Category: Heritage-Virginia

Keeper Bio: Claudius Foster Sutton

Date of Service: 1897-1931 1869: Born in Craven County, North Carolina on December 11, 1869. 1897: Works as a cook at Smith Point Lighthouse in Virginia for $30. 1898-1901: Works as First Assistant at Pages Rock Lighthouse in Virginia. His annual salary was $420. 1901: Marries his wife Virginia Mildred Oliver on October 9, in …

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Point of Shoals Lighthouse

Point of Shoals Lighthouse had two lighthouses. The first was built in 1855 in Burwell’s Bay on the shallow southern shoreline of the James River. It was a small, twenty-foot square, four-room white dwelling with a red tin roof and black lantern supported by five wrought-iron piles. It was equipped with a large-sized pressed glass …

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Timeline: Point of Shoals Lighthouse

1837: A request is made by Beverly Kennon, Captain of the United States Navy, to construct a lighthouse at three locations along the James River in Virginia; Day’s Point, Point of Shoals and Deep Water & Lyon’s Creek Shoals. 1850: The U. S. Lighthouse Board authorizes $3,500 for preliminary work in the engineering & design …

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Pages Rock Lighthouse

Due to increased river traffic along the York River, Congress appropriated $25,000 on March 3, 1891, to construct a lighthouse on a shoal which jutted out from Blundering Point, about 5 miles north of Yorktown, Virginia. After borings were made, it was determined that the river bottom was not firm enough to support a lighthouse …

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Timeline: Pages Rock Lighthouse

1883: The U. S. Lighthouse Board recommends that a lighthouse be constructed at Pages Rock, in the York River, approximately five miles from Yorktown, Virginia at a cost of $25,000. The combination of railroads at West Point and the increasing commerce on the York River are the reason for the request. This request is repeated …

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Timeline: Nansemond River Lighthouse

1876: On July 31, 1876, Congress appropriates $15,000 to build a lighthouse at the mouth of the Nansemond River, Virginia. 1877: A tract of land for construction of the lighthouse is obtained from the Governor of Virginia. 1878: The framing for the superstructure of the lighthouse is started at the Lazaretto depot on February 26 …

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Timeline: Killock Shoal Lighthouse

1884: On July 7, 1884, Congress appropriates $10,000 to construct a small lighthouse and fog signal on Killick Shoal, in Chincoteague Bay. A site is selected in August—on the outer end of the shoal on the north side of the channel, approximately 3-1/8 miles from the Assateague light. 1885: The deed for the site is …

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Keeper Bio: Thomas Jefferson Steinhise

Date of Service: 1918 – 1941 1879: Born on September 29 in Leonardtown, Maryland.Marries wife, Ada Viola Wible. Couple raises four children – daughters – Beulah and Helen, and sons, Charles and Thomas Earl. Works as a waterman and blacksmith.1918: Joins U.S. Lighthouse Service. Serves as Assistant Keeper at Tangier Sound Lighthouse (Virginia) with brother-in-law.1919: …

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Keeper Bio: Lewis Riggin Carman

Date of Service: 1936 – 1947 1907: Born October 13 in Delmar, Wicomico County, MD1926: Marries Gladys Ruth Elmore on September 1 in Crisfield, Somerset County, MD.1931: The couple has their first child, a son, Lewis Riggin Carman, Jr. on April 16.1932: The couple has their second child, a daughter, Caroline Virgie on October 24.1936-1938: …

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Timeline: Great Wicomico River

1888: On October 2, Congress appropriates $25,000 to build a lighthouse at the mouth of the Great Wicomico River on Virginia’s Western Shore. 1889: Proposals for bids to furnish the ironwork went out in January and bids received were opened on February 13. The winning bid was $13,975 for this lighthouse and the Holland Island …

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Timeline: Dutch Gap Canal

1864: Union troops dig a canal by removing 67,000 cubic yards of soil to open 174 yards of the canal so that Federal gunboats can move upriver to the Confederate defenses of Richmond. 1871: The canal is improved and dredged, cutting almost five miles off the loop around Farrar Island. 1873: Congress appropriates $15,000 on …

