, Johannes Schwartzberg (15 Feb. 1846 – 18 Sep. 1915). Pyhäjärvi-born Schwartzberg graduated from the University of Helsinki as a 21-year-old in 1867 and served in Kärsämäki and then (1868-71) in Pyhäjärvi.

I am going to write a couple of short entries now, about sites which are (at least on the face of it) slightly problematic in terms of inclusion on a list of memorials to the 1860s “Great Hunger Years.” The first is in Northern Ostrobothnia, at Pyhäjärvi – itself in close proximity to other memorials (e.g. Kärsämäki to the north, Haapajärvi to the west, Kiuruvesi to the east – all less than half an hour away). The problem here is one of definition: what actually constitutes a “memorial”? I have tended to follow Emily Mark-Fitzgerald’s guidelines from her project on Irish Famine Memorials:

For the purposes of this project, a Famine monument has been defined as a three-dimensional form set in public space. The summary catalogue excludes wall plaques (if not accompanied by other memorial objects), as well as any memorial erected on publicly inaccessible property.

Emily Mark-Fitzgerald, 2014.

Nevertheless, this precludes sites in Finland that, instinctively, should probably be considered (such as the wall-plaque at Kauhajoki Cathedral, or the stones of Katinen Manor near Hämeenlinna). Similarly, sites with visible remains but which have an interpretive “tourist” board rather than an actual stone memorial, are worth adding to a list, even in an appendix (e.g. Puolanka).

At a certain point, I started looking in a more focussed way for sites, based on areas where mortality was at its highest, or other factors (such as there being other memorials in neighbouring parishes). On the parish website for Pyhäjärvi, the section dealing with graveyards and memorials contained a historical narrative of the parish’s old graveyards. One of these – Jumalanpelto (“God’s Field”) – was said to have been in use from 1737 to 1875, and was reserved in the nineteenth century for victims of infectious diseases (especially in the 1830s and 1860s). What struck me in particular was that “in the middle of this field, surrounded by a stone wall, is a memorial to the graveyard and to the dead of the famine years”. Somewhat frustratingly (all clues are welcome when looking for these stones), there was clearly a photo of the memorial at some point but it is not visible on the website.

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My first attempt at reaching Pyhäjärvi was in July 2017, on the way down from Kärsämäki – however, another failed time-saving effort meant that the visit was postponed (it’s embarrassing, but probably instructive – basically this was a rare occasion when I used my phone’s mapping service and navigator rather than a “hard-copy” road atlas, and instead of going to Pyhäjärventie 470 in Pyhäjärvi, we went to Pyhäjärventie 470 in Haapajärvi… for most of the journey the route would have been quite similar so I didn’t really notice until we got there, by which time the tight schedule of the day ruled out retracing our steps and we pushed on to Reisjärvi… a good example of disengaging the brain and relying on technology…).

Soon afterwards though, in August 2017, I was able to return and after some scrambling around in the vicinity of Pyhäjärvi Church, on both sides of the road, it was possible to find “God’s Field”. The memorial, as per the parish website, is in the middle of the field, and it is a fine monument. The “problem”, if it can be called such, is that there is no explicit mention of the Great Hunger Years. For a while I wondered if I was missing something – was there a smaller stone somewhere, or a small inscription to which I was blind? It seemed not – and in turn that made me think about the nature of these memorials. If a stone with “1867” carved in it becomes a memorial for many generations – a piece of tangible heritage which forces those who see it to think back to that year – it is nonetheless a memorial. It does not explicitly have to mention the “Great Hunger Years” – indeed, I have even considered sometimes whether the memorial stones of 1867 might originally have had a different purpose (lots of Finnish municipalities were founded in that year, for example, and I have wondered if stones might have commemorated this foundation rather than, initially, the famine), but over time came to be used as a way of connecting to lost ancestors.

With this in mind, it is not for me to decide whether or not this is a “famine” memorial simply because it lacks a specific text. If the parish considers it to be a memorial to the mass burials which took place in that field in the 1860s, then I also consider it to be worthy of inclusion in this blog. If the Kotiseutumuseo (opposite the graveyard, and itself housed in an old grain-store which had been established in 1866) had been open on the day, I would have gone to ask a bit more, and I hope that some day I’ll get to go back and do that. The only nagging doubt in my mind is that somewhere in Pyhäjärvi there is, in fact, a specific memorial to the famine.

Location:Jumalanpelto“, Pyhäjärventie, Pyhäjärvi.

Parish: Pyhäjärvi

Modern Region: Northern Ostrobothnia

Date of Memorial: To be confirmed

Inscription: This little field of God has been Pyhäjärvi’s Graveyard, 1735-1875 — I am the the Resurrection and the Life. Jn. 11:25

 

References:

J.A. Mannermaa, “Johannes Schartzberg”, Vartija: Kirkollinen Kuukauslehti, Nov.-Dec. 1915.

Emily Mark-Fitzgerald, Commemorating the Irish Famine: Memory and the Monument (Liverpool, 2013)

 

 

Sievi

Sievi, in Northern Ostrobothnia, was the seventeenth-worst hit parish according to Turpeinen’s data – one of the places that lost over one-seventh of its population. The church in Sievi, is yet another beautiful wooden construction, actually from the start of the famine decade (1861-2), and features the vaivaisukko (fattiggubbe or “pauper statue”) typical of many Ostrobothnian churches.

