James E. Pitts Sr.

James Pitts has spent his life on or near the Rappahannock River. Born in 1921, he still lives in the Rollins Fork area of King George County, near where he grew up. One of his fondest boyhood memories is from the mid-1930s, when he caught a ride with a generous neighbor and traveled to Colonial Beach to see a steamboat arrive from Washington, D.C. In his interview, Mr. Pitts tells of growing up on a farm during the Great Depression, and commercial fishing for shad with his father. He also fished the Rappahannock River commercially as an adult, and shares his recipe for “salt fish” – herring and shad preserved in salt. His is a remarkable story, full of warmth and humor about Life Along the Rappahannock.

James Pitts Transcript 

Early life on the Farm
Experiences on the Rappahannock River Growing Up
Mr. Pitts' Story about the Steamboat on the Potomac River & Colonial Beach
Fishing on the River
Commercial Fishing
Working at Naval Base Dahlgren
History of Fishing on the River
Earliest Memories of Steamboats
Meaning of the Rappahannock to Mr. Pitts
Fondest Memory on the Rappahannock River