SS Marquette & Bessemer No. 2 202514 Owner: Marquette & Bessemer Dock & Navigation Company Builder: American Ship Building Company of Cleveland, Ohio Completed: 1905 Fate: Lost in a storm on December 8, 1909, with 30-38 passengers and crew (2 absentees) Type: Car Ferry Tonnage: 2514 gross tons Length: 338 ft (103 m) Beam: 54 ft (16 m) Depth: 19.5 ft (5.9 m) Installed power: Coal fired steam engine Crew: 30-38

====== Registry and Rig Information ======BGSU File

  • Nationality: U.S.
  • Official Number: 202514
  • Rig: Propeller

Dimensions and Tonnage

  • Length: 338.00
  • Width: 54.00
  • Depth: 19.42
  • Masts: 0
  • Gross Tonnage: 2514.00
  • Net Tonnage: 1484.00
  • Hull Material: Steel
  • Hull Number: 00428
  • Vessel History
  • Rebuilds 0
  • Builder: American Ship Building Co.
  • Place Built: Cleveland, OH
  • Year Built: 1905
  • Ownership Changes 0

Built in Cleveland, Ohio in 1905, the SS Marquette & Bessemer No. 2 was a train ferry built to transport railway cars across Lake Erie from Conneaut, Ohio, to Port Stanley, Ontario. She had a length of 338 feet (103 meters) and a beam of 54 feet (16.5 meters), and her gross register tonnage was 2,514. The second of two ships built for and named after the Marquette & Bessemer Dock & Navigation Company, she was commonly referred to as “The Car Ferry” by the residents of Conneaut, her cargo was always railway cars filled with coal.


The wreck of the Marquette & Bessemer No. 2 has yet to be found. Based on the final sightings and the location of the wreckage, it is presumed that she headed east, attempting to reach shelter behind Long Point. Therefore, the wreck is likely either southwest or west of Long Point. On several occasions the discovery of the wreck has been announced, but further investigation has revealed it to be another ship. The Marquette & Bessemer No. 2 has been described as the holy grail of Lake Erie shipwrecks, and unsubstantiated rumours of it having been discovered but its location being kept secret have circulated in the Lake Erie diving community for years. It has been speculated that the wreck may have sunken into the muck on the bottom of Lake Erie.

Selection of News Articles

Steam Screw MARQUETTE AND BESSEMER No. 2. Official U. S. Number 202514. Of 2,514 gross tons; 1,484 net tons. 338 x 54 x 19.5. In the passenger service, with a crew of 30. Of 2,400 indicated horsepower. Built 1905 at Cleveland, Ohio. Home port, Erie, Pa.

    List of Merchant Vessels 
    Of The United States, 1906 
    . . . . . 

Steam Screw MARQUETTE AND BESSEMER No. 2. Official U. S. Number 202514. Of 2,514 gross tons; 1,484 net tons. 338 x 54 x 19.5. Classed as freighter service, with a crew of 21. Of 2,400 indicated horsepower. Built 1905 at Cleveland, Ohio. Home port, Erie, Pa.

    List of Merchant Vessels 
    Of The United States, 1909 
    . . . . . 

Steam Screw MARQUETTE and BESSEMER No. 2. Official U. S. Number, 202514. Built 1905, of 2,514 gross tons. With 31 persons on board, vessel foundered in Dec. 1909 in Lake Erie. 31 lives lost.

