South Hill/West Hill

In 1915 Frank and Helmi Ashlund and children Aili, Andrew, Frank and Mary moved to a farm on South Hill. They came from Nanty Glo, Pennsylvania, where Mr. Ashlund had worked as a miner in the soft coal mines. Irene, born in 1915, was probably the first child of Finnish parentage to be born in Spencer. Later the family was blessed with three more daughters, Betty and twins Esther and Elma.

That same year their friends David and Lovisa Mattson (formerly Parviainen) and sons Nestor and Harry, also from Nanty Glo, came to make their home on a farm on West Hill. David, too, had been employed in the coal mines. Nestor, who kept the Parviainen name, was an accomplished musician and became the first organist of St. John’s Lutheran Church of North Van Etten.

In 1917 Kasper and Katri Lahtinen moved to South Hill from Calumet, Michigan where Kasper had worked as a lumberman. Two children, Irene and Oiva were born on South Hill. Sixty-two years later, Oiva and his wife Carol, still occupy the family farm.

In 1918 Eric and Hulda Sikkila and children Mary, Wayne and a married daughter and son-in-law, Fannie and Andrew Satomaa, came to South Hill from Sparta, Minnesota, where Eric had worked in the iron mines. The Satomaas soon moved to their own farm on Hagadorn Hill. Their children Violet and Walter were born there. The Sikkilas sold their farm to Henry Koski in 1919 and moved back to Minnesota.

In 1919 Henry and Hilda Koski and children John, Mary, Esther and Eino moved to the former Sikkila farm. They came from Negaunee, Michigan where Henry had worked in the iron mines. Their daughters Hilda and Eleanor were born after the family came to Spencer.

Also in 1919, Alfred and Olga Tohkanen settled in the South Hill area. They came from New York City where Alfred had owned and operated a pool hall on 125th Street. Their children George, Karina and Bertha were born after moving to this area.

In 1925 Mr. and Mrs. Albin Lehtonen arrived on South Hill. They came from New York City where Albin had worked as a carpenter. A daughter, Salmi, was born on South Hill.

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