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No Plans To Rebuild Little Hope Light (1865-2003) Little Hope Light, located two miles off Port Mouton, Nova Scotia, was destroyed in the storm of December 7, 2003. "There's nothing left but the rocks," reported one fisherman. Officials say it is unlikely it will be rebuilt. The light, managed by Canadian Coast Guard, was reported to have been badly damaged by Hurricane Juan in September, 2003. It was leaning and it may have been destined for demolition. The 138-year-old unmanned lighthouse was located in the middle of Little Hope Island in Cadden Bay. The cylindrical concrete tower with six buttresses, and painted white was 77 feet high, with a focal plane of 99 feet. A great number of wrecks occurred on the island and the shoals surrounding it, so in 1865 the government erected a lighthouse. It was automated in 1950. On land, it was best seen from the Kejimkujik Seaside Adjunct, and featured a flashing white light every 10 seconds, visible for 8 nautical miles.
Lighthouse Keepers of Little Hope: Firth, William (1865-1872) McDonald, Alexander (1872-1892) Jason Payzant (?) Doggett, Almond (1908-1913) Colp, Reuben James (c. 1912-1922) Burgess, R. (c. 1919) Langille, Alan (1927-1945) Langille, Ernie A. (1945-1947) Langille, Frank T. (1947) Oickle, O.C. (1947-1948) Bowers, Gilbert Charles , was the last lightkeeper. ( - 1950)
Little Hope Light was photographed in mid-August of 2003 by Jeff Tutty of Hunts Point, Nova Scotia.
Before Automation, this is what it looked like on Little Hope Island. Thanks to Ken Burrows of Port Mouton for this picture which had hung in the home of his father, the late Fred Burrows, who lived on Bristol Avenue, Liverpool. Ken believes this photo may be about 1949.
Little Hope Light Believed Built By Farquhars Muriel (Farquhar) Davidson, originally from Queens County, now of Brampton, Ontario believes some of her ancestors helped construct Little Hope Light. "All I know is hearsay -- my grandfather Harry Farquhar told me Farquhar men helped with the building of Little Hope," she said. The John Farquhar who arrived in Shelburne in 1783 was indentured to Richard Mulhall -- attached to 76th Regiment. He went to what is now Dartmouth -- is buried at Woodlawn Church Cemetery. There was a large family, and a son, another John Farquhar came to Liverpool around 1912. "My great grandfather was born 1823, Jacob Farquhar 1826. Throughout all history snippets, whether it be Andrew, Jacob, William or David -- all Farquhar men are reported to be well-skilled in the masonry trade," said Muriel. She suggested having a look around Hunts Point for old buildings with chimneys. "The chimneys were Farquhar-built," she said.
The Lady Helen I ended up on rocks at Little Hope Island after the crew, from Shelburne County, fell asleep. Does anybody know if the vessel is still there after the recent storm? (Photo by Jeff Tutty)
Little Hope Island was photographed by Chris Masland from Kejimkujik Seaside Adjunct in the spring of 2003. A lens zoomed to 10x was used.
All That Is Left of Little Hope Light. This was the scene on December 10, three days after the demise of this structure that served mariners since the mid 1800s (Photo by Canadian Coast Guard)
Rubble that was once an important guiding light for local fishermen as well as mariners who traveled far. (Photo from Canadian Coast Guard)
From James More's History Of Queens (published 1873) Little Hope is a small islet on the Atlantic Coast of Nova Scotia about fifteen miles from Liverpool, a short distance off Port Mouton--two miles from the nearest point of land. A great number of wrecks have occurred on it and the shoals surrounding. In 1866 the Government of Nova Scotia erected a lighthouse upon it. A writer in the Canadian Illustrated News thus describes it. After speaking of the building of the lighthouse, he says: The breezy god, however, became jealous of such an infringement of his wrecking privilege and in his stormy moods threatened, by his gradual encroachments, to wash away such an insignificant barrier to his mighty power. As the territory of Little Hope is compose chiefly of sand, and is not much larger than a good-sized croquet ground, elevated but a few feet above the sea level, and guarded only by straggling low-lying boulders, it can easily be imagined how some Saxby tidal wave could effectively wipe out from the face of this creation this lonely islet with its lighthouse, lighthouse-keeper, his wife and all. In order to avert such a calamity the Dominion Government caused to be erected during the past summer a substantial sea-wall of well ballasted crib work on three sides of the island, with a frontage of over three hundred feet of solid square timber, close faced; the crib is sixteen feet wide, with stringers eight feet apart, and has a depth of sixteen feet, nearly half of which is sunk in the foundation which had to be excavated. It is all thoroughly iron fastened and decked over with heavy plank. The heaviest seas that come rolling in here during tempests break on the shoals at some little distance from the island proper, otherwise granite would not stand the pressure. The works now erected for the preservation of Little Hope are considered sufficiently strong, and well answer the