Schooling on the Sisters Lighthouse c. 1927

Schooling on the Sisters Lighthouse c. 1927

This story is not only about schooling! This is the whole family helping out to run the lighthouse while tending to daily living. Life on the lighthouse in the early days was anything but fun! – retlkpr


– Elizabeth Kate (Stannard) Smithman (Wife of Henry Herbert Smithman who was Senior Keeper at Sisters Island 1927 – 1929)

Sisters Island

Children get their schooling by correspondence courses and lessons are supposed to be sent to Victoria every month if its possible. The parents have to be the teacher. I took on that job for we had to have a plan so all of us could get a certain amount of sleep.

We would work it like this: Bert would go to bed right after supper after he lit the light. I would call him about 2:30 or 3:00 a.m. and he would get up and watch from then ’till the light could be put out at daylight.

I would go to bed when he got up at 2:30 or 3:00 a.m. and at about 9:30 or 10:00 a.m. he would call me by bringing my breakfast. Bert got it, then we would start schooling and stay at it ’till about 4:00 p.m.

Lots of time though the boys would stay up and give me a change off and then of course they would have to study in the evening. Then too the boys often had to stay in the fog alarm building and keep the engine running if it was a long run of fog or smoke so that Bert could get some sleep. Teddie could run those engines as good as his daddy could. What a boy!


If you wish to read more about her life on the lighthouses in her own words,
please go to: Life on a Lighthouse

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Retired (2001) British Columbia lighthouse keeper after 32 years on the lights.

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