Keeper Bio: Benjamin Nathaniel Gray

Benjamin Nathaniel Gray

Date of Service: 1882-1907

1851:  Born in Maryland

1885:  Marries his wife, Sarah.

1882:  Served as First Assistant at Cove Point Lighthouse in MD.  His salary was $420/year.

1883:  Served as the first Keeper at Drum Point Lighthouse in MD.  His starting salary was $540/year and ending salary of $575/year.

1890:  Served as Keeper at Cove Point Lighthouse in MD.  His starting salary was $560/year and ending salary was $660/year.

1907:  Keeper Gray is charged with allegedly assaulting former Assistant Keeper, Joseph Kemp on August 7. The case was later dismissed.

1907:  Keeper Gray leaves his position at Cove Point Lighthouse in November.

1910:   United States Census lists Benjamin N. Gray’s occupation as farmer, where he lived with his wife and 8 children.

Keeper Benjamin Nathaniel Gray Anecdotes

Keeper Benjamin N. Gray was the first official Keeper at Drum Point lighthouse, where he served for 7 years. He eventually returned to Cove Point Lighthouse where he served as Keeper for 17 years.

During his years as Keeper at Drum Point Lighthouse, several events were reported. On March 12, 1885, a small sailboat hit the lighthouse and one of the people fell overboard and needed to be rescued. On August 31, 1886, tremors were recorded at 9:50 p.m. and 10:10 p.m. which caused the doors to slam, and the bell machine started to rattle. Those tremors originated from the second largest earthquake in U.S. history in Charleston, South Carolina. On March 1, 1887, the keeper was able to walk around the lighthouse due to extremely low tide.

 Source: Chesapeake Chapter Keeper database, Robert J. Hurry, Registrar of Calvert Marine Museum, “United States Census, 1910,”  FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org), Baltimore Sun, October 16, 1907, Calvert Marine Museum website, The J. Candace Clifford Lighthouse Research Catalog, www.uslhs.org

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