The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 63, July 1959 - April, 1960 Page: 92
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
volved in opening the mussels, and it was probably not all luck
that a few did better than others. A friend of the Howletts named
Bocann was the first one to find a pearl at the Howlett camp.
Teel and Allen, who were cousins of Howlett, bought this one
for $5o. The largest one which Howlett found was as big as the
end of his thumb and called a button pearl. He sold it for $0lo.
A little one, which was pear shaped, he sold for $25 before Dr.
Owen arrived. For several, he received as much as $75 or $8o.
For one month during the three-year period, he said that he
found $50 to $75 worth of pearls daily.14
Estimates as to the total take from the lake are as varied and
unreliable as human nature. Some think that as much as a mil-
lion dollars worth of pearls was marketed. One person was said
to have received as much as $1o,ooo, but this is rumor. Some
were secretive about their finds to avoid jealousy. Others were
boastful and probably exaggerated their fortunes. The fact re-
mains that for three summers the pearl hunting was so profitable
that the commercial fishermen gave up fishing entirely and put
in their entire time at mussel hunting.5 At least one person re-
ported, however, that he worked for two weeks without finding
a single pearl, and that his partner found only one in that time.
He thinks that only one person in twenty-five really found any
pearls. That was Frank Rosser, who stayed in the camp the first
summer for two weeks in August. He went with his brother and
two other boys. They were in their twenties. Pete Goodman was
the only one in the party who found a pearl. Bob and Preston
Rosser furnished the wagon and team for them. They would take
a boat out each morning and bring back a load of mussels, he
said, but they failed to find any treasure. They left the lake in
discouragement, and there were probably others who were dis-
appointed. Howlett said, however, that sometimes for two weeks
no one would find a pearl. Then one would be found, and the
hunt would take on new vigor.
Frank Rosser has recently retired after being in the grocery
business near Atlanta for thirty years. He tells of another disap-
14Hubert Howlett to Katherine Williams, signed statement, March 28, 1959
(Archives, University of Texas Library).
15Farm Talk (Winnsboro, Texas), May, 1958.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 63, July 1959 - April, 1960, periodical, 1960; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101186/m1/120/: accessed March 29, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.