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The following is an Excerpt from
"Come into our Heritage - R.M. of Argyle 1882 - 1982,
Argyle Centennial History Book Committee
"
Rural Municipality of Argyle (Committee)
Roy found a limited number of copies is available from the R.M. of Argyle Office
To purchase a copy, please go here.
Warning: The following OCR text has not been proof-read yet

 

 

'THE CHRISTOPHERSONS OF GRUND'
SIGURDUR AND CAROLINE
CHRISTOPHERSON FAMILY

hristophersons

Sigurdur was born on July 9, 1848, at Neslondum,
Myvatn, Iceland. His father, Kristofer Andresson died in
1865, during a typhoid epidemic. The whole family had
been very sick at the time and their mother, Sigurveig Sigurdurdottir, was unconscious and very low. A kind neighbour helped the three older boys bury their father.
The eight children: Kristveig, Sigridur, Sigurjon,
Sigurdur, Hernit, Lilja, Pjetur, and Sigurborg never
ceased to wonder at their mother’s endurance and
courage. She worked from early morning until late at
night, at the same time training her children to help as

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much as possible, in order to provide them with the bare necessities of life. While knitting or mending, or making ‘shoes’ for their feet, she would teach them to read and commit to memory prayers and hymns.

Sigurdur worked for a neighbouring farmer, but wages were poor. Late every fall he went up the mountains searching for sheep that had not been found the first time of fall roundup. These trips were fraught with danger and hardship. Any sheep found so late in the fall and winter were equally divided between the owner (all sheep are marked in Iceland) and the one who found them. In this way he made more money than his wages. When he was 25 years old, he managed to save enough to pay his passage to America. He saw it was not possible to live in Iceland except in poverty and he thought how much better it would be to live in a country where grain, fruit and vegetables would grow. No one from that part had emigrated from Iceland and everyone thought it a foolish move.

A few days before Whit Sunday, 1873, he bade farewell to family and friends who had accompanied him to the seaport town of Husavik. There he boarded a small sailing vessel called ‘Hjalmar’, that was leaving for Norway. Among those who took passage on the same boat were Gudrun and Gudfinna Aradottir (sisters of Skafti), and Jon Halldorson. They carried their baggage down into the boat and then helped to haul the boat out into deep water. They sailed at 10 p.m. The next morning the mate handed them small portions of butter and sugar which, he told them, must last a week. They also were served with bread, meat and coffee three times a day.

The sea became rough and the girls and some of the men became seasick. On Whit Sunday there was a southwest storm with driving rain, it was difficult to manage the boat. At mid-day they were east of Lauganesi and that was the last they saw of their homeland. Two days later the weather was delightful and they found it interesting to watch a large number of whales that were swimming around the ship. All were in good spirits. The girls ventured on deck and were amused when Sigurdur and Jon each hemmed a handkerchief for them, but did not consider it fine sewing. At 1 p.m., Trinity Sunday, they came in sight of Norway. Upon reaching the har- bour town of Christianson, the Agent of the S.S. Co. arranged passage for the young Icelanders on the S.S. Harold. The food was much better on this ship, and although the days were monotonous with no amusements, the weather was good. On June 30, 2 a.m., they arrived at New York. It was a dark night, but the city was shining with lights, the most beautiful sight Sigurdur had seen in his life. The young Icelanders then had their first taste of railway travel from New York to Milwaukee. From there the men set out looking for work. Sigurdur was hired by a farmer for $18 a month. He found the weather unbearably hot and found it hard to sleep at night; he became ill.

In July, 1875, Skafti Arason and Kristjan Jonsson arrived in Milwaukee from Kinmount. They were on their way to Manitoba to look for land. Sigurdur joined them and after deciding on the Keewatin district north of Manitoba for the Icelandic Immigrants, the three men took work on the C.P.R. in East Selkirk until October
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when the Icelanders from Kinmount joined them.

Caroline Taylor was born May 11, 1856, the daughter of William Stuart Taylor and Isabella Slimmons. Her early childhood was spent in Kingston, Ont., later, the family moved to Lansing, Michigan. When Caroline was nine years old, her mother died, leaving five daughters. There followed a sad period when these five little girls in heavy mourning (black dresses trimmed with black crepe) lived with their grief-stricken father. Strangers would stop them on the street and ask them whom they mourned, and the girls would burst into tears. Carrie, in later years, had a strong aversion to mourning, especially for children. Uncle John Taylor and Aunt Elizabeth came to the rescue and took the girls to live with them in Haliburton, Ont. When their father remarried, Carrie and Anna returned home, Susie and Jane remained with their aunt and uncle, and Elizabeth married.

The next few years saw Carrie attend high school and graduate as a teacher. When she was 16 her ‘hair went up and her skirts were lowered’ and she went out to teach at a country school. She also apprenticed as a dressmaker, soon becoming good at sewing and cutting out garments which required much tucking, ruching and gathers in those days. [Read more details from Caroline's daughter]

On a trip to visit her aunt, uncle and sisters in Haliburton, the last night of the journey was spent at Kinmount. Next morning at breakfast, the waitress drew her attention to the window, and looking out, she saw an Icelander for the first time, a beautiful young woman with long golden hair and pink and white complexion, wearing a simple blouse and dark skirt. This happened to be Gudney, wife of Fridjon Fridrikson. She was to become Carrie’s lifelong friend. As she continued on her journey, little did Carrie realize how much this encounter would change her life. Her Uncle John was doing missionary work for the British Bible Society, and when she told him about the Icelanders at Kinmount, he was very interested and lost no time in going there to see if he could be of any service to them. He met Fridjon Fridrikson and Sigtryggur Jonasson, and was much impressed by the sincerity and honesty of these fine people. He set about helping them get financial help to see them through the rugged winter; provision was also made for a scouting party to go west in search of a more suitable site for settlement.

