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Sea Captains: San Francisco 1800s

Captain E. M. Nielsen

January 1, 1912, San Francisco Call, San Francisco, California, USA

Steamer Jason Escapes Foundering a Hundred Times in Far East 
Captain E. M. Nielsen Remains on Bridge 72 Hours Guiding Vessel

To be tossed about on the high sea as a chip during a terrific typhoon when steaming off the Chinese coast several weeks ago was the experience which the Norwegian steamer Jason was forced to go through. The steamer arrived here early yesterday morning.

So dangerous did Captain E. M. Nielsen consider the situation that he remained on the bridge for 72 hours without sleep or rest.

The Jason left Karatsu, a port in the orient, December 8 and was only two days out when the typhoon was encountered. The tempest started with terrific wind storm from the northwest. Captain Nielsen thought it would be necessary to put back to port, but on the second day of the storm when he attempted to put about he found it impossible.

On the third day the seas ran so high that they broke over the entire vessel. The crew was ordered below decks and the hatches nailed down. The only persons allowed above decks were the captain and his first mate. Time and again the stanch little steamer rose on high billows, while the propellers whirled their force out of the water, and then plunged down into one of the valleys of the ocean. The ship was shaken from bow to stern and it was feared that each plunge would be the last.

The fury of the wind and the force of the seas threw the Jason completely out of its course. When the typhoon abated Captain Nielsen found that he was several hundred miles off his proper line of navigation.

Origins of Nielson/Nielsen

Recorded in many spelling variations and found throughout Europe and Scandanavia, this is a surname of ancient origins. An estimated eighty spellings include: MacNeill, O'Neill, Neal, Neale, Neil, Niall, Neill, or the patronymics Neals, Neilsen, Neilson, Nielson, Neelson, Nealon, and Nelson. The origination is from the pre-7th century Gaelic name 'Niall' meaning 'champion'. It is claimed that the personal name was 'borrowed' from Ireland by the Norse-Vikings, and introduced into Scandanavia as 'Njall', before being taken to Normandy by the 'Norsemen' in the 8th and 9th centuries. It was then 'returned' to the British Isles with the Norman Conquest of 1066, as Neil or Nell. Recorded in surviving ancient charters is that the O'Neil's were the chief clan of County Tyrone in Northern Ireland from the 10th century. In Scotland during the reign of King James Vth of Scotland, the Neilsons were the hereditary Lords of Bute. The first recorded spelling of the family name is supposed to be that of John Neilson, dated 1314, in the Royal Charter of Craigcatte, during the reign of King Robert of Scotland (1306 -1329). Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation.

Visitors to Ancient America.
Visitors to Ancient America:
The Evidence for European and Asian Presence in America Prior to Columbus
Visitors to Ancient America.
William F. McNeil
For many years people have speculated that Europeans visited America before Columbus in the late 15th century and have presented various pieces of evidence in support of their arguments. This book synthesises such evidence combining a historical overview of early American history with particular case studies pertaining to sites, inscriptions, artefacts and human remains which have formed the basis of arguments for and against such claims. William McNeil's study covers such subjects as ancient ship technology and capability, navigation and knowledge of winds and currents across the Atlantic prior to the 15th century. He assesses whether theories of Viking journeys to the coast of North America are justified, whether the Icelandic sagas are a record of such travels, and whether there are any other sources in European literature that may be interpreted as chronicling voyages to America.

Dansk Etymologisk.
Dansk Etymologisk Ordbog: Ordenes Historie
(Gyldendals Rode Ordboger) (Danish Edition)
Dansk Etymologisk.
Niels Age Nielsen
Text in Danish.

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Copyright © 1998-2017. All U.S.A. and International Rights Reserved. D. Blethen Adams Levy.

Sources: As noted on entries and through research centers including National Archives, San Bruno, California; San Francisco Main Library History Collection; Maritime Library, San Francisco, California, various Maritime Museums around the world.

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