An Immigrant Story - Matti Hautala

A large courthouse is surrounded by a parking lot and vehicles.
Matti Hautala naturalized during a trip to the Houghton County Courthouse ca. 1905.

NPS Photo

A stroll through the unique Finnish monuments at Houghton County's Jacobsville Cemetery was the inspiration to research an immigrant story. The marker of infant Untti Hautala is made from the same sandstone that brought his father here to work in the quarries. His parents Matti and Leontina (Rautaskoski) immigrated from Finland in the late 1880s. They came directly to Jacobsville, where their six children were all born.

A tall grave marker carved from sandstone.
Untti Hautala gravestone in the Jacobsville Cemetery.

NPS Photo

By 1910 the family was operating a saloon at 123 Sheldon Ave. in Houghton. Later that year they obtained land for a dairy farm near Bruce Crossing, where their herd would become well-known in the region. Son Emil operated a grocery store at the intersection of US 45 and M-28 for many years, while Carl found work with Copper Range building the Victoria Dam. Waino moved to Detroit for a position with the Montgomery Ward Company and Ida followed him there, working for a Detroit mayor as an upstairs maid. Younger daughter Fannie died of tuberculosis at the age of 36 at the Newberry State Hospital after spending some time in the institution. Untti Hautala's gravestone in Jacobsville is a moving reminder of the nearly 20 years the family resided there.

Last updated: February 10, 2018

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