Keeper Bio: Julian Haywood Austin

Keeper Julian Haywood Austin

Date of Service: 1921 – 1948

1898:   Born on February 20 to John Lotson Austin & Markey Poyner Austin, in Frisco, NC

1916-1917:   Joins the U.S. Lighthouse Service and was stationed on three lightships, including LV71.

1918-1921:   Worked on multiple “oilers” for the U.S. Army.

1921:   Returned to the U.S. Lighthouse Service on June 27, where he was stationed on LV49.

1921-1925:   Served as First Assistant at Choptank River Lighthouse in VA. His beginning salary was $720/year and ending salary of $1,260/year.

1923:   Married Katherine Dobson on September 27 and spent a one-month honeymoon at the Choptank River Lighthouse in VA. They went on to have three children, Julian Jr., Marilyn & Verna.

1925-1928:   Served as Second Assistant at Cape Charles Lighthouse in VA. His beginning salary was $1,080/year and ending salary of $1,320/year.

1928:   Served as Second Assistant at Cape Hatteras Lighthouse in NC. His annual salary was $1,260/year.

1929:   Served as First Assistant at Brant Island Shoal Light in NC. His annual salary was $2,740/year.

1930-1933:   Served as First Assistant at Roanoke River Lighthouse in NC. His annual salary was $1,680/year.

1933-1940:   Served as First Assistant at Bodie Island Lighthouse in NC. His beginning salary was $1,440/year and his ending salary was $1,500/year.

1940:   Served as First Assistant at Sharps Island Lighthouse in MD. His annual salary was $1,680/year.

1941-1943:   Served as Keeper at Holland Island Bar Lighthouse in MD. His beginning salary was $1,680/year and his ending salary was $1,740/year.

1943-1948:   Served as Keeper at Wade Point Lighthouse in NC. His beginning salary was $1,740/year and his ending salary was $2,710/year.

1948:   Keeper Julian Austin Sr. retires from the U.S. Coast Guard after 28 years of service.

1970:   Julian Haywood Austin, Sr. passed away at the age of 72 on May 20 and is buried at Quidley Cemetery in Buxton, NC.

Keeper Julian Haywood Austin Anecdotes:

Keeper Austin served continuously for 27 years at 9 different lighthouses in North Carolina and Virginia as well as at least 3 lightships before his retirement in 1948.

During his time at the Bodie Island Lighthouse, NC, his wife, Katherine, contracted tuberculosis and was admitted to a facility in Pinehurst, NC for approximately 2-1/2 years. Keeper Austin took his three children to stay with Katherine’s mother in Maryland, where upon arriving, found that she had scarlet fever. Finding it difficult to care for all three children, two of his children, Marilyn and Julian Jr., returned to stay with their father at the Bodie Island Lighthouse. During their time there, the children helped with cleaning, cooking and chopping wood to keep the fireboxes filled. They stayed at Bodie Island until the U.S. Coast Guard took over

Keeper Austin was an avid reader, especially history books. He also maintained a successful garden during his time at Bodie Island Lighthouse.

Sources: Chesapeake Chapter Keeper database, North Carolina Lighthouses, Stories of History and Hope, Cheryl Shelton-Roberts and Bruce Roberts, https://hatgensoc.wordpress.com/2012/04/02/julian-austin-portrait-of-a-keepers-family-2/, accessed December 23, 2019, The J. Candace Clifford Lighthouse Research Catalog, www.uslhs.org

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