Digest>Archives> Jan/Feb 2018

Unknown Lighthouse Keeper


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Another old cabinet photograph has surfaced of an unknown lighthouse keeper taken by the L.V. Newell & Co. Photography Studio in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

For reasons unknown, someone wrote the name Silas H. Harding on the back of the photo. However, Silas Harding was a well-known keeper who served in the United States Life-Saving Service at Jerry’s Point Life Saving Station in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Because the man in this photo is shown wearing a U.S. Lighthouse Service uniform, and the fact that we have not been able to find any records that indicate that Silas H. Harding ever served in the U.S. Lighthouse Service, we are almost certain that this is not Silas H. Harding.

One interesting facet of this photo is that there is no insignia on the jacket lapel, which should have the letter K for keeper or 1 for 1st assistant, or 2 for 2nd assistant, etc. Perhaps he was new and his uniform was not yet complete, or perhaps he was a relief keeper assigned to various lighthouses.

Because there were a large number of lighthouse keepers who we do not have photos of and who served in the Portsmouth, New Hampshire area at such lighthouses as the Isles of Shoals (White Island) Lighthouse, Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouse, Whaleback Lighthouse, and Boon Island Lighthouse, we many never know the name of this keeper.

This story appeared in the Jan/Feb 2018 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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