The Chincoteague Island Life History Project is collaborative effort undertaken by the Museum of Chincoteague Island and the Chincoteague Island Library. The aims of this project are to preserve the voices and stories of the people of Chincoteague Island. By asking island residents to share the stories of their lives, the project hopes to create an archive that provides deep insight into the culture, heritage, and history of this fascinating barrier island community.
We hope that future generations of scholars, visitors, and especially Chincoteaguers will benefit from hearing and re-telling the stories contained here. From early "Pony Penning" to hunting in the marshes, from making dumplings to wading for clams on a summer afternoon, the personal tales described here are valuable and—in many cases--entertaining.
The Island Library began this project in 2004 as an oral history initiative, led by the late Margot Hunt. The Museum has joined the Library in 2014, and together these two organizations are working to film each interview.
Enjoy the video interviews below and the audio interviews on the Chincoteague Island Library's website. Learn from them, share them, and help us to add to the collection. Contact the Museum to become a volunteer or to recommend a friend, relative, or even yourself to be interviewed.
This archival footage features Tom Reed, a Chincoteaguer, waterman, decoy carver, and hunter. He discusses these roles and concludes the film by reading an original poem.
Charlie Marshall grew up on Chincoteague Island and was one of the first African American students to graduate from Chincoteague High School. His career with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which started at Chincoteague National Woldlife Refuge, took him all over the country.
Bill Birch discusses the seafood industry on Chincoteague among other topics.
Assateague People of Delmarva
This film combines footage from the 2015 Assateague People of Delmarva PowPow, held in Pocomoke, MD and from interviews held with two tribal leaders. The Assateague people explain that they are still here on the Shore and they are working hard to conserve their heritage.
Hal and Claire Lott
Hal and Claire are a married couple who moved to the island as adults. They ran Lotts' Art and Things on Main Street, where they sold their art and other items. Both artists credit Chincoteague Island as a huge inspiration for their art.
Harold Quillen shares his life history, highlighting chicken farming, running a local eatery and bar, and experiencing the major storms that have reshaped the island.
Roe Terry is a decoy carver and hunting guide who grew up and made his life on Chincoteague. He tells stories of hunting on the islands' waters and in the marshes and also shares some techniques for carving.
Cork McGee is a decoy carver and hunting guide who grew up on Chincoteague's Eastside neighborhood. He shares stories of hunting, carving, and making a living on the island.
Valentine's Day Compilation 2015
This short video highlights stories of Chincoteague residents' courtships, marriages, and experiences falling in love.
The Cherrix Sisters
Bonnie Saunders and Carolyn Bowden have memories of the Assateague Village. The sisters' humorous and serious stories will delight viewers
Irma M. Hancock
Irma Hancock recalls her amazing life on Chincoteague and fondly remembers her father-in-law, famous decoy carver Miles Hancock.
Roy Jones shares his memories of growing up on Assateague Island.
Cigar Daisey is a celebrated Chincoteague decoy carver and hunter. He shares stories of many days spent on the water and in his carving workshop.
Beach Sand In Your Shoes
"Beach Sand in Your Shoes" is a short film created by a Service Road Scholar Program in Spring 2016. It features interviews with islanders who moved away and later returned. Interviewees included: John Nelson Jester, Bill Rodgers, Ann Tolbert Rodgers
Life on Chincoteague
"Life on Chincoteague" is a short film created by a Service Road Scholar Program in Spring 2016. It features the stories of islanders who have built their lives and livelihoods on Chincoteague Island. Interviewees included: Terry Howard, Judy Howard, Wade Barrett
Three Ladies Interview
Sara Cherricks, Lucille Cobb, and Jeanette Phipps reflect on their lives and memories on Chincoteague Island.
Remembering the Ash Wednesday Storm
"Remembering the Ash Wednesday Storm" is a short film created by the Service Road Scholar Program in Spring 2016. Interviewees featured: Terry Howard, Judy Howard, Wade Barrett, John Nelson Jester, Bill Rodgers, Ann Tolbert Rodgers
What would a 'Teaguer Call That? Wildfowl Edition
"What would a 'Teaguer Call That? Wildfowl Edition" brings together clips from various island decoy carvers who share the local names for various wildfowl.
Chincoteague, Assateague and the US Coast Guard
Created for Heritage Days in 2016, this short film explores how serving in the US Coast Guard has become a tradition for many Chincoteague families.
Richard Smith "Smitty"
Life History of Richard "Smitty" Smith.
Mrs. Betty Jester was born 12/30/1925 at home on Clark Street in Chincoteague Island, Va.
Irene Sneed Kleckner discusses family history and raising Billy Goats on the island as a child.
Thanksgiving On Chincoteague
Happy Turkey Day from Mrs. Betty Jester and her daughter Joan Buchanan.