Updated: Jul 26, 2021
Happy Birthday, K.N. Júlíus, on this day 7 Apr 1859.
Kristján Níels Jónsson Júlíus died 25 Oct 1936 and is buried at the Eyford Cemetery, Thingvalla Township, Pembina County, North Dakota. He labored for most of his adult life in our rural community. Many of the graves in the Thingvalla Cemetery were dug by him and he was the last grave-digger to live in the Eyford community. The following is taken from an old newspaper:
“He went at his task as if he were making up a bed for a tired friend, said his close friend, Dr. Rognvaldur Petursson, and most of those buried there were the poet’s personal friends. Here he, too, rests now on the grassy flat, with a small stone at his head. But at the side of the church stands a stately monument with his likeness carved into it. It was placed there by the friends and admirers of K.N. in the United States and Canada, but designed by the neighbors, who thankfully remember the poet whose gentle humor lightened their burdens and eased their struggles for half a century, brought sunshine into their homes, and was an ever active geysir of fun and easy, original wit. Poor as he was in terms of material possessions, K.N. enriched these communities and set their cultural atmosphere as no other man has.”
A large monument, dedicated to K.N. Julius, was built on the north side of the church in 1936. The inscription on the monument to K.N. reads:
The Satirical Poet Translated by Magnus Olafson
Born to make tears few. The mocking flashes of your verses, Lighten and renew the spirit. So dream about the beautiful fjord, of your beautiful childhood home in the countryside.
In Icelandic: Kimnisskáldið
Fæddur til að fækka tárum. fáir munu betur syngja. Kímnileiftur ljóða þinna, létta spor og hugann yngja. (R. Beck)
Svo dremi þig um fríðan Eyjafjörð, og fagrar bernskustöðvar inn í sveit. (K. N.)
There is also a storyboard panel at the site with a few of his poems in Icelandic and English. Here is his grave marker at the entrance to the cemetery.
Til hamingju með afmælíð, K. N. (Happy Birthday!)