Lögberg-Heimskringla - 20.03.1992, Blaðsíða 5

Lögberg-Heimskringla - 20.03.1992, Blaðsíða 5
Lögberg-Heimskringla • Föstudagur 20. mars 1992 • 5 This is the Jasonson home, about 1910, north ofFoam Lake, Saskatchewan, Canada. They ware some of the earliest lcelandic pioneers. Their home was a common meeting-place o/i Sundays after church, in the early days. My mother is standing on the balcony, with an X marked over her hat. As a youngster, I spent many pleasant days in their home. Later, after they moved into town, I stayed with them whilegoingto high school. On the veranda, after church, summer of 1910: Younglnge, Mrs. Inge, holding a baby, two younggirls, ""ðriín Gubmundsson, holdlnga baby, Ella Bildfell, born where they settled when they fírst 3Qttled In the wilderness, Beena Jasonson, also born in the wilderness, Guörún Jasonson, "lernber of the first settlement, and holding a baby, Hanna Jasonson, Anna Narfason, holdingbaby, Rósa Markússon, holdingbaby, with childin front, Sylvia Halldórsson, Gróa Skagfíord, Martha Haldórsson, two Bildfell girls, Kristbjörg Bildfell, said to have been the fírst chlld born in thenew settlement, and Valgeróur Bildfell holding a baby. Men standing in front: Þorsteinn Markússon, BJarni Jasonson, one of the fírst settlers, Mundi Jónsson, John Bildfell, Beggi Jónsson, Gísli Bildfell, one of the fírst settlers, John Skagfíord, my dad, Jón Bildfell, GísliBildfell'sDad, Rev. Onsmundur, Lutheran Minister, GudbrandurNarfasson, BertCoupland,(taughtschooltomanyofthechildrenoftheearlypioneers),JohnJanusson, Sr., Sveinn Halldórsson, one ofthe fírst settlers, John Markússon, Kristjón Þorvaldsson, on horse back (cattle buyer in the Churchbridge area). June 28,1992, wíll mark the lOOth year since the founding of the Lake Settlement in Saskatchewan Two, Who Made the Difference by Bernard Skagfíord Two young men, both born in Ice- land, but in different counties, were destined to meet and lead the way to the establishment of the Lake Settlement, which would extend from Fishing Lake and Foam Lake on the east end, to Little Quill and Big Quill lakes on the west; and from Foam Lake to Dafoe, and from Wadeha on the north to the C-P-R- line going to Saskatoon, and a little south of the track. It was not only an Icelandic Settlement, but among the settlers were those who camefrom many jands. Yet this came to be one of the largest Icelandic settlements in Canada. , The two young men were Ingimundur f'lríksson (Ingi, which would become nis surname,) and Kristján Helgason. n§e> as he was later best known, came Wltn his parents and his four sisters, and wound up settlingThingvalla, Sas- ^tchewan, formerly Thingvalla, pv. ' a snort distance from ^hurchbridge, N.W.T. This was re- garded as the first Icelandic settlement m the N.W.T. About the same time, Knstján Helgason came there with his Parents and settled with many others Wno thought of this place as part of a . ewlceland,andits popularitybrought 11 many other people from Iceland. The poPulation grew and their livestock in- creased. It was apparent that the land was not going to produce enough to take care of the needs of the ever-in- creasing population. The year 1891 started with light snow, and the spring with light rain. Drought was evident, which meant not only a shortage of water, but lean crops and shortage of grass for hay. In the Spring of 1891, Mr. Inge and Mr. Helgason obtained a wagon and two good horses and provisions for a long trip into the wilderness. They were told that there was plenty of grass for hay and water some distance past Yorkton, then a small town in the N.W.T. Some distance past Yorkton, they crossed the Whitesand River. This place appealed to Helgason, but not to Inge. They were now approaching the wilderness that was considered "hos- tile country", as just a few years before, a Northwest Mountie had been killed there, around the east end of Fishing Lake. The case was never solved. This did not discourage Inge. It was as if he had a feeling he was to go further on, and this they did, until they came to the east end of Fishing Lake. It was filled with an abundance of water and plenty of good fishing, but what impressed him most was the large and tall, straight Poplar trees which he visualized for building a house and a barn and having plenty of firewood to keep the house warm. This was the place, and here was where he was going to move and make his home. This land was Sec. 32 - 32 -11 N.W.T. On the north half of this section, I grew up to manhood. The northeast corner of this section Inge's Mother, GróaÁsbjörnsdóttirhomesteaded. She was the first Icelandic woman to fíle for a homestead. Chris and Inge returned to Thingvalla. Chris prepared to move to Whitesand River, which he did a little later. Inge's father had passed away and wasburiedinThingvalla. Injune, 1892, Inge prepared to move to the land in the wildemess, that place which had im- pressed him the most. He took with him his mother, Gróa and two sisters — Valgerður and her husband, Gísli Bildfell, Guðrún andher husband Bjarni Jasonson, and one single man, Lafrans Johnson, but being single, without any family, there is no information to be had as to what happened to him, or where he went. When theyarrived, there were things that needed to be done — a house and bam had to be built. It was decided to build one house and one bam. The house would take care of the needs of the group, and the barn was big enough to house all the livestock for the coming winter. Then there was the haying for the livestock. There was plenty of grass, so that was the easy part. The buildings were built with logs with sod rooms. Some lumber and windo ws they brought with them. When they were all set for the com- ing winter — the surprise! Two more families came just before snowfall. One couple was without a family. They were Sveinn and Guðrún Halldórson. The second was Stefán and Guðrún Ólafson and four small children, one just a baby. Here came the challenge, how were they going to solve this problem? They had to be housed for the winter, with no material to build another house. A lean- to was made to take care of the live- stock, but what about eight more peo- ple? They found room for the couple, but what were they going to do with the family with the children; too late in the season to go back. They took one stall in the barn and fixed it up to be a one- room residence for six people. The bam was their shelter, the livestock gener- ated the heat and their cooking they shared. Rathercrowded, butwhenthere is a will, there is a way. With the coming of spring and sum- mer, the different families started homesteading and building homes on Contlnued on page 6

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