Digest>Archives> May/Jun 2017

From Mess Boy to Lighthouse Superintendent

By Timothy Harrison


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Carl E. Sherman, Superintendent of the First ...

There aren’t many people whose careers can be traced from the age of 14 as a mess boy with the U.S. Lighthouse Service to working their way through the ranks to hold the position of Lighthouse Superintendent, one of the highest and most important positions with the United States Lighthouse Service. Such was the case of Carl Edward Sherman who was born on August 9, 1877 in Round Pond, Maine.

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Carl E. Sherman, far right, is shown here with ...

Although we know very little about his personal life, government records reveal tidbits of information on his amazing 42-year career with the United States Lighthouse Service.

From his position as mess boy on a lighthouse tender, he learned everything he could and eventually became a yeoman on the lighthouse tender Armeria and in 1904 he was commissioned as a captain, and over the years he was the captain on both the Pacific and Atlantic coasts, serving as the captain of the lighthouse tenders Pansy, Cactus, and Larkspur. Interestingly, when he was captain of the Cactus, his brother Alonzo, served under his command.

On July 17, 1911 he was appointed Lighthouse Inspector of the First Lighthouse District, a title that was later changed to Superintendent, a position that he would hold until his death at the age of 56 in June of 1933.

Unfortunately, as of this writing, we have been unable to find photos of Carl E. Sherman in his uniform or additional information on his personal life.

This story appeared in the May/Jun 2017 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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