Keeper Bio: Nuthall, John W.


Date of Service: 1849 – 1850

 1803:   Birth of John W. Nuthall to Charles Nuthall and Anne McClelland.

1826:   John W. Nuthall age 23, married Maria Norris on January 31, 1826, in St. Mary’s County, Md.

1843:   John W. Nuthall age 40, widower, married Martha McClelland age 40 on January 3, 1843.

1849:   John W. Nuthall listed as a lighthouse Keeper at Piney Point Lighthouse. His annual salary is listed as $350/year.

1849: John W. Nuthall writes a letter on August 20, 1849, to the superintendent of lighthouses requesting a boat 18 feet long drawing as little water as possible as we have to land it on the beach.

1850: In the 1850 Census John W. Nuthall, age 47 is listed as a farmer. Residing with him is his wife, Martha age 47, daughter Ann E. age 22, daughter Mary J. age 21 and daughter Maria L. age 15.

1850: John W. Nuthall died July 11, 1850, as a result of drowning.

Drowned – We much regret to announce the death by drowning, on Thursday, the 11th of Mr. John W. Nuthall, keeper of the light-house at Piney Point, in this county. He left the Point on the morning of the day mentioned, with his wife and negro boy, in a sail boat, with a view of paying a visit in Bedlam Neck, and when a short distance above Moore’s Landing, the boat was unexpectedly struck by a flaw and capsized. As the boat went over, the kellick dropped out, and the boat was anchored. Mrs. N. and the negro boy succeeded in getting on the bottom of the boat, but Mr. N., being much enfeebled by a long spell of sickness, was unable to do so. The boy however, pulled him up on the boat, but he was unable to retain his place. A second and third time the boy pulled him up, but each time he lost his hold and fell back into the water. The last time, he got beyond the reach of the boy, and after a brief struggle, disappeared. Mrs. N. and the negro boy remained on the boat until the evening of the following day, when they were taken off by a schooner. The former was so seriously injured by the exposure, that her life is despaired of. The body of Mr. Nuthall was found on the beach near Moore’s Landing, on Sunday morning. – St. Mary’s Beacon

1850:   Martha Nuthall is appointed as Keeper of the Piney Point lighthouse on August 7, 1850. Her annual salary is $350/year.

1860:   In the 1860 Census Martha Nuthall listed as the lighthouse keeper. Her daughter Elizabeth is listed as the assistant keeper.

1878:   Martha Nuthall, 75, widow of late John W. Nuthall of St. M. Co. died in Baltimore City, 1 April 1878 at the residence of her son Charles. She was buried at St. Georges Episcopal Church, Valley Lee, Md.

Source: April Havens, Piney Point Lighthouse & Museum, Chesapeake Chapter Keeper Database,

Permanent link to this article: