Date of Service: 1888-1919
1862 Born on July 24, 1862, in Mathews County, VA. to parents John & Elizabeth Hurst.
1885 Marries Narcissus Phillips Hudgins on February 22, 1886, in Mathews County. They had 2 daughters and one son.
1888-1891 Serves as First Assistant Keeper at York Spit Lighthouse (VA). His annual salary was $440.
1890 On March 16, a schooner containing 5 men was thrown against the piles of the York Spit Lighthouse in a horrible storm, and all five men were thrown overboard. James B. Hurst lowered the station boat into the water to help the men, but he lost control against the waves and wind, and drifted away. The steamer, Defiance, saw his boat and ran alongside his boat and threw him a line. He was lifted onto the steamer and Hurst stated that he was unable to help the five men, and all drowned. Hurst is quoted as saying: “As soon as the boat struck the piles on the weather side of the lighthouse it crushed her side in like an egg shell and the boat sunk. The men all held onto the braces of the piles, but the heavy sea swept them off. While the men were struggling under the lighthouse, I lowered the lighthouse boat, skinned down the falls and caught a colored man and tried to pull him in the boat, which was still fast to the falls. The man drifted to leeward, when I underhooked the falls of the boat and let her go to prevent swamping, but the sea soon filled the boat. When the Defiance run down to my help, they threw a line and hauled me aboard. Nothing was learned from the men as to the name of the vessel or her hailing port.”
1891 Serves as Keeper at Newport News Middle Ground Lighthouse (VA). His annual salary was $600.
1891 Serves as Keeper at Deep Water Shoals Lighthouse (VA). His annual salary was $575.
1891-1899 Serves as Keeper at Cherrystone Bar Lighthouse (VA). His annual salary was $575.
1899-1901 Serves as Keeper at New Point Comfort Lighthouse (VA). His annual salary was $560.
1901-1908 Serves as Keeper at Tue Marshes Lighthouse (VA). His annual salary was $575.
1908-1919+/ Serves as Keeper at Wolf Trap Lighthouse (VA). His annual salary was $1080.
1940 Died on March 28 at age 77 and buried at Saint Paul United Methodist Church Cemetery, Mathews County, VA.
Sources – www.uslhs.org; Chesapeake Chapter Database, www.lighthousefriends.com; The News (Frederick, Maryland), March 17, 1890; The Free Lance (Fredericksburg, Virginia), March 21, 1890