From Memorial Day through Labor Day, we saw more than 1800 visitors stop by Rose Island as part of the Jamestown and Newport Ferry’s daily Narragansett to Newport transport schedule.
In July, our tour guide, Joan Quinn, was pleasantly surprised by a visit from Robert Chase and great granddaughter Eve Chase, both from Connecticut. Robert Chase is the son of Wanton Chase whose grandparents were Charles and Christina Curtis, early light-keepers
L to R Joan Quinn, Robert Chase, Eve Chase
of the Rose Light during the years 1889 – 1918. Robert regaled Joan and Eve Chase with stories about his father, Wanton’s, life at the Lighthouse and his many adventures. His father, Wanton, had told him that during World War l, the children needed special passes to visit their grandparents and had to be escorted by the Navy to the lighthouse. Security was tight, and the children were not allowed to leave the lighthouse compound. However, one time, young Wanton wandered from the compound to a fort he had constructed to play in. He recalled, “just as it was getting dark, I was up in my fort and the Marine on patrol walked below me. As I jumped up, I shouted, Hands Up! Well, quick as a flash he turned and pointed his gun at me ready to fire. What a dressing-down he gave me! Believe me, I was scared, and I think he was too!” Life was never dull at the lighthouse in those long ago days!
Also in the summer of 2018 another member of the family, Charles Curtis, grandson of Mabel Chase Curtis (Mabel and Wanton were brother and sister) stopped by Rose Island and were also met by Joan.
L to R Joan Quinn, Charles Curtis
Charles Curtis spoke of the many lifesaving awards his great grandfather received and that his grandmother’s most effective tool was a straight razor, which she used to remove fishhooks from fingers and toes. Both Robert and Charles said their parents always remarked that their childhood times on Rose Island Lighthouse were their happiest.
Joan was happy to report that both families raved about the wonderful condition of the lighthouse and how well-kept the grounds were.
Grandchildren of Charles and Christina Curtis circa 1914 on the rocks of Rose Island.
Left to Right Mabel, Norman, Wanton and Christina.