Keeper Bio: Andersen, Captain Alexander

Captain Alexander Andersen

Date of Service: 1912 – 1937

1869:  Born in Norway

1883:  Signs on as a mess boy on a ship sailing to Australia, South America, and Africa.

1895: Becomes a naturalized citizen of the United States.

1896:  Returns to Norway to marry Ingeborg, and then returns to the United States.

1899:  His wife and child, Jenny, age 3, join Alexander Andersen in the United States. They raise 4 girls. He is employed by the Maryland Transportation Line on tugboats sailing between Baltimore and North Carolina ports.

1912: Leaves the Maryland Transportation Line to work on lightships, where he serves as mate on LV-52 at Fenwick Island Shoal, Delaware. The ship was a 118-feet long iron vessel powered by steam.

1913:  Served as a Mate on LV-49, it was assigned to the Cape Charles station off Virginia. Salary $840/yr.

1915:  Promoted to Master and transferred to command LV-80, Cape Lookout Shoals, NC, where he was stationed 15 years. The ship was a 129-foot steel vessel powered by steam. His salary was $1,260 per year.

1916:  On October 24, the ship is blown off station in a bad storm, returning October 26.

1924:  The lightship LV-80 is moved to the Cape Charles station off the coast of Virginia.

1930:  Transferred to serve as Captain of LV-116, Lightship Chesapeake, being constructed at the Charleston Drydock Company. The LS-116 was placed in service on July 31st, 1930, and assigned to the Fenwick Island Shoal station off Delaware. 

1933:  The ship is equipped with a radio beacon. The ship is relocated to Chesapeake, Virginia.

1935:   The original fog signal is changed from an electric diaphragm horn to an air diaphone.

1936:  On September 17 – 18, the ship, adrift in the track of a hurricane, drops the spare anchor and runs ahead for 10 hours to reduce dragging. The motor launch and whaleboat are damaged. It is relieved for repair on September 19 and returns to the station on September 25.

1937:  Retires on October 6th, after serving 25 years in the United States Lighthouse Service.

1940:  Captain Alexander Andersen dies in 1940 at age 70-71. He is buried @ Oak Lawn Cemetery, Baltimore, Maryland.

 Sources: Chesapeake Chapter Keeper database; Annual Report of the Lighthouse Board, various years, The Baltimore Sun, various issues



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