Many people do not realize that before Crisp Point had a lighthouse, a life saving station was built at Crisp Point in 1875. The station became operational in 1876 and was called Life Saving Station #10. It began its life under the command of Life Saving Station Keeper David Grimmond. In 1878, Christopher Crisp was appointed the new keeper of Station #10. In 1883, the naming of the life saving stations by a number was discontinued due to the ever increasing numbers of life saving stations being built throughout the nation by the US Life Saving Service and the constant renumbering of stations that had to be done. At this time, Station #10 became known as Crisp’s, after Christopher Crisp.
The life saving station keepers had to keep a journal of all the activities going on at each station. One might think that these journal entries would be very boring to read, and in many cases they are. However, we did find some journal entries that we found to be very interesting. On December 1, 1897, James Hunter assumed charge of the station at Crisp Point and in a little over a month, he had to deal with some life threatening issues as you will see below from the following journal entries. The journal entries were completed by Captain Hunter in pencil and were at times hard to read and decipher, so we did the best we could.
January 11, 1898
At 1:30 a.m. I was called over to Cooks House and was told that Surfman Keating was going to burn down his house, it being near the boathouse I went over to see him and found him heartily drunk he having everything piled on the floor it looked as though he intended to do it. I asked him what was the matter and he said he was going to burn down the house and shoot his wife he had drove her away the night before. I tried to reason with him for over two hours but could not. His wife came to the station at 4 p.m. and asked me to protect her and boy. I took them in the station and at 7:30 p.m. he came after her and came the back way with the gun and started to get her and she ran out of doors. I and my wife and Mrs. Cook held him at the door until his wife got away. No men being around at that time could not do nothing with him he patrolled with his gun in hand until 11:30 and then went back to his house. I kept watch all night – think he might set fire to some of the buildings. James Hunter, Keeper
January 12, 1898
Stood watch all night on account of Keating threatening to burn down his house. All quiet after 11 PM. Keating came over this morning and wanted the use of the telephone. I refused his request and told him to keep out of the station and from all public property. He told me that he would not come in the service next season. James Hunter, Keeper
January 13, 1898
Mrs. Keating returned home everything being quiet thanking me for assistance and shelter. James Hunter, Keeper
January 16, 1898
Mr. John Keating came over to the station and apologized for all he had said and done and was very sorry that any thing like that should have taken place and wished to be taken back into the service in the Spring. James Hunter, Keeper
Below are images of the journal entries completed by James Hunter:
For more information about James Hunter, please visit his page on our web site at http://www.crisppointlighthouse.org/hunter.html.