Valikko Sulje

Brother’s visit

A detail of an old lock.

Captain Johan von Nandelstadt was gifted extensive parcels of land in Joutseno by the King in 1650. He is believed to have established the Karsturanta manor house in Muukonsaari around the same time. Estates received in return for cavalry service were tax-free, so-called rälssi farms. The captain died in 1655 and left a large family. At least two of his sons followed in their father’s footsteps as soldiers and continued to live in Joutseno. Of the sons, Wolmar Wilhelm von Nandelstadt acted as Commandant of Eriksholm for a long time and settled in Saviniemi manor in 1682. His brother Elias von Nandelstadt inherited Karsturanta manor, but both brothers were forced to give up their estates in the early 1700s. Elias died in 1710 and is buried in Ristiina church. The Nandelstadts were the only aristocratic family in Joutseno during Swedish rule. Descendants of the family lived in Muukonsaari for a long time after the brothers had died.

My brother paid a visit. Padded into the drawing room on his poor feet, huffing and puffing. Told me that he would soon have to leave Saviniemi and evidently the same fate awaited me, too. Time for the Master of Muukonsaari to humble himself and leave Karsturanta to others.

Decades ago, when Papa passed away and care of the manor fell upon me, my sentiment was that here I am and here I’ll stay. I set up the inn and tavern to stave off my thirst and that of my fellows, or the need to procure beer-making articles from shady dealers. That put a stop to godless life in Joutseno, and village folk could whisper with wry smiles as, titled as sergeant-major or captain or whatever, I rode my lively horse up and down Kapakkamäki hill.

At some point, the greedy gluttons of the Crown got their claws on our inheritance estates. First we had to give up our tax-free säteri estates, my brother two large farms, until he retreated to Saviniemi to lick the wounds of his injured pride. Thanks to that large reduction, I also had my battles and earned my captain’s pips, when Karsturanta finally was promised to me for my lifetime.

But they were those promises, and now different times are on the way. The Russians do not look upon us with benevolence, but cast a rapturous eye on our lands. The Nandelstadts’ time in Muukonsaari seems to be coming to an end. Only the lime trees and hazels remain as our memorials. It was I who planted them in the distant past, being a man with an eye to the future.

Text: Pekka Vartiainen
Pictures: Anu Nuutinen
Translation: Annira Silver
Location on map

The story and the pictures are a part of Tarinajoki book (River of Stories), made in Rural Explorer project. As part of a culture tourism project, stories arising from the body of folk narratives and history also have a function in relation to the productisation of tourism. The stories are linked to real locations.