Officially established on April 10, 1903 on a small island in Boston Harbor, about seven miles from Boston proper, the Lovells Island Range Lighthouse, sometimes spelled as Lovell’s Island, had a short life span.
Although official government records indicate that the Lovells Island Light Station had three lighthouse keepers in its existence, technically there were only two. The first keeper was Alfred G. Eisener who started his career in 1883 at the Cape Ann/Thacher Island Light Station and then served at the Cuttyhunk and Plymouth lighthouses before being assigned to Lovells Island in 1903 where he served until his retirement. He was followed in 1919 by Charles Jennings, who then became the second keeper of the Lovells Island Range Lights. Jennings had previously served at Cape Ann/Thacher Island, Monomoy Point and Boston lighthouses.
In April of 1939, keeper Charles Jennings was affected by high blood pressure and kidney problems and he applied for disability. On May 25, 1939, his son, Harold Jennings, took over his father’s duties and was paid $55 by the government for the next two months while the light station was being decommissioned to be demolished for the expansion of Fort Standish that occupied most of the island.
During that time, Charles Jennings and his wife, Edith, had purchased an old abandoned farm near Searsmont, Maine and they had started to restore it. The Lighthouse Service sent the lighthouse tender Shrub to remove the family belongings and transport them to the Chelsea Lighthouse Depot where they were then loaded onto a moving van for Maine.
In March of 1940 when Charles Jennings died, there was no government pension for widows of lighthouse keepers, so his son, Harold, had to quit school and get a job to help support the family.
Interestingly, both Alfred Eisener and Harold Jennings were prolific writers. Eisener wrote a book that had two different titles: DAN, Or The Gale of Seventy Three, and A Thrilling Fishing Voyage During the Memorable Gale of 1873, A True Narrative. He also wrote a number of poems, one of which we have published in this issue.
This story appeared in the
Jul/Aug 2021 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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