Carrie returned to Lansing in the spring, and in the fall she went to Manitoba with her father, his wife and three children. They joined Uncle John’s party at Sarnia. Travelling by boat, they arrived at Duluth after nine days, and stayed that night in a hotel. They went by train to Glinden and stayed all night in a roundhouse, then went by train to Fisher’s Landing on the Red River. Here they went on board a riverboat, the ‘International’. The river was very low. After nine days they reached Garry (Winnipeg). There they lived on a flatboat until the rest of the journey could be made. Here they met Dr. Schultz who was interested in this new colony. Here also, Carrie first met Sigurdur.

Sigurdur and Carrie were married Jan. 22, 1877. Because the Icelandic settlement was under smallpox quarantine, they stood on one side of Netley Creek (the quarantine line) and the Metis minister stood on the other


side. Sigurdur had taken a homestead and named it ‘Husavik’, there they farmed for four years until moving to Argyle Municipality. Two sons were born at Husavik, Jon Sigurdur and William Christopher.

In the spring of 1881, the move was made to their new homestead of ‘Grund’, NE 10-6-14 in Argyle. Their household effects, stove, dishes, and a precious box of books, were shipped to Portage la Prairie, but were lost in transit. They lived in a tent and Carrie cooked over a campfire all summer until a small one-room cabin was built. In 1882, a third son was born, Halldor (named for Halldor Briem who had married Susan Taylor). There were no doctors; Rebecca Johnson came from Winnipeg to take care of Carrie who was so sick. Four more children were born at Grund over the next few years. Those years were busy ones, their hard work would bring many joys and rewards, but there would be worries and sorrows as well. Sigurdur was on the first town council of Baldur, and it was Carrie who suggested the name for the town. ‘Carrie Ave.’ was named for her. Both took an active part in community life. Their doors were always open to friends and strangers. Many families would stay with them or on Sigurdur’s pre-emption (Little Baldur) until they could get their own homes built. One day a prairie fire came racing toward the farmyard. Every hand was needed to fight it. A spot that was burned off was selected and the baby Sigurveig was wrapped in a blanket and left on the spot, while Carrie helped to beat out the fire, then rushed back to find her baby safe. A few years later they lost their nine year old daughter, Lilja, to appendicitis.

A longer log house was built, with a lean-to built the full length for the store and post office which they had at Grund. (The post office was there until the late 1920’s.) Sigurdur went to Iceland as an immigration agent. On one of these trips he was gone almost a year. This was an anxious time for Carrie with so much responsibility. When he returned he brought a large party of settlers, many of them his brothers, sisters, young cousins, and his little mother Sigurveig, who although she was blind, was so cheerful and happy to be in America. She was interested in the big oak trees, and was delighted when she was taken to the garden and she felt the size of the pumpkins and other vegetables. She lived only a short time. In 1893, three weeks after her arrival she passed away at the age of 80. Her funeral was held outdoors. The grounds were crowded with people, many of them just over from Iceland and still wearing their Icelandic shawls and caps.

A new house was built in 1896; in 1904 a large barn. Sigurdur continued much colonization work, making more trips back to Iceland, and also some into the Swan River area of Manitoba. He had also built up a real estate and insurance business, with Carrie working as his secretary, well able to carry on his business when he was away.

ln 1903, Sigurdur was finally struck down by ill health and was confined to bed for months. The following winter he suffered a relapse, so on his doctor’s advice, he and Carrie travelled to the west coast. She never thought that she was leaving her home for good and would be called to ‘pioneer’ once more, but that’s exactly what

happened. On a previous trip, Sigurdur had bought a piece of land on the seaside. One day when the west coast climate had made him stronger, they walked up to this property, a beauty spot with an overgrown orchard, they fell in love with it. Sigurdur began clearing the brush and soon had a site cleared for a small house. They named it ‘Itriness’, the name of his parents’ farm in Iceland. As at Grund, their doors were always open. Many old friends stopped for a visit; new friends and neighbours never failed to call if passing by; some of their children moved west to live near them, and so they spent their last years happily at Itriness. Sigurdur died on Easter Day, March 27, 1921. Carrie died on Dec. 9, 1923. The day of her funeral was like a summer day, sunny and warm, ‘just like Carrie’s character’, it was said. Both are buried in the Grund Cemetery here in Argyle Municipality.

Sigurdur and Carrie had seven children.
Jon Sigurdur rented his father’s farm until he and his wife, Vala, moved to British Columbia.
William Christopher married Kristin Jonsdottir; and they farmed NE 33-5-14, later his father’s farm. They had two sons.
Dori was the third child of Sigurdur and Carrie, born in Argyle in 1882. In 1912 he married Ranka Johnson, only daughter of Sigmundur and Sophia Johnson of Argyle. Dori entered the business world soon after his marriage and moved to Vancouver, B.C. He was the manager of Martin-Senour Paints department at McLennan and McFeely’s in that city. Ranka and Dori had one son, William (Bill). Ranka died in 1929, and Bill stayed with his aunt Veiga Dawe until Dori re-married Leslie Cole. Dori and Leslie lived at Crescent from the late forties on, and Dori commuted to his work in Vancouver. Dori passed away in 1954, and Leslie in 1962.

