SOUTHWEST HARBOR — The graves of seven lighthouse keepers here will get special historic markers acknowledging their service, in a ceremony set for Wednesday, July 27.
The markers are going to be placed by representatives of “Lighthouse Digest,” a magazine that reports on the news and history of lighthouses all over the world. The graves are located in the Mount Height Cemetery on the Bass Harbor Road.
“For almost all of history, the men and women who have served in our armed forces have been honored with veteran’s markers at their grave sites,” said Tim Harrison, editor of “Lighthouse Digest.” “However, those who served in the United States Lighthouse Service were never given this honor.
“As you walk through our cemeteries across this great nation, the private individual in looking at a tombstone would never know of the great service and dedication these people made to our country,” he added. “That has now changed with the placement of memorial grave marker plaques honoring those who dedicated their lives, often at great danger and hardship to the service of our nation.”
The keepers, along with the locations and dates of their service, are as follows.
James A. Morris, keeper at the Mount Desert Rock Lighthouse from 1871-1876 and from 1881-1882, and at the Deer Island Thorofare Lighthouse from 1876-1881.
Joseph M. Gray, keeper at the Crabtree Ledge Lighthouse in 1898; at the Mount Desert Rock Lighthouse in 1899; at the Great Duck Island Lighthouse from 1913-1921; and at the Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse from 1921-1938.
Albert Staples, keeper at the Boon Island Lighthouse from 1913-1923; at the Wood Island Lighthouse from 1923-1926; at the White Island Lighthouse 1926-1930; and at the Burnt Island Lighthouse from 1930-1936.
Capt. Elmer Conary, keeper at the White Island Light on the Isles of Shoals in New Hampshire in 1921; at the Deer Island Thorofare Lighthouse from 1929-1935; and relief keeper at Maine lighthouses over various dates.
Leverett S. Stanley, keeper at the Great Duck Island Lighthouse from 1924-1940 and at the Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse from 1940-1950.
Joseph M. Muise, keeper at the Moose Peak Lighthouse in 1926; at the Mount Desert Rock Lighthouse from 1926-1931; at the Baker Island Lighthouse from 1931-1935; at the Moose Peak Lighthouse from 1935-1936; and at the Burnt Island Lighthouse from 1936-1951.
Howard “Bob” Gray, keeper at the Boon Island Lighthouse from 1930-1932 and at the West Quoddy Lighthouse from 1934-1952.
There will be an event to honor the men and their families at the cemetery at 1:30 p.m. It is open to the public. Members of the U.S. Coast Guard will participate and the sea chantey group “From away Downeast” will play.
“Lighthouse Digest” is looking for additional information about the keepers, such as their dates of service at other locations, recorded memories and photographs. They also are asking for people to make remarks at the ceremony or read a statement or letter pertaining to the lives of the keepers. Contact Harrison at 259-2121 or [email protected].
Donations to the marker program can be made online or by mail to the Lighthouse Keeper Grave Marker Fund, c/o Lighthouse Digest, P.O. Box 250, East Machias, ME 04630.