In my last Newsletter
I mentioned the Gold Rush to Klondike which I said is in Alaska but as you all know, Klondike is in Canada´s Yukon Territory.
One little-known chapter
in the history of Icelandic immigrants in North America is that of the Yúkonfarar
(Yukonfarers) - Icelanders who joined the Gold Rush to the Yukon around the turn of the last century. Among those who flocked to the Klondike in search of gold between 1897 and 1904 were more than 40 Icelanders from as far afield as Winnipeg, the Interlake, North Dakota, Utah, Vancouver, and Washington State according to Nelson Gerrard
in Árborg, Manitoba, and he goes on with the following:
In the summer of 2003, Edmonton's Klondike Days will feature Scandinavians, and in response Edmonton's Icelandic club Norđurljós is sponsoring an exhibit on the Icelanders who went to the Klondike and played a part in this major Canadian drama. The exhibit, currently being researched and designed by Nelson Gerrard, will tell the story of the Icelandic Klondike Farers in text and pictures.
More than a century has now elapsed since the occurrence of these events, and the stories have almost all been forgotten, even among descendants of the Klondike Farers. Fortunately, true to character, a few Icelanders in the Yukon wrote home with news of their adventures, and some of their letters have been preserved. Even a poet or two went along, and some poetry reflecting the experiences of the gold seekers has also been discovered. A few photos of the Klondike Farers are also known, but many remain faceless.
|Click to see an enlarged picture|
If readers of the Newsletter
should happen to know of any letters or artifacts relating to Icelanders who participated in the Klondike Gold Rush, or of any photographs of these men and women, please contact Nelson Gerrard
, by phone/fax at 204-378-2758, or by mail at Box 925, Arborg, Manitoba, R0C 0A0. Time is short, so any and all input is welcome.
Following are the names of Icelandic Klondike Farers currently known, **indicates good photo known, *indicates image from printed source:
Albert Jónsson, Winnipeg - Ármann Bjarnason, Winnipeg - Árni Thórđarson, Winnipeg and Gimli - Ástráđur Jónsson*, Lundar (died in the Klondike) - Bergvin Jónsson*, Winnipeg, Seattle - Bjarni Stefánsson, Hallson, Piney - Björn Magnússon, Utah - Björn Stefánsson - Eiríkur Runólfsson, Akra, ND - Eiríkur Sumarliđason**, Winnipeg - Guđjón Vigfússon, Iceland - Hannes Snćbjörnsson Hanson? - Hjörtur Jónsson (Hordal?), Winnipeg - Jóhann Jónsson, Winnipeg - Jóhannes Helgason (Bergen)**, New Iceland, Seattle - Jón Jónsson 'Yúkonfari', Point Roberts, Seattle - Jón Tryggvi Jónsson Bergmann**, Winnipeg, Seattle, Medicine Hat - Jón Jónsson Bíldfell*, Winnipeg - Jón Jónsson Hordal*, Lundar - Jón Sigfússon Bergmann?, Gardar, ND - Jón Stefánsson, Hallson, Piney - Jón Thorsteinsson 'Hotel', Gimli - Jón Valdimarsson, Winnipeg - Jónas Bergmann (Captain), New Iceland, Vancouver - Jónas B. Brynjólfsson**, New Iceland, Winnipegosis - Júlíus Jakobsson Eyford?, ND - Krist? (from Utah) - Kristján Guđmundsson - Kristján Matthíasson, Sinclair, Man. - Kristján Sveinsson, Helena, Montana - Kristján Pétursson**, Hayland - Lárus Sölvason*, Víđir - Magnús Pétursson, Nome - Marteinn Jónsson - Oddbjörn Magnússon, Winnipeg - Oddur Jónsson*, New Iceland, Vancouver - Ólafur Jónsson, Utah - Sigurđur Jón Jóhannesson**, Winnipeg - Sveinn Bjarnason, Winnipeg - Sölvi Sölvason, Winnipeg and Point Roberts - Teitur Thomas**, Winnipeg - Thorkell Jónsson, Vancouver, Victoria.