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Seine Fisheries
of the Chowan River


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Point on a Clear Day
photo by Lucy Daniels

     John Campbell is credited with introducing "seine fishing" to the area in the 1740's.  The herring came in great numbers each spring to the Albemarle Sound and Chowan River. Farmers would buy the fish from the fishery directly on the beaches by the cart load to corn in barrels. Salt herring was a main stay in the diet of all the farmers of the region. Some folks ate salt herring three times a day usually with corn pone, beans or peas, sweet potatoes and bacon.  The fisheries would pay their help with fish, which would in turn be used to pay for their debts they had run up over the year. At Maple Lawn, some of the blacks would work each spring in this great harvest which usually lasted six weeks to two months. And I can remember when I was very young there were barrels of salt herring kept in the shed of the smoke house.  

Action at the Fisheries  ca 1850
"Most of the fishing was done at night with torches ablaze." 

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Avoca Fishery  1896

Lucy Daniels contributed this piece her Grandmother Ella Harrell Evans wrote for her when Lucy was a little girl. Ella was raised at Mt. Gould landing, close to Colerain
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