United States Coast Guard - 200th Anniversary


Ida Lewis, keeper of the Lime Rock Lighthouse, rescues two men on March 29, 1869.

Idawalley Zorada Lewis, known as Ida, was one of a number of women lighthouse keepers in the Lighthouse Service. Women first become light keepers during the very early days of the republic when George Washington took a direct interest in appointing lighthouse keepers. Many positions went to Revolutionary War veterans, a number of whom had been wounded in service to the nation. Some of these individuals became incapacitated and their wives and children assumed the duty of tending the light. When Hosea Lewis, keeper of the Lime Rock Lighthouse, was stricken with a stroke only four months after his appointment, his daughter took over the responsibility of tending the light. She did not receive an official appointment until 1872 when her father died, but beginning at the age of sixteen, Ida took care of her father and the lighthouse.

Ida, who was the oldest of four children, also had the job of rowing her brothers and sisters to the mainland so that they could attend school. As a result of this chore, she developed into a very skilled boat handler. Her ability was quickly put to the test. She cue at the age of only 15, during her first year at th single-handedly rescued four young men who tippe( the rough water and were clinging to their overturne(

Several other rescues quickly followed. As Ida's became almost a public figure. She was featured Harper's Weekly magazine in 1869 and received r and awards. There was an Ida Lewis day proclaime scarfs like hers, and girls wore their hair "Ida Lewis received a visit at the lighthouse from President Uly: served as keeper of Lime Rock Lighthouse for thin was credited with saving eighteen lives but may ha' as twenty-four. Her last recorded rescue occurred wi five years old when Ida pulled a drowning woman Four years later, Ida died of a stroke. After her dea Lighthouse was renamed the Ida Lewis Lighthouse honor afforded a keeper.

Artist: John Witt

John Witt was born in wilmington, Delaware in 1940. He graduated with a SFA degree in 1962 from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. Twice commissioned by the U. civilian artist in Vietnam during 1968 and 1969, his works are also included in the US. Air Force, Army Navy and Coast Guard art collections. His art has heen on exhibitior Institute. Society of Illustrators, Museum of American Illustrators and other museums. He is also included in the permanent collection of the New Britain Museum of American trator and teacher Mr Witt served three terms as President of The Society of Illustrators and is Vice President, Group Creative Director of a major pharmaceutical advertising agency in New York.