Saturday, April 9, 2016

Misty of Chincoteague - the World-Famous Horse

By Tiffany Amber Stockton

So...who wanted to race out and book tickets to attend the 91st annual Pony Penning Day after reading last month's post? *grins* Not too long and we'll be celebrating the 100th anniversary of the event. I bet that will be a celebration not to miss!

Next year is the 70th anniversary of the year Misty of Chincoteague (the novel) was published. That's why my focus this year is on the little island and the horse and the author which made it famous. If all goes well, the first book in my series set on Chincoteague Island will release next year, and a special nod will be given in tribute to Misty, as well as my grandfather, who would have been 6 years old and running around the island at the time my first book is set.

If you missed last month's post, you can view it here:


What would this tiny little island be if not for the horse born there which went on to become a beloved children's book feature character and who delighted children all over the world?

Misty of Chincoteague was born on July 20, 1946 at Beebe Ranch on Chincoteague Island, sired by the chestnut pinto Pied Piper. Misty's mother was the smokey black pinto Phantom. Misty stood 12 hands tall and had very unique markings on her coat. What looked like a map of the United States on one side and a blaze shaped like the state of Virginia on her forelock tied her to her home state and country.

Marguerite Henry first visited Chincoteague in 1946 to attend the annual Pony Penning in the hopes of finding a story to write for a book. When she met Misty, it was love at first sight. She wanted to buy Misty to take back with her as the model for her book. Clarence Beebe at first refused, but once Mrs. Henry promised to include his grandchildren (Paul and Maureen) in the book, he agreed. Misty was sold for $150 and once weaned was shipped to Mrs. Henry.

Misty arrived at Mole Meadow in Wayne, Illinois on November 18, 1946. She stayed with Mrs. Henry for over ten years, appearing at schools, movie theaters, museums, libraries, and horse shows. Misty was trained to ride and perform tricks such as standing on a stool and shaking hooves. After Misty's book became a bestseller, the publisher Rand McNally rewarded Clarence Beebe with a $350 check as a thanks for loaning Misty to Mrs. Henry for inspiration. So, "Grandpa" was actually paid $500, which today would be about $5,000! Not a bad payday just for loaning out your horse. *grins*

Misty was sent back to the Beebe's in 1957 for breeding. A goodbye party with over 300 children and 160 adults in attendance was held at Mole Meadow. Misty remained on Chincoteague for the rest of her life where she died in October of 1972 at the age of 26. She was taxidermied and preserved then put on display at the Chincoteague Miniature Pony Farm, where she and her last foal (Stormy) remain today.

Misty may have left us, but she lives on through her books, her descendants, and the millions of people around the world who have read, and will read her story. As Ida "Grandma" Beebe was famously quoted in A Pictorial Life Story of Misty, "Nothing dies as long as there is the memory to enfold it and a heart to love it."


* Have you ever read or heard of the book, Misty of Chincoteague, or seen the movie, Misty? What do you remember about it?

* Have you ever read a book or seen a movie where a horse was the featured "star"? What was it and what did you like most about it?

* Do you have a favorite book or movie based on an animal? What is it and why is it a favorite?

Leave answers to these questions or any comments on the post below. Next month, I'll be covering the BeeBee family and their ties to the island. Come back on the 9th of April to find out more.


Tiffany Amber Stockton has been crafting and embellishing stories since childhood, when she was accused of having a very active imagination and cited with talking entirely too much. Today, she has honed those childhood skills to become an author and speaker who has partnered with Nerium International in the anti-aging and personal development industry, helping others become their best from the inside out.

She lives with her husband and fellow author, Stuart Vaughn Stockton, in Colorado. They have one girl and one boy, and a Retriever mix named Roxie. She has sold twenty (20) books so far and is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of the Steve Laube Agency. You can also find her on FacebookTwitterPinterest, and LinkedIn.


  1. Just love these posts! I read the Misty books as a kid. Loved them, but I don't remember details. I've also read the Black Stallion series. Those books were often set in exotic locales. Thanks for all the history on Misty!

  2. Misty and the other books about the Chincoteague ponies were some of my favorites growing up. We lived in Maryland and often visited Assateague Island. I've fed the ponies cereal on the beach (it was the 70s, you could get away with doing stuff like that then) and been to pony round up in July on Chincoteague. Great memories.

  3. Oh, yes, I have read this book, and the subsequent books. I asked for it for Christmas when I was probably 8 or 9. I still have my book. Thank you for the history of this little pony.

  4. Love your posts about Chincoteague and the ponies and I look forward to your series! We lived in Virginia for 4 years, late 80's and though I never made it to Chincoteague (would have loved to have gone to the round up!), every summer we rented a house in Duck, N.C., on the Outer Banks and they have their own wild horses, descendants of Spanish mustangs. I loved the book "Misty", and the Black Stallion series. I imagined myself flying through valleys and along beaches on the back of the Black Stallion, wind in my hair :o) and read every book in the series and it established a lifelong love of reading. I grew up riding Shetland ponies and when I was twelve my dad bought me a black and white pinto with a star on her forehead. I wanted a "wild" horse and she was straight off the eastern Washington desert where wild horses still roam!

  5. I grew up with these books, and loved Misty. I am in NC, but have never been to the Chincoteague Island. I'd love to go! I just ordered the Misty movie, and can't wait to watch it. I don't think I've ever seen it.

  6. I read the Misty book in Grade 3 or 4. Scholastic Books used to offer books for sale, and as an avid reader, I always chose the books with the most pages so I'd get the best deal for my dime or quarter. I think I paid a dime for this book, thrilled to be getting a 200+ pages book. I was so disappointed when it arrived and it was about 4 inches square :) But the story was wonderful, and I read it over and over again until it fell apart and I lost some of the pages. So glad to see it's still available for kids today.

  7. I don't remember when I read Misty for the first time, but I loved it then and proceeded to borrow all Marguarite Henry's books from the library. Over time I purchased some of her books, which my daughter has also enjoyed. I still have a dream of traveling to the island some day :)

  8. Revisiting this on the 75th anniversary of Misty of Chincoteague.

    I first went to the island in 1972, for Pony Penning in July, the last year Misty was alive. I was in high school, and thrilled to be in the middle of a favorite story! We visited Misty in her stable in the center of Chincoteague, but she was snoozing, so I didn't take a picture.

    She died in October that year.

    I went back as often as I could, hiking, backpacking, kayaking, snorkeling, diving, mermaiding and once accidentally riding in fall roundup when a couple of saltwater cowboys loaned my friend and I horses for a bit...

    The island and its ponies are a unique piece of history deserving preservation and celebration. It has inspired my own stories, art and photography.