SWANSON, Axel (c. 1880-?), was a fisherman from Sweden, known as "Big Swede", who lived on Santa Cruz Island in the 1930s. He is listed in the 1930 census as having immigrated in 1900, naturalized, and single.
Pier Gherini wrote :
- “The ‘Big Swede’ whose name was Axel Swanson, was a man some 240 or 250 pounds. I recall him telling me as a child how he drank ‘fusil oil’ because he got a kick out of it.”
Helen Caire noted [1993: 142]:
- “Axel, the big Swede who had preceded [Kangaroo Fred at China Harbor] for several years, had drowned.”
Francis Gherini recalled:
- “At Scorpion, the first fisherman that I remember was Alex Swanson (the ‘Big Swede’). He had been a mate on the Santa Catalina Island passenger boat.”