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The first resident of Finnish origin in Oxford County was Jakkobi Miikonen who arrived by accident. In 1898, he was thrown off a train in South Paris because he couldn't produce a ticket and had no money to buy one.
Jakko's granddaughter, Olga Miikonen Gallatly, who died in about 2002 at the age of 100 was his direct descendant. Olga was the choir director and organist for the West Paris Unitarian Church and the Finnish Mission Church.
Olga wrote a statement about her grandfather and the early Finnish community on behalf of the Oxford Hills Oral History Project and in this excerpt, she reads an account of how Jakko Miikonen decided to walk until he met people of a kind disposition who would give him work. Ultimately, Miikonen encouraged friends and relatives in Finland to join him in western Maine because he liked the area so much.
The early Finnish settlers were miners, especially in the Waisanen and Tamminen Mines in Greenwood. Finnish mining activity began about 1910 and resulted in the discovery of numerous indigenous stones.
The Finnish-American Historical Society celebrates their history with annual festivals and have staged a play called "The Immigrants" about Jakko Miikonen.
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