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Strange WWI Navy Women's Story? Need help/opinions.


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#51 mars&thunder

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Posted 12 September 2018 - 06:54 AM

Scott - great to have you helping with this question. I am glad somebody can dig into the Great Lakes angle, and has some contacts to help with the research. Good luck!



#52 MastersMate

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Posted 12 September 2018 - 07:03 AM

I may be off in counting for the light stations, From the articles and info posted so far, it would appear from the LHS 1918 annual report that 21 light stations  were assigned to the USN for sites to be used as lookout / signal stations. They appear to be in the northern New England  area . Going through the stations mentioned so far,  I can count 19 stations.  The Sakonnet Light is just to the east of Newport, RI. Newport.

 

To set up a system of continuous coastwise lookouts, the addition of the Maine lights was necessary.  From about Portsmouth, NH, the Coast Guard had a system of Lifeboat Stations that already maintained a 24/7 lookout and beach patrol. On average, these lifeboat stations were about 5 miles in between them and gave a system of posts to the entrances of the Delaware Bay and Cheaspeake Bay.  A good portion of the early CG budget was spent connecting them and light houses in a telephone system.. Not surprisingly, with the start of WW2, the Coast Guard revived the Beach Patrol to prevent landing of saboteurs. One of the first successes was on the south coast of Long Island NY.  Agents landed from a U Boat and grabbed by the Beach Patrol.. 



#53 MastersMate

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Posted 12 September 2018 - 09:50 AM

A quick map to orient the light station locations.  All had a 5 - 8 mile lookout range.. Height of each lookout tower would determine the distance to the horizon on a good visibility day.

 

 

 

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#54 ScottG

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Posted 12 September 2018 - 09:30 PM

   Very nice info! I too made a few discoveries on the Great Lakes front. It looks like all of the lights remained in the hands of the Coast Guard or in some cases the old LHS/Civilian Keepers. No mention of any keepers Wives being enlisted into either the Navy or the USCG from this region.

    Unfortunately much of the individual lighthouse history near Detroit at that time is occupied by the great storm of 1913 where there was a great loss of ships and life... Very little is devoted to the special orders that may have been issued due to the war.

    We do have records of women keepers and of work done by the keepers Wives but as to any of it being done in an official capacity under the USCG, the Navy or even the LHS I have found nothing.

    There is mention of "lookout stations" on the St. Mary's River. Ironically, I grew up in that area and am familiar with those stations. So, while the St. Mary's is the waterway where the Soo Locks are located and while it was certainly heavily defended in WWII, little to nothing is said about WWI. As far as I am aware, the lookout stations were to report by landline to the USCG in the Soo, the upbound and downbound traffic as to control entry into the locks, and not for any defensive measures. Still, as we would learn in Windsor and Detroit, there was a very active 5th Column and attacks did happen.

     I will continue to search for more info.  Scott



#55 mars&thunder

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Posted 13 September 2018 - 05:56 AM

Head lighthouse keeper Leo Allen talking about service at the Petit Manan Lighthouse during WW1:

 

Attached File  PetitManan WW1.pdf   93.32K   6 downloads

 

Sorry I can't seem to paste text into this post (never tried before - maybe it can't be done?) so I had to make a PDF out of the text and attach that, which means you have to select the PDF to open and read it....



#56 Bob Hudson

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Posted 13 September 2018 - 07:10 AM

 

Sorry I can't seem to paste text into this post (never tried before - maybe it can't be done?) so I had to make a PDF out of the text and attach that, which means you have to select the PDF to open and read it....

 

There was a problem with using cut and paste in a past version of Windows.



#57 mars&thunder

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Posted 13 September 2018 - 07:16 AM

Using the map of stations MastersMate provided earlier (where did that come from, MastersMate?) I looked up the lighthouse keepers for each listed lighthouse lookout from the internet (lighthousefriends.com) and then used Ancestry to try to identify the individuals spouse. Couldn't always locate the person on Ancestry (1920 census) so list of spouses not complete, but for the names identified, we can then know some other women who might have been enlisted as SC4's and can do appropriate research. I won't get to that for a while so if anyone wants to take a stab at it, go ahead. I was hoping the 1930 census which has a "are you a veteran?" question might yield some ladies with a YES but I tried a couple of the 4 we knew were SC4 vets and there was no answer so that would appear to be a low value approach (but maybe still worth trying in case even one was asked and answered).... The list below does not list the 4 stations we already have identified with the 4 known SC4s - Nash Island/Moose Peak/Goat Island/Boon Island

 

Quoddy Head - Ephraim N. Johnson / Ada A.

Little River - Charles A. Kenny / ?

Libbey/Libby Island - Albin Faulkingham / Lucy

Petit Manan - Leo Allen / Louisa M.

Baker Island - Vurney King / Maud L.

Great Duck - Joseph M. Gray / Phoebe W.

Mt. Desert Rock - Vinal O. Bean / ?

Herron Neck - Fred M. Robbins / Lillie S.