purposes for which they are intended. The cost of this wooden wall was $12,000. The contractors were Messrs. Cochran & Co. The weather the past summer at Little Hope was immensely favourable for carrying out such an enterprise. Pleasant days by the week and month aided the contractors in their arduous undertaking. Cargoes of iron and immense rafts of timber had to be landed on the island, besides the provisions and even water for the men employed." More said: This island and its surrounds have been the scene of many shipwrecks. In the spring of 1815 a large ship named the "Elizabeth" bound from Great Britain to St. John's, N.B. (sic), was cast away. She had a valuable cargo on board, it being invoiced for 70,000 pounds sterling. Shortly after the ship stranded she went to pieces, and the cargo either sank or was drifted about. The people on the mainland in this and the adjoining counties were well supplied with dry goods. Another large ship, the "Hezekiah Williams" was cast away in 1854. She had a valuable cargo of British manufactured goods which were disposed of in the same manner. Since the lighthouse was completed but one wreck has occurred, that of the brigantine "T.W. Chesly", coal laden. Let us hope that the lighthouse will still continue to guide the mariner in safety past this dangerous ledge. The keeper of the lighthouse in such a lonely position should be well remunerated
SS Wicklow Head, aground at St. Catherine's River Bay. (Thanks to Brian Fisher for the above photo)
Lanny DeLong Recalls His Days Of Diving On The Wicklow Head Dear Mary, I am wondering if Ken Burrows is right regarding the Whicklow Head. Many years ago Phil Decker and I went salvaging with Lamont Stafford in an old long liner that Mont had rigged for salvaging. This was an old vessel and in poor shape but we made a few trips out to St. Catherines River in it and had a million laughs. Mont (as we called him) had the old long liner rigged up with a hand cranked winch that could be geared down very low and had a lot of lifting power. The only thing was someone had to do a lot cranking. Mont had a young man with him who did all the cranking and Phil and I were the divers. We would go down on the wreck and fasten on a piece of some kind and the poor kid would start cranking. We would on purpose put something on that the winch could not lift and it would almost upset the boat and Mont would give us the old devil. Then we would go down and put some little thing on the hook, such as a sculpin and he would crank and crank and in about half an hour up would come the big hook and the little fish. He would give us the devil again. Well, eventually we did salvage a lot of brass and copper, having blown the pumps and condensers apart with dynamite. The wreck was the Wicklow Head and it was well in close to shore in shallow water. Lots of lobsters around and I wish I could do it again and know what I know now. I would have some good relics around. We dove on a lot of wrecks in that area and Port Mouton Island. Oh, to be young again, along with care free and crazy. I am not saying Ken is wrong. I am just wondering if the Wicklow Head wreck on Little Hope then ended up on St, Catherines Head. I suppose someone out there knows the story. Lanny DeLong Brooklyn
From Amy Lawson, Summerville Centre I was at the Queens County Museum today (Dec. 16) and looked up an article about Little Hope. It was dated Jan. 27, 1955 (Liverpool Advance) This was after the light was automated It told about the years Alan Langille lived there as light keeper--1927 to 1945. His wife and family lived there with him for the first four years but moved to the mainland (Port Mouton) in 1931. After that Alan had an assistant most of the time but was sometimes there alone, at one time for 29 days with only his dog for company. The article is much too long to reprint here but it makes interesting reading.
From Dirk van Loon Lighthouse Is Gone--Boat Hangs Onto Island Mary: You ask if the remains of the Cape Island boat Lady Helen I is still on Little Hope. It appears so through the spotting scope, testament to Bub Nickerson's work tying it fast, I suppose. But to what did he fasten it? There's not a sign of the lighthouse or its foundation from here at Sandy Bay. The Coast Guard probably knew Little Hope light was going and were happy enough to sit quietly by while nature whittled away at its base. Someone told me Little Hope light was once the tallest on this or perhaps the East Coast, but that was before 20 or more feet were taken off when the light was automated. I also heard stories about the light or lighthouse or both burning. Any truth to any of this? There must be a treasure chest of interesting stories to be told about that lighthouse, now it's gone. Thanks for a great start digging some of them up. Thanks too for your excellent coverage of the Dec. 7 storm, and for Andy Deans column and just in general for a fine piece of work in your Queens County Times. Dirk van Loon, East Port L'Hebert
SS Wicklow Head Also Wrecked On Little Hope Ken Burrows mentioned the 2,873 ton SS Wicklow Head in 1947 became stranded and broke up on Little Hope Island. The vessel was built in 1941 as the Empire Wolfe. It was purchased in 1945 from the Ministry of Transport and renamed SS Wicklow Head.
