Ballad of Olli Kinkkonen
Performed by Karl Sundquist and Jill Burkes at the launch of Mark Munger's final book in his trilogy about Finnish Immigrants: "Kotimaa: Homeland"
Mark Munger's novel, Suomalaiset: People of the Marsh takes the mystery of Finnish immigrant Olli Kinkkonen’s disappearance and lynching and builds a broader story of immigration, love, the Great War, the Influenza Outbreak of 1918 and the Great Cloquet Fire to reflect the times that claimed Kinkkonen’s life.
There is little known about Mr. Kinkkonen. It’s believed he immigrated to the United States in the early 1900s, worked as a logger and laborer on Duluth’s docks, and was a vocal opponent to compulsory military service during WWI, which drew the attention of some folks who abducted and likely murdered him for his “unAmerican views” in September of 1918. He was taken by force from a boarding house in Duluth and vanished. Three weeks later his body was found hanging from a birch tree in a remote area of Lester Park in Duluth. His death was ruled a suicide and the perpetrators of his kidnapping were never caught.