Keeper Bio: Lewis, Frank Raymond

Date of Service: 1922 – 1948


Keeper Frank Raymond Lewis

Keeper Frank Raymond Lewis at Stingray Point Lighthouse (on left)

1894: Born on November 23 in Mathews, VA.   1917 to 1919: Serves as a Corporal in the U.S. Army during    WWI in France; 7th Company, 154th Depot Brigade based in  Camp Meade.
1921: Marries Clementine Ware Forrest on April 25 in  Norfolk, VA. Couple raises two children – Frank Raymond Jr. and Juanita.
1922: Serves at Cedar Point Lighthouse, Maryland.
1922: Serves as First Assistant at Craighill Channel Lower Range Front Lighthouse, Maryland.
1923: Serves as First Assistant at Seven Foot Knoll Lighthouse, Maryland.
1923 to 1932: Serves as First Assistant at Great Wicomico River Lighthouse, Virginia.  His annual salary in 1928 was $1,560. Lewis was required to supply his own uniform at a cost of about $15.00.
1932 to 1933: Keeper at Ragged Point (Also known as Coles Point) Lighthouse, Maryland.
1933: Begins service as Keeper at Stingray Point Lighthouse, Virginia. Hurricane prevents Lewis who is on shore leave from returning to the lighthouse.
1934: Keeper Lewis spots seals off Stingray Point Lighthouse during the month of March.
1939 to 1940: Keeper at Pages Rock Lighthouse, Virginia. His salary was $1740/year.
1940: Begins service as Keeper at York Spit Lighthouse, Virginia (per Family).
1945 to 1948: Keeper at Stingray Point Lighthouse (second tenure). Keeper Lewis spent 26 years in the Lighthouse Service, including approximately nine years at Great Wicomico River Lighthouse.
1959: Passes away on December 11 at age 65. Buried at H.C. Smither Cemetery, Hudgins, VA.

Keeper Frank Raymond Lewis Anecdotes:

While serving at Cedar Point Lighthouse, Frank’s wife, Clemmie accidentally cut her finger and due to the light’s remote location, was unable to see a doctor and infection had set in. The injured finger had to be amputated; she was still able to enjoy quilting.

While serving at Stingray Point Lighthouse by himself, Keeper Lewis had to remove a fishing hook that had gone through his finger. Two days passed before he was able to see a doctor.

Lewis liked to joke that when painting screwpile lighthouses, by the time you finished, it was time to start over.

Frank Raymond Lewis, Jr. remembers staying at Stingray Point Lighthouse when his father was the keeper and recalls collecting water in the two cisterns. He remembers eating canned food and cooking fish they caught on a kerosene stove. Also, he was afraid to go to the outdoor privy.

Sources: Susan Lewis Dutton; “Lighthouses of Maryland/Virginia; History, Mystery, Legends & Lore” by Bob Trapani, Jr.; Lighthouse Friends web site –; Chesapeake Chapter web site and see “Our Heritage” heading.


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