Female Lighthouse Keeper
February 11, 2016 § Leave a comment
Wishing my sisters and I had known about Charlotte Ann Mason when we used to visit Cape Lookout lighthouse as girls. This article at Coastal Review Online tells a little about her.
Mason was just 18 years old when she was made second assistant keeper of the lighthouse. She did the job from 1872 to 1875. And if I’m reading this correctly, it may be a rare time when a woman was paid as well as (or even better than) her male counterpart.
From the Coastal Review story:
Male or female, uniform or no, a lighthouse keeper’s job was physically demanding. Duggan said Charlotte and the other keepers were expected to stand one watch in three. While on watch, Charlotte devoted her full attention to the light. She was also expected to keep the daily logbook; haul oil up 216 steps, sometimes more than once; clean the lens and other equipment; trim wicks and polish brass; and keep the tower, grounds and support buildings clean and “in shape.”
As compensation for her work, Charlotte received an annual salary of $425. In comparison, her father was paid $700 as head lighthouse keeper. Benjamin P. Davis, first assistant lighthouse keeper, earned $400 annually.
Book worth seeking out: Women Who Kept the Lights: An Illustrated History of Female Lighthouse Keepers.