Assateague, a sandy, marshy, and swamp-like land off the coast of the Delmarva Peninsula, is a paradise to beach lovers, bird watchers, photographers, hunters, and fishermen. Native Americans, the first visitors, found an abundant supply of waterfowl, fish, and shellfish for hunting and fishing. Assateague was patented in 1687, and early settlers farmed, raised livestock, cut timber, and had salt works. The construction of the Assateague Lighthouse in 1833 encouraged the growth of the village. In 1875, the US Life Saving station was established. The men of the area worked on the water fishing, clamming, and oystering or worked for one of the fish factories or the two government agencies. Villagers migrated from the area lured by amenities on Chincoteague, the effect of the purchase of land surrounding the village, and the automation of the lighthouse. The US Fish and Wildlife Service purchased the island in 1943 as a national wildlife refuge.
About the Author
Author Myrna J. Cherrix, a former town historian and teacher, came as a tourist, retired on Chincoteague, and married a “Teager.” The Cherrix family roots on Assateague Island generated a deep interest in the history of the island, the lighthouse, and its people.