As I worked on research for Lighthouse Loyalty, I was surprised to find Civil War veterans taking jobs at lighthouse keepers. In many ways, lightkeeping could have been a perfect job for a Union veteran, even if he had been injured during the war. It’s another unique tie between maritime history and the Civil War.
Here are eight things to consider about lighthouses and veteran lighthouse keepers after 1865 and how I was able to incorporate some of the details into the historical novel: Continue reading →
Lighthouses were government property; we lived in them, but anyone – inspector, citizen, or military – could come to the house, expecting to find hospitality and order. If the inspector thought the lighthouse wasn’t clean or we were wasting supplies, he could dismiss us in disgrace. (Lighthouse Loyalty, Chapter 1)
No, no, lighthouses aren’t supposed to messy and disgraceful. In fact, that would be explicitly against the lighthouse keeping rules made and enforced by the U.S. Lighthouse Board or the Bureau of Lighthouses.
However, it’s worth taking a look at the “darker side” of lighthouse history. What about the few keepers who failed in their duties? What did they do? And what was the punishment? Continue reading →
Ever seen something practical, but it was just so mesmerizingly beautiful you couldn’t stop looking at it? You wanted to see it safe and protected forever as a piece of art…
That’s the way I feel about Fresnel Lenses. They were/are beautifully cut glass lenses used in lighthouses. Many are well over a hundred years old, and happily some of them have found safe homes in maritime or lighthouse museums.
Today, I’ll share briefly about how the lenses worked, a story about Fresnel lenses during the American Civil War, and a couple that I’ve seen in museums. Continue reading →
After a few days of this creative hauling, the garden boxes and barrels were filled and ready for planting, and the following afternoon, Mama put on her straw hat and invited us to help her in the garden. While Marian sat on a small quilt nearby, Jacob, Paul, and I poked the seeds into the warm earth. The vegetables were planted in the boxes and in two of the barrels. Two other barrels got flower seeds, and Mama had had the men move the last two barrels to the front of the lighthouse – facing the sea – and we planted the prettiest flowers there. Continue reading →
When you write a book about children living in a lighthouse, there must be some great historical accounts supporting the story. There are! I enjoyed reading accounts about lighthouse families and children as I researched for the historical novel Lighthouse Loyalty.
These are a few of my favorite facts and little stories about children who lived at American Lighthouses and how these accounts influenced my newest historical novel. Continue reading →
It’s been a year – and what an exciting year. Since launching this series, it’s been a “high seas adventure” every week, bringing you historical details about many different aspects of 19th Century American Maritime History. Let’s celebrate the end of a voyage… Continue reading →