Newspaper Article from the Past…
This is one of the more dramatic accounts in the history of Maine’s Pemaquid Point Lighthouse. In 1930, Keeper Elwell risked his own personal safety to come to the aid of three teenagers whose boat had capsized off the light station. Anyone who has visited Pemaquid Point Lighthouse knows all too well how powerful the sea rolls in at this site, so it’s no wonder the keeper was unable to land his skiff after rescuing the youths. The incident also exemplifies how teamwork is often times essential to bringing about a happy ending to rescue stories.
Newspaper article from: Springfield Republican, October 15, 1930
Lighthouse Keeper Praised by Chief…Pemaquid Point Man Commended for Rescue of Three Local Persons from Drowning in Sea
“Washington, Oct. 11 – Leroy S. Elwell, keeper of the Pemaquid Point Lighthouse, today received the commendation of the Secretary of Commerce for the rescue from drowning off Pemaquid, Me., August 7 of three Springfield (Mass.) high school pupils.
The rescued were Chester T. Neal, Jr., son of Chester T. Neal, of the law firm Chapin & Neal, his 15-year-old sister, Barbara, and Miss Betty Carlton, 18.
In announcing this honor, the lighthouse service of the federal department of commerce, explains that only outstanding acts of bravery receive this particular form of commendation.
Keeper Elwell launched a light skiff in a squall, which had the catboat in which the young persons were sailing, and when he reached them, found them almost exhausted from their efforts to keep afloat in the heavy seas, although they are all good swimmers.
The Neals had been spending the season at their summer home at Round Pond, and Miss Carlton had been visiting them for the day. The younger Neals were returning with her to Pemaquid Point, where she was a guest at the summer home of Dr. James B. Comins, when the accident happened.
The sea was choppy and rough. When a squall, fiercer than others which had preceded it, struck the catboat, it overturned and sunk.
When Elwell, after repeated attempts reached the weary trio and helped them into the skiff, the heavy sea made landing impossible. Calls for aid brought W.J. Burnside of Pemaquid and also a boat sent by Capt. Thomas Brackett of New Harbor.”