By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Bulloch History by Roger Allen
Fish Trap, Bulloch County
Placeholder Image
    With a name like that, I’m not sure if I’d like to live there. Where exactly would that be, and how did it get its name? The truth, in this case, is quite simple. At Great Lott’s Creek, along the Bulloch and Candler County line, a gentleman named William Wright had bought some land. He announced on April 14, 1860, that he intended to set up a “fish trap” on the Great Ogeechee River near the junction of Great Lott’s Creek.
    Wright was an ingenious fellow. He indeed intended to catch a lot of fish for his family, and for sale, with what he hoped would be very little work. Sort of a self-serve fishery, if you’ll pardon the pun. He had arranged with Alexander J. Habersham and John B. Watts of Effingham County to use their land to build this curious device. A “fish trap” is very much like a “Weir” or a dam, in which a specific shaped pattern of rocks or wood is laid out on the river bottom, with a wooden trap placed at the mouth of the “trap.”
    Most fishing in the colonial days was done during the seasonal fish runs, or migrations when there were great numbers of these fish to catch. During these events, temporary weirs were often set up to direct the fish to the spear. A weir is something like a partially underwater fence across a stream with only one way for the fish to get through. Weirs directed fish into traps or nets waiting at the other end.
    Fish traps work as follows: migrating fish swimming upstream will go upstream no matter what. Finding their way into, and then apparently, out of these traps, the fish won’t usually turn around to get back out. The only real limitation to using weirs and fish traps is excessive speed of the water, which might rip the traps apart. There are V-shaped traps, curved traps and L-shaped traps, to name a few.
    There are records of thousands of these “fish traps” and “fish weirs” scattered up and down most of the Eastern Seaboards rivers. Anyways, on December 12, 1889, there was recorded in the Bulloch County Courthouse that Bedford Everett and Deacon Howard Kirkland of the Mount Pisgah Primitive Baptist Church had negotiated the sale of two acres for $4 between Everett’s land and the mouth of the Great Lott’s Creek owned by the church. The deal was finalized on June 23, 1890.
    From that point on, everything in the neighborhood became quite “Fish-y.” Some started referring to the church as the “Fish Trap Church.” Their cemetery became known to many as “Fish Trap Cemetery,” and the bridge was informally renamed the “Fish Trap Bridge.” The nearby school became the “Fish Trap School,” and oh, yes, the road was renamed by many “Fish Trap Road.” Never been there (and don’t intend to go) but thought that it sounded awfully “fishy” to me.
    Roger Allen is a local lover of history. Allen provides a brief look at Bulloch County's historical past. E-mail Roger at roger
Sign up for the Herald's free e-newsletter