This is part of my series of interesting newspaper articles and snippets that I find in the old Latvian newspapers available through Periodika. Most of the articles I post are in some way related to migration, wars or other events that are of particular genealogical note.
Source: Baltijas Zemkopis (Baltic Farmer), May 2, 1884
From Cēsis. Today (April 22) two youths were deported from here to Siberia. They had threatened to shoot Meyendorff’s lady in Ranka if she did not pay 1000 rubles. They wanted to use this money to travel to Wisconsin in North America. The Vidzeme High Court sentenced them both to life in Siberia. A large group of people accompanied the new criminals for a long stretch through the town square. The deportees are: K. Platais, from Ranka, age 21, and P. Lasmanis, from Nītaure, age 18.
This is an interesting article, about two young men who were seeking to leave Latvia, and leave they did – only in the opposite direction from what they intended. I wonder what happened to them. It is also interesting that the article mentions a specific desire to go to Wisconsin – concentrated efforts to form a Latvian community there only started in 1897, a full thirteen years later, though a number of young men ended up there earlier to work in the lumber industry. This was hard work, so violent extortion to have the chance to go there seems a bit unusual. What had they been promised to make them so desperate to get the money? Did they have other motives, perhaps political ones, for the money? Maybe they simply mentioned the desire to emigrate as the reason because they feared a harsher punishment if the crime was politically motivated?