Digest>Sep/Oct 2020

Photo Caption:

Charles A. Linsmeier, who started his lighthouse career in 1920, was the 1st assistant keeper of Sheboygan Pierhead Lighthouse from 1934 to 1941. On October 28, 1935, his wife Esther, age 30, was found dead floating in the water near the dock by the Sheboygan keeper’s house. The cause of her death was questionable, with conflicting rulings given of accidental drowning, heart attack, and suicide. First assistant keeper Linsmeier had to sue the insurance company in an attempt to collect on his wife’s double indemnity life insurance policy. He won the lawsuit when the jury ruled that his wife’s death was an accidental drowning. He was transferred from Sheboygan in 1941 to become the assistant keeper at Wisconsin’s Rawley Point Lighthouse. When the Coast Guard took over the Lighthouse Service in 1939, keepers were given the option of joining the Coast Guard or remaining as a civilian Coast Guard keeper. Charles Linsmeier chose to remain as a civilian keeper, but later changed his mind, and on July 1, 1941 he joined the Coast Guard and became a military assistant keeper. A day earlier on June 30, 1941, he took Dula Langkau as his second wife. In May of 1944, Charles Linsmeier was promoted to become head keeper, or Office-in-Charge, of the Rawley Point Lighthouse in Two Rivers, Wisconsin. Toward the end of his lighthouse career, on March 25, 1952 Charles A. Linsmeier was granted a U.S. Patent for what he called a “new and revolutionary” method of launching lifeboats more quickly and safely from aboard a ship at sea. After serving at lighthouses for 33 years, he retired on October 1, 1953. After a brief illness, Charles A. Linsmeier died on January 20, 1962 at the Holy Family Hospital in Manitowoc, Wisconsin. He was buried in the Riverside Cemetery in Menominee, Michigan. It is unclear if he ever made any substantial money from his patent for his lifeboat launching apparatus. (Photo courtesy Sheboygan County Historical Research Center)
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Sheboygan’s Forgotten Lighthouses
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