Keepers · News

Historic Plymouth lighthouse opens for day of tours

Project Gurnet, a nonprofit, restores and maintains Duxbury Pier Light (Bug Light) and The Plymouth Light Station (Gurnet Light, Fort Andrew and the Keeper’s Cottage). Their event on Saturday took visitors on a path through time with 10 stations manned by Project employees, volunteers and historical reenactors.” — May 27, 2017 Patriot Ledger article by Mary Whitfill: Historic Plymouth lighthouse opens for day of tours

The reenactors portrayed the first keepers of the lighthouse — John and Hannah Thomas. The Massachusetts Bay Colony paid them 5 shillings for the use their land and £200 annually for keeping the light. When General Thomas went off to fight in the Revolutionary War, his wife, Hannah, was left in charge of the light. John never returned, having died of smallpox while in command of the colonial army in Canada, so Hannah was in charge of the station when the new federal government took over colonial lighthouses in 1789.

Salaries of Massachusetts’ lighthouse keepers in 1789. Excerpt from a letter dated October 16, 1789, from Boston Customs Collector and Superintendent of Lighthouses John Rice to Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton. National Archives Record Group 26, Entry 17A

Hannah’s son John took over as keeper in 1790.

Submitted by Candace Clifford, May 30, 2017

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One thought on “Historic Plymouth lighthouse opens for day of tours

  1. I highly recommend taking in this tour. Aside from the fact that it’s got such a great history (oldest wooden lighthouse, first female light keeper, etc.), it’s on an eroding headland that gets smaller each year. Come visit us in Massachusetts and tie it into visits to Boston Light, Scituate Light and so many others. The folks at Project Gurnet and Bug Lights will make the visit worth your while! And don’t miss the Gurnet Lifesaving Station a few buildings away.

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