Born on April 7, 1864 in Percé, Quebec, Canada, John B. Dewyea, at the young age of 14, left home for a job on a sea-faring ship. However, by the time he was 28 years old he left the life of a moving object on the sea to accept a position on a stationary object surrounded by the sea. This was a decision that was probably made so he could spend more time with his wife Elizabeth Martin, whom he had married in Bremen, Maine on the day after Christmas, December 26, 1886.
In 1892, John Dewyea was appointed as the 2nd assistant keeper at Maine’s Halfway Rock Lighthouse. By 1900 he had worked his way up to 1st assistant keeper, and in 1902 he became the head keeper at Halfway Rock Lighthouse, a position he held until 1921. To round off his career, in 1921, he transferred to become the head keeper at the nearby Ram Island Ledge Lighthouse at the entrance to Maine’s Portland Harbor where he retired in 1922.
After spending 30 years of his life, from 1892 to 1922, living on lighthouses that stood on ledges out in the ocean, Capt. John B. Dewyea decided to spend his retirement years touring the great nation that he had served for so many years as a lighthouse keeper. It was during this time that he passed away on July 6, 1943 in Excelsior Springs, Missouri.
At the time of his death, he was survived by his daughters, Aurilla Dewyea Moore of South Portland, Maine and Laura Dewyea Irving of Dorchester, Massachusetts, as well as six grandchildren and three great grandchildren.
Lighthouse keeper John B. Dewyea is buried at the Crown Hill Cemetery in Excelsior Springs, Missouri, a long way from the ocean where he had served for so many years as a dedicated lighthouse keeper.
This story appeared in the
May/Jun 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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