Remembering the Pere Marquette 18

She was built in 1902 by the American Ship Building Company in Cleveland. She was powered by 2 triple expansion steam engines, developing 3,000 HP. She had 4 tracks, and a capacity for 30 railroad cars.
Length: 338'
Beam: 56'
Call whistle: Long, long, short.


The P.M. 18 sank about 20 miles off Sheboygan, Wisconsin in relatively good weatherHISTORIC SITE MARKER with a loss of 29 lives. No cause for the disaster has ever been determined. The Ship's Master, Capt. Peter Kilty, and all of the officers, went down with the ship, along with 17 crewmen, two passengers and two stowaways. Wireless operator Stephen F. Sczepanek, who perished in the tragedy, has his name listed on a memorial just below that of the wireless operator of the S.S. Titanic. The memorial is in New York City.
The P.M 17 rushed to the aid of the P.M. 18, and picked up 33 survivors, but lost two of her own crew during the rescue.

At Stearns Park in Ludington, Michigan is a Michigan Registered Historic Site marker, which reads:


"At least twenty-nine persons died when this vessel sank in Lake Michigan twenty miles off the Wisconsin coast on September 9, 1910. One of the Ludington carferry fleet, the 350 foot S.S. Pere Marquette 18 was traveling from this port to Wisconsin. About midlake a crewman discovered the ship was taking on vast amounts of water. The captain set a direct course for Wisconsin and sent a distress signal by wireless. He and the crew battled for four hours to save the boat but she sank suddenly. All of the officers and many of the crew and passengers perished, among them the first wireless operator to die in active service on the Great Lakes. The S.S. Pere Marquette 17, aided by other ships who also heeded the wireless message for help, rescued more than thirty survivors but lost two of her own crew. The exact cause of this disaster remains a mystery."



Captain Peter Kilty of Ludington

Joseph Brezinski, Mate, of Manitowoc

W.H. Brown, Second Mate, of Ludington

S.F. Sczepanek, Purser, Worcester, Mass.

E.R. Leedham, Chief Engineer, Ludington

Chalmer Rosencrans, Assistant Engineer, Ludington

Paul Renner, Second Assistant Engineer, Ludington

Unkown oiler, Norwegian

A.J. Mack, Steward, Westfield, N.Y.

W.H. Cummins, Chicago, IL

John Schraufuagl, Cook, Chicago, IL

Michael Haythaler, Fireman, Forestville, MI

Samuel Bouchie, Fireman, River Bourgeois, N.D.

W. Parker, Fireman, Marine City, MI

Unkown fireman

Mrs. Marian Turner, Cabin Maid, Ludington

Peter Hire, Watchman, Ludington

John H. Stone, Lookout, Norwegian

Ole Bakken, Wheelsman, Ludington

Joseph Marlow, Scrub Boy, Ludington

Tom Kelly and brother, stowaways, Detroit

Frank Warner, "Chicago Frank", Porter, Chicago

Jacobson, Seaman, residence unkown

Charles Jensen, Oiler, Ludington

N.L. Bertrand, passenger, Ludington

Joe Peterson, Watchman, Steamer No. 17

Jacob Jacobson, Scrubber, Steamer No. 17

Ludington Chronicle, September 14, 1910*


James Thomas, Coal-passer, Ludington

Dave Dondono, Scrubber, Ludington

Norman Wall, Head-waiter, Sanford, Penn.

Madison Andrew, Deck-hand, Ludington

Toney R. Decker, Deck-hand, Grand Rapids, MI

Simon Burke, Wheelsman, Cannes Cape, Briton

Jas. Koob, Water-tener, Chicago, IL

Joe Standingbear, Chicago, IL

Ray Wiggins, Fireman, Farwell, MI

Mike Petroskey, Deck-hand, riker, Sweeden

Alvin Rose, Fireman, Marine City, MI

Grover Cooper, 1st Porter, Beardstown, IL

Vanner Charlestown, Fireman, Buffalo, N.Y.

Chas. Nelson, 2nd Cook, Ludington

Jas. Fay, 1st Cook, Ludington

Fred Potvin, Cab. Watch, Ludington

Walter Kennedy, Scrubber, Ludington

Ray Rickford, 2nd Porter, Alpena, MI

Geo. Trudell, Pantry, Ludington

Geo. Harwood, Scrubber, Ludington

Art. Preber, Cab. Watch, Chicago, IL

Henry Jennsen, Fireman, Racine, WI

E.G. Larson, Deck-hand, Custer, MI

Herman Memrow, Coal-passer, Manistee, MI

Mike Bucholz, Coal-passer, Ludington

Tom Shields, Coal-passer, Chicago, IL

August Page, Deck-hand, Chicago, IL

Ray Drinkwater, Chicago, IL

James Riley, Coal-passer, Harrisburg, Penn.

Stanley Chubb, 1st Porter, Ludington

Frank Young, Chief Steward, Ludington

Ray Anderson, Deck-hand, Ludington

Seymour B. Cochrane, Chicago, IL

Ludington Record-Appeal, September 15, 1910.*



* Who Sunk the Pere Marquette 18? By Pete C. Caesar.
Pictorial History of the C&O Train and Auto Ferries and Pere Marquette Line Steamers, by Arthur C. and Lucy F. Frederickson.
The Ludington Daily News, September 9, 1985.
Robert Hyde
The Pere Marquette Historical Society
Thom Hawley, Director of Public Relations, Lake Michigan Carferry



Launched: 08/28/97 Refitted: 04/19/97
Copyright © 1997, 1998 M. Hanley
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