The Oulaisten County Murders

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DB Crouper

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Slick's stories always inspire me to want to write something. I had no inspiration today, so I decided to go through some of my mother's photos and accumulation of papers. She departed nearly three years ago at the age of 92, and I guess I'm finally ready to face that fact. Anyway, my new avatar was shot by her in the spring of 1954, with my first meaningful fish, a 2 pound pogie, caught after a family razor clam dig. Today I can't remember where my keys are, but I remember that pogie almost kicking my ass 57 years ago.
In my mother's papers I came upon some startling family history, which took place in the town of Piipsjarvin, County of Oulaisten, near the Kilpua train station in the Country of Finland, In the Year Of Our Lord, 1894. I had heard of the story as a youth, but never really appreciated the enormity of the tragedy.
The victims who were murdered were my mother's great aunt, and her two year old son.
The wounded and crippled victims were elderly and scarred when I, as a young child, knew them as great aunt Anna and uncle Jack. Here is their story.

It was early April in 1894. The thaw had come to Finland, the days were long again, and the Kumpula family was preparing to set sail for America. Arne Kumpula had found a steerage position the previous spring, and arrived in New York, finding work in a slaughterhouse immediately, and saved his money to pay passage for his wife, Matti, their three young children, and their 16 year old cousin,Liisa.
Matti had sold their house, which enriched their larder, making their impending passage to America a dream nearly realized. She entrusted the money from the sale of her house to a trusted friend, and went about the packing of her family's life with a joyous heart. The children, sensing her happiness, helped as their age allowed, and Liisa, the 16 year old orphaned cousin, knew her prayers had been answered. America.
In the evening of April 9, 1894 the Kumpula's went to evening church services. They prayed, and all members of the congregation prayed with them, for safe passage to America. Their departure was two days hence, and it was a bittersweet evening. Every person present knew that they would never see each other again, despite pledges to return someday. It was becoming a too regular occurance for the elders of the town, as the lure of the great America was drawing off their younger generation. There was, however, to be a tragic twist to this departure.

More later
 
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brandon4455

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oooh this is shaping up to be an intresting one!
 
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DB Crouper

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Matti Kumpula and her children returned home the night of April 9, 1894, near midnight, and retired to the one large bedroom of their soon to be vacated home. Their hearts, one can only imagine, were full. What follows is a compilation of police reports, newspaper accounts, and rememberances of my great grandmother, Matti Kumpula's sister.
On the morning of April 10, 1894....in the town of Piipsjarvin we found Matti Kumpula, murdered, naked in a roadside ditch next to her home. When we went into the house we found the lady's youngest child, three year old Hans in bed dead. Two other children, five year old Anna and seven year old Jaako were on the floor, near death. They also found sixteen year old Liisa Hakala badly wounded, but fully conscious and too frightened to move from where she lie.

The murderer was Martin Jaakko, and his wife's name was Anna. They were neighbors to the Kumpulas. On April 9th the murderer and his wife had attended church services with the Kumpulas and returned late at night together.
During the dark, the murderer sneaked in his underwear to Kumpulas and entered through a window with a knife in each hand. When he didn't find anyone in the first room he went into the bedroom, via the kitchen, where slept Mrs. Kumpula, with her children Hans and Jaako in the same bed, and on the floor, daughter Anna with her cousin, Liisa.
Getting into the bedroom, Martin Jaakko started his terrible work.

More later.
 
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DB Crouper

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He intended to kill all of the occupants of the house, and steal the money that he assumed Matti Kumpula had from the sale of her house. Unbeknownst to Jaakko, Matti had entrusted the money to another neighbor.
In the bedroom the murderer went wild. First he attacked Matti, she and the children screaming. He struck at whoever happened in his path with his knives, like a devil. His horrible deeds could only be guessed at as later, after examination of the lady of the house, she was found to have 80 wounds and 11 smaller wounds, ribs broken in several places,breast bone cut in half, and her esophagus broken. The body didn't contain a drop of blood. In little Hans, there were 14 wounds, and his skull split almost in half. Daughter Anna and cousin Liisa had 40 wounds each, and 7 year old Jaako was so badly wounded that the Doctor thought he would surely die.
Martin Jaakko was jailed immediately on the word of those left alive, as they recognized him. He strongly denied doing the dastardly deed, although more testimony was against him.The murders aroused extreme interest in the town, and all the land, as they were committed in such an unheard of and terrible way.

Need a break
 
troutdude

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Wow! I am nearly speechless. I can see why you need a break. This is your own family.

I hope that murderous ******* got his just rewards!!!
 
