Casting Light on Community Tradition - Local news, weather, sports Savannah | WSAV On Your Side

Casting Light on Community Tradition

SAVANNAH, GA -

Isaac Martin is trying to hold on to his ancestors way of life.
As he weaves a cast net out of twine, he remembers the craft that kept his family fed.  

It's a tradition that's traveled through generations... an art-as he calls it- by way of West Africa... learned from the hands of his grandfather, Louis Green.

"The cast net is what my grand daddy used to knit around Pin Point for anybody who wanted a crab net," Martin says, "And he'd just sit there. He'd knit a shrimp net. He'd knit a mullet net. And he'd sit there with the crab net."

With the sea literally at their backyard, it seemed only natural to bask in its beauty while taking advantage of its bounty.

There's a calling to the water.. a connection that continues to make this community special.

"They used those nets at Pin Point to go crabbing and that's the way the old people made their living... catching crab for AS Varn."

Martin was only 14 when he knitted his first net. While it's hard for him to keep tabs, he says he's made thousands since then... and he still does it the old fashioned way- the way his grandfather taught him.

Like many of the folks here, the retired machinist grew up working at the A. S. Varn and Son Factory- a seafood processing plant that was once the economic heart of this waterfront community. It now houses the Pin Point Heritage Museum where he volunteers teaching a course on cast net making and conducting demonstrations.

Martin, is a direct descendent of freed slaves who sailed from Skidaway, Ossabaw and other nearby islands to make a home inland.

For years, they lived a simple life in the secluded neighborhood of Pin Point- fishing shrimp and harvesting oysters.

"Once they'd go out and catch crab. They'd run all up and down that river all day long with 25 nets... some of them had 40 nets... and they'd catch 100 to 200 pounds of crab just running back and forth up and down that river."

It's those experiences Martin hopes to share with his grandchildren and future generations- casting his cares back to the sea while weaving a new appreciation of an age old tradition.

"My grandfather went through a lot to learn how to do this," Martin says, "and I appreciate what he taught me and it stuck with me. It didn't ever leave me."

The Pin Point Heritage Museum is open Thursdays and Saturdays from 9 am to 5 pm.
Isaac Martin's cast net demonstration is a part of the tour.

For more information, visit:

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