Sigurveig Veiga, the fourth child and oldest daughter of Sigurdur and Carrie, was born in 1884. Veiga graduated from Baldur High School, then completed her teacher’s training at Winnipeg Normal and Brandon Collegiate. Veiga’s first school was at Hola, in Argyle. She moved to British Columbia prior to WWI and continued a very successful teaching career in Mud Bay, New Westminster, and in Prince Rupert, where she met and married Thomas Dawe in 1922. Veiga and Tom moved to Veiga’s family home in British Columbia in 1927. Into the late forties, Veiga continued to do sub- stitute teaching. She took a very active part in P.T.A. and served two years on the Surrey School Board. Tom and Veiga are cherished for their love of neighbours and particularly children.Veiga passed away in 1963, predeceased by Tom in 1960.

Scratched in a window pane in the kitchen at Grund is the name "Susie". Who was she? Susie was born on Jan. 7, 1886, in the small log house at Grund. She was the fifth child to be born to Sigurdur and Caroline Christopherson. She was the little girl who used to ride about the rolling fields on her Icelandic pony "Geysir". She would stand on the back of her little pony while she dreamed of joining the circus. She was the little girl who walked to school at Hola each day with her brothers and sisters, stopping briefly at the farm by the big hill where they were joined by the Baldwin children, and she was the one who walked close behind the Baldwin boys because
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"they were so tall and big they broke the cold winter wind!". She knew the worry and concern when her parents rushed her young sister Lilja to Winnipeg for an appendicitis operation, and she knew the dull ache of sorrow when her parents returned from Winnipeg alone. Susie was 18 when her father’s health forced her parents to move to British Columbia. She remained at Grund to help her brothers with the farm. The "Baldur Gazette" announced her "marriage was to take place on Monday, Jan. 15, 1906, at 11:30 AM in the Icelandic Lutheran Church, Grund, to Ingi G. Brynjolfson. One hundred and fifty invitations had been issued". The following "Gazette" published that the wedding had been duly celebrated and extended good wishes to the young couple. It also mentions that on Sunday evening a farewell supper was tendered Miss Christopherson by the young people of the district, being held in the Good Templars’ Hall. Susie lived her early married years in Winnipeg where Ingi was a contractor. Each summer she bundled up her six children; Inga, Caroline, Wilfred, Ernest, Thordis and Gladys, to spend two glorious weeks with her brother Will and his wife Stina at Grund and camped out at Skalbreid. One summer in the late l930’s, she camped out again in a small cabin deep in an oak bluff north of Baldur with two lifelong friends, Veiga Sveinson and Emma Eggertson, recalling girlhood memories. Susie and lngi moved their family to Chicago sometime in the 1920’s where they spent the rest of their lives. There still would be many trips back to Grund for her love for her home town was strong to the end. She remained a Canadian citizen. This, then, was "Susie", the excited young woman, who in a moment of mischief, scratched her name in the window at Grund with her engagement ring to see if it truly was a "real" diamond. Kjartan married Gudrun (Rooney) Stoneson. Lilja Sigurborg died at the age of nine years in 1901.


JOHN AND VALA CHRISTOPHERSON
FAMILY

Image 4877
Image 4877 from the grand daughters of John Sigurdur Christopherson -
Miriam Westereng, Bev Bolick, and Carol Jarvie.
[NOTE: Image of the sailor and family in this book was wrong! This is the correct family

Page 338

John Sigurdur was the eldest child born to Sigurdur and Carrie Christopherson at Husavik, Keewatin, in 1877. He moved with his parents to Argyle three years later. John attended Hola School and later went to Winnipeg Business College. John farmed at the family home in Grund. ln 1907, he married Valgerdur, born in 1884 to John and Gudrun Thordarson of Glenboro. Following their wedding they took a trip west to visit Carrie and Sigurdur at Crescent Beach, B.C. The mild coastal climate of British Columbia attracted them to move to the Crescent area in 1912. By this time, three sons had been born to them at the Grund home: Donald, later married Bertha Loftson; Alvin, married Edith Ireland; and John Sigurdur Jr., married Grace Smith. Other children followed: a fourth son, Haldor, married Edna Lake; and three daughters, Caroline, married Luke Humer; Evelyn, married Bert Ruccius; and Kathleen, married Art Carver. Haldor passed away in 1951, and Kathleen in 1978. ‘Kassie’ was predeceased by her husband Art in 1977. John’s work included farming and construction. Latterly, he helped Vala in the management of a suc-cessful pie industry, Vala and her sister having bravely ventured into pie-making in the early thirties. They made their home in Vancouver until John passed away in 1949. Vala moved with Carrie to Crescent, and passed away in 1975. Sharing interests in political, community and social affairs, John and Vala were a devoted couple to their church and family. Luke and Carrie Humber live in Grandfather Sigur- dur’s original home at Crescent. Vala and John’s family have grown to include 9 grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren and maintain close, traditional family ties.

