Ferries in Kansas, Part II, Kansas River
by George A. Root
February 1934 (Vol. 3, No. 1), pages 15 to 42
SMITH'S FERRY, next above Papan's, was the third operated within the limits of present Shawnee county. Sidney W. Smith, native of Orange county, Vermont, arrived in Uniontown in 1848. In 1852 he settled on the Kansas river in the south half of S. 30, T. 11, R. 15 E., and established a ferry, having landings on both sides of the river in the same section which is now a portion of Menoken and Mission townships. This location is about a mile northwest of the old Baptist mission, which was established in the fall of 1847. The ferry boat used by Smith was built at Uniontown by Messrs. Kennedy and Freeman, was operated as a rope ferry, and was said to be the first rope ferry ever established on the Kaw river above Wyandotte. Kennedy ran the boat for Smith for a year, and then became a partner in the business. 268 This ferry was operated for eight years before it was abandoned. A road ran from the mission to the ferry, and the bottoms to the west of the mission farm were a favorite camping place for the thousands of wagon trains which passed up the valley to this crossing. Here they went into camp, letting their stock have a needed rest while necessary repairs were being made to their prairie schooners. Mr. Langel W. Moore, an old resident of that neighbor hood, who attended school at the old mission, stated that he had talked with old Indians who visited the school to see their children, that one old Indian, growing reminiscent, said to him, "Me see this whole bottom covered with white-topped wagons. Me not know half that many wagons in world."
In the Kansas Tribune, Topeka, September 30, 1858, about two and one-half months after the Topeka pile bridge washed out, appeared the following item: "FERRY ACROSS THE KANSAS.--There is a good ferry across the Kansas at this place. Mr. Smith, the proprietor, is an old hand at the business, and promises speedy and safe trips. A few months hence and the rebuilding of the Topeka bridge will exclude the necessity of a ferry at this place."
Following is a copy of the bond filed by Mr. Smith for the year 1859:
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Know all men by these presents that I, S. W. Smith, as principal and William Morse & E. C. K. Garvey as sureties all of the county of Shawnee and territory of Kansas are held and stand firmly bound to the said county of Shawnee in the sum of One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00) to be paid to the said county through any person duly authorized to receive the same, to the payment of which we bind ourselves our heirs, executors and administrators firmly by these presents.
Sealed with our seals and dated the 16th day of February A. D. 1859.
The condition of the above obligation is such that whereas a license has this day been granted to the said S. W. Smith by the county board of supervisors in and for said county, to establish and maintain a ferry across the Kansas river at the city of Topeka, in said county. Now if the said S. W. Smith shall so establish and maintain such ferry, agreeably to such license and in all respects according to law, then this obligation shall be void and of no effect. WILLIAM MORSE (Seal)
Rec'd and approved this 18th day of E. C. K. GARVEY (Seal)
February A. D. 1859. F. W. GiLES. 269 JOSEPH SMITH (Seal)
The Topeka Tribune, of April 28, 1859, also contained another mention:
SMITH'S FERRY.--The well-known crossing of the Kansas river, six miles west of Topeka, Smith's ferry, has lately been resumed by the proprietor of the ferry. The landing on both sides of the river is good. Thousands of the California emigrants crossed here.--Mr. Smith has been in the business for a number of years and understands it exactly. See his ferry advertisement.
The advertisement follows:
SMITH'S OLD FERRY
The subscriber announces to the traveling public that he has resumed his old Ferry at the crossing of the Santa Fe road from Leavenworth to New Mexico, on the Kansas river. This point is well known in the country as the most easy and natural crossing on the river, it being on the most traveled thoroughfare through to the new gold mines or the Santa Fe settlement, and over which the U. S. government trains almost invariably pass. It need only be announced that this is the old stand, to insure all the principal crossing of those bound to the mountains--to southern or any part of western Kansas.
Rates of ferriage will be as low, and the crossing more convenient, and attended with less delay than at any other ferry on the Kaw river.
April 29, '59—m3. S. W. SMITH, Prop'r.
