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Notes for Melvin Austin:
From writings in June of 1989, by Ralph Hausrath to my sister Dawn Marie Austin. Ralph was Melvin's Nephew.

     Melvin Austin served his full 30 years in the Life Saving Service and then was pensioned off. (The USLSS became part of the US Coast Guard in 1915.) Despite the fact that he had gone off to many wrecks over the years, it was said that he never learned to swim. (Surfman depended much more on their cork life jackets than on their swimming ability, especially as most wrecks occurred in the winter when waters were icy.)
      All of the Austin Men in those days had their own personal boats. The Life Saving Service Station were strung along the outer beach on the South Shore and to get to their duty posts at Short Beach, Jones Beach, Gilgo, or Oak Beach the men had to cross the Great South Bay. This was usually accomplished by ice scooters, sailboats, rowing skiffs, or motor launches.
     Melvin once bought a new motor launch for this purpose from the Palmer Company, a boat building plant in Connecticut. It was a graceful, round-bottomed boat decked over forward and with a unique "fantail" stern that boats of that era sometimes had. It was about 20 feet long. The launch was powered by a one-cylinder make-and-break engine and ran on either gasoline of naptha. He had to journey to Cos Cob Connecticut to pick up the new boat which ran across Long Island Sound to somewhere newer Huntington where he had her hauled out of the water and loaded on a trailer after which she was trucked across Long Island to be launched again in Howell Creek, Copiague.
     Named the "Ethel Mae", in honor of my Mother, (Ralph Hausrath's Mother), the boat was used by Melvin to commute back and forth to his duty station which was for a long time at Short Beach, near Jone's Inlet. After he retired from the service, the boat was hauled out and stored for years in a boat house near his dock in back of the "Old Homestead". But by the time I, (Ralph Hausrath), was big enough to want more than a rowboat, she was again launched and became mine to use until Melvin's death in 1936, when Elizabeth, ("Aunt Libby"), sold the boat. By this time I had gone away to college.
     At an earlier time when Melvin had owned a bigger, high-sided boat, he had fallen overboard while anchored out in the bay in fairly deep water. He was alone and there seemed to be no help nearby. Though not a swimmer, he had managed to grab the boat's anchor line as he tumbled in. But he found it impossible to climb back aboard the big-sided boat. However, he pulled out his ever-present pocket knife, cut the boat's anchor cable and then clung to the apart made fast aboard the boat while wind and tide drifted his boat into shallower water where he could stand up and them clamber back aboard.
He was the only one of Abram's children who ever acquired an automobile and learned to drive. He ahd a Ford Touring car, a Model T., in the early 1920's, then later bought a Chevrolet. He taught me, (Ralph Hausrath), to drive the Chevrolet when I was about 14. He used the car to drive to Amityville every week to do the grocery shopping for his sister.
     In his last years, he took care of the "new House" that he and Elizabeth had built after the passing of their Mother. He did the gardening as well as the shopping and kept busy every winter working in the ship he had built next to his garage where he wove eel pots which are used by fishermen to trap eels. Woven out of shaved down rattan and oak splints, much as baskets are made, they were in great demand by eel fishermen from Jamaica Bay to Shinnecock Bay. He made hundreds each winter and was always sold out before warm weather because of the fine quality of his work. In the summers, we'd tune up the motor on the "Ethel May" and go fluke fishing or spearing eels every now and then. He died of cancer cancer in 1936. 

Station Long Beach, New York
Station #90

Location: On the north side of Atlantic Beach, 3/4 mile northeast of 
breakwater and 13 1/2 miles east northeast of Romer Shoal Light;
40-35' 03" N x 73-39' 09"W in 1878; 40-35' 10"N x 73-40' 45"W in 1915. 
Date of Conveyence 1849 Station Built: 1849 
Fate: Original station destroyed by fire on 9 December 1917; the rebuilt station was closed in 1939. 


Long Beach (#90) This station was first built in 1849; the early position given was "near west end of Long Beach." In fact, the 1882 listing carries the station as being called "Long Beach, west end" and it position as "near Lucy’s Inlet." Later this was "abreast of Lawrence, near west end of Long Beach." The original site was apparently abandoned; in 1888 a new site was acquired and the station was rebuilt in 1890. On 9 December 1917 a fire destroyed this building. In 1921, a contract was awarded to construct a  new station building and accessories on a new site.


The first keeper was Oliver S. Denton who was appointed in 1856; it is not known when he left. Next was Charles Wright, who had experience as a surfman and a wrecker, and who was appointed at the age of 40 on July 2, 1869; he was removed on January 5, 1875. Next was Henry F. Johnson (appointed January 5, 1875, and serving until April 17, 1886), Richard Van Wicklen (May 19, 1886 until his dismissal May 3, 1906),  B. Frank Langdon (November 30, 1906 until his retirement with thirty years’  service November 25, 1916), Israel Van Nostrand (reassigned from the Gilgo station April 4, 1917 until his retirement with thirty years’ service on October 5, 1921), George Frederick Morin (reassigned from the Lone Point station on October 24, 1921 and served until his reassignment to the Rockaway Point station on January 24, 1923) and William B. Tooker (reassigned from Zachs Inlet station January 24, 1923 until his reassignment to the Fire Island station April 14, 1924). William Tooker was back from Fire Island on January 4, 1925 and served until his reassignment to the Blue Point station September 6, 1927. Then followed Chief Boatswains Mate G. M. Schellenger (until his reassignment to the Office of the Southern Inspector on December 13, 1935-he was commissioned as a warrant officer October 11, 1930). The last assigned commanding officer was Hubert B. Tuttle, who was reassigned from the Squan Beach station on December 2, 1935 and served until his reassignment to the Quogue station on  February 11, 1939.

The station was still in commission at the outbreak of World War II, but no keepers after Tuttle are identified. 


Edward Austin, Surfman: 1 December 1897 - 30 September 1912 
Melvin Austin, Oarsman: 20 January 1913 - 31 August 1917