looking back

Fish bandit, 1892

By ANNEMARIE SCHUETZ
Posted 7/23/20

Almost 130 years ago, a guy caught some fish in Adams Brook.

Fifty fish, to be exact, and 39 of them were undersized. 

Elias Mackey was the game constable back then, and he, plus Solon …

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looking back

Fish bandit, 1892

Posted

Almost 130 years ago, a guy caught some fish in Adams Brook.

Fifty fish, to be exact, and 39 of them were undersized. 

Elias Mackey was the game constable back then, and he, plus Solon LaValley, W.T. Mackey and Stoneman Cuddy (one assumes that is a job description, not a first name) counted up the fish. 

One can picture the scene at Long Eddy’s Maple Grove Hotel: anxious fisherman, fierce game constable, other luminaries, small fish in a stinky accusatory pile. (Plus a much smaller pile of appropriately-sized fish.) 

A complaint was lodged against the unnamed unfortunate catcher of small fish, and the verdict delivered: he had to pay a fine of $25 per fish. 

According to the invaluable Inflation Calculator, that works out to $708.22 in today’s money. 

Per fish.

So the guy owed $975*, which apparently he did not have to hand over immediately. Because he “obtained”** a horse and rode away, fine unpaid. “The basket of evidence strangely disappeared along with the angler,” says The Echo, the newsletter of the Basket Historical Society.

*$27,620.58 in 2020 money 

** He may have had help with the obtaining. The game warden (do not confuse with the game constable) was gamely on the lookout for the local man who provided the horse.

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