Story of Destruction Island lighthouse keeper lures writers

PORT TOWNSEND — The image of May Macleod Pitt and her family working as isolated lighthouse keepers on Destruction Island captivated them.

So Glynda Peterson Schaad and Gary Peterson began researching Pitt’s life. Then, Pitt’s granddaughter showed them her grandmother’s poetry, and the research took an artistic turn.

Schaad will present “The Art and Poetry of Mary Macleod Pitt” for the Jefferson County Historical Society’s First Friday lecture at 7 tonight in historic City Hall, 540 Water St. A $5 donation is suggested.

May Macleod Pitt, her husband and children were lighthouse keepers on Destruction Island in the early 1900s.

Schaad and Peterson have written about other historic Olympic Peninsula women, including their grandmother Minnie Peterson, who was a well-known West End guide, outfitter and packer who led trips into the high Olympic Wilderness.

Describing her connection to the Olympic Peninsula, Schaad said, “Obviously, the roots are deep. I’m a fifth-generation descendent of Washington Territory. My dad, Oscar, and my mom, Wilma, are 95 and 92, respectively, and still live on the family farm in Forks.”

Peterson lives on Minnie Peterson’s former homestead.

Pitt’s story will be included in the pair’s next volume of “Women to Reckon With,” which was published originally in 2007.

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