Unsung Heroes 

St. George Lighthouse

After tumbling into the sea, a community rallied to rebuild the lighthouse.


Countless widows served briefly as light keepers without recognition and perhaps compensation. While many women served heroically alongside their husbands, some served immediately after the deaths of their husbands. Others declined an appointment as light keeper after the death of their spouses.

Ann Taylor whose husband, William Taylor, died requested to be relieved as light keeper of Cape St. George. A letter forwarded to me by Author and Historian, James Hargrove describes her plight. Anne’s spouse was the official light keeper 1849-1850.

“Shattering the Lens” an exhibit debuting Sept 24-October 20 at the National Lighthouse Museum in Staten Island, New York sheds light on the dynamic impact of female lighthouse keepers. The exhibit is inspired by the book “Women Who Kept the Lights” by Mary Louise Clifford and J. Candace Clifford.
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For further information, visit http://lighthousemuseum.org/lectures/

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Women on a Mission 


I thought about the movie “Aquaman,” when researching the romance of bachelor Jeremiah Ingraham and Michaela Penalbar. After all, “Aquaman’s” father fell in love while keeping a lighthouse. As a result of this unlikely union (his father married a mermaid), Aquaman felt called to “Unite Two Worlds.” Lighthouses serve a similar mission, they unite the world. The Pensacola Lighthouse was part of that mission and also united two lives.

Jeremiah served as the first light keeper of the Pensacola Lighthouse. After two years at the post, Ingraham married Michaela Penalbar. Together they managed the light until his death in 1840. Michaela Ingraham became the first female head light keeper at Pensacola serving 1840-1855. After her death, her son in law, Joseph Palmes, followed as the keeper. Palmer was the keeper when the lighthouse was reconstructed at a new site in 1858 at the naval yard.

Built in 1824, the Pensacola Lighthouse safely guides ships directly into the deepest bay on Florida’s gulf coast. Pensacola Lighthouse had several female assistant light keepers: First Assistant Miss MV Watts 1867-69, Second Assistants: Mrs. MJ Madden 1869, Miss Viny Hughes 1869-70, Martha Lawrence 1880-85.

“Shattering the Lens” exhibit Sept 24-October 20 at the National Lighthouse Museum in Staten, Island New York sheds light on the dynamic impact of female lighthouse keepers. The exhibit is inspired by the book “Women Who Kept the Light” by Mary Louise Clifford and J. Candace Clifford.

The National Lighthouse Museum is only a 3-5 minute from the Staten Island Ferry.

http://www.pensacolalighthouse.org

For further information, visit http://lighthousemuseum.org/lectures/

The Devil is in the Details 

This lighthouse makes it to the bucket list.

This lighthouse makes it to the bucket list.


People from all over the world visit Gay Head lighthouse. The popularity of the gaily, colorful cliffs and iconic lighthouse is nothing new. Charles Vanderhoop assistant light keeper, according to a newspaper article, retired on disability in 1933 due to “visitor-itis!” Tourists probably weren’t a concern during the service of Gay Head’s assistant female light keeper, Lydia Adams. There were no roads for easy access to the lighthouse during her term, 1869-71.

A century later in 1975 , the popular lighthouse caught the eye of Hollywood and Steven Spielberg. There’s a shot of Gay Head Lighthouse in the Academy Award thriller, “Jaws.” When it was being relocated, the lighthouse was in the spotlight again in 2015. I was visiting Martha’s Vineyard during this time.

Despite all the fanfare, the Gay Head Lighthouse was built in 1799 to warn mariners about the treacherous, submerged obstructions called “Devil’s Bridge.”

Shattering the Lens exhibit Sept 24-October 20 at the National Lighthouse Museum in Staten, Island New York sheds light on the dynamic impact of female lighthouse keepers. The exhibit is inspired by the book “Women Who Kept the Light” by Mary Louise Clifford and J. Candace Clifford.

Lighthouse friends.com

For more information, visit www.elainemarie artist.com.

Keeping it Short

Brant Point is the shortest lighthouse in New England.

Brant Point is the shortest lighthouse in New England.


Brant Point Lighthouse in Nantucket, Massachusetts has been rebuilt more than any other lighthouse in the United States. The present Brant Point Lighthouse is New England’s shortest and was constructed in 1901. Mary Chapman served as one of its first light keepers in 1907.

