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  • Writer's pictureVesa Oja

Vilho & Lillian Harju Carver 2008

7th Finglish trip October 2008 #41

Harju Brothers is one of the large cranberry growing operations in Carver, Massachusetts. Vilho Harju was born in Carver in 1918, he started out by clearing bogs for growing cranberries. It was hard work, because forest had to be cut first. There was a great deal to do throughout the period when the ground was not frozen to ensure a good crop. Vilho and his unmarried brother gave all their cranberry growing sites over to the Harju Brothers company. Vilho´s wife Lillian nee. Langevin was born in 1923.

At the age of 22, Vilho’s father Filus, originally from Kihniö, moved via Boston to Worcester, Massachusetts. His mother Lempi followed the same route. They met at events of the Finnish community in Worcester. Having worked for a while in the steel industry, Filus wanted to work outdoors. The couple acquired a farm in Carver along with cows and a horse for the needs of the household. Filus’s and Lempi’s great-grandchild now lives on the farm.

Vilho Harju was an Army Air Corp Veteran who served during World War II and served in the Pacific Theater in New Guinea, Soloman Islands, and the Philippines. He was a lifelong cranberry grower, owner of Ocean Spray Cranberry Inc. He was also a longtime member and former board of director of the Cape Cod Cranberry Growers Association. He was very proud of his Finnish heritage and at the age of 89 wrote a book, History of the Finnish Settlers of Carver, Massachusetts.

Next Emma Penti-Sullivan Carver Massachusetts USA

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