Two other ferries were started in 1853 in this vicinity, which was known as "The Great Crossing." One was by Hiram Wells and John Ogee, who established the first and probably the only deck ferry boat ever on the Kansas river. Their craft was 10 x 60 feet in size, capable of carrying a good-sized load. This ferry was said to be but a short distance from the Smith ferry. Joseph and Louis Ogee also started a ferry in this immediate vicinity during 1853. It was a
ROOT: FERRIES IN KANSAS 17
partnership affair for a few years, when Louis sold his interest to Joseph who continued to run it until 1869.
The last two named ferries, and Smith's ferry, according to W. W. Cone, were located within a quarter of a mile of each other, but whether above or below Smith's is not stated. "There was a large amount of travel over these ferries. On some days there were no less than seventy-five wagons ferried across the river on each boat, making two hundred and twenty-five wagons, with teams, per day. This was the California and Oregon emigration." 270
B. H. Eddy, R. F. D. No. 8, Topeka, has lived in the vicinity of "The Great Crossing" for many years. During the fall of 1932 he stated to the writer that during his boyhood days he recalled many times of having seen remnants of an old ferry cable fastened to a good-sized cottonwood tree on the south bank of the Kaw river, where the old Oregon trail led to the river. This fragment of cable no doubt had seen service on one of the ferries that operated in this immediate locality. The Oregon road, on the hills to the south, can still be traced in places for several miles, and ruts cut by the wagon wheels down the hillside a short distance from the river crossing were still visible in the fall of 1933.
Mr. Eddy also recalled a pontoon bridge that spanned the river at the approximate site of the ferry. This was built in 1888 or 1889, for the convenience of farmers on the north side of the river who had planted many acres to sorghum for the Topeka sugar mill, which was located at the western base of Martin's Hill. As this sugar mill was short lived, the bridge evidently came to an end about the same time.
On March 12, 1866, the Pottawatomie Bridge and Ferry Company was organized at Topeka, Joshua Knowles, Daniel W. Boutwell, L. B. Chamberlain, Dr. D. W. Stormont, and Reuben A. Randlett being the incorporators. The principal office of the company was at Topeka. The company proposed to establish ferries and bridges on the Kansas river between the following-named locations: At a point where the eastern boundary of the Pottawatomie reservation crosses the Kansas river, thence running west to where range 7, east of the sixth principal meridian, crosses the river. The company was capitalized at $50,000, with shares $100 each. The charter was filed with the secretary of state, March 12, 1866. 271 The eastern limit of the charter was in S. 22, T. 11, R. 15, and the western limit was
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close to the western limits of present Manhattan. The members of this company were identified with the history of Shawnee county for many years. Joshua Knowles was prominent in business circles and was president of the Topeka Bridge Company; Daniel W. Boutwell was a noted scout and messenger for the Union forces during the Civil War on the frontier. His son Victor S. Boutwell is present foreman of the bindery at the state printing office; Dr. D. W. Stormont was one of the outstanding surgeons of his day, and the founder and patron of Stormont Hospital, Topeka. Reuben A. Randlett, was a resident of Shawnee county as early as 1856. He was a contractor and carpenter; took part in the early border troubles and was an employee of the state during the early nineties.
The above company filed the following statement, dated December 31, 1866, with the secretary of state:
Capital stock $50,000.00
Property or assets held by company 5.00
Receipts of company previous year 15.00
Expenses during previous year 10.00
JOSHUA KNOWLES, President.
