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BELMORE, Eleanor Mae "Dolly" (1914 - 2008)

Dolly died peacefully surrounded by her loving family on January 31, 2008, as a result of a sudden stroke. She was born on October 23, 1914, in Wittenburg, a daughter of Corey and Susan (McLeod) Taylor. She was the 10th child in a family of 11.

After graduating from Normal College at the age of 17, Dolly set out to conquer the world in her Model A Roadster. Her first stop was Caribou Gold Mines, where she began her career as a teacher in a one-room schoolhouse. There she was told that no woman would last more than a year, they either leave or get married. Dolly was determined to prove them wrong, but she met and married the love of her life, Bernie Belmore, raised seven children, and remained the teacher in Caribou for more than 30 years.

Although she lived and taught in other communities, she eventually returned to Caribou and made it her home until her death. Dolly was extremely passionate about so many things. She never stopped being a teacher and never stopped learning. An avid historian, she published two books and at the age of 91 traveled to Labrador to research her third.

It was a challenge for her family members to keep up with her unending creative endeavors. At the age of 88, she and her sister, Bobbie, recorded a CD, "In the Pink." She was instrumental in the restoration of the Markland historical site and became a founder and Chair of the Icelandic Memorial Society of Nova Scotia. She also designed and oversaw the building of the Caribou Memorial Walk and dedicated countless hours to the Moose River and Area Mining Museum.

She was a great orator and storyteller, never shy to speak and never needing preparation. Her love of learning, people and culture took her to many countries, including Iceland, Mexico, England, Bermuda and Switzerland. From chopping her own wood until well into her 80's, going underground in the gold mine, and lecturing at conferences and university classes, Dolly knew no limits. As the mining community in Caribou dwindled, she assumed many roles including historian, secretary, treasurer, unofficial mayor, and ambassador.

Dolly was a woman of strong conviction who never hesitated to take on an issue or a challenge. She was an inspiration and was very proud of everyone in her extended family and all of their accomplishments.

She was predeceased by her husband, Bernie Belmore (1974), and is survived by son, Roderick (Gail); daughters, Bonnie Price (Errol Goudey), Shirley-Dale Easley, Dianne Englund (Roy), Glenda Burrows (Ken, Betty Belmore (Bill Stevenson), Kathy Didkowsky (John); 17 grandchildren; seven great-grandchildren; sister, Roberta (Bobbie) Annand. She was also predeceased by sisters, Luella, Muriel, Elva, Erma, and Cora; brothers, Clarence, Percy, Clifford, and Byron; great-granddaughter, Gessica Englund; son-in-law, Gordon Price.

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Iceland Air Returns - May 2007

On May 17, 2007 Icelandair began its service to Halifax, NS. Flight # 606 landed at 8:15 pm. The airport authority had two fire trucks on hand to spray the plane with water (not champagne) to celebrate this event. A reception was held at the Halifax Stanfield International Airport. Eleanor Humphries, CEO of the Halifax Airport, welcomed Icelandair back to Halifax. Jon Karl Olafsson, CEO of Icelandair, stated how pleased the airline was to return and looked forward to future opportunities in Canada with its new Blue Sky Policy. Many members of the Icelandic and Scandinavian Societies attended the event. Scandinavian foods (oysters, herring, gravalax, etc.) were served.

Dolly Belmore, in her Icelandic costume, stole the show. She was introduced to all of the dignitaries present, including the Mayor of Reykjavik, Vilhjalmur Vilhjalmsson, Iceland's Ambassador Marcus Antonsson and his wife Steinnun Armannsdottir and Hans Indridasson and his wife Erla Einarsdottir. Hans managed Icelandair's office in Halifax when the airline first came here.

The airline flies out of Halifax on Monday, Thursday and Saturday nights.

Book on line: Icelandair or call 877-435-7940.

The Society wishes the Company success in this new venture.

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Markland Fall Harvest Picnic - Sept. 16, 2006

Each September Beverly and Harley Redden host a fall pot luck at their camp which is located on Lot 23 (18-1875) 100 acres of land settled by the pioneer settler, Olafur Thorsteinsson, the blacksmith.

This year as special guests, we had the descendants of Bjarní Solvason and Kristen "Christina" Johannsdottir, the pioneers who were granted Lot 9 [13-1875 - Crown Grant 13569 - 96 acres; and 17-1875 - Crown Grant 14126 - 100 acres] which they named Vatnahlið (Lakeside).
June MacNab, her daughter Mary MacNab, her granddaughter Molly Fraser and her grandson Duncan Moffat live on Vancouver Island and planned a special trip to Markland in September 2006.

