Category: Heritage-Virginia

Keeper Bio: Charles C. Tyler

Keepers

Date of Service: 1905 – 1919 1859:  Born April 13 to parents Thomas and Maria Tyler in Somerset, MD. 1880:  Occupation is listed as Seaman in the U.S. Census 1900:  Occupation is listed as Oysterman in the U.S. Census 1905–1906: Serves as Second Assistant at Thimble Shoal Lighthouse, VA, with an annual salary of $440. …

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Keeper Bio: Walter M. Shawn

Keepers

Date of Service: 1895 – 1908 1862: Born on February 14 in Queen Anne’s County, Eastern Shore, MD. 1869-1870: Family moves to Gloucester County, VA. 1880: Works as a farmer.                     1888: Works as a lumberman.  Marries Virginia E. Davis on December 26.  The couple raises three children, Lessie, Linwood, and Estelle. 1895-1901: Serves as …

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Keeper Bio: Henry Luther Dow

Date of Service: 1919 – 1954 1884: Born on April 2 at New Point, Mathews County, VA.  Keeper Dow was part of the 8th generation of Dows originally immigrating from England. 1909: Marries Hattie May Brooks on December 25.  The couple raises two children, Walter Carroll, and Elizabeth Snow. 1910:  Works as a sailor on …

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Keeper Bio: James Garnett Williams

Date of Service: 1875 – 1919 1855:  Born on April 15 in Mathews County, VA 1875:  Serves as Second Assistant Keeper at Windmill Point Lighthouse (VA).   Annual salary – $400.    1875-1876: Serves as First Assistant Keeper at Windmill Point Lighthouse (VA). Annual Salary – $440. 1876-1907:  Serves as Keeper at Windmill Point Lighthouse (VA).  …

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Keeper Bio: William Thomas “Billy” Brooks

Date of Service: 1909 – 1923 1853: Born on September 3 in Mathews County, VA.                1878: Marries Lucy Jane Marchant on January 31.  The couple has six children ­- Egbert, James, William, Thomas, Golden, and Gladys.      1900: Works as an oysterman.                     1909-1911: Serves as Assistant Keeper at Cobb Point Bar Lighthouse, MD beginning November …

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Keeper Bio: Robert Harold “Hallie” Matthews

Keepers

Date of Service: 1918 – 1941   1873: Born on October 14 in Mathews County, VA. Marries Edna Earle Brooks.  The couple raises one child – Mary Elizabeth. 1918- 1920:  Serves as First Assistant Keeper at Deep Water Shoals Lighthouse (VA). Starting annual salary – $480; ending – $720. 1918: On August 7, First Assistant …

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Keeper Bio: Andrew Broaddus Sadler

Date of Service: 1903 – 1930 1867: Born in Mathews County, VA. 1887: Serves as an oysterman.  Marries Willia Peters on February 27. The couple raises one child – Edith Pearl.  1903 – at least 1913: Serves as Assistant Keeper at Stingray Point Lighthouse (VA). Starting annual salary – $420; ending – $480. 1915: Serves …

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Keeper Bio: Charles Franklin Sadler

Date of Service: 1925 – 1954 1892: Born on July 3 in Mathews County, VA. 1914: Marries Emma Lewis on October 10.  The couple has two children – Eileen and Weldon Lewis. 1917: Works as a fisherman – Gwynn’s Island, VA. 1925: Works for the United States Lighthouse Service as a foreman for the Shipping …

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Keeper Bio: Francis E. Wilkins

Date of Service: 1884-1918 1852/1853:  Born in Virginia to parents G.W. & Mary Wilkins. 1884:  Served as First Assistant at Watts Island Lighthouse, VA. His salary was $420/year. 1890:   Appointed Keeper at Tangier Sound Lighthouse, VA. His annual salary was $575/year. 1892:   Marries his wife, Lida, on June 12 in Northumberland, VA. They …

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Timeline: Hog Island Lighthouse

1837:   On March 3, Congress appropriates $5,000 to construct a lighthouse on the south end of Hog Island, Virginia. 1837:   In a letter dated April 18, Commander Alexander Claxton wrote a letter to Commodore John Rodgers, President of the Board of Navy Commissioners. In the letter, he recommended that the money appropriated by Congress was …

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Timeline: Lambert Point Lighthouse

1870: A request of $15,000 is made to construct a square lighthouse at Lambert’s Point on the east side of the Elizabeth River to mark a shoal just off the point. 1871: Congress appropriates $15,000 on March 3 to construct the square lighthouse on five piles with a fifth-order red light. 1873: The west side …

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Timeline: Pungoteague Creek Lighthouse

1852: On August 31, Congress appropriates $10,000 to build a lighthouse at Pungoteague Creek, Va. 1853: The site for the lighthouse is selected and approved plans and estimates are provided by Major Hartman Bache. 1854: The entire structure, foundation, superstructure, and ironwork is completed in Philadelphia, Pa. On April 23, materials were shipped to the …

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Timeline: Tangier Sound Lighthouse

1887: The lighthouse board requests $25,000 to construct a screwpile lighthouse at the Tangier Island Shoal, at the entrance to Tangier Sound in the Chesapeake Bay. 1888: Congress appropriates $25,000 to construct a lighthouse at Tangier Island Shoal on October 2. 1889: Plans & specifications are prepared, and proposals were opened on March 16 for …

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Timeline: York Spit Lighthouse

1837: A request is made to the Secretary of the Treasury to provide a contract for construction of a light vessel on York River Spit, or a lighthouse in Virginia on March 3 for $10,000. 1853: A request is made to the Lighthouse Board from the Custom House Office in Yorktown, Virginia to provide a …

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Timeline: Tue Marshes Lighthouse

1874: Congress appropriates $15,000 on June 23 to construct a lighthouse at Too’s Marshes, near the mouth of the York River, Virginia. 1875: Construction begins on the lighthouse on May 24th. It is to be a square screwpile cottage structure on iron piles. It is equipped with a sixth-order Fresnel lens first exhibited on August …

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Timeline: Watts Island Lighthouse

1828: Congress appropriates $6,500 to construct a lighthouse on Little Watts Island on May 23. 1831: Congress appropriates $6,400 for a lighthouse on Little Watts Island. 1833: John Donahoo builds a 48-foot tower equipped with a fifth-order Fresnel lens and keepers house at a price of $4,775. 1838: The keeper’s house is noted as being …

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Timeline: White Shoal Lighthouse

1850: The U. S. Lighthouse Board authorizes $3,500 for preliminary work in the engineering & design for four lighthouses on the James River. 1852: Congress appropriates $1,000 for a beacon on White Shoal, August 31, 1852. 1854: Construction of a square cottage supported by five, five-inch diameter wooden piles covered with a cast-iron screw sleeve, …

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Keeper Bio: Julian Haywood Austin

Date of Service: 1921 – 1948 1898:   Born on February 20 to John Lotson Austin & Markey Poyner Austin, in Frisco, NC 1916-1917:   Joins the U.S. Lighthouse Service and was stationed on three lightships, including LV71. 1918-1921:   Worked on multiple “oilers” for the U.S. Army. 1921:   Returned to the U.S. Lighthouse …

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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

1874:  The Virginia State Legislature passes an act to cede the land necessary for the construction of a lighthouse on April 16. 1876: On July 31, 1876, Congress appropriates $15,000 to build a lighthouse at the mouth of the Nansemond River, Virginia. 1877: A five-acre tract of land is titled to the United States for …

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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.  The couple raises sixteen children. 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: Serves as Keeper at Lower Cedar Point Lighthouse (Maryland). Resigns for …

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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 Lighthouse

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 Lighthouse

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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