Finnish Farming

Like their ancestors before them, and like the original white colonial settlers discussed earlier in the project, some Finns took to farming as their primary job to sustain themselves. By the time the Finns arrived in Newport, the economy in the town had already shifted away from farming, which meant that there were plenty of old and abandoned farms that were available for sale. Other than mill working this was the only other job that was available to Finns because, “they (the Finns) did not understand ledgers or how to make a profit but they understood horses and cows, and they understood land.”[1] The Finns were noted to have very neat farms, and that every farm they maintained was kept in meticulous order. The Finns were also highly successful at this job, far more so than they were at running a business.

Disclaimer: The photographs above are used as a visual for what the land would have looked liked that the Finns farmed. The above photo does not depict a Finn.

One man name Matti Pollari was particularly good at farming in Newport and he,

“had a successful farm with some thirty cows and a milk route. The glacier of some 12,000 years ago apparently got sick and tired of carrying rocks and dumped most of them on Matti’s farm , but with his horses and dynamite he made s showplace field in front of his house. He was one of the first to buy a large International farm truck so that he could rent hay fields from other farmers and bring in hay and silage from a greater distance.”[2]

Pollari represents one of the most successful of Newport’s Finnish farmers. He owned a milk route, was able to clear his land of rocks efficiently, and rented hay fields as the quote above mentioned. Even farmers that were not as successful as Pollari could still own half a dozen cows and their own piece of land. Farming provided a good source of employment for Newport Finns, alongside the mills that used to operate in Newport.

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[1] Turpeinen, 97.

[2] Turpeinen, 97.

Photos are from The Richards Free Library 58 N Main St, Newport, NH. 03773. 603-863-3430.