Thogrímur and Guðrún Pálsson

Thorgrímur and Guðrún Pálsson on their Wedding Day, July 22, 1915

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Taken from the Icelandic Appeal website, circa 2000.
Pálsson, Thogrímur and Guðrún

Adapted from the book Faith and Fortitude: A History of the Geysir District 1880’s-1980’s (1983), pp. 277-279; used with permission.

Thorgrímur (Grimsi) Pálsson was born on October 5, 1880 at Lýtingstaðir in the Skagafjörður district, Iceland. At the age of three, he immigrated to Canada with his parents, Páll and Sigríður Jónsson. His boyhood was spent on the farm at Kjarna and, like many of the boys who lived alongside the Icelandic River, he became a very good swimmer. This was to save his life several times later on, when he was fishing on Lake Winnipeg.

Grimsi was fortunate enough to attend the Geysir School for a short time when the outstanding teacher and writer, Jóhann M. Bjarnason, was teaching there. It is said that none of his pupils have ever forgotten him, such was the influence and magnetism of this remarkable man. Grimsi remembered with pride that sometimes Mr. Bjarnason asked him to write for hime while he dictated some of his novels.

While still a young lad, Grimsi went whitefishing on sailboats for several summers. The catch was very good but sometimes the big whitefish sold for as little as 1 ½ cents each at the fishing stations on Lake Winnipeg. He also fished and freighted fish for many years during the winter, so that much of the vast expanse of the lake became familiar to him. For some time, he worked as a carpenter in Winnipeg but among his more interesting experiences was when he went harvesting for a number of years in North Dakota and also Portage la Prairie. This was in the hey-day of the great steam threshing outfit which went from farm to farm over two months. They often had their own cook and caboose, a crew of about 16 to 20 men, 10 to 12 teams of horses, etc. Although pitching sheaves all day was hard work, Grimsi enjoyed these harvesting trips and he made many friends, some of whom sent greetings to him fifty years later.



One of the ambitions of many young men in the Geysir district was to own a good team of horses and freight fish on the lake during the winter. This was achieved by Grimsi when he was able to buy a good team of dapple greys, Sandy and Dan. He took great pride in these horses and gave them the best of care. They did a lot of work for him during their life span of some twenty years. For a few winters, he and his brothers joined with the Vidal brothers of Hnausa to freight fish on the lake, using a snowplow and caboose.

In 1900, Grimsi homesteaded on the NW of 30-22-3E. He married Guðrún Jakobsson on July 22, 1915 and the following year they moved to his homestead, which they named Grenhilíð, and developed it into a mixed farm. This included raising horses, dairy and beef cattle, sheep, hogs, chickens and growing hay and grain.

Nunna (Guðrún) remembered that trips to the store were sometimes few and far between for the children when she was growing up and they did not have much money to spend. In 1907, she was eleven years old, and had not been to a store for a few years. When she was promised that she could go to the Hnausa store, which was close to the dock, she couldn’t sleep a wink the night before, such was her excitement. She had only 25 cents and she wanted to buy something for her baby brother Helgi. Finally, she got a slightly damaged toy horse for 20 cents, so she had 5 cents left for candy.