Narragansett Bay: A Friend's Perspective
Ida Lewis
Ida Lewis

Ida Lewis, a nationally acclaimed heroine, was born in 1842 in Newport. She was christened Idawiley Zoradta, but was always called Ida. The family moved to Lime Rock when her father, Captain Hosea Lewis, became keeper of the lighthouse. After he suffered a stroke, she herself carried out the duties of lighthouse keeper. She did not continue her schooling after leaving Newport, but she rowed her younger sister and brother every day to school. It was during these trips in her boat that Ida rushed to the aid of, in all, 16 people who were marooned on rocks or were drowning. There were seven reported rescues, from a drunken soldier whose skiff had overturned to three sheepherders who had jumped from shore in Newport to save a prize sheep. (After depositing the three men on shore, she came back for the sheep. Which she towed in.) In 1879, after 20 years of tending the lighthouse, and years after she had become famous for her bravery, the federal government belatedly made her official keeper of the light. She died in 1911. From the Newport Historical Society.



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