Captain Louis L. Olson, commanding officer of the J. H. Stevens, a lake steamer of Sheboygan, belonging to his father and himself, has been a seaman on the great lakes for twenty-seven years and a captain in the lake shipping service some seven or eight years. Captain Olson was born in Sheboygan county, September 4, 1872, the son of Captain John and Louisa (Johnson) Olson. The father, of whom a separate sketch appears elsewhere in this volume, was born in Denmark, May 2, 1851, and the paternal grandfather, Ole Peterson, who was engaged in farming in that country, passed away in 1871.
Captain John Olson received a common-school education and worked on his father's farm until he attained the age of seventeen years. He then began a sea-faring life, sailing the salt water as a common seaman for four years of his young manhood. Having heard of the opportunities of the new world, he emigrated to America and settled in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where in 1877 he bought the schooner Cynthia Gordon. In 1881 he came to Sheboygan and purchased a farm two miles south of the city, where he resided until 1888, when he bought the schooner J. H. Stevens and commanded that vessel on the great lakes until 1900, when he retired from active work and settled on his farm. Here he resided until 1909, when he removed to Sheboygan, where he occupies a residence on South Eighth street. He was married to Louisa Johnson, a daughter of Captain Martin Johnson, who was a pioneer of Sheboygan county. Captain Johnson also followed the sea and ship industry, having built many of the largest boats in Sheboygan, where he is still living, at the age of eighty-seven years.
Louis L. Olson received a good common-school education, after which he took a course in a business college. However, at the early age of thirteen years, having commenced the life of a sailor, he determined to make that his life business and for the past twenty-six years has been actively engaged in that business, sailing on the great lakes. He saved money from his wages and after a time purchased an interest in the J. H. Stevens, which had previously been owned by his father. Upon the retirement of the father to his farm, the son, Louis L. Olson, took command of the vessel and has been her commanding officer since that time.
In 1895 Captain Olson was married to Miss Bertha M. Haak, a daughter of William H. and Wilhelmina (Nehrlich) Haak, who are very old settlers in this county. To Mr. and Mrs, Olson two children have been born, Gertrude and Irene, both of whom are attending school. Captain Olson is a member of the Odd Fellows lodge and also of the Masonic fraternity. He is prominent in sailing and shipping circles, having an excellent reputation and standing with those connected with lake shipping. He is also well and favorably known in Sheboygan, where he has resided all his life.
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