Two Bush - William H. Burns / ?

Monhegan Island - Daniel Stevens / ?

Seguin Island - Maurice M. Weaver / ?

Pemaquid Point - Clarence E. Marr / Clara E.

Bass Harbor - Willis Dolliver / Mary Vansaw (housekeeper)

Cape Neddick/Nubble Light - James M. Burke / ?



#58 MastersMate

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Posted 13 September 2018 - 07:34 AM

I drew up that little map yesterday while I had a bit of quiet time around here.  It is based off old nautical charts and looking at each site on google earth to confirm locations.  A couple of additions would be Saddleback Ledge, up east oh Heron Neck. It is just a caisson style iron structure on a very small rock ledge, no housing, lived in the tower..  Fletchers Neck Lifeboat station was located south west of Cape Elizabeth and NE of Goat Isl Lt..

 

Updated version

 

 

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#59 suwanneetrader

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Posted 13 September 2018 - 08:11 AM

Very very interesting topic.  I have been up in light houses as well as keeper's home and outbuildings around St Augustine and Cape Canaveral as well as Tybee Island Ga and if this old guy's memory is correct at least 6 - 8 people could have bunked at them with mess area.  As a German sub was sunk off coast of FL in WWII seems logical some concerns would have been for these areas in WWI.  In fact Tybee Island still has extensive Coastal Shore Batteries with facilities (many partially underground still standing with some accessible to the public, as now owned by the City )  Believe it was used SAW thru WWII.  .    Richard



#60 MastersMate

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Posted 13 September 2018 - 09:23 AM

Putzing around again this morning and have another map to show the network of Lifeboat stations on the NH, Mass and RI coasts during WW 1.  Quite an extensive coast watch lookout system .

 

 

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#61 mars&thunder

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Posted 13 September 2018 - 11:59 AM

Here is the official list of the 21 lighthouses that were transferred to the Navy. It is clear from this list that Naval Personnel were stationed at many more locations than this 21, so I am not clear on what exactly "transferred" means. But for completeness sake, here they are:

 

1st Naval District - West Quoddy, Bass Head, Herron Neck, Pemaquid Point, Cape Neddick

2nd Naval District - Gay Head, Point Judith, Block Island North, Sakonnet, Watch Hill, Block Island SouthEast

3rd Naval District - Montauk, Fire Island, Highlands of Navesink

4th Naval District - Cape May, Cape Henlopen

5th Naval District - Cape Charles, Cape Henry

6th Naval District - None

7th Naval District - St Augustine, Mosquito Inlet, Jupiter Inlet



#62 mars&thunder

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Posted 13 September 2018 - 12:08 PM

To continue the post above, to demonstrate the degree of difference between transferred stations and stations manned by Navy signal personnel, here is a snippet that lists the stations in the 7th District and the Bahamas at which Navy signal personnel would be located:

 

Florida Sites.JPG

 

This is from "Lighthouse in World War I: Transition Into War" by Ellen Henry



#63 mars&thunder

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Posted 13 September 2018 - 12:29 PM

Went back and looked at the Maine WWI Roster, specifically to check the woman who I had briefly referenced who was an SC4 for 1 day and then became a Yeoman (F) and served out the full war period. Her name was Grace B. Cotton. She enlisted May 15th 1918. She was stationed at the Cape Elizabeth Station, whose location can be seen on MasterMates first Map (thanks for drawing those up - they are very useful). Turns out Frank L. Cotton was the head lightkeeper at the Cape Elizabeth Lighthouse. So this is another case of a Lighthouse Keepers wife enlisting in the Navy and being stationed at her home location. Her story is a little different - a cook only one day and then a Yeoman 3c. Not sure what her duties were - did she really do clerking or did she do the cooking and the local district disguised it as a Yeoman (to avoid the purge of August 31st 1918?) Just speculating.

 

Think I'll shutup for the rest of the day - I keep stumbling on things and am eager to post but you probably all want a rest from my churning.



#64 mars&thunder

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Posted 15 September 2018 - 08:02 AM

Took some time to go back and read some of the references that were highlighted early in this thread. Now that I know more about this subject, things make more sense. That applies to the question I have been posing about what it meant from a practical perspective when a lighthouse (21 of them) were transferred to the Navy. I can answer that now, at least in part. First, the Navy was then responsible for all expenses related to that installation. In the cases where the Navy did not transfer a lighthouse but still stationed a small team of Navy watchers, the Navy did not pay installation costs - the lighthouse service covered it in their budget. Secondly, the lighthouse keepers were now considered Navy personnel, and they had combatant rights under the laws of war. Also that meant these lighthouse keepers earned any Navy benefits, to include issue of a victory medal. The lighthouse keepers at non-transferred stations did not earn a victory medal. I'm sure there is a lot more, but that's at least some of the distinctions.



