C. L. Scoville
C.L. Scoville, a well qualified and prominent marine engineer of the early days of steam navigation, who, in 1853, held the berth of chief engineer of the propeller Genesee, has virtually retired from active steamboat life and is now located at Ashtabula, Ohio, where he has charge of the machinery of the swing bridge at Ashtabula harbor. He was born in Ashtabula in 1834, son of Adnah and Perseus Smith (Homan) Scoville. Adnah Scoville was one of the pioneers of Ashtabula county, owned large tracts of land in and around Ashtabula, and was at one time (1848 and 1850) mayor of the hamlet and a director of the public schools and the county infirmary. He married the widow of Joseph Homan. Charles L. Scoville had a half-brother, Capt. Joseph Homan, who was a lake master, and three half-sisters, all of whom were married to lake captains - Caroline to Capt. William Hancock; Mary to Capt. Robert Brown (and their daughter to Capt. J. S. Dunham, vessel owner of Chicago and now president of the lake Carriers Association), and Sarah to Capt. Harvey Hall, of Duluth. Mr. Scoville's own sister, Eliza J., is the wife of Capt. Chauncey Richardson, deputy collector of customs at Ashtabula, his brother William is in the butcher business, and John is proprietor of the Park Hotel in Ashtabula.
C.L. Scoville attended the public schools of his native town and worked with his father in the blacksmith shop until he reached the age of eighteen. In 1852 he went to Cleveland and after working in a horseshoeing shop until fall he shipped on the Hendrick Hudson as oiler. The next season he shipped as engineer on the propeller Genesee, plying between Port Burwell and Rochester, which carried about 250,000 feet of lumber. She was finally considered too big for that trade and put in the passenger business between Buffalo and Port Stanley. Mr. Scoville remained on the Genesee until she was destroyed by fire in the fall of 1855. The next season he came out as chief engineer of the propeller L. L. Brayton, remaining until August, when he joined the propeller Chicago as second. That winter he went to Buffalo, where he worked in Barton's machine shop, and while there he helped to build the engine for the big wrecking tug Leviathan, owned by the Lake Navigation Company. It was thought that the Leviathan required a more experienced engineer than they had on the lakes in those days and one was imported from New York. Mr. Scoville going as second. In the spring of 1858 he came out as second engineer of the propeller Chicago, but after making one round trip from Buffalo to Chicago on her he went to Cleveland and fitted out the Forest Queen, which he engineered as chief until November 24, 1860, when she went ashore at Bailey's harbor, Lake Michigan. She was scuttled and sunk until the spring of 1861, when she was raised and he assumed his old berth, his second being George Tower, an Ashtabula lad, who enlisted in the United States navy in the spring of 1862 and served throughout the entire war and subsequently on various gunboats, his last steamer being the Indiana, in which he ended his thirty-four years of service for his country. He was chief engineer of the gunboat Kearsarge at the time she sank the Confederate privateer Alabama. In 1896 Mr. Tower was placed on the retired list as chief engineer of the United States navy, and at this writing lives at Washington full of honors.
But to resume the legitimate thread of this article: Mr. Scoville, in the spring of 1863, came out as chief engineer of the propeller Araxes, plying in the New York Central line; in 1864 as chief of the Chicago; and in 1865-66 as chief of the Rocket. In 1867 he purchased an interest in the iron tug Dexter with Capt. George Field, engineering her until the fall of 1868, when he joined the steamer City of Port Huron. He next shipped in the steamer Governor Cushman, leaving her after two trips on account of a defective boiler; the next spring she exploded and killed thirteen men. In the spring of 1869 Mr. Scoville shipped with Captain Estes on the steamer Yosemite and remained in that berth five years. In 1874 he was made chief engineer of the Rocket, then owned by Mark Hanna, which he left after one trip to Duluth to ship on the steamer W. L. Wetmore, with Captain DeWolf, now local steamboat inspector at Cleveland. That fall he laid up three steamers Wetmore, Rocket and Comet. In the spring of 1875 Mr. Hanna prevailed upon Mr. Scoville to again take charge of the machinery of the Rocket.
In 1876 the town of Ashtabula purchased a fire steamer and Mr. Scoville was placed in charge of her as engineer, adding the duties of policeman to those of fireman. He held this composite berth five years, and in 1881-82 resumed his lakefaring life, joining the steamer R. J. Hackett as chief engineer. The next year he sailed with Capt. Thomas Wilford as chief of the J. H. Osborne, and was with that steamer when she was run down and sunk on Lake Superior by the Canadian Pacific steamer Alberta; the crew were taken off by the steamer Heckla. On reaching home that fall Mr. Scoville opened a shop for general blacksmithing and horseshoeing, conducting same until the spring of 1886, when he helped build and put in the engines of the steamer J. H. Outhwaite, in which he went as chief for two seasons. In 1888 he brought out new the steamer Bulgaria, engineering her until the swing bridge was completed at Ashtabula harbor, when he quit his steamer and took charge of that structure, which he continues to operate to this day. He is a member of the Marine Engineers Beneficial Association. He has forty issues of marine engineer's license, having been engineer two years before licenses were required.
Mr. Scoville was united in marriage, in July, 1862, to Miss Lavinia Sykes, daughter of F. W. and Jeanette (Fowler) Sykes, and four children, Frederick Adnah, Roy Albert, Edith and Robert were born to this union, the two last named dying when quite young. The family reside at No. 4 Scoville court, Ashtabula.
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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.