Revised: Mar 3, 2019


Kinmount-Minden-Ontario, Ontario, CA

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Photos by Roy Christopherson

During Roy's 'Cousins Tour 2014', one must-see stop was Kinmount, Ontario, Canada, oiginally called Burnt River, [76]. Great Grandfather Sigurdur Christopherson has a vast amount of locations he lived at during his incredible lifetime. Kinmount stay was a short one, in a shanty that was probably down by the south-side of the Burnt River, further south of the town.
Perhaps similar to GF Kays Shanty (shown below Right). More on Cousins Tour 2014.

In 1874 the Icelanders worked on the railways at Kinmount. With later research, Roy located the Trestle, and new and old photos. The Icelanders planned to create a Colony. Sigtryggur Jonasson , with Fridjon Fridriksson opened a store for their countrymen.January 22 , 1875 Sigtryggur wrote that 25 men were out of work. The Dominion government in Canada wanted to see this colony of Icelanders succeed, yet lacked giving support. Icelanders were hired to build 2 more Shanties at Hayford. The supplier of the lumber moved on. "Work consisted mostly of digging through hills, filling in ravines, dynamiting rock and felling trees where the track was to go through." The Canadians working on the rail were paid .50 cents more, which was fine with the Icelanders.

January 1875, the Icelanders were living in overcrowded shanties during a very frosty winter. "Benedikt Arason did odd jobs, as well as carving spoons, which fetched between twenty to thirty cents apiece. ...John Taylor [Roy's great great grand uncle], a Baptist [Methodist] lay preacher, came into the picture . He was supervisor of the Shanty Men's Mission of the British-Canadian Bible Society in the lumbercamps of Haliburton and had influential contacts in Ottawa."

Courtesy of the Miriam Westereng/Carol Jarvie Collection
The author states that when Caroline 'Carrie' Taylor visited her uncle and Foster father, John in Haliburton, that this was a "Legend". While not concrete proof, a cousin allowed a copy of a small black book to be posted here. Page 9 starts the story of this event with details NOBODY anywhere has published seen here in "Life & Times of William Stewart Taylor" by Unknown author. Mainly a few keywords that have more details than ones online. Roy has spent 10 years researching all of this, and has re-read this account in many sources. He believes this was written by Caroline's daughter Sigurveig 'Veiga' Dawe. Possibly from Caroline's diary or written down later on as her mother retold the story. The black book brought from Ytranes, Carrie's last farmstead. This chance event led carrie to tell John abought their plight, which started the next saga called New Iceland. Many Icelanders wrote home about their fortunes, or mis-fortunes to family, which would have circulated throught the community of interested parties stil in the old homeland, and others in various parts of the US and Canada, trying different locations. 1875, work on the rail from Kinmount to Lindsay, Ontario halted, as the Icelanders starved, and infants died young.
For more details of this period and photos of the trestle in the article, click below.
Source: "Icelanders of Kinmount", by Don Gislason , PG. 9, Lögberg-Heimskringla Friday 26 March 1999

Some would say it is not worth stopping at, Roy whole-heartedly disagrees. While his stay there was very brief, it was only due to so many stops planned along a 9,000 mile trip, not including flight mileage to and from Iceland, within span of three months. Driving north, GPS was a bit off, yet sometimes that could be a good thing, as it led the Scottish Viking truck camper down a road with a unique canopy. Camper being so tall, had to drive down the middle of this country road at times, to insure no trees were hit. Beats a highway, if one is not in a rush. While a route was planned, played it by ear the whole way. Sadly some stops were nixed, and others conveniently on the way were included. No way could this trip have been made solo without a GPS. Forget Cell Phone GPS, buy a real one which will not cut out, and if an RV, one geared towards those. Update the maps before going.

Recommended reading. Before Sigurdur Christpherson was involved with Kinmount, one should visit the page here on New Iceland, where they traveled from prior to Kinmount, and Sigurdur's individual page, as he is our main connection to this location.