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Extract from Suomenmaan Virallinen Tilasto [VI Väkiluvun Tilastoa] (Helsinki, 1871), showing Sievi in the context of other “disaster parishes”, and confirming a death rate of 15.37% for the year 1868.
The memorial itself, which is near to the gate of the cemetery, across the road from the church, has many typical features of the Finnish famine memorials. It was inaugurated in the famine’s local centenary commemorations (1966) and is inscribed on black stone with words from Runeberg’s 1830 poem Saarijärven Paavo: “Vaikka Kokee Eipä Hylkää Herra”. (“Although the Lord tests [us], He does not abandon [us]”). [I am grateful to Kaisa Kyläkoski for correcting my earlier translation, and for noting the original Swedish text – this should also be taken as a correction to the Sesquicentennial Report.] This theme embodies important elements (forbearance, sedulity) of the Finnish national autostereotype. In addition, the monument is dedicated to the memory of the famine victims (dates here given as 1866-68), and features the broken rye stems seen at many other sites. The stone was designed by Hannu Koskimies and unveiled on 16th July 1967.  

In Ostrobothnia, the memorials are sometimes clustered so closely together that it can be frustrating to know that, by taking a left turn somewhere along the line to follow a pre-planned itinerary, you are heading away from a memorial that might lie only half an hour in the other direction. After Sievi, on this occasion, I needed to get to Kokkola and the motorway down to Vaasa, in the hope of getting to the memorial there before sunset. This meant leaving, for example, Nivala, Merijärvi and Lohtaja for the next time, as well as passing by Kälviä (which I was unaware of until later) – although I did stop for a while and look at the churchyard in Kannus, which just seemed like such a likely place to have a famine memorial (but didn’t, as far as I know).

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Location: Sievi Graveyard, Haikolantie

Parish: Sievi

Modern Region: Northern Ostrobothnia (Pohjois-Pohjanmaa)

Date of Memorial: 1967

Inscription: “To the memory of the victims of the Hunger Years 1866-1868. Although you may be tested, do not abandon the Lord.”

 

References:

Keskipohjanmaa, 17 Jul. 1967.

Rantsila [Siikalatva]

Jumping around a little here, but after starting this blog, certain episodes of this (ongoing) mini-Odyssey around Suomenmaa have come into my mind, perhaps none more regularly than my faintly comical / ridiculous visit to Rantsila in December 2016. I had been sitting at home somewhat frustrated that the weather had hindered my fieldwork for a few weeks – there’s really not much point travelling hundreds of kilometres only to find a graveyard or other potential memorial site lying snugly under a metre of even, virgin snow. However, bus travel is now reasonably cheap and so I decided to go by bus to Oulu, stopping off at Viitasaari and Rantsila (I was unaware of the memorial in Kärsämäki at this point, which is probably just as well as the usable part of the day was really very, very short). It also seems from my diary that I planned originally to spend the next day going to and from Pudasjärvi from Oulu (which given winter bus timetables would then have required another night in Pudasjärvi and / or a taxi to Pudasjärvi Church… I didn’t go through with the idea).

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After some stress in Viitasaari, which I’ll recount later, I was in two minds about pressing northwards or just admitting this was a stupid idea and going back home (the Oulu-bound bus was late and there was another due to Helsinki any minute…) The bus arrived, however (always risk-averse, I’d reserved a seat – and there was a large cardboard disc with my name on it – on an otherwise completely empty bus) and I carried on up the Nelostie, glad only of the fact that I was not driving myself along the icy highway.Screen Shot 2018-07-27 at 11.50.09

I can see now from my notebook that the first time I mention a memorial in Rantsila was in the middle of 2014, having read about it via Kirjastovirma… so clearly after eighteen months I couldn’t possibly wait another minute. The sun – such as it was, hiding far above heavy snow clouds – was due to go down at around 2.20pm, and I was only due to get to Rantsila at about 3.35pm, so I was well-prepared with a torch and a shovel (for clearing snow), and a more-or-less clear idea of where the churchyard was. I had an hour and fifteen minutes before the next Oulu bus, which I thought would be sufficient. I had an idea what the memorial looked like, from Kirjastovirma, but in the dark and with powdery snow falling it wasn’t immediately apparent. My torch cast a pathetic beam which was really just bouncing back off the snow. With a bus “deadline” in my mind, a minute or two probably felt much longer. However, I did find the memorial, and although the photos were not exactly special (taken with the torch jammed between my chin and my neck to illuminate the memorial, as my phone battery and fingers faded rapidly in the cold), it did feel as though an ambition, albeit a lowly one, had been achieved.

 

What was most notable about this trip was that it dawned on me, while in Rantsila, that there was something intrinsically comical about a middle-aged foreign man, howking around a small Finnish graveyard with a torch and a shovel, in the middle of winter. I was more than prepared to have to explain myself. As usual, however, I didn’t see anyone, other than the kindly shop assistant in the local Sale who sold me a Tupla before I hunkered down at the bus-stop and wondered whether the bus to Oulu would appear. [It did, it’s just that I am told these stories need to have some element of heroism or jeopardy to make them interesting].

It was a memorable day, though… A long day on a very short day.

I was able to return during daylight in the summer of 2019, and took a few better pictures – quite striking how different the memorial looked in different weather.

[note: as with some other sites, there is ambiguity as a result of municipal mergers. Rantsila was consolidated into Siikalatva in 2009, but I have referred to Rantsila here as it makes the most logical sense regarding the church and the meaning of the memorial].

 

Location: Kustaa Aadolf Chuchyard, Rantsilanraitti 10, Siikalatva (Rantsilan Kirkonkylä)

Parish: Siikalatva

Modern Region: Northern Ostrobothnia (Pohjois-Pohjanmaa)

Year of Memorial: Unconfirmed

Inscription: 1866 1867 To the Victims of the Hunger Years. Home District [Kotiseutu]

 

References:

Suomen Muistomerkit: Osa 4. Pohjanmaa (Nousiainen, 1996), p. 103.