Williston, NC Characters


Elmer Dryden Willis
President of Willis Bros 1970's era

Elmer Dryden Willis was born November 22, 1907 in Williston, NC,
a small fishing and farming village in the eastern part of Carteret County. He was the son of Charlie C. Willis and Ella Fulcher Willis. He spent his early years in Carteret County.

On November 21, 1931, he married Pearl Smith of Atlantic, NC. They had two daughters, Nancy Joan and Beverly Kay.

In 1930, he opened a seafood business with his brother Wesley, dealing mostly in clams. Wesley soon left the business but for many years Elmer sold clams to Heinz Soup Company in Pittsburg for their clam chowder. He also had a fleet of long haul tractor-trailer trucks:

Elmer was famous for his "Clam-Bakes". For many years he, and his wife Pearl, worked in their local school and gave clam bakes to make money for the school. While his wife was President of the local school P.T.A. they actually furnished and started in operation a cafeteria in the school
for the children.

People from all over the states, Governors included, would attend the clam-bakes. For many years, Elmer was known as the "Clam King". He died on June 18, 1977.

Down East Community Tour
Core Sound Waterfowl Museum