Guðmundur & Margret Eliason

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Taken from the Icelandic Appeal website, circa 2000.
Eliason, Guðmundur and Margret

Adapted from “The Eliasson’s at Laufhóli” in Arnes and District 1876-1990: The Point and Beyond, pp. 96 & 97.

Magnus’s parents, Guðmundur and Margret Eliason, came to Laufhóll in the Arnes district in the spring of 1908. They had sold their farm in North Dakota and they brought with them two carloads of settlers effects, machinery and livestock as well as home furnishings. They bought Laufhóll from Gísli Jónsson who had a store on the place.

Guðmundur Elíasson was born at “Görðum” at the foot of Snæfellsjökull in the general area of Snæfellsnes on the West Coast of Iceland on November 18th, 1871. His father died when Guðmundur was only eight years old. His mother had to struggle feeding the children. Often there was only one meal per day.

He immigrated to the Mountain district in North Dakota in 1891. The total fare was $40.00. His aunt Ragnhildur and her husband Jón Myres were quite comfortably settled. Their home was called Mæri. Guðmundur stayed and worked at Mæri for two years. During that time he attended school for a part of two winters and acquired a fair command of the Icelandic language. In the early years of the century he worked at the Ogilvie four mill in Elmwood, piling 100 lbs. bags of flour. He gradually saved enough money to buy a quarter section of land just southwest of Cavalier, North Dakota.

Margret Sveinsdóttir was born at Fosshóli, Víðalur in the Húnavatnssýsla in northern Iceland on November 24th 1867. She was married in the early 1890s to Sveinn Benoníson. They farmed at a place called Kambóll in Vatnsdalur. Sveinn died in 1899. they had two children, Krístin and Þorsteinn (Steini).


In 1900 Margret and the two children emigrated to Canada landing in Winnipeg on the 2nd of August. Margret left the children with her brother Þorsteinn Sveinsson at Svalbakka in the Arnes district and went to Winnipeg to work, deciding to work where English was spoken in order to learn the language of her adopted country. She gained sufficient knowledge of the language that she was able with some difficulty to follow the English newspapers and, of course, she read Lögberg from cover to cover.

Guðmundur and Margret were married in Winnipeg in September 1903, and moved to the farm at Cavalier where Kristín and Steini attended school. They farmed there till they sold out in 1908 and moved to Laufhóll. Guðmundur and Margret did well at Laufhóll. They built quite good buildings, cleared land and improved the farm. One source of income was the cordwood which had to be hauled to Gimli until the railroad was extended to Riverton in 1914.

Kristín married Hrólfur Sigurðsson in 1915 and they operated a general store at Arnes. Kristín died in the influenza epidemic of 1919. Steini was a well-known fisherman on Lake Winnipeg and lived at Laufhóll till shortly before he died in 1970.