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Rehoboth keeper saved sailors, souls all year long

by DrewLUD
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“The keeper commands the crew of six surfmen,” James H. Merryman, chief inspector of the Life-Saving Service, wrote in 1880. 

“Drawing their first breath within sound of the surf, they pass through childhood viewing the sea in all its moods. In early youth they make their first essay in the breakers and from that on to manhood advance from the least important oar through gradations, until the most skillful reach the command of the boat.”

Such a man was Thomas J. Truxton. According to the Wilmington Delaware Gazette and State Journal, Truxton “followed the water since boyhood and was well-known as a pilot. For years he had been the captain of the life-saving station at Rehoboth.”

In March 1888, a blizzard trapped several dozen vessels behind the Delaware Breakwater, and Keeper Truxton led the crew of the Rehoboth Beach Station on a grueling march across six miles of storm-swept beach to reach the scene of the disaster.

The Indian River Life-Saving Station.

Truxton’s surfmen were joined by the crew of the Lewes station to rescue sailors aboard a three-masted schooner stranded 600 yards from the beach.

After a great deal of difficulty, Truxton was able to maneuver a small rescue boat across the ice to within 50 feet of the schooner. At this point, the ice was thinner, and Truxton laid two oars on the ice to support his weight as he crawled slowly toward the stranded schooner.



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Source: GANNETT Syndication Service