Sigurdur was born on
July 9, 1848, at Neslondum, Myvatn, Iceland. As an adult he worked for
a neighbouring farmer, but wages were poor. Late every fall he went up
the mountains searching for sheep that had not been found the first
time of fall roundup. These trips were fraught with danger and
hardship. Any sheep found so late in the fall and winter were equally
divided between the owner (all sheep are marked in Iceland) and the one
who found them. In this way he made more money than his wages. When he
was 25 years old, he managed to save enough to pay his passage to
America. He saw it was not possible to live in Iceland except in
poverty and he thought how much better it would be to live in a country
where grain, fruit and vegetables would grow. No one from that part had
emigrated from Iceland and everyone thought it a foolish move.
A few days before Whit Sunday, 1873, he bade farewell to family and
friends who had accompanied him to the seaport town of Husavik. There
he boarded a small sailing vessel called 'Hjalmar', that was leaving
for Norway. Among those who took passage on the same boat were Gudrun
and Gudfinna Aradottir (sisters of Skafti Arason), and Jon Halldorson.
On June 30, 2 a.m., they arrived at New York. It was a dark night, but
the city was shining with lights, the most beautiful sight Sigurdur had
seen in his life. The young Icelanders then had their first taste of
railway travel from New York to Milwaukee. From there the men set out
looking for work. Sigurdur was hired by a farmer for $18 a month. He
found the weather unbearably hot and found it hard to sleep at night;
he became ill.
In July, 1875, Skafti Arason and Kristjan Jonsson arrived in Milwaukee
from Kinmount. They were on their way to Manitoba to look for land.
Sigurdur joined them and after deciding on the Keewatin district north
of Manitoba for the Icelandic Immigrants, the three men took work on
the C.P.R. in East Selkirk until October when the Icelanders from
Kinmount joined them.
Caroline Taylor was born May 11, 1856, the daughter of William Stuart
Taylor and Isabella Slimmons. Her early childhood was spent in
Kingston, Ont., later, the family moved to Lansing, Michigan. When
Caroline was nine years old, her mother died, leaving five daughters.
There followed a sad period when these five little girls in heavy
mourning (black dresses trimmed with black crepe) lived with their
grief-stricken father. Strangers would stop them on the street and ask
them whom they mourned, and the girls would burst into tears. Carrie,
in later years, had a strong aversion to mourning, especially for
Carrie’s uncle, John Taylor, had become involved with a group of
Icelandic settlers, including, Sigurdur Christopherson, who were
arranging to settle in Manitoba. Through him she met Sigurder in
Winnipeg and they were married Jan. 22, 1877. Because the Icelanding
settlement was under a smallpox quarantine the happy couple stood on
one side of Netley Creek (the quarantine boundary) while the Metis
minister stood on the other.
Sigurdur had taken a homestead and named it Husavik (just south of
Gimli), wherethey farmed for four years until moving to Argyle
Municipality in the spring of 1881 the move Their new homestead of
'Grund', was on NE 10-6-14. Their household effects, stove,
dishes, and a precious box of books, were shipped to Portage la
Prairie, but were lost in transit. They lived in a tent and Carrie
cooked over a campfire all summer until a small one-room cabin was
Sigurdur was on the first town council of Baldur, and it was Carrie who
suggested the name for the town. 'Carrie Ave.' was named for her. Both
took an active part in community life. Their doors were always open to
friends and strangers. Many families would stay with them or on
Sigurdur's pre-emption (Little Baldur) until they could get their own
A new house was built in 1896; in 1904 a large barn. Sigurdur continued
much colonization work, making more trips back to Iceland, and also
some into the Swan River area of Manitoba. He had also built up a real
estate and insurance business, with Carrie working as his secretary,
well able to carry on his business when he was away.
In 1903, Sigurdur was finally struck down by ill health and was
confined to bed for months. The following winter he suffered a relapse,
so on his doctor's advice, he and Carrie travelled to the west coast.
On a previous trip, Sigurdur had bought a piece of land on the seaside.
One day when the west coast climate had made him stronger, they walked
up to this property, a beauty spot with an overgrown orchard, they fell
in love with it.
Sigurdur died on Easter Day, March 27, 1921. Carrie died on Dec. 9,
1923. The day of her funeral was like a summer day, sunny and warm,
'just like Carrie's character', it was said. Both are buried in the
Grund Cemetery here in Argyle Municipality.
Adapted from Come into our Heritage, page