A Keeper’s Grandson
“I'm John Roberts. My grandfather and great grandfather were keepers of this lighthouse. My great grandfather came up from Dry Tortugas Lighthouse near Key West in 1892 and my grandmother, one of his daughters, was born the next year right here in the lighthouse in 1893.
Later on, J.Y. Gresham met my great grandfather's and great grandmother's daughter, Lela Fine. They were married in the lighthouse in 1909. She was sixteen and he was twenty. He came here from Cape San Blas lighthouse, where he was the assistant keeper, in 1918 and stayed until 1949. That's 31 years - longer than any other keeper.”
John visited his grandparents at the lighthouse often when he was a boy. He has memories of the lighthouse during that time, and he listened to the stories his grandparents would tell.
Many of the things he remembers from his childhood are contained in a book, Keepers of the Light, written by John's sister, Myrna Roberts Kanekkeberg with John’s help. It’s available in the Nature Store.
Today John lives in Tallahassee and frequently leads tours of the lighthouse. These are just a few of his best stories, as told by him in August of 2019. You can hear these stories and many more like them when you take a tour of the lighthouse.
The Three St. Marks Lighthouse Towers
The Live Oak Tree
The Lighthouse Steps
Greek Sponge Divers - part 1
Greek Sponge Divers - part 2
Granddaddy Saves a Life
There are more stories and much to see when you visit the lighthouse in person.