L. B. CHAMBERLAIN, Secretary.
On the line between S. 19 and S. 24, T. 11, R. 13 and 14, but a few rods from the mouth of what is now known as Vesper creek, was the location of the Pottawatomie Bridge and Ferry Company. A stone approach led up from the river at this point, but few if any of the residents now living in that locality know any history of this enterprise, or how long it operated. This was just one and one-half miles below the site of old Uniontown. 272
On March 13, 1869, the Silver Lake Ferry Company was granted a charter by the state. Joseph Saville, E. P. Rino, Eason Johnson, I. C. Johnson and William Chilson were incorporators. The company was capitalized at $800, divided into two shares of $400 each, and had its headquarters at the town of Silver Lake. Their ferry was to be "located at a point about 80 perch [rods] below the mouth of Silver Lake, on the north side of the Kansas river, in S. 20, T. 11, R. 14 E., and on the south side of the river in S. 21, in said twp. and range, both in Shawnee county." The boundary of the ferry was to extend westwardly up the river two and one-half miles from the west line of description, and eastwardly down the river two and one-half miles from the east line of described sections. This charter was filed with the secretary of state March 13, 1869. 273
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No license or bond for the operation of a ferry was filed by the above company. The next year, however, Joseph Saville and J. N. Bourassa obtained a ferry license for this point which granted special privileges for three miles up and three miles down the river. 274 They filed a $500 bond and started their ferry, their charges for the year ending March 1, 1871, being: government wagon team, $1; two-horse wagon, 35 cents; one horse wagon or buggy, 25 cents; horse and rider, 15 cents; loose horses or cattle, 10 cents; sheep or hogs, 5 cents. 275
In 1871 Mr. Bourassa had sole charge of the ferry, 276 and Edward Chilson for the next five years, with J. B. Oliver, of Silver Lake, as partner in 1874. Their license that year granted exclusive rights for a distance of one-half mile each side of their ferry landings. 277
Apparently this ferry was not operated for the next two years, as no licenses were issued by the county. In 1879 Mr. Chilson re established his ferry early in April, the county requiring a bond of $200, but issuing a license without cost. 278
During the fall of 1879 a new company was formed to operate the above ferry, and the Topeka Commonwealth of November 9 contained the following mention:
The Silver Lake Ferry Company recently organized has taken possession of this boat at the crossing, employed a competent man to take charge thereof, reduced the rate of ferriage to a low figure, and commenced business under favorable auspices. New roads will be laid out and old ones repaired leading to the ferry, and every facility afforded the traveling public having occasion to cross the Kaw at that point.
Silver Lake is putting on metropolitan airs, and is fast becoming a prominent shipping point, and if its merchants and business men get their eyes open to their own interests they will now offer such inducements as will draw the trade from the adjacent country on the south side of the river. Valencia and Plowboy are growing settlements, and are the homes of energetic and successful farmers. The grain and stock business is rapidly increasing in those localities, and will naturally seek railroad communication at Silver Lake, now that the ferry has been put in proper shape to facilitate coming there.
On July 8, 1880, the Silver Lake Bridge and Ferry Company asked for and was granted a license to operate and maintain a ferry across the river south of the city of Silver Lake. No license fee was required, but the company was required to file a bond for
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$200. 279 The following year R. A. Ogee filed a bond of $300 for operating a ferry near Silver Lake, which was approved by the county clerk, and the board of county commissioners authorized that official to issue a license without fee. 280
The second ferry started within the limits of present Shawnee county was that of Charles Beaubien and Lewis Ogee, who, in 1849, established a ferry from near the mouth of Cross creek, and landing on the south side of the river at a point directly opposite. This was a pole ferry, and probably the first to start operations above Papan's. It ran for three or four years. 281
Darling's ferry either succeeded the Ogee ferry or was a rival concern. In 1853 L. K. Darling is listed in the United States Official Register as ferryman at the Pottawatomie agency, then located on Cross creek at about present Rossville. The ferry at this time is described as being located four or five miles above Silver Lake and approximately one and one-half miles above old Uniontown, on the northwest quarter of S. 15, T. 11, R. 13 E., and a short distance east of the "Rocky Ford Crossing." 282 Among those who assisted in operating this ferry in 1855-1856 were J. P. Gleich, 283 who in 1855 took a claim on Mill creek, just north of the Joseph Thoes home stead; Hilliary Nadeau and Lewis Ogee. 284 Darling had a monopoly on the ferry business at this point for a number of years, but with immigration came the demand for a ferry at the big bend, and he left for the Indian territory, where he went into the hotel business at Shawnee. 285 This ferry operated under different ownerships till late in the 1860's. During the latter 'sixties a road was laid out from Wilmington, in the southeast corner of Wabaunsee county, and on to the Santa Fe trail, via Mission creek, to Darling's ferry and on to Rossville, 286 where it connected with the Fort Riley military road. A branch of a road running from Wabaunsee to Topeka reached Darling's ferry via a cut-off in the southeast corner of S. 30, T. 11, R. 13 E. 287
