Donation to Roanoke Island Maritime Museum


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Today, Mariners’ formally transferred the ownership of the Albemarle Sound shad boat Ella View to Roanoke Island Maritime Museum. Ella View was built by George Washington Creef, the original designer of the boat type, on Roanoke Island in 1883.

The vessel was owned and used by the family of Josephus Berry from the date of its construction until 1964 when it was acquired for the small craft collection at Mystic Seaport in Connecticut. In 1972 Mystic began to consider transferring the vessel to an institution more closely associated with Ella View’s region of use. Originally they considered the newly formed Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum as a possible home, but in 1974 a trade was organized with Mariners’—Ella View for a New Haven oyster sharpie.

In an effort aimed at returning the boat home, Mariners’ loaned Ella View to the North Carolina Maritime Museum and Roanoke Island Commission in 1998 and Ella View was eventually placed on display in the Roanoke Island Festival Park close to the location of George Washington Creef’s boathouse. The staff at Mariners’ is thrilled to be able to return this historic vessel to its original home; a place where we know it will be loved and appreciated by not only the residents of Manteo but also by visitors from around the world to North Carolina’s famous Outer Banks.


One thought on “Donation to Roanoke Island Maritime Museum”

  1. My grandfather was the owner of The Ella View. His name was Josephus C Berry. The Ella View was given to him by his father Joseph Hall Berry.

    The Ella was built 1863 when the Civil War was in progress and Roanoke Island was occupied by Federal troops. It was built by Washington Creef.

    Although it was a sailboat, Grandaddy installed a Chevrolet gasoline engine to propel it and housing for shelter. He frequently parked it in the canal across from the local CVS in the canal and sailed down to Dykester’s pier to board his commercial fishing boat the Phyllis Mae. The canal was walking distance from Josephus Berry’s home. The canal at the traffic light is all covered with over growth now. Several small boats used to parked/docked there.

    I remember when I found it at the Mariner Museum in Newport News, Va. I asked, the director, “Why is this boat on Virginia soil? It should be return home to Manteo, NC. I shared the history and time passed and it was returned. I took pictures and shared them with my dad and uncle. They recognized the boat immediately!

    When talking to Scott Stroh at RI Festival Park years ago, he remembered the name and we went over to the Creef Boat museum, which was damaged by hurricane Isabelle and there was the “Old Ella”. That’s what my dad call her. Joseph McKinley Berry (my dad). I can’t remember when it was sold and transferred to New London, CT.

    We still believe it is the oldest in years of duty in commercial fishing and other uses during the Civil War and at Pea Island. The Ella View should be close to “158 years old” now. We would love to see it placed inside a building to preserve and protect it from the elements.

    Captain Joe’s shad boat is the oldest of all—in North Carolina, in the whole country.

    Marilyn Berry Morrison