A Very Welcome Return

[dropcap style=”font-size: 60px; color: #252c7f;”] I[/dropcap]n May of 2011, the Sointula Museum welcomed the return of a Singer leather sewing machine used by Antii Aho, an early shoemaker in Sointula and the builder of the Wirkii house, one of our oldest existing homes.  Thanks to the generosity of Ray and Mryn Rosback of Port McNeill who acquired the machine many years ago we have been able to add the machine to our shoemaker display.

Catherine Pakkalen, a local volunteer historian, has compiled information on Antii Aho:

“Late January or early February of 1902, Antii Aho left Chicago with plans on becoming a member of the Kalevan Kansa.  Upon arrival in Nanaimo, he immediately set off to help with preparations for the colony on Malcolm Island along with five others aboard the Kalevatar, a sailboat newly purchased by the Kalevan Kansa directorship.  Newlyweds, Anna, first lady to settle the island, and husband, Andrew Wilander, were among the crew of six.  The inexperienced sailors almost capsized twice in dangerous rough seas eventually losing their mast and sails.  Finding calm water nearly, they were able to make repairs and continue their journey. Nine people were on Malcolm Island prior to the arrival of these six newcomers.”

“At some point, Antii Aho built a home overlooking the ocean at the base of the ‘Malm’s Pond Road’ hill. Antii cleared his property and built a dwelling from wood that was produced by the first loggers of the island, the Kalevan Kansa Colonization Company.  The house only had one small room and in the corner was a small bunk with a sheepskin mattress.”

Thank you, Catherine, for your work in keeping our unique history alive. This article contains only a part of the information she has gathered on Aho. The entire document will be on display at the museum.

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