History Visit Us Support Us Tours News & Events Teachers Kids
1835 Lighthouse     Keepers     Stephen Crane     Timeline     Design     NHL Study
Printer Friendly Version

Keeper John Belton Butler

Principal Keeper of Ponce de Leon Inlet Light Station August 20, 1926-July 2, 1937

Born 1871, Died 1948

Born in Charleston, South Carolina, on October 18, 1871, 27-year-old John Belton Butler joined the Light House Establishment in 1899, serving first on the lighthouse launch Snowdrop. Butler later served the Charleston, Cape Canaveral, and at Jupiter Light Stations. In 1902, Butler had married Mamie Wilhelmina Witzel, and they raised six children. In August, 1926, John B. Butler was promoted to Principal Keeper, Mosquito Inlet Light Station.

The Mosquito Inlet area was one going through dynamic change in the mid-1920's. Major construction was underway in the area, and on June 1, 1927, the name of Mosquito Inlet was officially changed to Ponce de Leon Inlet. Butler was often commended for his rescue of many small boats wrecked in the area. In October, 1927, two huge iron oil tanks were installed in the oil house.

In December, 1932, Butler and his family watched as President Herbert Hoover sailed past on the Sequoia. In 1933, the tower light was electrified and a revolving third-order lens replaced the old first-order lens. Keeper Butler took good care of the Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse for eleven years, but finally, in June, 1937, he retired from the Light House Service. He moved with his family to Hawthorne, Florida, where he lived until his death on November 5, 1948. He is buried in the cemetery at Melrose, Florida.