EMILIE VÖÖBUS was born in 1877 at Karste Manor, the sixth child of Johan and Ann, and ten years the elder of Maks. She grew up to become a self-educated weaver, winning along the way several prizes from various exhibitions of her work while also teaching fledgling handicrafters.
In 1899 she married Eduard Sell (5.11.1867 - 8.09.1908), who worked as a blacksmith; together they lived in Ahja village.
After Eduard’s death from cancer, widow Emilie married Karl Tiirmann (1.02.1884-26.02.1918) in 1909; Karl, too, was a blacksmith, and the pair also resided in Ahja and, later, closer to Tartu in Luunja village.
After Karl died of pneumonia, Emilie married a third time in 1924 to August Musta (7.12.1876 – 1942). August was then a widower and a farm renter in Voobste village (Võnnu Parish), working the farm along with his daughter and 3 sons. August eventually bought out the farm and thus became its owner; by the end of the thirties he had built a small house on the farmland for himself and his wife, Emilie. Ultimately, his oldest son Axel managed the same farm.
After the death of August, Emilie sustained herself by picking berries and mushrooms while also earning a bit from her handicrafts; she was able to self-sustain given the small living area and small kitchen garden provided to her free of cost.
But in March 1949, Emilie was deported to Siberia (at Tšerlak, Omsk District), along with August’s son Axel and his wife, as a kulak (i.e., a class enemy of the poorer peasants, in the eyes of the Communist Party) .
Starting in 1952 she sent petitions to authorities in an attempt to liberate herself from this exile.
Finally, in 1954, Emilie was transferred to a house for disabled folks, in Ataki.
On 5.02.1956, she managed to check out from the Ataki house as an invalid, with the apparent right to resettle to her former home in her native Estonia.
But a collective farm/Communist Party member was already living in her former house. With the help of a lawyer Emilie managed to give this citizen a three months eviction notice. Then, at the tailend of 1956, Emilie received word from authorities that she was not officially regarded as “rehabilitated” and thus left without right to reclaim her lost property.
Following her next petition to Moscow she received a response from Tallinn, explaining that although Emilie was indeed released from deportation she nevertheless lacked any legal right to recover her previously confiscated property.
Emilie later said that she regretted not the loss of her home but rather the loss of the (aforementioned) prizes of sorts.
She is known to have visited the Vonnu church in April, 1957.
In 1962, Emilie died in a disabled people’s home in Aa village.
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Personal photos from Historic Pequaming
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