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Rasmus Rasmussen (merchant)


Dec 16, 2021

Rasmus Rasmussen (1850–1921) was an American merchant and businessman of Manistee and Ludington, Michigan. He operated a Great Lakes schooner and was in the lumber business transporting lumber related material around Lake Michigan. He also owned and operated a boardinghouse and saloon.

Rasmus Rasmussen, circa 1880
Abbie in port 1905

. . . Rasmus Rasmussen (merchant) . . .

Rasmus Rasmussen was born in Denmark in May, 1850. He immigrated to the United States in 1870. He first went to Manistee, Michigan. There he met Anna Nelson, his future wife. She worked as a maid in a boarding house. Neither knew English, only Danish. They married and traveled from Manistee to Ludington by stagecoach to there set up household in a “Travelers’ Home.” They had nothing but the clothes on their back.[1]

Rasmussen was president of the Danish Aid-Society and was supervisor of the Fourth Ward in Ludington for 3 terms.[1] Rasmussen also served the ward as alderman and city assessor for many years.[2] The ward not only had a large population of Danish, but Polish and Germans as well.[1] Many of the men worked in the lumber industry in one capacity or another.[1]

Rasmussen operated a schooner called Abbie and was in the tanbark trade business for several years.[3] The schooner was 87 tons and built in 1886 on the site later occupied by the Abrahamson-Herheim Company on Lake Street in Ludington.[4] The 2-mast 83 ton schooner was 88 feet long by 22 feet wide and 6 feet deep.[5][6] The schooner that traveled the Great Lakes was named after a nineteenth-century Ludington postmaster’s wife in exchange for a windsock for the vessel.[7] The merchandise shipped consisted of local Native Americans’ collection of hemlock bark in Oceana County, Michigan. The bark was used for tanning leather. This bark along with wood was shipped with the schooner from Ludington to Chicago and Milwaukee, Wisconsin.[4] The schooner with a cargo of bark was totally wrecked 9 miles north of Manistee near the entrance to Portage Lake in Onekama on November 8, 1905.[8] There was no loss of life.[9] The four on board were saved by a light keeper and the Manistee Life Saving Service.[10]

. . . Rasmus Rasmussen (merchant) . . .

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. . . Rasmus Rasmussen (merchant) . . .