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Cape Cod Billingsgate Lightkeeper Paid $5 A Week

On May 7, 1822, Congress appropriated $2,000 for a lighthouse to be constructed on Billingsgate Island, Wellfleet. The keeper of the light was Abijah Gill. He wrote bitterly a few years later that:

In consequence of erecting the lighthouse upon the sand, without any foundations, the front brick wall of the house fell entirely down, and the whole structure was nearly demolished. (this must have been a version of the biblical house built on sand.) Whenever there is a storm, the sand blows through the roof, in addition to the leaks which are all over the building. The lantern leaks all about the sashes.

These things were no light matter to him. All Abijah received as keeper of the light was a bit more than $200 a year, slightly less than $5 a week.

More about the history of Billingsgate Island and its lighthouse can be found here and here.

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Posted by Cape Cod - (website) on 02/27/06
Categories: HistoryPlacesWellfleet
Keywords: maritime, history, wellfleet, lighthouse, billingsgate island


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