Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Silas Gardner Shaw at Beavertail Light

This is a Daguerrotype of Silas Gardner Shaw and his wife Ann, c. 1858. Courtesy of Cheryl Vislay. Shaw was keeper of Beavertail Light in Jamestown, Rhode Island, 1858-1862 and 1863-1869. His daughter, Lena Clarke of Jamestown, recounted some memories in a letter many years later: 

"When we first went there was just a light, a barn and a stone wall around the government property. We soon had a henhouse, a sty (kept white), a flower garden, trellis with climbing roses, and a large vegetable garden. . . I often heard my father tell about a vessel going on the rocks south of the light and how the men came ashore carrying pails of cider and rolling pins, part of the cargo. . . In a severe storm, when another craft was grounded, one of the crew made his way ashore, carrying a heavy sea chest on his back, and the wind was so strong it blew him down on the rocks. . . Whenever my father heard a noise in the night, he always took his gaff hook and lantern and went along the shore to try to find out what it was. One night he saved five or six men whose yawl had washed on the rocks, and brought them to the light to remain during the night."

For more on the history of Beavertail Lighthouse,  click here.