New Jersey’s Delaware Bayshore | National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

New Jersey’s Delaware Bayshore

  • Collection DOI:
    Principle Investigator:
    Rachel Dolhanczyk
Interviewee Description Interviewer Date of Interview Location of Interview Affiliation Collection
Shuckers' Tales

Seven local citizens of Port Norris, New Jersey shared their stories about their lives and jobs as shuckers in the various packing houses in Maurice River, Bivalve, Shellpile, Port Norris and Mauricetown, New Jersey. The panelist include: Georgia Robinson, Florence Robinson, Freddie Smith, Beryl Whittington, Margaret Towner, Anna Young and Sandra King. They describe how they shucked oysters using either the stabbing or cracking methods; what they were paid; and their living and working conditions. The program includes audience participation with question and answers from the panel.

Unknown Port Norris, NJ Bayshore Center at Bivalve Delaware Bay Museum & Folklife Center New Jersey’s Delaware Bayshore
Oystermen Stories

A panel discussion of retired oystermen whose recollections spanned from post World War I (1918) through the 1990s including Bill Biggs, 1926-2001, John Dubois, 1912-2001, Charlie Elmer, 1912-2006, Arthur Hinson, 1917-2012, Jack King, 1928-2001, Joe Lore, 1910-2000 and Mort Hughes, 1920-2012. They discuss hiring crews from the Chesapeake, planting oysters during Bay Season, harvesting, dredging, food, running a boat and changing from sail to power. Plus questions, comments and stories from the audience.

Unknown Port Norris, NJ Bayshore Center at Bivalve Delaware Bay Museum & Folklife Center New Jersey’s Delaware Bayshore
Freddie Smith

George Wallace (b. 1914) and Freddie Smith (b. 1929) were employed by different oyster companies for over 50 years throughout Bivalve and Port Norris, New Jersey. They worked as oyster shuckers and skimmers in the oyster houses and as deckhands and captains on oyster schooners. They discussed their work, families, life and memories of friends and other workers. The interview was conducted while they were on break from their work at Harbor House Packing Company, the last shucking house in Port Norris, New Jersey.

Patricia A. Moore , Olin McConnell Port Norris, NJ Bayshore Center at Bivalve Delaware Bay Museum & Folklife Center New Jersey’s Delaware Bayshore
George "Babe" Wallace

George Wallace (b. 1914) and Freddie Smith (b. 1929) were employed by different oyster companies for over 50 years throughout Bivalve and Port Norris, New Jersey. They worked as oyster shuckers and skimmers in the oyster houses and as deckhands and captains on oyster schooners. They discussed their work, families, life and memories of friends and other workers. The interview was conducted while they were on break from their work at Harbor House Packing Company, the last shucking house in Port Norris, New Jersey.

Patricia A. Moore , Olin McConnell Port Norris, NJ Bayshore Center at Bivalve Delaware Bay Museum & Folklife Center New Jersey’s Delaware Bayshore
Jean Reed Norona

Jean Reed Norona talks about her childhood growing up in Port Norris, New Jersey and her family's oyster business Reed & Reed Oystering, Co. including the oyster boats they owned. She describes the rechristening of the Schooner CASHIER in 1949 and her history as the longest, continuously operating commercial fishing boat in the US.

Sally Van de Water Port Norris, NJ Bayshore Center at Bivalve Delaware Bay Museum & Folklife Center New Jersey’s Delaware Bayshore
Marvin Rankin

Marvin Rankin talks of gill net fishing for perch and shad off of Salem County, NJ in the upper portions of the Delaware Bay. He discusses how to set the line, the equipment and boats and the problem with netting striped bass. As a waterman, he crabs in the summer and traps muskrat during the winter. Mr. Rankin has many observations about pollution and how chemicals and the nuclear power plant have affected the fish and muskrat populations. He explains New Jersey and Delaware licenses and regulations on the Delaware Bay and River.

Meghan Wren-Briggs Harmersville, NJ Bayshore Center at Bivalve Delaware Bay Museum & Folklife Center New Jersey’s Delaware Bayshore
Clyde Aaron Phillips

Clyde A Phillips tells of his life and family ownership of the oyster boat CLYDE A. PHILLIPS and Phillips Seafood Packing Company and its brand Phillips' Jersey Cape Fresh Salt Water Oysters. His memories as a child, working the boats in his father's oyster business and shucking house, his family and jobs he had. He locates many of the businesses in Port Norris and Bivalve.

Patricia A. Moore Millville, NJ Bayshore Center at Bivalve Delaware Bay Museum & Folklife Center New Jersey’s Delaware Bayshore
Louis Peterson, Part 2

Interview with Louis Peterson on May 10, 2013.

Rachel Dolhanczyk, Michael Chiarappa, Dave Patterson Unknown Bayshore Center at Bivalve Delaware Bay Museum & Folklife Center New Jersey’s Delaware Bayshore
Louis Peterson, Part 1

Interview with Louis Peterson on April 17, 2013.

Patricia A. Moore Unknown Bayshore Center at Bivalve Delaware Bay Museum & Folklife Center New Jersey’s Delaware Bayshore
Don McDaniels

Don McDaniels' great-grandfather was Charles Riggin who was the patriarch of a well-known oystering family. Mr. Riggin had the schooners AMELIA RIGGIN, J&E RIGGIN and C.M. RIGGIN. The J&E RIGGIN won the Delaware Bay Schooner Race of 1929. Don started oystering in 1958 and also tonged for seed oysters. But, by 1966 switched to clamming (surf clams and Quahogs). He discussed the clamming schedule and seasons, laws, regulations & permits, and areas he worked out of including Point Pleasant Beach, Barnegat, Atlantic City, Cape May, Maryland and Virginia.

Sally Van de Water, Deb Slating Cape May, NJ Bayshore Center at Bivalve Delaware Bay Museum & Folklife Center New Jersey’s Delaware Bayshore