The trip started in Minneapolis. Actually it started in Keflavik, Iceland, but over there it started in Minneapolis. And what did we do? Some wise guy said: "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
I wouldn't mind rerun the whole trip but right now I'll try to do it in writing.
We drowe eastward, north east, I believe, towards Wisconsin. On our agenda was to visit the place in Shawano county where the Icelanders settled once upon a time, in specific the settlement of Stephan G. Stephanson. Driving for more than an hour or two,
Visiting Stephan G. Stephanson
in Shawano County
It was in Shawano county the first Icelandic congregation in N-America was founded; by reverend Páll Þorláksson. His parents, Þorlákur Gunnar Jónsson and Henrietta Lovísa Nielsen, had emigrated from Ljósavatn in Thingeyjarsýsla-South in 1873 with seven of their nine children and settled in Wisconsin. Páll and his brother Haraldur had emigrated in 1872 and according to the Emigration records, only 22 Icelanders emigrated that year. Well, we visited the Bethel Lutheran Church where the memory of Reverend Páll is cherished and then we headed for the city of Green Bay where we stayed for the night in comfort at Baymont Inn & Suites.
The following day we drove out the long peninsula towards Gills Rock and Northport Pier from where the ferry, Arni J. Ricter, goes to Washington Island. Unfortunately it rained cats and dogs during our visit there but it didn't prevent us to take the boat from the main island to a small island,
On Washington Island we made our first of many visit to an "icelandic" cemetery. Yes, there were many more
On the road again we made a stop somewhere in the Door County at a very interesting place, Windflower Farm, where Bernadette Rainsford and William Clayton are farming or breeding unusual animals, I thought it was Llamas but actually, it's Alpacas, as far as I understand. Bernadette, who is of Icelandic origin, with roots in Washington island was kind enough to invite the whole group to her fabulous home where she thrilled the ladies with her knitted and wowen products from the Alpacas' wool.
It was Green Bay again in the afternoon and the following day we headed for Duluth. It was a long drive and the landscape didn't remind me a bit of Iceland. We took a break at some few places and in one small town in the middle of nowhere, Minoqcua, I bought some T-shirts for my grandkids, something I do, whenever I travel abroad. We made a stop at
Our next stop was Fisher on the Red River. In 1875 the name was Fisher's Landing. From there the group of Icelanders went on a boat with the intention to reach Icelandic River in Manitoba and build there the first Icelandic town in N-America, Gimli. (See my Newsletter #13)
On the bank of the river is a memorial stone with the following inscription:
In 1875 located just north of this point on the east bank of the Red Lake River was the Settlement known as Fisher's Landing. It began as a terminus of exchange of freight and passengers from steamboats playing the Red Lake and Red Rivers to and from Winnipeg and trains of the St.Paul and Pacific Railway. Among the buildings at the site in 1876 were four hotels, the Hudson's Bay Company Store, a general store, four Saloons, and a number of Saloon and Gambling tents. After the extension of the railroad to Grand Forks Fisher's Landing was moved to higher ground because of annual flooding. The present townsite was platted in 1879 and the name was later shortened to Fisher.
From Fisher is a short way to Grand Forks and Roadking Inn which was our goal for the evening.
Ahead was a visit to the Icelandic settlements in N-Dakota and from there to Winnipeg the following day. Of that in my next Newsletter.
Not much genealogy here! If you want to discuss any of the names mentioned, please drop me a line.