When he arrived in Sarasota for the winter with the performers and other roustabouts, he fell in love with the picturesque little fishing village, and a feisty Indian-Irish woman named Irene Gallagher. He and Irene were married in 1920, and the young man, who was quickly mastering the English language, settled in to stay.
Irene's brother, Jessie Gallagher, the best commercial fisherman at that time, fished the waters between Punta Gorda and Sarasota from 1920 to 1985 and taught his new brother-in-law all there was to know about the local waters. Jessie was married to Olla Roberts, whose family had settled in Immokalee and had acquired some 150,000 acres of prime land there; he was fiercely independent and wanted no part of ranching. He favored working the open waters and keeping his own hours. Even at age 85, he was STILL pulling in his own nets and setting his own traps.
It was this kind of heritage and work ethic that Claus Wallin handed down through the family, first to his son Walter, followed by his grandsons, Walt and Tom Wallin. The boys grew up in Sarasota, attended local schools, and carried on the family tradition of working as commercial fisherman, learning the trade as young boys.
Tom says, "It was a pristine area then, and Sarasota was recognized as a commercial fishing village. We used
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In 1918, a young Swede named Claus Wallin decided he wanted no more of farm life, and ran off to America with the Ringling Circus, which was making an appearance there.
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