Digest>Archives> Sep/Oct 2017

Veteran Lighthouse Keeper Was Uncle to the First Lady of Light

By Timothy Harrison

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Capt. Loring William Myers served as a keeper at ...

During his long tenure as an assistant keeper and then as the head keeper of Maine’s Lubec Channel Lighthouse from 1890 to 1923, Capt. Loring W. Myers gained wide respect for not only his astute business dealings, but for his invention of the Myer’s Lifeboat. But, while growing up, little could he or his sister, Mabel, have realized the amazing roles that they would have in the maritime history of Maine.

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Connie Small’s father, Ira Scovill (1863-1930). ...

Although in those days the available opportunities for a man over a woman were much greater than what were available to his sister Mabel, both had strong ties to the sea and both took advantage of them.

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Connie Small’s father, Ira Scovill (1863-1930). ...

Loring Myers had a keen sense of business and was making a good living as the “Yankee Oil Buyer,” and he also bought and sold real estate long before he became a lighthouse keeper where he used his spare time to invent a lifeboat.

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Quoddy Head Life Saving Station where Ira ...

In the meantime, Loring Myers’ sister, Mable A. Myers, met and married Ira Elroy Scovill (1863-1930) who became a surfman and later the head keeper of the Quoddy Head Life Boat Station in Lubec, which was also known as the Carrying Place Cove Life Saving Station. One of their children was Constance “Connie” Scovill, who was born to the couple in Lubec, Maine on June 4, 1901. Later in life, Connie Small met and married Elson Small, who also came from a maritime family. Elson Small’s father, Fred Small, served with U.S. Life-Saving Service on the Maine coast, with one of his longest tenures at the Cross Island Life-Saving Station.

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Climbing the ladder at Lubec Channel Lighthouse ...

Elson Small somewhat followed in his father’s footsteps by joining the U.S. Lighthouse Service, the sister organization to the U.S. Life-Saving Service, which, in 1915 became the U.S. Coast Guard when the Life Saving Service and the Revenue Cutter Service were merged together as one organization.

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Connie and Elson Small in 1939 when he ...

Elson Small’s first lighthouse assignment in 1920 was at the Lubec Channel Lighthouse, where his wife Connie’s uncle, Loring Myers, had previously been a keeper for an amazing 33 years.

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Tim Harrison, editor of Lighthouse Digest, with ...

To make it more interesting, Connie Scovill Small’s sister, Minnie Scovill, married lighthouse keeper Charles W. Allen, who served as a lighthouse keeper at Maine’s Avery Rock Lighthouse from 1913 to 1919 and where Connie and her husband would later serve from 1922 to 1926.

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Undated photo of Avery Rock Lighthouse in Machias ...

After their long and distinguished career serving at a number of lighthouses, Elson and Connie Small retired from lighthouse service in 1948. Connie Small later went on to write the best-selling book The Lighthouse Keeper’s Wife, a heart-warming historical account of her life at Maine and New Hampshire lighthouses. After she published the book, which went into several printings, she spent the rest of her life giving over 500 lectures on why it is so important to teach lighthouse history to current and future generations. Connie Small passed away at the age of 103 on January 25, 2005.

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Shown here at Marshall Point Lighthouse is Minnie ...

This story appeared in the Sep/Oct 2017 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.

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