    Loss of American Vessels Reported During 1910 
    List of Merchant Vessels of the United States, 1910 
    . . . . . 
    MARQUETTE & BESSEMER No. 2. Built at Cleveland 1905, a steel car ferry of 2514 gross tons, 1484 net tons. U. S. Number 202514. Built by the American Steam-Boat Company, at Cleveland, and launched September 12, 1905; Hull No. 428 of 338 x 54 x 19.5. Foundered off Long Point, Lake Erie December 7, 1909. All hands (32) lost 
    Fleet Master List 
    Compiled by Richard Wright 
    . . . . . 
    Rumor That Missing MARQUETTE & BESSEMER Float No. 2 
    Might Be In Shelter Behind Long Point Is Dispelled. 
    Grain Vessel CANADIAN, in Port at St. Thomas Reports 
    Passing Several Boats Sheltered In Pigeon Bay, Near Point Pelee. 
    By Associated Press. 
    Detroit, Mich. Dec. 11. - The rumor that the missing MARQUETTE and BESSEMER car float No. 2. might be in shelter behind Long Point, Ont., was dispelled last night when the tug sent out by the company Thursday morning returned with the report that after hours of scouting behind the Point, and along the coast, she had failed to discover any trace of the missing vessel. 
    General Manager Leslie, of the Company, said: 
    "It is my opinion that the heavy seas broke the key which held the cars in place, and weighted heavily with coal, they raced to the stern of the boat. 
    "She probably turned turtle and sank without a minute's warning. This is borne out by the fact that the men were splendidly drilled, and only a short time would have sufficed for them to launch the boats, which with proper handling, would ride almost any storm." 
    The MARQUETTE and BESSEMER No., 2 left Conneaut, Ohio, Tuesday morning for Port Stanley, Ont., with 30 loaded coal cars and under ordinary conditions should have reached her destination that afternoon. She has not been sighted by other boats. An empty green yawl and some wreckage was seem by the steamer W.B. DAVOCK near Long Point, Ont., in the path which the ferry would have taken. The yawls of the No. 2 are painted green. 
    The list of the crew, as given out by manager Leslie of the Marquette & Bessemer Co., includes Captain Robert R. McLeod, First Mate, John McLeod, Purser R. C. Smith, Chief Engineer E. Wood and Steward G.R. Smith. It is not definitely known whether or not there was any passengers on board. 
    The MARQUETTE and BESSEMER No. 2 was valued at $350,000 and the cargo at upward of $40,000. She was built at Cleveland in 1905. She was operated by the Pere Marquette, and the Bessemer and Lake Erie roads. 

St. Thomas, Ont. Dec. 10. - Anxiety is felt here over the non-appearance of BESSEMER No. 2, the big steel car ferry. There was but one local man on the boat, Harry Thomas, a young Port Stanley resident, employed as second cook. The commander is Captain McLeod, of Goderich, and the Chief Engineer, Gene Wood, whose brother was lost in a shipwreck on Lake Superior four years ago.

    The ASHTABULA, another big ferry, is also overdue, and it was reported tonight that she had made harbor at Port Burwell. Inquiry however shows the rumor to be incorrect. Captain Whitestone, of the grain vessel CANADIAN, of Fort William, is in port and reports having passed several boats sheltered in Pigeon Bay, near Point Pelee, and it is possible that both the BESSEMER and the ASHTABULA weathered the fierce storm. 
    Buffalo Evening News 
    December 11. 1909 

Swayze Shipwreck File


  • Other names : none
  • Official no. : 202514
  • Type at loss : propeller, steel, carferry, 30 car
  • Build info : 1905, American Shipbuilding, Cleveland, OH hull #428
  • Specs : 338x55x20, 2514 t
  • Date of loss : 1909, Dec 8
  • Place of loss : midlake, exact location unknown
  • Lake : Erie
  • Type of loss : storm
  • Loss of life : 36 [all]
  • Carrying : 32 coal hopper cars
  • Detail : Bound Conneaut, OH for Port Stanley, Ont. on her regular roiute, she foundered in a powerful gale. Her distress whistle was heard and lights seen on both sides of the lake as she vainly searched for hours for a safe port. Old-time sailors still claim to her her whistle on stormy nights.

Sources: gs,cfgl,sol,sagl,ns1,mv,ledc,mpl,eas

Further Online Resources

Youtube Documentary by Mark Allenbaugh

Website Dedicated to the Ship

Wikipedia contributors, “SS Marquette & Bessemer No. 2,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, (accessed December 7, 2018).

marquette.txt · Last modified: 2018/12/07 11:47 by tom
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