Keeper Bio: Gray, Araminta

Date of Service: 1822-1823

1822: Bodkin Point Lighthouse, MD is constructed, and John Gray is appointed Principal Keeper in January.

1822: John Gray dies in August. William B. Barney of the fifth U.S. Naval District, recommends that his widow, Araminta, be appointed Principal Keeper. Stephen Pleasonton endorses his letter and then forwards it to President James Monroe. During this time, Araminta Gray is the Acting Keeper of Bodkin Point Lighthouse. President James Monroe declines her appointment as Principal Keeper but allows Araminta Gray to continue her appointment as Acting Keeper until further consideration.

1823: In January, President Monroe officially declines her appointment by responding: “if she will get some male friend of hers to accept the appointment nominally, suffer her to do the duties of Keeper and ascribe the compensation I will confer the appointment on him.” Mark W. Foreman, Araminta’s nephew, agreed to accept the appointment, making Araminta Gray the official Principal Keeper of Bodkin Point Lighthouse, MD.

1823: Keeper Araminta Gray remarries a non-citizen and asks William B. Barney if her new husband can become Keeper. He denies her request, citing that non-citizens cannot be appointed Principal Keeper. Keeper Araminta Gray resigns at the end of 1823.

 Sources: Maryland Lighthouses of the Chesapeake Bay, F. Ross Holland; Chesapeake Chapter Database.

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