Chapter 7: Lighthouses and their Keepers

Lighthouses and their Keepers

Cape d’Or Lighthouse

In 1874 a steam fog whistle was placed in operation on Cape d’Or. The whistle’s operation was to give a blast for six seconds, then an interval of 24 seconds of silence, then repeat the operation. On calm weather and with the wind the fog alarm was expected to extend 20 miles. This distance could be reduced to five to eight miles during stormy weather.

A tramway was constructed from the water’s edge up over the rocks to the coal shed. From the picture here one can see that this was not an ideal situation. The tramway would have been installed from the water’s edge, shown to the left of the fog whistle. In 1877 the tramway was destroyed by a storm. George Knowlton Morris sold a piece of land, that had a coal shed on it, at Horseshoe Cove and a right of way from there to the Cape d’Or fog whistle, in 1880 to the Minister of Marine and Fisheries, Charles H. Tupper (Note 1).

James Gilbert sold 15 acres of land in 1891, at the end of Cape d’Or, to the Minister of Marine and Fisheries and a right of way on the road between Horseshoe Cove and the fog whistle (Notes 2,3). This latter move allowed them to increase the collection of fresh water which was needed for the steam fog whistle and household use.

The first light was installed in 1922. A 6.7-metre tall, pepper-shaker tower was moved from Eatonvile, where it had been erected in 1908. The tower was located near the steam fog whistle building and continued to display a fifth-order light.

The present lighthouse is a one- story signal building with a light tower rising from one corner. It was built in 1965. The lighthouse was automated in 1989. The two keeper’s dwellings built in 1959 were leased by the Advocate District Development Association from the County of Cumberland in 1995 and converted into a tearoom and hostel.


  • 1874-77: John E. Short, wife Jane Crowell
  • 1877-87: Allen H. Rand, wife Elizabeth
  • 1887-98: James C. Kirkpatrick, wife Mary Elderkin
  • 1898-1913: Fred H.P. Dewis, wife Mary Knowlton
  • 1913-17 Daniel P. MacAleese, wife Alexia Ward
  • 1917-19: Malcome McLeod, wife Mary Wood
  • 1939-58 Vance Frederick Barteaux, wife Sinar Gallagher
  • 1958-81 Phil Morris, wife Maie Barkhouse
  • 1981-85: Lawrence Morris
  • 1985-89: Ernie Morris

Isle Haute Lighthouse

Captain Nelson Card was appointed as lighthouse keeper at Isle Haute at $440.00 a year, on November 12, 1877. His salary would not start until the light was in operation. The lighthouse was built in 1878 and the light was operating in 1879. Captain Card constructed a mile-long road from the beach to the lighthouse, allowing supplies to be hauled up to the station.

The Province of Nova Scotia transferred control of Isle Haute to the Federal Government (Marine and Fisheries Department) for the purpose of erecting and maintaining a lighthouse thereon and for other uses on December 31, 1881 (Note 4)

The light was a white intermittent caloptric light, 365 feet above sea level. It showed for 40 seconds in every minute, visible for 20 miles on a clear day. The lighthouse was burned down in 1956 and replaced with an automatic flashing white light mounted on a steel tower.

Several years ago the Canadian Coast Guard declared the island surplus and put it up for sale. People from both sides of the Bay of Fundy were not in favour of having Isle Haute sold. MP Bill Casey lobbied federal Environment Minister David Anderson to have it declared a nationally protected wilderness site. The island was transferred from the Coast Guard to the Environment Department in 2020. They propose to protect this island and its sensitive ecosystem as a National Wildlife Area.


  • 1879-89: Horatio Nelson Card, wife Grace Nix
  • 1889-1904: George Judson Reid, wife Dorcas Knowlton
  • 1904-41: Percy Everett Morris Knowlton, wife Catherine Brennan
  • 1941-46: Donald Kerr Morris, wife Viola Morris
  • 1946-56: John Melvin Fullerton, wife Alva Davis

The lighthouse keepers used signal fires to communicate across the Bay to Advocate. One fire meant all was well, two fires meant someone was sick, three fires meant a doctor was required, and four fires meant a death.

Photo: Wedding of Ida Card and Wesley Patterson on September 8, 1881 (Note 5).

Advocate Harbour Lighthouse

The first picture on the right comes from the cover of a book by Hattie (Allen) Perry, named Wartime Plane Landed in Advocate, Nova Scotia 1941. The text under the photo says, “Advocate Harbour at low tide with Cape d’Or in background” It is not Cape d’Or in the background, though, but Cape Chignecto. The lighthouse in the photo is that of the Advocate Lighthouse placed in operation in 1884 and located on the Spruce Island side on the harbour channel. The light was placed in operation on August 1, 1884. A sixth-order lens was used in the lantern room to produce a fixed red light from a height of 36 feet above high water. The light was visible for about seven miles. The tower had to be relocated twice during 1885 due to the shifting sand bar it was located on. In 1887 the lighthouse was moved across the channel to the Cape d’Or side. The light was placed in operation in its new location on April 1, 1888.

A dwelling was added to the lighthouse for the accommodation of keepers (Note 6). The light was extinguished during the winter months and placed back in operation in the spring. In 1921 the light was changed from fixed red to fixed white. Fire destroyed the lighthouse in 1964. A flashing red light mounted on a small tower at the mouth of the harbour replaced the lighthouse.

On December 31, 1891 the Minister of Marine and Fisheries for our Dominion of Canada requested that the Provincial Government transfer two sections of land to them for the purpose of maintaining a light theron. One section was that extending above the high water mark from the wharf road at West Advocate to the mouth of the harbour. The other was above the high water mark, along the sandbar from the end of Cape d’Or to the mouth of the harbour. This request was approved on July 4, 1892.


  • 1884-1904: George Stirling Livingstone, wife Ann Maria Newcomb
  • 1904-12: John Hibbert Morris, wife Rebecca Smith
  • 1912-18: Robert M. Morris, wife Jane Elliott
  • 1918-29: Roy Clinton Morris, wife Alice Canning
  • 1920-39: Vance Frederick Barteaux, wife Sinar Gallagher
  • 1939-58: Willard C. Morris, wife Gladys Vernon Lunn



1. PANS, R17675, Vol 11, P39, 1880
2. PANS, R17681, Vol 17, P15, 1891
3. PANS, R17680,Vol16, P125, 1890
4. Pans, R17690, Pi, 1881
5. “Ghost Islands of Nova Scotia”, p82, by Mike Parker
6. Advocate Harbour Lighthouse, Nova Scotia Canada @

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3 + 3 =

Chapter 1: In the Beginning
Chapter 2: Land Grants
Chapter 3: Early Settlers
Chapter 4: School Records
Chapter 5: Occupations
Chapter 6: Ships
Chapter 7: Lighthouses and their Keepers
Chapter 8: Churches of Advocate
Chapter 9: Burial Sites
Recollection I: Around the World in Sail
Recollection II: Sketch from Miles Collins
Full report (PDF)