Captain Joseph Criqui
Captain Joseph Criqui, one of the oldest captains on the Great Lakes, was born at Buffalo, N.Y., in 1831, a son of Anthony and Elizabeth (Bites) Criqui, both natives of Germany. The father, who was a shoemaker by trade, was born about the year 1802 in Strassburg, Alsace-Lorraine (at that time a province of France), and died in 1850. This honored couple were first married in the city of Buffalo, a traveling missionary performing the ceremony. Their children were as follows: Catharine, Joseph, Lany, Anthony, Mary (deceased), Elizabeth, John, Mary, Michael, Theresa, Frances and William.
Joseph Criqui obtained a somewhat limited education by attending night school (an English one) at Checktawaga, N.Y., and at Lancaster in a German school. At the age of thirteen years he commenced life on the lakes as cook on the schooner-scow Liberdon, which sailed from Buffalo to Conneaut and intermediate ports, then went before the mast for one season, afterward becoming wheelsman, making two trips as a deck hand on the propeller Pauhassett for the seasons of 1847-48, under Capt. Robert Hart. In 1849 he sailed on the propeller Indiana, in the same capacity, and then (seasons of 1850-51) was second mate and wheelsman on the Ohio, following which he, in 1852, went as second mate of the Genesee Chief, also in the Minnesota and in the propeller Saginaw (1853). In the fall of the latter about three years' sojourn there he returned to Buffalo, and took a trip on the propeller Racine, with Captain Brett, to Chicago and return, following with a season (1857) in the same boat as second mate. He was then on the Queen City for a time, and next on the Forest Queen with Capt. Lyman Huntz. He was then for about three years mate of the propeller Milwaukee until November 28, 1859, when she collided with the J.H. Tiffany near Skillagalee lighthouse, Straits of Mackinac, both vessels being lost with several lives.
His next employment was as mate with Capt. Lyman Hunt on the propeller Edith, after which he was mate on the New York Central line while Thomas Doyle, was agent, and on the Euphrates, which was lost off Cedar Point, Lake Erie. The Marquette was the next boat upon which he was mate, and from her was transferred to the Forest Queen as master, remaining on her about five years, beginning with 1862. For the season of 1867 Captain Criqui was master of the Badger State, of the Western Transportation Company, and, for the four following seasons, of the Free State, same line, which was lost on Gray's Reef in 1871. During the remainder of the time Captain Cruiqui was on the lakes he served on the Pittsburgh in 1872-73. In about 1880 he went to California to act as master of the vessel owned by his brother-in-law; but the vessel being lost he returned the next spring. In 1881 he went on the Olean, then on the Nevada, St. Louis, Inter Ocean, Shrigley and Saginaw Valley. He also sailed a naptha tug on a trip to Saginaw for a party from Philadephia, and they were only four days making the run, although they were caught in heavy weather on Lake Erie, and the craft was a small one, measuring forty feet long and eight feet beam. Captain Criqui had good luck during his many years' experience, and retired from the water only because of an injury to one of his limbs which permanently disabled him.
Captain Criqui was married at Buffalo in 1862 to Miss Terisa Rink, from Alsace. They have one son, Charles A., who is a plumber by trade, and is engaged in business for himself at No. 923 Main street; and three daughters: Josephine and Elizabeth, both in Empire City, Ore., and Matilda, at home.
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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.