The Heritage of Daniel Haston


The Caney Fork of the Cumberland
Pearls - Page 22
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Pearls From the Caney Fork River

Many fine pearls have been found in the Caney Fork in years past including both the white and pink or "rose bud" colors.  Mussels were quite plentiful on the shoals where the water ran swiftly and carried an ample supply of food for them.

After the first dam was built at Rock Island the flow of the river was changed and the supply of mussels decreased.  They were harder to find in the deeper water.

$100 to $800 pearls were found over the years and many of the lesser value.  The highest price ever paid was $2,000.  Herman Myer of Carthage was known as "the pearl king."  T.O. Key was another well known buyer.

The reader is referred to an article in the Magazine section of the Nashville Tennessean of March 1, 1964, "When Pearls Grew Big in Tennessee."  A related article "The Musseling Matlocks" pertaining to the Tennessee River was published in the same paper October 7, 1945.

The writer did a little hopeful pearl hunting in the late 1920's.  The mussels were hard to find but they were there minus pearls.

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