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
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
A faint meow distracted me. I glanced up anxiously. Mattie? Yes, there, a calico cat poked her nose curiously into the watchroom. After my days of searching, she had appeared when she was ready. Delighted to finally see her, I cautiously stepped down and then crawled across the floor, anxious to win her friendship with a gentle pat. “Here, Mattie… Aren’t you a pretty cat?” She stared at me for a second with scared eyes, turned, pressed against the wall, and darted back down the stairs. I plopped flat on the floor and leaned my head on my hand, discouraged. I was only going to be nice. Didn’t Mattie know that? Why was she still afraid? 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
We’ve been talking about lighthouses, their history, lamps and lenses, and even lighthouse poetry, and some very important people haven’t had their own blog post or spotlight time in our series. I’m referring to lighthouse keepers.
In today’s post, I’ve collected eight facts that you should know about American lighthouse keepers in the 19th Century.