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793 ENGLAND: First Viking raid on Britan.

850s SCOTLAND: Vikings settle in western and northern Isles, Caithness and Suther

ENGLAND: Viking ‘Great Army’ captures York. Viking soldiers and settlers seize
farm land in many parts of England.

Late 800s SCOTLAND: Earls of Orkney rule much of Scotland.

978 - 1016 ENGLAND: Danish Vikings force Anglo-Saxons to pay ‘Danegeld’ tax.

1016-1035 ENGLAND: Viking King Knut (Canute) the Great rules England.

1050s SCOTLAND: Earl Thorfinn Sigurdsson rules Orkney, Shetland, the Hebrides and
parts of Scotland and Ireland.

1066 ENGLAND: Norman Conquest: end of Viking Age in England.

1150s SCOTLAND: Scots drive Vikings from Scottish mainland.

1468 SCOTLAND: End of Scandinavian rule in the Scottish islands. (5)

Some History on Gimli Manitoba (New Iceland)

Icelanders are descendants of Norsemen who left Norway in the ninth century to escape the rule of
King Harold Fairhair (Haarfaager) of Norway and of Celts who came later from the British Isles.With
this ancestry, the sea was in their blood and ships were their second home.Nor was North America
unfamiliar; a group of would-be colonists, led by Leifr Eiriksson (or Leif Ericsson, as we know him
today) had landed on the shores of today’s Newfoundland about 1000 AD. [4]

1692 Henry Kelsey, the first white man to see the Canadian prairies. In 1692, Kelsey
received little in the way of public recognition when he completed an epic, groundbreaking inland journey
to the Saskatchewan River and Assiniboine country. [3]

1707 Smallpox kills one-third population in Iceland, 1707. (13)

1726 Pierre Gaultier de Varennes, Sieur de La Vérendrye, was middle-aged when he
began his exploration career. at the age of 41, the Canadian-born Trois Rivières farmer, trade post
operator and family patriarch replaced his brother as commander of the “postes du nord,” a chain of
fur trading posts in the area north of Lake Superior. [3]

1846 Einar Einarsson is born in Iceland. Worked the Canadian Trans-Continental Rail
Road (8)

May 12, 1847 Ernest (Arni) SIGVALDASON was born in Iceland.

1863-1873, a small but growing emigration movement developed. Initially Brazil was favoured as a
likely destination, with over 40 Icelanders immigrating to that country, and many more prepared to go
when transportation difficulties blocked the movement.

Attention then turned to North America. Inspired by enthusiastic letters from a Danish store clerk in

May 1870 Four adventurous young men left Iceland in May 1870.

1871 Six people in 1871

1872 22 people. Among them was Sigtryggur Jonasson, a young government official
who became the first Icelander to arrive in Canada.

Summer, 1873 Horse transport “Queen.” [5]. Group of 115 Icelandic settlers joined Jonasson in Canada
in 1873, taking up land in the Rosseau district of Ontario ---- a veritable wilderness of timber and

1873 Arni Sigvaldason, emigration from Vopnafjörður, Iceland to Milwaukee;Ship:Björg (8)

Summer, 1874
250 people also left from the north on the S.S. “St. Patrick,” which was the first ship
to carry passengers directly from Iceland to America. [5] second and larger group of 365 Icelanders
arrived to homestead in Kinmount, Ontario.[1] About 60 of the ones in Ontario moved to Nova Scotia
with the intention of establishing an Icelandic colony there [5] Many of the Kinmount group were attracted
to Nova Scotia, while those who remained were persuaded by a Scottish missionary (He is actually English, not Scottish), John
Taylor, to seek land in Manitoba or the North West Territories.[1] There, they were housed in four hastily
constructed log sheds where conditions were so bad that almost all children under the age of two
as well as a number of elderly people died.[4]

John Taylor, Sigtryggur Jonasson, and Einar Jonasson, were elected to search for the new colony site
in the West.

July 20, 1875
Delegation was joined by several Icelandic settlers from Wisconsin? and arrived at
the frontier town of Winnipeg, Manitoba . Equipped with York boat and guide, the delegation traveled
along the west shore of Lake Winnipeg (the next largest lake in America) to the White Mud River.
Impressive stand of forest extending to the lakeshore, greatly attracted the delegates. Delegates
selected an area extending 57.9 kilometres (36 miles) along the western shore of Lake Winnipeg,
from Manitoba’s northern boundary at Boundary Creek, near present-day Winnipeg Beach, to north of
the White Mud River, which was renamed “Icelander’s River (now the Icelandic River). The reserve,
which also included Big Island, now Hecla Island, was proudly designated “New Iceland.”

