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    Cape Lookout

    National Seashore North Carolina

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Chronology of Light House Keepers

This list gives the appointment and service dates of all of the known Keepers and Assistant Keepers who braved winds, rains, and storms to keep the light burning in the two guardians of the Cape Lookout coast.

If you have corrections, additions, or photographs that you would like to share with the park, please contact us.

More information on the lives and duties of lighthouse keepers can be found in the Lightkeepers brochure which can be downloaded from the Brochures webpage.

 

Head Keepers
dates of appointment and service

James Fulford - June 2, 1812
William Fulford - January 28, 1828
John Ross Royal - January 17, 1854

Second lighthouse completed on November 1, 1859

Gayer Chadwick - February 24, 1863 until May 1864
John R. Royal - May 25, 1864 until May 21, 1869
Manaen Washington Mason - May 21, 1869 until August 19, 1876

Melvin Jennings Davis, Jr. - appointed Acting Keeper on August 22, 1876
- Keeper from March 13, 1877 until July 11, 1878
William F. Hatsel - July 12, 1878 until November 24, 1880
Denard Rumley - appointed Acting Keeper on December 14, 1880
- Keeper from February 28, 1881 until February 21, 1893

Thomas Clifford Davis, Jr. - appointed Acting Keeper in 1893
- Keeper from February 22, 1895 until April 10, 1900
James Wilson Gillikin - June 1, 1900 until March 11, 1903
Alfred B. Hooper - November 1, 1903 until February 10, 1909

Charles W. Clifton - October 2, 1909 until approximately 1930
Benjamin Lloyd Harris - July 1, 1933 until approximately 1936
James Archie Newton - 1939 until approximately 1945
(it is unclear if Newton was a Keeper or a U.S. Coast Guard Officer in charge of the light)

 

First Assistant Keepers
dates of appointment and service

Silas Blunt - September 27, 1859 until January 1, 1860
Joseph Ross Guthrie - March 19, 1864 until July 16, 1864
William Henry Guthrie - July 16, 1864 until August 3, 1865

Joseph Royal - August 3, 1865 until May 21, 1869
Josephus Willis - May 21, 1869 until May 4, 1890
Benjamin P. Davis - May 4, 1870 until July 16, 1872

Wallace P. Fulcher - April 17, 1874 until August 19, 1876
Martin T. Lewis - August 22, 1876 until March 1877
Joseph Willis - March 26, 1877 until November 24, 1880

Martin Van Buren Davis - appointed acting First Assistant Keeper on December 14, 1880
- First Assistant Keeper from February 28, 1881 until April 5, 1883
John Todd Brem Noe - appointed acting First Assistant Keeper on April 5, 1883
- First Assistant Keeper from May 17, 1883 until July 26, 1886
Thomas Clifford Davis, Jr. - July 26, 1886 until February 22, 1893
- appointed Acting Keeper (see above)

Otway Burns Davis - February 22, 1893 until approximately 1900
James L. Davis - January 1, 1901 until approximately June 1903
Alpheus B. Willis - July 1, 1903 until approximately November 9, 1903

Arthur Midgett - November 17, 1903 until August 3, 1905
W.S. Harrison - August 9, 1905 until September 30, 1905
James W. Gillikin - October 1, 1905 until September 15, 1909


Alpheus B. Willis - September 16, 1909 until September 15, 1912
Victor Lawson Watson - October 1, 1909 until January 5, 1912
Joseph Merritt Burrus - January 20, 1912 until February 1912

John E. English - June 1918 until August 1920
Boyd Monroe Smith - 1936
(records indicate Smith was at the light station from at least 1933, probably as a Second Assistant, but the transition dates are unknown)
James Milford Newcomb - 1942 until 1944

 

Second Assistant Keepers
dates of appointment and service

Abner Parker Guthrie - September 27, 1859
Joseph Royal - January 17, 1860
Wallace Guthrie - July 16, 1863 until March 19, 1864

Abner Parker Guthrie - March 19, 1864 until July 28, 1864
Martin T. Royal - July 28, 1864 until May 21, 1869
Tomas Clifford Davis, Jr. - May 21, 1869 until March 4, 1874

Charlotte Ann Mason - August 21, 1872 until May 27, 1875
John M. Lewis - appointed Acting Second Assistant Keeper on May 27, 1875
- Second Assistant Keeper from March 16, 1876 until August 19, 1876
Fillmore Willis - August 22, 1876

Josephus Willis - January 3, 1877 until June 1880
J.B. Whitehurst - April 6, 1877 until July 27, 1878
Denard Rumley - July 30, 1878 until December 14, 1880
- appointed Head Keeper (see above)

John Todd Brem Noe - appointed Acting Second Assistant Keeper on December 14, 1880
- Second Assistant Keeper from February 28, 1881 until April 5, 1883
- appointed First Assistant Keeper (see above)
Isaiah F. Wellis (possibly Willis) - April 5, 1883 until June 8, 1883
Thomas Clifford Davis, Jr. - appointed Acting Second Assistant on June 8, 1883
- Second Assistant Keeper from June 12, 1885 until July 26, 1886
- appointed First Assistant Keeper (see above)

Otway Burns Davis - appointed Acting Second Assistant Keeper on August 12, 1886
- Second Assistant Keeper from September 11, 1886 until March 7, 1893
- appointed First Assistant Keeper (see above)
Franklin Pearce Lewis - May 11, 1893 until December 1894
James L. Davis - August 15, 1895 until April 10, 1900
- appointed First Assistant Keeper (see above)

Charles N. Pugh - January/June 1, 1901 (sources vary) until October 1901
Alpheus B. Willis - November 1, 1901 until June 1903
- appointed First Assistant Keeper
William G. Rollinson - July 1, 1903

John Bunyon Quidley - October 16, 1905
William G. Rollinson - August 1, 1906
Charles O. Peel - September 8, 1911 until January 21, 1912

J.L. Willis, Jr. - February 2, 1912
Isaac Van Willis, Jr. - June 1918 until August 1920
Thurston Hill - approximately 1942 until 1944

Did You Know?

Racoon hiding on the beach

Many animals will use the beach and vegetation to hide in plain sight. Their fur, feathers, or scales help them blend in with their environment to provide protection against predators. Cape Lookout Natioanl Seashore