Keeper Bio: Lusby, Elizabeth

Date of Service: 1844 – 1862

1786:  Born on December 14 to parents Lewis and Mary Lusby, in Cecil, MD.

1819:  Marries Robert C. Lusby on December 21.

1833-1841:  Robert Lusby is appointed Principal Keeper at Turkey Point Lighthouse, MD, on August 10, 1833, where he remained until August 18, 1841.

1843:  Robert Lusby returns as Principal Keeper at Turkey Point Lighthouse, MD.

1844-1862: Robert C. Lusby dies on February 21. Elizabeth is named Principal Keeper at Turkey Point Lighthouse on May 8. Her annual salary is $350. She is the first female keeper at the station.

1862:  Elizabeth Lusby dies while serving as Keeper on February 27, 1862, at age 75, She served a total of 18 years as Keeper. She is buried at Harts United Methodist Church Cemetery, Elk Neck., MD.

Keeper Elizabeth Lusby Anecdotes:

Elizabeth Lusby lived a total of 27 years at Turkey Point Lighthouse, with 18 of those years as Principal Keeper.

After a complaint regarding the visibility of the light at Turkey Point, Elizabeth wrote a letter to the inspector stating that she was afraid the condition of the lamps would create difficulties for mariners:  “Capt. Howeland has for the past three years, reported at Washington the defective condition of the lamps…When last here, he repaired as well as he could, hoping they might stand for another year, but the repeated soldering, filing, etc., has worn them away so much that he could not make a permanent job, and hoped he should be able to bring a new set this spring. I told him I feared complaint from watermen, which he thought probable, but nothing more could be done.

In 1853, Elizabeth’s pay was suspended for one month, due to bad record-keeping involving oil. Elizabeth responded with the following explanation: “I have been frequently indisposed and not able to attend to measuring the oil myself, and those I have to assist me may have carelessly given a lesser quantity than they should.

 Sources: Chesapeake Chapter Keeper database, Paula Krum, Historian TPLHS, Women Who Kept The Lights, Mary Louise Clifford & J. Candace Clifford, Cypress Communications, Alexandria, Virginia, 2013, Guardians of The Light; Stories of U.S. Lighthouse Keepers, Elinor De Wire, Pineapple Press Inc. Sarasota, Florida, 1995


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