1875 There was virtually no emigration from Iceland to America.[5]
Upon the delegation’s return to Kinmount, the settlers quickly voted to move west that autumn.

September 25, 1875 After a vigorous recruitment campaign in Ontario, 270 settlers led by John
Taylor left the colony.

Joined by more settlers in Toronto, the group proceeded from Sarnia (Ontario) [3] to Duluth on a
steamer that was filled with people, luggage and a consignment of hogs.

Thirteen of the Wisconsin Icelanders joined them at Duluth, and the enlarged group travelled by train
to the end of the line at Fisher’s Landing, Minnesota.

From Fisher’s Landing they proceeded north to Winnipeg with the steamer International, most of the
settlers being towed on rafts behind the boat.

1873 Ernest (Arni) SIGVALDASON emigrated to America. In Milwaukee.

October 11, 1875 Arrived in Winnipeg. A large crowd had gathered at the steamboat landing to
catch a glimpse of them. With winter fast approaching, the settlers decided to move immediately to
the colony site. All those who could obtain employment in Winnipeg were advised to remain behind,
and about 50 of the group mainly young women who received employment as domestic servants, did

The next day, the Manitoba Free Press commented, “They are a smart-looking, intelligent and excellent
people and a most valuable acquisition to the population...”

October 16, 1875 The majority, however, left Winnipeg, traveling down the Red River on six flat
boats and a York boat to the St. Andrew’s Rapids.

October 17 1875 Departed Notre Dame Avenue’s East Wharf. Unable to afford passage on the
Hudson’s Bay Company’s lake steamer, the S.S. Colvile, they purchased one York boat and several
flat bottomed scows steered by giant paddles. Normally used to transport lumber and fuel, one was
of such questionable seaworthiness that the settlers dubbed it Vitfirring, or “Maniac”. [4] verify against
Niya Book

Arriving at the St. Andrew’s Rapids (now Lockport) on a Sunday, the boats were moored and a sermon
was preached to the flock. Their prayers said, the company commenced the tricky and dangerous
task of traversing the rapids, where their baggage was damaged but no lives were lost. [4]

Entering Lake Winnipeg, the colonists met the HBC’s Colvile. It is unclear whether a prior arrangement
had been made for the ship to tow the train of boats, or whether the steamer provided the service
as a matter of courtesy. Historians believe it was more likely the latter as the colonists had apparently
planned to pole their flat-bottomed boats all the way themselves. They had no idea how perilous
that was, a reality subsequent travellers found out, often tragically.
During the next 20 years, many people drowned trying to get to Gimli on similar craft. [4]

The Icelanders’ original destination was the Whitemud (Icelandic) River, but an unfavourable wind
and a ruffled lake changed all that. [4]

5 p.m. on October 21st The Colvile cast anchor off what is now called Willow Point, a kilometre
south of the present Gimli harbour. The ship’s captain said it would be insane to try for the river and
equally dangerous for him to bring his ship closer to shore.[4]

October 21, 1875 Landing at Willows Point. From that point, aided by the Hudson’s Bay
Company steamer Colville, they were escorted to Willow Point, where their long, arduous journey
came to an end on 21st.[1] Fearing disaster if they proceeded to their intended Icelandic River destination,
the settlers cut their journey short at a bay just north of Willow Point. As they hurriedly pitched
tents, upturned their boats, and threw up 30 rudimentary shanties, the hope and optimism of the
settlers faded. The former deep-sea fishermen were stumped by the ever-thickening ice of the Lake.
Wild game appeared elusive, supplies were woefully inadequate, and clothing and shelters were no
Page match for the cold. The young and the old began to die. [3] The arrival at Willow Point, near present
day Gimli, so late in the season ruled out proceeding to the Icelandic River, 32 kilometres (20 miles)
further north, as the settlers had originally planned. Instead they chose to pitch tents quickly at Willow
Point and set to work building shelters for the winter. Thirty shanties, 3.7 metres by 4.9 metres (12
feet by 16 feet) soon arose in the clearing, with two or three families sharing each house.

