This past November, the Chesapeake Chapter of the U.S. Lighthouse Society honored the memory and service of lighthouse keeper Thomas J. Steinhise with a ceremony to place a historical U.S. Lighthouse Service keeper marker at his gravesite.
Although Steinhise is best remembered for his heroic actions at Seven Foot Knoll Lighthouse in Maryland where he saved five shipwrecked sailors in August of 1933, for which he later received the Congressional Silver Life Saving Medal, he also served as a lighthouse keeper at the Tangier Sound Lighthouse in Virginia, the Lower Cedar Point Lighthouse in Maryland, and at the Ragged Point Lighthouse, also in Maryland.
The only lighthouse where Thomas J. Steinhise served, and that is still standing today, is the Seven Foot Knoll Lighthouse, but it is no longer standing at its original location; it was moved in 1988 from its location out in the water to Pier 5 in Baltimore, Maryland to become a museum.
As well as members of the Chesapeake Chapter of the U.S. Lighthouse Society and the United States Coast Guard, the grave marker ceremony was attended by 56 family members of lighthouse keeper Thomas J. Steinhise.
Interestingly, Thomas J. Steinhise’s last name was actually spelled Steinhice. Upon accepting the Silver Life Saving Award in 1936, he was surprised to see his named inscribed incorrectly as Steinhise. However, he felt that it would be extremely difficult to go through the government bureaucratic red tape to change his name on the award. So, from that day forward, Steinhice became Steinhise, but the new spelling of his last name was never changed for his children.
With numerous photos, two separate stories about Thomas J. Steinhise can be found in the November/December 2012 edition of Lighthouse Digest titled “Heroic Rescue by the Keeper of Seven Foot Knoll Lighthouse,” and “Collecting Nautical Antiques.” If you don’t have those back issues, the stories can be found on the Lighthouse Digest web site at www.LighthouseDigest.com.
This story appeared in the
Jan/Feb 2017 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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