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Memorable Manitobans: Páll [Paul] Thorláksson (1849-1882)


Born in Húsavík, Iceland, brother of Niels Steingrimur Thorlaksson, he attended the Grammar School in Reykjavík and then emigrated to the United States in 1872. He studied theology at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis from 1872 to 1875 and joined the Norwegian Synod of the Lutheran Church, where he was ordained on 8 July 1875. He moved to New Iceland (in Manitoba) in 1877 and organized three congregations in the district, serving them on foot during the long winter months. A doctrinal conservative, he became involved in considerable theological controversy in his new home. In March 1878 the three congregations organized into the “Icelandic Lutheran Congregations in New Iceland” in opposition to the “Association of Icelandic Lutheran Churches in America” led by Rev. Jón Bjarnason. In 1880 Thorlaksson moved to Pembina County in Dakota Territory [now North Dakota]. Long ill with tuberculosis, he died in 1882 at Vík (Mountain), Dakota Territory.

See also:

Pioneer Icelandic Pastor: The Life of the Reverend Paul Thorlaksson by George J. Houser Winnipeg: Manitoba Historical Society (1990).


Dictionary of Manitoba Biography by John M. “Jack” Bumsted, Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 1999.

We thank Nelson Gerrard for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 18 December 2014

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

This is a collection of noteworthy Manitobans from the past, compiled by the Manitoba Historical Society. We acknowledge that the collection contains both reputable and disreputable people. All are worth remembering as a lesson to future generations.

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