In 1873, a lighthouse was built on Campbell’s Island as noted in the Annual Report of the Department of Marine for that year:
Three lighthouses of a minor class were erected during last season on the Upper Ottawa River, above the City of Ottawa. One of these is situated at the head of Morris’s Island, one in Campbell’s Island, and the third on a high rocky islet at the mouth of Deep River. They are square wooden buildings, painted white, 20 feet high, and the lights are fixed-white catoptric, consisting of two mammoth flat-wick lamps, with 16-inch reflectors in each, and can be seen at a distance of 8 or 10 miles, where the view is not intercepted by the land. These lights were put in operation on 16th September last. Mr. Owen Smith was appointed keeper on the 14th day of July last of the light at the foot of Deep River, at a salary of $100 per annum; and Mr. Alexander Wilson was appointed keeper on 9th day of July last of the light in Campbell’s Island, at $150 per annum. No appointment has yet been made for the third lighthouse. The total cost of construction and equipment of these three lighthouses, up the 31st December last, was $1,538.46.
When Darius Smith, Superintendent of Lights above Montreal, visited Campbell’s Island Lighthouse, he found things were a bit out of order:
Keeper, Mr. Alexander Wilson; he has seven in family.
This is a fixed white catoptric light; the tower is a square wooden building, 22 feet from base to vane, and 14 feet at the base. The lantern is of wood 6 feet in diameter, with 30-inch glass. The lamps, burners and reflectors are the same as at
A new door is required for the lantern. I found the Keeper absent from his duties, and I was informed that the lights are not regularly lit. I sent to him to Bristol Corners to go with me to the lighthouse, but he was absent. His son came over the river and went with me. On arriving there I found that there was only about three gallons of oil on hand; the barrel of oil left there last season has either leaked out or the oil has been stolen, as the Keeper’s son informed me the lighthouse had been broken open.
A new boat is required for this Station. I would recommend that the keeper be allowed $10 per year, and supply his own boat.
The issue with the light not being regularly lit may have been an erroneous report or it was resolved as Alexander Wilson remained keeper of the light until 1884. Robert Wilson served as a temporary keeper for a few months after Alexander Wilson and then Mails Cowley was responsible for the light from 1885 to 1890. John McKillop served as keeper from 1890 through 1904, and then Robert Wilson was keeper from 1905 through at least 1923.
No navigational light is exhibited from Île Lighthouse, but the island’s name serves as a reminder of the wooden lighthouse on the island that served mariners for over fifty years.
Keepers: Alexander Wilson (1873 – 1884), Robert Wilson (1884 – 1885), Mails Cowley (1885 – 1890), John McKillop (1890 – 1904), Robert Wilson (1905 – at least 1923).