The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Marquette & Bessemer No. 2 (Propeller), U202514, sunk, 10 Dec 1909

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Steam Screw MARQUETTE AND BESSEMER No. 2. Official U. S. Number 202514. Of 2,514 gross tons; 1,484 net tons. 338 x 54 x 19.5. In the passenger service, with a crew of 30. Of 2,400 indicated horsepower. Built 1905 at Cleveland, Ohio. Home port, Erie, Pa.
      List of Merchant Vessels
      Of The United States, 1906

      . . . . .

Steam Screw MARQUETTE AND BESSEMER No. 2. Official U. S. Number 202514. Of 2,514 gross tons; 1,484 net tons. 338 x 54 x 19.5. Classed as freighter service, with a crew of 21. Of 2,400 indicated horsepower. Built 1905 at Cleveland, Ohio. Home port, Erie, Pa.
      List of Merchant Vessels
      Of The United States, 1909

      . . . . .

Steam Screw MARQUETTE and BESSEMER No. 2. Official U. S. Number, 202514. Built 1905, of 2,514 gross tons. With 31 persons on board, vessel foundered in Dec. 1909 in Lake Erie. 31 lives lost.
      Loss of American Vessels Reported During 1910
      List of Merchant Vessels of the United States, 1910

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      MARQUETTE & BESSEMER No. 2. Built at Cleveland 1905, a steel car ferry of 2514 gross tons, 1484 net tons. U. S. Number 202514. Built by the American Steam-Boat Company, at Cleveland, and launched September 12, 1905; Hull No. 428 of 338 x 54 x 19.5. Foundered off Long Point, Lake Erie December 7, 1909. All hands (32) lost
      Fleet Master List
      Compiled by Richard Wright

      . . . . .
      Rumor That Missing MARQUETTE & BESSEMER Float No. 2
      Might Be In Shelter Behind Long Point Is Dispelled.


      Grain Vessel CANADIAN, in Port at St. Thomas Reports
      Passing Several Boats Sheltered In Pigeon Bay, Near Point Pelee.
      By Associated Press.
      Detroit, Mich. Dec. 11. - The rumor that the missing MARQUETTE and BESSEMER car float No. 2. might be in shelter behind Long Point, Ont., was dispelled last night when the tug sent out by the company Thursday morning returned with the report that after hours of scouting behind the Point, and along the coast, she had failed to discover any trace of the missing vessel.
      General Manager Leslie, of the Company, said:
      "It is my opinion that the heavy seas broke the key which held the cars in place, and weighted heavily with coal, they raced to the stern of the boat.
      "She probably turned turtle and sank without a minute's warning. This is borne out by the fact that the men were splendidly drilled, and only a short time would have sufficed for them to launch the boats, which with proper handling, would ride almost any storm."
      The MARQUETTE and BESSEMER No., 2 left Conneaut, Ohio, Tuesday morning for Port Stanley, Ont., with 30 loaded coal cars and under ordinary conditions should have reached her destination that afternoon. She has not been sighted by other boats. An empty green yawl and some wreckage was seem by the steamer W.B. DAVOCK near Long Point, Ont., in the path which the ferry would have taken. The yawls of the No. 2 are painted green.
      The list of the crew, as given out by manager Leslie of the Marquette & Bessemer Co., includes Captain Robert R. McLeod, First Mate, John McLeod, Purser R. C. Smith, Chief Engineer E. Wood and Steward G.R. Smith. It is not definitely known whether or not there was any passengers on board.
      The MARQUETTE and BESSEMER No. 2 was valued at $350,000 and the cargo at upward of $40,000. She was built at Cleveland in 1905. She was operated by the Pere Marquette, and the Bessemer and Lake Erie roads.
St. Thomas, Ont. Dec. 10. - Anxiety is felt here over the non-appearance of BESSEMER No. 2, the big steel car ferry. There was but one local man on the boat, Harry Thomas, a young Port Stanley resident, employed as second cook. The commander is Captain McLeod, of Goderich, and the Chief Engineer, Gene Wood, whose brother was lost in a shipwreck on Lake Superior four years ago.
      The ASHTABULA, another big ferry, is also overdue, and it was reported tonight that she had made harbor at Port Burwell. Inquiry however shows the rumor to be incorrect. Captain Whitestone, of the grain vessel CANADIAN, of Fort William, is in port and reports having passed several boats sheltered in Pigeon Bay, near Point Pelee, and it is possible that both the BESSEMER and the ASHTABULA weathered the fierce storm.
      Buffalo Evening News
      December 11. 1909
      . . . . .

