Captain John Prindiville
Captain Prindiville was born September 7, 1826, in County Kerry, Ireland, twelve miles from the lakes of Killarney. In 1835 he came to the United States, and after one year spent in Detroit he, in 1836, removed to Chicago. His education was received in the private schools of that city, which preceded[sic] the public institutions, Edward Murphy being his first teacher. But the education of the young lad was directed largely to the practical affairs of life, an instance of which was that he could understand the language of the Indian tribes then dwelling on the shores of the lakes. In 1837 our subject became cabin boy in the schooner Hiram Pierson, the first vessel built in Chicago. He continued to sail in various vessels till, in 1845, he became master of the schooner Liberty. During the three following seasons he was successively master of the schooners Ark, Col. Benton and Outward Bound, and in 1849 of the brigantine Scammon.
An important incident in the life of Captain Prindiville during the season of 1850 was the charter of the brigantine Minnesota, of which he was then master and part owner, to sail from the lakes to Europe. The Minnesota received from England permission to take the trip, and leaving Chicago October 15, 1850, sailed from the Bruce Mines, Georgian Bay, where she loaded with copper ore, destined for Swansea, Wales. She reached Montreal November 12, but the pilot ran the vessel on the rocks while about entering the LaChine canal. By unloading the vessel she was got off and repaired, December 12, but it was then too late to put to sea, and she lay for the winter in Montreal. Thus a Chicago- built vessel, commanded by a Chicago boy, twenty-four years of age, was the first American vessel from the American side to attempt the voyage from the lakes to England. The ore was reshipped from Montreal, and the Minnesota returned to the lakes. Captain Prindiville continued to sail her until 1855. In that year he became interested in the propeller Adriatic, and thereafter confined his lake property to steam vessels. He later became interested in the first line of lake tugs in Chicago. He possessed and practiced in his daily life the traits of unselfishness and generosity, and became one of the most popular masters on the lakes.
Captain Prindiville closed his active sailing upon the lakes in 1869, and since that time he has been interested mainly in vessel property, at one time owning part and directing one of the largest fleets upon the lakes. As a master he was fearless in danger, and for his bravery he is widely known as the "storm king." He is a splendid specimen of the old-time captain and vesselman, and there is not upon the lakes a sailor of many years who does not know and admire his typical sailing qualities. Off Chicago he has saved many lives, for which he never claimed either praise or pay; in fact, the greater the danger, the more pleasure there was for him.
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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.