Digest>Archives> April 2005

How was Corsair tied into lighthouse history?

By Timothy Harrison

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In a number of old photographs of an unidentified lighthouse keeper we discovered this photograph of the Yacht Corsair. Although we try to stay with the lighthouse theme of this magazine, we also thought it would be interesting to publish it because it is an original snapshot apparently taken by some member of a lighthouse family. Old snapshots of vessels as historic as the Corsair are extremely rare.

The Corsair was the name given by J. Pierpont Morgan to three of his yachts. His son J. Pierpont Morgan Jr. later also had a yacht named the Corsair. We’re not sure which one of the four this is.

We do know that one of the vessels was given to the U.S. Navy at the start of the Spanish American War and commissioned USS Gloucester. The vessel toke part in the Battle of Santiago Bay and single handily captured Guanica, Puerto Rico. The vessel was wrecked in the 1919 hurricane off Pensacola, Florida.

He was a major philanthropist of his time. I’d bet if he were around today, he’d contribute to lighthouse preservation.

This story appeared in the April 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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