James and Margaret Bowling were one of many married couples who served together as Lighthouse Keepers, in their case at the Seven Foot Knoll Lighthouse near the entrance to the Patapsco River near Baltimore. James had previously served as the Head Keeper of the Lower Craighill Channel Front Range Lighthouse from 1873 to 1874, located only a few miles away for Seven Foot Knoll. In 1874 he transferred to the Seven Foot Knoll Lighthouse as Head Keeper and his wife Margaret was appointed as the 2nd Assistant Keeper there. The two of them raised their four children out at the lighthouse and kept many animals there in a fenced area of the lower storage platform level. One of their daughters was born at the lighthouse in 1875 and they called her Knolie after the lighthouse. In 1879 both of them resigned from the Lighthouse Service. The biography for each Keeper is posted on the Chapter web site, under LH Heritage, then click on Keepers.
This pair of Lighthouse Keepers are the 38th and 39th Keepers honored by the Chesapeake Chapter since the program was started in 2016. They are the third Wife/Husband Lighthouse Keeper team who have been honored together by the Chapter in that time. The installation of the Grave Markers for James and Margaret at a Baltimore area cemetery was requested by their Great, Great Grandson Chris Bowling who resides in Baltimore. This was the first ceremony of 2023.
The ceremony was held graveside at noon on Sunday June 18th. Family and friends attended which made for a very memorable Fathers Day. Two of the family in attendance had been given a ride out to the Seven Foot Knoll Lighthouse by the Coast Guard in the 1980s before it was moved and allowed to tour it. They commented on the poor condition of the lighthouse, which is why it was being considered for removal. They were told by the Coast Guard that they could not take photos of the lighthouse. This is a shame as those photos would have been wonderful documentation of the lighthouse interior at the time.
Also in attendance at the ceremony was Steve Bountress, the Director of the Historic Ship In Baltimore Museum which is the custodian of the Seven Foot Knoll Lighthouse. The Lighthouse is located on the end of Pier 5 in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor and is open for touring with a paid admission to the museum.
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 37 other Lighthouse Keepers the chapter has previously honored, go to the Chapters web page: www.cheslights.org/programs /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: email@example.com