Keeper Bio: Claudius Foster Sutton

Captain 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 Gloucester, Virginia. They had 5 boys, Harry, Hugh, Nathan, Cecil & Julian.

1901-1902: Works as First Assistant at Smith Point Lighthouse, Virginia. His annual salary was $550.

1902-1931: Is appointed Keeper at Pages Rock Lighthouse in Virginia and serves for the next 29 years until his retirement in 1931. His starting salary was $560/year and ending salary was $1,740/year.

1920s: Moves his family to Williamsburg, Virginia.

1932: Passed away on January 4 at U.S. Marine Hospital in Norfolk, Virginia. He is buried at Cedar Grove Cemetery in Williamsburg, Virginia.

Keeper Claudius Foster Sutton Anecdote

During Keeper Sutton’s time at the lighthouse, the Coast Guard would deliver supplies such as coal and wood, but Keeper Sutton would need to row his boat 2-3 miles to the south shore of Queen’s Creek and walk approximately 2 more miles to the closest store to purchase food.

Keeper Sutton also maintained beacon lights mounted on pilings from Yorktown to West Point by keeping each light lit. Every week or so he would maintain each light by refilling with kerosene and cleaning the wicks.

Source: Chesapeake Chapter Keeper database, Virginia, Select Marriages, 1785-1940 , Virginia, Death Records, 1912-2014, 1920; Census Place: Williamsburg, James City, Virginia; Roll: T625_1893; Page: 20B; Enumeration District: 165, The J. Candace Clifford Lighthouse Research Catalog,, U.S., Register of Civil, Military, and Naval Service, 1897, Screwpiles, The Forgotten Lighthouses, Larry Saint, Karla Smith, John H. Sheally II, Phyllis Speidell


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