Herman Vigfusson




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Taken from the Icelandic Appeal website, circa 2000.
Vigfusson, Herman

By Herman Vigfusson

After emigrating from Iceland in late 1898, my maternal grandparents spent two years in Milton, North Dakota, waiting for more land to become available in the Arborg area. In 1901 they settled on River Lot 49, the farm where we presently reside. They were Baldvin Jónsson (born at Höfði, Nov. 26, 1871, son of Jón Jónatansson and Sigriður Jónsdóttir) and Ingibjörg Pálsdóttir (b. Sept. 7, 1864 at Kjartansstaðir in Skagafjörður, daughter of Páll Pálsson and Guðbjörg Björnsdóttir, [1832-1910]). Baldvin and Ingibjörg had two daughters, Sigurlín (born at Glaumbær in Iceland) and Emilia (Emily) Rósa, my mother (b. Dec. 18, 1905, on RL 49 d. Oct. 28, 1997). Emily attended school in Arborg, and then Normal School in Winnipeg where she received her teacher’s certificate. She taught for several years in the Arborg and Framnes districts prior to her marriage to Johann Vigfusson on June 28, 1930. Emily is still remembered fondly by former students. She was a lady of quiet dignity and some reserve, although she had a delightful sense of humour. She throughly appreciated good literature and poetry and was active in community affairs, giving time to the church, hospital, and the Icelandic National League. She cared for her aged parents at home until their deaths in 1949 (Ingibjörg) and 1951 (Baldvin).

Jóhann Vigfusson (b. Apr. 14, 1900, d. Oct. 25, 1982) was the son of Guðmundur Vigfússon (b. Jan. 10, 1870, son of Vigfús Sigurðsson and Margarét Jónsdóttir [b. at Oddi in Mýrar, Austur Skaftafellssýsla]), and Jóhanna Einarsdóttir (daughter of Einar Stefánsson [b. Apr. 8, 1846], and Lovísa Benediktsdóttir) both originally of Arnanes in the Hornafjörður area of Eastern Iceland. They came to Canada in 1902, spending the first year in Winnipeg, and then making their way to the Framnes area along with a large number of friends and relatives that had just then arrived from Iceland.


My father, Jóhann, was a fisherman on Lake Winnipeg from the age of 14 until his marriage to my mother at the age of 30, when he settled down to farming on RL 49. He was fair minded, honest, hardworking, and had a wonderful sense of humour. He was active in community affairs and truly a “people person”.

Joe and Emma, as they were known, had four sons, all born on RL 49: Pall (b. Sept. 14, 1931), Einar (b. Mar. 10, 1933), Herman (b. Jun. 10, 1935), and Baldvin (Mar. 27, 1939-d. Feb. 2, 1958). Pall married Bernice Erlendson of Arborg, and went away to work early in life. He was a store manager for Safeway in Thompson, MB for many years. They have three daughters: Paulette, Pamela, and Patsy. Einar married Rosalind Palsson of Geysir and they have two sons: Eric and Kristian. Baldvin was killed in a car accident in 1958 at the age of 18. Einar and I bought the farm from our parents and farmed in partnership until our retirement in 1997-98, leaving the farming operation to Einar’s older son Eric.

I have enjoyed sports during my life and played hockey for several years on the Arborg Falcons Hockey team. I have enjoyed curling at Arborg and various Interlake bonspiels over the years. Trap shoting has also been a hobby of mine which I have especially enjoyed with my nephew Eric, as well as hunting and fishing with my brothers and nephews. Although I have never married, I have been able to enjoy the company of my nieces and nephews, who are all dear to me.

For more complete histories, please see A Century Unfolds: History of Arborg and District 1889-1987, pp. 452, 668-671.