Chicago, IL Gravel Ship MATERIAL SERVICE Sinks in Lake Michigan, Jul 1936
15 OF CREW PERISH AS LAKE SHIP SINKS
Seven Others Rescued After
Sand-Laden Craft Plunges
to Bottom Off Chicago
CRAFT VANISHES IN MINUTE
Survivors Declare Vessel
Lurched Over on Its Side and
Hurled Them Into Water
CHICAGO, July 29.—Fifteen lake
seamen, including Captain Charles
D. Brown of Port Huron, Mich.,
perished early today when the
1,070-ton gravel ship Material Service
suddenly heeled to port and
plunged to the bottom of Lake
Michigan a quarter of a mile outside
the South Chicago breakwater.
Seven other members of the crew,
leaping from the craft as it settled,
were rescued after drifting on the
choppy surface, some of them for
The tragedy took more lives than
any in marine history here since
the sinking of the small excursion
boat, The Favorite, which was
wrecked in a squall July 28, 1927.
Then fifteen children, ten women
and a man were drowned.
The $400,000 motor ship was carrying
2,000 tons of sand and gravel
from Lockport, Ill., to the Material
Service Corporation yards along
the Calumet River, here. The craft
sank about a minute after a huge
wave swept over her. The fifteen
members of the crew who died
were trapped in their bunks below
decks and apparently never had a
chance to save their lives.
Those Who Are Missing
The missing are:
Captain CHARLES D. BROWN, 65, Port
ELMER BERGGREN, 28, Chicago, deckhand.
ELMER BERGSLAND, 28. Lockport, Ill.,
CHARLES BERGSTEAD. 30, Chicago,
CARL BROWN, 31, Michigan, deckhand.
ANTHONY CASTY, 46, Chicago, steward.
DARWIN HANSON, 30. Sturgeon Bay,
ODIN JOHNSON, 45, Lcmont, I11, chief engineer.
HARRY MEWRER, 29, Lockport, oiler.
JOHN MELBY, 52, Chicago, wheelsman.
JOSEPH OBERLIN, 28, Lockport, cook.
LEIF OLSON, 32, Lockport, scraperman.
FRED SAMUELSON, 33, Chicago, deckhand.
MELVIN TUFTS, 34, Lockport, mate.
MICHAEL McEVOY, 24, Chicago, deckhand,
who joined the ship Saturday.
Tonight all that remained above
water to mark the sight of the tragedy
was a long rod supporting the
low light and a tripod framework,
sixty feet from the bow of the 243-
The seven members of the crew
who were rescued were pulled from
the water by the keeper of the
Eighty-sixth Street lighthouse and
his assistant, by Coast Guardsmen
in launches, and the crew of the
tug New Jersey. The survivors told
harrowing stories of their desperate
fight for life in the choppy sea.
Believes Ship Was Leaking
As Federal authorities began an
investigation tonight, several theories
were advanced as to the cause
of the tragedy. Joseph Weber, assistant
engineer on the vessel, one
of those rescued, said it had apparently
been leaking for an hour
before it sank.
July 30, 1936 edition of The New York Times