October 21/22 During the hours of darkness, their number grew to 286. birth of a baby boy, Jon
Johannsson [4]
Most of them therefore settled in at one location in the southern part of the colony. They built temporary
houses there and called their settlement “Gimli.” [5]

October, 1875 Dominion Government sent two of its agents to Iceland to offer those men there, who
were thinking of emigrating, land in New Iceland, to provide those who wanted to emigrate with their
passage and look after them on the journey. W. C. Krieger arrives in Iceland [5]

December, 1875 Sigtryggur Jónasson joins W. C. Krieger in Iceland, the following summer about
twelve hundred people in all emigrated from Iceland to America. [5]

January 1876 Farm buildings were constructed, a school housing 30 pupils, was established. During
the first winter at Willow Point daily administration of the colony was virtually in the hands of the
settlers themselves.[1] During the first winter, the settlers endured bitter cold, scurvy and starvation.
One man lost seven of his nine children and many left the colony. Of the 100 or so who remained,
about a third died.[4]

January 4, 1876 A council of five members, elected by the settlers, supervised health and sanitation
of the colony, recorded applications for land pending the land survey, and distributed government
supplies to the pioneers. The council functioned as the colony’s first government, communicating the
progress and problems of the settlers to authorities in Manitoba and Ottawa.

Spring, 1876 Half of the population dispersed to Winnipeg and rural farms to find work. Fishing
on the lake improved and ducks and rabbits were abundant. Most of the settlers had already cleared
.8 to 1.2 hectares (two or three acres) of land and the arduous work of farming started. [1]

July 2, 1876 First group, composed of 752 people from northern and western Iceland, sailed
from Akureyri July 2nd on the S.S. “Verona,” July July 6, 1876 First group arrived
at Granton, proceeding thence without delay to Glasgow.

July 11, 1876 From Glasgow the group sailed on the S.S. “Austrian” of the Allan Line.

July 22, 1876 First group arrives safely at Quebec.Seven men went to Nova Scotia.

July 23, 1876 The others, remaining together in a cohesive group, left Quebec by train

July 24, 1876 Arriving at Toronto. The group remained there.

July 27, 1876 Traveled by train to Collingwood and Sarnia (Ontario),

July 28, 1876 Leaving by steamboats and continuing northwest across Lakes Huron and

August 1, 1876
They were reunited in Duluth the evening of August 1st,

August 3, 1876 Then left there by train.

August 4, 1876
Arrived at Fisher’s Landing.

August 5, 1876 From there they began their journey north along the Red River in a steam
boat which had two other large boats attached to it, one on each side,

August 8, 1876 Arriving at Winnipeg

August 8, 1876 Those who planned to settle in the colony left Winnipeg on the l4th in accordance
with the arrangements the government had made for them. Since people had with them a very large
amount of personal property that could not be handled in small boats, it was loaded into several large
flat-bottomed vessels called flatboats, which it is customary to use for the transport of freight on the
Red River.

August 17, 1876
Since these have no motive power other than the current, they did not arrive at
the mouth of the river before the l7th.

August 19/20, 1876 On account of a headwind on Lake Winnipeg, had to wait there until the l9th
and 20th before leaving again

August 19/20, 1876 They arrived at the colony the same day. [5]

July 12, 1876 A second group, comprising 399 individuals, which left Iceland the same summer
departed from Seyðisfjord on the l2th of July, also on the “Verona.” This group had a somewhat easier
time of it, for they did not have to wait nearly so long for ships and trains, and arrived at the colony at
almost the same time.
The third and final group which left Iceland the same summer, composed of about twenty people from
the southern part of the country, arrived at the colony a little later than the others. [5]

