The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), 10 Sep 1910

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Life Lost By Sinking Of Car Ferry


Ludington, Mich., Sept. 10th - One of the worst marine accidents in the history of Michigan occurred yesterday morning, when the Pere Marquette flag ship, No. 18, a fleet of five steel car ferries owned and operated by the Pere Marquette railroad, which left Ludington at four o'clock for Wilwaukee sank to the bottom of Lake Michigan, twenty miles off Port Washington, Wis. Thirty eight lives were lost, including two of the crew of ferry No. 17, who perished in an attempt at rescue. The members of the crew of No. 18 consisted of about forty men, twenty deck ( ) and a few passengers. Most of those aboard hailed from this city. ( Q.D.) wireless reached Ludington at five o'clock yesterday morning, which said:

"Car Ferry No. 18. sinking. help. The flast was repeated continuously from five till nearly six a.m. but was unsigned. At seven o'clock, superintendent Mercereau, of the F. & P. Car Ferry line, received a wireless from Car Ferry No. 17, stating No. 18 sank at seven o'clock.

The dead include: Peter Kilty, Ludington; Captain Joseph Bresinski, Manitowoc, mate; W.H. Brown, second mate, Ludington; S.F. Sezzepauck, purser, Worcester, Mass.; E.R. Leedham, chief engineer, Ludington; Chalmer Rosencranz, assistant engineer, Northport, Mich.; Paul Rennere, second assistant engineer, Ludington.

The survivors of the wreck were brought here last night, by car ferry No. 17. Eight bodies were recovered, six being brought here. The bodies brought here were those of Capt. Kilty, Purser Sezzepauck, Steward Mack, W.H. Cummins, N.L. Bertrand and Mrs. Turner.

Pere Marquette Car No. 17 just arrived in time on the scene in response to the distress signal. The great black bow of the flagship, before their horrified gaze of the men on board, rose high in the air, the stern settled swiftly toward the bottom and with a roar the ship shot downward and was lost to view. The crew of No. 17 rushed overboard with a life boat with four men. The waves picked it up in an instant and crushed it against the ferry's steel side. Two of the sailors were rescued by those on board, but the other two, Joseph Peterson and R.J. Jacobson, and a scrubber, sank. Immediately another life boat was successfully launched and in charge of Duncan Milligan, of Ludington, picked up, within less than an hour, no less than fourteen survivors floating about or clinging to bits of wreckage. Then another life boat was manned and in the face of great danger more than twenty persons in all were saved.

Meanwhile the tug A.A.C. Tessler, of Milwaukee, car ferry P.M. No. 20, steamer P.M. No. 6 and a tug from Sheboygan, towing the Sheboygan life saving crew, arrived on the scene. They instituted a thorough search for survivors and bodies and succeeded in picking up seven of the former and eight of the latter.

The cause of the disaster is and and may always remain a mystery. The lost boat was valued at $400,000 and the cargo at $100,000 to $150,000. The loss is fully covered by insurance in the Lloyds of England.

A Tug Ran Aground - The government tug Beaver, engaged in connection with the deepening of the Canadian channel near Fiddler's Elbow, ran up into Gananoque River to Britton's wharf Thursday evening and in running out yesterday morning ran aground in shallow water and had some difficulty working off.



The steamer Mapleton passed up Friday night.

Forwarders Limited: steamer Port Colborne, from Fort William with wheat.

The barge Sherman cleared for Charlotte to load coal for the Kingston & Pembroke railway.

The steamer Alexandria was at Folger's wharf, Friday night, on her way up from Montreal and Quebec.

Swift & Co.'s wharf: steamer Toronto down and up; steamer Belleville is due to pass up tonight.

The steambarge Navajo unloaded grain at Richardson's elevator, from Emerald, and took on a cargo of grain for Glenora.

The schooner Ford River is at Richardsons' wharf ready to load feldspar, but will not be able to clear for Charlotte until the latter part of next week as the feldspar necessary is not ready to be shipped in from the mines.

The tourist trade is nearly over for this season. The passenger boats are carrying very few pleasure-seekers now. Nearly all those who are travelling by boat now are doing so from necessity. The Bay of Quinte Steamboat company is running their boats up around Toronto for the remainder of the season.

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10 Sep 1910
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  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 44.22976 Longitude: -76.48098
Rick Neilson
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pd [more details]
Copyright Statement:
Public domain: Copyright has expired according to the applicable Canadian or American laws. No restrictions on use.
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British Whig (Kingston, ON), 10 Sep 1910