Frank & Johanna Wilson

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The Book Of Life
Alphabetical Story Index
Taken from the Icelandic Appeal website, circa 2000.
Wilson, Frank & Johanna

My father, Joseph Björn Skaptason, was born at Hnausar, Húnavatnssýsla, Iceland on Nov. 14, 1873. My mother, Jóhanna Guðrún Simoarsdóttir, was born near Gimli Mar. 16, 1878. They met for the first time while she was teaching school at Arnes, Manitoba, and he called on her as a book salesman. My mother’s half-brother Valtyr had been invited to be the speaker at Islendingadagurinn that year. He also visited his friends, the Foulke family of Richmond, Indiana and recommmended his sister, Guðrún, as a tutor of Icelandic to Caroline Foulke. After the untimely death of her uncle, Arthur Reeves, Caroline had resolved to learn Icelandic in order to continue the translations, begun by her uncle, of some of the Icelandic Sagas and other Icelandic Literature. The Foulkes were a very wealthy Quaker family and Guðrún traveled south to Indiana to live in their beautiful home in Richmond. Before returning to Canada she traveled with the family to Copenhagen and Iceland and was introduced to many prominent people. On her return to Canada, Joseph proposed marriage, and they were married on May 1, 1901. They took an active role in the community and were members of the Unitarian Church. One of the early ministers of the Unitarian Church in Gimli and Hecla, Rev. Magnus Skaptason, was Joseph’s uncle. Joseph was president of the Islendingadagurinn in 1912. He was an organizer for Falcon Hockey Club.

During World War I, Joseph enlisted in the Canadian Army as Paymaster and held the rank of Captain in the 108th Battalion and later the 78th Battalion. In 1916, Guðrún organized the Jón Sigurðsson Chapter Imperial Order of Daughters of the Empire and a group of Icelandic women joined this patriotic service organization whose primary mission was to provide support and comforts for service personnel and their families. When Joseph was posted to England, Guðrún and her daughter Margret followed. Their home in Hythe became a stopping place for Icelandic servicemen and women. After the war, Joseph was employed as Fisheries Inspector for Winnipeg after the Fisheries department was taken over by the Manitoba Government.


Early in their marriage, Gudrun and Joseph lost two babies. They adopted Margaret Holmfridur Blöndal, born Nov. 29, 1902, when her mother died in childbirth. They adopted Anna Gudrun Christianson, born March 21, 1917 after both of her parents died in the 1918 flu epidemic. I, Johanna Gudrun, was born Nov. 15, 1919. Our home on Maryland Street was a very busy household where my parents hosted many meetings for the organizations to which they belonged, where many visitors were entertained and where many students were offered accommodation while attending college.

My father was president of the Unitarian Church in Winnipeg in1934, and was president of the Ladies Aid for several years. She was Fjallkona at Íslendingadagurinn in 1943. My mother served as Regent of the Jón Sigurðsson chapter IODE for a total of 17 years. The Chapter was very active during World War II. My father passed away Apr. 27, 1950, and my mother passed away Oct. 13, 1960.

My sister Margret married Norman Kristjan Stevens and they lived in Gimli. They had four children, Joseph, Margret, Theodore, and Gudrun. Their biographies appear in the Gimli Saga. My sister, Anna, married Herman Dalman and they lived in Fort William, ON. They had three children: Leonard, Carol and Diane.

I married Alexander Frank Wilson in September 1939. Frank was born Mar. 4, 1917 at Cromer, England, son of Charles Grant Wilson and Mary Poulin de Courvelle. Charles was born in Aberdeen Scotland, the son of Alexander and Elizabeth Wilson. Charles came to Canada at the age of 17 to work as an agent for the Hudson’s Bay Company at the northern post Ungava, in Northern Quebec. Later he married Mary, daughter of Francis Poulin de Courvelle, general merchant and rival fur trader.