Story Image

View of ships in the willamette in the Portland Harbor, 1904.

Image: City of Portland Archives, A2004-002.114 (Used by permission)

Crimping

Using debt to crew a ship

In the 1880s, captains often relied on "crimps" to find crew members for their ships. The crimps sought out sailors who were searching for housing, food, entertainment, and clothes, and provided all they desired - on credit. The captain would then advance a sailor's wages to the crimp to cover these debts, forcing the sailor to join the ship to pay it all off.

Guest thumbnail

As Told By...

Doug Kenck-Crispin

Resident Historian

ORHistory.com, home of the podcast series Kick Ass Oregon History

Website: Kick Ass Oregon History

Doug Kenck-Crispin is the Ribald Resident Historian from www.orhistory.com. He researches, writes and co-produces the bi-weekly podcast series Kick Ass Oregon History, recently featured in the Portland Mercury, Portland Monthly and The Oregonian. He has a BA in History, and is nearing completion of his MA in Public History, with an emphasis on the History of the Pacific Northwest (Portland State University). A lifelong resident of the Pacific Northwest, Doug enjoys a good yarn — the more outlandish and unseemly the better — especially when they are true!

Location Arrow Show my location

Nearby Stories
The Unstoppable August Erickson History of Old Town 634 feet
A Laborer's Retreat History of Old Town 634 feet
Erickson's: Yesterday and Today History of Old Town 634 feet
Southwest Second & Burnside Worker's History 686 feet
The Memorial to Francis Murnane Worker's History 845 feet
The Oregon Nikkei Legacy Center Japanese-American History 898 feet
Freeways to Greenways History of Old Town 1003 feet
Portland's Chinatown Gate Chinese Immigrants 1003 feet
Never to Forget: The Japanese American Historical Plaza Japanese-American History 1056 feet
A Hundred Gifts of Thanks Japanese-American History 1109 feet