Commemoration of the 60th Anniversary of the Sinking of the Levin J. Marvel

Levin MarvelNext month I will be taking part in the commemoration of a terribly tragic event on Chesapeake Bay. Even if you can’t join us, you might like to read it a bit about the sinking of the Levin J. Marvel, which is featured in a chapter from GREAT STORMS OF THE CHESAPEAKE.


On August 12, 1955, as gale force winds from Hurricane Connie raged up the Chesapeake Bay, a three-masted schooner by the name of the Levin J. Marvel sank off of Holland Point in the bay near North Beach, MD. Fourteen of the 27 passengers on board died in this tragedy. Thirteen passengers survived due to the heroic efforts of many local residents.

This tragic and significant Chesapeake Bay maritime event changed Coast Guard safety regulations applying to small passenger vessels.

The Bayside History Museum will present a program with displays and exhibits commemorating “The 60th Anniversary of the Sinking of the Marvel” on August 12, 2015, 7:00pm-9:00pm at the North Beach Volunteer Fire Department Bay View Hall located at 8536 Bayside Road, Chesapeake Beach, MD. 20732. The event is free and open to the public.

Featured speakers are John Ward of the Deale Area Historical Society ; Dr. Susan Langley, Maryland State Underwater Archaeologist; Bill Verge, Executive Director, USCGC INGHAM Memorial Museum, who served as mate on the Marvel that summer; Diane Harrison of Bayside History Museum, and Johnson Fortenbaugh, Jr. who will perform his song, “The Levin J. Marvel”.

David Healey , author, will have a book signing and sale for his book Great Storms of the Chesapeake (which features a chapter about the Levin J. Marvel).

Grace Mary Brady, President of the Bayside History Museum, will be available from 5:30pm to 7:00pm to video record oral histories with people who have personal recollections of the Marvel.

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8 Responses to Commemoration of the 60th Anniversary of the Sinking of the Levin J. Marvel

  1. Anonymous says:

    Hello, I just came across this and, obviously, missed your event. I was a passenger on that last voyage and my father was among those who lost their lives. Needless to say this experience has been a part of my life since it happened 60 years ago and will remain so. Ten years ago I sailed in VICTORY CHIMES, sistership to the LJM when she visited the Chesapeake celebrating her 100th birthday and I hope to do a Maine cruise this summer. Completing a voyage in VICTROY CHIMES is odd but strangely satisfying.
    I regret that I didn’t know about your commemoration; I certainly would have been there. I am pleased to know that this sad event is not forgotten and has found a place in the history of the bay.

    John Ferguson

    • David Healey says:

      Hi John, thank you for sharing your own connection to the sinking of the Levin J. Marvel. I can only imagine what that must have been like. The event was really sponsored by the community and it was an amazing evening with photos, artifacts, and people whose lives had been touched in some way by that tragedy. They made a real effort to track down every individual that they could, but so many years have gone by that obviously it’s hard to find everyone. The North Beach Museum (near Chesapeake Beach) is a good resource if you ever want to learn more about the Marvel! Thank you so much for the response and if you want to send me your snail mail privately by email I will mail you a copy of my book, which has a chapter about the Marvel. Best, David Healey,

  2. Anonymous says:

    Hello my name is Arthur Frey, back in 1954 my father had discovered a lost family member, he had just renewed the relationship with his cousin ceil and her husband Hillard Nevin and their 2 children Hillard and Hillery a short time later they were passengers on the Levin J Marvel and were lost, I have been looking for a record of that event and the names of the people lost and came across you on the internet, any further information that you may be able to provide would be greatly appreciated….Art Frey

    • Anonymous says:

      I have several black/wh photographs of the Nevin family while visiting my parents in Maine. I would like very much to be able to give tem to tou

      • David Healey says:

        Thank you for your note. It would be wonderful of you to share those photographs. I am sure that the museum in Chesapeake Beach would be glad to have them … how can we get in touch? Please go ahead and email me directly at Thank you again. Best, David

  3. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for sharing that, Mr. Frey. Unfortunately, I don’t have any added information, but again, The North Beach Museum (near Chesapeake Beach) could be a resource for you because that community still has memories of that tragic event.

  4. Bob says:

    In 2016, The Travel Channel’s “Dead Files” (Amy Allan & Steve DiSchiavi) did an episode from North Beach, Md. A Mother asked for help for her two daughters who said they were seeing dead people. One of the girls stated she often saw a young girl in her room and that this stranger was all wet, including her hair. The other daughter said she often had a young girl waiting for her at her school bus stop at the end of the day. She related that this girl regularly followed her home and wanted to play with her.

    Their North Beach home fronted the Chesapeake Bay at the Calvert/Anne Arundel County line where some of the dead bodies from the Marvel washed ashore.

    I was wondering if you or anyone else knew if photos of the Nevin family were available as to images of nine-year-old Hilary Nevin, who was drowned in the Marvel tragedy?

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