Ohio History Journal

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The possibilities which Ohio offered for Finnish journalistic

enterprise attracted, shortly before the year 1884, the attention of

two ambitious typesetters, Fred Karinen and Alex Wirtamo of

the New York Mills (Minnesota) Uusi Kotimaa. In the spring

of 1884 the pair arrived in Ashtabula Harbor, the largest Finnish

settlement in the State, and shortly afterward they launched, with

the assistance of Charles Stenroos, Sr., and Asser Anson, a pub-

lishing concern.1 The company, as Stenroos later recalled, was

capitalized at either $800 or $1000 with shares at $25 each.

The small firm immediately began to issue a four page weekly,

the Yhdysvaltain Sanomat, the first Finnish language newspaper

to be published in the State. Under the joint editorship of Kari-

nen and Wirtamo the organ shortly had over a thousand readers.

When the latter resigned to join a rival paper, his editorial chair

was filled by August Edwards who had arrived in the community

in 1885.2 Karinen, on the other hand, continued his connection

with the Yhdysvaltain Sanomat until 1889 when he left for Ish-

peming, Michigan, to found an organ for the Finnish National

Temperance Brotherhood.  Edwards, who had been gradually

buying up the outstanding shares of the concern, became editor,

publisher, and owner. In the fall of the same year the news-

paper was moved to the Harbor from Ashtabula where it had

been printed for several years. With a new press and as a re-


1  A good general account of the Finnish press in America is F. Tolonen,

"Muutamia Historia-tietoja Amerikan Suomalaisista Sanomalehdista," Amerikan Suo-

metar, Muistojulkaisu, 1899-1919 (Hancock, Michigan, 1919), 78-92. See also S. Ilmonen,

Amerikan Suomalaisten Sivistyshistoria (Hancock, Michigan, 1930), I, 189-90; and F. J.

Syrala, Historia-aiheita Amerikan Suomalaisesta Tyovaen-lukkeesta. (Fitchburg, Massa-

chusetts, n.d.), 30-2. The history of the early Finnish press in Ohio is treated in

Kalle H. Mannerkorpi, Ashtabula Harborin Betania Seurakunnan 25 Vuotis Julkaisu,

1891-1916 (Hancock, Michigan, 1916), 45-8.

2 August Edwards, "Hajanaisia muistiinpanoja Harborin ensimaisesta hengellisista

ja raittiuspyrinnoista," included in Mannerkorpi, Betania Julkaisu, 130-2.