Lightship Crew recognition ceremony for Joseph I Bowling – October 14th, 2023

Friends and Family of Joseph Bowling after the ceremony & close up photo of the USLHS Grave Marker                Photos by Greg Krawczyk

     On the morning of Saturday October 14th, we held a small dedication ceremony of the U. S. Lighthouse Service Marker installed at the grave of Captain Joseph I. Bowling in Baltimore Cemetery, Baltimore, MD.  He was a former merchant Captain and at age 50 decided to try life off of a ship.  From October 1893 to October 1895, he served as the First Assistant Lighthouse Keeper at the Maryland Point Lighthouse on the upper Potomac River.  We are unsure of his assignment after that, but we know he shifted to working on Light Vessels in 1897.  As a side note, the floating lighthouses in the Lighthouse Service were known as both Light Vessels and Lightships up until 1925 when the Lighthouse Service formally designated them as strictly Lightships.  Joseph first served as Mate of LV-49 on the Cape Charles Light Station from 1897 to 1899.  In June 1899 he was appointed as Master of LV-69 on the Diamond Shoal Light Station.  Three months after becoming Master, the LV-69 struggled through a major storm, probably a hurricane.  The Lightship was washed off station and onto the beach of North Carolina.  All of the crew was saved, as was the ship. But while the damage was being repaired, the entire crew, with Captain Bowling, transferred to the newly completed LV-71 and resumed the Diamond Shoal Light Station. A few years later he transferred to the LV-46 on the Tail of the Horseshoe Light Station, serving as the Master until he resigned from the U. S. Lighthouse Service in 1911.

     It was a pleasure to honor this Lighthouse Keeper and Lightship Sailor, who was the brother of James Bowling, a Lighthouse Keeper that we honored in June along with his wife Margaret. This was the last installation and ceremony of 2023 and the 46th since the program started in 2016.

     To learn more about the Chapter Grave Marker program, volunteer to work on either the Maryland or Virginia Grave Marker Teams, or just read about the 45 other Lighthouse Keepers the chapter has previously honored, go to the Chapters web page: /program-lighthouse-keeper-grave-marker.   

      Thank you to all of the Chapter Members, your dues help pay for this program and make it possible for us to honor these Lighthouse Keepers and Lightship Sailors.

 Any questions, email our Lighthouse Keeper Grave Marker Program manager at:  

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