Eva Kreta Kenttä — 1863–1921

Eva Kreta Kenttä was born in Alatornio, Finland during the 1860s and emigrated to the United States about 1885. One birthdate, from her death certificate, was July 2, 1865. A baptismal date on the LDS genealogy site is May 31, 1863. Because of the date given on her marriage certificate, I tend to believe the 1863 date.

There are many more questions about Eva than answers. According to her death certificate, her father was Nils Kenttä. In the Finnish database, HisKi, there is a Nils Kenttä (b. 1834) who may be Eva's father. Combined with the information in the LDS database, which includes a reference to an Eva Greta Kenttä baptized in 1863, it is possible that her mother was Maria Lena Korttila.

According Jeanette Riutta, one of Eva's granddaughters, the Kenttä family owned and ran a shoe factory. It seems more likely they were shoemakers, but either way, there is no proof. All information pertaining to Eva's family remains to be verified.

Of her siblings, only Ida Justina Kenttä emigrated. Ida arrived in 1892. She was probably about 8 years younger than Eva. Ida Justina Kenttä married Johan Emil Pongala, most likely also from the Alatornio area. (Pongalas appear for Alatornio in HisKi and on the LDS site.) Ida Justina was later referred to as Auntie Pongala, thus the assumption that she was Eva's sister. Ida went by "Stina", and appears on the 1900 census for Crooked River, Wahkiakum Co. Washington.

Using the LDS records to reconstruct Eva's birth family in Alatonio potentially shows the presence of at least two other sisters: Maria and Brita of whom nothing is known. One sister married someone by the name of Palo and subsequently in 1912 a niece named Karolina Palo emigrated to Clatsop county. Karolina married John R. Osmus in 1915.

Ytterberg family c. 1893 Eva Kenttä Ytterberg Maria Susanna Ytterberg

Carl Ytterberg & children

The first solid documentation for Eva is her marriage certificate. She married Carl Emil Ytterberg December 16, 1885 in Astoria, Oregon. The ceremony took place at the home of Rev. W. S. Hamlin, minister of the Congregational Church. The witnesses were J. J. Planting and Mrs. Hamlin. It's odd because the ceremony was not conducted by a Finnish Lutheran minister and no one attending was Finnish.

Initially, Carl and Eva lived in Astoria. They had two sons, Nils Emil and Karl Jalmar, both of whom died as babies and were buried in the old cemetery on Coxcomb Hill in Astoria. (Jeanette Ruitta says that many attempts have been made to find their graves, but they may not have been marked. The cemetery is barely visible anymore.)

The oldest surviving child, Jennie Selina was born in 1889, followed by Henric in 1891.

Sometime after Henric's birth, Eva and Karl moved across the river to Washington. When they took up residence at Crooked Creek is unknown, but a government land grant was made to Carl Utterberg on July 21, 1896 in Wahkiakum county. In any event, the next daughter, Maria was born in Brookfield, Washington in 1892.

Ida was born July 6, 1893 in Astoria according to the birth page of the family bible, however the 1900 census shows all the children, except Jennie, as being born in Washington. There are no birth records available for the children born in Washington according to Wahkiakum County. [Note: According to Jeanette Riutta, Aunt Tyyne tore out the birth page and threw the rest of the Bible away, much to our dismay.]

Henric, then age 2, died the same year (1893) and is buried in the Eden Valley Cemetery near Rosberg, Washington.

Prida Esther, also called Brita, was born in Washington in 1895, followed by Eva Kreta in 1896, Karl Adam in 1897, Tyyne in 1899. Eva Kreta died in 1899 and is buried in the Eden Valley cemetery next to Henric.

In the 1900 Census for Crooked Creek, Wahkiakum County, Washington, the Charles Utterberg family consists of the parents, Jennie, Maria, Ida, Esther, Arthur (which is actually Adam) and Tuney (sic). The year of immigration is noted for both Eva and Carl as 1885, though it is uncertain if they came to the US together. (It seems likely that they knew each other in Alatornio though.)

Sometime after 1904, Carl, who was also a boat builder and postmaster at Eden, decided to move back to Astoria. They bought the big house at 465 Taylor Street and moved in. Oney was born in 1902, Iva in 1904 and Louise in 1905.

It was most unfortunate then when Carl died "after a short illness" (believed to have been a heart attack) in October 1905.

Eva Ytterberg c. 1915

Through careful shepherding of resources, Eva owned property and had some wherewithal. Nevertheless, she may have felt very vulnerable with nine kids, though looking at her face that seems inconceivable. I suspect she would be able to take on a bear. That looks like a no-nonsense face if ever I saw one. Unlike many of her daughters, Eva was fairly tall.

Henry Krum

Henry Krum was a very recent immigrant, arriving in 1904 with his Norwegian wife and five kids. The first Mrs. Krum must have died around 1905. Whatever her reasons, Eva married Henry and they combined households at 465 Taylor. The 1910 Census shows the combined family of sixteen, with the two older Krum children, Alfred and Mary, already having left home.

The Ytterberg children, now known as Utterbergs (the "Y" sound being just too much of a nuisance to explain especially in the school) did not like Henry Krum and his brood at all. Ida, who married John Riutta at 17, couldn't get away from the Krums fast enough.

Henry Krum, according to the family lore, drank up all of Eva's property and squandered the children's inheritance. His son, Charlie, was no better. After one episode, probably in 1921, Henry gave Adam a black eye, so Adam's brother-in-law John Riutta, brought the young man home with him to live with their family.

Eva's death

Eva died April 23, 1921 at almost 56 years of age, though using the HisKi date of baptism, she would have been almost 58. The cause of death was an indecipherable goiter and myocarditis. Her death certificate shows her age as 55 years, 10 months, and 21 days. It gives her father's name as Niels Kentta and her birth date as July 2, 1865, though May is crossed out. It appears that Henry Krum, who provided the information, really didn't know when she was born. Interestingly, her marriage certificate implies that she was born in 1863 which dovetails more neatly with the record on the LDS site and supports the argument that the baptismal record is indeed hers.

In any case, Eva's death left Louise, Iva, and Oney under 21 and without parents. Because of the Krum disaster, there was no money to support the young people. As a result, older siblings took in their younger brother and sisters, while others refused to help at all. The resulting schism set up hard feelings in the family that remained until their deaths.

Eva's obituary in the Astorian covers only the basics. She was buried in Greenwood Cemetery next to Carl.

Updated June 12, 2008


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