Southern Maryland Lighthouse Keepers Honored
by Greg Krawczyk
St. Mary’s County is home to a number of lighthouses, located in the Potomac River and directly on the Chesapeake Bay. Two keepers of these lighthouses, William M. Yeatman and William Yeatman , were honored on Saturday September 25, 2021. The Chapter installed U. S. Lighthouse Service markers at the graves of the father and son in advance of the ceremonies. Then each keeper was individually honored at a grave-side ceremony with Chapter volunteer Greg Krawczyk serving as the master of ceremony. The service of each keeper at each lighthouse was reviewed, a flag installed on the marker and Taps played. William M. Yeatman served his entire 37 years, from 1871 to 1908, at Point Lookout Lighthouse, passing away in 1908 while still serving as the keeper. He was the longest serving lighthouse keeper at Point Lookout Lighthouse. During this time the Point Lookout Buoy Repair Depot was established and William M. Yeatman was assigned as its custodian. His son, William , was born at Point Lookout Lighthouse in 1872 and in 1904 joined the Lighthouse Service. He served at the Smith Creek Beacon, Point No Point Lighthouse, Seven Foot Knoll Lighthouse, Drum Point Lighthouse, Piney Point Lighthouse, and Point Lookout Lighthouse. He retired from the U. S. Lighthouse Service in 1939 after 35 years. His last lighthouse was the one he was born at, Point Lookout. Many of the Yeatman family and friends attended the two ceremonies in picture-perfect fall weather at the First Saints and Saint Michaels cemeteries. One of the significant but unplanned positive aspect of these ceremonies is how it brings families together and gives them a chance to reconnect with each other over the shared respect for their ancestor’s lighthouse service. These two installations were the 5th and 6th of 2021 and there is one more scheduled for November 6 in the Baltimore area.
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