North Spencer Spencer/Van Etten Road East Spencer

Village of Spencer


In 1919 Herman and Lina Savunen and their children Laimi, Martha, Linrea (Betty), Hubert, Anna and Esther settled on a dairy farm, now owned by W. Grimes, on the Ithaca Road. They came from Rudyard, Michigan where they had also owned a dairy farm. A daughter, Lempi, was born after the move to North Spencer.

Also in 1919, Mr. and Mrs. Charles Pelto and children Lempi, Richard, Anna and Tina moved to a farm on Hillview Road. They came from Cumberland, Michigan where Charles had worked in the copper mines.

Several years later, Robert Lehto and children Voitto, Wiljo, Wilho, Lydia, Helen, Anna and Sylvia moved to a farm on the Hulbert Hollow Road. They had previously lived on their farm on Seely Hill. They came to this area from Michigan. Mrs. Lehto died when the youngest child was an infant.’



In 1919 Jacob and Albina Maunula and children Helmi, Agnes, Walter and Hans moved to a dairy farm on the Spencer-Van Etten Road. They came from Red Lodge, Montana, where they had a wheat ranch. Jacob had also worked in the coal mines. Their daughters Aino and Mamie were born after the move to New York State. In 1935 the farm was sold to Mr. and Mrs. William Palomaki and the Maunulas moved to a farm on the Washburn Road.

Mr. Palomaki converted the dairy farm to a poultry business. His sons and their families still occupy the new homes that were built on the farm and they operate the greatly expanded poultry business. The original farmhouse and a new tenant house are occupied by families who work on the farm. Mr. Palomaki built a summer home on the farm after his retirement.

In 1921 John and Jenny Huhta and children Otto, Sulo, and Thelma moved to a dairy farm on the Town Line Road. They came from Monesson, Pennsylvania where John had worked in the steel mills. A daughter, Gertrude was born after the move to the farm.

Sulo and Hulda Kerttu Huhta still occupy the farm which they largely expanded and modernized after they became the owners.

In 1924 the Alve family moved to a farm on the corner of the Van Etten and Burhight Glen roads. Rippert and Vera Alve and children Voitto, Verna and William first settled on Seely Hill when they came to this area from Sault St. Marie, Michigan. Rippert had worked in the construction of the Soo Locks and as a lumberman. Five children, Waino, Vieno, Violet, Eino and George were born after the move to New York State.



In the early 1920’s Mr. and Mrs. Frank Fraki and children Sylvia and Hjalmer moved to a farm on East Hill.

In 1926 John and Sanni Kangas and children Theodore and Edith settled on a farm in East Spencer. The farm is presently owned by Mr. and Mrs. Cotton.


Early in the 1920’s Andrew and Aina Jameson and daughter Viena moved from Erin, New York to Spencer. Andrew had a blacksmith shop behind Seely’s Mill. After a short time the smithy business was transferred to Karl Siren. The Jameson family moved to a farm just south of the country school on the Crumtown Road. Here Mr. Jameson rebuilt the house, added henhouses and started raising poultry. He also worked out as a carpenter.

Karl and Laura Siren moved to the house now owned by the Riders on Railroad Avenue. Mr. Siren shod the horses of the area farmers at his busy smithy for many years. They came here from Buffalo where Karl had worked in the steel mills.

Mrs. Siren opened her tiny home to high school students, charging a very modest rent for the rooms. This was an important service to the students who lived many miles from school as there was no bus service for most rural children. Mrs. Siren permitted the students to use her pantry and kitchen for storing and preparing their meals from supplies furnished by their farm homes. They were treated as members of the family by this childless couple. Some of the high school or teacher training class students who stayed there were: Marie, Lydia and Arthur Ahola, Wilma Luoma, Katie Olson, Linnea Savunen, Hilma Salo, Aili Hokkanen, Hildur and Hulda Kerttu, Saimi Manninen, Reino Takala and Elsie Phytila. The Sirens often took the students with them when they visited friends or attended dances.

Also during the 1920’s two young barbers worked at their trade for a short time in the village. They were William Savy and later, John Kangas. Both men moved to Ithaca and conducted their tonsorial operations in that city.

In 1928 Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Lehtio moved to a house on Park Street where Samuel added a shoe repair shop. There he not only mended shoes but also made shoes of Finnish design for some of the immigrants from Finland. Mr. Lehtio built a new house for himself on Railroad Avenue and sold his house to the Olichneys. A second house was built next door for his son Martin.

Early in the 1930’s a young dentist from Buffalo, Dr. Olavi Hirvonen and wife Helen, moved to an apartment on the second floor of the Emmons Building. A dental office was furnished by Dr. Hirvonen in the same building. A few years later he had a new house and dental office built on Center Street. Dr. Hirvonen was the only dentist in the area, serving during his many years of practice, not only the residents of Spencer, but Candor and Van Etten as well.

One of the partners of a business that was started in 1934, was of Finnish descent. Otto Huhta, son of John and Jennie Huhta, with Fletcher Hollenbeck owned and operated the Hollenbeck and Huhta Grocery and Drygoods Store. This was located in a building that stood in what is now the parking lot of the Lutheran Church. They did a thriving business as Possinger’s Store burned soon after their store opened and they had little competition for a few years. The partnership lasted until 1942.

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