Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: Frederick “Fred” Hokanson (c1875-1955)

Steamboat operator.

Born in Sweden around 1875, he immigrated to the United States of America in 1892, settling at Duluth, Minnesota. He began his captaincy on the Great Lakes in 1901 and acquired his Master’s papers six years later, then transported passengers and freight until 1912. Near this time, he married Frida Eureka Norgren (c1881-1951) and had five children: John Carlton Hokanson, William Fredrik Hokanson (1903-1979), and Raymond Gordon Hokanson (1911-1968), Marguerite Eleanor Hokanson (1908-2001, wife of Edward John Donald), and Edna Josephine Hokanson (1917-2010, wife of Mr. Godfrey).

He and the family moved to Canada on Christmas Eve of 1912, taking up a homestead at Riverton. He farmed, cut and hauled wood, raised cattle, and sold milk until 1927, when local overland flooding ruined his farm, prompting his return to the waters. He ferried gold miners between Riverton and Hole River before joining the SS Granite Rock as Captain, then hauled lumber from camps around Lake Winnipeg to the Brown and Rutherford Lumber Mill at Winnipeg. During the summer of 1944, he was on a government-owned vessel hauling uranium along the Mackenzie and Slave rivers from Norman Wells and Fort Smith. A ship captain for 20 years, he stoked the company’s furnaces during the winter months. On retiring his post, his crew gifted him a gold signet ring.

He died at his Winnipeg home, 512 Bannerman, on 28 December 1955 and was buried in the Elmwood Cemetery.


Birth registrations, Minnesota Historical Society.

Marriage registrations, Manitoba Vital Statistics.

Obituary [Frida Eureka Hokanson], Winnipeg Free Press, 9 March 1951, page 24.

“Capt. W. Simpson safely docked boat twice given up as lost on eventful trip,” Winnipeg Free Press, 25 April 1952, page 13.

“Former Skipper, F. Hokanson dies,” Winnipeg Free Press, 29 December 1955, page 29.

Obituary [Raymond Hokanson], Winnipeg Free Press, 24 June 1968, page 30.

Obituary [William F. Hokanson], Winnipeg Free Press, 19 January 1979, page 36.

Obituary [Marguerite Eleanor Hokanson], Winnipeg Free Press, 21 March 2001, page C6.

Obituary [Edna Josephine Godfrey], Winnipeg Free Press, 17 April 2010, page C15.

This page was prepared by Nathan Kramer.

Page revised: 30 May 2015

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