Joseph J. Krach
Joseph J. Krach, who has had a varied experience as engineer on the lakes and rivers, nominally retired from the engine room in May, 1891, to take charge of the mechanical department of the Meisenheimer Printing Company, doing business at No. 330 Clinton street, Milwaukee, Wis., in which he is a stockholder. It was not his purpose, however, in retiring from active service on the lakes to sever his connection with his shipmates, as he remains an ardent member of the Marine Engineers Beneficial Association. He is a strong advocate of the principles of the order and has upheld them on all occasions, and has ever been active and earnest in performing any duties that devolved upon him. He joined the association in 1883, and since that date has been three times elected to the office of president of Milwaukee Lodge No 9. He has also been chosen as delegate to represent his lodge in the national conventions at Milwaukee and Chicago; also at Charleston, S. C., but press of business at the printing office prevented his attendance. He has generally had charge of the publication of the Engineers' Directory.
Joseph J. Krach was born on July 17, 1853, at St. Louis, Mo., and the son of Joseph and Elizabeth (Tingey) Krach, the father being a native of Ellingen, Bavaria, and the mother of Barnet, England. They were married in England and came to the United States in 1851, locating at St. Louis, Mo., which city they reached by way of the St. Lawrence river, the lakes, Illinois canal and the Mississippi. After reaching his new home the father started in the shoemaking business, doing a large share of custom work. He died in 1887 at the age of seventy-five; the mother, being in her seventy-sixth year, is tenderly cared for by her son Joseph.
Joseph J. acquired a liberal public-school education in St. Louis, and during vacations was always around the water, making voyages on the Mississippi, between St. Paul and New Orleans, and on the Missouri, Red and Tennessee rivers to various points. After leaving school he learned the printer's trade, and in 1874 went to Milwaukee. The next year he shipped as fireman on the tug F. C. Maxon, followed by a season in each of the tugs Ed L. Anthony, J. B. Merrill and W. K. Muir in the same capacity.
In 1879 Mr. Krach took out an engineer's license, and after coming out on the tug F. C. Maxon, he was appointed engineer of the Levi Johnson, and took her to Kenosha, Wis., where he was engaged waiting on a dredge. The next year he came out on the tug S. S. Coe, but closed the season on the F. C. Maxon. That winter he went fishing out of Racine with Capt. Frank Lovell in the tug R. Wetzell. In 1881 he entered the employ of Parker & Maxon, and ran the tugs S. S. Coe and F. C. Maxon alternately until September, 1883, when he was appointed to the tug Arctic, of the Goodrich Transportation Company, operating at Grand Haven, and ran her until July of the next season, when he was appointed engineer of the tug Welcome, commanded by Capt. Charles Moody. In the spring of 1885, he came out in the tug Uncle Sam, closing the season on the Robbie Dunham, after which he joined the steamer Hilton, and in 1887 the steamer New Era, leaving her to help fit out the new steamer William H. Wolf, to which he had been appointed second engineer. In the summer of 1888 he also assisted in fitting out the new steamer Helena, and was appointed second engineer, Scott Pratt being chief. The following spring he joined the steamer New Era as chief, and in 1890 the St. Joseph in the same capacity, running her until May, 1891, when he resigned to go into business as above stated. He installed the entire steam plant of the Meisenheimer Printing Company, assumed charge of all the mechanical appliances, and fills the office of foreman of the composing rooms. During the winter months he was generally employed in the machine shops of Thomas Sheriffs, of Milwaukee, on repair work of steamboats.
The following facts are witnesses of his bravery: While engaged in tugging he assisted in saving the lives of part of the crew of the bark Tanner, the captain and cook being drowned; and also, with the assistance of the crew, while acting as engineer of the tug F. C. Maxon (1881) rescued a prominent grocer and son from drowning in the West Menominee river, their horse having backed over the dock. It was during the year of 1885 when on the tug Uncle Sam, having in tow a lumber schooner, that he observed the main boom to jibe and knock a sailor overboard. Quick as a flash the tow line was cast off and Capt. Steve Green notified, and the vessel put to full speed toward the drowning man, who was rescued just as he was disappearing. He has twenty-one issues of engineer's license.
Mr. Krach was wedded to Miss Loretta, daughter of Matthew and Mary (Barry) Dunn, of Queenstown, Ireland, on December 7, 1886. The children born to this union are Edward T., a graduate from the Milwaukee high schools; Myra L., Ruby A., Viola E. and Beulah. The family homestead is in Town Lake, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
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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.