Bodie Island Keepers: Oral and Family Histories

Bodie book

Cheryl Shelton-Roberts and Sandra MacLean Clunies have produced a unique book based on the genealogical research they did for the Bodie Island Keeper Descendants Reunion that took place at Bodie Island Light Station last October. Published by the Outer Banks Lighthouse Society, the book features short essays on the keepers with lots of photos of them and their families. The reunion attendees must have been delighted to learn so much about their ancestors. There may still be copies available for purchase through the Society.  Email Diana Chappell –diandmanda at — for more information.DSCN1123

Record Group 26 in the National Archives includes only a few sources for letters from keepers. You can sometimes find them as attachments to letters written by custom collectors and district inspectors and engineers to their superiors in Washington.  A few letters from keepers also survive in field records.  The letter pictured above is part of the “K Series letters” in Entry 3 (NC-63) “Records of Fifth Light-House District (Baltimore), 1851-1912.”  Keeper Gallop is writing his supervisor, the 5th district inspector. Note the inspector’s notation at the bottom left that he has written the U.S. Light-House Board.


  1. Cheryl says:

    Thank you, Candace, for posting this. It was fascinating gathering the family stories and Sandy did an outstanding job on the genealogy. But, oh my, what paperwork! It was worth it because the homecoming was memorable and all the families that attended were such fun. Please note that Diana’s email is We have copies available and all profit goes to the Outer Banks Lighthouse Society.

  2. Reblogged this on Lighthouse History and commented:

    May 2015 update – Cheryl Roberts has copies of BODIE ISLAND KEEPERS available for purchase. Contact her at

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