Join us for "Elizabeth Whitney Williams- Women of the Lighthouse" presented by Dianna Stampfler

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An in-depth look at the illuminating life of Elizabeth (Whitney) VanRiper Williams, Michigan’s most noted female lighthouse keeper. A teenage bride, she and her husband, Clement VanRiper, moved into the St. James Harbor Light at Whiskey Point (one of two lighthouses on Beaver Island) in 1869, and thus began her 44-year career as a tender of now historic beacons. When Clement died in a shipwreck rescue attempt, Elizabeth was appointed head keeper of her beloved light. She later remarried (Daniel Williams) and ultimately relocated to the new Little Traverse Lighthouse at Harbor Point in Harbor Springs, retiring in 1913. She and Daniel lived another 26 years in nearby Charlevoix, both passing away in January 1938 (within 24 hours of each other).