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What is the story behind Buddie Brown, who lived at the base of the Old Oak Island Bridge?

Amanda Lisk
StarNews

The complete question:

What is the history and story behind Buddie Brown and his wife who lived in a shack at the base of the Old Oak Island bridge, on the island side, selling shrimp back in the 1950s and ’60s out of their front door? Rumor says he had a lot of money but lived the life of a hermit.

And here’s the answer:

Let’s start with the name. A newspaper article published in 1988 spelled it “Buddy” with a “y,” but longtime Oak Island resident, Kelly Small said it was spelled “Buddie.”

Buddie Brown did not have a lot of money, said Small.

“He wasn’t a wealthy man, but he made a pretty good living for him and his wife,” he said “They were simple people.”

When asked if Small was good friends with Brown, he replied, “Why yes! Everyone was good friends with Buddie!”

Referred to as a ‘Legend’ in a February 1988 Star News article (link below) Brown caught shrimp not far from the Oak Island Bridge and sold it for fifty cents a pound from his house says Small.   

“When he got older, he quit shrimpin’ and started working on small engines for people – lawn mowers and chain saws. Everyone was a friend to Buddy. Everyone would stop and talk to Buddie.”

Small said Brown rode a bicycle everywhere he went. He was never seen driving a car. Eventually, said Small, Brown built a cement block house with a tin roof on the island just off of Oak Island Drive. His wife, Emma, battled cancer and passed away.

Brown went to live at Ocean Trail Convalescent Center and passed away April 10, 1993.

Click here to read a StarNews article about Brown from 1988 at Google News archive.

User-contributed question by:
Frank Newton

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