Jonas and Hilja
Surnames: Eloranta, Kuukari, Ahola, Korhonen
----Source: Family Interview
Eloranta Family Green Grove Township, Clark
contributed by Helen Vater Blaha
Water Color Painting of the Farm at haying time by Helen Vater Blaha
The Eloranta Farm
Section 17, Green Grove Township, Clark Co., WI (1921 circa)
Jonas and Hilja Eloranta, with their young son Edwin, moved from
Detroit, MI to a 40-acre farm in Section 17 of Green Grove Township in 1921.
Jonas had been born Joonas Kuukari on January 2, 1889 in Sievi, Finland. His parents were Maati Jaakonpoika Kuukari (1864-1896) and Johanna Fredrinkintr Ahola (1865-1902). He officially changed his surname to Eloranta in Finland on May 3, 1911. Jonas left Finland on February 20, 1913, and landed in Detroit, MI, via St. Johns, Canada, on April 12, 1913.
On February 10, 1916 Jonas Eloranta married Hilja Maria Korhonen in New York City. Hilja had been born October 5, 1889 in Kaavi, Finland. Her parents were Heikki Korhonen (1852-1920) and his wife Riitta Stiina (Kasurinen) Korhonen (1865-1950). Hilja had sailed from Helsinki, Finland aboard the steamship “Caledonia” of the Cunard Line, and had arrived in New York City on March 27, 1914. Upon arriving in the USA, Hilja Korhonen had worked in the household of Reverend Talmadge in Oyster Bay, Long Island, New York.
On April 14, 1917 Jonas and Hilja Eloranta signed a land contract for lot number 433, Township of Springwells, Wayne County, Michigan. Jonas worked as a metal finisher and body worker for Ford Motor Company and Fischer Body Corporation. Their first son, Edwin Jonas Eloranta, was born October 6, 1918 in Detroit, MI.
While living in Detroit, Jonas and Hilja got postcards from August Norton telling of farms for sale in the Owen area of Clark County, WI. They purchased their farm in Section 17 in the Town of Green Grove, and moved there in 1921. Walter Gunnar Eloranta was born to the couple on September 26, 1922 in the Town of Green Grove, and, on August 1, 1924, George Oswald Eloranta was born, also in the Town of Green Grove.
Hilja Eloranta, on the family farm in Green Grove, WI
Jonas Eloranta died January 16, 1929 in Green Grove township. In 1954 Hilja
married William Merivirta in Lake Worth, Florida. She died there in Lake Worth
on September 27, 1957.
As of May 2004, Ed Eloranta, and his wife Elma, and George Eloranta, and his wife Lola, live on farms in the Town of Green Grove. George lives on the home place purchased in 1921. Walter Eloranta and his wife live in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
Jonas and Hilja now have 70 surviving descendants--3 sons, 18 grandchildren, 45 great-grandchildren, and 4 great-great-grandchildren. Descendants have worked and studied in fields as varied as agriculture, physics and meteorology, geology and mining, athletic training and emergency medical technology, mechanical engineering, law, music, biology, education, bookkeeping for family businesses, computer technology, humanities, architecture, avian rehabilitation, nursing, environment and natural resources, business administration, journalism, stock brokerage, forestry, photography, horticulture, and art.
This group of men and boys sawed firewood at the Hilja Eloranta farm in the Town of Greengrove, about 1934-35.
From left: Otto Johnson, Bill Maki, Bob Madsen, George Eloranta, Edwin Eloranta (standing on tractor), Walter Eloranta, and Roger Riley.
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