Duties of the lighthouse keeper and the life-saving service (LSS), after a shipwreck causes criticism.
Alcona, December 3rd, 1877.
Mr. Editor, of Alcona County Review:
Will you be kind enough to give the following space in your paper, as I deem it prudent to explain to some people why the Light House Keeper is, at times of wreck and other requirements, so very meddlesome, as it has been the cry of some who should be better informed or more reserved in their expressions toward such matters;
It is new in the minds of many along the shore of one instance where the schooner Monterey was driven on a reef near Black River, and her crew required assistance. Now if the keeper of Sturgeon Point Light did go to the wreck and try to assist or do all he could to relieve the said crew from the schooner Monterey, why I cannot see how he interfered with the Life Saving Station Keeper and his duty. But it is believed that he--L.S.S. Keeper--did not do much toward saving the crew from the wrecked Monterey--as, when he was found sitting by a warm stove, he said the crew were all right; that he saw them walking on board. He did not consider that the poor individuals, who comprised the crew on the schooner, had had nothing to eat since day before their wreck. When the L. S. S. Keeper was asked why he did not go out to the crew, he said he would go when the wind went down. He was asked for wagon and team to get a boat, by another party. He then replied he would "go with any five Americans," and repeated the same several times. Now, where is a man of any heart who would stay behind the door and look on at such behavior on the part of officers who are supposed to render assistance to the needy ones? Probably, if the L. S. S. Keeper had five American school teachers, blown up in a rubber suit, instead of "five Americans," he would, in his estimation, steer clear from the Black River piers and proceed to the wreck. If said L. S. S. Keeper would attend to the duties required from him, as well as he does unnecessaries--or take as much pains as he did to tell the crew of schr. Monterey not to go to the Light House, because they would or could not get anything to eat, as the keeper had no eatables, nor beds to rest them--he would be of much more service to the Government and those mariners needing his assistance. Now, if the L. S. S. Keeper was only aware, the Light House inmates have never applied to a poormaster, and reason tells every one they cannot live on air.
If keeper of L. S. S. was as good as the five foreigners, he would not require to go a short distance from the wreck and then back out and run on the piers of Black River.
But it will be enough to refer all readers to the duties laid down to Light Keepers, and then it will be seen why L. H. Keeper interferes in cases as above named:
INSTRUCTIONS TO KEEPERS OF LIGHT HOUSES.
"When a wreck takes place in the vicinity of a Light House, or Light Vessel, the Keeper, and others in employment of Government, must render promptly every assistance in their power to the crew and passengers. The principal Keeper must make a report of all wrecks according to the printed forms, by filling up the blank and stating all circumstances in detail relating to the cause of the wreck, assistance rendered to the crew and passengers, by the Keeper and others, &c., and dispatch it to the Inspector of the District, or to the nearest Collector of Customs acting as Superintendent of Light." Yours Respectfully,