Was Wicklow Head Wreck At Gunning Rock? Robert Inness of Port Mouton recalled the Wicklow Head was wrecked at Gunning Rock.
Little Hope Island, three days after the December 7 high tides and winds that downed the 138-year-old lighthouse. (Photo from Canadian Coast Guard)
(The following verses were by Mrs. Almond Doggett who was the wife of the person who kept the light on Little Hope Island from 1908 to 1913. The Poem was published in The Liverpool Advance of March 1, 1911. It was discovered by Amy Lawson of Summerville Centre while at Queens County Museum researching the sixth generation of the Hupman family.)
Little Hope On Little Hope, this dreary Isle, Our lot is cast for a little while; We are stationed here to keep the light That warns the ships on stormy nights.
The light, it is a grand affair, It's a hundred feet up in the air; The tower is built of concrete strong, It's reinforced, it will stand the storm.
It's here the seas run mountains high, You would surely think they'd kiss the sky, And the foaming billows dash on shore, And wash around our dwelling door.
Our dwelling here is concrete, too, It's reinforced through and through; Though the surges wash this rocky strand, We are just as safe as on the land.
It's a little hill set in the deep, It's shores are rocky, rough and steep; No harbor here, no place to land, But on the rough and rocky strand.
In the winter storms when the seas run high; We watch the steamers as they go by, But there's weeks and months we never hear A word from friends we love so dear.
A few more raging storms shall beat O'er this wild, rough and rocky shore, And we shall be where tempests cease, And surges swell and roll no more.
Shut out from the world of joy and strife, We live a sad, but quiet life; Altho' we've felt the chastening rod, It has brought us nearer to our God.
Shut in with God by the raging seas, That wash around this speck of land; We are here alone, yes, here alone, In the hollow of His loving hand.
We are alone, shut in by night, When the ragin storms are at their height; We find a calm and safe retreat, As we bow ourself at Jesus' feet.
Where'er our lonely lot is cast, Glad when Thy gracious smiles we see, Blest when our faith can hold Thee fast, As when Thou calmed the sea at Galilee.
O Jesus, ever with us stay, Make all our moments calm and bright, Chase the dark night of sin away Shed o'er our souls Thy holy light.
Obituary Of Gilbert Bowers - Last Light Keeper Of Little Hope BOWERS, Gilbert Charles, 76, Eagle Head, passed away Thursday, December 29, 2005 at Queens General Hospital, Liverpool. Born July 7, 1929, he was a son of the late Victor Bowers and Jean (Roy) (Bowers) McLeod. A resident of Eagle Head for the past 54 years, Gilbert was a former employee with Steel and Engine Products Limited, Liverpool. He was a school bus driver for 32 years and a part time lobster fisherman. Gilbert was also the last lightkeeper on Little Hope Island just off Port Joli, Queens County. Surviving are his wife of 55 years, the former Frances O'Connell; daughter Verna (Arthur) Corkum of Eagle Head and their children Jayleen, Sarah, Shaninne and Leah; son Stephen (Lisa of Eagle Head and their children Jill, Chad and Jessie; great grandchild Talla. Sisters, Marie Theriau, and Muriel (Lester) Fisher, both of South West Port Mouton; Viola (Rocky) Roy, Port Mouton, and brother Richard (Lynda) McLeod of Port Mouton. He was predeceased by a sister Mae Dowling and brother Keith. Cremation has taken place under the direction of Chandlers' Funeral Home, Liverpool. Funeral service will be Monday, January 2, 2006 at 1 pm from St. John's Anglican Church, Eagle Head, Rev. Gary Alcock officiating. Burial will be in St. John's Anglican Cemetery, West Berlin. Flowers from the immediate family only, donations may be made to St. John's Anglican Church, Queens General Hospital Foundation or to the charity of your choice.
