20 Heroic Facts About Ida Lewis, Lighthouse Keeper

Posted by , Updated on March 25, 2024

Presenting a motivational compilation: 20 Facts About Ida Lewis: The Most Courageous Lighthouse Keeper in History. If you are interested in tales of bravery, your mind might wander to knights and dragons and a rugged hero rescuing the damsel in distress.

While these stories are definitely exciting, we are actually talking about a real-life hero. Ida Lewis was a lighthouse keeper who was responsible for saving the lives of many people.

Lewis was admired for her strength and her selflessness. She was featured in many magazines, and also managed to meet the president.

The brave lighthouse keeper was a role model for many women, as well as men. Even today she is still remembered for her feats.

So, without further ado, here are 20 Facts About Ida Lewis: History’s Most Heroic Lighthouse Keeper!


She inherited the lighthouse duty from her father


Ida Lewis was put in charge of the lighthouse after her father, Captain Hosea Lewis suffered a stroke and could no longer perform his duties.


She was a caregiver and a lighthouse keeper


Not only did Ida Lewis along with her mother tend to their lighthouse work. They also helped nurse her sick father.


She made her first rescue at 12


Ida Lewis performed her very first rescue at only 12. She saved the lives of four boys when their boat capsized.


She saved the lives of animals


When Ida Lewis saved the lives of two sheep owners, she also saved the life of the sheep they had with them.


Her brave rescues went unnoticed


Ida Lewis performed some impressive feats while being a lighthouse keeper. Yet her bravery went unnoticed until 1869.


She earned medals for her heroism


After she gained notoriety for saving the lives of two soldiers and a teenager, Ida Lewis was awarded a silver medal from The Life Saving Benevolent Association of New York.

She also was given a Gold Lifesaving Medal from the United States government.


She saved her uncle's life


In the span of her career, Ida Lewis saved a total of 18 people. One of those people was her own uncle who went overboard when he was returning from a fishing trip.


She was one of the highest paid lighthouse keepers


Ida Lewis earned a total of $750.00 per year for her heroism. Needless to say, $750.00 was a lot of money back then.


She was given a "special pension."


Ida Lewis was given $30.00 a month from the Carnegie Hero Fund for her valiant efforts.


The president visited her


Ms. Lewis feats of bravery caught the attention of President Grant and his V.P Schuyler Colfax. They paid her a visit in 1869.


She helped take care of her younger siblings


Due to the fact that her father was sick and her mother was the one actually in charge of the lighthouse, Ida used to take her siblings to school every day in a rowboat.


She was a fantastic swimmer

Shot of a male swimmer doing the butterfly stroke toward the camerahttps://allthatsinteresting.com/ida-lewis

Lewis also saved many people from drowning in the cold ocean. Naturally, she was considered one of the best swimmers in her area.




She had some critics of her bravery


Yes, even heroines deal with sexism. Ida Lewis had some people criticize her feats, calling it un-ladylike.

Lewis chimed back at these critics saying, “None-but a donkey would consider it ‘un-feminine’, to save lives.”


She also had many admirers


Lewis’ bravery earned her many admirers who gave her gifts, money, and even proposals of marriage!


She was a very humble person

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Ida Lewis saved many people and had many admirers. However, despite all this, she was never one to “brush her shoulder off.:”


She did in fact get married despite her un-ladyness


She married Captain William Wilson in 1870. Sadly, the marriage only lasted for two years before they separated.


She had some music named after her


Some of these pieces of music included the Ida Lewis Waltz and the Rescue Polka Mazurka.


The Lighthouse she tended to was renamed after her


Lewis Rock Lighthouse was originally called Lime Rock Lighthouse.


There is a road named after her in Arlington National Cemetary


Lewis was the first woman to have a road named after her. She received this honor in 2018, 107 years after her death.


She performed her last rescue at 63


At 63, she saved a group of women lost at sea. Ida passed away from a stroke shortly after. She is still remembered today for her bravery and selflessness.

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