KJARTAN AND ROONEY
CHRISTOPHERSON FAMILY

Kjartan (Kay) [PHOTO] was born on Nov. 17, 1888 at Grund, and was the youngest son of Sigurdur and Caroline Christopherson. He took most of his education at Hola and later farmed with his father and brothers at Grund. When his parent’s moved to British Columbia, he moved out there with them. There he met Gudrun (Rooney) Thorsteinson (Stoneson), and they were married in the spring of 1914. Kay continued working for a wholesale company in Vancouver until 1920, when he and Rooney decided to move back to Manitoba. Kay came late in the fall, and Rooney and the four children arrived the following spring. They rented the Bile’s farm for a year before buying NW 6-6-13. In 1930, they moved to a farm near Belmont (Bob Campbell’s) for a year. They then moved to the Catteuw farm at Baldur. Rooney’s family had moved to San Francisco and were urging Kay and Rooney to move out there. Lorne, the eldest son, left in 1932, and Kay and Rooney and the rest of the family, left in 1936, for San Francisco, where Kay built up a real estate business and worked at it until his retirement. Their children, Lilja, Lorne, Ted, Caroline, Sig,


PG 339

Henry, Eileen, Dorothy and Bill, were blessed with the gift of music. Rooney played the organ and the piano and had a good singing voice. These talents were passed on to her children. With her encouragement, two of the girls, Eileen and Dorothy, made a name for themselves in Los Angelos and San Francisco, both singing in musicals and Eileen playing the part of Jeannie in the movie, "I Dream of Jeanne", the story of Stephen Foster. Lorne, a winner of singing trophies at an early age in Boys and Girls Club fairs, chose not to take up singing professionally.

Rooney passed away in 1963, and Kay in 1969. Lilja and Ted have both passed away since then. Caroline is living in Connecticut. Lorne is in construction business and is presently living in Los Angeles. Henry is carrying on his father’s business and Sig and Bill work with him. All live in San Francisco, as do Eileen and Dorothy.

WILLIAM AND KRISTIN
CHRISTOPHERSON FAMILY

Will and Stina

William at back, Dori, John and Stina

William Christopher Christopherson was born at Husavik, Man. near Gimli on March 1, 1879. He came to Grund at the age of two with his parents and his older brother John in the spring of 1881. He attended Hecla School and worked at home on the farm. He bought the NE 33-5-14 by Jones Lake, near Grund, where he built a shanty, barn and hen house. On May 29, 1899, he married Kristin Jonsdottir.

Kristin was born in Iceland, on April 18, 1880. She came to Canada in 1893. She was a quiet, gentle person with a beautiful personality. Together she and Will ran a prosperous farming operation at Grund with their son, John. They were rich in hospitality. It was always a favourite place for relatives to come ‘home’ to Grund. She helped with the Grund Post Office and enjoyed errands or getting around with her horse and buggy. She was a member of the Dorcas Society, which was established by a group of young girls and women during


WWI, to send parcels and knitting to the soldiers who had gone overseas from the district. Later she joined the Frelsis Lutheran Ladies Aid of which she was a staunch, faithful member the rest of her days.

Will’s parents moved to the west coast and the oldest son, John, stayed at Grund to manage the farm. In 1912, John and his wife, Vala and three boys sold out and moved to the west coast. lt was at this time, Will and Kristin and son Johnny, aged 10, moved to Grund and rented the farm from his father. After his father Sigurdur passed away in 1921, Will bought the Grund farm from the estate. Will took an active interest in community affairs and politics. He was a member of the Municipal Council of Argyle for many years, served as a school trustee, member of Frelsis Lutheran Church Board, Pool Elevator Board and was a cattle shipper for years. He was post master at Grund Post Office until it was abolished in the late twenties. Will passed away on Sept. 28, 1941.

After her husband’s death, Kristin continued to live at Grund with her son and daughter-in-law, who now had taken over the farm. She now became more involved with Sunday School work, serving as its superintendent. She also spent time at Sunrise Lutheran Summer Camp for young people at Husavik, near Gimli. She was a capable ‘house mother’ and enjoyed this work very much.

During WWII her knitting needles were never idle, knitting for the Red Cross to send to Canadian men overseas. Her granddaughter has, and cherishes, the Red Cross Pin her grandma was awarded for her work during the war. She passed away on Nov. 24, 1946.

Will and Kristin were blessed with two sons: Halldor (Dori) who was born on Sept. 23, 1900; and John William, who was born on Sept. 29, 1902. Dori died in 1912.

JOHN AND LAURA CHRISTOPHERSON FAMILY

John and Laura

John and Laura.


John William, son of Mr. and Mrs. W.C.
Christopherson, was born on Sept. 29, 1902, in the
Grund district at NE 33-5-14. He attended Mimir School
339


until at the age of 10, he moved to Grund with his parents. Then he attended Hola School. He quit school during WWI to work on the land. Here he farmed, initially with his father and later, on his own.

On May 29, 1933, John and Laura were married. Laura’s parents were Hannes and Margret Anderson of Wynyard, Sask., where she grew up. She was born Feb. 12, 1910, attended Harvard Country School, Wynyard School and at Winnipegosis, Man.

John and Laura’s first home was on the farm by Jones’ Lake NE 33-5-14. It is a beautiful spot and they enjoyed their brief stay there. They brought in an unfinished three-room bungalow, with a screened-in verandah at both front and back and painted it inside and out. The house was set in the oak bluff, east of J ohn’s parents’ house.

Much of their furniture was old, discarded pieces found in granaries at Grund, such as the old parlour settee chairs they cleaned, polished, and recovered in floral chintz.

For their kitchen, they brought in the old homemade cupboard with a hutch, made by John’s great-grandpa, William Taylor. After cleaning and scrubbing, they painted it. With Grandma Holmfridur’s clock on the top shelf of the hutch, along with pretty plates and vases it looked quite nice. In another corner, they stacked apple boxes, one on top of another until they had two high cupboards side by side. Laura made frilly curtains for the window out of yellow and white checked gingham and one to match over the front of the apple box cupboards. They found a dropleaf table and a few sturdy chairs, painted them and placed them under the window with a view of the lake, through the oak bluff full of wildlife and birds.

