Digest>March 2005

Photo Caption:

Capt. George Halsey Goddard (April 12, 1833 - January 2, 1916) from a photograph, circa 1880. Capt. Halsey served with the United States Lighthouses from 1880 until his death in 1916. He joined the U.S. Lighthouse Service to serve as first mate on the Lighthouse Tender Cactus, a position he held for eight years. In 1888, he took command of the Lighthouse Tender John Rodgers and served as its captain for seven years. Then he was transferred back to the Lighthouse Tender Cactus where he remained for 12 years. At his own request, he was then made keeper of the New London, Connecticut Light House Depot, a position he held until his death on January 2, 1916. By the time a reporter from the New London Day newspaper went to interview him in 1913 he was a true old sea salt telling the reporter, “I ain’t a man that likes to be talked about in the papers like some fellows I know, like to have a lot of stuff put in the papers about them, but I ain’t that kind of fellow.” However, once he started talking to the reporter he told him enough stories about his sailing days, before the Lighthouse Service, to fill up a book. He didn’t have many stories to tell about his days on the Light House Tenders, saying that it was mostly mundane and repetitious like delivering coal and supplies to the lighthouses and servicing buoys. However, he did have one great memory to share, one that he was very proud of. When he was the captain of the John Rodgers, President and Mrs. Grover Cleveland took a floating vacation on board. Mrs. Cleveland, wanting to go to Bird Island Lighthouse even told Capt. Goddard how to get there. Goddard recalled that the president would borrow one of the Captain’s clay pipes and the two of them would sit for hours smoking the pipes while the president listened to the sea stories Capt. Goddard told of his sailing days. Since Goddard had crossed the Atlantic 42 times, doubled Cape Horn seven times and sailed around the world once, he must have had lots of stories to tell.
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Like Father, Like Son, Like Grandson
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