Building Lives and Ships

Carpenters and riggers working on a vessel at the Virginia Shipbuilding Corporation.

Carpenters and riggers working on a vessel at the Virginia Shipbuilding Corporation (Courtesy of Library of Congress)

The majority of Scandinavians who worked at the Virginia Shipbuilding Corporation in the late 1910s and early 1920s were single men, probably with experience in shipyards elsewhere in the U.S. These immigrants were typically in their twenties, and did not live with their families but with other workers and/or immigrants. The 1920 US Census shows that most of them were skilled or semi-skilled workers; the shipyard needed carpenters, regulators, or riggers. Others were bolters, mechanists, riveters, and boil makers.  As seen in the 1920 US Census, Scandinavians might have been foreigners, but when it came to ships, they were natives. They brought their talents to the United States.

Name Age Country Trade
Anderson, Frank J. 46 Sweden Superintendant
Anderson, Fred H. 45 Denmark Assistant Superintendant
Niemi, Charles 34 Finland Regulator
Maki, John 31 Finland Regulator
Kalliola, Miles 37 Finland Regulator
Maki, Frank 39 Finland Regulator
Hill, Arvia 29 Finland Regulator
Hickkilla, Elmer 21 Finland Regulator
Jussilla, Jack 25 Finland Regulator
Maki, Frank 32 Finland Regulator
Elkland, Alfred 23 Sweden Carpenter
Johnson, Edward 23 Sweden Carpenter
Wallis, Charles 22 Finland Carpenter
Salo, Charles 24 Finland Carpenter
Savo, Henry 24 Finland Carpenter
Jalemon, John 28 Finland Carpenter
Halener, Harry 28 Finland Carpenter
Nisula, William 24 Finland Riveter
Allonen, Martin 25 Finland Riveter
Collins, Charles A. 39 Sweden Riveter
Mattonen, John 45 Finland Riveter
Perkakka, Victor 35 Finland Bolter
Lukkonen, Oscar 48 Finland Bolter
Pallander, Allen 33 Finland Bolter
Christensen, Peter B. 28 Denmark Bolter
Larsen, John 39 Finland Bolter Up
Hermanson, Herman 41 Finland Bolter Up
Salo, Charles 28 Finland Ship Corker
Salo, William 24 Finland Rigger
Waris, Charles 24 Finland Rigger
Anderson, Sigurd 34 Norway Rigger
Finnberg, Vaina 32 Sweden Rigger
Jamson, Hialmer 42 Finland Rigger
Randa, Bennie 30 Finland Rigger
Williamson, Sam 43 Finland Rigger
Peterson, Neils 27 Denmark Rigger
Eizer, Andlin 31 Finland Rigger
Suominen, Carl 32 Finland Rigger
Knutsen, William 24 Sweden Rigger
Knutson, Knut 36 Norway Boilmaker
Knutson, Olie 26 Norway Boilmaker
Anderson, Andrew 28 Sweden Boilmaker
Suntrom, Rudolph 26 Sweden Boilmaker
Newman, John D. 48 Sweden Machinist
Lagergren, Gustave M. 46 Sweden Civil Engineer
Mottennen, Carl 23 Finland Laborer
Forsty, William 22 Finland Caulker
Sarri, Frank 36 Finland Heater
Salo, Elmer 24 Finland Ship Fitter


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