CRISAFY (Crisasy, Crisaci, and Crisacy), THOMAS, officer, Knight of Malta, originally from Messina in Sicily; d. 29 Feb. 1696 at Montreal.
A first cousin of the Prince de Monaco, Crisafy belonged to the house of Grimaldi, one of the most powerful families in Italy. He took part in the Sicilian uprising against the prince who ruled the island in the name of the king of Spain. With his elder brother, the Marquis Antoine de Crisafy*, he declared himself on the side of the king of France. As soon as the revolt was suppressed and peace restored, their possessions were confiscated, and they asked help and protection from France. They were both reduced to accepting command of a company of colonial regular troops bound for Canada, where they arrived probably in 1684.
Thomas Crisafy conducted himself gallantly. He served under Philippe de Rigaud* de Vaudreuil. In 1690 it was he who came to the help of the mother of Madeleine de Verchères [Jarret**] when the former was attacked by a band of Iroquois. The following year he drove off a detachment of Oneidas at Repentigny. He was also the right-hand man of Governor Buade de Frontenac, who in 1695 instructed him to go and relieve Fort Cataracoui (Frontenac). Governors Frontenac and Brisay* de Denonville, as well as Intendant Bochart* de Champigny, commended him highly to the minister, but in vain: they did not succeed in obtaining for him the pension that he sought.
“One could not determine,” said Charlevoix* of him, “what one should most admire; his skill in war, his shrewdness in counsel, his conduct in the undertakings that were entrusted to him, his fearlessness, or his presence of mind in action…”
Charlevoix, Histoire, II, III. NYCD (O’Callaghan and Fernow), IX. Royal Fort Frontenac (Preston and Lamontagne). BRH, VI (1900), 320, 346f.; XXIII (1917), 53; XXIX (1923), 315f.; XXXII (1926), 524–28; XL (1934), 341f. Tanguay, Dictionnaire.