Historic Sites of Manitoba: Graftarnes / Nes Cemetery (Municipality of Bifrost-Riverton)

This site in the Municipality of Bifrost-Riverton, along the Icelandic River northeast of Riverton, is the first community cemetery in the area, established in 1876 to bury the victims of a smallpox epidemic. Named Graftarnes (“Grave Point” in Icelandic), or Nes for short, no graves are marked but it is estimated that some 70 to 80 persons are buried here. It was used until sometime after 1880 when the cemetery was abandoned and later became a homestead. It is now Crown land. Erosion along the riverbank periodically reveals human remains from the old graves.

The Icelandic River Heritage Sites association has installed a kiosk that will feature three interpretive plaques on the history of the cemetery.

Nes Cemetery

Nes Cemetery (no date)
Source: Christine Loff

Nes Cemetery

Nes Cemetery (June 2020)
Source: Rose Kuzina

Nes Cemetery

Nes Cemetery (May 2023)
Source: Rose Kuzina

Site Coordinates (lat/long): N51.00494, W96.98713
denoted by symbol on the map above


A list of burials in this cemetery is available from the Manitoba Genealogical Society, including a searchable online database available to members at the MGS Manitoba Name Index (MANI). Some additional information is contained in the 1996 MGS publication Carved in Stone: Manitoba Cemeteries and Burial Sites, revised edition, Special Projects Publication, 106 pages.

The Nes Cemetery Historic Site, Saga Publications.

We thank Christine Loff and Rose Kuzina for providing information used here.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 12 November 2023

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