Local history buffs in Saginaw, Michigan recently discovered that the tombstone of Saginaw Bay Lighthouse keeper Harvey Williams was decayed beyond repair. A group called Hall of Fame, which honors people who have help shape the history of the Saginaw area, along with the Saginaw River Marine Historical Society, the group that is restoring the Saginaw River Range Lighthouse joined to undertake the project of saving the memory of keeper Williams and his wife Julia from disappearing into the dusty pages of time.
When the staff at Forest Lawn Granite and Bronze and Bay Monument Co heard of the project they came forward to donate the actual stone monument.
Williams was inducted into the Saginaw Hall of Fame in 2002 for his vital part on the development of the area. He first gain notoriety in 1822 when he delivered 8,000 pounds of provisions to troops at Fort Saginaw who had run out of food. He later built the first two steam powered saw mills in the area. When he lost his fortune a land speculation in the late 1830's, he became lighthouse keeper at the light at the mouth of the Saginaw River, a position he left in March of 1841. He died in 1882. The original tombstone was moved to the historic Benjamin Cushway Home in Saginaw where Williams spent much of his time teaching Cushway the blacksmith trade.If our readers know the location of the gravesites of other lighthouse keepers we would appreciate photos of the tombstones, and where they are located. Send to Editor, Lighthouse Digest, P.O. Box 250, East Machias, ME 04630 or email with a high-resolution photo to editor@LighthouseDigest.com.
This story appeared in the
Jan/Feb 2005 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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