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Harbor Island Bar, NC  Lighthouse destroyed.   

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Harbor Island Bar Lighthouse

1862 – All of the light vessels from Cape Henry southward, including the two in the Potomac river and those in Chesapeake bay, (except Hooper's straits and Jane's island,) have been removed and sunk or destroyed by the insurgents. The light-vessel stations in the bounds of North Carolina have been marked by suitable vessels showing temporary lights, viz: Brant Island Shoal, Royal Shoal, Harbor Island, Long Shoal, and Roanoke River.

1867 – Before the war, the aids to navigation in this district included a great number of light-vessels, many of which were in waters not subject to heavy seas, and but rarely to ice of such mass and strength as to make it dangerous to permanent structures. The rebellion had swept away all the light-vessels in the sounds of North Carolina, and some of those in the lower Chesapeake. In reestablishing these stations the opportunity was presented to carry into effect an object long had in view by the Board, viz., to replace the light-vessels, wherever practicable, by permanent structures, because of their greater economy, both in construction and maintenance. Generally the stations occupied by light-vessels are of such a character that the screw-pile light-house is the most eligible form of construction for any permanent substitute. This is particularly the case in the district in question, owing to the slight elevation of the adjacent shores and their swampy formation, the shallow water and the nature of the bottom. Since the last annual report screw-pile light-houses have been erected upon the eight following stations, formerly occupied by light-vessels, viz: Roanoke river, Harbor island, Southwest Point Royal shoal and Long shoal, in North Carolina, Upper Cedar Point, Hooper's straits, and Janes' island, in Maryland, and Lower Cedar Point, in Virginia, at a total cost of one hundred and twenty-one thousand and one dollars, ($121,001,) which, under the authority of the second section of the “act making appropriations for light-houses, light-boats, buoys, &c, and providing for the erection and establishment of the same, and for other purposes,” approved March 3d, 1859, has been charged to the appropriation for “seamen's wages, repairs, &c, of light-vessels.” Thus far, no light-vessel removed or destroyed by the rebels has been replaced by a new one built for the purpose.

1867 – Harbor island.—This station was re-established by the erection of a screwpile light-house, from which a light was exhibited for the first time on the night of April 1, 1867. The vessel formerly occupying it was destroyed by the rebels at the beginning of the war.

1868 – Harbor island.—Iron-work of foundation painted two coats, dwelling one coat, and lantern inside and out two coats.

1869 – Harbor Island.—Screw-pile light-house; entire outside and inside of house and lantern painted.

1879 – Harbor Island, between Pamlico and Core Sounds, North Carolina.—An examination of this light-house made in November revealed the fact that the action of the current on the shoal had deepened the water about the house, until the wooden piles supporting the house were exposed below the iron sleeves, to a distance of 5 feet, thus laying bare from 6 to 12 inches of the wooden piles to the ravages of the worm. Prompt measures were necessary to preserve the station, and, accordingly, the plan was adopted of placing a block of rich concrete, 6 feet by 6 feet by 5 feet around the base of each iron sleeve and the exposed portion of the pile. The iron sleeves and exposed wood of the piles were cleaned by a diver, who prepared the bottom to receive the wooden boxes. They were held in place by wedging them to the iron-work of the light-house and filling them with concrete. Where the bottom required it, gunny-bags partly filled with concrete were placed on the bottom, inside the boxes. Gunny-bags of sand were then placed on the top of the new concrete, to prevent it from being washed by high seas before the cement had thoroughly set.

1881 – Harbor Island Bar, between Pamplico and Core Sounds, North Carolina, August 1, 1880 - discontinued.

1885 – Harbor Island, on Harbor Island Bar, between Pamplico and Core Sounds, North Carolina.—The old light-house at this station is in such a dilapidated and insecure condition that its relighting, as contemplated, has been found to be impracticable. The necessity for the light is, however, so great that the Board asks for an appropriation of $20,000 for its re-establishment.

1887 – Harbor Island Bar, between Pamplico and Core Sounds, North Carolina.—An appropriation of $20,000, approved August 4,1886, was made for re-establishing the light at Harbor Island Bar. Borings were made in May, to determine the character of the shoal in the vicinity of the present structure and the results obtained were such as to justify the recommendation that a screw-pile structure be built on the plan of the light-house now being constructed at Croatan, N. C. This can be built alongside the present house, which it is impracticable to remove or re-establish as a light-station, and will serve to mark a dangerous obstruction, as well as to fulfill the purposes for which the present structure was erected.

1888 – Harbor Island Bar, Pamplico Sound, North Carolina, June 10, 1888 - new fog signal.

