Digest>Archives> Jan/Feb 2007

Elmo J. Turner, Maine Lighthouse Keeper


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Elmo J. Turner was a keeper at Great Duck Island ...

Joyce MacIlroy provided this photo and information on her great grandfather, Elmo J. Turner. Turner served as a keeper at Maine ‘s Great Duck Island Light Station in the 1920s. He later was keeper in the 1930s at Bear Island Light, near Northeast Harbor in Maine.

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Bear Island Lighthouse from a vintage post card, ...

Joyce’s mother recalls visiting her grandparents at Bear Island when she was a girl. Like many lighthouse families, Elmo and his wife kept chickens and a cow at the island station.

“There was no power on the island,” says Joyce, “so my great grandmother would keep the fresh cream in the cellar. One day, the cow had to be taken to the mainland, so Elmo loaded her into the dory and rowed her across to Northeast Harbor, then rowed her back over to the island. The cow got seasick on the way back — that must have been quite the sight!”

Elmo’s sons, Claude C. Turner (Joyce’s grandfather) and Elmo P. Turner, both served on buoy tenders. Elmo P. Turner later joined the Coast Guard.

This story appeared in the Jan/Feb 2007 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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