Life Lines, April 2020

Welcome to Life Lines the monthly newsletter for members of the U.S. Life-Saving Service Heritage Association.  For those of you reading and have yet to join, please consider doing so. Your membership will get you access to the station inventory link and our new venture to create a “Surfmans’ Data Base.”   If you would like to join please go to

Publications Now Available as Print-on-Demand

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The two books that the USLSSHA produced are now available by print-on-demand at  Search for either “They Had to Go Out” or

“Rescue: The Stories of the U.S. Life-Saving Service” edited by John Galluzzo.  If you have not added these two books to your library here is your chance to do so.

Chronology of Coast Guard History

If you were looking for a link to a chronology of Coast Guard History here is that link.

Admiral Schultz’s Statement to the Workforce on COVID-19

March 13, 2020 — To the Women and Men of the United States Coast Guard,

During times of uncertainty throughout history, the Coast Guard has consistently risen to the challenge of protecting the American people and our way of life. As our Nation and the global community confront the Coronavirus Disease 19 (COVID-19), our Coast Guard continues to perform critical missions that protect our national interests, promote economic prosperity, and ensure public safety.

I realize, however, that while you selflessly serve as a member of our Mission Ready Total Workforce, you are also spouses, parents, sons and daughters, and members of your local communities. We all have people we care about, and a responsibility to maintain both our individual and family readiness. Amidst this backdrop of uncertainty, an important word that is foremost in my mind is “resiliency.” While the word has various definitions, I think of the following: the capacity to recover quickly from difficulty/challenge; toughness; elasticity, or the ability to bounce back. Through this challenging period, we must be resilient.

If you would like to read more of the message from Admiral Schultz go to the following link:


The State of S.O.S. Vermillion, Michigan–Accomplishments

BREAKING NEWS: We, the members of S.O.S. Vermilion, are now the proud owners of the 1876 Vermilion Point U.S. Life-Saving Service station building!

We owe the Little Traverse Conservancy a huge debt of gratitude for selling us the station for $1.00 and giving us a long term lease for the land under and directly around the station.

From the first discussion about forming S.O.S. Vermilion in 2016, to the present time, their people have been extremely supportive and helpful.

Thank you so much, Little Traverse Conservancy!

Also, we hope that you will be able to join us for our 2020 annual meeting. It’s scheduled for September 26 at the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum at Whitefish Point. Please put it on your calendar. We’ll include the details in a future newsletter.

Grace Truman, president
S.O.S. Vermilion

Local Hero Jeremiah Munden Earns Place in History

Perhaps all localities have a number of unsung heroes, but Princess Anne probably has more than its share.

Our oral history is rich with stories of shipwrecks and of the brave locals who often lost their lives trying to rescue crew members or passengers from the stormy ocean.

One such hero is Jeremiah Munden, a former slave who died while trying to rescue crew members of the Italian ship Nuova Ottavia when it went down off Currituck in March 1876.

Referred to as Jeremiah by his descendants but sometimes also called John, Munden certainly deserves a place in our local history.

Barbara Robinson, now a Massachusetts resident and the great-great-granddaughter of Jeremiah and his wife, Jane Munden, has done considerable research into his death. Until recently, it was thought that he was a buoy keeper on the North Landing River who went out on the river one stormy night and never returned.

Actually, it wasn’t the relatively gentle North Landing River but the stormy Atlantic Ocean that proved to be his nemesis.

Robinson learned that, as a member of the U.S. Life-Saving Service, Jeremiah Munden was one of the crew members at the Jones Hill Station on the Outer Banks who braved cold, rough March winds and water in a vain attempt to rescue the nine members of the Nuova Ottavia.

The ship was apparently traveling northbound when it stranded, and although the wind was a bit rough, onlookers speculated that miscalculation, not bad weather, caused it to wreck. The ship’s crew may have mistaken the Currituck Lighthouse for the Cape Henry Lighthouse, turned landward and ran aground in the shallow water.

The rescue crew reached the floundering ship, but in their panic, the ship’s crew members overloaded and capsized the rescue boats, dumping both surfmen and crew into the cold, choppy water. The wind went to the northeast, weather conditions declined, and by the next morning, some surfmen began washing up dead, although, according to some accounts, a few survived.

Jeremiah Munden’s body was found two weeks later, and he was buried on the Outer Banks. His death is recorded on a Coast Guard website called Together We Served, which honors military and Coast Guard veterans. According to the listing, Munden was the first African American Coast Guard member to “give his life in a rescue case,” praising him for “putting himself in harm’s way” to save others.

He deserves to be honored, but we also should give a shout-out to his wife, Jane, a relatively young widow who went on to acquire property, become the matriarch of a large and prosperous family and lived to the ripe old age of 117, according to U.S. Census reports.

Robinson’s done considerable research to learn as much as she could about her ancestors, and she is particularly curious about the exact site of Jeremiah Munden’s burial. The shipwreck, covered in The New York Times when it occurred, has become the subject of blogs, and authors David Wright and David Zoby wrote about it in their book “Fire on the Beach.”

To access Munden’s record on the Together We Served website, visit

If anyone has any more information about this shipwreck or about place names and locations, please contact me at [email protected].

Another website about the wreck of the Nuova Ottavia:

Kittery, Maine is the Next Destination for the 2020 Annual Conference

The Board of Directors are monitoring the COVID-19 situation and will alert Life Lines readers by the end of May as to how this might impact the upcoming conference.

The 2020 Annual Conference and Meeting will be in and around Kittery, Maine and will include stations between Nahant, Massachusetts along the coast of New Hampshire and to the southern edge of Maine.   The dates are September 24-26, 2020.  Mark your calendars and save some time to make the trip. 

If you would like to make your hotel reservation the conference attendees will stay at the Hampton Inn and Suites Kittery.  The cost will be $179/night.  Call and make your reservation at 800-445-8667 mention the U.S. Life-Saving Service Heritage Association.  You can also book your reservation online at Hampton Inn and Suites website and use Group Code:  USL.  The deadline to make hotel reservations to get the special rate is August 7, 2020.

Also mark your calendars for the 2021 Conference which will be held in Southport, North Carolina on September 23-25, 2021.  It’s never too early to make plans for all upcoming U.S. Life-Saving Service Heritage Association conferences.   We hope to see you in either Maine or North Carolina and will be thrilled when you attend both.

Watch this site and Wreck and Rescue for more information.

If you have a story to submit for the next Life Lines please contact us through our website.

Also consider joining the Life Lines staff.  If you would like to be the editor or would like to assemble a few of the issues a year, the help would be welcome.  We are now three and more are welcome to join us.  If you wanted to have a role or contribute to the organization this is your opportunity to do so.