Port Washington in Ozaukee County, Wisconsin — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
Those That Fished
William Smith brought his family to Amsterdam, Wisconsin, just 15 miles north of Port, in 1848. He and his son Gilbert used a 100 foot seine net to catch whitefish. Gilbert's sons, Delos and Herbert, the "original" Smith Brothers, struck out on their own, moving south, first to Blakesville, then Sucker Brook and finally Port Washington in 1896. Their brother Roy joined them in 1900. Delos' sons Lester and Oliver, followed by their sons carried on the Smith fishing operations until 1988. By then the family's large fleet of fish tugs had been reduced to one boat, the OLIVER H. SMITH. This tug was to become the last fishing boat based in Port Washington's
Henry, George and Jacob Van Ells emigrated from Holland to Jones Island, Milwaukee, in the mid 1850's and worked for other commercial fishermen until they bought the MARIAH B.M. in 1880. George and the MARIAH B.M. came to Port Washington in the late 1880's and the rest of the Van Ells settled here in 1890. A land dispute on Jones Island was the catalyst for the families' move. The Van Ells business was located at the west end of the west slip. Fathers and sons, uncles and nephews worked side by side for 40 years. The last to actively fish, Captain Andrew Van Ells laid up his boat and rig in 1930.
August and Berth Ewig emigrated to Jones Island in 1882. Soon thereafter he was joined by his brother Herman, his wife and five children. They settled among the German and Kashubian (Polish) immigrants, most of whom had come from the Baltic area and were people of the sea; sailors, shipwrights and fishermen. Herman and August brought with them fishing skills learned on the Baltic, joining forces, their first steam tug was the HANNAH SULLIVAN. The two families fished and lived together in the insular community until l894 when they made the move to Port Washington. Sons Gustav and
John "J.T." Bossler was born in Port Washington in 1860. Son of a butcher and later sheriff, J.T. became interested in fishing and learned his trade by working for many of our city's pioneer fishermen. He then set out on his own and formed J.T. Bossler and Sons Fish Company. J.T. and his wife, Susanna, had five sons and a daughter who assisted on shore and aboard their first tug, the OVER THE TOP. They later had the steam tug J.T. BOSSLER built, followed by the BOSSLER BROS. The sons and grandsons of J.T. carried on the family name through the decades, finally leaving the lake around 1950. Dan Bossler and Arthur Reiter bought the BOSSLER BROS. in 1951, but the venture was short lived.
Picture captions (top to bottom): The Ewigs and Crew; Left to right: Eddie Gross, Richard, J.T. and Billy Bossler, Gip Klein Back: Nick and Dan Bossler; Left to right: Henry Yurk, Harry Klein, Joe Zukairus and George Klein; Diesel Tug, Bossler Brothers; Smith Bros. Pile
Location. 43° 23.23′ N, 87° 52.06′ W. Marker is in Port Washington, Wisconsin, in Ozaukee County. Touch for map. The marker is located in Rotary Park at the end of East Grand Avenue. Marker is at or near this postal address: East Grand Avenue, Port Washington WI 53074, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Art of Commercial Fishing (here, next to this marker); They Had To Go A Fishin' (here, next to this marker); A Lakefront in Transition (here, next to this marker); Of Valor and Sorrow (here, next to this marker); a different marker also named Those That Fished (here, next to this marker); Port Washington State Bank Centennial Pavilion (a few steps from this marker); Lake Michigan Habitat (within shouting distance of this marker); Sauk Creek Habitat Improvement Project (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Port Washington.
More about this marker. The marker is part of the Commercial Fishermen's Memorial.
Categories. • Industry & Commerce • Waterways & Vessels •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on September 20, 2015, by Devon Polzar of Port Washington, Wisconsin. This page has been viewed 175 times since then and 26 times this year. Last updated on September 23, 2015, by Devon Polzar of Port Washington, Wisconsin. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on September 20, 2015, by Devon Polzar of Port Washington, Wisconsin. 4. submitted on September 21, 2015, by Devon Polzar of Port Washington, Wisconsin. 5. submitted on September 22, 2015. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.