Chesapeake Bay Watermen | National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Chesapeake Bay Watermen

  • Collection DOI:
    Principal Investigator:
    Paul Ewell
  • The purpose of this project is to work to preserve the heritage of the commercial fishing industries in the Chesapeake Bay region by collecting and archiving oral histories of the men and women who are and were a part of this valuable history.  

Interviewee Description Interviewer Date of Interview Location of Interview Affiliation Collection
Victor Ray Pruitt

Mr. Pruitt and his family were from Onancock, Virginia and owned and operated buyboats on the Chesapeake Bay and the Potomac River throughout the 1960's and 70's. They bought and sold seafood using these boats primarily in Washington, D.C. Among the buyboats they owned and operated were the Lester, Thelma Earl and the "Ruth and Annie". Mr. Pruitt tells a few stories about his experience buying and selling seafood and working the water.

Paul Ewell Onancock, VA Virginia Wesleyan University Chesapeake Bay Watermen
Wanda Guy

Wanda Guy (maiden name Smith) is the daughter of a waterman (George F. Smith) and was formerly married to a waterman, (Gus Lilliston). Additionally, her brother, Greg Smith, is a waterman. She grew up in the Deep Creek area on the Eastern Shore of Virginia (near Onancock) and recalls her experience growing up in a commercial fishing family. She is a founding board member of the Watermen's Heritage Foundation of Virginia's Eastern Shore.

Paul Ewell Melfa, VA Virginia Wesleyan University Chesapeake Bay Watermen
Roy Ballard

Mr. Ballard talks about his family's aquaculture business located in Willis Wharf, Virginia. While the business has historically focused on various types of seafood, its' specialty has been clams and oysters. The business is a very old one and Willis Wharf was, at one time, a prominent seafood port facility on the seaside of the Eastern Shore of Virginia. Mr. Ballard currently resides in Exmore, Virginia and is an avid Eastern Shore history enthusiast.

Paul Ewell Willis Wharf, VA Virginia Wesleyan University Chesapeake Bay Watermen
Larry Linton

Mr. Linton is a commercial waterman from Saxis Island, Virginia and grew up working on the Chesapeake Bay from a very early age. He worked on both the bay side of the Eastern Shore of Virginia and the Western Shore of the Chesapeake Bay. Additionally, he has worked out of Ocean City, Maryland on a scallop boat. Mr. Linton talks about some of his experiences working the water. Mr. Linton's father also works on the water out of Saxis, Virginia.

Paul Ewell Saxis, VA Virginia Wesleyan University Chesapeake Bay Watermen