#65 MastersMate

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Posted 15 September 2018 - 08:49 AM

Took a peek at the Maine Lighthouses transferred to the USN, Quoddy Head, Bass Harbor Head, Heron Neck, Pemaquid Pt, and Cape Neddick..  It concerned a running comment about Maine travel in general, "You can't get there from here".  World War 1 era rail travel from Boston was quite extensive.  The Boston & Maine covered the coastal route (Cape Neddick) to Portland and on to Bangor.  From Bangor the Maine Central had a line that covered down to Mount Desert Island (Bass Harbor) and on eastward to Eastport (6 mile boat to Quoddy Head ) . From Portland, Maine Central to Rockland (Pemaquid) and then from Rockland a ferry out to Vinalhaven (Heron Neck)..All well scheduled lines and connections..



#66 MastersMate

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Posted 15 September 2018 - 05:30 PM

A bit of info for ScottG concerning the St. Marys' River patrol.  The last annual report of the Revenue Cutter Service notes that the patrol is conducted during the navigation season by the Cutter Mackinac and the use of her launches.  The 1915 report of the newly formed USCG mentions that in co-operation with the War Department the cutter and launches were conducting the patrol.  In addition it notes that 6 lookout stations have been established, each lookout manned by 3 crewmen on a rotating watch schedule.  



#67 MastersMate

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Posted 15 September 2018 - 05:49 PM

A link to the Coast Guard report, in particular page 19.  There is also a listing of additional years..

 

https://babel.hathit...seq=37;size=125



#68 ScottG

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Posted 15 September 2018 - 08:23 PM

A bit of info for ScottG concerning the St. Marys' River patrol.  The last annual report of the Revenue Cutter Service notes that the patrol is conducted during the navigation season by the Cutter Mackinac and the use of her launches.  The 1915 report of the newly formed USCG mentions that in co-operation with the War Department the cutter and launches were conducting the patrol.  In addition it notes that 6 lookout stations have been established, each lookout manned by 3 crewmen on a rotating watch schedule.  

   Great info and thank you for the citing of the reports, I may do some checking with the USCG Mackinac which is now a museum ship in Mackinaw City. I did find a separate reference to the lookout stations, but as I mentioned, it seems they were just there for monitoring traffic into the locks.   Thank you!  Scott

 



#69 mars&thunder

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Posted 16 September 2018 - 07:16 AM

Latest research regarding lighthouse service assets transferred to the Navy.....

 

The transfer was directed in Executive Order 2588 dated 11 April 1917. This is the order that names the tenders and lighthouses to be transferred. Interestingly some of the tenders were transferred to the War Department and a lesser amount to the Navy. This was because the War Department was responsible for inland/coastal waters like Harbors, rivers, estuaries, etc while the Navy was responsible for the Oceanic aspect of our defense. After three months all the tenders were given to the Navy as the War Department wasn't doing anything with them.

 

An interesting and informative document is "Aids to Navigation and Pay in the Lighthouse Service"" Hearings before the Committee on Interstate Commerce of the House of Representatives H.R. 134 May 5 and 6 1921. This document details proposed changes to the law that placed the lighthouse service under the Navy (the Executive Order above is the activation of that law in WW1). The discussion of the proposed law touches on the experience of the transferred lighthouse service under the Navy in the World War, and makes clearer what that meant. Of the 6000 personnel in the Lighthouse Service, 1100 were transferred to the Navy. Most of these personnel were on or supported the light house tenders. The personnel in the lighthouses were a minority of this total. Transferred personnel were subject to the  laws, regulations, and orders of the Navy. For lighthouse keepers, that duty (in addition to their normal lighthouse duties) was to report suspicious vessels and to cooperate in any changes to lights and signals (to include shutting down a light if ordered). The direct impact wasn't too great to these keepers. Much greater impact was felt on the crews of the tenders, which became operating naval vessels and performed duties ordered by the Navy, to include placing anti-sub nets and sub hunting. The Navy made extensive use of these vessels. As was the case with the Army and it's use of women, the Navy had erratic and often conflicting policies with regards to the transferred lighthouse service personnel. They could buy war risk insurance. They earned the Victory medal. But they weren't eligible for the war bonus. Also they weren't considered veterans and had no veteran rights. They had no Navy rank or rank equivalence, and Navy personnel therefore took precedence over them when questions of who was in charge came up. Despite this, the small Navy teams assigned to the lighthouses as lookout were told to obey the lighthouse keepers. This did not always work out, There are recorded cases of lookout personnel who were disrespectful and disobedient to lighthouse service personnel. When these cases were reported, the Navy typically punished the offenders. Lighthouse service personnel were considered the poorest paid of all the government services, and they did not receive any pay changes as a result of being transferred to the Navy. Had they been given Navy ranks, they all would have been paid more. This was particularly galling for the personnel on the tenders, given that they were more active and in as much or more danger than most Naval ships at the time. Subsistence rates for Lighthouse keepers was 45 cents a day. The basic Navy subsistence rate was 68 cents for navy personnel at Navy messes, and $1.00 for the lookout team members. The proposed changes in the 1921 Hearings would have responded to many of these perceived inequities.




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