William Baker Lupton's History

His career in the U.S. Lighthouse Service and the The Coast Guard

Lightship Sailor 1908 - 1984

Submitted and Written by His Daughter, Cindy Baker Lupton


Baker was born in 1908 on Hogg Island, North Carolina. His father worked the channels of Lola as a fisherman. He worked a small boat called the Tuna 1 #11447 a 23 footer in the 5th District of the Coast Guard. Baker finished the 5th grade and went to work in 1920 for Capt. John Jarvis Day on his yacht. This didn?t work out apparently, and he literally jumped ship and swam home, cutting his feet to the degree of bleeding. After that he may have worked at either the Doane Factory in the Menhaden fishing industry or Dey?s Menhaden Fish Factory.

In 1922, his father died, and his mother tore the house down and moved it to Cedar Island. He later lived in Beaufort, North Carolina with his widowed mother and younger brothers and sisters. In 1923, Baker went to Virginia and worked on the James River for the Civil Service as a fireman. On Oct. 26, 1926, Baker finally made it for the job of Fireman on the tender, Good Ship Maple for the US Lighthouse Service out of Baltimore, MD. According to the records, he grossed $810.

The Maple was a tender which was built about 1898 and used in the Spanish American War in Cuba. The Maple I believe spent it?s whole life time after the war in the 5th U.L.S.H.S. district headquartered in Baltimore. At the time, Baker was on this vessel, she would have had 5 officers and 20 crew at most time. On July 27, 1926, Baker became an Oiler on the Maple and increased his income to $930. According to A H Brobmeier dated 12-03-1998, the Maple was built in 1893 by Cresent Shipyards & Iron Works (later known as the Lewis Nixon Co) at Elizabethport, NJ as Cresent Hull No.8. April 11, 1917 transferred to the Navy by the Lighthouse Service. 1 November 1918 place in service by the Navy. Assigned to the 5th Naval District, maple performed patrol duties off Norfolk, VA until 1 July 1919, returned to the Lighthouse Service by the Navy. 1929 Sold by the Lighthouse Service, and cut down into a cargo barge. 1936 registered as Nichols No. 6 for Nichols Bros., Norfolk, VA, by 1945 renamed McLain Caroline Lines, New York, thru 1948. 1949 Dismantled. The Maple was a single screw Steamship of 392 gross tons, 164 ft long 30 beam with a 7ft 3in draft with a compliment of 30 men.

From April 1929 thru April 1938, Baker worked on the Tender Speedwell out of Baltimore, MD as an Oiler for the Lighthouse Service. During this time, he married and started having a nice family. They lived in Norfolk, Virginia.

In August, 1939 Baker was assigned to the US Coast Guard Service as a Second Assistant Engineer (Light Engineer) on the Tender Violet out of Norfolk, VA. He also worked on the Speedwell WAGL 245. The Violet WAGL 250. Here, according to the records, Baker now grossed over $2000. In January of 1940, records show he worked now on the Winterquarters Shoal LS #107. I believe the Commanding Officer at the time was Samuel F Dowdy, Mate. Currently, this vessel has been gutted of it?s Captain?s Quarters and showers were installed as it?s being used at Liberty National Park in New Jersey as a marina office. It?s also known as WAL529.

In September 1943, Baker was promoted to Machinist having received his orders to proceed to USS Cambria for WWII. Later, Baker worked in the Korean War, and wound up in Boston Harbor in 1950. Further records show him in Cam Ranh Bay in 1951. In 1955 Baker retired from the Coast Guard as LTJG.

Years later show Baker shad fishing on the Neuse River in North Carolina, and Pogey fishing with his brother?s for Zapata off the Carmen, LA coastlines. In 1963 he retired from life as a fisherman and lived in Clearwater, FL where he died in 1984.



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