With the passing of Leland F. Rose of Fairhaven, Massachusetts, another part of lighthouse history has slipped away. Exactly how many people are still alive who worked for the United States Lighthouse Service is unknown, but it has been widely believed that Louis Bauchan of Michigan, up until his death last year, may have been the last actual surviving person who was a U.S. Lighthouse Service keeper. The number of other people still surviving who worked in other capacities with the Lighthouse Service such as at lighthouse depots, on lighthouse tenders or lightships is unknown.
Rose originally joined the old United States Lighthouse Service on August 15, 1938 for service on the Relief Lightship #85. Although the Coast Guard took over the Lighthouse Service in 1939, it wasn’t until April 1, 1940 that he was inducted into the Coast Guard as a Seaman 2nd Class.
He was appointed as Coast Guard keeper of the Butler Flats Lighthouse in New Bedford, Massachusetts in 1943 and served as keeper there until 1946. During his tenure he also tended to two other lights at Dumpling Rock and Palmer’s Island. He was discharged from the Coast Guard on April 23, 1946.
Born in New Bedford, MA, he was the son of Manuel and Hattie E. (Jenkins) Rose, who was a cousin of Abraham Lincoln. He lived in Fairhaven, MA most of his life and was a business owner and actively involved in numerous charitable and volunteer groups. He was recently honored by the Foundation for Coast Guard History for his history reviews of the USS Massachusetts.
This story appeared in the
Jan/Feb 2004 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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