The Willoughby Spit was a 120-ton wooden hull ship built in 1821. It replaced lightship “C” when it was moved to Craney Island. The station marked the south side of the channel for entering Hampton Roads. This ship served on station from 1821-1847 when it was replaced with a 400-ton iron hull ship. This was the former Revenue Cutter Spencer which, was converted to lightship service following the Mexican War. The lightship was fitted with two lights and served on station from 1847 until 1867 when it was retired due to the plating being too thin at the waterline.
In 1868 LV23 was stationed at Willoughby Spit. It was built in 1857 in Dorchester County, Maryland. It served on station at Willoughby Spit until 1872 when the Thimble Shoal lighthouse was constructed. Prior to 1867 when LV23 was assigned, official records identify this vessel as “Smith Point”.
The Coast Guard has a photo of LV23 when it was on station at Ram Island Reef in Connecticut.
Keepers: John B. Sale (1821 – 1851), William House (1852), James Massenbury (1853), John W. Vaughan (1854 – 1861), John W. Vaughn (1855 – 1861), James D. Johnson (1861 – 1865), Erasmus Peterson (1865 – 1866), P. G. Marshall (1866 – 1870), John Brown (1870 – 1872), Charles E. Rich (1870)