Offered here is this original Key West Florida Lighthouse keeper instructions penned by Barbara Mabrity in 1848. The instructions are on a single piece of laid paper. When you hold the paper to a light source you can read the words "Michallet France" in the background (see pictures) which was the origina of the papermaker. The instructions are numbered 1 through 6 and it is signed at the bottom of the page by Mabrity and dated.
The document appears to be a rough draft with crossed out words, substituted words and section #6 appears to be crossed out. The paper has toned a bit (see pictures). We photographed it on top of a light box to see through the paper. The last few photographs in the listing are closest to the actual color of the paper. There is some bleeding of the black ink in places. The paper had been folded in 2 places at one time. There are a couple of short tears to the bottom right edge of the paper. There is a small dollop of sticky substance on the back of the paper that is hard to remove. Otherwise, a great piece of lighthouse history that will display well. This can be shipped by itself or we can include the modern black frame, with glass front, that houses the document. The document measures 10" x 8".
Barbara Mabrity was born in Florida after her father arrived from Italy and lived from 1782-1867. Her and her husband Michael became joint Key West lighthouse keepers in 1826. Michael dies 6 years later of yellow fever and Barbara continued on in his place. She continued her service through several hurricanes, Indian attacks to the settlement and eventually Civil War strife after Florida seceded from the Union. She retired in 1864 in her 80's.
Barabara Mabrity was very dilligent in her duties as a lighthouse keeper and these intructions are a testimony to that. Here are some highlights from each section;
Title of document reads "Instructions to the Keeper of the Key West Lighthouse".
From section #1 "You are to light the lamps every evening at sun (next word hard to make out) and keep them continually burning bright and clear till sun rising".
From section #2 "You are to be careful that the lamps and lanterns are constantly kept clean, and in order, and particularly to be careful that no lamps, wood or candles be left burning any where so as to endanger fire".
From section #3 "In order to maintain the greatest degree of light during the night, the wicks are to be trimmed every three hours, taking care that they are exactly even on the top. The flame must be maintained at its full height without endangering the glass."
From section #4 "You are to keep an exact account of the quantity of oil received from time to time; the number of gallons, quarts, gills, consumed during each quarter, and deliver a copy of the same to superintendant at the close of the respective quarter, on the 31st March, 30th June, 30th September and 31st December in each year with an account of the quantity on hand at the time".
From section #5 "You will treat with civility and attention such persons as may visit the light-house under your charge, and as may conduct themselves in an orderly manner.
From section #6 "You will not (abunt?) yourself from the light house at any time without first attaining consent of the superintendant unless the occasion be so sudden and urgent as not to admit an application to that officer which case by having a suitable substitute. You may be absent for the space of twenty four hours".
"Collecting Officer Barbara Mabrity 15th July 1848".
Wonderful historical document.