"The History of the
After hours of fruitless research on the
history of seineyards in Wakulla County,
we finally realized we were looking in all the wrong places. We
decided why not go straight to the source, someone who worked in
the seineyards. The source, Mr. T.L. Stokley and his wife
LaVerne, shared what they remember about the history of life at
the seineyard, that very few people remember today
You see, Mr. T.L. ran the seineyard at
Ochlocknee/Elmer Cove. In the Fall of each year, he
would move to the seineyard and not return home until
the end of December. In those days local people were
hired to work at the seineyard. A man could earn $15 to
$25 per month which was considered good pay at the time.
They would live in shanties, little hut-like houses, on
the beach. Everyone ate together on the beach, with one
cook preparing meals for everyone.
In addition to the cook, there were
other special jobs. Mr. T.L. was known as the
"striker". The striker had the special and rare
talent of being able to spot schools of mullet.
The striker would sit in a lookout stand
(somewhat similar to what we know today as a
lifeguard chair) to see when the mullet began
"running". When the striker called that the
mullet were "running", the oarsmen would take
the net and encircle the mullet. Slowly, but
surely, the mullet were brought to the hill
(onto the beach). They would then split the
mullet, salt them down in barrels, and place
them in the icehouse on the beach.
Local people would come to the seineyard
to buy fresh fish. Mrs. LaVerne says, "There is
no better eating than a fresh mullet cooked
right on the beach!" Mr. T.L. recalls that the
biggest season they ever had at Ochlocknee/Elmer
Cove totaled 165,000 mullet. The life of the
Seineyard was good, hard, honest work
were also a resort spot of sorts. The Stokleys
remember their parents talking about the "folks
in covered wagons" coming from
Cairo and Thomasville, to spend a week at the seineyard.
It was a very festive time at the seineyards
when the Georgia
visitors were added to the locals working and
visiting. Mr. T.L. remembered looking down the
beach perched atop of his striker stand seeing
people enjoying themselves cooking, swimming,
and eating mullet. Thank goodness there are
still those around like T.L. and LaVerne Stokley
who can recall the "good old days".
Although the seineyards on the beach no
longer exist, the tradition of the past is
present in the spirit, pride, and love we put
into each meal prepared especially for you.