They were eastern painted turtles and what we call leather back turtles. We lived right on the edge of the water and would just catch them by hand. They are cute and pretty while they are small but get kinda ugly when they grow up. The eastern painter looks a lot like a red-eared sliders.
We lived on a channel and it was a kids paradise. All summer long they were catching frogs, fish and turtles....and other things.
My father grew up on the East Coast and would bring home all kinds of critters back from the swamps. He once brought two snapping turtles and left them in his mother's bath tub. He always told the best stories about his child hood. He was definitely not a model child.