Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

Erik Maunula was an early inventor on the Columbia

Transcribed by Abbie Laine at Appelo

Archives Center in March of 2005

The inventive spirit of Erik Maunula found expression in many practical devices and at the same time he displayed excellent business sense in other ways, being now manager for the Columbia River Packers Association. He was among the worthy citizens of the northwest that Finland furnished to Oregon, his birth having occurred in that land on the 3rd of December, 1851. His father, Andrew Maunula, was born in Finland and at the age of twenty-six years became the head of the grand jury, a position he filled until his death. The office is equivalent to that of judge in our own country. His wife, Mrs. Louisa Maunula, died in Finland at the remarkably old age of ninety-six years. In the family were nine children of who Andrew died in Astoria in 1898, while Emanuel is still a resident of this city. The two brothers and Emanuel and Erik Maunula,are the only ones of the family who came to the United States.

It was in the year 1872 that Erik Maunula crossed the Atlantic to the new world, making his way first to Pennsylvania, where he remained for a few months. He then went to Ashtabula, Ohio where he lived for four years, then in 1876 he came to Astoria. This part of the country even at that day was largely undeveloped, yet the seeds of civilization had been planted and were to bear rich fruit in later years. He first turned his attention to fishing, which he followed for a few years, and then became the engineer in a fish cannery.

The ownership of this factory changed several times but Mr. Maunula was always retained in his position, the cannery was known as the Occident Cannery. He was thoroughly familiar with the business, especially with the work assigned to him, and discharged his duties with the utmost ability and satisfaction. That he was well known to the trade and prominent in canning circles is indicated by the fact that he was manager and agent for the Columbia River Packers Association. He possessed considerable inventive genius and his ability in this direction has resulted in securing eight United States patents on canning devices. He also invented machinery for casting the sinkers on a lead line for nets and considered this his best patent. Its value to the fishing industry may well only be imagined and it has come largely into use.

In 1884 Mr. Maunula was married to Miss Elizabeth Karhu Lohti, who was born in Finland and came to the United States in 1880. They had six children, as follows: Ina, the wife of John Kinkula; and Lena, Wayne, Osmo, Otto and Ernest. Politically Mr. Maunula was a republican and his religious faith was Lutheran. On two occasions he suffered from injuries received in accidents, one costing him the loss of an eye. At another time he was on a steamer which capsized. Located on the lower side, he suffered severe injuries but at length came to the surface and was saved. His long residence in this section of the country made him familiar with its history and especially with the development of the canning industry, which was one of the most important sources of revenue to the northwest. Whatever prosperity came to him has been well merited.

In 1899, he donated a portion of his land for a church to be built. It became the Deep River Apostolic Lutheran Church in Deep River and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Church has been maintained by the Finnish Americans of the area, partly due to the promise Eva Malerich made to her sister that she would always see that the church was maintained and used as it will be on December 4 of this year for the annual Christmas Concert. The windows are currently covered with plastic until the new windows are delivered.


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