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This point was without ferry accommodations for a time till early in 1871. On March 8 the Janes Ferry or Bridge Company was chartered, the incorporators being M. W. Janes, J. H. Durham, H. Klein, I. Taylor and A. W. Smith. The company was formed for the purpose of running or operating a ferry, or building a bridge on the Kansas river, within the following boundaries: Commencing on the south side of the river at a point where the east line of Wabaunsee county crosses the river and extending thence west to the mouth of Mill creek, and described within corresponding boundaries on the north side of the river in the county of Shawnee. The principal place of business of the corporation was at the south landing of the ferry, in the county of Wabaunsee. The corporation was to be a perpetual one, was to have four directors, those chosen for the first year being Herman Janes, of Erie, M. W. Janes, A. W. Smith and J. H. Durham, all of Rossville, Shawnee county. The company was capitalized at $1,000, with shares $50 each. This charter was filed with the secretary of state March 9, 1871. 288
This bridge or ferry site was close to the old Uniontown crossing, which was about one and three-fourths miles west of old Union town. 289
Janes' ferry was licensed to run till July 3, 1872, ferriage charges being as follows: two horses and wagon, 25 cents; one horse and buggy, 25 cents; man and horse, 15 cents; loose horses or cattle, 10 cents; footman, 10 cents. 290
The next ferry up the river was on the north side of the Kaw, on S. 7, T. 11, R. 13, about four and one-half miles above Cross creek. The north landing was on land owned by James Baldan, in 1873, while the opposite landing was in Wabaunsee county. Nothing to establish the ownership of this ferry has been located. 291 Baldan arrived in that locality in 1855 and was still residing there in 1876. 292
St. Marys had the next ferry up the river, but definite information regarding ownership has not been located. According to the Wabaunsee County Herald,of Alma, the ferry went into operation
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late in the summer of 1869, and would prove "a great accommodation to those living on lower Mill creek. 293
A Mr. Dunlap was a ferryman at St. Marys in the early seventies. His name is mentioned in an undated court manuscript in possession of the Kansas State Historical Society.
In 1871 work was started on a bridge at St. Marys, which was completed early the next year. A mention of this bridge from the Kansas Reporter,Louisville, February 8, 1872, is as follows: "The bridge across the Kansas river at St. Marys is so far completed that teams are now crossing on it. It will prove a fine thing for that thriving city and community, as well as the people on the opposite side of the river."
St. Marys was on the line of the old California road and also the Fort Leavenworth to Fort Riley highway. In 1857 A. J. Mead, of Manhattan, C. R. Mobly, of Ogden and M. Chapman, of St. George, were appointed commissioners to locate and establish a territorial road on the nearest and best route from some point on the military road near St. Marys mission, in Calhoun county, to Fort Riley, in Riley county, 294 by the way of St. George, Manhattan, mouth of Wild Cat creek and town of Ogden. The road was to be located and established prior to June 1, 1857. 295
In May, 1933, plans of the United States War Department for a Kaw river flood control project called for a dam and ferry across the Kansas river west of Topeka. This dam, as formulated in the plans, would be located at Kiro, Shawnee county, and would form a lake that would extend up the Kaw valley to close to the Pottawatomie-Riley county line, 296 with a ferry located at St. Marys.
The next ferry up the river was at Wamego, about twelve miles distant. On October 30, 1866, The Wamego Bridge and Ferry Com pany was formed, J. E. Gregg, J. M. Webster, William D. Wetherell, J. Lewis Brown and A. P. McMillan being the incorporators. The purpose of the company was to build a bridge over the river, or operate a ferry from S. 9, T. 10, R. 10, where a line running through the center of section 9 from north to south crosses the Kansas river, and to the south bank, with privileges within one mile on each side of said line. The principal office of the company was located at Wamego, and the capital stock was placed at $1,000, in twenty
ROOT: FERRIES IN KANSAS 23
shares of $50 each. This charter was filed with the secretary of state, November 7, 1866. 297
In the Topeka Weekly Leader, July 11, 1867, the following notice regarding the foregoing company appeared: "Wamego Bridge and Ferry Company--Notice is hereby given that an assessment of fifty per centum on the capital stock of the Wamego Bridge and Ferry Company has been levied and that the same is now due and payable at the office of the treasurer of said company, at Wamego. Dated this 1st day of July, 1867.--LEWIS BROWN, Secretary."