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Keeper Bio: Barney Crockett Thomas

Date of Service: 1917 – 1950 1896: Born on February 4 in Tangier, VA to John W. and Emma (Crockett) Thomas.1917: Married Ella H. Crockett on September 16. Couple raises six children; two sons – Everett and Hanson; and four daughters – Emma, Catherine, Violet, and Doris. 1917: Serves aboard the Coast Guard cutter Apache.1917 …

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Keeper Bio: Clarence Walter Salter

Date of Service: 1894 – 1925 1877: Born in Mathews County, VAMarried Fannie May Hudgins. Had three children – two daughters – Jessie Olga Salter Crouch and Mabel Salter Best; and one son – Charles Bradley Salter.1894 – 1903: Serves at Old Plantation Flats lighthouse.1903 – 1908: Serves at York Spit Lighthouse as First Assistant …

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Keeper Bio: Charles Linwood Sadler

Date of Service: 1944 – Retirement 1906: Born on June 12 in Mathews County, VA.1928: Married Mabel Martha Diggs. Raises four children.Joined Coast Guard buoy tender after a career of commercial boating.1944 – 1953: Serves as civilian First Assistant Keeper at Cove Point Lighthouse, Lusby, Maryland. Sadler and his family live in station’s three-story keeper’s …

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Keeper Bio: Wesley Foster Ripley

Keepers

Date of Service: 1881 – 1916 1835: Born on June 18 in Mathews County, VA.1858: Marries Laberta F. Jarvis on November 11. Couple raises ten children: Martha, Louisa, Mary Ellen, Wesley, Mary E., Tommie, Robert, Delena, Maria, and Luther. 1860s: Ripley serves during the Civil War for the Confederacy on the Giles Light Artillery – …

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Keeper Bio: Charles Edwin Respess

Date of Service: 1888 – 1915 1862: Born on July 24 – Barn Creek, Gwynn’s Island, VA.1888 – 1890: Assistant on Cape Charles Light Vessel #46. 1891 – 1893: Captain of newly christened Cape Charles LV #49.1892: Married Annie “Lovie” Grimstead on July 13.1893 – 1894: Service at Cherrystone Bar as Assistant ($435/year) and Old …

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Keeper Bio: Levi D. Marchant

Date of Service: 1882 – 1921 1856: Born on April 1 in Mathews, Virginia.1879: Marries Emma Susan Dixon on September 25. Couple raises five children: Ruby, Elizabeth, John Dixon, Talmadge, and Levi Theodore. 1882 to 1883: Keeper Marchant begins service on December 31 as Acting 2nd Assistant Keeper at Wolf Trap Lighthouse, Virginia. Salary – …

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Keeper Bio: Frank Raymond Lewis

Date of Service: 1922 – 1948   1894: Born on November 23 in Mathews, VA.   1917 to 1919: Serves as a Corporal in the U.S. Army during    WWI in France; 7th Company, 154th Depot Brigade based in  Camp Meade.1921: Marries Clementine Ware Forrest on April 25 in  Norfolk, VA. Couple raises two children – …

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Keeper Bio: William James Kelly

Date of Service: 1918 – 1945 1900: Born on January 29 to William S. Kelly and Bertha Wallace Kelly.1918 – 1920: Begins Lighthouse Service. Serves as Assistant Keeper at Old Plantation Flats Lighthouse (VA) – an off-shore screwpile lighthouse on the Eastern Shore of the Bay, southwest of Cape Charles City, VA. His salary was …

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Keeper Bio: John Filmore Hudgins

Date of Service: 1895 – 1923 1856: Born on January 17 in Mathews County, VA1879 or 1880: Married Ellen Gertrude “Mittie” Thomas and raised eleven children.1895: Serves at the Smith Point Lighthouse. The Chesapeake Bay freezes. Ice strikes lighthouse – carries it six miles away from the foundation. Lantern, fog-bell apparatus, oil and some supply …

