Columnist : Georges Corner
The Jed Welsh saga
Jeds father, Joe related this story as he did with many others.
During the 1800's, in Scotland there was a town called Newton Stewart. Most
residents were sheep farmers or had other small farming ventures. But in the
town proper, resided families whose relatives in the family tree were either
Game Wardens or Poachers. The Poachers lived in mutual harmony with the Game
Wardens whose only goal in life was to catch the Poachers doing their
thing. This was a century old practice that went on continually throughout
the towns existence.
of Newton Stewart in the 1800's"
Painted by Jed Welshs'
grandfather, Joseph Erskine Welsh.
The Poachers had a practice of selling their game or fish door to door which
pleased everybody including the Game Warden families. After all the Wardens
werenąt concerned about the booty unless they could catch them red-handed on
the spot ,actually breaking the law. The Game Wardens were all employed by
the Lord Galloway Estate and which being off limits was a bonanza of game
for the Poachers.
This story is about the Cree River that flowed through the town from inside
the Estate. The river from the ocean was fairly wide to the Estate and from
its course through the Estate it became very much narrower. This of course
made it easy for poaching because the salmon were constricted to a point
where the Poachers could hide in the bushes and catch their loot much easier
than they could outside the Estate. But a #40 pound salmon can put up one
heck of battle especially when they were fighting at the other end of a hand
We all know the "sulking habits" of salmon. They are actually resting at
this point and recover quickly after the initial hookup for further battling. This was a real problem for the Poachers. They had to keep the
fish from sulking and get the fish immediately to the bank before they were
caught. So they either made the salmon fight quickly to his expiration or
risk arrest by the ever present Wardens.
Somebody of the town populace, a long time before, found out that salmon
hate nicotine and would literally kill themselves to escape the presence of
tobacco. The women poachers knowing this sewed cloth bags into shapes like
the old Bull Durham sacks. They collected cigarette butts and pipe tobacco
from the towns trash and loaded the sacks with their tobacco debris and
placed a rock in the sack for weight. After the hook-up and the salmon
stopped his initial run, the Poacher slid the sack down the line to the
salmons mouth where he breathed in the tobacco with each resting breath. The
instant the salmon detected the tobacco he went crazy and very quickly
demised himself and the Poacher was out of the Estate quickly back to town
going from door to door for a sale.
When the poacher presented the salmon at the door to the village women most
of them opened the salmons mouth and smelled inside. If the salmon had been
"tobackeyed" it supposedly spoiled the rest of the meat, so most turned it
down "Who wants a tobackeyed fish and all that spoiled meat?"
By the way, Jeds father Joe was named after his father Joe, who in turn was
named after his father Joe. What the heck happened to Jed? Jeds mom must
have eaten tobackeyed salmon when the time came to name her new son.