      Marquette Car Ferry's Boat is towed Into Erie Harbor.
      Erie, Pa. Dec. 13. - The last doubt concerning the fate of the BESSEMER and MARQUETTE car Ferry No. 2, was removed when the State Fish Tug COMMODORE PERRY towed the car ferry's lifeboat No. 4, containing nine dead bodies, into the port at Erie at 4:20 p. m. yesterday.
      Some sitting on the seats and others huddled up in the bottom of the craft, were all frozen stiff. Four ambulances met the tug at the dock and the bodies were removed to Coroner Hanley's morgue, later being identified as follows:
      Thomas Steele, single, coal passer, Conneaut.
      John Hart, single, oiler, Conneaut.
      Charles Allen, single, Conneaut.
      George Smith, steward, married, Conneaut.
      William Ray, married, Conneaut.
      H.J. Thomas, Port Stanley, Ont.
      Manuel Souars, single, Conneaut.
      Joseph Shenk, Conneaut.
      O'Hagen, London, Ont.
      The lifeboat, its rail almost awash, was sighted by the tug COMMODORE PERRY, 15 miles due north of Erie, at 11 o'clock Sunday morning. Captain J.T. Driscoll, without touching the bodies, attached a line to the craft and towed it into port.
      Joseph Shenk of Conneaut, the smallest man in the party, was the first to succumb to exposure. Others of the shipwrecked crew, evidently with the intention of keeping the spark of life in the frail body, huddled on top of and about Shenk and were found frozen in that position when the boat was discovered. The faces of some of the men were bruised and cut, apparently due to the efforts to keep up circulation.
      C.J. Magill, agent of the Bessemer and Lake Erie railroad at Conneaut, and manager of the car ferry, was able to identify all the men and sent out notices to relatives, who are expected in Erie shortly to claim the bodies of the dead sailors.
      Buffalo Evening News
      December 13, 1909

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      Lost Marquette & Bessemer Boat Was Seen About Midnight
      On Wednesday Endeavoring To Get Inside, But Gave It Up
      Conneaut, O. Dec. 14. - The field of search for the 23 bodies from the wrecked car ferry No. 2, which are still unfound, has been changed by the discovery that the ferry, within a very short time of the disaster, was withing two miles of the Port of Conneaut. It was from here that the lost Marquette & Bessemer boat put out on her last journey.
      A. Huelett, harbor employe, and the Capatin and engineer of the steamer BLACK, say that they saw the vessel about midnight Wednesday, trying to make this harbor. Evidently Captain McLeod decided that he could not get his boat inside, and steered away towards Erie.
      It is now thought that the remaining bodies will be found on the southern shore, not far from here, or floating some place in the remaining yawls.
      Vessel men here believe in a gruesome possibility that one or more of the boats with its freight of dead, is still afloat somewhere on the lake. Owing to their construction, the boats were exceedingly difficuly to sink, and their crew, like that of No. 4, and thought to have been frozen to death at the oars. Start on a renewed search was made at dawn today.
      Buffalo Evening News
      December 14, 1909

      . . . . .
Erie, Pa., March 12. - According to a report here, a trace has at last been found of the wrecked Marquette car ferry No. 2 of the Bessemer & Lake Erie Railroad, which went down in a storm on Lake Erie on the night of Dec. 7, 1909, with 32 men on board. The reports states that a lot of cars, aboard the ferry when she sunk, had been located under the ice off Port Bruce, Ont., 14 miles from Port Stanley, and that the hulk of the ferry is also visible.
      Buffalo Evening News
      Saturday, March 12, 1910

      . . . . .