The island of Nantucket once known as the “Whaling Capital” of the world, is featured in Herman Melville’s classic novel, “Moby Dick.” Remnants of New England’s Whaling History are prevalent at Nantucket the site of the Nation’s second oldest lighthouse. The first lighthouse was built in 1746 after Sea Captains demanded a lighthouse to protect their investments.

Shattering the Lens exhibit Sept 24-October 20 at the National Lighthouse Museum in Staten Island, New York sheds light on the dynamic impact of female lighthouse keepers. The exhibit is inspired by the book “Women Who Kept the Light” by Mary Louise Clifford and J. Candace Clifford.

Lighthousefriends.com

For more information, visit my website at www.elainemarieartist.com

This One’s A Keeper

 

“Almost all of the United States’ lighthouses whose histories go back to the 1800’s at one time or another had female assistant keepers.” There are many examples of lighthouse keepers’ wives serving as assistant keepers. This saved the Lighthouse Service the expense of supplying additional quarters for another family. 

Mrs. Merrill Hussey served as Assistant Light Keeper (1868-69) while her husband served as Head Light Keeper at Cape San Blas Lighthouse.

Originally completed in 1848, the lighthouse has been rebuilt four times. The current Cape San Blas Lighthouse stands in an idyllic setting overlooking St. Joseph Bay at Port St. Joe, Florida. The City of Port St. Joe raised funds to relocate the buildings in 2012. The lighthouse and dwellings were moved on a truck convoy from Cape San Blas 12 miles away. Three cranes placed the lighthouse atop its new foundation in 2014.

Shattering the Lens exhibit Sept 24-October 20 at the National Lighthouse Museum in Staten Island, New York sheds light on the dynamic impact of female lighthouse keepers. The exhibit is inspired by the book “Women Who Kept the Light” by Mary Louise Clifford and J. Candace Clifford.

America’s Lighthouses An Illustrated History by Francis Ross Holland, Jr.

St. Joseph Historical Society, Inc.

For more information, visit elainemarie artist.com

An Enduring Light

St. Mark's Lighthouse

St. Mark’s is Florida’s second oldest lighthouse.

“Every calamity is overcome by endurance,” according to Virgil. St. Mark’s,  Florida’s second oldest lighthouse, has certainly endured its share of storms and calamities. The first lighthouse did not pass inspection and had to be rebuilt in 1831. It later fell prey to erosion. The third lighthouse was rebuilt in its present location in 1842. During the Civil War, Union forces burned the lighthouse’s stairs. 

St. Marks stairwell

If only these St. Marks stairwells could talk.


St. Mark’s Lighthouse keepers also faced many perils. The first female Lighthouse Keeper Anne Dudley, a widow, nearly lost all her worldly possessions during a storm. Unfortunately, she was never compensated by Congress for her loss. Following the death of her husband Charles Fine in 1905, Sarah Fine became the second female keeper.

National Lighthouse Museum Staten Island, New York.

Photo courtesy of the National Lighthouse Museum.


Shattering the Lens exhibit Sept 24-October 20 at the National Lighthouse Museum in Staten Island, New York sheds light on the dynamic impact of female lighthouse keepers. The exhibit is inspired by the book “Women Who Kept the Light” by Mary Louise Clifford and J. Candace Clifford.x

Stmarkslighthouse.com
For more information, elainemarieartist.com

Keeping it all in the family 

St. Augustine Lighthouse

Maria Andreu is the first Hispanic-American to serve in the Coast Guard and the first to command a federal shore installation. She was a Light keeper for the St. Augustine Lighthouse, 1859-1861.


Lightkeeping was a family affair. Families were considered assets to lightkeepers and the Lighthouse Board. 

The Colchester Reef Lighthouse was originally a two man station with families living ashore. The Lighthouse Board eliminated one position and moved a family out to join the remaining keeper. It was arduous work. Wives, daughters and sons sometimes fulfilled the duties of a light keeper without pay.  

Families filled in when the light keeper was absent or died. When Joseph Andreu fell 60 feet to his death white washing the St. Augustine Lighthouse, his wife Maria Andreu became the light keeper. 

Shattering the Lens exhibit Sept 24-October 20 at the National Lighthouse Museum in Staten Island New York sheds light on the dynamic impact of female lighthouse keepers. The exhibit is inspired by the book “Women Who Kept the Light” by Mary Louise Clifford and J. Candace Clifford. 

For more information, visit elainemarie artist.com

(America’s Lighthouses An Illustrated History by Francis Ross Holland, Jr.)