The First Dwellers and a Scarce Living
There are no written documents on the founder of the tenant farm but Johan Karlbom and his family are held to be the first dwellers of Rytivaara. According to the census records, Karlbom was penniless. In 1864 the Karlbom family had one cow, one heifer, a horse and eight sheep. Tenant farms usually had three milking cows, a horse and one or two sheep. Some tenant farms had to do without a horse, which meant that they could not clear new fields. The tenant farmer's skills and mere chance were the factors that mostly affected most life in this small setting. The hunger years of the 1860s were too harsh on the Karlbom family and the youngest children and the parents died. The tenant farm became empty for a while.
The Rent Was Paid in Grain
The contract on the Rytivaara Crown tenant farm was made in 1870. Amongst farmer Matti Ollinpoika Kynsijärvi's obligations was the upkeep of the good condition of the buildings and the clearing of 0.12 hectares of new field each year. The tax to be paid by Rytivaara was 60.5 litres of grain per year. Kynsijärvi's financial and social position weakened. It was common that the position and wealth of those belonging to the lowest classes in society changed very quickly: a tenant farmer may become poor, a dependent lodger may become a hill cottager, or a daughter or son of a house may become a tenant farmer. When the Rytivaara tenant farm came into the possession of Antti Antinpoika Kallioisenaho in 1882, Matti Ollinpoika Kynsijärvi had to accept his position as an independent lodger at Rytivaara.
Father as Teacher
In 1919, the dwellers of the Rytivaara tenant farm once again changed: Reete Eskelinen bought the tenant farm on his logging-work trip apparently without seeing it beforehand. The Eskelinen family had many children. As they lived in the trackless wilderness, most of the children had never the opportunity to breathe in the chalk dust of school - their father taught them to read. Only the three youngest children went to primary school in Kouva.
Forest Work Bringing Additional Income
At the best times, the Rytivaara tenant farm had five cows, one horse and sheep. In Rytivaara they possibly also made turnip porridge or cooked root crops in the ashes, as they grew turnips and potatoes in addition to rye, barley and oats. They also had to collect the yield of the forest: they inspected the traps in the forest and they went fishing on Latva-Kouvanjärvi Lake. Rytivaara obtained winter food for its domestic animals from the natural flood and mire meadows. They were not small quantities: one cow needed eight hayracks in order to survive the winter, and one hayrack weighed 400 kilogrammes. Forest work and log floating also brought additional income to the dwellers of Rytivaara. The dwellers' livelihood was like a patchwork quilt containing many different pieces - even so, Rytivaara offered a livelihood for its dwellers for almost one hundred years.
An Independent Farm
In 1922 an Act was adopted on the redemption rights of the tenant farms that were located on State land. After obtaining this information, people flocked to submit applications in order to lay claim their tenant farms as independent land. As there was a backlog of applications, there were, in some cases, almost ten years between the submission of the application and the making of the contract. From the 1930s onwards, Rytivaara was independent farm no. 37, formed through settlement policy which comprised the home parcel, the Vatisuo parcel and the Alavitikko parcel. There were occupants at the farm until the 1950s.