Summer, 1876 With the arrival of 1,200 new immigrants from Iceland, the life of the settlement
blossomed. The “large group” left Iceland after volcanic eruptions of the Dyngja Mountains, Iceland,
had laid waste to 6,474.5 square kilometres (2,500 square miles) of land. Unlike the first group, the
“large group” was unfamiliar with pioneer life, but they proved hardy, settling New Iceland up to the
Icelandic River, near present-day Riverton, including Big (Hecla) Island. Engey (Meadow Island)
now called Goose Island. A later enlargement, bringing the colony’s length to 67 kilometres, added
the Isafold community.[4] The prospect of a well-populate, prosperous community certainly appeared
bright in the summer of 1876, and all energies were turned to making the vision a thriving reality.
Clearing the land for cultivation, working on the government road, and fishing dominated the early
life of the colony. Although the Icelanders were experienced deep-sea fishermen, their first attempts
at fishing on Lake Winnipeg were not successful. The mesh of their nets was either too small or too
large for the lake’s fish species and suitable nets were not readily available. When they tried ice fishing,
the nets were lowered into shallow water, becoming embedded in ice. A five dollar reward was
offered to the man who caught the first fish; the winner caught a goldeye -- a species unknown to the
Icelanders. Initially, as they were unable to find game or fish in any large numbers, the group’s supplies
ran dangerously low until replenished with dried moose meat and milk from neighbouring Aboriginals.
As the settlers adapted to the new conditions, supplemented their diet. Fish continued to be the
Page colony’s staple, however, and many individuals complained that even their milk tasted of fish.
Preparing the land for cultivation proved difficult. Without adequate clothing for the harsh winter, settlers
frequently cleared forest growth bare-handed. On the farms, often situated on poor, rocky soil,
work was slow and laborious. Forests had to be cleared by hand, while hay was cut with a scythe,
piled in heaps with a fork and carried on the settlers’ backs to an enclosed storage area. The colony’s
first two cows were acquired during the spring of 1876, and shortly thereafter 20 more were added.
While the Icelanders were overjoyed to have livestock, on woman tearfully lamented that she would
“never be able to really love a foreign cow”. Later, when sheep were brought to the colony, the women
spent their evenings carding and spinning wool or knitting socks and mittens.[1] One died from eating
a poisonous plant. Two were so severely frostbitten after losing their way and wandering three days
on the lake that one of them was forced to clear his land on his knees for the next three years. An
elderly widow died of exposure on the lake and two men drowned.Sandy Bar, an Ojibwe village just
south of Lundi, present- day Riverton, was wiped out. During the winter, the pox was carried across
the lake where it destroyed entire Anishinabe communities. The few survivors hung the corpses of
their loved ones in the trees to keep them from the wolves until the ground thawed and they could be
buried. The following spring government agents ordered the burning of what was left of the lake’s tiny
eastern shore settlements to kill off the disease.[4]

September, 1876 EPIDEMIC. Undoubtedly the greatest hardship suffered by the settlers in the first
few years was the smallpox epidemic of 1876-1877. The dreaded disease first appeared in September,
shortly after the arrival of the “large group,” but it was thought to be chicken pox and not considered
serious.[1] 35 of New Iceland’s 235 settlers would die. Smallpox would claim another 100 of the
additional 1200 settlers who joined their countrymen on the Manitoba frontier. [3] Over one-third of the
settlers contracted the disease [4]

November, 1876 When the danger was recognized in early November, physicians and medical
supplies for the colony were urgently requested. The Manitoba government responded by sending
Drs. David Young, James S. Lynch, and A. Baldwin to curb the spread of the disease.

November 27, 1876 New Iceland was placed under quarantine. A makeshift hospital in a
government storehouse was organized in Gimli and a quarantine station established at Netley Creek.
Abetted by severe weather conditions, overcrowding due to the large influx of settlers that summer,
and inadequate provisions, the epidemic spread throughout the colony. Over one-third of the settlers
contracted the disease and 100 people died. Sandy River, a nearby Native village, was decimated.
Fortunately, the makeshift hospital was successful, saving all but one of its 64 patients.

Spring of 1876 To meet hardship and unexpected disaster, an effective form of local
government for New Iceland was imperative. The local council, which had been elected in January
1876, during the first winter at Willow Point, was short-lived and had been dissolved.

April 12,1876 When New Iceland was officially transferred to the newly created District
of Keewatin by the federal government. Established under North West Territories Act, April 12,1876,
the new district extended from Manitoba’s northern boundary at Boundary Creek, near the present
day Winnipeg Beach, to the northern limits of Canada. It was to be governed by a council of five to
ten appointed members, with the Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba as exofficio Lieutenant Governor
of the district. The council for Keewatin however, was not organized in time to meet the pressing
needs created by the large influx of settlers in the summer of 1876 and the horrors of a smallpox
epidemic that fall and winter.

