Digest>Archives> Jan/Feb 2017

Wickie’s Wisdom

Lighthouse Memories - They’re Worth Saving

By Timothy Harrison


Because we still believe in this old saying that, “a picture is worth a thousand words” this issue of Lighthouse Digest contains an exceptionally large number of photographs of lighthouse keepers as well as members of their families.

Most of these photos have never before been published, and each and every one of them helps to add insight into the lives of the people who came before us to serve in the Lighthouse Service for the benefit of not only their generation, but all future generations. Included with these photos are many stories of the memories of the lives of these people, most of which also have never before been published and are published here for the first time to the general public.

These people, most of whom are no longer with us, had hopes, aspirations, and dreams of a better way of life, just like we do today. As you look at their photos and read their stories, imagine what your life would have been like if these were the stories of your life.

Although occasionally some of these stories and photos find their way to us, most of the time we spend weeks and months tracking down lighthouse keeper families and descendants, most of whom have surprisingly never heard of Lighthouse Digest. Most people are delighted to share their family photos and memories with us, and they are excited to know that we will publish the photos and memories. Many of these people go out of their way to contact other family members who also might have photos and additional stories to share with us.

But sadly, we have come in contact with a number of lighthouse keeper descendants who, for various reasons, refused to share photos or memories with us. Some of those reasons are bizarre. We have had cases where some families had so much infighting with the family that all of them refused to share anything with us.

Others have told us that, because their ancestors are dead, they see no reason to have the photos published, or they think that history is irrelevant in today’s world and they would not waste their time going through old family albums to look for the photos. One family even wanted to charge exorbitant fees for their ancestor lighthouse keeper family photos.

We have to wonder what these lighthouse keeper families of yesteryear would think about their descendants who would refuse to honor the memories and the stories of their lives. All we can say is - shame on them. Because of these people, there will always be photos and memories of lighthouse keepers and their family members that do exist, but which will never be published to honor the service that they provided for the benefit of others in the development of our nation.

Lighthouses are more than just the pretty photographs that appear on calendars or in the lens of the camera of the tourist or the professional and amateur photographers. Inside the walls of each lighthouse structure there are stories to be found, history to be saved, and photographs of the people who once lived at them to be shared and published.

But, thanks to our loyal Lighthouse Digest subscribers, as well as many others, in spite of those who don’t care about history, we will continue in our quest to locate photographs of lighthouse keepers, their families, and the memories that go with them, so that we all can learn and appreciate the lives of the lighthouse keepers of yesteryear.

Timothy Harrison

Editor & Publisher

Lighthouse Digest

P.O. Box 250

East Machias, ME 04630


This story appeared in the Jan/Feb 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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