|

Thimble Point Lighthouse

A forum to discuss lighthouses Mid-Atlantic Region of the US
(New York, New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware)

Moderator: beachbum1616

Postby kinnakeet » Mon Feb 14, 2005 6:45 am


Received some photocopies this morning from Sandra Clunies. Seems she and another lady found 4 letters that were written by my Great Grandfather while he was at Thomas Point Shoal Light. Still haven't received the file from the personnel department at the National Archives. Anyways, in one of the letters he had written he had accepted a position at Thimble Point Lighthouse. I did a little looking on the net this morning regarding this light. I know the time frame would of had to been after 1909. Has anyone here studied this light and can shed any information on it ?
Dawn
Peace ~ Pass it on !
User avatar
kinnakeet
Head Keeper
 
Posts: 350
Joined: Mon Nov 22, 2004 1:00 am
Location: Nags Head, NC

Postby vacastle » Mon Feb 14, 2005 8:19 am


To address your time frame of his being at Thimble Shoals Light after 1909...

The keeper's quarters which was a wooden hexagontal cottage sitting on top of stilts ( a screwpile lighthouse) was destroyed by fire in 1909, but both keepers escaped and survived.

Money was appropriated for the new LH the next year, but the new lighthouse, the caisson structure we see today wasn't ready for use until 1914.

So his term of service would most likely have been then or later.

Oh please let us know what all you find out!

Judy
New England Lighthouse Lovers
http://www.nell.cc/index.htm
User avatar
vacastle
Lighthouse Master
 
Posts: 3991
Joined: Thu Oct 31, 2002 1:00 am
Location: Maine

Postby island » Mon Feb 14, 2005 10:03 am


Hot time at the lighthouse. Interesting story about the 1909 fire.

Thimble Shoals Light, Hampton Roads, Virginia, (built 1872, rebuilt 1914)
The first lighthouse at Thimble Shoals was built in 1872. Standing at the entrance to the Hampton Roads Harbor, the original screwpile light was built eight years later. Within fifty-five days a new lighthouse was built on the same pilings.

On December 27, 1909, the keepers of the Thimble Shoal Light, J.B. Thomas and T.L. Faulcher, were inside the screwpile lighthouse, wrapped in blankets and huddled close to the coal stove trying to stay warm. Outside, it was snowing and the gale force winds only made the freezing weather more miserable. Although the keepers knew that large chunks of ice floating down the Bay could be dangerous to the lighthouse, it was much too cold to keep constant watch on the sea. On this day, they did only the work that was absolutely necessary to keep the light burning.

Outside in the storm, the schooner Malcolm Baxter, Jr., was being towed into Norfolk harbor by a tugboat. The Baxter's crew could see the light of the Thimble Shoal Lighthouse. Suddenly, the steering on the Baxter broke, and the tug could not control the ship. The tow rope came loose and the ship went out of control. It crashed into the lighthouse and cracked the wall. The surprised lighthouse keepers saw the bow of the Baxter come right through the wall. The force of the crash overturned the coal stove, and the lighthouse caught fire.

Luckily, Mr. Thomas and Mr. Faulcher were able to escape in the lighthouse's small boat and were rescued by the tugboat. The rocking of the waves and the wind helped the Baxter to free itself from the lighthouse just before the oil storage tanks exploded. In less than an hour, the lighthouse had burned down to its iron foundation.
island
Lt. Commissioner
 
Posts: 2035
Joined: Fri Dec 13, 2002 1:00 am

Postby kinnakeet » Mon Feb 14, 2005 11:20 am


Thank you both for the information. I am going now to put up the letters on our family genealogy site. I'll let you know once they are up and anyone that is interested may take a look at them.
Dawn
Peace ~ Pass it on !
User avatar
kinnakeet
Head Keeper
 
Posts: 350
Joined: Mon Nov 22, 2004 1:00 am
Location: Nags Head, NC

Postby kinnakeet » Mon Feb 14, 2005 11:44 am


To see the letters go to:
http://www.geocities.com/amongthebranches/
Enter on "Records", then on "Documents"..
Dawn
Peace ~ Pass it on !
User avatar
kinnakeet
Head Keeper
 
Posts: 350
Joined: Mon Nov 22, 2004 1:00 am
Location: Nags Head, NC

Postby plebetkin » Tue Feb 15, 2005 3:30 pm


thanks for posting the letters. They are interesting reading as we are allowed to catch a glimpse of the "real" life of keepers. One suggestion: is it possible to post a typed version of the letters alongside the handwritten ones. It would make the deciphering that much more easier
good friends mean good times
plebetkin
Lighthouse God
 
