Captain Alexander Anderson
Like many other prominent sailors on the Great Lakes, the career of Captain Anderson was preceded by an extended experience on the ocean. He is a born sailor and began his life on the ocean at the age of fourteen years.
Captain Anderson was born in Norrkoping, near Stockholm, Sweden, March 5, 1860, son of Daniel and Johanna Charlotte (Abeberg) Anderson. The father is a farmer, and both he and his wife are still living in Sweden. Alexander, our subject, was reared and educated in Sweden. In 1874, when fourteen years of age, he went before the mast, sailing on a Swedish coaster, coasting along the Baltic Sea. He was confirmed in 1875, and then sailed from Stockholm on the ship Maria, loading lumber on the Baltic for Lisbon, Portugal; and at Lisbon loading salt for Brazil, South America. At the later port the Maria loaded raw and dry hides for France. Here closing the season of 1875 young Anderson returned to Sweden. In 1876 he made a trip in the interest of the same trade, and at the age of eighteen years attended the school of navigation at Vesterwerk, Sweden. After leaving school he went to Liverpool and shipped to Galway, Ireland, on board an English bark, which sailed thence to New York. Our subject left the ship at New York, and shipped in an American full-rigged vessel, the Andrew Johnson, to Bremerhaven. On reaching port he left the vessel and shipped on the German Vessel, Von Berg, to Baltimore. They carried light ballast and kerosene barrels, and there loaded tobacco for Marseilles, France, and thence sailed to New York with a cargo of wine. The Von Berg returned to Hamburg with kerosene, and there Anderson left the vessel and shipped in an English full-rigged ship, Denbighshire, for the East Indies. A cargo of salt was carried to Rangoon, and thence she returned to Hamburg. Mr. Anderson next shipped on a German liner, plying between Hamburg and New York. On reaching the latter city he left the vessel and came to Chicago, this event transpiring in 1881.
Captain Anderson began sailing on the lakes from Chicago in that year on the schooner George A. King, remaining with her one season, she being engaged in the iron trade between Escanaba and South Chicago. In 1882 he sailed from Oswego, N.Y., on the schooner West Side, engaging in the grain trade from Chicago to Kingston, Ont., continuing his residence in the meanwhile at Chicago. The season of 1883 found him sailing on the schooner George C. Finney, which was lost five miles west of Oswego in a blinding snowstorm. He was on various vessels until 1884, and in that year he sailed on the schooner Winnie Wing, then engaged in the lumber trade, remaining with her one season.
In 1889 Captain Anderson purchased the schooner H.A. Richmond, a vessel engaged in the lumber trade, formerly of Grand Haven, but now sailing from Chicago, and of which he has been master for the past nine years.
In 1884 he was married in Chicago to Miss Dora Strahl, who was born in Holstein, Germany, daughter of Charles and Anna (Bull) Strahl. The parents remained through life in the old country, and the father died there just two months prior to the golden anniversary of his wedding. During the winter of 1891-92 Captain Anderson, wife and family took an extended trip to Europe, visiting the scenes of their youth in Sweden and in Germany. To Captain Anderson and wife have been born five children, namely: Anna, Arvid, Ludwig and Elmer, all living, and one deceased.
Captain Anderson is a member of the Waubansie Lodge No. 160, F. & A.M., and is also a member of the A.O.U.W. In politics he is a Republican. He is one of the well-known and highly esteemed masters of the Great Lakes.
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This version of Volume II is based, with permission, on the work of the great volunteers at the Marine Captains Biographies site. To them goes the credit for reorganizing the content into some coherent order. The biographies in the original volume are in essentially random order.
Some of the transcription work was also done by Brendon Baillod, who maintains an excellent guide to Great Lakes Shipwreck Research.