Category: Keepers-Bios

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: Fannie Mae Salter

Date of Service: 1925 – 1947 1882: Born in Mathews County, VA. 1904: Marries Clarence Walter “Harry” Salter. Had three children – two daughters – Jessie Olga Salter Crouch and Mabel Salter Best; one son – Charles Bradley Salter.1922: Husband serves as Keeper of Turkey Point Lighthouse, North East, Maryland.1925: Keeper Salter passes away. Mrs. …

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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: John O’Neill

Keepers

Date of Service: 1827 – 1838 1768: Born in Ireland on November 23. 1786: Immigrated to America at age 18. Works as a gunsmith. 1794: Served in the militia during Whiskey Rebellion. 1790s: Marries Mary Virginia O’Neill and moves to Havre De Grace.  Manages a nail factory and serves as town commissioner. Has five children …

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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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