Each month, Down East editors select our favorite responses to “Where in Maine?” Here are our favorite letters from February’s photo of Wood Island Lighthouse.
If the granite walls of Wood Island Lighthouse could talk, they would speak of the heroism of the many keepers who occupied its residence. They would sing of “Uncle” Eben Emerson, who braved fog, sea, and storm to rescue the crew from the wrecked brig Edyth Ann in 1865. They would tell of Albert Norwood’s rescue of a young sailor, plucked from the frigid waters of Saco Bay as he clung to his overturned boat in 1877. They would tell of Thomas Orcutt, keeper from 1886 to 1905. When the schooner Cora van Gilder was grounded near Wood Island in 1887, and after others abandoned their rescue upon learning that the captain’s wife had smallpox, Orcutt and his family brought the woman into their home and nursed her back to health. Those walls would want to celebrate the heroism of the men and women who, as keepers, dedicated a period of their lives to maintaining a brightly lighted passage to a safe harbor.
— Richard Parsons, Saco, Maine
My great-grandfather, Captain Thomas Henry Orcutt, was the keeper of Wood Island Lighthouse, at the mouth of the Saco River, less than a mile from the village of Biddeford Pool.