James O. Thompson of Lakewood CO contacted me recently and said he was related to one of the past keepers of Sand Island Lighthouse. He told me about his relatives with documents to support his claims. He was kind enough to copy and forward 27 pages of what they had to me.
Once in hand I found it not only documented his grandfather James F. Goodson, born June 16Th 1890 in Aberdeen Miss service at Mobile Alabama's Sand Island Lighthouse but they also document Toney Ryan's and Herman E. Bosarge service, who were also keepers at Mobile Alabama's Sand island Lighthouse.
I will have these documents scanned and put them on the Sand Island Lighthouse.com web site as well as offer them to the Alabama Lighthouse Association for that web site to use. These documents show how much the keepers were paid and the dates they were transferred to other lighthouses and even names what lighthouses they were transferred to or from. A really great find
The documents date from 1928 to 1937 with pay ranges from $1320 to $1620 per year. That is $27.50 a week or $110 a month salary in 1928 to $31.15 a week or $135 a month in 1937
Included are photos of the Keeper James F. Goodson on a Lighthouse service boat, walking along a street on the sidewalk (location unknown) and one of him shaking hands with someone(unknown) at Fort Morgan.
One of the photos shows us the engine room at Burwood Lighthouse in 1937 and the equipment to operate that lighthouse.
What is really special is he commented on the back of this engine room photo
"This is what takes the fun out of light keeping".
Reading the keeper James F. Goodson's own words has personified his perspective that the modern inventions of his time were taking the fun out of light keeping to me. And possible he resented a little the replacing of keepers by automation!
This is something that continues with technological inventions today with people being replaced by machines and computers.
As you can see times have not really changed all that much after all.
I hope you enjoyed this tidbit of history!
Sand Island Lighthouse Chairman
Alabama Lighthouse Association
Date this Oct 29, 2007