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Memorable Manitobans: Gunnsteinn Eyjolfsson (1866-1910)

Farmer, poet, postmaster.

Born in eastern Iceland on 1 April 1866, he came with his family to Unaland, Icelandic River (Riverton), New Iceland in 1876 and helped establish one of the first productive farms in the settlement. By 1891, Unaland was assessed at $2,400, making it the most valuable farm on the Icelandic River. He bought the first threshing machine in New Iceland, and owned an exceptional number of livestock. In 1887, he became postmaster of the district, holding that position for the rest of his life. He also served as an agent for the Northwest Fire Insurance Company, started a store called ‘Lundi’, and played an important role in the Braedrasofnudur Lutheran Congregation.

He had no formal education but became a prolific writer of newspaper articles, short stories and novellas, several of which were published. In later years, many of these were gathered into an anthology entitled Jón á Strympu. Also interested in music, he had his first composition published in Iceland by 1890. He also directed a local choir and provided music lessons for local children.

On 10 December 1888, he married Gudfinna Eiriksdottir. They had nine children: Magnus, Thorsteinn ‘Jon’, Sesselja, Fridrik “Axel”, ‘Vilborg’ Kristjana, ‘Thordis’ Anna, Albert, ‘Margret’ Ingibjorg and Elisabet.

Sources:

Icelandic River Saga by Nelson Gerrard, Arborg: Saga Publications, 1985, pp. 251-254.

This profile was prepared by Kris Keen and Nelson Gerrard.

Page revised: 15 February 2010

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

This is a collection of noteworthy Manitobans from the past, compiled by the Manitoba Historical Society.

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