Manistique’s longest serving light keeper, Walter Ottosen, was born at Washington Island, Wisconsin on July 18, 1876. He was the youngest of three surviving children born to Danish immigrants, Lars Peter Ottosen and Marie (Nielson) Ottosen. Walter’s siblings included eight year old George and four year old Morris. Walter never knew his mother who died when he was a small child in October of 1878.
Lars Ottosen worked as a cooper, making barrels for fishermen to preserve their catch in salt brine. Unable to both care for his young family and earn a living, Ottosen sailed to Rowley’s Bay on the Door Peninsula. There he found Christine Pedersen and convinced her to return with him to Washington Island to care for his three young sons. Christine and the boys bonded almost immediately, forming a loving and nurturing relationship. Lars and Christine were married less than a month later on July 4, 1879.