Friday, September 28, 2012

A Lighthouse, An Actor, and a Proposal...

An alert reader recently commented on a story that was published on line by the Hatteras Genealogical Society. It is an interesting tale.

"In 1822, a renown[ed] actor, while making passage between Norfolk and Charleston, had a chance encounter with a fellow passenger. Perhaps while viewing the Cape Hatteras Light, the young thespian tell[s] of his desire “to retire from public life and keep a lighthouse”.... By chance, the stranger happens to be one Thomas H. Blount, the Collector of Customs for the port of Washington, N.C. As Collector of Customs, he is responsible for the administration of the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. Mr. Blount must have been impressed with the young actor because Blount eventually offers him the position of light keeper. The actor is Junius Brutus Booth, the Father of the yet to be born, John Wilkes Booth...."

To read the rest of the story click here:

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is a gallery of photos of fences on Howard Street and Lawton Lane. To go directly to the this month's Newsletter click here:


  1. Interesting bit of history tha most people have no idea about; thanks for the link!

  2. Anonymous10:05 AM

    Certainly there is more to the story regarding his unsuitability for the job. Perhaps the man offering to see if he could help Mr Booth fulfill his dream was just a fan and a starstruck one at that . On another note was the lighthouse keeper a participant in ship wreck rescues? The life saving rescue people and the lighthouse keeper two different occupations == no crossing craft I suppose??

  3. I am sure lighthouse keepers (especially those in very exposed locations) sometimes participated in rescues, but the Live Saving Service was trained and equipped to do the job.