Monday, May 9, 2016

The Life of a Beebe

By Tiffany Amber Stockton

Last month, the famous horse, Misty of Chincoteague, received spotlight treatment here on this blog. I shared about her birth, how she came to be beloved by children all around the world, and how her name lives on in books penned by Marguerite Henry as well as in the movie that was made based on the book and the museum established on the island.

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


Clarence Beebe
Ida Beebe
To showcase the Beebe's connection to Misty of Chincoteague, you really need to begin with Clarence Beebe, the grandfather from the books. He was born on Chincoteague Island in 1884, four years before the woman who would become his wife in 1906 (Ida Virginia Whealton). Ida also was born on the island, and they both are buried there as well. They had ten children together, but only six of them survived beyond infancy.

As the owner of a horse ranch on the little island, Clarence became known as the "Chincoteague Pony Man." He developed a solid reputation for breeding and gentling ponies from Assateague which he purchased during the annual Pony Penning Day events. Although the book and movie portray Paul and Maureen Beebe as living with their grandparents, that part is fictionalized. The children lived with their parents, but spent a lot of time at the Beebe Ranch.

Paul & Maureen Beebe
When Marguerite Henry visited the island and met the children, she asked them what they wanted most. They told her they wanted to own a real pony. Grandpa Clarence owned many, but he purchased them to sell. He never kept them long. Paul and Maureen wanted a horse of their own.

Misty ended up being that horse.

Maureen & the Phantom
Clarence and Ida had already purchased the Pied Piper and Phantom, and from them came Misty. They operated their busy ranch and were well-known on the island, but their claim to fame came when author Marguerite Henry arrived and witnessed the Pony Penning events, then decided to write about the wild ponies.

Home of Clarence & Ida Beebe
Through an agreement with Clarence Beebe, Ms. Henry purchased Misty for $150 and had her sent to Illinois for a few years before returning her to Chincoteague when Misty was only 11 years old. Misty went on to foal several horses, and her domesticated status allowed her to remain at the BeeBe Ranch where the Beebe family cared for her and her foals. Since Clarence died not long after Misty was bred, Ida asked their son Ralph to take over Misty's care.

Beebe Ranch business card
Ralph and his wife Jeanette took over Beebe Ranch and continued Clarence's legacy. Their son, Billy King Beebe, turned the ranch into a museum and opened it to the public in 1999, and it's been open every summer since. The barn with Misty's and one of her foal's (Stormy) stalls is also on the premises. Memorabilia of the family and the horses they raised is on display at the ranch.

What began as a simple island man with a dream turned into a legacy that's enchanted hundreds of thousands and spanned several generations.

Beebe Ranch museum


* What legacies exist in your own family that have been passed down through the generations?

* Have you ever read a book that was a fictionalized account of real life in some way only to later discover the "facts" presented in the book were a result of the author's creativity and didn't really happen that way? What was the book and what did the author change?

Leave answers to these questions or any comments on the post below. Next month, I'll be sharing about my grandfather and his direct ties to the island of Chincoteague. Come back on the 9th of June 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. I just saw that Maureen Beebe passed away. I can't find complete details on her birth or age. Could you tell me how old she was?

    1. I saw that as well, and my heart was quite heavy. With my family ties to this island, I knew Maureen as a quiet woman with a heart of gold. She was a fixture on the island and such a sweet lady. She *will* be missed.

      As for her age, she was 81. Born on December 12, 1937 and died on May 25, 2019. Her family set up a scholarship fund for children to attend college. Donations may be made to the:

      Maureen Beebe Hursh Scholarship Fund
      c/o PNC Bank
      6402 Maddox Blvd.
      Chincoteague Island, VA 23336