Josiah Hardy, Jr. (1882-1902), who was a distinguished sea captain, served as the keeper of Chatham Lighthouse from 1872 to 1899. Records indicate that on November 23, 1844 he married Harriet K. Myrick. He was the first keeper to care for the new 1877 twin, 48-foot-tall cast-iron towers. Josiah was also witness to the destruction of the old 1841 towers when they fell over the bluff.
According to a story in the Boston Globe, the first time Josiah Hardy took off work in 17 years was on August 26, 1887, and that was to attend the funeral of his brother, the Honorable Alpheus Hardy. The story said, “He attends strictly to his duty of light keeper.”
The February 1, 1873 edition of the Boston Evening Transcript reported: “Captain Josiah Hardy, 2nd, recently picked up on the beach just south of the lights several pieces of money bearing old dates. An English copper piece, bearing on the side a profile of Wellington with the inscription, ‘The illustrious Wellington half-penny, 1816.’ Another copper piece bearing the words ‘Independence, liberty, 1787, Connecticut.’ Two Spanish silver pieces dated 1778 and 1807.”
In a story by Alan Pollock published in the Cape Cod Chronicle in June of 2008, Pollock wrote that “Hardy is remembered not only as a fine lighthouse keeper, but as one of the town’s most important chroniclers of the time. The lighthouse logbook contained the obligatory information on the weather and passing ships, but also snippets of local and national news. The pages of his book recorded the arrival of the railroad to Chatham and the assassination of President Garfield in 1881.”
On June 30, 1899, because of ill health, Josiah Hardy resigned as the keeper of Chatham Lighthouse. A few months later, on November 13, 1902, he passed away at the age of 80 from a stroke.
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