There is some question whether this company ever operated a ferry. No further mention of the organization has been found.
On September 14, 1867, the Wamego Ferry Company was organ ized, Leonard C. Prunty, James L. Prunty, John Prunty, Atchison Prunty and J. L. Brown being the incorporators. The principal office of the company was located at Wamego. Capital stock was placed at $1,000, in 100 shares of $10 each. The company proposed to operate a ferry on the Kansas river at or near a point on the north bank, in S. 9, T. 10, R. 10, where a line running north and south through the center point of the section strikes the north bank of the river, and within the limits of one mile on each side of this line. This charter was filed with the secretary of state on September 16, 1867. 298 This organization lasted less than two years, being succeeded by the Wamego Bridge and Ferry Company, a new organization.
The Wamego Bridge and Ferry Company, the second of this name, was granted a charter by the state in June, 1869, the incorpo rators being L. C. Prunty and J. L. Prunty of the previous com panies, and H. C. Crawford, J. E. Clardy and James Richey. The new company was capitalized at $2,000, shares being listed at $2.00 each, perhaps with a view of popularizing the new enterprise. The ferry location was to be where Lincoln avenue, Wamego, strikes the Kansas river, with special privileges for one mile up and one mile down the river from this point. This charter was filed with the secretary of state, June 4, 1869. 299
Evidently there had been some dissatisfaction at the manner in which the old Wamego ferry had been conducted, which may or may not have been the reason for obtaining a new charter. The fol lowing "roast" of this ferry came from a paper in a neighboring town:
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The Wamego ferry is not a nuisance. It is always in condition to transfer teams, when the boat is not leaky, or the wind don't blow, or the water is not too high or too low, or it don't freeze, snow, though [thaw?] or rain. If you happen along on any other occasion than those mentioned you will be certain to get across, providing you don't come too early or too late, or the ferryman is not up in town. A team that we know of, a few days ago, happened along at one of those times, and had to go round by Topeka; but still, we repeat, the ferry is not a nuisance. 300
This bit of pleasantry must have gotten under the hide of the ferry management, for a week later the same authority indulged in an other dig, as follows:
Our kind and generous defense of the Wamego ferry last week--that it was not a nuisance--seems to have not been appreciated by the ferry company, but on the contrary it appears to have provoked their displeasure and aroused their iresome feelings--more especially Mr. Prunty's and the Commodore's. We do really regret this, as we regard Mr. P. as a gentleman, and as such we dislike to forfeit his good opinion. We know, too, that he has been a warm and fast friend of the Herald, and it always did pain us to sever friendships. Now, gentlemen, just keep your linen on and don't rend anything, for we are going
to make another desperate and frantic effort to regain your good will, and since you have taken it so much to heart, because we said the ferry was not a nuisance, to accommodate you we take it back. The public can just think as they did before--that the ferry is a nuisance--let us have peace. 301
Early in July, 1869, H. C. Crawford, one of the proprietors, was said to be considering the purchase of the ferry. He was spoken of as very attentive and obliging to the traveling public and it was hoped he would succeed in his undertaking. 302 At this particular time the stage of the Kaw was high and Mr. Prunty was having a new boat built to run between the island and the Wamego side. With a boat on each side of the island at this point, high water, except on extraordinary occasions, would no longer interfere with crossing. Mr. Crawford, who was operating the ferry boat at the time, was very obliging to those wishing to cross, carrying whole boat loads of goods and produce. 303
Late in December, 1869, running ice in the river at this point caused considerable inconvenience by making the river impassable. This condition was somewhat irritating to Wabaunsee county people who had been using the Wamego ferry in order to do their trading, and prompted the Herald to suggest the purchase of the pontoons, lately in use at Topeka, by townships on each side of the river. 304
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This ferry was running as late as 1872.
