Just south of the Five Mile Point Lighthouse lies the grave of British Ensign and Assistant Adjutant Watkins, who met his end on July 5, 1779. The British, with their sights set on New Haven, attempted a landing at Five Mile Point, but the Americans were waiting. As he approached the shore, Watkins cried out from the lead boat, “Disperse ye rebels!” But they did not, and Watkins was killed in the subsequent battle. Five Mile Point, named for its distance from downtown New Haven, became the sight for a lighthouse in 1805, marking the entrance to New Haven Harbor. Mariners knew to give the light a berth of at least two miles to avoid a dangerous ledge to its southwest. The original lighthouse was a 30-foot octagonal wooden tower, with shingled sides and roof. Its light consisted of eight lamps with 13-inch parabolic reflectors, and was visible for six miles. In 1835, a 2 ½ story keepers dwelling was added to the station. The first keeper was Amos Morris, the landowner from whom the government purchased the tract of land for $100. The property had been in the Morris family since 1660, as part of an original grant by the Colony of New Haven.
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