Posts: 6562
Joined: Thu Feb 06, 2003 1:00 am
Location: Connecticut

Postby kinnakeet » Wed Feb 16, 2005 8:12 am


When I get the chance I'll do a hand typed version. Yesterday, I finally received the file on Devaney Jennette from the National Archives. It was an inch thick ! I spent all evening reading and re-reading letters and documents
of his time in the Light House Service. Almost made me feel like I was there living history with him. There were family events that we weren't sure when they occured and several letters put dates to those. Anyways, glad you enjoyed reading the letters. Just wanted to share.
Dawn
Peace ~ Pass it on !
User avatar
kinnakeet
Head Keeper
 
Posts: 350
Joined: Mon Nov 22, 2004 1:00 am
Location: Nags Head, NC

Postby island » Wed Feb 16, 2005 8:38 am


The letter concerning loss of the boat gives a first hand account of challenges of lightkeeping. It is fortunate that this incident did not turn out differently and that the keeper did not have to write a letter, as had happened with similar incidents at other light stations, about the loss of the boat and loss of assistant keeper Jennett.
island
Lt. Commissioner
 
Posts: 2035
Joined: Fri Dec 13, 2002 1:00 am

Postby kinnakeet » Wed Feb 16, 2005 9:38 am


I hope I get this straight after all the letters I've read since yesterday but I do have a photo copy of a hand written letter regarding the loss of that boat.
Dawn
Anyone have a brain cell I can borrow ?
Peace ~ Pass it on !
User avatar
kinnakeet
Head Keeper
 
Posts: 350
Joined: Mon Nov 22, 2004 1:00 am
Location: Nags Head, NC

Postby Grover1 » Wed Feb 16, 2005 10:22 am


Dawn,

Just wanted to thank you for letting us live personal history first hand through the letters ... It is a fascinating glimpse into another time, another way.

I think it is touching all of us who revel in the lights and the seas. Your sharing is appreciated probably more than you know.

Thank you,
Barry
Believe those who search for the truth ...
Doubt those who find it ...
User avatar
Grover1
Lighthouse God
 
Posts: 5999
Joined: Fri Jun 13, 2003 12:00 am
Location: God's Square Mile

Postby island » Wed Feb 16, 2005 11:05 am


Here is an attempt to transcribe the boat loss letter somewhat the way it was written. For those who might not know the painter he states slipped from his hand is the rope that was attached to the bow of the boat.

Thomas Point Shoal Light Station
November 8, 1908

Commander Robert L. Russell, USN
Light House Inspector Fifth District
Baltimore, M.D.

Sir,

Replying to your letter the 25th instant in regards to the accident of boat 163 on the 6th instant with me I respectfully state that I tried every possible way to avoid it but on account of the high S-ly wind and high seas and strong current at the same time the boat became unmanageable and swept it upon the stone which put a hole in her bottom and when I got boat away from the stone water began to pour in that I was compelled to head her for the ice breaker north of the light and jump to save some effects and my self in doing so the painter slipped from my hand and the boat got a drift. It was then nearly half full of water which caused her to capsize washing (away) the oars, anchor and provisions---(?). It has a worth of $900. The keeper tried every which a way to render service with the heave line but the distance was too great nor could not lower the remaining boat on account of high seas.

Yours respectfully,
Devaney F. Jennett
Assistant Keeper
island
Lt. Commissioner
 
Posts: 2035
Joined: Fri Dec 13, 2002 1:00 am

Postby plebetkin » Wed Feb 16, 2005 3:36 pm


Dawn, glad you received your packet of information. It must be thrilling to have in your hands a piece of family history.

Also, Island, thanks for the translation of the boat letter. I guess losing a boat wasn't a thing to take lightly from what was written.
good friends mean good times
plebetkin
Lighthouse God
 
Posts: 6562
Joined: Thu Feb 06, 2003 1:00 am
Location: Connecticut

Postby kinnakeet » Thu Feb 17, 2005 7:51 am


Island,
Thanx so much for translating.
Dawn
Peace ~ Pass it on !
User avatar
kinnakeet
Head Keeper
 
Posts: 350
Joined: Mon Nov 22, 2004 1:00 am
Location: Nags Head, NC


Return to Mid-Atlantic Lighthouses

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron