Stories of pirate treasure and ghost ships color the island's rich history. Originally called Island of the Turtle for the giant sea turtles which still lay their eggs here, Black's Island is home to giant egrets, eagles, osprey and the migrating, nearly extinct snow-white pelicans.
In the early 1700's pirates used the island and St. Joseph Bay as a safe haven from storms and to restock supplies for their voyages.
In the late 1830's, Captain Black, an English seaman, arrived to establish a trade route from England down the east coast of Florida, around the tip and into the Gulf. He made the island his home and became the first recorded owner of the island, which still bears his name. During the Civil War, Black became a blockade runner, supplying Confederate forces through Gulf ports. Rebel ruins endure today. In 1868, fearing the Union might confiscate the island, Black sold it to an unidentified lady. The Captain was last reported seen in the 1870's, however, a man named E.L. Black sold the island to a Mr. Conley in 1925.
There followed a series of owners until at last in 1976, three young people were drawn to Black's Island. Their respect for nature and the sea led to the founding of Camp Nautilus, a camp for boys. Although two of the three returned to the mainland, the third, Bill Koran, remained to become Black Island's new Captain.
A lot has changed since Captain Black's time, but not the beauty and seclusion of the island.