Nicholas Larson was born July 25, 1844, on the island of Fohr, then under the dominion of Denmark, but now ruled by Germany. He attended the public schools until he was sixteen years of age, when he came to America, locating at Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
After having learned the machinist's trade Mr. Larson entered the employ of the Goodrich Transportation Company, and in 1871 was appointed first assistant engineer of the side-wheel passenger steamer Orion, on which he remained one season; this boat was wrecked a short time after on the beach at Grand Haven. In 1872 Mr. Larson shipped on the Manitowoc, in 1873 on the Alpena, remaining two seasons, and in 1875 was appointed chief engineer of the steamer Muskegon, the machinery for which was taken from the hull of the Orion, and Mr. Larson remained in her engine room three seasons. In the spring of 1878 he took the screw steamer Oconto, a passenger boat plying between Chicago and Green Bay, holding this berth until the fall of 1879. His next boat was the side-wheel steamer Corona, which he ran three seasons. In 1881 Mr. Larson purchased the Isabella, a small side-wheel steamer, from parties in Oshkosh, and ran her from Peoria to Havana, Ill., in the passenger trade on the Illinois River, selling her after a poor year. In 1882 he went down the river to New Orleans, and worked in machine shops during the winter; also worked in the Crombell line of ships, fitting up engines for the shop, and in the spring came to New York City on the New Orleans, one of the line. In 1883 he left New York City for Buffalo. About this time Mr. Kelderhouse built the Queen of the West, at Bay City, and he went there, put in the machinery, and ran that boat for six years.
In 1887 the Rochester & Pittsburg Railroad Co. gave up the business on the canal and sold their boats. Mr. Larson bought one of them, the steamer Durant, and ran her for three years, towing canal boats for Mr. Bissell. He then bought the consorts Carthage and Jonathan Scovill, and on one of his trips to New York City sold the latter. The other two boats he ran for four years, when he sold both at a good price. In 1889 he was again employed as chief engineer of the steamer Corona, now owned by the Woodlawn Beach Company at Buffalo, which he ran on the excursion business. In 1894 he entered the employ of the Crystal Beach Steamboat Company, as chief engineer of the Pearl, holding this berth until the fall of 1898, and finishing the season on the Gazelle.
In 1885 Mr. Larson was wedded to Miss Catherine Veidinger, of Buffalo, and one son, William N., has come to this union. The family residence is at No. 85 Waverly Street, Buffalo, N. Y. Fraternally Mr. Larson is a member of the Ancient Order of United Workmen, also of the Marine Engineers Beneficial Association.
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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.