In the winter months, a trip to town by sleigh for mail and groceries was made once a week. There were always plenty of apple boxes, and a column in the ‘weekly’ farm papers featured patterns and directions for articles to make from them. Laura began her winter hobby, tracing patterns onto the boards with saw and fret saw. In those days the wood in these boxes was fairly good. John was not impressed with her workmanship so he took over. Together, John and Laura made plant stands, a magazine rack, knick-knack corner shelves, bird houses. Laura was very proud of their work, and these items lasted for years. Two orange crates, with a board across the top and a frilly, flowered organdy skirt served as a dressing table for a little girl’s room. A mirror was purchased to hang on the wall above. As a cold storage box, John got an old gasoline drum, cut the top out and dug it into the ground in a well shaded spot near the back door. This served as a cooler for left over foods, milk, butter. Eventually the family moved into the big house.

John was active in community affairs from childhood. As time passed, so did progress, with more involvement in community and town. For many years John was a trustee on the Frelsis Lutheran Church Board, a trustee for the Hola School District, and a member of the Pool Elevator Board. He was councillor in the Rural Municipality of Argyle, and a member of the Baldur Hospital Board for many years.

John and Laura had one daughter, Donna (Mrs.
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Norman Skardal); and one son, Robert John (Bob). There are six grandchildren, Stanley and Alan Skardal, Lauren (Mrs. Gordon Jones) Gabrielle, Timothy and Jon Christopherson and one great-grandson Darrick Jones.

Robert John (Bob) was born at Grund, July 21, 1941. He attended school at Hola and Baldur and subsequently studied agriculture at the University of Manitoba, receiving a B.S.A. (Honors) degree in 1963. After graduation he farmed in partnership with his father at Grund for two years before returning to the University of Manitoba to study for an M.Sc. degree in Animal Science. He worked for one year as an agricultural representative at The Pas and then attended the University of Alberta where he received a Ph.D. in Animal Physiology in 1971. At that time he joined the staff of the University of Alberta and did research on the Physiology of farm animals. In 1966 he married Jeannine M. Dumont, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Gabriel Dumont of Birch River, Man. They have three children: Gabrielle Dumont was born in Winnipeg in 1967; Timothy John was born in Edmonton in 1970; Jon Anthony was born in Bristol, England, in 1978, where they lived for one year. By coincidence, Jon was born in the birthplace of his great-great-great-grandfather, William Stuart Taylor, who was born in Bristol in the year 1830.

When Laura came to Grund in 1933, she became a member of the Frelsis Lutheran Ladies’ Aid in October of that year, and enjoyed the many years working with this very active community. As the years went by, with improved roads and antifreeze, the couple became more invovled with town activities. Before that cars, were put away for the winter and if people lived far from town, they just did not go until the warm weather arrived. Laura was a member of the Baldur Hospital Aid for several years and did a lot of sewing. When they could, country women enjoyed getting in to help with catering to banquets and serving lunches at the rink. Then there was the Baldur Hobbycraft Club, which Laura was involved with and enjoyed very much; and was also a member of the Baldur Lutheran Ladies’ Aid.

Grund remained the Christopherson’s home until 1972, when they moved to Baldur. John passed away on Jan. 6, 1981.

SIGURJON AND HELGA
CHRISTOPHERSON FAMILY

Sigurjon was born on Oct. 15, 1844, and Helga Jonsdottir was born on July 26, 1854 in Iceland. They were married in 1872, and had two children, Sigurdur and Thorgerdur (Gerda). They immigrated to Canada in 1893, coming to Argyle Municipality. They lived with Sigurjon’s brother Hernit for a year before homesteading SE 27-5-14 in the fall of 1894. This was known as Sigurjon’s Hill, on the Antonius farm. In 1905, Sigurjon and Helga moved into Baldur, living in the little house on Schultz Street. Sigurjon had kept a team of horses and was kept busy with jobs requiring their use. In the summer he would help farmers with haying and threshing.


Sigurjon

Standing: Sigurdur and Thorgerda. Seated: Sigurjon and Helga.

In 1918, they moved to Winnipeg, where Sigurjon worked in the post office and they also kept a boarding house. Here Sigurjon passed away on Oct. 19, 1920. Helga made her home with Gerda and later Sigurdur, passing away on Oct. 19, 1934. Sigurjon and Helga are both buried in the Grund Cemetery.

Sigurdur, their son, was born in Iceland on April 21, 1876. He came to Canada with his parents. He attended Hecla School and then Wesley College in Winnipeg. ln 1905-1906, he attended the Theological Seminary at Chicago, Ill. Upon his graduation in 1909, he became a field missionary on behalf of the Icelandic Lutheran Church, serving primarily districts in northern Manitoba. About this time, he met Thorbjorg Jonsson, daughter of pioneer homesteaders Methusalem and Asa Jonsson, who were in fact the first Icelanders to settle in that area, and named their new home ‘Ar-Bakki’, later to become Arborg. Sigurdur and Thorbjorg were married at Arborg in 1916, and took up residence at Langruth, Man. They had one son, Luther, who was born on Jan. 30, 1920. Thorbjorg died two weeks later on Feb·. 10. Around 1928, Sigurdur received a call to Churchbridge, Sask. to serve congregations at Concordia, Thingvalla and Logberg. Sera (Rev.) Sigurdur retired from the ministry about 1941. He moved to Winnipeg, where he passed away in January, 1955.

