Keeper Bio: Wilkins, Francis E.

Francis E. Wilkins

Date of Service: 1884-1918

1852/1853:  Born in Virginia to parents G.W. & Mary Wilkins.

1884:  Served as First Assistant at Watts Island Lighthouse, VA. His salary was $420/year.

1890:   Appointed Keeper at Tangier Sound Lighthouse, VA. His annual salary was $575/year.

1892:   Marries his wife, Lida, on June 12 in Northumberland, VA. They later have a son, Gordon.

1904:  Appointed Keeper at Cedar Point Lighthouse, MD. His annual salary is $560.

1906:  Appointed Keeper at Jones Point Lighthouse, VA. His beginning salary was $500/year and ending salary of $510/year.

1918:  Passed away on December 24 from influenza while serving as Keeper at Jones Point Lighthouse, VA. He was 72 years old.

Keeper Francis E. Wilkins Anecdotes

Keeper Wilkins served continuously for 34 years at 4 different lighthouses in Virginia and Maryland until his death in 1918.

Keeper Wilkins was transferred from his position at Cedar Point Lighthouse when the longtime keeper of Jones Point Lighthouse, Benjamin Greenwood, passed away. Keeper Wilkins and his wife, along with all their household furniture and items boarded the U. S. supply steamer, Holly, and landed at Jones Point. Unfortunately, some of Mrs. Greenwood’s family were suffering from chickenpox and caused a delay of Keeper Wilkins formally taking charge of Jones Point. Mrs. Greenwood and her family, who lived at the lighthouse for over 40 years, moved out on March 1, 1906.

Keeper Wilkins served at Jones Point Lighthouse until December 24, 1918, when he passed away from a battle with influenza. 


Chesapeake Chapter Keeper database, United States Census, 1910, Alexandria Gazette, March 1, 1906, The J. Candace Clifford Lighthouse Research Catalog,

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