Catherine Shook raised eight children while serving, but Katherine Marvin has the record with 10 children. Elizabeth Van Riper Williams accumulated 41 years of service at a number of lighthouses on Lake Michigan; many details of her work are in her 1905 memoir, “A Child of the Sea, and Life Among the Mormons.” Williams also lost her husband to the lakes while he was trying to save sailors from a floundering ship.
“It was not enough for women to just be lighthouse keepers,” Majher said. “Many of them had large families to raise. They did everything a woman would do, plus keeping the light.”
That meant long nights of trimming wicks, keeping the fire burning and the lighthouse lenses rotating.
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