Beacons of Light - Lighthouses of Prince Edward Island Virtual Museum of Canada
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Point Prim Lighthouse Keepers

There was a total of twelve full time and interim lightkeepers at Prince Edward Island’s oldest lighthouse from the time it opened on December 4, 1845, until it became fully automated on March 10, 1969. Except for the first keeper, John Ings, of Charlottetown, the others were all from the Point Prim area. Over the years, the job of lightkeeper was a much sought after position. That is not surprising as it offered a home, a year round salary and a position of responsibility and respect - not only in the rural community, but also within the seafaring community. Hiring preference was given to veterans, but not all keepers fell into that category. Politics often played a role in selecting the keeper.

The keeper’s duties were outlined in The Rules and Instructions for the Guidance of Lighthouse Keepers. They were to “keep the lighthouse and other property in the manner that a prudent man would treat his own property.” There were detailed instructions as to the maintenance and repair of the lighting apparatus. The light was to be operated from sunset to sunrise and then immediately prepared for the next lighting. The blinds had to be put upon the lantern windows and linen covers put over the lenses or reflectors. This was done in case the sun’s reflection on the lens caused a fire. Oil had to be carried from the oil house to the top of the lighthouse. The keeper was responsible for supplying coal or wood to heat the lighthouse and cottage. Keepers also often served as fisheries wardens at no additional pay.

Angus Murchison served in World War One.  Circa 1917.  Goldie Gillis.
Angus Murchison served in World War One.
Rules and Instructions for Lightkeepers Manual.  1953.  Carol Livingstone.
Rules and Instructions for Lightkeepers Manual.
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