Talk of the Towns - A humble fish altered history along the Namakset 7/25/14

Talk of the Towns - A humble fish altered history along the Nemasket

Middleboro Gazette
July 25, 2014

A humble fish altered history along the Nemasket
Every spring, the Nemasket River welcomes thousands of migratory river herring that thrash and leap as they fight their way upstream from Mount Hope Bay. Of all non-domesticated animals, the river herring—or alewife—has arguably had the greatest impact on the towns along the river in southeastern Massachusetts. The area was called Nemasket, or "place of fish," by Native Americans, and its earliest English colonists were dependent on river herring for their very survival. They provided a livelihood for generations of families in Middleboro and Lakeville, shaping their culture and the course of the region's development.

Today, herring fishing is banned, and the community is working toward protecting and preserving the river so the herring have a place to return each year. In a book to be released next week, historian Michael J. Maddigan explores the big story of the small fish that shaped life along the Nemasket River.

Maddigan has been involved in the field of local history and historic preservation for more than 30 years. He has written extensively on the history of Middleboro and Lakeville, and is the author of several books on local history, including "South Middleborough: A History," previously published by The History Press. Other works include "Elysian Fields: A History of the Rock Cemetery" (2007), "Images of America: Middleborough" (2009), "An Illustrated History of the King Philip Tavern" (2010), "Star Mill: History and Architecture" (2012) and "Representatives of the Great Cause: Middleborough Servicemen & Their Letters from the First World War" (2013).

Maddigan has contributed articles to numerous publications, and his work appears regularly in The Middleboro Gazette as the popular local history column "Recollecting Nemasket." Maddigan owns a small publishing press and website under the Recollecting Nemasket name, both of which are devoted to popularizing local history. He is currently at work on separate histories of the Brockton Fair and the Bridgewater State Farm.

From Forum

Herring Public Forum Exemption to Wetland Act for herring protection
DaveC > 25-July-2016

Herring Run Counts 2015 Herring Counts
DaveC > 25-July-2016

Herring Management Town Brook alewives get a free ride to Billington Sea
KnightofNi > 29-April-2016

Herring Public Forum River Herring Migration Series at WHOI
KnightofNi > 30-April-2015

Eels Fines Increased for Herring Poaching
Jones River > 15-April-2015

river herring blog


2017 Annual Meeting Summary

Thank you to all who made the 2017 River Herring Network annual meeting a success!

Seventy three...

Agenda for 2017 Annual Meeting - November 2

Click to download a pdf of the agenda:2017 RHN Annual Meeting -Revised Agenda

The 7th Annual...

NMFS initiates status review of bluebacks and alewife

Several news stories and radio programs announced yesterday and today that the National Marine...

Two MA dam removal projects are awarded funding from NOAA

Two projects in Massachusetts have been awarded 2017 Community-based Restoration Program Coastal...

Save the Date - November 2, 2017 Annual Meeting

Save the Date!  

The River Herring Network 2017 annual meeting will take place on Thursday,...

More Blog Posts