Keepers

A lighthouse keeper or lightkeeper is a person responsible for tending and caring for a lighthouse, particularly the light and lens in the days when oil lamps and clockwork mechanisms were used. Lighthouse keepers were sometimes referred to as "wickies" because of their job trimming the wicks. The Rear Range Lighthouse Keeper carried kerosene, which was stored in the nearby oil shed, up the staircase several times a night, and then climbed the stairs again the following morning to put the lamp out.

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Each lighthouse was manned by a keeper and an assistant. The first keeper appointed for the Rear Range Lighthouse was Robert A. Sisson, who, according to the U.S. Coast Guard Registry of Keepers in the national Archives, was appointed to the position November 24, 1879.

 

Below is a list of the keepers of the Hilton Head Lighthouses. Go here to learn more about the Front Range Lighthouse.

Front Range Lighthouse:

  • Head Keeper: Stephen Roper (1863 – 1867), Richard Pope (1867 – 1869).

  • Assistant Keeper: Dom. Pappa (1865 – 1867), William John Pope (1867 – 1869).

Rear Range Lighthouse:

  • Head Keeper: Henry H. Thomas (1863 – 1866), Bernard J. Calvert (1866 – 1869).

  • Assistant Keeper: Sarah E. Gillespie (1865 – 1866), Ann Calvert (1866 – 1869).

Both Lighthouses:

  • Head Keeper: Robert A. Sisson (1879 – 1890), John R. Turner (1890 – 1891), Paul Schwarzer (1891 – 1905), Frederick H. Bruggeman (1906 – 1913), Charles L. Sisson (1913 – at least 1921), Paul Wright (at least 1930).

  • Assistant Keeper: George F. McIntyre (1881), Renty F. Greaves (1881 – 1887), Charles O. Widmark (1888 – 1889), Paul Schwarzer (1889 – 1891), William C. Nohrden (1891), Halvor Svendsen (1891), William H. Blanding (1891 – 1899), Edward Simmons (1899 – 1912), Lloyd V. Gaskill (1912 – 1913), Robert A. Sisson (1913 – 1932).

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