A truly bucolic setting
History tells us that Keepers at many lighthouses kept chickens and some kept a cow. In this 1905 postcard, the Nobska Lighthouse Keeper's cow appears to be doing the Keeper's work, surveying the ships passing the Lighthouse. A four-masted schooner headed east in the Sound would have been recorded in the log book that day.

Nobska was an easier Lighthouse to get livestock to than the offshore lights would have been. But cows were taken by lighthouse keepers, in small boats, even to far-flung Islands like Matinicus in Maine.

Can you imagine being in a small boat with a cow?

The Martha’s Vineyard Museum has collected a number of oral histories. One, excerpted below, is from Pat West who grew up in Falmouth and summered on Martha’s Vineyard. When he was a child, his family took their cow to the Vineyard in their small sailing cat boat.
In recent years, visitors to the Tarpaulin Cove Lighthouse have, on occasion, been met by the resident Naushon cows. That herd has been known to wade into the Sound near the base of the lighthouse to cool off. From the December 19, 2017 issue of the Martha's Vineyard Times, an article about the (other) keepers of the light, “When we go up the stairs to inspect the light,” said Petty Officer Skena, “cows like to sneak inside; they just seem to like it in there.”

Photo below courtesy of Bob Fenstermaker

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