Beginning with the spring of 1870 a bridge for Wamego was discussed, which resulted in the completion of a toll bridge by June 18, 1872, after which time the ferry ceased to operate. 305
Louisville, three miles due north of Wamego, and approximately four miles from the Kansas river, also had a ferry. This town was on the military road running from Fort Leavenworth to Fort Riley, and on Rock creek. It was laid out in 1857 by Robert Wilson and named for his son Louis. During Horace Greeley's overland trip in 1859, he was a guest of Mr. Wilson at his log cabin hotel for several days, when the Leavenworth and Pike's Peak Stage Line was detained at this point by high water. 306 Louisville was quite an important town for a number of years, having been chosen as the county seat in 1861 and holding the county offices until 1882, when the county seat was moved to Westmoreland. Several hack lines ran out of Louisville--one to Wamego, under the superintendence of S. B. Young; one to Irving, by 0. J. Denison, and one by way of America City to Corning, operated by Jacob Jacobia. 307
On March 14, 1866, the Louisville Bridge and Ferry Company was chartered, John Landon, William P. Douthitt, 308 John G. Otis, Joseph L. Huggins and Isaac D. Clapp being the incorporators. The company proposed to operate a bridge and ferry over the Kansas river at a point between S. 7 and 8, T. 10, R. 10 E., this location being about one mile west of the site granted to the Wamego Bridge and Ferry Company. Capital stock of the company was placed at $75,000, in shares of $75 each. Their charter was filed with the secretary of state, March 14, 1866. 309 This ferry, or another, was in operation as late as 1872.
At a historical gathering of Wabaunsee county old settlers at Wabaunsee, on August 28, 1932, ferrying was discussed as follows:
One gentleman who had old memories asked about the ferry here. He remembered when it was said there was no conveyance across the river west of Topeka. Willard said there was a ferry here but it was not always in operation. The current was so swift that at times it was not practical to get across. At Wamego there were two ferries, one from this side to the island and another from the island to the opposite shore. His father with team and lumber wagon would often find the first inoperative, but would be able to drive across the
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first channel and then across the island. From there he would obtain a ferry to the shore beyond. The ferries operated by cable.--Wabaunsee County Truth, Wabaunsee, October, 1932.
In 1871 work was started on a bridge built by the two townships embracing both Louisville and Wamego. This was completed in 1872, the event being chronicled by a Louisville newspaper:
DISCONTINUED.--The old ferry across the Kaw, that has served the public for more than seven years, is at last discontinued, and the boat and fixtures have been removed. In its vocation it has served us well, but few, if any, accidents having occurred under its management, but it is superseded by the superiority of the great over the past, and it must now give way to its more desirable successor--The Great Iron Bridge. The original wire stretched across the river is now for sale by the old ferry company. 310
Wabaunsee, near the western limits of Wabaunsee county and due south of Louisville, was the site of the next ferry, the legislature of 1858 granting a license to the Wabonsa and Webster City Ferry Company to operate a ferry from Wabonsa, Richardson (Wabaunsee) county to Webster City, in Pottawatomie county. The corporation included R. H. Wateman, E. C. D. Lines, F. H. Hart, S. M. Thomas, H. M. Selder and their associates, who were given a twenty-five year charter, with landing places on each side of the river on lands adjoining the towns named. The ferry was not required to have boats running before July 1, 1858. 311 This company evidently operated less than two years, when a new company, sponsored by the town company, took hold of things.
