its mouth, where they are found in great plenty and many very large.
The other on the River Chiaha, which runs into the Coza or Cussaw River
(as our English call it), and which comes from the northeast, and,
after a course of some hundred miles, disembogues into the Gulf of
Florida, about one hundred miles to the east of the Meschacebe.1
is interesting to note that the first place mentioned by Coxe as the
location of a great pearl fishery is not far from one of the most
productive pearling regions of the last fifteen years, viz., the
eastern part of Arkansas. The second place noted by him appears to be
identical with the Iciaha, where, nearly two centuries before, the
Indians exhibited the methods of their fishing to De Soto and his com-
Coxe's notice, for 250 years following 1600, little was heard of the
occurrence of pearls within this country. This does not indicate
necessarily that the gems were absent from the waters ; but, not using
the Unios for food as did the aborigines, the residents had little
occasion to open them and in this way learn of their contents. And
even where pearls were occasionally found in mollusks opened for
fish-bait, the people were in few instances informed as to their market
value, and did not attempt to sell them, although the most attractive
ones may have been treasured as ornaments or as keepsakes. This was
paralleled in the diamond fields of South Africa, where gems worth
thousands of dollars were used as playthings by the farmers' children.
A jewel, like a prophet, is frequently without honor in its own country
until the residents of that country learn of the great esteem in which
it is held elsewhere.
yet, in some localities a few pearls were collected from time to time.
The Moravians—familiar with the pearls of their native streams in
Europe—gathered many from the Lehigh River near Bethlehem,
Pennsylvania, over a century ago;2 and from Rhode Island and elsewhere a few were obtained.
first awakening to a realization of the value of fresh-water pearls in
America occurred fifty years ago, when several beautiful gems were
marketed from the northern part of New Jersey. The story of this find
has been frequently told. A shoemaker named David Howell, who lived on
the outskirts of Paterson, occasionally relieved the monotony of his
trade by a fishing excursion to some neighboring stream, where he
would usually collect a "mess" of mussels. Returning from one of these
visits to Notch Brook in the spring of
1 Coxe, "A Description of the English Meschacebe or Missisipi," London, 1722, pp.
Province of Carolana, by the Spaniards 82, 83.
call'd Florida, and by the French La Louisi- 2 "Allgemeine Handelszeitung," Leipzig,
ane, as also of the Great and Famous River April, 1789, p. 218.