Riley Haskell Minnow
Information about Antique and Old Fishing Lure maker Riley Haskell his history,
and his minnow is
sparse and sporadic at best. Lure Maker Riley was born March 3rd 1827, in Geauga County
Ohio, in 1841 Geauga County was renamed Lake County. Riley's parents Foster
Haskell who was a carpenter, was originally from New York, he was born December
5th 1799 - Died May 21st 1873. Riley Haskell's mother Poly Lang Huntoon from New Hampshire
born August 23rd 1807- Died March 18th 1875.
Haskell was never married and was the eldest of six siblings Conelia Lydia Haskell
(March 7th 1829 - Nov. 10th 1911), William Haskell (November 28th 1830 -
September 21st 1912), George Haskell (September 19th 1832 - April 18th 1854),
Emily Ann Haskell (September 17th 1840 - November 23rd 1921), Albert Haskell
(July 9th 1843 - August 27th 1912), and James Haskell born about 1844.
Growing up in rural north east Ohio in the early mid 19th century, Painesville
on the shores of Lake Erie would give a hint to how or why this antique lure
and minnow maker got his start. As fishing and or lure making was more than a sport but a way and means of
survival in the early days, one can only imagine what the hopes and dreams of a
young Riley Haskell were. I have found no information on anything other than
census data for Riley or his family prior to the late 1850's.
most lure collectors would tend to look at Painesville as having only one link
to any historical provenance, the now famous Riley Haskell Minnow. The surrounding areas of Mentor and Painesville
are filled with a rich since of historical pride. One can only wonder if in 1861
when President Elect Abraham Lincoln stopped by Painesville by train for a
speech on his way to be inaugurated, if Riley Haskell may have been in
attendance. If he was there, what effect would having seen such a great common
man on his way to influence the United States and the World, and being a
impeccably simple, and honest orator have had on Riley, his life, or his
business. Painesville notably, is also considered home to the late President
As with most early manufacturers of antique
fishing lures, Riley didn't make his initial step right into being a lure
entrepreneur. Riley was first noted as a gunsmith, both manufacturing and
repairing. I personally believe this is a key factor in the scarcity Riley
Haskell's lures or a contributing factor. Placing time dates and a historical
timeline next to Haskell's life, his business an what has been published or
found referencing Riley Haskell can and does lead certainly to some speculation.
But, it is my guess that Riley decided to lean more towards rifle making and
repairing than making the minnow as it was more profitable especially since the Civil War was going on.
Haskell's Minnow Continued