The Saltwater South: Charleston | National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

The Saltwater South: Charleston

  • Collection DOI:
    Principal Investigator:
    Sara Wood
  • Here are the stories of men and women who make their living working on the waters of the South Carolina Lowcountry.

Interviewee Description Interviewer Date of Interview Location of Interview Affiliation Collection
Jamie White

Jamie White grew up on Sol Legare (pronounced Sol Le-gree) Road in James Island. Sol Legare holds a long history of African American fishing traditions. Jamie grew up with marshes and rivers as his backyard. Going out to pick clams and oysters was a daily part of his life. He learned from his uncles, George and Richard Brown. Jamie moved to Atlanta and sold cars then retail clothing but returned home after the 2008 recession.

Sara Wood Charleston, SC Southern Foodways Alliance The Saltwater South: Charleston
David Thomas

David Thomas has been fishing commercially for the past twenty-five years. He was born and raised in Conway, South Carolina, where his father ran a grocery store. He spent his summers in Ponce Inlet, Florida, where his uncle fished commercially and ran Timmons Fish Camp. David decided the only practical job for him was to fish, but today he say government regulations make his work difficult. He fishes with a standup rod known as a bandit reel, which drops a bungee cord directly into a current using circle hooks, which catch the outside of the fish’s lip.

Sara Wood Charleston, SC Southern Foodways Alliance The Saltwater South: Charleston
Anuruck “Lucky” Suttiprasert

Anuruck “Lucky” Suttiprasert was born and raised in Thailand. In 1975 he moved to Memphis, Tennessee to attend school, always intending to return to home once he finished his studies. Three years later, he quit school to work, both in restaurants and as a mechanic. He moved to Atlanta. In 1982 a friend in Savannah, Georgia convinced him to start shrimping because the money was good. Lucky worked his way up to captain, and today he runs his own shrimp boat, Luck Chalm. Lucky explains the name comes from a combination of his name with the name of his wife, Chalam.

Sara Wood Charleston, SC Southern Foodways Alliance The Saltwater South: Charleston
Julie McClellan

Growing up on Silver Hill plantation in McClellanville, South Carolina, Julie McClellan spent her days out on a small wooden batteau accompanying her stepfather, Ellis Dawsey, as he scratched clams on his leases at White Banks and Oyster House and sold the catch to Carolina Seafood. After high school she married and went straight to work in restaurants, building houses, and later operated a deer processing plant with her husband before they divorced. For the past twenty-five years, Julie’s made her full-time living off the water.

Sara Wood McClellanville, SC Southern Foodways Alliance The Saltwater South: Charleston
Mark Marhefka

Mark Marhefka is a commercial fisherman originally from Jacksonville, Florida. He owns Abundant Seafood with his wife, Kerry, in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina. He delivers his fresh catch to more than twenty restaurants in Charleston, and runs a CSF (community-supported fishery) from Shem Creek where he docks his boat, the Amy Marie.

Kate Medley, Sara Wood Charleston, SC Southern Foodways Alliance The Saltwater South: Charleston
Nathaniel "Danny" Manigault

Nathaniel "Danny" Manigault was born and raised in Charleston. In high school he moved to the Union Heights neighborhood of North Charleston. He worked as a mechanic at R & M Industrial Products, and fished whiting, croaker, spots, and sharks as a hobby. When his neighbor told him how he could make a little money on the side crabbing, Danny decided to start crabbing to supplement his full-time job. Now retired from R & M, Danny usually hits the Wando River by four each morning to make it back in time to delivery blue crabs to customers in North Charleston.

Sara Wood North Charleston, SC Southern Foodways Alliance The Saltwater South: Charleston
Andrew Magwood

Andrew Magwood grew up on Little Bulls Island, a spit of land between Big Bulls Island and Capers Island. His family survived on what they grew on their farm and what they caught from the water. His father, Captain Clarence Magwood, taught his sons to fish for everything from bass to shark. They also picked oysters and clams. And while the Magwood name is synonymous with shrimping in the Lowcountry, the business started with oysters. They also sold turtle eggs.

Sara Wood Awendaw, SC Southern Foodways Alliance The Saltwater South: Charleston
Rocky Magwood

Rocky Magwood, a Fourth generation fisherman, says he was raised on a shrimp boat. He’d head out with his father, Clarence “Skipper” Magwood, before he could even walk. His grandfather Junior Magwood built a rich shrimping empire on the docks of Shem Creek in Mount Pleasant. Rocky followed in his father and grandfather’s footsteps, working as a captain of several shrimping boats, each one painted green, orange, and white – the signature look of the Magwood fleet. For years shrimp caught on the Magwood fleet was delivered and sold at Shem Creek at C. A. Magwood & Sons.

Sara Wood Mt. Pleasant, SC Southern Foodways Alliance The Saltwater South: Charleston
Fred Dockery

Fred Dockery was born in Montpelier, France, where his mother worked in a hospital run by nuns. His father traveled as a professor, moving the family from the Midwest to France to Maine to North Carolina. After graduating from Bates College with a degree in philosophy, Fred moved into an airplane hangar and worked as a landscaper before taking a job on a commercial fishing boat called "The Restless." Eventually, Fred and his family moved to Charleston, South Carolina where he took a job on a clam farm.

Sara Wood Charleston, SC Southern Foodways Alliance The Saltwater South: Charleston
Neal Cooksey

Neal Cooksey grew up on James Island in Charleston, South Carolina. As a teenager, he started scalloping in Charleston Harbor and Savannah, Georgia. When he saw his first paycheck, he decided to stick with it. In the mid-1970s, he took off for shrimping the Texas Gulf Coast and Key West, Florida. Along with his crew of Bubba Jameson and Calvin Chavis, Neal shrimps on the Haley Marie & Sons, named after his three children. The boat always returns to the docks of Crosby’s Fish & Shrimp co-owned by his wife, Joanie.

Sara Wood Charleston, SC Southern Foodways Alliance The Saltwater South: Charleston

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