Marsh Tacky Island

by Annette Cheek

Marsh Tacky Island

A low country adventure

My eyes were as big as chinaware saucers as my daddy told us stories of marsh tacky horses running wild on Hilton Head Island. My daddy was a River man, (not by trade but by passion) with reddish skin weathered by years of salt water sting. His history lessons usually came while the "young' uns" were bent over a picnic table heading shrimp or picking blue crab caught earlier that day.

See, during those times, folks had no malls, no cable, video games or even fast food on the island. However the river and the ocean had all the adventure we could handle. Hilton Head Island was a beautiful, tropical wilderness with no crime, no red lights, and no stop signs. The island was like being in a world separate from the rest, where everyday was paradise!

You could almost hear my heart beating with anticipation as the school bus approached my stop. Mr.Marston's place was just a block from my house and he was so kind to allow our gang to ride his horses after school. We would saddle up the beautiful majestic beast and head out to Marshland Rd, down Hwy 278 then over to Folly Field Beach, racing to the waters edge.

The weekends were full of excitement as the family tradition was to spend the day on the bank of the broad river with family and friends. Daddy would spend the day casting his net and fishing while us young' uns would crab with our homemade chicken neck bait lines. The marshland was brimming with wildlife. You could sit for hours and watch the fiddler crabs dance across the pluff mud, appear and disappear, just like magic. It was always a challenge and not for the faint at heart, to try and catch a handful to use later for fishing bait. Sharing the catch of the day was a weekend tradition, bringing folks together that had never met.

Hot, humid mornings with air as thick as cotton candy started each long summer day and ended at sunset being covered with the familiar smell of Pluff Mud. It was time for supper and time to settle down and dream of tomorrows adventures.

Most every morning the gang would meet up down on the bank of the broad river, climbing the huge moss covered water oak trees that lined the river bank, watching for pirates and throwing together any makeshift raft we could muster up. Hence the name forced upon us by my daddy- "river rats".

Now, I don't know about any wild horses but there was plenty of wild life and a whole lot to learn in the adventure of the "river rats" on Marsh Tacky Island.

More stories of adventure on the way........

Written by: A.L Newman

A.L Newman moved from Savannah, GA, as a child to

Hilton Head Island, SC in 1969 lived and worked there until 1989.

She & her Husband currently live Bluffton,SC near the May River.

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