Compiled by Geoffrey K. Fleming
If you use this material, please give credit to the Southold Historical Society. Thank you!
WILLIAM SINCLAIR (1789-a.1868)
First lighthouse keeper of the Horton Point Lighthouse, served from 1857 until 1861. Born in Scotland, he came to America c. 1819 and served upon a ship that traveled regularly to China. In 1857 he arrived in Southold to oversee the construction of the new lighthouse at Horton Point. Approximately 90,000 bricks were landed in May of that year to begin construction and on June 9th the cornerstone was laid. The lighthouse was completed and the light was first lit in mid October of 1857. The total cost was $12,212 including labor and materials. For the next several years Sinclair lived in the lighthouse with his daughters and the assistant lighthouse keeper George B. Booth (1836-1890). After his term in Southold Sinclair worked in the Navy Yards of Brooklyn, New York. In 1868 he asked for admission to the Marine Society due to “age and infirmity.” He died at the Sailors' Snug Harbor on Staten Island. Opened in 1833, the Harbor was the first maritime home and hospital for retired seamen in the United States. Sinclair was the husband of “China” Booth. The Southold Historical Society holds a copy of his ledger which contains notes on the construction of HPLH.
ALBERT J. TILLINGHAST (1834-1904)
Second keeper, served from 1861-1866. At one time he owned the land where the lighthouse would eventually be built, later selling it to Hannah and Charles Payne. After his work as keeper, he continued to live in Southold where he made a living as a farmer. He is buried in the Presbyterian Church Cemetery, Southold.
BARNABAS PIKE (1805-1876)
Third keeper. Served from 1866-1869. Prior to service he was a merchant that lived in Mattituck with his wife Sarah. He returned to Mattituck after his service and had a farm there. At one time he lived in the home of his uncle, Amasa, on Pike Street. He died in August of 1876 and is buried in the Mattituck Cemetery.
THERON W. SQUIRES (1840-1904)
Fourth keeper, served from 1869-1871. Born at Good Ground (now Hampton Bays) Long Island. Married Mary Moore, daughter of Erastus Moore, of Southold in 1863. Served in the U.S. Navy during the Civil War where he was the paymaster on board the USS Houghton. The Houghton was a bark that was built in 1852 and purchased by the Navy in 1861. She was commissioned in 1862 and saw service in the West Gulf Blockading Squadron and was de-commissioned at the conclusion of the war in 1865 and sold at public auction. Squires' later career included work as a mate aboard the schooner “H. P. Horen” and “Lorinia Bule.” He removed to Bridgehampton where he died in 1904 and is buried at the Old Cemetery next to the Presbyterian Church.
CAPT. DANIEL GOLDSMITH (1804-1884)
Fifth keeper. Served 1871-1877. There is a real question as to which Daniel Goldsmith this is as there were several living within Southold Town during the 1870-1880 period. The most likely candidate is Daniel Goldsmith (1804-1884), son of Jeremiah Goldsmith. Daniel was a retired sea captain and mariner at the time of his appointment. He later lived in Cutchogue and died in New Suffolk, Long Island in 1884.
GEORGE STAYLEY PRINCE (1842-1922)
Sixth keeper. Served from 1877-1896. Born in Southold, married there in 1866 to Caroline E. Merrill. Served in the Sixth U.S. Cavalry during the Civil War (1861-1865), and saw “distinguished service.” Worked as a carpenter after the war until 1870 when President Ulysses S. Grant appointed him assistant keeper at Horton Point in honor of his service during the Civil War. He replaced Daniel Goldsmith as keeper in 1877. He retired in September of 1896 and returned to his home on Mechanic Street, Southold where he died in 1922. He is buried in Willow Hill Cemetery, Southold.
CAPT. ROBERT E. EBBITTS (1843-1926)
Seventh and ninth keeper, served 1896-1903, 1904-1919. He joined Company H of the 127th Infantry Regiment of New York during the Civil War (1861-1865), and saw “distinguished service.” Prior to serving in the USLHS Ebbitts was a farmer living in Orient, Long Island. He later served as assistant keeper of Plum Island (1892-1893) and keeper at Cedar Island Lighthouse (1893-1896) before arriving at Horton Point. He was injured at Horton Point on May 9th, 1903 in a fall from an “old extension ladder as he tried to reach the light without using the stairs he had painted earlier.” Ebbitts was severely injured and relieved of his duties. He was temporarily replaced by Stella Prince. Ebbitts returned to his post in 1904 and served until 1919. He died in 1926 and is buried in the Presbyterian Church Cemetery, Southold.
STELLA MARIA PRINCE (1867-1928)
Eighth keeper, served 1903-1904. Helper to keeper Ebbitts 1896-1903, acting assistant keeper 1903-1904. Replaced Ebbitts after his fall. She was the daughter of George S. Prince, the former keeper, and remained on to work as Mr. Ebbitts helper when he assumed his post in 1896. Resigned late in 1904 and married seaman George Herbert Terry (1854-1935) of Orient the same year. She is buried in Willow Hill Cemetery, Southold.
GEORGE EHRHARDT (1870-a.1938)
Tenth keeper, served 1919-1933. Lived with wife Mathilda and children at Horton Point. George also served as the keeper of three other lighthouses; first as keeper at Plum Beach, Rhode Island (1904) and then at Plum Island, New York (1911), and finally at the Ponquogue (Shinnecock) Lighthouse in Hampton Bays (dates uncertain – though this position coincided with his service at Horton Point). In June of 1933 the light at Horton Point was deactivated and replaced by a new light tower. The property was purchased in 1934 by the Southold Park District for use as a park. Ehrhardt lived at the light until September of 1938.