If you look across from Fairfield Beach toward Black Rock you will see the Fayerweather Lighthouse, built in 1808, located at the mouth of Black Rock Harbor on an island once part of Fairfield.
Katherine "Kate" Moore, spent 61 years at the Fayerweather Lighthouse. Her father, Steven Tomlinson Moore was commission in 1817 as the lighthouse keeper and was provided with a house close to the lighthouse
Because Kate's father had been hurt when a ox broke loose while he was unloading hay years earlier, Kate helped him trim the wicks each night when she was 12 year old. The light consisted of 8 oil lamps that used 4 gallons of oil each night, and was visible for 44 miles. By the time Kate was 14 year old she was doing the major part of the work because her father's disability was getting worse. We might not know her story if it hadn't been for a New York World reporter who interviewed her when she was 93 years old in 1888. She told him she kept a lantern hanging on her headboard at night in the house, "and my face turned so I could see the tower and know if the anything happened to it."
Catherine "Kate" Moore
If the light went out she would walk about 220 yards across two boards in all weather over several feet of water to get to the lighthouse.
This is the type of lamp that she undoubtedly had to relight if any of them blew out. She endured many many terrible storms that cause ships to founder or crash on the rocks. The nearly dead bodies would wash up on the shore. Over the years she saved 21 lives, but hundreds of bodies washed up. She told the reporter, "the worst part was keeping bodies until the government came to pick them up." The worst storm came on September 21 1821 and it wasn't until October of 1835 that a new lighthouse was built.
When asked if she ever got lonely, she said she had not time to be lonely. Over the years she also cared for 20 sheep that she sheared. Some she killed for meat. In the summer she raised vegetables. She also raised oysters and sold them at market. When poachers came she told the reporter that she would row out with a shotgun and yell, "I represent the United States Government and you got to go."
Her father died when he was 100, and Kate, then aged 69 was commissioned as lighthouse keeper for eight years, but only stayed on for four more years and left the island for good. She had been the unofficial unpaid lighthouse keeper for more than half a century, and the official one for four years. She retired to this house in Black Rock. She died in 1900.
In 2010, the Coast Guard decided that all the new Sentinel class cutters would be named after Coast Guard personnel who had been recognized for their heroism. Accordingly, Moore was one of those to be honored.
The tenth cutter in the class will be named the USCGC Kathleen Moore. Built \Bollinger Shipyards, she will be homeported inKey West, Florida.
History of Black Rock 1644-1955
Lighthouse Keeper Kate Moore - Fairfield Citizen-News, January 19, 1996 by Marcia Miner