Engineer Peter Britz
Engineer Peter Britz, a prominent marine engineer sailing out of Marine City, has by virtue of ability come rapidly to the front in his calling. He is a son of John J. and Mary Christina (Sicken) Britz, and was born July 24, 1870. His parents are natives of Cologne, Germany, and came to the United States about the year 1852, first locating in Detroit, afterward purchasing a farm of 120 acres on the St. Clair river, upon which they settled. The mother is a sister of Capt. M. Sicken, a wealthy and prominent vessel owner of Marine City. Peter Britz, the subject of this sketch, is the youngest of nine children, and remained on the farm until he was eighteen years of age, acquiring a liberal public-school education in the meanwhile.
In the spring of 1888 Mr. Britz went to Buffalo and entered the employ of Samuel McCutcheon as an apprentice to the steam-fitting and machinist's trade, remaining two years. It was on June 26, 1890, that he commenced sailing as water-tender on the steamer Susquehanna, soon becoming oiler, closing the season on the steamer Matoa in the same capacity. The next two years he shipped as oiler on the steamers Charles A. Eddy, William H. Gilbert, City of London, and the Seneca, a Lehigh Valley steamer, working during the winter months as steamfitter. In the spring of 1893 he joined the steamer Seneca as third engineer, and when she laid up in ordinary, he went as fireman on the M. Sicken with his brother, in order that he might get in his time, and was granted an engineer's license the next spring by Mr. Schumacker, of Buffalo, for 900-ton boats, and was appointed second engineer of the steamer Wotan, holding that berth two seasons. In the spring of 1896 he received first-class papers, and joined the steamer Katahdin as second engineer, with William Brake. The next season he was second on the steamer E. M. Peck. It was in 1898 that he was appointed chief engineer on the steamer Edward H. Jencks, running her until August, and closing the season on the steamer Wotan as chief.
On February 9, 1896, Mr. Britz was wedded to Miss Mary Helen, daughter of Joseph and Margaret (Meyers) Bammel, the former of whom is retired farmer of Marine City. One son, Urban A. B. Britz, was born to this union. The family homestead is in Marine City.
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This version of Volume II is based, with permission, on the work of the great volunteers at the Marine Captains Biographies site. To them goes the credit for reorganizing the content into some coherent order. The biographies in the original volume are in essentially random order.
Some of the transcription work was also done by Brendon Baillod, who maintains an excellent guide to Great Lakes Shipwreck Research.