January 1877 “The Wedding” During a smallpox epidemic between 1876 and 1877,

the colony of New Iceland was under quarantine. The boundary of the quarantine was Netley Creek
where, on a cold, stormy winter day, Carrie (Caroline) Nee Taylor and Sigurdur Kristofferson (Christopherson)
stood on the north bank in the quarantine area, while an Anglican Minister stood on the
south bank and the couple yelled their vows across the creek.
Look up Sig’s own account of this

January 1877 To alleviate the situation during the interim, the settlers held their own meeting,
despite the epidemic, to discuss colony government as well as other matters of concern.
After a series of public meetings, a provisional constitution outlining a democratic system of government
for New Iceland was drafted.

February 14, 1877 Elections were held..

Under the provisional constitution, the New Iceland colony was named Vatnsthing (Lake Region) and
was divided into four districts like the ancient quarter-section of 10th century Iceland:
Vidinesbyggd (Willow Point district),
Arnesbyggd (Arnes district),
Flotsbyggd (River district), and
Mikleyjarbyggd (Big Island district).

Each district elected its own council of five members by popular vote, but the reeve and deputy reeve
of each district council were chosen from within the council.
A regional council of six members, called the Thingrad, administered the general affairs of the entire
colony. Reeves from the four districts sat on the regional council; the President, Thingradsgtjori and
Vice-president, Vara Thingradsgtjori were elected annually by all eligible voters of the colony. The
Thingrad represented the colony in all relations with the Canadian government, summoned meetings
of the colony council, kept a minute book for meeting, entered all public disagreements between
district councils, the colony council made the decision or referred the matter to arbitration. An eligible
voter had to be at least 21 years of age, a permanent resident of the colony and have an unblemished
character. This form of local government remained in effect until 1881 for three years.

April 1877 Epidemic had subsided, but the quarantine remained in effect.

June 20, 1877 Government lifts restrictions on the Small Pox quarantine.

June 21, 1877 Growing restless over their imposed isolation, the colonists led a peaceful demonstration
to Netley Creek to ask authorities to end the restrictions. When they arrived, they discovered
that the restrictions had been lifted the previous night.

September 1, 1877 Framfari, the first Icelandic newspaper in the colony, fulfilled this role. Printed in
a log cabin at Lundi (later Riverton), the first issue of Framfari appeared on September 1, 1877. Four
page issues were printed three times monthly. Dances, meetings and sporting events were held, the
social highlight of the year being New Year’s Eve with the “burning of the old year” celebrations. A
huge pyre was erected on the ice and at the New Year’s Eve gathering, one man appeared dressed
as the old year in a long white beard of rabbit’s fur, a white smock, and a tar-paper hat, while leaning
on a cane and holding a bottle and glass which were both empty. After he bade farewell, the new year
arrived from the east --- a young man appeared accompanied by twelve sprites, six dressed in white
and six in green, ushering in an evening of merriment.
The suitability of the New Iceland reserve for settlement, the question of opening to non-Icelandic
Page settlers, and religion were issues hotly debated in the community during the early years. Many of the
colonists desired the leadership of the Reverend Pall Thorlaksson, conservative leader of the Icelanders
in the United States. A member of the Norwegian Missouri Lutheran Synod, which discouraged either
pastor or congregation from doctrinal re-interpretations, Pall Thorlaksson arrived in New Iceland
in 1877. The Reverend John Bjarnason of Minneapolis also accepted a call to organize congregations
in New Iceland from colonists who wished to secure the services of an Icelandic Pastor not bound to
any synod.
Reverend Jon Bjarnason Cleavage between the Jonsmenn and Palsmenn, as the followers of Reverend
Jon Bjarnason and reverend Pall Thorlaksson were called, developed in the winter of 1877-78.
Doctrinal differences were coupled with opposing outlooks on the future of New Iceland. An advocate
of opening the colony to non-Icelandic settlement, Reverend Jon Bjarnason held the view that the
New Iceland site, with its abundant natural resources, could thrive and that the main objective of the
settlers in their tradition. The Reverend Pall Thorlaksson, convinced the colony would inevitably fail,
stood for the preservation of links with the Norwegian Lutheran Synod and the traditional Icelandic
Lutheran ways.