      Remains Of John McLeod, Master MARQUETTE Car Ferry,
      Sunk Last December, Recovered At Niagara Falls
      NIAGARA FALLS, April 7. - Buoyed up by a life preserver, the body of J. McLeod, master of the ill-fated car-ferry steamer MARQUETTE & BESSEMER, which went down on the run from Conneaut, Ohio, to Port Stanley in the gale of December 10 last, was taken from the water in the forebay of Niagara Falls Power Company late yesterday afternoon. The body was in a very good state of preservation and identification was made easy by papers found in the man's pockets.
      The MARQUETTE & BESSEMER went down off Long Point, the "Graveyard of the Lakes," and every man of the crew of 25 perished. Capt. John McLeod was a resident of Sarnia, Ont., though he shipped from Conneaut, Ohio. He was 60 years old. In his pockets were found his commission as Captain of the steamer and $125 in currency and a silver watch which had stopped at 12:25 o'clock. Two post office money orders issued by John McLeod and payable to Mrs. J. Mills, Conneaut, Ohio, established the identity of the body beyond a doubt. There were no shoes upon the feet. Coroner Scott has charge of the remains, which are at the Stone and Lynch Morgue, and has communicated with the man's relatives in Sarnia as to the disposition of the body.
      Buffalo Evening News
      April 7, 1910

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      Body Identified As Gene Woods, Engineer Of Foundered Bessemer & Marquette Ferry
      Port Colborne, Ont., May 2. - (Special) - Saturday, R. Scott, a farmer living about a mile east of here, on the Lake Shore road, discovered the body of a man floating in the water near the shore. When the body was brought in it was found to be one of the men lost on the ill-fated Bessemer & Marquette car ferry, which foundered in Lake Erie last fall. One of the ferry's life preservers was still on the body. The man's watch and several articles were still in the pockets and from these the body was identified as that of Gene Woods of Conneaut, the engineer of the car ferry.
      Buffalo Evening News
      May 2, 1910

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The owners of the car ferry MARQUETTE & BESSEMER, No. 2, which was sunk in Lake Erie on or about December 7, 1909, have offered a reward of $1,500 for definate and reliable information indicating exactly the position of the sunken steamer, in addition the company will pay $3,500 if the ferry sank while crossing Lake Erie in a gale and every member of the crew was lost.
      Buffalo Evening News
      Friday, May 5, 1911

      . . . . .

      Port Stanley, Ont. - Larry Jackson, a port Stanley fisherman says he may have located the wreck of the MARQUETTE & BESSEMER Number Two, a car ferry, which sank in December 1909, killing 32 men.
      The Toronto Star
      Tuesday, April 29, 1975

      . . . . .

      This is one of the few photographs, if not the only one, in existence of the MARQUETTE & BESSEMER Number 2, which sank off Port Stanley in Lake Erie in December 1909, with no survivors among the 32 men aboard. Port Stanley fisherman Larry Jackson believes he has found the wreck and hopes to get salvage rights. There was $50,000 in cash aboard. Nine frozen corpses were found later in a life boat near Erie, Pa., none of them wearing coats or protection against the storm, but several butchers knives from the ship's galley were in the boat. The body of another sailor was found near Long Point subsequently with a deep slash wound. (photo of ship in article)
      London Free Press
      May 1, 1975

Media Type:
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Reason: sunk
Lives: 31
Remarks: Total loss
Date of Original:
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Geographic Coverage:
  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 42.555833 Longitude: -80.197222
William R. McNeil
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Marquette & Bessemer No. 2 (Propeller), U202514, sunk, 10 Dec 1909