Term: Pearl Fishing
Definition: During the past twenty years [1886-1906] pearls to the value of about $250,000 have been taken from clams along the shore of the Mississippi river from Prairie du Chien south to the Illinois line, and from the Pecatonica and Sugar rivers in southwestern Wisconsin. The pearls secured are nearly equal in value and beauty to the oriental stones. The highest price known to have been paid for a Wisconsin pearl is $5,000. Pearl fishing has not reached the dignity of an industry as it is taken up spasmodically by people along the rivers mentioned. The pearls are found for the most part in clams found in the mud in the sluggish portion of the streams.
[Source: Wisconsin: comprising sketches of counties, towns, events, institutions, and persons, arranged in cyclopedic form, ed. by Ex-Gov. Geo. W. Peck (Madison, Wis., Western Historical Association, 1906).