April 16, 1851



April 16th Wednesday  Robinson had papered the 

bedroom to day but has not done it well at all.  I have

finished the carpet and put it down and 

got the room in order and it looks like another

place.  It stormed very hard last night and 

a high wind, and to day we are having the

hardest storm that I ever recollect.  Rains very

fast & wind high.  Augustus not here.

Light house on Minots rock blown down

Today’s foul weather made history. Like Evelina, Old Oliver reported it in his journal as remarkable. [T]he water is quite high I never knew the wind blow so hard for so long a time together”  It was a hard storm indeed, hard enough to take down the new lighthouse off of Cohasset, Massachusetts:
“[E]asterly winds began blowing around April 8, 1851. […] The storm increased in fury and, by the 16th, was causing considerable damage ashore. At Minots Ledge, the two assistant keepers kept the bell ringing and the lamps burning, but just before midnight on the 16th they cast a bottle adrift containing a message for the outside world in case they failed to survive. The high tide at midnight sent wave after wave through the upper framework of the weakened structure.

What actually happened then will never be known. Probably about 11 p.m. the central support snapped off completely, leaving the top-heavy 30-ton lantern tower held only by the outside piling. Then just before 1 a.m. on April 17, 1851, the great Minots Ledge Lighthouse finally slid over toward the sea. One by one the eight iron pilings broke until only three remained. The keepers, probably realizing that the end was near, began pounding furiously on the lighthouse bell. This was heard by residents of the Glades. With the tower bent over, the remaining supports now gave way and the great tower plunged into the ocean.

The body of Joseph Antoine was washed ashore later at Nantasket.  Joseph Wilson managed to reach Gull Rock, probably mistaking it for the mainland. Here he apparently died of exhaustion and exposure.”


* http://www.uscg.mil/history/weblighthouses/LHMA.asp

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