Was born in Butler county, Pennsylvania, in the year 1828, where he remained until the year 1843. He then went to Pittsburg, where he completed his education, and in the fall of 1846 he graduated from college with full honors. He then taught school for three years, during which time he devoted his leisure hours to the study of law, and in 1851 was admitted to the bar, soon after which he was elected a delegate to the democratic state convention which nominated Hon. Wm. Bigler for governor. Mr. Criswell pursued the practice of his profession in the city of Pittsburg until 1857, when he emigrated to the state of Iowa, where he continued the practice of law until 1860. Becoming dissatisfied with Iowa, he left that state and located in Pittsfield.
Mr. Criswell was a democrat up to the time of the celebrated Dred Scott decision, when he left that party and gave his support to the republican party, engaging actively in the campaign of 1860. After the close of the campaign he was engaged in teaching school, and during a portion of the time he had full charge of the city schools in Pittsfield.
In 1862 Mr. Criswell enlisted in the 99th Illinois regiment, which was made up entirely of Pike county men. He served in this regiment as sergeant major and adjutant until May, 1863, when, on account of his failing health,
he was honorably discharged. He then returned to Pittsfield, and once more engaged in teaching school, which he continued, there and in other places, until the spring of 1867, when he opened an office in Pittsfield, and commenced again the practice of law. In 1869 his brother James purchased the Old Flag printing establishment, since which time he has had charge of the editorial department.
Mr. Criswell is highly esteemed by his large circle of acquaintances for his many virtues, as well as for his legal ability and editorial talent, and while he remains the "color bearer," we may expect to see the Old Flag triumphantly wave.