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Pearls of the Wabash

By Grace Batronis

Sentinel Reporter

During the summers of 1963-1965, Jim Meece said he and his best friend, David Berrisford, spent most days out on the Wabash River, hunting for freshwater mussels. The history of the Wabash is full of mussels, hunted by Native Americans for tools and utensils and later augmenting the commercial clothing business in the late 1800s to mid-1900s. However, for Meece and Berrisford, mussel hunting was just something to keep them busy when school was out.

They would drive just upstream of where Sugar Creek empties into the Wabash on a Vespa scooter and then fish in Berrisford’s motorboat for the mussels. The shells were embedded across the bottom of the river, easy to feel with your feet. Meece said they would let their feet drift along the bottom, picking up mussels the size of your palm with their toes, while others were large enough that they had to leave the boat to heft them out of the sand.


For the full article, see this week’s edition of the Parke County Sentinel.