Here is a brief sketch of the family provided by June MacNab.

In 1874 Bjarní and Kristin left the farm Mikligarður, Seylu Township, Skagafjarðarsýsla region, Iceland, on the S. S. Patrick bound for Canada. They went to Kinmount first and in 1875 they arrived in Markland.

    A son, Solvi, died of measles while staying at Iceland House. Daughters Maria "Mary" (age 13), Gudrun "Gertrude" (age 9) and Ingibjorg Margret "Margaret Solvason Turner" (age 1) are listed in Jon Rognvaldsson's survey of Markland (February 1878). A daughter Emily "Emma" Margaret appears to have been born on January 14, 1879. This family was one of the last to leave Markland in 1882 for Emerson, Manitoba.

    June MacNab's grandmother was Ingiborg Margaret (Mrs. David Turner). They had 8 children. Only 2 of Margaret's children had families. June's mother was Mary "Molly" and her sister, Florence "Floss". Tuberculosis appears to have ravaged this family.

September 16, 2006, was a beautiful fall day in Nova Scotia. The MacNab family first visited the site of Iceland House and then the memorial cairn. Don Redden, Wayne Scott, Marshall Burgess and Glenda Burrows then took them to Lot 2 (Lot 35-1875, Grænvatn) where Gudbrandur Erlendsson lived. He wrote the book in 1916 about his life in Markland (1875-1881).
Lunch was served by the Reddens at their camp. Then a group of people headed out to visit the two Solvason lots. The group saw segments of the "Iceland Road" leading to Mooseland which was built by the pioneer settlers.

First the family arrived at Lot 13-1875 where the family homestead (Vatnahlið) was located. The hole in the ground which was the root cellar of the old house is all that remains. The well is located nearby. The view to Copes Lake has all but disappeared. The group then visited the second lot and saw the foundation/well located there.

A pot luck supper was served at the Redden camp. Banjos and guitars were played. The sun set and we left to return to our homes.

Without doubt from 1875-1882 the Icelanders visited each other in Markland and shared whatever they had with each other. Music and singing are noted in Erlendsson's book.

The Society hopes that other descendants will be found, they will come to visit Markland, they will meet the members of the Icelandic Memorial Society of Nova Scotia, and their stories and ours will be exchanged. This way the Icelandic Society will continue to grow and this saga unfold.

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Stephansson House Historic Site - June 2005

On June 18, 2005, I attended an Icelandic Picnic (Islendingamót) hosted by the Stephan G. Stephansson Icelandic Society at Markerville, Alberta. Markerville is near Red Deer and was founded in 1888.

First, I visited the Stephansson House Historic Site. Stephan Gudmundsson (1853-1927) and his wife Helga Jonsdottir, moved to America in 1873 (Shawano County, Wisconsin; North Dakota and finally Alberta in 1889).

A farmer by trade, Stephan G. was also a prolific writer. In 1908, the first three volumes of Andvökur (Wakeful Nights) were published. Six volumes in total were published in Icelandic in 1923, 1924 and 1938. The "Poet of the Rocky Mountains" became widely recognized as the "greatest Icelandic poet since the 13th century".

Second, I visited the historice Markerville Creamery built in 1902. Dr. C. P. Marker, a Dane, was hired by the government to open creameries in Alberta and he helped to establish the creamery in this community. In 1903, the community was named Markerville in his honour.

Finally I attended the Icelandic Picnic. Icelanders first arrived in this area on June 27, 1888.
A special dedication was made to the "Women of Aspenland". A story board on the live of Stephan G's wife, Helga, was unveiled. Representatives from the Leif Eriksson Icelandic Canadian Club in Calgary (Dr. Ron Goodman, President) and Nordurljos Icelandic Club (Del Sveinson, President) were present. I met Shirley Dye, President of the Stephan G. Stephansson Icelandic Society and her sister Bernice Anderson.

I picked up a copy of selected translations from Andvökur first published in 1987. The book presents a wonderful selection of the topics covered by this writer.

Icelandic Poetry (1912)
In Iceland it's no happenstance
Whatever life's afforded
All their thoughts and circumstance
They've in verse recorded
If you listen and you're told
Their rhymed repertory literature
To your mind will then unfold
Culture, land and history.

(Translated by Sigurdur Wopnford)

 J. Marshall Burgess, Q.C.

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updated June-12-12

 

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