Finnish settlers in the woods
At the root of our family tree is Pål Larsson Turpoinen, born in Tavastland, Finland in 1600. He immigrated from Finland around 1620, to homestead in the forests close to what was to become Säfsnäs (technically, he did not immigrate since Finland was part of Sweden at the time). Pål first shows up in a police investigation from 1622, suspected of hunting moose without a licence.. Pål was a suspect in this investigation, but - as usual - rumour preceded the sheriff and he found no hard evidence. Pål was not convicted, but remains of a slaughtered moose were found close to his cabin. The Finnish settlers aquired somewhat of an outlaw reputation, since they preferred to settle deep in the forests, far from Swedish homesteaders.
These Finnish homesteaders practised a highly efficient form of slash-and-burn farming which made it possible for them to subsist in remote forest areas, far from Swedish farmers. Also, the area is close to the border of Norway, which was then controlled by our traditional arch-enemy, the Danes. According to one source, the King of Sweden provided tax incentives for settlers, so he would get early warning if Danish troops crossed the border to march on Stockholm.
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