A sailor's family, a painter's family, and two homes brought together by marriage.
by Britta Forsman

Some Westerholm and Widman family history, translated into English from the Swedish in the image on each page.

You can download the entire history as a PDF file in Swedish.

For almost 200 years, the little red cobbler's house and the yellow Westerholm house on Hamngatan street have caught the eye of people in Jakobstad. The houses have seen generations come and go. They have seen love across the street and been bound together by two marriages in my family. I wish the walls could tell how three generations of my family lived in the little red house, all the way until 1893. Also, I would like to know what happened after my great grandfather, Hans Westerholm, bought the yellow house in 1876, where children and grandchildren grew up, and the house was finally sold to the town of Jakobstad in 1949. But the walls are silent and I have to study census books in the church, schedules of population, old documents and fire insurance documents, letters, writings of different kinds, old newspaper clippings and helpful people. Gradually, the lives of my ancestors have taken shape, often affected by toil and sorrow.

I want to first tell about my grandmother Johanna Widman's family, from the years that the farmer's son from Munsala, the sailor Matts Karlsson Jussila and his wife Maria Hämäläinen moved into the little house with their children in 1843.

Before I allow the family to step into this new home of theirs, I will briefly tell what little I know about the house before they moved in.

The little red house: a lodging for church visitors, home for families, cobbler's workshop (shoe repair) and a hair salon.

Hamngatan #4, lot 103 in city section #4. Before the fire of 1835, the houses lot number was 142.

* It is said that before the people of Larsmo got their own church at the end of 1780, they came to Jakobstad for church services. Then they could use the little red house to stay overnight.

* According to the census of 1795, the little red house was owned by the midwife Eva Björkman. On the other side of the street, then lot #158, lived Anders Björkman and his wife Anna.

* In 1805, there lived in the house a tobacco worker Johan Fordell with his family. Johan was a tobacco spinner at the Strengberg's tobacco factory.

* In 1815 was Johan Fordell still registered here. However, in the registry of 1820, he had moved to the neighbour's lot, #143 and the sailor Jonas Carlstrom had moved in with his wife Anna. They still lived here in 1825, a family of five.

* After them, in about 1830, the house was taken over by helmsman Jacob Backman and his family, a family of five.

* In 1840, the red house was owned by Nils Nordstrom. He leased it to the sailor to Carl Sundblad and his family, a family of four.

* After them my grandmother's grandfather, sailor Matts Karlsson Jussila became the owner of the house. Let us now become acquainted with the Jussila family. The year was 1843.

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