Jordahn
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A HISTORY OF THE CAPTAIN CARL OLUF JORDAHN FAMILY

By Ellen Jordahn

The Captain Carl Oluf Jordahn family moved to Nederland, Texas, in the year 1937.

Captain Carl O. Jordahn was born in Kolding, Denmark, on March 3, 1896. He attended public schools in Kolding, graduating at the age of fourteen. Captain Jordahn was a true SAILOR, rather than seaman, inasmuch as he first went to sea for many years, manning ships with sails, schooners, square-riggers, etc., where he had to climb onto the masts and spars in order to furl and unfurl the sails.

In 1919, he received his first master's and pilot's licenses, although he had already sailed for many years previous to that. Family traditions reveal that he sailed to Russia as a cook when he was ten years old because he wanted to taste the goof caviar that he had heard so much about, and that he sailed every summer thereafter until he finished his formal schooling the age of fourteen.

In World War I, he worked his way to America in order to sail for the United States on American troop ships, carrying soldiers to France. After his first three ships were torpedoed and sunk, he paid his own way back by working on ships so that he could sail once more under the Stars and Stripes. Thereafter, he was able to become an American citizen, and he was naturalized in New York City on November 4, 1920.

During his lifetime of sailing, he made many trips around the world, sailed in Alaskan waters during the gold rush days around 1917, and he was able to transact business for his shipping line in every port of the world that his ship docked in.

During World War II, he captained the lead tanker in ship conveys in the Pacific Ocean, in Japanese waters, carrying bunker and fuel oil for the United States Navy's Seventh Fleet. Captain Jordahn retired from the sea in 1961, and he died on November 14, 1973.

On December 23, 1925, Captain Carl Jordahn married Olga Karen Elisabeth Bager, who was born in Kolding, Denmark, on September 30, 1898. She graduated from the public schools in Kolding, after which she also completed and graduated from business school. She was a bilingual secretary for the soap factory in Kolding at the time of her marriage. She was the first member of her family ever to leave Denmark, moving to America soon after her marriage to Captain Jordahn in Kolding, Denmark. They sailed from Copenhagen to New york in January, 1926.

At first, they lived in West Palm Beach, Florida, where their two daughters were born, namely, Ellen Beata Jordahn and Inge May Jordahn.

In 1935, the family moved back to Kolding, Denmark. Ellen and Inge were to have a Danish education prior to returning to the United States for their American education. The Danish period would enable their two daughters to make an intelligent choice for citizenship and a homeland. Because of their antecedents and their bilingual education and upbringing, Ellen and Inge Jordahn could function as easily in Denmark as in the United States. Olga Jordahn was naturalized in West Palm Beach, Florida, on November 16, 1929, and she died in Nederland on Nobember 20, 1982.

Ellen Jordahn attended Palmetto School in West Palm Beach, Florida; the Real Skole in Kolding, Denmark; and the Nederland school from grade three until her graduation in 1945, finishing as valedictorian of her class. She earned her Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Sam Houston State University in 1949; her Master of Science degree in Business Education in 1960; and she did graduate work at many schools, including the Universities of Maine and Houston; Colorado State University, and Louisiana State University. She taught business subjects for thirty-eight years in high schools and colleges.

Inge Jordahn attended schools in Denmark and in Nederland, graduating in 1948. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in History and Government from the University of Texas at Austin in 1952, and her Master of Arts in Government from the same college in 1960.

Inge taught at Victoria College, Victoria, Texas and worked as a regional director and camping specialist for Camp Fire Girls Incorporated in Wichita Falls and Beaumont, Texas; in Albuquerque, New Mexico; and Baton Rouge, Louisiana. For more than twenty-two years, she has worked for Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge in the Admissions Office, handling foreign students' and graduate students' admissions. In addition, she has an honorary position with the foreign student admissions program under the Department of State. Her geographic areas are in the Middle East and Far East and her special programs include petroleum refining, sugar refining, and forestry.

(Ed.'s Note: On two separate occasions, the editor enjoyed visiting with Captain Carl Oluf Jordahn in his home. He went there in search of information about sailing ships, and found that the captain had many books and pictures to look at and much information to offer. While sailing American flag ships, Captain Jordahn probably saw as many or more German and Japanese torpedoes than anyone afloat during the World Wars. He also showed the editor the 'souvenirs' from those wars that he carried to his grave - the scars from a badly burned and mangled leg, caused by one of those torpedoes.--W. T. Block.)

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