Among the numerous residents of Sheboygan who are interested in lake shipping is Captain Charles Anderson, master of the steamer J. S. Crouse, plying the great inland seas of America. He was born in Bergen, Norway, November 15, 1875, a son of Andrew and Maria S. (Martensen) Anderson, both natives of Norway. His ancestors were agriculturists and fish dealers.
In his father's family were five children all of whom are living, Captain Charles Anderson being the youngest of the family. He was educated in the public schools and the Lutheran school in Norway, being confirmed in the Lutheran church. After putting aside his text-books he served for two years as an apprentice in a boiler shop and then embarked as a sea-faring man, sailing out from Norway. He followed the sea, sailing on Norwegian vessels for three years, and during that time visited nearly every country of the globe. On returning to Norway he bade adieu to his relatives and friends and emigrated to America, setting sail March 25, 1894.
On reaching the new world he immediately settled in Sheboygan and again took up seamanship, identifying himself with the shipping on the Great Lakes. He first secured employment on the schooner D. H. Duval, Captain Ole Halverson commanding with Captain Ole Groh as manager. He made but one trip on that vessel and completed the season on the schooner Challenge, owned by the Cream City Brick Yard Company of Milwaukee.
The following winter he entered the lumber woods of northern Michigan, where he remained until the next shipping season on the lakes, when he returned to Sheboygan and obtained employment on the consort H. A. Barr being in tow of the steamer J. H. Outwight. After remaining on that boat for four months he finished the season as wheelman on the steamer Outwight, leaving this ship at Escanaba, Michigan, November 20, 1895. He spent the following winter also in the lumber camps of the vicinity of Flat Rock river, in Michigan, and on the 15th of March, following, returned to Sheboygan City where he visited friends. He then went to Milwaukee where he was employed on the schooner Our Sun, assisting in rigging her over from a schooner to a consort. He sailed on the vessel during that season, it being towed by the steamer C. H. Green, owned by parties at East Saginaw, Michigan. He finished that season as wheelman on the steamer Green.
At Tanawana, New York, the boat laid up for winter quarters in the fall of 1896 and he took up other work for the winter, going to the city of New York with two companions. They visited Niagara Falls and spent the next season picking and packing fruit for a farmer near Ontario. After staying for a time in Buffalo Mr. Anderson returned to Wisconsin and, after stopping en route at Milwaukee, went to Sheboygan City, visited his friends and returned to the lumber camps where he spent the winter in the Flat Rock river district. In the spring of 1897 he returned to Sheboygan where in partnership with Olaf Peterson and Chris Fieldstead he purchased the scow Mary E. Packard, acting as mate of that schooner during the following season. During the next winter he was employed by the Frost Veneer & Seating Company of this city, having sold his interest in the Mary Packard to Captain Charles Pooler. In the spring of 1902 he purchased the schooner Josephine Dresden from the Tollfson estate of Racine and he remained with that vessel, acting as her master, for four seasons. In 1906 he equipped the vessel with gasoline power, the first craft of its size to be thus equipped on the great lakes. He operated her during the season until the 27th of November, when the vessel was stranded on the west coast of North Manitou, Michigan, in a terriffic gale which she was not able, with her limited power, to face. She became a total wreck but the cargo, belonging to the Oval Wood Dish Company, of Travis City, Michigan, was saved.
In the spring of 1908 in company with John Peter Reiss and William A. Reiss, Mr. Anderson purchased the steamer J. S. Crouse, of which he became the master, a position which he has since occupied. The steamer engages in traffic on its own account dealing in lumber, tan bark, wood, etc., and as such Captain Anderson has to combine the duties of a business man with those of a sailor.
Captain Anderson was married March 25, 1898, to Miss Mollie Olson, who was a native of Sheboygan City and a daughter of Thomas and Annie Olson. Her father is a native of Norway and her mother of Sheboygan City where the family is now living. Unto Captain and Mrs. Anderson have been born six children of whom five are yet living, Harold Amil, the second in order of birth, having died at the age of two and a half years. The others are: Albany Thames, Madeline Adrien and Cecelia Adeline, now attending school; and Charles Mathew and Haakon Orville, yet at home.
Captain Anderson is connected with the Odd Fellows and the Elks, being a very popular member of those orders. He is well and favorably known not only in Sheboygan City but at most of the points of call on the great lakes. He is an efficient seaman, gives strict attention to his business, never fails in maintaining discipline on his vessel and has a record which commends him to the large number of patrons who annually give him a goodly amount of their business. The family stand high in Sheboygan, and Mr. Anderson is extensively known in shipping and business circles.
Information gathered and adapted from History of Sheboygan County, Wisconsin, Past and Present
Carl Zillier, Editor
Pubished by The S.J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1912, Chicago, IL