Recently, while servicing the graves of lighthouse keepers who are buried at the Corey Cemetery in Lubec, Maine, we discovered the gravesite of Loring William Myers who was the lighthouse keeper at the Lubec Channel Lighthouse from 1895 to 1923 – an amazing 33 years.
When we mentioned this to Kimberly Ashby, the Executive Director of the West Quoddy Head Light Keepers Association, she immediately offered, along with her husband, Matt, to sponsor a U.S. Lighthouse Service Memorial Marker for his gravesite, which was done in a small ceremony on June 20, 2020.
Loring W. Myers (1855-1942) started his maritime career serving on ships, and for many years, was the captain of a steamer that ran between Boston, Massachusetts and Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. While living on Grand Manan Island in New Brunswick, Canada, his first wife and three of his children died of diphtheria. His fourth child went to live with him in Lubec, Maine where he married his second wife, Abbie Case, in 1892, who he had additional children with.
In 1890, Loring Myers joined the United States Lighthouse Service and received an appointment as the assistant keeper under head keeper Frederick W. Morong at the Lubec Channel Lighthouse in Lubec, Maine. In 1895, when Frederick W. Morong was able to secure a transfer to Libby Island Lighthouse in Little Machias Bay, Loring Myers was promoted to head keeper of the Lubec Channel Lighthouse, a position he held until his retirement in 1923.
The Myers Lifeboat
During his long career at Lubec Channel Lighthouse, keeper Myers was credited with saving numerous lives, but he considered that as just regular duty. Being stationed in a caisson-type lighthouse, surrounded by water, gave Myers a lot of time to tinker with a number of inventive ideas. The one that he was most proud of was the Myers Lifeboat.
Standard lifeboats of the type most ocean liners used were hung by davits from the sides of the ships. Many times, while a ship was listing during sinking, the lifeboats would tip, throwing the passengers into the sea. Myers’ invention would permit the people to board the lifeboat while it remained on the deck of the sinking ship, and then simply float off as the larger vessel sank beneath the surface, thus saving the lives of the passengers.
Many experienced sea captains who saw the lifeboat hailed it as revolutionary, and it even received government approval. However, Myers was never able to secure the necessary financing to manufacture it, and many of the larger steamship companies of the time opted for cheaper and less effective lifeboats. Loring Myers often commented that more lives would have been saved on the Titanic if it had been equipped with the Myers Lifeboat.
The Myers Family Lighthouse Legacy
Loring W. Myers was not the only family member associated with the U.S. Lighthouse Service. Loring’s daughter, Lorena, married lighthouse keeper Leo Milton Allen, who served at a number of lighthouses including West Quoddy Head Light in Lubec from 1912 to 1917 where Loring Myers’ grand-daughter Ruth Allen was born in the keeper’s house.
Loring Myers’ sister, Mary Estelle Myers (1863-1952), married lighthouse keeper Herbert E. Robinson; their daughter, Inez, married lighthouse keeper Eugene Ingalls; and their daughter, Allison, was born in the keeper’s house at West Quoddy Head Lighthouse.
Another sister of Loring Myers, Mabel A. Myers, married Ira Scovill, the head keeper of the Quoddy Head Lifeboat Station, and their daughter, Constance “Connie” Scovill, married lighthouse keeper Elson Small, who, in the 1920s, also became a keeper at the Lubec Channel Lighthouse. Later in life, Connie Small wrote the best-selling book The Lighthouse Keeper’s Wife.
When Loring Myers retired, he loved to stay busy tending his garden and apple orchard, something that he enjoyed doing until his death on March 25, 1942.
This story appeared in the
Sep/Oct 2020 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.
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