Pall Thorlaksson The controversy resulted in many new plans for the construction of church buildings
in the settlement, with churches started in the Vidines district, at Breiduvik and on Big Island. The
church at Icelandic River (Riverton), made of unpeeled logs plastered with clay, was the only one to
be completed, but has long since disappeared. Most of the churches were never completed but were
used in the unfinished state. Differences of opinion between the Jonsmenn and the Palsmenn finally
subsided when Pall Thorlaksson led a mass exodus of the colonists to newly opened land in North
Dakota in 1879. At the height of this movement, many farmers, frustrated by the rocky, unproductive
land in New Iceland, left, and only 50 of the original 200 families remained in the entire settlement. [1]

September, 1877 1877 Brought a distinguished and welcome visitor to the colony, in the person
of Lord Dufferin, Governor-General of Canada Lord Dufferin had visited Iceland in 1856, and he had
been instrumental in aiding the settlers of 1875 in the founding of their Colony. He showed a warm
and kindly interest in the settlers, visiting several of their homes and speaking words of good cheer.
His address given on the occasion is quoted in FRAMFARI (Progress), the colony paper, printed at
Lundi (now Riverton) and in his own SPEECHES AND ADDRESSES. It reads, in part:
“I trust you will continue to cherish for all time the heart-stirring literature of your nation, and that from
generation to generation your little ones will continue to learn in your ancient sagas that industry, energy,
fortitude, perseverance and stubborn endurance have ever been the characteristics of the noble
Icelandic race. I have pledged my personal credit to my Canadian friends on the successful development
of your settlement. My warmest and most affectionate sympathies attend you ...”
Not far from the site of the platform from which Lord Dufferin spoke in 1877 is the site where the
descendants of these early Icelandic settlers annually commemorate the Icelandic heritage of which
Lord Dufferin spoke, and to laud their Canadian homeland. [2]

1878 Arni Sigvaldason came to Marshall Minnesota where he was married the same
year to Miss Gudron Arason. [8]

1879 Sawmill had been established on Hecla Island (1878) [3], a store had been opened
in Gimli The steamer Victoria, purchased by two Icelandic entrepreneurs, created desperately needed
jobs in the floundering colony. While the settlement still had poor roads and dense forest, new
immigrants from the homeland began to move onto the vacant lands.
The name “Gimli” arises from an Icelandic legend. According to the ancient Voluspa (Sibyl’s Prophecy),
found in the Elder Edda, the earth is destined to vanish, destroyed in the flames of war.Thereafter
will arise a new and better world, inhabited by just and good people, who will live forever at peace in
their heavenly abode of Gimli. [4]

Two Icelandic entrepreneurs began operating a steamship on Lake Winnipeg. [3]

1880 Plagued with financial problems, the paper, Framfari , ceased publication in 1880.
Despite the controversies and natural disasters, such as the flood of 1880, the remaining settlers
persevered. After the end of the North Dakota migration, the pace of settlement life began to quicken

1881 When the boundaries of Manitoba were extended and New Iceland finally became
a part of the Province of Manitoba. Provisions were then made for the establishment of a municipal
government in accordance with local municipal government practice elsewhere in Manitoba. FAMILY

1881 New Iceland at first, maintained its own government, though joined Manitoba.

1885 Gimli has 5 houses.

1887 Despite initial resistance, the municipal form of government was finally adopted by

1887, ending a system of local government unique to New Iceland. Recovery from the epidemic and
the rigors of adjusting to a new land did not preclude the development of a rich cultural and social life.
Traditional evening pastimes of reading and reciting stories from the Bible and the Icelandic sagas
were actively enjoyed by the settlers. In many a humble home 20 or more books could be found, a
testimony to the high value placed on literacy by the Icelanders. One enterprising man even created
a handwritten newspaper and travelled from house to house in the colony to read it to others. The desire
to preserve the Icelandic language and rich heritage of Icelandic literature in North America was
urgently felt.

1887 Council Members Johann Brienn Kr. Kernstead, Th. Jonsson, G. Magnusson, J.

1888 Gimli Council Members; Johannes Magnusson - Joh. Hannesson, Joh. Petursson,
Gisli Jonsson, Johannes Helgason

1889 Gimli Council Members; Johannes Magnusson - Joh. Hannesson, Joh. Petursson,
Gisli Jonsson, Johann Straumfjord
Frelsis (Liberty) Lutheran Church at Grund
in the R.M. of Argyle by volunteers under the watchful direction of Sigurdur Christopherson's brother-in-law Bæring Hallgrimsson and Arni Sveinson. Best carpenters in the area. According to Pat Dearsley, Bæring hand carved the pulpit in his farmstead kitchen . Frelsis Church is the oldest standing church in all of Canada.

