Captain John Haff (1868-1909) Oyster, VA
John Haff was a man of legendary strength. As the story goes, Haff was originally from New England. One day while sailing with his brother and cruel father, Haff escaped by jumping overboard and swimming to Cobb Island where the Cobb family took him in as one of their own. He earned his keep by performing acts of strength. Swimming with the tow rope in his teeth, Haff towed boats into Cape Charles Harbor. To entertain the guests on Sunday afternoons, Haff would lift the thousand¬pound anchor in the front lawn of the Cobb's hotel. One day, the exertion burst his aged heart and killed him.
Haff may have been a strong man, but in truth, he served as a Virginia game warden during the 1890's. He indeed worked for the Cobb family, but as a hunting guide. The few decoys he produced display exemplary carving ability. John Haff died of measles as a young man.