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Stranding of the Steamer, F. and P. M., No. 1
Ludington Station, Michigan
by Suzanne Hurley
From the 1885 Annual Report of the United States Life-Saving Service

Edited by the Ocean City Life-Saving Station Museum
*Minor editorial privileges were taken to clarify the text and writing style of the period.


The third disaster attended with fatal results occurred on the last day of December, 1884, off Ludington Harbor, Lake Michigan. Although it happened within a few hundred yards of the Ludington Station, (Eleventh District,) it was of such a nature that the Life-Saving Service cannot, in equity, be held responsible. The facts, however, are briefly given in pursuance of the policy of the Service to account for every life lost by marine disaster within the limits of its operations. The stations on the chain of great northern lakes had all closed a few weeks previous, upon the general suspension of navigation for the winter, and the Ludington crew were therefore off duty. At 7 o'clock in the morning, during a southwesterly gale and snow storm and quite a rough sea, the steamer F. and P., M., No. 1, of East Saginaw, Michigan, owned by the Flint and Pere Marquette Railway Company, ran aground on a bar at the entrance of Ludington Harbor while steaming into her wharf from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with a cargo of provisions. There were twenty-six people on board, including two passengers. She struck under full headway and with such force that the jar ruptured the steam pipe. The escaping hot water and steam almost instantly scalded to death a coal-passer, named Joseph Ziony, on duty in the fire-room. The loss of motive power rendered the vessel unmanageable, and she was driven in against the end of the north pier, almost broadside to the sea. Keeper Tufts, of the station, observing her peril, mustered his old crew as quickly as possible and put off in the surf-boat to her assistance. They ran a line from her across to the south pier, and by that means she was held from drifting to the northward into the breakers, and the passengers and crew were enabled to land on the north pier with but little difficulty. The body of Ziony was removed to the station for the inquest. As the storm and other conditions made it impossible to get the steamer into the harbor that day, and there was danger of her being knocked to pieces against the pier by the sea, the captain as a measure of safety, decided to scuttle her. Before doing this, however, all the furniture and personal effects were removed and taken to the station for siteorary safe-keeping. The steamer sank to her wales, in about 18 feet of water, and a goodly portion of the cargo soon washed out on to the beach. She was subsequently raised and taken to Milwaukee for repairs.

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