The history of the Kansanen family society

From Sortavala via Kerimäki and Joroinen to Leppävirra - stages of the Kansanen family through two centuries

An article from Leppävirta magazine from the 1960's

Eero Kansanen, who has researched the stages of the Kansanen family, told our newspaper the following about the family history: During the Great Northern War, in 1706, the Russians destroyed the town of Sortavala completely. Those who managed to escape survived the destruction of the city. Among these evacuees at that time was also the town's burgher, Johan Kansanen, who settled in Kerimäki on the island of Hevossalo to Pekka Karjalainen. Here he entered into his second marriage with Cecilia Karjalatar. Kansanen's first wife was taken by the Russians to Russia and she was later killed there. In 1709, Johan Kansanen continued his life as an evacuee, moving to Joroinen, to the farm of Joroinen chaplain Porthan (Henrik Gabriel Porthan's father), while the chaplain himself moved to Ostrobothnia. This farm still goes by the name of Kansala in Joroinen. At least three of Johan Kansanen's children survived, and one daughter, Susanna, moved to Leppävirta in Timola when she married Paavo Sutinen. Later, another one of Johan Kansanen's children, son Kasper, moved to Leppävirta, settling as a crofter on his sister's farm in a croft called Haapakallio.

Eight children were born to this crofter Kasper Kansanen, and this flock of siblings eventually dispersed to different parts of the farm. Two of the sisters Kristiina and Maria became housewives: Kristiina Paavo Koivistoinen and Maria Mikko Koivistoinen in Tuomaalanharju, Kotalahti. A sister named Susanna became the mistress of Paavo Laakkonen from Osmajärvi. One of the sons, Jussi, died in 1816 and his estate moved to Heinävesi. Antti's wife was the sister of the aforementioned Paavo and Mikko Koivistoinen, and they in turn had 9 children. To continue with the children of Kasper, a son named Pekka married Apollonia Niiranen as his wife and they lived in the village of Niirala, near the place where Kumlin house is today. Of this Pekka's children, a daughter named Ulla later became the mistress of Herrala married with Lassi Nyyssönen.

The eldest of the sons, his father's namesake, Kasper, became the son-in-law of Nikkilänmäki hostelry Anton Tirkkonen in 1780, after marrying Tirkkonen's daughter Inga. This Kasper Kasperinpoika (Kasper’s son) and his wife Inga had five children, the eldest of whom was again his father's namesake. His wife was Riitta Reinikainen from Osmajärvi and they lived as lampoons on different sides of the farm. Their heirs still live in Mustinmäki today.

The second oldest son, Anton, stayed to host Nikkilänmäki. At this point, by the way, the first name Anton begins to appear in the family, presumably after the first name of Kasper Kasperinpoika's father-in-law, and this same name has since been the first name of several family members. The wife of this first Anton was Anna Riitta Itkonen, daughter of Heikki Itkonen from Haukiniemi in Osmajärvi (Osmajärvi No. 3).

Anton Kansanen (1784-1846) and hes wife Riita had 7 children, 6 of whom were boys. One of the children, of which there were 8 in total, died at a young age. Several of these children have been in quite prominent positions at Leppävirta and in many ways influenced the development against the owner.

The eldest of the children, Kasper Henrik worked as a merchant in Kalmalahti, where his shop was located near the place where the Finnish War Memorial is today. Kasper Henrik Died in 1887. He left no children.

The next in order of age was Anton Aapeli, who married Reetta Loviisa Hoffren. Their inheritance includes, for example “heikkalaiset”. One of Anton Aapeli's sons, Heikki was a representative of the peasant state at the state congress. He also worked as a farmer in Leppäsalo and as a merchant. Daughter Maria Fredriikka married Taavetti Ahvenainen and their descendants include e.g. surname Riihikallio. Another daughter, Anna Loviisa, became the wife of Jeremias Hänninen, who was then a sales assistant in Jalkanen's store in Kalmalahti. Their descendants still live in Leppävirta. The fourth of the children, Vilhelm Aapeli, stayed in Aapila, which his father Anton Aapeli had bought from Kinnunen. Aapeli Vilhelm also worked as a merchant at Leppävirta and he worked for several years as a supervisor for Leppävirta municipal. His wife was Hilda Turtiainen from Sääminki, Kellarpelto. The fifth of the children, Hilda, became Rantasalmi's matron to Aadolf Albin Taskinen. Juho Eemeli, the youngest of Anton Aapel's children, worked as a shop assistant and he died without a family. It should be mentioned that Aapila's shop was located at the current location of the shopping centre and Heikkala's shop where the police station is now. This house is still original today. To continue the old Nikkilänmäki Anton Kansanen's children, the next one after Anton Aapel was Antti Jussi, Linkkilä's master. He had 13 children, who later scattered around the country, with one remaining in Vehkasilta.

Aatu Ville was the fourth of the children and he owned Törönpelto, the current municipal home. After his death, the house was sold and his heirs also scattered to different parts of the country. Maija Stiina, the fifth of the children in order of age, married Pekka Ursin from Konnuslahti. They left three daughters, of whom Loviisa married Antti Jussi Ollikainen and Mari Sohvi Pekka Ollikainen, so two of Maija Stiina and Pekka Ursin's children became housewives in Monninmäki. The youngest of these three daughters, Aada Matilda, married the tailor Pekka Ville Itkonen and moved to Kuopio.

The second youngest of Nikkilänmäki Anton Kansanen’s children was Kustaa Gabriel. He married Anna Loviisa Thitz from Mustinmäki. Kustaa Gabriel moved to Vehmasmäki in the rural municipality of Kuopio, where he owned a farm called Punahovi. He later moved from there to Karttula. Their grandson is teacher Väinö Kansanen. The youngest of the children was Pekka, who claimed Kansala in his name. Pekka Kansanen was once the most noted land dealer of Leppävirta and the whole Savonia. In 1880, he built a market mansion in the Leppäivrta church village. In addition to this, he worked as a farmer, owned sawmills in Oravikoski and Vuokala (Savonranta) and a remarkably large shipping, trading in a wide area.

Pekka Kansanen, who died on July 10, 1913, is in many respects quite a significant man in the history of Leppävirta. A lot could be said about his activities. It should only be mentioned in this context that, among his many other activities, he was a prominent public educator who, at his own expense, kept a public school in his home and also founded the Kalmalahti school.