Thorgerdur (Gerda) was born in Iceland on April 22, 1882. She attended school at Hecla, and then took a dressmaker’s course in Winnipeg. She set up a shop above Ro1lin’s store in Baldur. Gerda accompanied her parents to Winnipeg in 1918, and helped with their boarding house and did dressmaking as well. When Luther’s mother died in 1920, Gerda more or less ‘adopted’ the child. About 1921 or 1922, Gerda, along with her mother Helga and Luther, took up residence in Glenboro, Man., where she became seamstress and dressmaker. Here they resided until 1926, at which time they moved back to Arborg, where Sigurdur had built a new home for them all. In 1940, Gerda and Luther
341

moved to Vancouver, B.C. Gerda soon became deeply involved in church work and various social and charitable organizations. Her heart’s desire was to establish an Old Folk’s Home in Vancouver, and she was the chief in- stigator and driving force behind the eventful fulfilment of this long cherished dream. She hosted countless committee meetings, and travelled about extensively, even as far as Campbell River, on Vancouver Island, where there was a small nucleus of Icelanders living. Here she canvassed and created a feeling of enthusiasm and interest in this project. Shortly after, she tragically suffered a severe stroke which kept her bed-ridden until her death, but not before she experienced the joy and satisfaction of seeing her dream come true, with the opening of the first old folks home ‘Hofn’ on Osler Street in Vancouver. Many loving hands combined to bring her by ambulance and wheelchair to be in attendance and to partake of this joyous occasion. Gerda passed away on Nov. 6, 1955.

In 1950, Luther married a girl from England, Marjorie Clayton, and thereafter she cared for Luther’s aunt with as much love and devotion as any daughter could. Marjorie succumbed to a heart attack very suddenly in September, 1979 while she and her husband were vacationing in California. Luther continues to reside in Vancouver, where he has been employed by a large in- dustrial firm for the past 35 years.

PETER AND SIGURVEIG
CHRISTOPHERSON FAMILY

Peter

Standing: Rosa, Peter and Sigurveig with Helgi.

Peter was born in northern Iceland on Sept. 24, 1853, son of Kristofer Andresson and Sigurveig Sigur- dursdottir. He married Sigurveig Olafsdottir, who was born in Iceland on March 24, 1853 (her parents were Olafur and Rannveig Sveinbjarnarsdottir). They im- migrated to the Argyle Municipality in 1893, and bought SE 3-6-14 where they farmed all their lives. Both Peter and Sigurveig were of a quiet but jovial demeanor, with Peter having a tendency for mischievous


tricks and story-telling. When he shaved off his beard it changed his appearance so much that his own sister Sigridur didn’t recognize him. His nephew Paul, who shared his uncle’s love of a good joke, took him into the house and introduced him to his mother and fiance, Gudny, as a fellow looking for work. Explaining that he had hired him to help with a job on the farm, he asked them if they would give him something to eat. The two women grudgingly prepared a meal for him, talking all the time in Icelandic about how they thought he was just out to get a free meal, they were certain that he would quickly be on his way once he had eaten! Sure enough, as they watched him disappear north across the field, they could triumphantly tell Paul, "I told you so! " Paul never said a word, and it wasn’t until the next day when his mother went over to visit her brother and sister-in-law, that she finally discovered the trick that had been played on her.

Sigurveig had trained as a midwife in Iceland and was called upon many times in Argyle to help young mothers give birth to their tiny babies. She carried medicines and necessary tools in a small leather and needlepoint satchel, the embroidery having been done by her in 1877.

Peter and Sigurveig had four children; Rosa, Helga, Helgi and Allabj org.

Rosa was born in July, 1882, in Iceland. She became a school teacher and taught at various schools in the district before going to teach at Stoughten, Sask., where she met Carl Story. They were married on Oct. 25, 1918. They had no children. Like her mother, Rosa was an active suporter of the "Kvitabundi" and spent much time driving about the countryside gaining support for the women’s suffrage movement. She died Sept. 2, 1921. Helga was born in 1886 in Iceland, and died in 1897. Helgi was born on Nov. 22, 1897. He never married.

Helgi attended Wesley College in Winnipeg, then took a course in drafting and surveying. He was in his third year when his father died, he never completed that year, but instead came home to take over his father’s farm. I-Ie died in a car accident on Nov. 11, 1938.

Allabjorg was born in 1900, she became a victim of polio and lived in a wheel chair for several years. She died in 1912.
Peter died Nov. 25, 1922, and Sigurveig died on Jan. 25, 1931. There are no direct descendants left.

HERNIT CHRISTOPHERSON FAMILY

Hernit was born on July 1, 1850, in Myvatn, Iceland, the third son of Kristofer Andresson and Sigurveig Sigurdursdottir. On July 8, 1880, he married Thora Sigurdurdottir (born Oct. 2, 1856). In 1883, they immigrated to Canada, with their young son Peter, leaving Iceland because of poor farming conditions, many hardships and no future. They stayed with Hernit’s brother, Sigurdur and his family, at Grund in the R.M. of Argyle, for a year until Hernit was able to file for a homestead. In 1884, he acquired NW 6-6-14, where he built a log house and log barn and moved his family to their own home that year. In 1890, Hernit bought a second quarter of land, NE 1-6-15.
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Hernit

Thora and Hernit .

Hernit and Thora had eight children: Peter, Helga (died shortly after birth), Sigurjon, Hermann, Mat- thildur, Sigurdur, Jennie and Sigurdur Hermann. On June 14, 1897, Thora died at the age of 40, leaving five young children, three of her children having died at an early age.

