Laurice Christian ‘Chris’ Nicholson (1896-1991), Merchant Marines
Chris Nicholson visited Monhegan around 1915 while working with a fisherman from Cushing. He served in France during World War 1 and was honorably discharged in May, 1919. Within a year, Chris was renting a home and fishing on Monhegan. He married Elva Brackett in 1923. Throughout the 1930’s, Chris fished from Monhegan. During winters, Chris would leave the island for work. “L.C. Nicholson has been employed for the winter as seaman on the S.S. New York, according to the word received this week.” Monhegan Press, Vol.II September 30, 1939. Chris worked as an able seaman on the US Acadia before it was conscripted by the government during WWII and became the first US Army Hospital ship.
When war started in September, 1939 in Europe it did not first affect the shipping along the American coast. The City of Chattanooga was chartered by the US government to transport troops to Iceland in 1940. From September, 1941, the passenger service was ended and the ship only carried cargo.
In 1942, Chris was serving aboard the liberty ship John Davenport, a cargo ship built in Portland, Maine. He was stationed in Algiers as part of the North African Campaign. Chris was 46 years old in 1942 and the only Monhegan man to serve in both WWI and WWII.
After the war ended, Chris returned to Monhegan and resumed fishing. He was great friends with Doug and Harry Odom and helped them in the Monhegan Store. Doug and Harry held him in such high esteem that they named their boat Chris in honor of Nicholson. Chris was a respected member of the fishing community and he lived on the island until the late 1980’s when he moved to the mainland due to health problems.