Kinmount (Map) was one stop on a perfect day weatherwise. The village is only about a block long. For any North American red-blooded Icelander, Kinmount in some ways, is a pilgramage, just as Gimli (New Iceland) was, thanks to cousin Mike Christopherson.

If entering the town from south 45, you might see the river before the bridge, and before there, a real Estate office with photos of houses in the window on the river side, above train station parking lot. Be prepared to make a sharp right BEFORE the bridge into the dirt driveway, along the yellow train station, which is original, yet some of it was rebuilt. If you miss it, there is nowhere to turn around, and you'll have to cross the bridge, then make a left and go a block to backtrack. Had viewed the Google Map of the area, and knew about the bridge. Mark and Pat rode up behind me as I was admiring the original recently restored Austin Saw Mill, built out over the Burnt river. They told me about the long gone shanties of the Icelanders, and pointed me down the dirt road, which runs parallel to the southern road. Which Roy marked Trail in top left map.

The road they use as a bike trail had so many trees, there was no way the camper was going in there. Suggest bringing mountain bikes. Did backtrack down the hwy and found only one entrance, Wayside Trail. Again a narrow road and no turn-arounds, so headed back NE. There was no other way back to the river (after having left, I found an article of an Einarson cousin of the NIL who talked about their visit of the river bank, where the shanties once stood on the south side of the Burnt River. If you have dirt bikes, it is a long ride down there, and would end up on the north river bed. Just spotted Flintrock RD, perhaps that is what is use to get to the south river banks where the Icelander Shanties once stood. Unable to locate Guy Scott by multiple Associations after a year, nor locally, so gave up on that.

My suggestion is schedule time there when the museum is open. Unless the museum host lives in Kinmount, and actually knows the history of the Icelanders. Maybe only a cashier. If not, ignore them, and look at what is on the walls of the Train Station, and display cases for yourself. Gal there was like a 20 year old from out of town, and was of Zero help! Hate to be blunt, yet I drove long way there and left with little history betond confirming no train to Haluburton. One goal was to recreate in 3D a scene of Caroline being inted out Gudny Frederickson, her first sight of an Icelander. Guy Scott states there was one Hotel there, except nobody knows the name or has photos. Perhaps the museum would know, except think contact was already made there.

Decided to leave north east for Minden, and Haliburton. Important stops in the Story of how Caroline Taylor saw her first Icelander, and changed the course of history.

An OK stay.

Drove to Haliburton, nice folks at auto store gave me directions to the museum on Museum RD, North past two lights, through 2nd portion of town. Had a ton of people walking around downtown, and construction along the 118 lakeroad, making it into a one-way delay. Drove around the lake, after having asked some nice folks if they knew where the Haliburton Museum was. Well, turned out to be on Museum RD. The main road winds along the east side of the lake, through town, back along the north side of the lake, then back south along the west side of the lake. BEFORE one goes past the end of the lake, there is a road on the left to the museum. It splits in two, so LOL. Perhaps marked better now. They were installing a sewer or drain pipe and thought the road might give out on me. Once there, met Lindal who received previous emails the year before (3/22/2013). My Keedo? PH contract was almost never used. They used terms like Booster, which ours do not here in USA. So she did not expect me. The "knowlegable" currator was out. Linda only had same paragraph out of the book that I found, Mrs. Dobrzensky's "Fragments of a Dream". "There was / is a family of Taylors in the Stanhope - Minden area of Haliburton County". Stephen Hill, the Curator was out.

Kinmount - Minden - Haliburton

Others came in, Linda from the office attended to them. Looking at all the old items they had there, really had no way to associate it with John Taylors time there. That was the only reason for the stop there. Caroline "Carrie" Taylor took a train to Kinmount, then one fact Roy established was, "there was No train to Haliburton, so Carrie went by boat to visit her uncle John and Aunt Elizabeth, whom were there Foster Parents in an earlier time". Was frustrated, could not find where the Concession and Lot was where John once lived for a few years. A young student gave me a tour around the Reed House, after I looked every inch over in the musum. That was great. The volunteer said the house was once by the lake shore, and possible John was their neighbor. There are three lakes here he could have lived by. Someone in time will have to seek it out if interested. Some government entity there would have to have records of where the lots were located. Forgot to ask her if they knew where the Lot the Taylors lived on.

