Eteläkarjalainen maisema

Eteläkarjalainen maisema
Tässä blogissa on sekä kuvia että tarinoita upean Etelä-Karjalan luonnosta, ihmisistä ja kulttuurista. Kuvassa syyskuinen näkymä Saimaan kanavan varrelta.

maanantai 31. lokakuuta 2016

Finns in Fort Bragg: The Westerberg family from Vadsø, Norway

Westerbergs, which moved from Vadsø (Vesisaari), Norway to Fort Bragg, California, in a family picture taken  around 1903
Many of the early Finnish settlers on the U.S. West Coast came not direct from Finland but instead from Northern Norway. One of them was John Peter Westerberg. He was born April 11th, 1856, in Vadsø (Vesisaari) , Norway,  on the Varanger fjord at the Barents Sea. He had Norwegian parents and his ways may have been more Norwegian than Finnish. But he fit into the Noyo Hill's Finnish community very well, when he came there in 1881. At twenty-five years age he immigrated with his wife and four other Norwegian families from the same region. Three of them is known, Mathisons, Aulins and Raudios. Shortly after their arrival in America Westerberg's wife died.

John Peter worked first at logging in the woods along the South Fork of Noyo River. In 1892 he was able to purchase 160 acres on Noyo Hill from Simeon Covington. He paid $ 800. There was a cabin on the property that Westerbergs could use immediately. John Westerberg got married second time with Effina Emilia Hy(v)önen, who was also from
Vadsø, Norway. She was born July 8, 1871 in Saltijärvi, Norway. Their marrige accured April 20, 1890, in San Francisco. John Westerberg's brother David and his wife Hilda and John's and David's grandfather moved also to Fort Bragg area. The men logged the hillsides and made ties to earn money. They also built John Peter a large barn and fenced the fields. At the same time a sauna and several cabins were built. Simeon Covington had planted a cherry orchard and the Westerbergs added orchards of apples and plums and vegetable gardens. Finally a two-story house was constructed.

John Peter Westerberg (1856 - 1934) was a lay
preacher first in the Finnish Evangalist Lutheran
Church and later in the Apostolic Lutheran
Church of Fort Bragg.

The Westerbergs had nine children in all. Their first child, Francis, fell against a hot stove and died from severe burns at the age of three in 1894. A second tragedy struck again when their daughter Annie was sixteen years old. She fell in the well and drowned.  Seven of the children reached their adult age and were also married. John Peter Westerberg became a citizen of the Unites States June 19, 1889.

When George Eskola finished church building in 1894 for the Apostolic Lutheran congregation on Harrison street, was John Peter chosen to serve congregation as a lay preacher. He had been a lay preacher for the Finnish Evangelist Lutheran Church during years 1890 - 1894.
According to tradition, parishioners gathered almost every Sunday after church at John and Effie Westerberg's ranch. The yard was filled with horses and buggies as parishioners gathered for pot-luck dinner. Effie Westerberg had reputation of being a very good cook. Besides food supplied from the farm, in season there was salmon the men caught in Noyo River that she pickled or smoked.

John Peter Westerberg had a library in his home where people could borrow books, mostly written in Finnish. Each book had its own number, names of readers were written beside the numbers and record of when books were returned was noted by an X after the borrower's name. John Peter was a very energetic and highly considered person. He was active in his church, a board member of Tunnel  School at Noyo Hill, a member of the first board of school trustees of the Fort Bragg Union High School District. His obituary  states: "He was a fine, upright man who commanded the respect of his friends and neighbors." Effina Westerberg died in August 1930 and John Peter February 22, 1934 at the home of his daughter Ida in Oakland, California, where he had been living two - three years.

Westerbergs in the Finnish Evangelist Lutheran Congregation's church book, page 189

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