The new organization, known as the Wabaunsee Ferry Company, was established by the legislature of 1860, the charter members being John N. Nesbit, Charles B. Lines, E. C. D. Lines, William Mitchell, Jr., S. M. Thomas, Julius F. Willard and Walker S. Griswold, trustees of the Wabaunsee Town Company. This charter to run for ten years, provided for ferry landings in the town of Wabaunsee on the south side of the river, and on the north side of the river in Pottawatomie county at a point convenient for the company. 312
Apparently there was some change in the ferry situation at this place in 1866. On April 7, Calvin D. Wheeler, Samuel R. Weed, Isaac H. Isbell, J. M. Bisbey and A. C. Cutler were granted a charter to operate a ferry across the river at Wabonsa, at the foot of Elm street, to be known as the Elm Street ferry. Capital stock
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of the new company was $500, in shares of $10 each. This charter was filed with the secretary of state May 10, 1866. 313
The old Wabaunsee Ferry Company underwent another reorganization in 1866, when a new charter was secured from the state on April 14. The new incorporators were Charles B. Lines, J. M. Bisbey, C. D. Wheeler, A. C. Cutler, George S. Burt, I. H. Isbell, E. J. Lines and Samuel R. Weed. The principal office was located at Wabaunsee, and capital stock placed at $1,200, with shares $10 each. The ferry was to be operated between the west line of the Pottawatomie Reserve, where the same crosses the Kansas river, thence west on the river to the township line between ranges 9 and 10. This charter was filed May 16, 1866. 314
A road, established in 1861, ran from Wilmington, on the Santa Fe trail, by way of Wamego to Wabaunsee. G. G. Halls, Jehu Dodgson and Edward Krapp, were commissioners appointed to establish the road. 315
St. George, about six miles up the river from Wabaunsee, on the opposite side of the river, and about a like distance west of Wamego, had the next ferry. On March 14, 1866, James L. Huggins, John Landon, William P. Douthitt, and John G. Otis were granted a charter under the name of the St. George Bridge and Ferry Company. Their ferry was to be located between S. 9 and 10, T. 10, R. 9 E., in Pottawatomie county. Capital stock of this company was placed at $25,000, with shares at $25 each, and the principal office was located at Topeka. This charter was filed with the secretary of state, March 14, 1866. 316 This company at this time had also obtained a charter for bridge and ferry privileges at Louisville.
The foregoing ferry, apparently, was not being operated by 1869. Early that year a movement was started to establish a free ferry between the counties of Wabaunsee and Pottawatomie. The Alma paper favored the project, and said: "It is rumored a free ferry is to be established at St. George. There is no place on the river between the two counties where there is less obstacles presented than at this point." 317
Work started on the new project at once. A new cable was ordered and the building of a ferry boat commenced. The new ferry connected with a road running from St. George to Alma, which was
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less than fifteen miles long. By June the boat was well under way, and the cable for it had arrived at Topeka some time since. Residents who were depending on the new ferry grew impatient as time elapsed, and the Herald, of Alma, urged that the work be hurried, adding: "After you get it done all the travel from this point will seek the railroad at your place." 318 This ferry began to function early that fall, and the Herald, of November 25, stated that it was in good running order and had been for some weeks. The new ferry must have infused new life into the town, for the leading newspaper of the county just across the river said that St. George was going to be a big place right away. It was declared to be at the head of navigation on the great Kaw. A steamboat called the St. George packet made a few trips up the river and then went down and returned no more. 319
Saint George had the distinction of having the first and only free ferry on the Kaw in Pottawatomie county. The stockholders of the Saint George Bridge and Ferry Company, after a conference with the citizens of the town, late in December, 1870, agreed to give the use of the ferry free, providing they would keep everything in repair. The merchants of the place employed a man to take charge of the boat and operated it at their expense, no doubt profiting by this arrangement. 320 Just how long the free ferry operated we have not discovered, but the probabilities are it was discontinued within a year.
By the middle of June, 1871, the advantages of a steam ferry on the river in this vicinity were being discussed. An Alma paper sized up the situation thusly:
There are more than 2,000 people in Wabaunsee county who are interested in this matter. This number is increasing at a rapid rate. One of our citizens pays $156 a year for ferriage. Others pay, if we mistake not, over $100 a year. Other taxes are heavy, but the ferry tax is the heaviest. That town which shall take this matter in hand and give our farmers better ferry service at cheaper rates will reap a reward worthy of its enterprise. We suggest that Wamego take the lead in the matter, and establish a steam ferry at which such rates shall be charged as will pay expenses, and nothing more. Give the merchants and laboring men of Wabaunsee as near an approach to free trade as can be.