Bjorg

Bjorg

On Oct. 29, 1899, Hernit married Bjorg Bjornson, daughter of Bjorn Bjornson and Herborg Jonsdottir. She was born on Aug. 23, 1864, in Vopnarfirdi, Iceland. In 1893, Bjorg and her parents emigrated from Iceland to join two of her sisters in Winnipeg. The parents went on to Gimli and Bjorg remained in Winnipeg, where she worked as a tailoress, until she married Hernit. The land Hernit owned was mostly hills, bush and stones, with only 100 acres of broken land. In 1905, he rented three quarters of 17-6-13, which had 450 acres of broken land. This he worked for two years from his homestead. The homestead where they lived was isolated from the Icelandic settlement of Grund, so in 1907, Hernit moved his family to NW 17-6-13, which was more central to church, school and town, and he rented out his homestead. In 1911, Hernit bought NE 2-6-14 and W 1-6-14, from Hildur Thorsteinson, widow of Helgi Thorsteinson who had homesteaded this land in 1882. In the fall of 1911, the family was moved and permanently settled in the house located on NE 2-6-14.


Hernit was a man with many interests and a keen desire to be involved in community and church activities. He was one of the first trustees of Mimir School and later a trustee of Hola School, a position he held for many years. He was a member of the Grund Church Board, and he helped establish the Icelandic Library at Grund and continued as an active member of this society.

While still living in Iceland, Hernit had acquired the knowledge of homeopathic medicine and its use. In the early days he served many people in the area, where doctors were not readily accessible. Frequently he would be called out by distressed families to administer to the sick, especially the young, who were suffering from colds, grippe or pneumonia. Many hours would be spent at the bedside of these people until the crisis was passed.

Bjorg was an active member of the Grund Ladies’ Aid. She also belonged to the Hvita Bandid (white band), which was an organization that worked toward getting the right of women to vote in Manitoba. She carded and spun her own yarn, from the wool of the sheep raised on their farm.

Hernit and Bjorg had three children: Herbert, Johann and Sigurveig.

Hernit died on Aug. 18, 1928, and Bjorg on Oct. 30, 1952. They are both buried at Grund Cemetery.

Hernit Family

M Standing: Joe, John, Siggi and Pete. Seated: Veiga, Bjorg and Jenny.

Peter (Pete) was born on Dec. 5, 1881, in Iceland and came to Canada with his parents, at the age of two. He received his education at Hecla School, then joined his father farming and continued along with his brothers after Hernit died. Pete’s favorite pastime was whittling wood with a pocketknife and his finest work was scale models of early farm machinery. He was a member of the Icelandic Library Society and of the Grund Cemetery Board, he was caretaker of the cemetery for a number of years. Pete died on June 11, 1963, and is buried at Grund Cemetery.

Sigurjon (John) was born on Sept. 15, 1884, in the Grund district. He received his early education at Mimir School and went on to teach, with a permit, at Hola, Thor and in Saskatchewan. During the winter months, from 1902-1909, John attended Wesley College in Winnipeg, then studied law from 1911-1914, being ad- mitted to the bar in 1914. In 1916, he joined the Fort

Garry Horse and served in Canada during WW II as a paymaster. After the war, he worked for a law firm until starting on his own, where he practised law in the Somerset Building in Winnipeg, until retirement in 1963. John was an avid reader, interested in many subjects and he taught himself to speak many languages. He died on April 29, 1967, and is buried at Grund Cemetery.

Hermann was born on Oct. 6, 1886 in the Grund district. He died on Jan. 29, 1893, at the age of seven.

Matthildur was born on April 29, 1889. She died at the age of 12, on Feb. 11,1901.

Sigurdur was born on April l, 1890, and died July 1, 1891.

Jenny was born on June 22, 1892, in the Grund district. She received her education at Mimir School. She worked at home and at friends and neighbours, before her marriage to Baldur Peterson in 1935.Jennie and Baldur made their home in Gimli, Man., where Baldur was a fisherman on Lake Winnipeg, until becoming a plumber and working at the Air Force Base at Gimli. In 1969, they moved to Baldur, to Jennie’s family’s farm. Baldur died on Feb. 11, 1970, and Jennie on April 20, 1972. They are both buried at Grund Cemetery.

Sigurdur Hermann (Siggi) was born on Nov. 4, 1894 in the Grund district. He received his education at Mimir, Frey and Hola schools. He farmed all his life with his brothers. His favorite pastime was reading and he belonged to the Icelandic Library Society. Siggi, though reserved, had a good sense of humor, he was known, on occasion, to have slipped a little brandy into the coffee of his older brother, an abstainer, and enjoy this enor- mously. He remained a bachelor, but was a doting uncle to his nieces. He died on Feb. ll, 1967, and is buried at Grund Cemetery.

Herbert Thorarinn (Herb) was born on Aug. 2, 1900, in the Grund district. He received his education at Frey and Hola schools. He married Emily lsberg. (See Herb Christopherson Family).

Johann Bjorn (Joe) was born on Aug. 5, 1903 in the Grund district. He received his education at Hola School, then joined the family, farming. He was a member of the Hola School Board for 20 years, until the closing of the school, in 1953. He was also a favorite Santa Claus at Hola for many years. He was a member of Grund Church Board and Grund Cemetery Board and has been the custodian of the Grund Church since the Historical Society took it over in 1975. He was a long time member of the Baldur Curling Club. Joe’s interests have included politics, debating, history, reading and he is well-known for his art of story-telling, having a story (or many stories) for any occasion. Like his father, Joe has always been interested in people, helping them in many ways. Although he never married, he is like a second father to Herb’s daughters, who spent a great deal of their childhood on "the farm", and still return today as returning home. Joe retired from active farming in 1976, though he kept sheep, which were his pride and joy, until 1979. He still resides on the home farm.

