Kristina Karinen, nee Luukkonen, was both Rudy Gathâ€™s and my great grandmother. I had the pleasure of knowing her and visiting with her. However she was only able to speak and understand Finnish. Her granddaughters had a weekly quilting bee at her house. My mother was not interested in quilting so we did not go every week. Very often we went because my other great grandmother Maria Grimsbo (Ray Grimsboâ€™s great grandmother) would be in Snoma to visit Kristina. It was something to see the two old ladies. Each of them was only about 4â€™ 10â€ tall. They both had their heads covered with black Scarves and they both sat in huge rocking chairs smoking their little pipes.
I have a certified copy of the Puolonka Parish records. Kristina was born Stina Luukkonen on January 18, 1856 in Suomusalmi, NÃ¤jÃ¤nkÃ¤, Finland. Her father was Lauri Luukkonen and her mother was Gretha Moilanen. (Gretha was a cousin of Big Louie Moilanen who at one time was considered to be the tallest man in the world.) Many of her relatives still live in the area around Puolanka. Part of the original family farm still belongs to the Luukkonen family.
Kristina died on April 20, 1944 in Snoma, South Dakota and she is buried with her husband in the Snoma Finnish Cemetery. Her Death Certificate is on file at the Butte County Courthouse in Belle Fourche, South Dakota. Most of her sons knew her maiden name was Luukkonen, however her 3rd oldest son, John Henry Karinen, did not. He was the informant for the Death Certificate and gave Kristinaâ€™s fatherâ€™s name as Jacob Luckonen. He also said she was born in Oululane. Finland. I know that most of Kristinaâ€™s children knew her maiden name because most of the great grandchildren know it.
Kristina married Henrik Matt Oikarinen in Puolanka in 1877. Henry was born on August 22, 1856 in SuolijÃ¤rvi, Hytti, Finland. He died of silicosis of the lungs on August 26, 1913 in Snoma, South Dakota. Henryâ€™s lungs were shredded by the granite dust he had to breath while he was working in the Homestake Mine in Lead, South Dakota. Henryâ€™s niece Evelyn Josephson has told me many stories about the last days of his life. She and her mother who was Henryâ€™s younger sister visited Henry frequently. Evelyn was his favorite niece.
Two of Kristinaâ€™s children were born in Finland. They were Jacob William born June 29, 1878 and Louis born December 15, 1879. Both were born in SuolijÃ¤rvi at the family farm Hytti. Jacob died April 1, 1958 in Cokato, Minnesota and Louis died October 15, 1955 in Spearfish, South Dakota.
In 1881 after Henryâ€™s father died all of the Oikarinen brothers and their sister Gretha emigrated with their mother to America. Kristina told us that they had to Ski from Puolanka to Hanko to get to the ship. She had to carry Louis on her back like a papoose. At the time she was pregnant and John Henry was born soon after they arrived in America. They came by ship to Michigan. When they arrived in America they changed their name to Karinen and took English spellings for their given names. Kristina said she was very happy to get to America because there was plenty of work for the men and plenty of food for the children. Life had been very hard in Finland. There were many times when the only food they had was soup made from the bark of birch trees.
Their third child John Henry Karinen was born July 24, 1882 in Hancock, Michigan, He died May 25, 1956 in Deadwood. The forth child, my grandmother, Alena Margaret was born November 21, 1883 in Hancock. She died while she was visiting my mother in Long Beach, California on July 12, 1960.
The rest of the children