1890 The first Icelandic Day celebration was held in Victoria Park, in Winnipeg, in 1890.
At that time the pattern was set which has since been followed, with some innovations. The Maid of
the Mountains was introduced in 1924. In 1932, the celebration was transferred from Winnipeg to
Gimli. [2]

1890 Gimli Council Members; Johannes Magnusson - Joh. Hannesson, Joh. Petursson,
Gisli Jonsson, Helgi Tomasson [10]

1891 Gimli expanded from five houses to over 40 houses.

1894 Population rising to 1,557, the settlers developed a fish trade with the United
States Creameries were established at Gimli and Riverton.

1897 New Iceland reserve was opened to settlement by any individual willing to homestead
in the area. The first to come were Ukrainian pioneers, who began to homestead in the Pleasant
Home district southwest of Gimli by June 1897. They were joined by Polish and Hungarian settlers
soon afterwards. Schools, libraries, community centres and choirs organized by the new settlers
appeared throughout the Interlake region.

Jan 10, 1901 Ernest SIGVALDASON passed away at Lake Benton, Lincoln, Minnesota, For 15
years repeated operations were performed at varying intervals by some of the
leading medical experts of the century. For 4 months confined to bed, due to
cancer of the lip and throat.

1905 Railway reached Gimli in 1905, stimulating commerce and opening the area to
summer cottagers.

1908 The gradual expansion of settlement and new transportation links with other areas
of Manitoba led the Icelandic settlers to become more involved in provincial affairs. They rallied
to banners of the temperance and women’s suffrage movements. Led by Margaret J. Benedictsson,
the Icelandic Suffrage Society was formed in 1908, predating similar organizations in the rest of the
province by a few years.

1910 The Icelandic Suffrage Society actively helped popularize the right to vote for wom
en, with two suffrage petitions presented to the Manitoba Legislature.

1914 Kjartan Christopherson and Gudrun Thorsteinsson married 1914 in British
Columbia, Canada. [8]

1917 The area had exchanged its exclusively Icelandic character for a wealth of different
traditions and cultures. [1]

Since the first Icelandic settlers landed at Willow Point on October 21, 1875, New Iceland had evolved
from an expanse of wilderness to a settled, agricultural area of Manitoba. Despite the initial years
of struggle and hardship the Icelandic pioneers had established their rich heritage in the new land.
Today, two commemorative plaques, one in Riverton, the other in Gimli, pay tribute to the perseverance
of these early pioneers and their unique settlement, “New Iceland”. [1] Within 3 years, the independent
colony of “Vatnsthing” (Lake Region), 80 kilometres north of the city of Winnipeg would also
have established a provincial government, built a church, founded a school, started a newspaper,
cleared the land, and mastered the art of ice fishing. Within a decade, New Iceland, forerunner of the
modern-day town of Gimli, and one of North America’s most important centres of Icelandic culture and
heritage, had gained a firm foothold n the Manitoba heartland.[3] When the colonists disembarked from
their boats that October evening, they were landing in more than a colony. For 12 years, from 1875 to
1887, New Iceland was an independent republic with its own constitution, its own official language, its
own civil law and a unique and very elaborate system of social welfare for widows and the indigent. [4]

June 20, 1917 Gudbrandur Einarson and Miss Mary J Sigvaldson were married.

1920 As many as 40,000 vacationers a day rode the Canadian Pacific Railroad to
Winnipeg Beach, 76 kilometres north of Winnipeg [3]

1922 A Gathering of 52 Argyle Icelanders gather to take a photo together. From Grund and Bru districts.

1926 Kjartan Christopherson and Gudrun Rooney Thorsteinsson leave for Canada
immigrating to San Francisco. [8]

1928 40 metre-high steel water tower, built to provide pressurized water for the CPR
locomotives, has been preserved as an historical landmark and a lasting reminder
of the Lake Winnipeg’s railway heritage. [3]

1930s Icelanders began the process of urbanization. Both Calgary and Edmonton re
ceived an influx of migrants and became centres of Icelandic culture in Alberta.
In both cities, cultural groups were organized and events, have been held, some
times in conjunction with other Scandinavian groups. [7]

Ernest (Arni) Sigvaldason purchases 320 acres of farmland in Limestone, MN.