Sigurveig (Veiga) Matthildur was born on Dec. 22, 1905, in the Grund district. She received her education at Hola School. She worked at the Bay in Winnipeg for a while, then at home. She married Chris Helgason in 1933. 343


(See Chris Helgason Family).
In 1940, Gudrun Isfeld, daughter of Kjarten and Borga Isfeld, came to the Christopherson farm to work for the family as a hired girl, and she has remained with the family to this day. Warmly known as "Gooney", her motherliness and caring nature are well-known in the hearts of many people, young and old, in the area. She has a unique talent for recalling events and people of the past and relating these stories in an enjoyable and in- teresting way. Her interests, other than people, include making quilts (using the wool from the sheep raised on the farm), baking tertas, knitting, crocheting, reading and serving coffee to the many visitors.

The Christopherson farm is well-known for its warm hospitality. The door is always "open", the coffee pot on, and everyone is warmly welcomed, to enjoy a time of reminiscing and fellowship.

HERBERT AND EMILY CHRISTOPHERSON FAMILY

Herbert

Herb and Emily on their wedding day.

Herbert Thorarinn was the son of Hernit and Bjorg Christopherson. Upon leaving school, Herbie worked at home on the farm. During the winter of 1916-1917, he attended the Manitoba Agricultural College and the winter of 1919-1920, attended Success Business College. For a two-year period, 1923 and 1924, he worked at Kandahar, Sask., on the farm of his cousin, Siggi Gudnason. In 1925, he went to work as a mechanic, for . Eyki Anderson in his garage in Baldur. He remained with the Anderson Bros. garage until 1945, with the exception of one year, which he spent with the Anderson Bros. garage in Glenboro. In 1945, he started his own business, Baldur Implements, a repair shop and dealership for International Harvester, which he operated until his death in 1960.

In his early years, an avid interest of Herbie’s was in the new invention, the radio. In 1922, he acquired the necessary parts and assembled the first radio in the district, following an intense study of pamphlets and information regarding radios. The radio signal was
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brought in by a wire strung between two towers. Each tower was built in an ingenious way, utilizing four by fours and two by fours, assembled in three sections, to the height of 40 feet. Ropes and pulleys were used to raise the wire between the two towers, a distance of 50 feet. In raising the towers, the top sections were joined by standing on a "very fully loaded" hay rack. The radio was equipped with two headphones, as there were no speakers. People would come from many miles, to take part in this phenomenal event. To their amazement they would clearly pick up transmissions from such places as Cincinnati, Chicago and Salt Lake City, plus Winnipeg. The people wearing the headphones would say, in their amazement, "Are you hearing the same as I am!" Following this, Herbie built many more radios for family and friends and later became an agent for Marconi radios.

On Sept. 16, 1935, Herbie married Emily Isberg, daughter of Beggi and Borga lsberg. They had four daughters: Marguerite, Dorothy, Patricia and Con- stance.

Herbie had many interests, among them, he was an avid reader, enjoyed taking part in debates and discussions on many topics, handcrafting articles from wood, photography and politics. He had been a member of the Young People’s Society, Baldur curling club and the Oddfellows. Herbie died suddenly on Aug. 3, 1960.

Among Emily’s interests, besides her family, are sewing, knitting, reading and music. She belonged to the Young People’s Society and the Lutheran Ladies’ Aid, and is a member of the Lutheran Church and choir. She worked in the Baldur Hospital for over 22 years, in the laundry and housekeeping departments, and for many years as a nurses’ aide, retiring in March, 1979. In 1965, Emily married Donald J . Craik. They farmed near Greenway, and are now retired and living in Baldur.

Herberts Family

Connie, Pat, Dorothy and Marguerire. Marguerite

Corinne was born on Feb. 18, 1936. She received her education at Baldur School and then worked in the Baldur Telephone Office. On Nov. 14, 1953, she married Tryggvi Johnson Jr. They had two children: Carol and Rick. (See Tryggvi Johnson Jr. History).


Dorothy Carol was born on Aug. 14, 1939. She at- tended Baldur School, from there going to St. Boniface School of Nursing, where she graduated in 1960. She worked in various locations in Canada, U.S.A., and Germany and is presently working as Staff Developement Co-ordinator at Tache Nursing Centre in Winnipeg. Dorothy is actively involved in church activities and furthering her education. She has many interests and enjoys reading, handiwork and music.

Patricia Colleen was born on March 17, 1943. She attended Baldur School and then worked for T. Eaton Co. in Winnipeg, until her marriage to Alan Dearsley in 1962. (See Alan Dearsley History).

Constance Thora (Connie) was born on Feb. 16, 1950. She attended Baldur School, Morden Collegiate and Scientific School of Hairdressing. In 1968, she married Denis Rocan of Somerset, Man. They have two children: Shaun James Maurille, born on Dec. 10, 1972; and Shian Kristian Johanna, born on July 20, 1974. Denis and Connie lived in various places until 1976, when they moved to Somerset, where Denis operates his own trucking business. Connie is involved in the art club, curling, figure skating, church activities and other community affairs.

The family all belonged to the Lutheran Church, the children attending Sunday School and becoming con- firmed members of the church. Many Icelandic customs and foods have been passed down through the generations and are still being enjoyed by the family today.
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