Daily Archives: May 24, 2010

U. S. Lifesaving Service Wreck Reports and Payroll Records

There is a new finding aid on the Outer Banks History Center website:

U. S. Lifesaving Service Wreck Reports and Payroll Records, 1892 – 1929
The United States Lifesaving Service (USLSS) was created by the United States Government in 1872 in order to protect lives and shipping interests along the coast. In 1874, the first lifesaving stations were built along the North Carolina coast. These stations housed a staff that consisted of a keeper and crew of six, manning the stations during the active storm season from December to March. After the wrecks of the Huron, with 103 lives lost, and the Metropolis, with 85 lives lost, both off the Outer Banks, the Lifesaving Service added an additional eleven stations to the North Carolina coast. They also extended the station’s season to September 1-May 1 and then from August 1-May 31. By the time the U.S. Lifesaving Service merged with the U.S. Revenue Cutter Service to form the U. S. Coast Guard in January 1915, North Carolina was home to 29 stations. Among these was the Pea Island Lifesaving Station, which housed the nation’s only all black crew. This collection contains wreck reports, payroll records, abstracts of disbursements, books, journals, leases, letters of application and recommendations, livestock forage bills, contracts, requisitions for repairs, telegrams, and correspondence of the United States Lifesaving Service. The majority of these papers relate to the stations along the North Carolina coast, however, there are wreck reports for selected stations in Virginia, South Carolina, and Florida. (15.09 cubic feet)