The MYTTY family migration from Finland to the United States
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I was only 17 when my great-grandfather Henry Johnson passed away. I hardly knew him, mainly because I had lived a couple states away for most of my life.
Henry grew up as "Hemmi MYTTY", born in the town of Kuhmo, in the "Karelia" region of Finland. He was born in 1889, on a farm named, "Vieksi". He was one of nine children.
He left his home in Finland, at the age of 16, in the year 1905. He was one of nine children. Why he came to the United States, I never learned. Though, he had an older brother, Viktor, who migrated to the United States just a couple years before him. I imagine that's one reason why.
When he came to the United States, he came with a younger sister, of which I do not know the name. They supposedly came through Ellis Island, though, Ellis Island does not have any record of his arrival. He could have arrived elsewhere.
He settled in Renton, Washington, where his older brother was living. Renton was known for its Finnish population back then.
There, he changed his name, just like so many Finns do. He adopted the same last name that his brother adopted, "Johnson". The only reason I can tell that they took that name, is because their father was named, "Juho", the Finnish version of "John". The Scandinavians are known for adding "son" (sen) or "daughter" (dotter) to the end of their father's first name. I suppose that's how they came up with Johnson.
But how he chose his first name "Henry", is unclear, although, Henry is not all that much different from "Hemmi", his birth name.
When Finns arrive in the United States, they usually join a Finnish brotherhood lodge. And Henry was no different. That's how he got a job, by joining the lodge, and getting referrals from the guys there. He worked for the coal mine on Cougar Mountain, overlooking Kennydale, just above Lake Washington. He built the wooden support beams that they used to shore up the mines. Today this place is a bike trail.
Then he had a second job working at the creosote mill right on the Lake.
He married a girl named Anna Marie Halme. She was a Finn also, but of Swedish and German descent. Her family came from the southern part of Finland, where most of the Finns are of Swedish descent.
The couple bought a home in Kennydale, where the 405 freeway now runs through. They had four children, the youngest of which was my grandfather, Hugo.
Though I got to know my grandfather better than my great-grandfather, I still didn't know him all that well. From what I had gathered, he was a lady-charmer, and the kind of guy who follows his heart. I remember when visiting him, he would always offer me a frozen fudgsicle.
To be continued....
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