Biography of Bardi G. Skulason of Grand Forks ND

Bardi G. Skulason, born in Iceland in 1871, immigrated to the United States with his parents in 1876. After a challenging journey through Quebec and the Great Lakes, they settled in North Dakota. Despite financial difficulties, Skulason worked his way through the University of North Dakota, graduating in 1895. He embarked on a career in education and law, serving as a principal and studying law in his spare time. Admitted to the bar in 1897, he established a successful law practice in Grand Forks. Skulason played a significant role in the establishment of the Icelandic Library at the State University, and his public speaking skills have made him a well-known figure in the state.

Bardi G Skulason
Bardi G Skulason

Bardi G. Skulason. — Mr. Skulason, the subject of this sketch, was born in the northern part of Iceland, January 19, 1871, and immigrated to the United States with his parents in 1876. They came by way of Quebec and the Great Lakes and the Great Northern from Duluth to its then terminus, Fisher’s Landing, what is now Fisher, Minnesota. At the latter place the immigrants were put on board river boats and carried to Winnipeg. His parents lived in Manitoba until July, 1880, when they moved to Pem-bina county, settling on a farm about a mile and a half north of Mountain, where his father still resides on the old farm. During the four years’ stay in Manitoba everything was lost, and the family came to North Dakota very poor. In January of that year Mr. Skulason began teaching school in Pembina county, and on October 31 of the same year he entered the preparatory department of the State University at Grand Forks. His father was unable to give any pecuniary assistance during his attendance at the university, so that he was obliged to work his way through by teaching school in vacations, selling books and threshing in the fall. This usually resulted in the loss of the fall term at the university, but he managed to keep up with his class and graduated in 1895 with the degree of B. A. from the classical course, and finished at the same time the normal course and received a normal diploma. In the fall of 1895 he was elected principal of the Tower City schools, in Cass county, and at the same time began the study of law. In the spring of 1896 he resigned his position at Tower City and accepted the position of principal of the public schools at Hillsboro, which position he held until the spring of 1897, in the meantime reading law in the evenings, when he again resigned and devoted the spring and summer to the study of law. On September 13, 1897, he was admitted to the bar at Fargo, upon an examination before the supreme court, immediately after which he opened an office at Grand Forks, where he has been practicing ever since.

Mr. Skulason was instrumental in founding the Icelandic Library at the State University and is president of that association. He is an able speaker and during the last fifteen years has spoken all over the state.

September 11, 1896, he was married to Charlotte L. Robinson, of Coal Harbor, McLean county. They have two children, a boy, born October 9, 1900, named Rolfe W., and a girl, born July 9, 1904, named Dagmar A.

Since about the opening of the law department of the State University in 1899, he has been connected with the law school in the capacity of lecturer on private corporations, with occasional lectures on other subjects. He has been assistant state’s attorney of Grand Forks county since December, 1902. In November, 1908, he was elected to the state legislature as a Republican from the sixth legislative district and served in the house of representatives of the eleventh assembly.


C.F. Cooper & Company, History of the Red River Valley, Past And Present: Including an Account of the Counties, Cities, Towns And Villages of the Valley From the Time of Their First Settlement And Formation, volumes 1-2; Grand Forks: Herald printing company, 1909.

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