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Slick

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Amazing story Don. The love of money is truly the root of all evil.
 
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DB Crouper

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Word of bringing the murderer to the city of Oulu had spread among the residents of the area, and on the evening of April 12th, hundreds of people had gathered at the railroad station to get a glimpse of the murderer. There was much grumbling and rumors, and some men carried lengths of rope, but the crowd disbursed when the water hoses were brought into play.
Another crowd had gathered at the County Jail, but Jaakko's jailers surrounded him, so that no one was able to see him enter the jail. His wife, Anna, was also jailed, but nobody knew if she was his accomplise, or if she was jailed for her own protection.

The first of two trials for Jaakko was held on May30-31, 1894 at Pyhajoen Church, where the murderer proclaimed his innocense.
Then on the second day of the trial, an amazing thing happened. During a recess in the proceedings, Martin Jaakko and several policemen were sitting on a bench. One of the policeman jumped up from the bench, and yelled at Jaakko, "So you won't confess?!", and proceeded to to walk toward the exit door.
Jaakko excitedly cried out, "Dont go! I'll confess all!"
The policeman quickly called the jury together, and Jaakko confessed. Later Jaakko and the policeman were sitting in a holding room, and Jaakko asked the policeman if he was going after whipping ropes or switches when he got up.
The policeman replied, "Neither. I was going to get some fresh air."
Jaakko slumped in his chair, and mumbled, "Poor me, I was so afraid of switches, I confessed."
In prison, Jaakko withdrew his confession, but his wife, released from jail, sealed his fate.
She told of the happenings on the night of the murder, honestly. Jaakko forced her to wash his bloody clothes when he returned home,telling her to keep quiet, or he would kill her, too.

On June 29, 1894 a sentencing trial was held in the Kumpula house where the murders took place.
Martin Jaakko was sentenced to life in jail for theft and murder, and the High Court of the Land in Vaasa concurred on February 2, 1895.

One chapter left- intermission
 
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DB Crouper

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The following is an unedited letter sent to my Grandmother, who lived in the Astoria area, as her mother, Matti Kumpula's sister, had immigrated to America 10 years prior to the murders, with her husband and children. The letter was written by a friend of Liisa, the 16 year old cousin.

"This murder caused publicity and anger over all the land, and soon a song was written which spread over Oulun County. It was called, "Kilpuin Murder, Kumpula Murder, and Martin Jaakko".
The murderer's wife, Anna, died soon afterwards. In the end here I will tell of my memories of when I went to see the children that were left alive. A day after the murder the Doctor arrived to give first aid to the knifed children, after which the three children were taken to the Oululaana Hospital.
Many townspeople went to see the children. One day I went with the rest of the people and stayed a long time. Sixteen year old Liisa Hakala's tale had a strong effect on us, "Terribly hurt and bleeding I was able to move from the bedroom to the cold room, but didn't have the strength to hide, so I stayed almost in the middle of the floor. Two different times the murderer came to look for me, but didn't see me in the dark, even if his feet touched me a couple of times. The light had gone out of his lamp and he couldn't light it again,as his matches were wet with blood. Once i saw his face- it was terrible- looked like a devil as I had pictured a devil. He was in white underwear, like a ghost."

"Liisa's face was full of large gashes. One could plainly see how the knife had cut across the forehead and down the cheeks- by luck the eyes were not hurt.
Jaako Boy was terrible looking. His face was all swollen and brown colored. This was caused by the murderer lifting him up in the air and hitting the boy's head against the floor, so he would surely die. Pitiful looking these children were." End of letter.

The three surviving children recovered enough to immigrate to America, and ended up settling in Astoria, to be raised by my Great Grandparents, and were like sisters and brother to my grandmother. Liisa moved away before I was born, but I remember Uncle Jack, a very gentle, kind man, who walked with a severe limp, and Aunt Anna, a tall and stately lady with beautiful features, but criss-crossed with scars. They both lived good lives in America, and passed peacefully in their 80s. I don't believe they ever talked about that night.

End
 
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brandon4455

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such a sad yet amazing story. made for another perfect read. thanks for sharing DB
 
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Slick

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Best story I've read on any forum. The fact that it's true makes it all the more fascinating. Good job DB.
 
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mgdguy

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WOW, what a story. I agree with Slick. Well done and thanks for sharing that sad piece of history.

A little more details and fleshed-out and you could have quite a short story to publish!
 
C_Run

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Thanks. It's funny, just the other day I was thinking about the other story about your ADD childhood friend, the story that never got finished. At least I remember the thread got locked for no good reason. I'd love to hear that one again.

Been fishin'?
 
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