Keeper Bio: Salter, Clarence Walter

Clarence Walter Salter

Date of Service: 1894 – 1925

1877: Born in Mathews County, VA

1894 – 1903: Serves at Old Plantation Flats Lighthouse.

1904: Married Fannie May Hudgins. Had three children – two daughters – Jessie Olga Salter Crouch and Mabel Salter Best; and one son – Charles Bradley Salter.

1903 – 1908: Serves at York Spit Lighthouse as First Assistant Keeper, where he earned $440/year.

1908 – 1912: Serves at Old Plantation Flats Lighthouse as Keeper for a second time. His beginning salary was $576/year and ending salary of $624/year.

1912 – 1913: Keeper at Cherrystone Bar Lighthouse, where he earned $636/year.

1913 – 1915: Second Assistant Keeper at Cape Charles Lighthouse, where he earned $456/year.

1915 – 1917: Serves as First Assistant at Hog Island Lighthouse, where he earned $576/year. Keeper Salter & the lighthouse were awarded the Efficiency Pennant in 1916.

1917 – 1922: Serves as Keeper at Hog Island Lighthouse, where he earned $960/year.

1922 – 1925: Serves as Keeper of Turkey Point Lighthouse. Keeper Salter was awarded the Superintendent’s efficiency star in 1924 by the local district lighthouse inspector.

1925: Passes away at age 48 while serving as Keeper. His wife Fannie May Salter is appointed Keeper by President Calvin Coolidge.  He is buried at Saint Paul United Methodist Church Cemetery, Susan, VA

Keeper Clarence Salter Anecdotes:

Clarence Salter served at six different stations during the 30+ years of lighthouse service – five in Virginia and one in Maryland – Turkey Point. Three were screw pile stations and the other three were conical towers. Of the six, only the original beacons at Cape Charles and Turkey Point remain standing. The large First-order Fresnel lens from the Hog Island lighthouse is on display in a protective plexiglass case on the Portsmouth, VA waterfront of the Elizabeth River.

According to lighthouse historian and author F.Ross Holland, Salter rescued a floating department store. The “store” was an auction boat, a barge loaded with dry goods valued at $25,000. When the motorboat pulling the barge became disabled, Salter towed the barge to safety in the station boat.

Source: Turkey Point Light Station, Inc.; Bay Beacons by Linda Turbyville and Kraig Anderson, Lighthouse Friends web site –

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