Portion of 1860s map showing Etheridge land holdings
Portion of 1860s map of Body's Island, showing Etheridge family acreage

National Park Service

Quick Facts

Significance:
Primary Keeper of First Bodie Island Lighthouse
Place of Birth:
Roanoke Island, NC
Date of Birth:
C. 1806
Date of Death:
April, 1881

Replacing the first primary keeper of the first Bodie Island Lighthouse, Samuel Tillett, in 1849, John B. Etheridge remained primary keeper until July 1853 when Tillett returned to his role. Etheridge replaced Tillett again in 1854, serving until 1858, when the first lighthouse was abandoned due to extreme erosion and a new one was built. 

Upon the opening of the second Bodie Island Lighthouse, Etheridge was replaced for the final time by Tillett. 

Though Etheridge never again served as lighthouse keeper, his importance to the history of the Bodie Island Lighthouses remained. During the Civil War, Confederate forces destroyed the second Bodie Island Lighthouse to prevent Union troops from using it as a lookout tower. After the war, John Etheridge and his wife Fanny deeded 15 acres of their own land on Bodie Island to the US government for $150, land that was used to construct the third (and current) Bodie Island Lighthouse.