Sigurður & María
(Jóhannsdóttir) Einarsson

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Taken from the Icelandic Appeal website, circa 2000.
Einarsson, Sigurður & María (Jóhannesdóttir)

By Sigga (Einarson) Benediktson

Sigurður Einarsson (b. Mar. 8, 1872-d. Mar. 29, 1935), the son of Einar Einarsson from Auðnir in Laxardalur in Suður-Þingeyjarsýsla, and Guðbjörg Grímsdóttir from Eyjafjörður, came to Canada at age 7 with his parents in the spring of 1879.

They settled in Riverton and then moved to Sand River, on the east side of Lake Winnipeg. They lived there for five years and after losing their house to fire moved to a farm near Gimli, which they called Auðnir after the home they had left in Iceland. There grew up with his brothers Kristján, Fridfínnur, Ásmundur, and Einar and sister Jakobína. The two youngest boys and sister attended school in Gimli for a few years, but the older sons learned to read and write fluently at home. Such were the privations that they had neither pen nor pencil, but learned to form the alphabet with a stick in the snow.

Sigurður married María Jóhannsdóttir on December 31, 1897. The first year they spent with María’s parents at Bólstaður, and from there they went to Auðnir where Sigruður’s parents lived. In 1902 they homesteaded a farm a mile and a half southwest of Auðnir in Section 1, Township 19, Range 3E. NW. My grandfather, María’s father, also homesteaded his quarter section at Breiðabólstaður beside my dad’s the same year. This farm was Section 1, Township 19, Range 3E SW.

When María and Sigurður moved to their farm they had three 3 sons, Vilhjalmur Stefán, Einar Alex, and Haraldur, and daughter Bergthóra. Although the farm was homesteaded in 1902, the family moved there in 1903. They built a log house and that sufficed them for a few years, but as the family increased a lean-to built of lumber was added on. That was used as the bedroom, with beds lined up against the outside wall. My oldest brother Villi went to live with his grandparents, my mother’s parents and Einar Alex went to live with Father’s parents at Auðnir. The family increased, I was the 10th child and five more were born after me.



Sigurður had great respect for education and as the children grew was instrumental in establishing the Minerva School District. It was said that he chose the name Minerva for the school for the Goddess of Wisdom. He became Secretary-Treasurer, and held that position for 20 years. Though Icelandic was very much the common language of the settlement, Sigurður became fluent in English and read widely. He truly was a self-educated man.

In 1923 Dad bought a big cottage in Loni Beach. It was skidded along the lake on the ice in the spring and then straight through the farms west to Thórsmörk. What excitement, we were at school and saw the cottage go by. It didn’t take us long to get straight home from school that day. Helgi Benson was hired as carpenter and brother Doddi worked with him all summer. Dad and the boys made a basement under the house, with a big water cistern in one corner for collecting rainwater. Later we had a pump installed in the kitchen so we could pump water up from the cistern. An addition was made to the back of the house for a kitchen, pantry and back door, with stairs going up to the kitchen and down to the basement. Also a second story was added, with three bedrooms. In the main part of the house there was a large living room area and two bedrooms. Mother and Dad had one of the bedrooms, and the three girls, Runa, Bogga and I had the other bedroom. The boys slept upstairs.

The family was ever-changing and growing. Villi stayed with mother’s parents and Einar with dad’s parents, Stanley stayed with Uncle Palmi to help with the chores on his farm. The boys were away a lot during fishing season. At a very early age Runa became adept at sewing. She made our clothes and continued sewing for many years. After she was married and had lost her husband she put her talent to work for Eaton’s in the sewing room and made draperies for them for many years.