Stories and Tales

There comes a time when one wonders where they came from and what makes them what they are.

This page is for stories, tales, and documentaries written by the friends, relatives, and descendants of Finnish immigrants, so as not to get lost or fade in the passage of time, and can be read by present and future generations. The subject material can be just about anything, but should coincide with the Hanka Homestead Finnish Museum’s mission.

Submit your story to " " or send it to the address on the Contact Us page. The story can be typed, hand written, in English or Finnish, and include the author’s name. Name will not be published if so requested.

By submitting your story you consent to the publishing of your story on this web site after its approval by the Hanka Homestead Finnish Museum. Thank you for participating in our mission.

Date: 5/13/2016

Submitted By: Edwin 'Bill' Raisanen & Lisa Marttila


Hill 69

Gustav Line, Italy


My Mother's Husband


This story’s time line is during World War ll and is by the man my mother married a few years after her first husband (my father) passed and I, at seventeen, had long left to conquer the world. I’m sure there are many such stories as one only has to read the names on the honor rolls in the communities of the Copper Country to realize the contribution made by Finnish Americans to protect our freedoms.

I do not remember him very well from my younger years, but upon my retirement and returning to the Copper Country I got to know him a little better. He passed away two weeks before his one hundredth birthday and circumstances dictated I clean out his remaining belongings from the home he shared with my mother. Back in a far corner of a closest in a weathered box I came across this poem/letter tucked between the pages of an Army reunion book along with several other treasured items which I presented to his daughter (my half-sister). It is with her permission and blessing I post his poem/letter to these pages.


In his own handwriting by Joel Marttila​, Italy 1944

Click on image for readable text

Hill #69


I’d like to tell my experience on line the night that we took Hill sixty-nine May the eleventh at eleven P.M. was the time set for the attack to begin

The hill was part of the Gustav Line. The English had broke it, but fell back each time. Now it was time for us Yanks to try and each man was ready and willing to die.

At eleven o’clock we laid a barrage that will go down in history none ever so large. The boys started out to take this hell hole on earth facing machine guns and artillery bursts.

Through Trimonsonli we had to move fast for it had the name of “Purple Heart Pass”. To get into position our chances looked slim for most of those Jerries had all zeroed in.

On the side of the hill we had to dig in. With martar shells singing shrill songs of sin. Twenty-three hours on that hillside we stayed and many a brave men went to his grave.

Each man prayed out-loud and looked toward the sky, but the shells kept on coming – brave men had to die. We accomplished our mission and broke that strong line and Jerry pulled out leaving wounded behind.

After they started running it was not so bad. Our boys gave them all that they had. We knew our objective, it was to Rome and we knew each step placed us nearer home.

We marched through Rome on June the fifth. Dirty and sore and tired and stiff. The only regret we had on our mind was our buddies we left back on Hill 69.

Date: 12/1/2020 (edited)

Submitted By: Sharon Ecklund


The Hanka Family Historical Background

Source: "Askel Means Step" Author: Gene Meier, 3/1983... More

Date: 11/25/2020

Submitted By: Frank Eld


The Axe Story

People don't usually get excited about axes, but here is a story some may find intriguing. In the past few days, I have made significant discoveries... More

Date: 7/5/2016

Submitted By: Oscar Heikkinen


The History of Otter Lake

As written by the Askel School civics class of 1927 - 1928

Askel, as the eastern shore of Otter Lake is called, is strictly a Finnish settlement. It has a population of... More

Date: 7/14/2016

Submitted By: Linda Knuuti Montonati


The Knuuti Family Story

Toivo Knuuti was born to John and Elizabeth Jarvi in 1907 in Hancock, Michigan. As an infant he... More

​Date: 3/11/2016

Submitted By: George Kauppila
Memoirs of Lila Kemppainnen Kauppila, in her own words. (Table of contents added) 

To Those Who Read This:

These pages were written as the thoughts came to my mind; without any plans or rough sketches to... More

Date: 5/6/2017

Submitted By: Oscar Heikkinen


From: The Finnish American Reporter, April 2017

Date: 5/8/2016

Submitted By: Cheryl Tervo


Typical Finnish Farm Kitchen.

Mary Ramberg, Laurium, MI

Date: ​1/28/2016

Submitted By: Sharon Ecklund​
Article: In Michigan History for Kids magazine as edited and published.
It will be published in the March/April edition (page 12) which came out in February.
Click on Article for a readable view

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Contents © by Hanka Homestead Finnish Museum. Images by Edwin 'Bill' Raisanen, Dr. Colette Marie McLaughlin, Sharon Eklund, Oscar Heikkinen and others. Mike Stockwell - Graphics, Edwin 'Bill' Raisanen - Web Master/Facebook manager.