20th Century Club hears report on Chincoteague ponies

The January meeting of the 20th Century Club was held at the home of Jo Ann Gregory with LaQuita Wisner as co-hostess.

The meeting was called to order by the president, Beverly Warren, with the reading of the collect. Linda Minyard was asked to introduce her visitor, DeDe Foster, who was welcomed by the members. The roll was called by Minyard and minutes for November and December meetings were read and approved. The treasurer’s report was given by Peggy Koen. There was no old business. Under new business, Linda Eifling requested members to call and let her know of any sickness among members.

The meeting was then turned over to Norma Caldwell, who gave a very interesting report on the Chincoteague Island. It is one of several barrier islands located on Virginia’s eastern shore. The largest being Assateague Island. Chincoteague is 7 miles long and Assateague is 37 miles long. The “Wild Ponies” and children’s book, “Misty of Chincoteague”, are what Chincoteague Island is best known for.

Although popularly known as Chincoteague ponies, the feral ponies actually live on Assateague Island. Each year up to 50,000 visitors gather on the last Wednesday in July to watch mounted riders bring the Virginia herd from Assateague and swim them across the channel to Chincoteague Island. Many of the horses are sold at auction at an average price of $1,300. Those not purchased, or purchased under, “buy back” — conditions where the bidder donates the money to the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company — are returned to the Assateague Island.

In 1947, Marguerite Henry released the children’s book, “Misty of Chincoteague, the first in a series of novels that made the Chincoteague breed internationally famous. The real Misty was foaled on Chincoteague Island in 1946, and purchased for $150, as a weanling by Henry. In a poll of the most famous children’s horse books, “Misty of Chincoteague” came in second to “Black Beauty”.

After Caldwell’s report, the ladies enjoyed a time of fellowship and refreshments.