Oct 12 1930 Maria Jacobina Sigvaldson dies at age 45, leaving behind a husband and four
young children. Roy Christopherson’s grandmother.

1940s WWII. Henry John Einarson joined the Canadian Armed Forces and served in Hol

Aug 27, 1941 Kjartan Christopherson enlists in the Infantry at Camp Roberts for 1 year. [11]

Lorne Christopherson was one of the first to join (insert)

19?? Sigurdur Christopherson served in the U.S. Army in Europe during World War II

Theodore Evan Christopherson left British Columbia for the U.S..

Any Oddstad leaves sign for the Marines

January 30, 1942 Ted (Theodore) entered military, Presidio of Monterey, California
Stationed with 24th Troop Carrier Squadron, 89thTroop Carrier Group? Based out
of Bergstrom Airforce Base, TX, 6th Combat Cargo Squadron

Jan 24, 1943 Ted deploys to Luzon, Southern Philippines
Thru Dec. 31, 1944

Apr 17, 1944 Ted is based in the Western Pacific
Thru Sep. 2, 1945

Dec. 11, 1945 Ted is discharged from Camp Beale, CA

Jun 16, 1946 Ted Christopherson married Pauline Einarson in the now historic Grund Frelisis
Lutheran Church in Manitoba.

1950s The Stoneson Brothers sponsored the Christophersons in San Francisco...(obtain
timeline from their report). They built Stonestown, Apartment complex, Lakeside
and started the Developement company. [9]

1957? Ted & Pauline Christopherson purchase a house at the Millbrae Meadows,
California, built by their relatives, Henry & Ellis Stoneson and move their three
Page 12 children, Robert, Ron and Carol, with their 4th child; Roy being born in 1958.[8]

1964 Andy Oddstad who built Rolling Woods in San Bruno / Redwood City, tragically
died young due to a drunk driver. Oddstad Homes was the #1 builder of residential
housing in Northern California and #10 in the US [12]
Roy has a slightly different story by Hank Christopherson which he hopes to tape.

19?? Henry John Einarson Greets the President of Iceland.

1970 Marriage of Robert Glen Christopherson and Alena DeTomasi.

1974 Pauline Einarson Christopherson divorces Theodore Evan Christopherson [8]

???? Marriage of Ronald Ted Christopherson and Juanita Remedios.

2000 Sigurdur ‘Sig’ Thorsteinn Christopherson affectionately known as Mexican Sigui. He became an authority on early California history and created an annual charity horseback ride to the Arroyo Cantua in the Three Rocks area. It was because of this dedication to intercultural cooperation that he was recently awarded the prestigious Leif Erikson Award for the year 2000

2006 Roy Christopherson starts Genealogy on 4 branches. Which becomes the start of

May 20, 2009 Pauline nee Einarson Christopherson passes away.

2010 Eileen nee Christopherson Keller passes away April 7/2010

2010 Pearl Farkas passes away
From The Stoneson Report (PDF): Their sister, Pearl Farkas, is a registered nurse working as a hospital administrator at Devonshire-Oaks Convalescent Home in Redwood City. Pearl lives in Redwood City. Their other sister, Leona Gordon, was a famous opera star who toured all over the world giving concerts, but diedat the age of 49 from cancer. Their other sister, Silvia Haskins, works as a substitute teacher in San Mateo County, and is a very fine artist.[19]

2011 Elma Oddstad Mendola Passes away November 13, 1922 - January 4, 2011

NOTE: All sources equal (1) unless noted otherwise.
[1] Original source:
Document: HL_WEB_0033a_Timeline of New Iceland expedition
[2] source:
[4] Icelandic Saga, m pp 72 - 75
[6] BBC see HL_WEB_0075_timeline.shtml
[8] Roy Einar Christopherson’s Genealogy Collection
[9] The Stonesons Paper by Caroline Cartwright
[11] National Archives and Records Administration. U.S. World War II Army Enlistment
Records, 1938-1946 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2005. Original
data: Electronic Army Serial Number Merged File,
1938-1946 [Archival Database]; World War II Army Enlistment Records; Records
of the National Archives and Records Administration, Record Group 64; National Archives at College
Park, College Park, MD.
[12] Sandy nee Oddstad Nathan

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