C. Blauvelt, who was a prominent marine engineer during the earlier period of steamboating, is still active in the line of his calling: he is a man of fine stature and possesses a good reserve force of vitality. Mr. Blauvelt was born in Tompkins county, N. Y., son of Isaac and Betsey (Swartout) Blauvelt, who removed to Algonac, Mich., in the year 1848, and were considered pioneers of St. Clair county. They were of Holland descent, the grandfather having come to the United States while young and located in New York.
Cornelius Blauvelt attended the public schools until about eighteen years of age. In 1952 he began the life of a lake sailor, shipping as boy with Capt. William Wilds in the steamer Romeo, then plying on the St. Clair Flats, and the following year he went as fireman in the steamer Odd Fellow, commanded by Capt. William Dana. The next position accorded Mr. Blauvelt was that as chief engineer of the lake tug Pilot, which berth he held five consecutive seasons. He was chief engineer of the large tug William B. Castle, with Capt. R. J. Hackett, for nine seasons, and of the lake tug George E. Brockway, with Captain Moffat, five seasons. His next steamer was the Annie Smith, Capt. M. H. Murch, in which he remained two seasons, and for two seasons following he ran the propeller Allegheny as chief engineer. In the fall of 1885, after laying his boat up, he built a gristmill in Algonac to occupy his time during the winter months, and he still operates the mill when he is not sailing. After holding the berth of engineer on various steamers, the names of which are not remembered in order. Mr. Blauvelt shipped as second engineer in the steam passenger monitor Christopher Columbus, with Captain McArthur, and assisted in operating her during the World's Columbian Exposition at Chicago, his son, Robert Blauvelt, being the chief engineer; theirs were responsible positions, as over 1,800,000 passengers were carried without the loss of life, with the exception of one member of the crew who fell overboard and was drowned, although every effort was made to rescue him by Captain McArthur. In the spring of 1895 Mr. Blauvelt fitted out the George W. Farwell, which he engineered two seasons, laying her up at the close of navigation in Marine City. He formerly owned interests in some of the vessel property he had sailed, but has disposed of all.
In 1860 Mr. Blauvelt wedded Miss Lena, daughter of Jacob Sternlar. The children born to this union are George E., who was engineer of the John B. Trevor in 1897; Delos; Henry E., who died in 1895, while first assistant engineer of the Christopher Columbus; Robert S., who was chief engineer for the American Steel Barge Company for a number of years and brought out new many of their large steam monitors, rounding Cape Horn in one of them, he was chief engineer of the passenger steamer Northland in 1895; John W., first assistant engineer of the Northland, and Ralph H., also a marine engineer of good report. The family live in Algonac, Mich. Fraternally Mr. Blauvelt is a Master Mason.
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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.