Oral History Collection - Fishing and Fisheries | National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Oral History Collection - Fishing and Fisheries

  • Collection DOI:
    Principal Investigator:
    Jennifer Stone Gaines
Interviewee Description Interviewer Date of Interview Location of Interview Affiliation Collection
Charles Wheeler

The main topic is the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries at Woods Hole. First speaker is Charles Wheeler. He mentions the history of the lab and its name changes and changes in federal departments under which it has worked. Mention of the early history of fisheries off the New England coast including foreign fishermen-explorers such as John Cabot, 1497. Importance of cod for Massachusetts and the ports involved: Newburyport, Beverly, Salem, Boston, Scituate, Cohasset, Plymouth and Provincetown. He mentions the triangle trade of Europe, West Indies, New England.

Unknown Woods Hole, MA Woods Hole Historical Museum Oral History Collection - Fishing and Fisheries
Mildred Wells

Mrs. Wells was a bookkeeper for Sam Cahoon's Fish Market, starting in the late 1920's. She mentions how kind and generous Sam was to fishermen and others during the Depression. She recalls fishing boats and kinds of fish brought into the market during the 1920's and 1930's. Fish was trucked to John Nagle in Boston. In 1935 there was a severe winter; the harbor was frozen over. Types of fish and shellfish, methods of weighing and trucking are mentioned. Mrs.

Unknown Woods Hole, MA Woods Hole Historical Museum Oral History Collection - Fishing and Fisheries
John Valois

John Valois and a panel talk about Sam Cahoon and his Fish Market in Woods Hole. The participants are: Warren "Whitey" Witzell, Jimmy "Red" Gifford, Donald "Marshy" Cross and Louis Doucette, Jr. Warren "Whitey" Witzell speaks briefly about the Ice House at Miles Pond in Falmouth which was owned by Sam Cahoon and run to supply ice for the fishermen and the transportation of fish to market. Sam almost never came to the Ice House; he allowed his men to run it under complete trust. Donald "Marshy" Cross tells many amusing stories of Sam.

Unknown Woods Hole, MA Woods Hole Historical Museum Oral History Collection - Fishing and Fisheries
Kenneth Shepherd

Photos of various fishing vessels being shown to the interviewer are discussed as well as their captains. Boats mentioned are Henry Klimm's ALMA K. which preceded his CAPTAIN BILL series of vessels, Vincent's PRISCILLA V. and the MORNINGSTAR from Vineyard Haven. Captain Shepherd began fishing in 1934 out of Woods Hole. Discussed are types of fish and fishing techniques during the period of Sam Cahoon's market. He mentions Sam's fair and generous treatment of fishermen. Discussed is the difference in prices for fish between the 1930's and 1980's.

Unknown Woods Hole, MA Woods Hole Historical Museum Oral History Collection - Fishing and Fisheries
Frances Cahoon Shepherd

Subject: Sam Cahoon's Fish Market. Mrs. Shepherd speaks of landing slips which were kept by Clara Goodfellow Denny before Frances began work at the fish market in the early 1940s. Apparently these records are lost. She talks of the early history of the fish market, which her father bought in 1914 from Isaiah Spindell, with the help of local businessman Walter O. Luscombe. Other topics covered are about the number of boats, types and amounts of fish which came into the market. John Nagle Company of Boston was one of the primary places the fish was sold.

Robert Livingstone Woods Hole, MA Woods Hole Historical Museum Oral History Collection - Fishing and Fisheries
Arthur "Swede" Nelson

Interview is about his long career as a fisherman and about Sam Cahoon, for whom he worked. Mr. Nelson was born in Provincetown, Massachusetts and began his fishing career there in 1926. He came to Woods Hole in 1934 along with a number of other fishermen. Some left but a number stayed permanently: Joe Ferreira, Warren and Jerry Vincent, Henry Klimm, Kenny Shepherd, Puck Crowell. In the 1930s and 1940s Sam Cahoon was the yellowtail (flounder) king. Yellowtails were known as "Cahoon's flounder" at the Boston Fish Market.

Unknown Woods Hole, MA Woods Hole Historical Museum Oral History Collection - Fishing and Fisheries
Henry Klimm

Henry Klimm came to Woods Hole in 1935 from Hyannis. He had been dragging in the spring, fall and winter and lobstering in summer. His family moved to Woods Hole in 1942. Several other fishermen came to Woods Hole about the same time, such as Ken Shepherd from the Vineyard. Discussion of fishing grounds off Noman's Island, with plentiful yellowtail flounder. Boats from Woods Hole, Newport, Point Judith, Black Island and Nantucket fished in fleets during the winter. Discusses net and crew sizes on his boats, the various CAPTAIN BILLs.

Unknown Woods Hole, MA Woods Hole Historical Museum Oral History Collection - Fishing and Fisheries
Peggy Clark Kelley

The main topic is the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries in Woods Hole. The first speaker is Peggy Clark Kelley. She speaks of her grandfather Edward Linton who came to Woods Hole with Director Spencer Baird in 1882 when Linton was a student at Yale. She discusses why Woods Hole was chosen for the site of the Fisheries lab, the interaction with local businessmen. Peggy's memories of her childhood include trips on collecting boats (specimens for MBL). Dr. Graham became Director in 1951.

Unknown Woods Hole, MA Woods Hole Historical Museum Oral History Collection - Fishing and Fisheries
Ted Joseph

Ted Joseph discusses his father's fishing career - Joe Joseph. Joe began to fish very young when he lived in Quissett (section of town between Woods Hole and Falmouth). Later he had a catboat and fished off Noman's Land, handlining. Joe was a lifelong commercial fisherman who worked independently. He did sometimes captain boats for others. Lobstering and fishing were his main occupations until he died in 1979, aged 86. He worked for a while out of Chilmark, Martha's Vineyard, on a dragger. Ted Joseph was born there.

Unknown Woods Hole, MA Woods Hole Historical Museum Oral History Collection - Fishing and Fisheries
Bertha Veeder Hill

The main topic is the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries in Woods Hole. The first speaker is Peggy Clark Kelley. She speaks of her grandfather Edward Linton who came to Woods Hole with Director Spencer Baird in 1882 when Linton was a student at Yale. She discusses why Woods Hole was chosen for the site of the Fisheries lab, the interaction with local businessmen. Peggy's memories of her childhood include trips on collecting boats (specimens for MBL). Dr. Graham became Director in 1951.

Unknown Woods Hole, MA Woods Hole Historical Museum Oral History Collection - Fishing and Fisheries