Saturday, July 24, 2010


Everyone wants to leave some sort of legacy in this world my family left a huge one and hopefully it will continue to stand for many years to come. We may not have fame and fortune but we have roots in this community that have stood the test of time and elements for over two centuries now.

The Historical Information was found at The New Point Comfort website and will appear in italics.
Looking down from the top.

In 1802 Elzy Burroughs (the brother of my GREAT GREAT GREAT GREAT Grandfather.. there I got that right.. SHEW.) had just completed building the Old Point Comfort lighthouse and was aware of the need to build another to the North. He acquired then sold 2 acres of land at New Point to the Federal Government with the understanding that he would be awarded the contract to build the lighthouse and keepers dwelling.

Burroughs was a stone mason by trade, and his proposal to build was submitted hand written without drafted plans or drawings, and based primarily from his experience of building the Old Point Light.
Looking up from the bottom

A final note at the end of the proposal- "I agree also to put down four stones for landmarks lettered U. S. to designate the boundaries of the public land, and to paint the lantern with three coats at my own cost without any additional charge," is a testament to his character and dedication to the project.
Don't ask how I got this shot you do NOT want to know.

With the appropriations of $150.00 dollars for the land and $8,500.00 for construction Burroughs set out in the spring of 1802 to build his second lighthouse.

Burroughs and his men persisted these and other unforeseen difficulties, and on January 17, 1805 the 63 foot Lighthouse was completed and lit. The first lantern was an octagon shaped cylinder 6 1/2 feet in diameter and stood 8 feet tall. Within its light chamber were a series of lamps suspended by adjustable iron chains. Each lamp was powered by burning fish, sperm whale, or lard oil. The illuminated beacon could be seen for up to 12 miles.

President Thomas Jefferson personally appointed Elzy Burroughs to be the first keeper of the light, and he remained there for ten more years. Since then many keepers have come and gone, some serving for many years while others could not endure even one. In 1854, James White lasted a mere 3 weeks until his appointment was revoked for reasons that are unknown.

Since the lighthouse was built, it has steadfastly withstood the relentless forces of the wind and waves. The sandy beaches on which it stands have not held up as well. In 1847, a succession of strong Nor'easters began to carve out an inlet in the beach near the lighthouse. By 1852 the tip of the peninsula was cut off by the sea and the lighthouse and dwelling now stood on a new island.

In August 23, 1933 a great storm descended over the Chesapeake Bay. By 9:00 am. the sky at New Point darkened and torrents of rain began to fall. When the fury had passed the larger island had been torn from the lighthouse. 24 days later on September 16, another mighty tempest passed just offshore the Virginia Coast. New Point Comfort was again pummeled by the raging seas. Winds rose to 87 mph at Cape Henry, and tides reached 8.3 feet above mean low water. The combined force of the two storms dramatically transformed the New Point Comfort beach. Two islands now lay at the end of the peninsula. Heavy damage was seen with this storm in Virginia. The lighthouse sustained severe damage to its foundation and tower. Repairs were soon made and it continued in operation.

The erosion of the sandstone

My absolute FAVORITE shot of the day.. I like odd angles.


  1. Wow, what a sweet legacy...the lighthouse and your documentation of it connected to family history. I haven't a clue about my ancestry beyond great grandparents. Great pix 2!!!

  2. Beautiful post. Beautiful. Bavon's special treasures.

  3. Thank you so much for this. I grew up in Mathews but always admired the lighthouse from afar. I always imagined what it looked like inside and now I know! Thanks again!!!!!!!

  4. Excellent. You should sell some of these lighthouse shots at Market Days - they'd go like hotcakes, particularly if you added a blurb on the back or somewhere on the photo matte that you are kin to the builder. There are lots of photos of the lighthouse, but there are none for sale by someone kin to the person who built it. (That I know of, anyway.)

  5. Agree with CBW. A heritage is a wonderful thing. Yours is fascinating!

  6. Also agree with CBW ... and I thoroughly enjoyed the history, I love history ..

  7. Love the history. Such great photos, A.M. Cool angles. But you're wrong: I DO wanna know how you got that shot.