The Great Caddo Lake Pearl Rush
By Gary Endsley
Yes, freshwater mussels make pearls, and yes, Caddo Lake experienced a great pearl rush over a short period between 1909 and 1911.
It all began with the arrival of someone who had done it all before. Sachihiko Ono “George” Murata went to work for Gulf Oil on Caddo Lake. During his time as a cook, he began to find pearls in freshwater mussels. When George found two pearls valued at $1,500 each, the “Great Pearl Hunt” was touched off. As many as 500 tents were set up on the shore and hillsides of Potter’s Point at any one time. Most hunters became discouraged after a few weeks and some stayed through the next three summers. Eventually, all would leave except George.