Gannet Rock Lighthouse

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Corporate body

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Gannet Rock Lighthouse

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Dates of existence

1831

History

Gannet Rock Lighthouse is nine miles southeast of Grand Manan Island, New Brunswick, in the Bay of Fundy. It is Grand Manan's oldest lighthouse, built by John Purvis in 1831. Seven years earlier--in 1824--the New Brunswick government ordered that a lighthouse be built off the coast of Grand Manan, where rocks endangered ships approaching Saint John.

The lantern, put up by Joseph Hogg, was first lit on Christmas Eve 1831 by Capt. Lamb of Saint John, New Brunswick, who remained as keeper until 1835. He was replaced by E. G. Miller, who drowned in 1837. Jonathon Kent was keeper from 1837 to 1843 when he was replaced by Henry McLaughlin.

In 1853 Walter McLaughlin became keeper of Gannet Rock and kept journals until he left in 1880. At that time the keeper paid his assistant out of his own salary. One assistant, Finlay MacDonald, was paid £167 for 9 months' work in 1867. McLaughlin returned one day to find that his assistant had abandoned the Rock and left the death flag flying. Walter McLaughlin left Gannet Rock in 1880 to tend the new lighthouse at Southwest Head on Grand Manan and was succeeded at Gannet Rock by Oliver Kent, son of Jonathon Kent.

Oliver Kent remained there for 18 years, until 1898, when Lincoln Harvey took over the job. Harvey left in 1904 and was succeeded by the following keepers: Coleman Dalzell, 1904-1910; Sidney W. Tatton, 1910-1912; Allen Wilson, 1912-1919; Arthur Wilson, 1919-1929 (acting principal keeper, 1919-1920); Donald W. Wilson, 1929-1944; Garfield Wilson, August - November 1944; Hayward Forsythe, 1944-1946; Frank Linton, 1946-1947; Frank M. Tucker, 1947-1955; Bernard G. Deveau, 1955-1959; Howard N. Ingalls, 1959-1962; Ralph N. Maker, 1962-1963; Lawrence Benson, 1963-1966; Addison Naves, 1966-1971; Douglas S. Daggett, 1971-1974; Donald Denton, 1974-1982; Sidney Guptill, 1982-1989; Barry S. Bagley, 1989-1996 (acting principal keeper).

A new house was built in 1884 and rebuilt in 1887. A brick house was built in 1906 and the present house was built of cement in 1931. The original lamp burned a mixture of whale oil, turpentines and other inflammables. In 1931 Gannet Rock was reputed to be the second most powerful light in the world (85,000 candle power), second only to England's Eddystone Light. Today there is a 1,000 watt light 24 hours a day. Gannet Rock Light was automated and the last keepers left in April 1996.

Sources: J.G. Lorimer, "History of the Isles and Islets of the Bay of Fundy"
Deborah Daggett information used by permission.

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