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Keeper Bio: Isaac Foster

Keepers

Date of Service: 1846 – 1854 1789: Born in Mathews, Virginia.1812: Serves as a Private and Sergeant in the 61st Regiment, Virginia Militia during the War of 1812.1814: Marries Mary “Polly” F. Miller. The couple raises seven children: Baldwin, John, Elizabeth, Seth, Isaac, William Shepard, and Julia Ann. Sons – John, Seth, and William Shepard …

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Keeper Bio: William James Diggs

Date of Service: 1916 – 1943 1882: Born January 5 in Mathews County, VA1908: Married Edna Grey Brooks on November 18 at Bethel United Methodist Church in Laban (now Onemo), Virginia. The couple raises three children, daughters Edna Virginia, Alice Jeanette and a son, James Carlton.1916 to 1917: Serves as Second Assistant Keeper at Wolf …

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Keeper Bio: Floyd Earl Crewe

Date of Service: 1930-1968 1908: Born on November 16 in Mathews County, VA.1930: Marries Melva Sadler on June 21. The couple raises three children.1930: Joins the U.S. Lighthouse Service. Serves as a seaman on Diamond Shoals Lightship #105.1933: Survives 150 mph winds of Chesapeake-Potomac hurricane. The Lightship is swept off course 5 miles.1937: Transferred to …

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Keeper Bio: Nelson Stanley Atherton

Date of Service: 1937-1965 1903: Born March 30 in Hallieford, Mathews County, VA.1920: Begins service in the Merchant Marine and as a crew member on the Steamer Pennsylvania. The vessel stopped at Old Point Comfort Lighthouse in route between Cape Charles and Norfolk, VA.1929: Married Arlys Hurst on August 26. The couple raises one daughter, …

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Timeline: Jordan Point Lighthouse

Jordan Point Lighthouse-1885/National Archives Photo

1852: Congress appropriates $15,000 for lighthouses to be built at Days Point, Point of Shoals, Deep Water Shoals and Jordan Point along the James River on August 31, 1852. 1853: The site for Jordan Point Lighthouse is selected and estimates and plans are made by Major Bache, which are approved. 1854: Construction begins on Jordan …

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Timeline: Deep Water Shoal Lighthouse

1837: A request is made by Beverly Kennon, Captain of the United States Navy, to construct a lighthouse at three locations along the James River in Virginia; Day’s Point, Point of Shoals and Deep Water & Lyon’s Creek Shoals. 1850: The U. S. Lighthouse Board authorizes $3,500 for preliminary work in the engineering & design …

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Timeline: Craney Island Lighthouse

1857: The Lighthouse Board recommends building a small screwpile lighthouse for a price of $10,000-$12,000 to replace the lightship that had served the station since 1820. 1859: The lightship is replaced by a square wooden structure on a screwpile foundation. 1861: The Confederates remove the lens & destroy the lighthouse. 1862: On June 23, 1862, …

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Timeline: Cherrystone Bar Lighthouse

1853: It is recommended by the Lighthouse Board to construct a small screwpile lighthouse on the shoals or Sandy Point to mark the entrance to Cherrystone Harbor for a price of $10,000. 1854: $10,000 is appropriated by Congress on August 3rd to construct the lighthouse. 1855: An additional request is made by the Lighthouse Board …

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Timeline: Bowlers Rock Lighthouse

1835: Lightship LV “O” is stationed in the Upper Rappahannock River approximately 8-1/2 miles downstream from the town of Tappahannock to mark a rock on the east side of the channel. 1861: Lightship LV “O” is captured by Confederate forces. 1864: Lightship LV-28 is stationed to replace the previous ship that was captured. 1867: The …

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Timeline: Bells Rock Lighthouse

Timeline: 1880: The first lighthouse is completed at Lazaretto Depot in Maryland on November 26, 1880, but instead is used in the rebuilding of the Thimble Shoal Light, which burned down. 1880: Iron work for the second lighthouse is manufactured by Messers, Paulding, Kemble & Co. in Cold Springs, NY., and completed in November. 1881: …

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