Immediately drove SW back to Kinmount. In 2011 a Kinmount Heritage Center was set up near the bridge, in the old Town Hall. Something I missed seeing. No idea what is in there. Stopped on the shoulder on the hwy, across from realtor after crossing the bridge. Took more photos of the station, mill, and river and bridge, Pat's friend (get from Vblog) rode up behind me on his bike and we talked again. He lived across from realtor few doors south along main road into Kinmount. Had lots of chickens and joked that he hoped the rooster would consider crossing the road, as it might disappear that way (hit). They had told me about the museum guide or cashier, so that is how I knew where she was from. Taking the road left before the bridge, right on left is a drive was to the Highland's Cinema. Whay is that important, well their museum is next to the cinema, except they had a huge arbor, which again I could not fit under, not did the immediate steep incline into there look appealing. My only regret was not walking up there. Having driven thousands of miles, even a night at a campground does not ensure patience when it is required.

So Pat's friend and neighbor across Burnt River says "Hey, let's see if my friend Pat, who runs the B&B could serve up some refreshments. [See Below] Pat, who has been there decades, yet lived around the world, offered me a room, and even accomodations if I just wanted to rough it in his driveway. Very kind soul! We sat on the screens veranda having ice cream with cinimmon stix and tea. He let me copy the newspaper about the announcment of the monument. Was unable to locate the trestle GGF Sigurdur helped build. They did not know where the Trestle was located.

Time flew, and at 6:30 PM decided to drive down to Kingston, ONT. They both looked at me like an escaped mental patient on a rampage. Managed to make it through about 100 windy mountain miles until darkness fell, and drizzle. What I did not learn until after my later trek around the Great Lakes was, Big Humoungous, I mean BIG Bull moose will cross the roads, and at night, if you hit one, be prepared to die! A deer, well one has a chance with them. The moose legs come into the front windshield and many perish that way. The drive was uneventful...until going east on the major highway (407?), and getting sandwhiched between 3 single and double trailer trucks, in the pouring rain. One in front of me, one in back, and one in the fast lane, you guessed it, right alongside lil' old me. This went on for miles and they were going fast. Had anything happened, I would have been a GMC Accordian, along with a smooshed kitty. Again nothing happened, cause I am here to tell the tale. Hit Kingston downton at midnight, and rolled into a supermarket parking lot, with Starbucks WiFi within reaching range.

Gislason leaving off Sigurdur Christopherson's name
Looking over the names on the plaque (see album below), Roy notices that Sigurdur is not mentioned (Kristófersson). Oddly, Einarssons are. Perhaps Roy's other GGF was out there? Einar Einarson did work the RR his whole like (35 yrs) in Winnipeg lines. In 2000 the Icelandic National League dedicated a Cairn with sculpture to commemorate this failed attempt to colonize the surrounding area at Kinmount.

The woman who made the sculpture/ INL cairn for the Icelanders lived next to Mark, and article is in the slideshow.

View Album Slideshow of visit in Kinmount

Recommended read is:
The Village of Kinmount By Guy Scott, 2 pages
"History of Kinmount / A Community on the Fringe" by Guy Scott
"icelanders of kinmount" by

Resources: Haliburton Highlands Genealogy Group at P.O. Box 888, Minden, Ont. K0M 2K0

Also see Vlog [Vlog has been taken down]for the whole trip day by day (Thur July 3 – Haliburton/Kinmount).

Hopefully this will be of help if you decide to visit, It was just my personal view. Had I to do over, would have stayed overnight in Kinmount. Unfortunately closest camp ground was Minden. Ironic that Caroline TAYLOR Christopherson was part of this story, yet the families names were left off. Recommend B&B across from the Mill; Kinmount House Bed & Breakfast [6 Cluxton St, Kinmount, ON K0M 2A0, Canada]. He makes a mean Fruit & Ice Cream.