Thomas J. Bluett
Thomas J. Bluett was born in 1854 at Buffalo, N. Y., the only child of Thomas and Elizabeth Bluett, the former of whom was a cartman about the business portion of Buffalo for many years. He attended school in his native city, and began active life in the machine shop of Robert Dempster, where he remained several years, during four of which he was engaged learning his trade. He has also worked in the Erie railway shops, several small shops on Broadway, Buffalo, in the Ruger Cracker Machine Works, and with C. W. Whitman & Co. (formerly Donaldson & Polley), 178 Ohio street, where he was employed seventeen consecutive winters. Mr. Bluett's first experience in the lake service was as fireman on the steamer Starrucca, and he has since served as second engineer, respectively, of the following named steamers: Newburgh, Montana, Lehigh, Northerner, Tower, Fayette Brown, Commodore, John Rugel, Yokima, Albany, Thomas Adams, Robert E. Packer, Nebraska and Fred Mercur. He has also been chief engineer on the William H. Gilcher, Alfred P. Wright, Fred Mercur, Robert A. Packer and H. E. Packer, being on the latter for the season 1896, and transferring from that boat to the China, also as chief. Mr. Bluett has had two narrow escapes from death, and was in one collision, in 1886, when the steamer Lehigh, of the Anchor line, collided with the schooner Van Valkenburg off Thunder Bay light, sunk, and was afterward blown up; she was loaded with coal. He was second engineer of the steamer Albany the second trip before she was lost, and chief of the William H. Gilcher the same season she went down in Lake Michigan. Mr. Bluett is unmarried, and resides at No. 587 West avenue, Buffalo.
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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.