Vesturfarinn   -     

20 nóvember 1910

My dear cousin - 

My heartiest thanks for the good letter recently received from you. And also I thank you for all the trouble in finding out about Vilborg’s sisters. Gróa wrote me and sent 35 dollars from both of them - enough about that. I don’t remember what I wrote you last spring, likely not about these burning troubles. I don’t intend to repeat (tell again) about the terrible loss since the struggle goes on - if, finally, the grass is good into September and October, it will be well.

Remember to hurry and write back soon. Those who want the news about all of you there...(illegible)

As the hay harvest was only average, the farmers slaughtered in great numbers in the fall. A man came from Belgium and changed the prices so the return was agreeable. He gave 18-20 per piece, and paid out cash-in-hand. It was nearly good enough to give the dog a good bit and a bit more, surprisingly enough. I had no one except my Eika (Eiríkur) this summer and no help with weaning lambs, but one working woman and Fríður. So Vilborg was sent here by the parish, and I got some money for that. I took a day-laborer to help the others with the hayfield so the harvest went quite well now I have hay for nearly a hundred sheep, three cows and three horses.

...reduced the debt by quite a bit in the fall and that feels pretty well - have two lodgers so the farm is quite full of people. My Eiki is at Eiðum this winter, but Hallur Einarsson is here this winter with me, and I like him quite well so surely my adventures are over. And now I intend to try to answer some of your questions. You say that it has been written in the West that there are deficiencies among the people in Vopnafirði - I have not heard that, but it could be true. There is so much poverty that I quite believe it. For a time I felt most attempts to help led to nothing. You ask about Sólveig.

She has come to her namesake at Grófarseli and had, surely, no sheep which were with Stefán’s herd. Eiríkur Hjörleifsson had ten sheep. They were newly come to him, his parents and himself. I hardly know now about Stefán’s circumstances, but he is terribly in debt to all. He had left 100 ewes with lambs in the spring, and all of them lived because he cared much about the sheep and there were for sure some of them with two lambs. So took the neighborhood some part in that (to help). (The farmers in) Jökuldalur and Fljótsdalur gave Elías (help), and those at Fell and Tunga (helped) Stefán in the fall.

Written in the margin: I hope that you don’t repay me my foolishness, but rather write me again though this letter is not very outstanding!

I don’t know how much loss they have sustained. Next you ask about Nina frænku (female relative). She feels well, at least one sees or hears nothing otherwise when visiting her. She has always gone from place to place teaching young girls. She has four sons, Jón, Eyþór, Eiríkur and Helgi. My Eiki is staying with his namesake. Her sister Helga is married to Sigurvin the bookkeeper for Sigurður in Framtíð (a store). So you ask who will be our priest. I hope that it will be my séra Einar. He moved, of course, this summer early in August with his people and something of property but he serves as pastor here and is here just as ofte n, and because of that it is thought that he didn’t feel at home below, but he talks very little about that. They are both in the up-country now, as séra Jakob was sick and lies now in his coffin. But his wife is unconscious, has been all this year in some kind of slumber, but not suffering. But urinary blockage was the cause of séra Jakob’s death. Vigfús came home this summer, finished with legal studies, and they all went south in the fall. Vigfús hoped for some work and Jakob went into the fourth class at Latin school, but Sigurður to (study at the) teaching school. His second winter there.

and Ingibjörg Halldórsdóttir to business school. She is gifted and skilled in verse-making, so there is now no one but Ingigerður at home with her parents this winter. Never have I heard anything about what séra Einar has done about your affairs. I knew that he was surety for someone, but I thought that the supply association had troubled him most of all, riding him constantly, but it has undoubtedly been a momentary oversight of his to apply for Borgarfjörð, which he has always regretted and draws no cover over when he greets one. There it is said that he has indicated

that it was the greatest, hardest trail that he had walked in his life and I have heard said that the mother (his wife) and daughter have never attended the church there. ...?with the carpenter at Desjarmýri they threw up a 9 ell long and 5 ell wide raised sitting room for them.

I think rather that it came to little of all their handsome promises when they were pleading him to come. I think they began to regret the hasty and wrong call to Ásgrímur... at least séra Jakob was old enough to see that!

Well, now is enough said about the fellow.

You ask about (the folks at the farm) Gerði. They get along very well now that there are fewer daughters at home and, naturally, fewer guests to match! Now no one is at home except Guðlaug. Anna lives in Seyðisfirði with Jón Jónsson and Kata is with her in the winter and walks to the workshop.

Gunna lives at Ósi in Hjaltastaðaþinghá with her son Guðni, and Þórey lives on a part of Sléðbrjót with her man from Skagafjirði. She is by far the poorest of them, and poor in health, but everyone considers her the most intelligent of all of them...though they are all wonderfully intelligent as you remember. Sigmundur has slowed down very much. Naturally it goes

Written in the margin: Tell me everything you know about Helga from Rangá - what she is doing there on the west coast?

poorly for him and they are both ill often and actually never going anywhere, and I don’t go to see them except about once a year. I travel very little except to church, though even that is less frequent. Late in the summer a guest came here whom I enjoyed very much. It was Borghildur, widow of Páll Ólafsson. She was with me overnight, and I went with her up to Hallormstað and had a wonderfully good time with her. I am completely surprised at how well she keeps herself. She lives with Helgi Sveinsson and Magga, his sister.

and says she feels very comfortable with them. Begga is always in Copenhagen and Bjössi in law school. She says she couldn’t survive living in a small corner with them, though she always wants to. I rather think she wishes that Bjössi gets a position in the east because there are her dearest memories. It would be quite interesting for you to exchange letters with Ragnhildur. She could perhaps tell you something”meatier” than I can. She follows closely all the national matters and you know yourself she does not want for words. I have such unbelievable enjoyment seeing her...I have

not had so much fun in many years. She was also so truly kind, bless her. Now I am very short of news...and now I remember that Óskar Ólafur Lárusson Pálsson, a homeopathic doctor, has recently come, he rents at Eiðum and teaches health studies to the schoolboys. He has little experience but is said to be an agreeable fellow. And now is surely all lost that I can imagine that you would like to hear.

Bear my greetings to all who know me there around you. It is likeliest that Ólaf and Jóhannes will tell me news of Stefán, son of Eiríkur Hallson. May God watch over you, your wife and children. Your relative -

Kristbjörg Jónsdóttir

This letter is one of many sent to family members in Canada. For more information about the years from 1870-1914, or for copies of this or other letters, contact us at: Vesturfarinn

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