DECK WAS BLOWN OFF
STEAMER MARQUETTE SUNK IN LAKE SUPERIOR
PLUNGED DOWN BOW FIRST AND BROKE IN THE MIDDLE
TEN MEN LEFT THE BOAT WHEN PUMPS LOST CONTROL
CAPT. CHAUGHILL AND THREE OTHERS HAD NARROW ESCAPE
Jumped Into Remaining Boat Just Before the Steamer Sank
Ashland, October 15. - Unique in the history of lake disasters was the sinking off this port early today of the steamer Marquette. With hardly enough air stirring to ripple the surface of the lake, the ore laden vessel sprung aleak at midnight and despite the efforts of the crew at the pumps plunged bow first to the bottom of Lake Superior.
So suddenly did the end come that four members of the crew who were still at their posts had barely time to jump over the side of the sinking vessel into the boats and join their comrades.
With a roar like the explosion of a magazine, the imprisoned air in the hold rushed out, tearing the decks into kindling wood. The towering mainmast was lifted bodily twenty feet into the air by the blast and then fell back into the lake.
It was only by the most desperate exertions on the part of the crew that the small boats were not caught in the maelstrom formed by the sinking vessel and drawn below the surface.
When the disaster occurred the Marquette was bound for Lake Erie with a cargo of iron ore, having left this port at 4 o'clock yesterday afternoon. At midnight the leak was started and steadily gained, although the entire crew was set to work at the pumps.
When the steamer had reached a point twenty-five miles east of Michigan Island the situation became alarming, and Captain Chaughill changed the course of the vessel to run her on the beach. Shortly afterward, ten members of the crew, becoming alarmed for their safety, left the steamer in a small boat, leaving four men to continue the fight.
With the shore and safety but five miles away, a shudder seemed to pass through the waterlogged hull and the bow began to plunge downward. Capt. Chaughill and his three assistants jumped overboard into the remaining small boat just as the vessel broke in two in front of the boiler house.
As soon as the wreck had disappeared, the four men started to row to Ashland, arriving here at 3:30 o'clock this afternoon. A tug was at once sent in search of the boat containing the other ten men of the crew and it was picked up off Madeline Island. The entire crew is now here with its members worn out by their long struggle.
"Although I have sailed the lakes for many years," said Capt. Charles N. Chaughill, "this is the first wreck I have ever witnessed, and it certainly was a spectacular one. We were hardly in a position to enjoy it, however, for it was only by the greatest of exertions that we succeeded in getting our boat away from the whirlpool when the Marquette went down. I cannot account for the leak as the sea was perfectly smooth. The steamer had but six feet of water in her hold when she sank."
The Marquette registered 1,342 tons and was owned by J. C. Gilchrist, of Cleveland. It is believed she was fully insured. The Marquette is the sixth vessel of the Gilchrist fleet to become a total loss this season.