Thomas Kilty and Robert Gillespie were both listed as keepers of Wolfe Island Lighthouse in 1862 and 1863, but after this time, which coincides with the construction of a keeper’s dwelling on the point, Robert Gillespie was listed as the sole keeper up until he was superannuated in 1885 and replaced by his son William.
The following description of Wolfe Island Lighthouse was provided by Darius Smith, Superintendent of Lights above Montreal, after a visit in 1877:
The lighthouse is placed on Quebec Point, and is a square white building, containing a fixed catoptric light, 36 feet high. The light consists of three No. 1 flat wick lamps, with three 15-inch reflectors. The lantern is of iron, six feet in diameter; size of glass, 15 x 12 inches. Mr. Robert Gillespie, the Keeper, has four children, and he keeps his light in good order. The lighthouse requires painting. Eight new window sashes are required for the dwelling, of 20 lights each; size of glass, 7x9 inches. The Keeper was ordered to procure the same.
The following tribute to Robert Gillespie was published in Kingston’s British Whig on June 11, 1887, two days after his death and two years after he retired as keeper of the lighthouse:
Robert Gillespie, who, for a quarter of a century, had been in charge of the lighthouse at Port Metcalfe, foot of Wolfe Island, died on Thursday, aged 83 years. He was a brother of John Gillespie, Pittsburg, and leaves a widow and seven children. He emigrated to Canada in 1840, and previous to his appointment as lighthouse keeper was a farmer. For some time he suffered from rheumatism, and so severely that he could not walk. He was highly respected by all who knew him.During William Gillespie’s tenure as keeper, which spanned over fifty years, a thirty-three-foot standard wooden tower was erected on the point in 1911, replacing its worn-out predecessor. Lightkeeping was likely considered as a secondary source of income for William Gillespie as in various census records his occupation is listed as farmer. Prior to succeeding his father as keeper, William served as the custom house officer for Port Metcalfe.
Wolfe Island Lighthouse remains active today, though its lantern room has been removed. A replica of Thomas Point Shoal Lighthouse was built near the decapitated tower as a private residence, while the original keeper’s dwelling reportedly remains standing farther away.
Keepers: Thomas Kilty (1862 – 1863), Robert Gillespie (1862 – 1885), William Gillespie (1885 – 1939), Everett Woodman (1940s – 1954).