"The History of the Seineyard"
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

The seineyards were also a resort spot of sorts. The Stokleys remember their parents talking about the "folks in covered wagons" coming from Georgia, mostly 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.

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