Mandius Larsen passed the early years of his seafaring life on the North Sea, whereby he contracted a desire for a life on the water. He was born at Stavanger, Norway, October 2, 1859, and is a son of Lars Mikkelson and Elizabeth (Olson) Larsen, both parents being natives of Norway. His father was a successful fisherman out of the port of Stavanger, and owned his own boats, in which Mandius passed much of his youth, attending school in the winters. As is customary in Norway, when he was seventeen years of age he enlisted in the army and passed two years at the army schools, tutors being employed by the government to teach the young men inclined to acquire an education. At the end of his school term he was appointed corporal in the first company of the third battalion of Stavanger, and served that rank for three years, at the end of which period he took advantage of his privilege and resigned.
In 1881 Mr. Larsen again took up his life on the ocean, shipping before the mast in the schooner Langen. After passing a year on her he joined the schooner Fingal, plying on the Baltic Sea, trading between different Russian ports. In 1884 he came to the United States, and passing through New York and Chicago he reached Seneca, Ill., where he spent three years among farmers, during which time he acquired the English language, learning also to read and write. In the spring of 1887 he came to the lakes and shipped on the steamer Maggie Marshall as fireman, and after four months transferred to the Marshall F. Butters. In 1888 he became fireman on the steamer Omaha, retaining that berth three seasons. Being of an observing and ambitious nature he soon learned the duties necessary to become an engineer; he applied for a license, which was granted, and he was appointed second on the Omaha, remaining in her four seasons. In the spring of 1895 he became second engineer of the Monteagle, which was followed by another season on the Omaha. In 1897 he was appointed chief engineer of the steamer Monteagle, commanded by Capt. William H. Griffin, still retaining that office.
On November 4, 1890, Mandius Larsen was wedded to Miss Mary Olson, of Frondhjem, Norway. The children born to this union are: Neil, Oscar, Mendell and Louis. The family residence is at No. 312 Madison street, Milwaukee, Wis. Socially, Mr. Larsen is a member of the Marine Engineers Beneficial Association No. 9, of Milwaukee, and of the Scandinavian Beneficial Order.
Return to Home Port
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.