Topic: Fishing

Powhatan Fishing Customs

The Powhatan tribes still adhere to some fishing practices worth mentioning. Until not long ago fish fences were employed. These were chiefly for sturgeon, but now this splendid fish is so scarce that whereas thirty years ago from three to six a day during July and August would be taken, now the record is three a season by six boats fishing the same period. Captain John Smith mentions 52 and 68 being taken ”at a draught.” 1Smith’s account of Virginia in Tyler, L. G., Narratives of Early Virginia, New York, 1907, p. 85. Discover your family's story. Enter a...

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Life and travels of Colonel James Smith – Indian Captivities

James Smith, pioneer, was born in Franklin county, Pennsylvania, in 1737. When he was eighteen years of age he was captured by the Indians, was adopted into one of their tribes, and lived with them as one of themselves until his escape in 1759. He became a lieutenant under General Bouquet during the expedition against the Ohio Indians in 1764, and was captain of a company of rangers in Lord Dunmore’s War. In 1775 he was promoted to major of militia. He served in the Pennsylvania convention in 1776, and in the assembly in 1776-77. In the latter year he was commissioned colonel in command on the frontiers, and performed distinguished services. Smith moved to Kentucky in 1788. He was a member of the Danville convention, and represented Bourbon county for many years in the legislature. He died in Washington county, Kentucky, in 1812. The following narrative of his experience as member of an Indian tribe is from his own book entitled “Remarkable Adventures in the Life and Travels of Colonel James Smith,” printed at Lexington, Kentucky, in 1799. It affords a striking contrast to the terrible experiences of the other captives whose stories are republished in this book; for he was well treated, and stayed so long with his red captors that he acquired expert knowledge of their arts and customs, and deep insight into their character.

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Yuchi Fishing

Quite naturally fishing plays an important part in the life of the Yuchi who have almost always lived near streams furnishing fish in abundance. Catfish, cu dj?á, garfish, pike, cu cpá, bass, cu wadá, and many other kinds are eagerly sought for by families and sometimes by whole communities at a time, to vary their diet. We find widely distributed among the people of the Southeast a characteristic method of getting fish by utilizing certain vegetable poisons which are thrown into the water. Among the Yuchi the practice is as follows. During the months of July and August many...

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Fish and Fish Products of Washington

One of the great natural resources of western Washington which has been turned to account is the fish product, although as yet imperfectly understood or developed. The whale fishery is prosecuted only by the Indians of Cape Flattery and the gulf of Georgia. Among the species taken on the coast are the sperm whale, California gray, right whale, and sulphur-bottom. Up the strait of Fuca and in the gulf of Georgia humpbacks are numerous. Formerly the Indians took more whales than now, their attention being at present turned to seal hunting. With only their canoes and rude appliances the Makahs of Cape Flattery saved in 1856 oil for export to the amount of $8,000. Olympia Pioneer and Dem., March 5, 1856; Stevens’ Northwest, 10; Wash. Topog., 15, 31; Rept. Com. Ind. Aff, 1858, 232. Cod of two or more varieties are found from Shoalwater Bay to Alaska and beyond. They are of excellent quality when properly cured. The climate of Alaska being too moist, and the air of California drying them too much in the curing process, rendering them hard, it is believed that in Puget Sound may be found the requisite moisture, coolness, and evenness of climate to properly save the cod for export, but no systematic experiments have been made. It was the practice as early as 1856-7 to pickle cod instead of drying, and for several...

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