Women and the Sea logo
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Myths and Mermaids
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Life in Port
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Going to Sea
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Lighthouse Keepers
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Changing Roles for Women
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Women in the Military
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Women in Wartime Production
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Early Yachting and Racing
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Women and the Sea in the 20th Century
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In This Chapter


Abbie Burgess
Ida Lewis
Fannie Salter


Fannie Salter

Fannie Salter, Keeper of Turkey Point Light
Ralph Smith, photographer
The Mariners' Museum,
Ralph Smith Collection

The Turkey Point Light, near the entrance to the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal, was tended by women—four in all—longer than any other light on the Chesapeake Bay.

Fannie Salter moved to Turkey Point Lighthouse when her husband became keeper in 1919. When he died in 1925, Fannie successfully appealed to her senator and received the appointment. Unlike many lighthouses, the light was built on a hill attached to the mainland by a four-mile road. Fannie raised three children at the small light and was able to grow fruits and vegetables and raise fowl and sheep. In 1943, electricity was installed at the light, and Fannie no longer had to fill lamps and trim wicks.
Sixth-Order Fresnel Lighthouse Lens
L. Sautter and Cie., Paris
The Mariners' Museum

This lens was originally a "fixed" type and was altered at some point for special duty. The smallest Fresnel lens, the sixth-order was used for harbor work. The largest, the first-order lens, could be seen at a distance of twenty miles or more. Fresnel lenses were specially designed to focus the light of the lamp into a strong beam.
Fannie Salter and Son Feeding Turkeys at Lighthouse
Ralph Smith, photographer
The Mariners' Museum,
Ralph Smith Collection

Fannie Salter at Fog Bell
Ralph Smith, photographer
The Mariners' Museum,
Ralph Smith Collection

While she lived at Turkey Point Light, one of Fannie's duties was to keep a daily log of the weather and the tasks she completed.

1925 -

State Work Performed by Keeper Regarding Upkeep of Station, and Record of Important Events, Bad Weather, Etc.
September 1 South to southwest, moderate, clear.
  2 West to southwest, light, partly cloudy. Cleaned stormpanes inside and out.
  3 Southeast, fresh to moderate, partly cloudy.
  4 Light easterly winds, partly cloudy. Had bushes cut down round the bank.
  5 Northwest, light, fair. Cleaned tower from top to bottom & bell house.
  6 Northeast, moderate to fresh, partly cloudy. Sunday.
  7 Calm to moderate, N. East, partly cloudy, hot. Labor Day.
  8 Light southwest, partly cloudy. Mowed lawn.
  9 Moderate, southwest, hazy. Tender Juniper delivered medicine, wheelbarrow & parts for stove
  10 Moderate to calm, southwest, hazy, hot. Tender Juniper passed this Station, this p.m. after relighting aids to navigation up the Susquehanna.
  11 Light, southwest, fog in morning, hazy, hot. Cleaned stormpanes inside and out.
  12 Light, southerly to moderate winds, hazy, hot. Cleaned in tower.
  13 Moderate to fresh, southerly winds, hazy, hot. Sunday.
  14 North, moderate, partly cloudy. Painting bell house.
  15 Fresh, northeast, partly cloudy. Scrubbed interior of lantern.
  16 Southwest, moderate, partly cloudy, showers. Mowed lawn.
  17 West, moderate, clear, cool. Finished painting exterior of bell house.
  18 Moderately southerly winds, partly cloudy. White washed interior of toilet, painted the wood.
  19 West, moderate, fair. Painted tower floor, hand rail and ladder, scrubbed tower steps.
  20 Fresh southerly winds. Sunday.
  21 Southwest to N.W., moderate. Tender Maple arrived with wood & Coal, also fog bell machinery. And Mr. Lenord came to install same.
  22 North, moderate, partly cloudy, cool.
  23 Northeast, light, cloudy. Tender Maple left 1 p.m.
  24 Southwest, moderate, hazy.
  25 Northwest, light, clear.
  26 East, moderate, clear. Cleaned tower and stormpanes
  27 South, fresh, partly cloudy. Sunday.
  28 Southwest, moderate, partly cloudy.
  29 Northwest, light, partly cloudy. Painted new wood work on bell house.
  30 Northeast, moderate, partly cloudy.

Fannie Salter had to keep a daily log of the weather and her activities.

Keep a journal of your daily activities for a week. Record the weather and any activities you do. Do your activities depend on the weather conditions? Do you accomplish in a day the same number of activities as Fannie?

Why does Fannie note when the day is Sunday?

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