Car Ferry No. 2J.D. MarshallMaterial ServiceMuskegon
Builder: Leatham D. Smith for the Smith-Putnam Navigation Company
Built: 1891, South Haven, MI
Length: 154.5 feet
Beam: 33.5 feet
Draft: 12 feet
Weight: 531 gross tons
Date Sunk: June 11, 1911
Depth of wreck: 29 feet
The J. D. Marshall and much of its machinery were constructed in 1891 at South Haven, Michigan, in the Martel Boatyard by boat builder J. C. Pereue. The J. D. Marshall was launched on July 4, 1891, and began service transporting lumber for the Williams Transport Company. Although the cabin was still not completed, the Marshall’s first voyage was in August, when the vessel headed out for Oscada, Michigan, towing the ship Una and reportedly carrying 602,000 feet of green lumber. After 1910, the J. D. Marshall was converted to a sand-sucker or sand barge. In 1911, it was purchased by the Independent Sand and Gravel Company out of Chicago, the company that had owned the Muskegon, with funds from an insurance settlement when the ship Muskegon was lost.
Four lives were lost when the J. D. Marshall capsized on June 11, 1911. Reportedly, the J. D. Marshall set out onto Lake Michigan the previous day and collected approximately 400 yards of sand but sprung a leak about 5 pm. The vessel lay at anchor already taking on water when a storm arose, causing the sand in the hull to shift, and the vessel rolled over. Three crew members were below deck when the vessel turned over and one member of the crew was found dead at the surface. The vessel apparently floated close to shore for several days after capsizing and served as a local attraction for a short while.
Hull Bottom Planking
Photo shows a scuba diver hovering over hull bottom planking, toward the stern of the J. D. Marshall. This vessel is representative of a small to medium-sized class of Great Lakes freighters originally designed for the lumber trade.
The hull planking and hardware toward the stern of the J. D. Marshall are covered with mussels. Prior to capsizing, the J. D. Marshall had been converted to a sand-sucker or sand barge.
Although at one time the J. D. Marshall had two masts, it was powered by a two-cylinder steeple compound engine with one boiler that operated a single screw propeller. This propeller was illegally salvaged but is now in the collection at the Indiana Dunes State Park.
Cut Propeller shaft
This vessel was operated by one propeller. In the 1980s, divers illegally removed the ship’s propeller, rudder and other important mechanical pieces of the wreck.
Ribs & Hardware
When the shipwreck was surveyed in the 1980s, there were no mussels covering the wrecks and the square spikes used to hold the timbers can easily be seen.
Valve by Boiler
Valves were used to control the flow of steam through the boiler assembly. At one time, other equipment on board the J. D. Marshall included a Dake steam-powered deck winch.
The J. D. Marshall used a scotch boiler assembly that operated at 112 revolutions per minute (rpm). The firebox steam boiler measured 8 by 12 feet and was built in 1891 at the Phoenix Iron Works.
Keel and Hull Exterior Planking
The keel is like a backbone of the ship. When an illegal salvage was attempted in the late 1970s or early 1980s, the main frame of the ship broke and separated from the bow, causing stern timbers and planking to separate, and the original beam relaxed, thus flattening out the hull.
Keelson and Skeg
The keelson provided additional strength to the ship’s keel, and the skeg was the extension of the keel where the propeller and rudder were located.