2001.068.1 Wooden Stool

John Sulkko lived in a shake covered, log, a-frame cabin on East Devil’s Lake Road with half a dozen or so other bachelors. The bachelors were known for their healthy diets, their hospitality, fitness, and musical talent. John Sulkko played the fiddle and the mandolin for the visitors of their cabin.

This stool was donated by the Kangas family, prominent dairy farmers in North Lincoln County. Many local children sat on this stool while John Sulkko gave them a free haircut, including George Kangas, who was the nephew of John Sulkko.

The photo below is of an elderly John Sulkko, along with the stool that is on display.  

Below are some excerpts from the Pioneer History of North Lincoln County, Volume 2, which speaks of John and the Bachelors:

George Kangas recalls that John Sulkko just had to have a stint of playing the fiddle every so often. After he’d played it for some time, that was all he needed. He had kept his violin upstairs in the A-frame cabin where the sky could be seen through the shingles, and water had gotten into the instrument and had spoiled it. “I remember that in his later years he would go to the Koski family up the river and ask for their fiddle. He’d play it a couple of hours; then he’d put it away and go home again.” George concludes.

“We just loved to visit the bachelors and Uncle John’s cabin,” George Kangas says. (The cabin was on John Sulkko’s acreage. He was Lizzie Kangas’ younger brother.) George Kangas says, “We especially liked the way that they were able to put out peanuts and walnuts for us to ear. We hardly ever saw those things otherwise! I think we ate too many of them really!” George sheepishly admits. “The bachelors made hard, unleavened bread in which they included dried fruit – often prunes – and it tasted quite good,” George remembers.

John Sulkko also made this beautiful rocking chair, which is also on display at the museum:

John ca. 1960s:

This stool represents the hospitality and giving nature of Mr. Sulkko and the bachelors that he resided with on the shore of Devil’s Lake. The pioneers of North Lincoln County had to rely on each other so that they could thrive, and John Sulkko and the bachelors are remembered for being examples of good neighbors.