The steamer MARQUETTE, owned by J. C. Gilchrist of Cleveland, sunk off Ashland early yesterday morning under peculiar circumstances. The boat left Ashland for lake Erie with a cargo of iron ore on Wednesday. About midnight the vessel sprung a leak, though there was scarcely a ripple on the water. Men were placed at the pumps but the water in the hold increased steadily. The situation became alarming and Capt. Chaughill steered his boat for Michigan Island, 25 miles away. Ten members of the crew manned a small boat and made for safety, leaving only the captain and three men on board the MARQUETTE. When about five miles from the shore a shudder was felt through the boat and the four men aboard barely had time to man the remaining small boat when the deck of the vessel was blown up by the force of air from the hold and the steamer sank. No reason can be assigned for the sinking. The entire crew escaped.
Buffalo Evening News
Friday, October 16, 1903
Unique in the history of lake disasters was the sinking off Ashland Thursday of the steamer MARQUETTE [the 6th Gilchrist vessel to be lost this year]. With hardly enough air stirring to ripple the surface of Lake Superior, the ore laden vessel sprung a leak at midnight and despite efforts of the crew at the pumps, plunged bow first to the bottom. The crew barely escaped.
Port Huron Daily Times
Thursday, October 15, 1903
LOST MEMBER FOUND
Ashland, October 16. - Jens Johnson, of Duluth, the missing member of the crew of the lost steamer MARQUETTE, was picked up on Madeline Island this morning and brought to Ashland. He was found stretched on the beach, worn out from his work at the pumps, where he had been for twenty hours.
The last the crew had seen of Johnson was when he had seized a revolver and started for the woods on the island. After the yawl boat had reached there the rest of the crew came on to Ashland last night and left the missing man on the island, for after an extended search, no trace of the man could be found. Today a part of the crew returned to the island and renewed the search, and the missing man was found on the beach. Johnson was one of the party of ten men which left the sinking vessel an hour before the captain and three others.
Detroit Free Press
October 17, 1903
NOTE: The bulker MARQUETTE foundered in good weather October 15, shortly after leaving Duluth with a heavy cargo of iron ore.
Steam screw MARQUETTE.* U. S. No. 110465. of 1,343 tons gross; 1,117 tons net. Built Cleveland, Ohio, 1881. Home port, Cleveland, Ohio. 235.0 x 35.7 x 18.5 Of 600 indicated horsepower. Crew of 15.
* Formerly steam screw REPUBLIC.
Merchant Vessel List, U. S., 1902