In the April 2009 edition of Lighthouse Digest, a call went out to gather information on a photo of a man and a woman. The man in the photo was wearing a keeper’s uniform. On the back of the photo someone had written that the couple tended government lights for 47 years. The photo was found with a batch of other images of the old and new Cape Henry lighthouses.
In collaboration with John Starling, APVA-Preservation Virginia Site Coordinator for Old Cape Henry Lighthouse, and Fielding Lewis Tyler, Executive Director of the Old Coast Guard Station on Virginia Beach, VA, a little bit more has now been learned. Or, at least, a possibility has been uncovered.
Fielding Tyler, who is also the author of the book Fort Story and Cape Henry (Arcadia Publishing, 2005), has a photo of a man who looks very similar to the one in the mystery photo. Fielding dates his photograph at 1915, maybe a few years earlier. The man is standing outside the watch room at the New Cape Henry Lighthouse. Mr. Tyler feels there is the possibility that the man in both photos is First Assistant Keeper Pedro Boloso of Cape Henry Light Station. From copies of handwritten records, he concludes that Pedro Beloso was appointed first assistant keeper in 1903. His salary was $550 at that time. He also appears on the 1907 rolls as first assistant keeper with Keeper E.H. Riggs. His salary then was $820. Tyler adds that in the 1910 Cape Henry Head of Household U.S. Census, Beloso is listed as born in Italy and 56 years of age.
John Starling concurs with Fielding Tyler’s conclusion, and adds that in addition to Pedro being listed as first assistant keeper from 1907-1908, Beloso was also on top of an untitled list of names in 1910, possibly to become a principal keeper.
Unfortunately, no information was found on the woman in the discovered photo. As is often is the case, the more we find out, the more questions we are left with to answer.
This story appeared in the
June 2009 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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