The Wreck of the Merrimack (Published in The Tech, Boston, MA, 1888) THE Merrimack was an iron steamship of 2,200 tons, and a length of about 270 feet. She had compound engines, and was supposed to be capable of making fifteen knots an hour. She had accommodations, on a pinch, for 500 passengers, and was "acknowledged by experts to be the strongest ship on the Atlantic Coast." She had been refitted for the Boston, Halifax, and P. E. I. Line, and sailed from Boston, July 2d, on her first trip of the season. I shipped for the round trip, and was enjoying it greatly. There was the full breath of the open ocean without the hope-deferred feeling of the voyage to Liverpool, and the glimpses of the Provinces obtained afforded both variety and novelty. Returning, we left Halifax, Saturday, July 9th, at 4.30 P. M., expecting to make Boston early Monday morning. The sky was clear, but the wind had been blowing from the southeast for three days, and had raised a heavy sea. My state-room was on the upper deck, and I retired early. At 12.30 that night the ship struck. I was waked by the shock and by the horrible crunching noise, as the ship's bottom was torn on the rocks. I jumped up and pulled on my clothes with difficulty, as the ship rolled fearfully, and it was dark. On deck men were rushing about in a crazy way; women were crying and wringing their hands. Few were dressed. We all expected to go down in a moment. Soon, however, the captain obtained control, and we went to work clearing the life-boats. In launching the second boat, Captain Crowell was thrown against some iron work, and severely injured - three ribs broken, it was afterward reported -but he kept at his post. Two frightened men climbed into a boat before it had been lowered, and the women safely placed. The tackle stuck in the block. " Cut the rope ! " ordered the Captain. A sailor whipped out his knife, and one end of the boat dropped from the davits. The two men were pitched into the sea, but hauled out considerably cooled. Many of the passengers clung to their boxes and bags, while yet they despaired of their lives. Many tied life-preservers about their hips, or arranged as though their greatest danger might be in getting their feet wet. One man, his feet bare, tightly held a blacking-brush. In half an hour the six life-boats were launched, manned, and the fifty or more women and children lowered into them. Then they put off in charge of the first officer, and disappeared in the fog and darkness. One returned for blankets, as the women were unprotected, and the night was cold. We tore the blankets from the beds in the state-rooms, still above water, and flung them into the life-boat. After that we huddled together on the leeward side of the ship, and waited for daylight. We had struck on Little Hope Island, how cheerless the name sounded, alongside an old wreck, four miles off the rocky Nova Scotia coast. The tide was going down,-" Thank God for that," the captain said,- and the ship was full length on the rocks. Through the low fog we could see the island light, and we sent up rockets at intervals. One of the men managed to get some cake and pie, and we ate our Sunday morning meal. Daylight at last! A heavy sea was running, but the island was near, and there were two life-rafts on board. Second Officer Cutting, Asst. Purser Basford, and Asst. Engineer Rogers took a line, and on one of the life-rafts started for the shore. The breakers caught the raft and dashed it on the rocks, but the men scrambled up and made the line fast to a bowlder. Then, by means of the rope and the remaining life-raft, the men were taken, five or six at a time, from the steamer to the island, and were safe. Food, the ship's instruments, and as much of the baggage as possible, were taken from the ship, and then the Captain left her. Two days afterward the Merrimack broke, and was a total wreck. A small lighthouse occupies the greater part of the surface of Little Hope. The keeper was away, but the assistant, Michael Cunningham, did all in his power to make us comfortable. There was drunkenness and brawling, little food and shelter, however, and we wanted to send word to the dear ones at home. One of the life-boats came to help us off, but was stove in on the rocks. From her men we learned that the women had been safely landed at Catherine's River. A fishing schooner lay to and sent her dory to our assistance. The fishermen took two passengers, and by skillful pulling managed to get them to another of the life-boats lying outside the breakers. They returned and took two more. We stood on the slippery rocks around the boat; the men seated in her waited until a wave broke and the water surged around us, and then gave her a mighty shove. She slid down the retreating current. The next big wave met her. She balanced, trembling, on its curling crest. The men plied the oars. A moment more and she was safe; but it was dangerous business, and the fishermen did not come back again. Another schooner sent a dory, and three more of us were put into the life-boats. We were the last to get off that day. One man was a prisoner on the Island over the day that was to have been his wedding day. The brave waterman put back to try again, but a breaker overturned his light boat, and he was swept into the sea before us all. He caught on a point of rocks; those near rushed out and pulled him dripping from the waves. There was now nothing to be done but to pull for the shore. We landed at Catherine's River. The women had been cutting skirts from the blankets, and the fishermen had given them food and shelter. I saw there was nothing helpful I could do, and would but make another mouth to fill, so set out for the nearest place where I could telegraph. Most of my money I had given to the lighthouse keeper and boatmen. It was 90 miles to the nearest railroad, I25 miles to Halifax. The region was desolate, but there were scattering fishing hamlets along the shore, and toward nightfall I overtook two men whom I recognized as fellow-voyagers, and joined forces with them. The people along the road were kind and hospitable, gave us supper, and furnished us with teams. We reached Liverpool that night, and by driving all the next day rolled into Halifax in a drizzling rain at half past four the following morning. At Halifax the steamship company furnished us with means to get to Boston, and we reached home safe and sound,- but the Merrimack was no more. Guy Kirkham
From journal of Franklin Smith of Beech Hill: April 19, 1906 - Little Hope Light burnt down to the ground. Jason (?) Payzant had charge of the light. Charles Inness was on the island alone at the time of the fire.
There was No Hope for Little Hope...Storms destroy lighthouse Story by Jeremy D'Entremont in Lighthouse Digest