Lighthouses and genealogy mysteries are two of my favorite things, so the monument on page 73 of the July-August edition of Lighthouse Digest intrigued me, so I did a little research and here’s what I found out.
Abby Frances Wadsworth who died in 1853 at age 19 was the first wife of Capt. Jerome Brooks Hildreth. Her parents were Ira Wadsworth (1790-1857) and Abby Jones Brooks (1803-1854). Abby Brooks was "of Concord, MA" at the time of her marriage to Wadsworth.
The parents of Abby Jones Brooks were Asa & Mary Brooks. The Brooks-Wadsworth marriage is recorded both in Concord and Cambridge town records. In the 1850 Census, Ira Wadsworth was a grocer in Cambridge, MA.
Capt. Hildreth was indeed a sea captain. According to a Hildreth family history, he was a "distinguished navigator of the port of New York." A death notice for his son (Percy Hildreth) in the City College of New York alumni publication in 1919 related that Percy’s father had "sailed the China seas as the captain of a merchantman." [sic]
I found Internet sites that referenced Hildreth’s appointment as captain of the "North Wind" and I found his name on a published list of persons who had letters waiting in the Post Office at San Francisco, CA, in 1852.
Henry A. Hildreth (1823-1860) was a brother of Jerome Brooks Hildreth. He was self-described in 1853 "Family of Hildreth of America" as "editor of the American Review, and a chemist and geologist of the city of New York."
Harriet S. Hildreth (1839-1917) was Harriet Pierce Stearns, Jerome’s second wife. They had two sons, Russell W., 1865-1895, and Percy S., 1866-1919.
Jerome himself died in December 1894. It is anyone’s guess whether he too is buried in this spot. He is listed as the owner of the plot in an on-line record of Mount Auburn lot purchasers.
Janice B. Patterson
Editor’s Note: Janice is the author of the book Cleveland’s Lighthouses that is available from www.LighthouseDigest.com.
This is one of many letters we received about the Forgotten Monument story in the July-August edition. Most of the mail contained the same basic information. Since the story generated so much interest we have republished the photograph of the monument that was taken by Frances Wetherall.
Day Tripping Questions & Corrections
We read with much interest (as always) the latest edition (July-August, 2012) of Lighthouse Digest and wanted to share my story relative to Ernie Corty’s "Lighthouse Day Tripping" article.
My husband (the photographer) and I (the historian and GPS locater) traveled to see if we could locate New Castle Front Range and New Castle Rear Range lights in 2007.
My research indicated that the station’s fulltime keeper was replaced by a custodian who lived in the keeper’s dwelling following automation of the light in the 1920s or early 1930s. William and Jeanette Cross moved into the dwelling in the 1930s and were still living there in 1953 when the Coast Guard decided to sell the property surrounding the front range light. Not wanting to give up their home, the Cross’ purchased the property.
In 1985, Cross’ daughter, Jean Butler and her husband Wayne moved into the dwelling to help care for her parents. The Cross’ have passed away and the Butlers now own the property.
The original tower was torn down by the Coast Guard in the 1960s and replaced by an automated steel tower that displays its light from 56’ above mean high water. (A picture of the dwelling and that 56’ tower is enclosed.)
Mr. Corty’s picture of the New Castle Range Front Light differs dramatically from mine, but it may well be that the light photographed in 2007 has been replaced.
Stan took pictures of New Castle Front Range Light with the permission of the woman who came out to greet us. The woman and I chatted about the lighthouses in the area and, specifically, this one. As she gave me some history of the improvements she and her husband had done, I asked if she was Jean Butler. The look on her face was priceless as I explained that I’d printed the information about this lighthouse and its history off the Internet and handed her the printout. "Do you mean I’m on the Internet?" was her response. She and I laughed aloud about that.
She went on to say that the fancy, iron finial, standing 3 feet tall that capped off the 10’ square original tower that had a height of 38 feet, which they had planned to incorporate into their home had been lying in the sand while renovations were going on at the dwelling. She was horrified to find that the workmen cleaning up the site had discarded the finial along with other debris.
The historic well, a privy, and a brick oil house (photo) remain standing on the property in addition to the dwelling and, of course, the steel tower.
Sandra D. Jennings
Not New Castle?
I just read the July-August edition of your fabulous magazine and saw a photo on page 15 that claims to be the New Castle Range Front Light in New Castle, Delaware. I have no idea where Mr. Corty took the photo that is in the magazine, but in my opinion, it is certainly not the lighthouse structure that I know of in New Castle.
The black skeletal front and rear range towers that Mr. Corty identifies as being the New Castle Range Light is incorrect. The towers shown are actually the Bulkhead Bar Range Lights. The New Castle Range is a bit south of these towers and are white skeletal structures, with the Front Range light sitting in close proximity to the historic keeper’s house and nearby oil house.
Bob Trapani, Jr.
Executive Director, American Lighthouse Foundation.
Editor’s Reply: Thanks to those who wrote to correct this error. It is sincerely appreciated.
What a great surprise I found when I opened my latest issue of Lighthouse Digest - your wonderful review of my latest book! Thanks so much for your interest and support. It spurs me on and I really appreciate it!
"Sea of Troubles: The Lost Ships of Point Sur"
20 Year Accolades
Congratulations on your 20th year of publishing Lighthouse Digest. I have been a subscriber for about six years and enjoy learning more about some of the lighthouses that my husband and I have visited. I was especially delighted to hear about the transfer of the Umpqua River Lighthouse.
In your honor I am donating to Little River Lighthouse in Cutler, Maine. With my limited budget I have also donated to another lighthouse in my home state of Maryland.
Keep up the good work. I look forward to receiving each new edition of Lighthouse Digest and read it cover to cover. People here in Nevada probably think it strange that my entire home and yard are decorated in a nautical theme since I live so far from the ocean. But each night, my six solar lighthouses are a source of enjoyment to me and my family. Thank you for your dedication to these beautiful works of art that are so historic. Long may they stand for all to enjoy.
I wish to congratulate you on your 20 years of publishing. I have been a subscriber since 1994. My first copy was a small paper printed publication in black and white, but I could hardly wait for each issue to read the stories that fueled my passion for lighthouses. Look how far you’ve come. Each issue always has beautiful pictures and wonderful accounts of life about these nautical beacons. Due to your efforts some lighthouses and a lot of lighthouse history has been saved.
Because of the stories in Lighthouse Digest, I have travelled to Maine, California and Minnesota to visit lighthouses. My son renews my subscription every year for Christmas. May the magazine always keep arriving and may Tim Harrison and company keep writing and printing so many unique lighthouse stories. Thank you for the many years of enjoyment I have had with Lighthouse Digest.
This story appeared in the
Sep/Oct 2012 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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