1888 – Harbor Island, between Pamplico and Core Sounds, North Carolina.—Plans and specifications having been prepared, proposals were invited in August for furnishing the metal work required for the new light-house, and contract therefor was made in September with the lowest bidder for $5,000. The framing of the wooden superstructure was commenced at the same time at the Lazaretto depot, and it was completed in April. The working party left Baltimore for the site on the tender Jessamine April 23. The tender had in tow the launch Nettle and two scows loaded with the necessary materials. After some delay in passing through the Albemarle and Chesapeake Canal and stopping at Long Point light-station for a part of the working plant, they arrived at the site on the night of April 30. The work of erecting the light-house was commenced the next day and it was completed in one month except as to the painting, but a painter and a laborer were left there to finish the work. During this time the old light-house structure was torn down, the upper series of tension rods were disconnected, and all the iron sleeve piles except the center one were broken off below the surface of the water. This one was left with some of the tension braces attached, to indicate the position of the old house. The light from the new structure was first shown on the night of June 10, 1888, and has since been continuously exhibited. It is of the fifth order and gives a red flash every ten seconds. The light house consists of an iron screw-pile foundation painted brown, surmounted by a square frame dwelling painted white with brown roof, green shutters, and black lantern. It is provided with a fog-bell, which is sounded during thick or foggy weather every ten seconds.

1899 – Harbor Island Bar, Pamlico Sound, North Carolina.—New model fifth-order lamps were supplied. Various repairs were made.

1904 – Harbor Island Bar, Pamlico Sound, North Carolina.—On February 14, 1904, the characteristic and order of this light were changed from flashing red of the fifth order to fixed red of the sixth order. The lens apparatus was removed and replaced by one in store. Minor repairs were made.

1913 – Alonzo J. English, keeper, and John M. Stowe, assistant keeper, saved Government property in their charge during storm.

1915 – A.J. English, keeper, assisted disabled United States mail boat Viola. Happened Sept 25, 1914. 1915 – A.J. English, keeper, and C.R. Austin, assisted Schooner Davis of Davis, N.C., that grounded on Harbor Island Bar. Happened on May 23.

1915 – Alonzo J. English, keeper, floated loaded schooner, grounded on Harbor Island Bar, N. C. Schooner M.L. Davis, Isaiah Davis owner. Happened on July 15, 1915.

1917 – William Newton, keeper, Harbor Island Bar, floated and towed schooner Lacy to harbor. Happened on Jan 5, 1917.

1918 – A. Midgett, assisted in floating schooner Admiral. Happened on March 1, 1918.

1921 – The gas boat Thomas Ward, of Morehead City, N.C., lost her rudder near Harbor Island bar Light Station recently and was towed to harbor by keeper, Arthur Midgett, and the assistant keeper R. P. Fulcher.

1922 – Arthur Midgett, keeper, and R. P. Fulcher, assistant keeper, Harbor Island Bar Light Station, N. C, towed the disabled gas boat Thomas Ward into harbor.

1922 – Harbor Island Bar Light Station, changed illuminant to acetylene, $1,014.


  • Head: Gayor Chadwick (1867), William B. Physioc (1867 – 1871), David Stanton (1871 – 1876), William C. Lewis (1876 – 1877), Martin T. Lewis (1877 – 1879), John T. Shipp (1879 – 1880), James W. Gillikin (1888 – 1897), Wallace Morris (1897 – 1902), James R. Morris (1902 – 1903), Fairen M. Willis (1903), Thomas G. Willis (1903 – 1911), Alonzo J. English (1911 – 1916), William Newton (1916 – 1917), Walter L. Burnett (1917), Arthur Midgett (1917 – 1922).
  • Assistant: Jeremiah Fielding (1867), John S. Smith (1867 – 1868), Isaac Peartree (1868 – 1873), Thomas C. Davis (1874 – 1879), Selden D. Delamar (1879), George W. Wade (1879 – 1880), Thomas B. Goodwin (1888), Wallace Morris (1888 – 1897), James R. Morris (1897 – 1902), Eugene Fulcher (1902 – 1903), John B. Quidley (1903 – 1904), Amasa Fulcher (1904 – 1905), Fairen M. Willis (1905), Cornelius W. Styron (1905 – 1911), Christopher C. Midgett (1911), Barney F. Peel (1911 – 1912), Charles O. Peel (1912), Thomas J. Cropper (1912), John M. Stowe (at least 1913), Crawford R. Austin (1915), Barney F. Peel (1915 – ), John D. Brady (1916), James E. English (1916 – 1917), Randolph P. Fulcher (1917 – 1922).

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