Pere Marquette 19
Pere Marquette 19

Over sixty years ago, the PERE MARQUETTE 19 made her last voyage out of Ludington as a carferry in tow by the tug JOHN ROEN for Sturgeon Bay.  She was sold to the Roen Steamship Company and converted to a steam-barge named HILDA.

 The 19, built in 1903, was one of two freight-only carferries built for the Pere Marquette Railroad.  She was built in Lorain, Ohio by the American Shipbuilding Company.  Mrs. W.L. Mercereau, wife of the superintendent of steamships, christened the 19 in October of 1903.

Call Whistle -- Long-Long-Short
Captain -- John J. Doyle
First Mate -- J. Noland
Chief Engineer --  Robert MacLaren

A little more than six months after the new carferry entered service, she ran aground at Fox Point, Wisconsin and was nearly declared a total loss.  The captain, John J. Doyle was dismissed which provided the opportunity for William H. LeFleur to be promoted to captain, becoming the youngest on the Great Lakes at the time.

 In November of 1919 the grand old ship was engaged in a "race" to Milwaukee with the PERE MARQUETTE 4.  The 19 beat the 4 by about 20 minutes.

 The 19 made an appearance in Ludington in 1954 as the HILDA.  While in Ludington, she developed a fire in her engine room.  Ludington firemen quickly extinguished the fire.


The HILDA was sold to Hannah Inland Waterways Corp. around 1975.  Her present status is unknown.

PEre Marquette 19 History

  • October 24, 1903 -- The PERE MARQUETTE 19 was launched.
  • November 29, 1903 -- The PERE MARQUETTE 19 arrived Ludington on her maiden voyage.  Captain John J. Doyle in command.

PM 19 Aground
  • February 6, 1904 -- Ran aground at Fox Point, WI
  • February 19, 1904 -- Refloated after running aground February 6.
  • March 14, 1912 -- Struck bottom on South Point, Manitowoc.  She had been traveling westward at low speed in the company of Pere Marquette 20 in a blinding snow storm. Nearing the Wisconsin shore, the 2 ships had become separated & PM 19 went off course by some distance. In grounding, she punctured a plate enough to leak seriously but Capt.W.H.LaFleur brought her off quickly, & brought her into Manitowoc to unload. LaFleur, who was known as “Bear” about equally for his habit of wearing a bearskin coat in the winter & for his forthright manner of giving orders, then took her to Milwaukee for repairs.
  • June 5, 1912 -- From the June 5, 1912 Ludington Chronicle:
    "F.W. Greble, chief steward of the Pere Marquette carferry line, went to Milwaukee Sunday to fit out carferry PERE MARQUETTE 19 which will be placed in commission after having been laid up for a time".
    Mason County Historical Society
  • November 6, 1914 -- "Carferry NO. 19, which had been laid up for the previous two months because of shortage in translake business, resumed commission last week with Capt. John G. Crawford in charge.  The Pere Marquette Railway Co. is now enjoying a heavy eastbound traffic, although westbound freights are quite light."  Ludington Chronicle
    Mason County Historical Society
  • January 17, 1916 -- Ran aground near Big Point Sable.
  • January 29, 1916 -- The PERE MARQUETTE 19 was released by the PERE MARQUETTE 18 (II).
  • October 12, 1919  -- "Carferry PERE MARQUETTE 19, Capt. Robertson, will lay up at Manitowoc for a couple of weeks for machinery repairing preparatory to winter service.  The 19 will dock as soon as freight conditions on the west shore are relieved."
    Mason County Historical Society
    From the Ludington Daily News, 11/17/19, page 4
  • November 29, 1919 -- Unable to cross the lake because of a 50-mile gale, the PERE MARQUETTE 19 returned to Manitowoc.
  • December 16, 1919 -- The PERE MARQUETTE 19 resumed service after spending ten days in the floating drydock at Manitowoc.  This was the first time the 19 was in drydock in four years.
    Mason County Historical Society
    Ludington Daily News, 12/23/19, page8.
  • February 2, 1924 -- The PERE MARQUETTE 19 was towed to Manitowoc by the PERE MARQUETTE 18 (II) and the tug MERCEREAU.
    Van Dyke collection
  • December 26, 1924 -- The PERE MARQUETTE 19 ran aground at Grand Haven while chartered by the Grand Trunk Line.
  • November 29, 1924 -- The PERE MARQUETTE 15 was placed back in service to replace the PERE MARQUETTE 19.
  • February 17, 1936 -- Became stuck in the ice outside Ludington.  The CITY OF FLINT 32 was sent out to free her.
  • June 26, 1940 -- The Ludington Daily News reported that the PERE MARQUETTE 19 would be sold for scrap.
  • July 11, 1940 -- The Ludington Daily News reported that the  PERE MARQUETTE 19 was sold to Roen Steamship company of Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin.  The ship was reduced to a barge and renamed HILDA.
  • June 1, 1954 -- The barge HILDA, formerly the PERE MARQUETTE 19, made an appearance in her former home port of Ludington.  The HILDA was towed in by the tug JOHN ROEN which caught fire as it was entering the harbor.  Ludington firemen extiguished the fire in it's engine room, which was caused by overheating.
    Ludington Daily News
    Mason County Historical Society

Top of Page