Let not Saint George and Saint Marys wait for Wamego. If they do they will lose an advantage it will be hard to regain. 321
ROOT: FERRIES IN KANSAS 29
Apparently Saint George was without ferry accommodations for another year. In August, 1872, James Woods started a new enterprise, which took teams and "passengers across in fine shape," at the following rates: double teams, 25 cents; horse and rider, 15 cents; footmen, 5 cents, including return trip. 322
Further history of the ferry has not been located.
Manhattan, about six miles above Saint George, had the next ferry across the Kaw. Just when it was started, and by whom, has not been learned. Ferry records prior to April, 1876, could not be consulted, since the volume containing these early licenses is stored in a basement vault in the Riley county court house which has not been opened for years. The combination has been forgotten.
The Manhattan Express of May 21, 1859, has mention of a ferry, and it is likely the ferry was in operation much earlier. The next mention occurred in the same paper late in the following December: "Business at the levee has not been as brisk as usual during the past week, owing no doubt, to the cold weather. We rather mistrust that navigation is about closed for the season. There are three boats now lying at the landing--one flat boat and two skiffs--all sunk."
In 1860 the legislature passed an act authorizing John Errick to maintain a ferry at that point for five years and to have exclusive privileges for one mile up the river and one mile down from the point where his ferry was then located. The act also specified that he should not be required to pay more than $20 for the first five years, and that his ferriage charges should be no less than was charged by other ferries in Riley county on the Kansas river. 323
The exact location of Errick's ferry has not been learned, but from the wording of the act just cited, it was going in 1859.
In answer to an inquiry at the office of the county engineer of Riley county, the location of the Manhattan ferry over the Kaw was given as S. 17, T. 10, R. 8, this being just a short distance above the junction of the Blue and Kaw rivers.
No further mention of the Kansas river ferry at Manhattan between 1860 and midsummer, 1863, has been located. In the latter part of August, 1863, a local paper printed the following:
The last rise in the Kansas river has been playing hobb with ferry arrangements. A new channel has been cut out this side of the island and a sand bar formed near the other shore. Our enterprising and accommodating (?) ferryman seems bound to overcome all difficulties. He has a new boat in on this side and the old one repaired for the other. This is an example for all faint-
30 THE KANSAS HISTORICAL QUARTERLY
hearted grumblers to follow. Energy and perseverance will accomplish most anything. Who ever heard uncle Lucius complain of high, or low water or sand bars? 324
The ferry was next mentioned in June, 1864, with a Mr. Woodward in charge. This item gives considerable information regarding improvements and changes:
We happened down to the Kansas ferry last evening, and were surprised to see what improvements Mr. Woodward had made. He has constructed piers from each bank out into the stream to the distance of several rods, so that it is now only about 160 feet from pier to pier. He has also built a causeway from the island to the west bank of the river, which seems to be strong and substantial. We suggest to the people of Manhattan that as friend Woodward is doing so good a work for the town we offer him all the encouragement possible. If he can but perfect the work which is so nearly accomplished it will contribute materially to the prosperity of the town. With a new, good sized boat, and a new strong cable the communication with the south side of the river will
be complete. The channel of the river is made so narrow by the extension of the piers that it is thought there can be no danger of sandbars even at the lowest stages of the river. 325
Hoar's ferry was another Manhattan enterprise in operation during the middle 1860's, and may have been started by John Hoar, who in 1867 was one of the incorporators of the Manhattan and Kansas River Bridge Co. The location of this ferry and further history have not been learned.
As the old ferry company's charter ran for but five years, it was probably renewed and still functioned. By 1867, however, there sprang up a movement to secure free ferry service. The Independentwas a strong advocate of the proposition, and in its issue of July 27, printed the following:
A FREE FERRY.--An enterprise has been set on foot lately to have a free ferry across the Kansas river. This is entirely a practicable undertaking, and with a little earnest zeal may be carried into immediate effect.
Such a proposition as the following has been considered in an informal manner:
First--The ferry company to place a new wire cable entirely across the river so that a boat can be run at the highest stage of water, and to keep a good boat in good condition continually.
Second--The citizens of Manhattan to pay the wages of a ferryman.
Now there appears to be a general desire on all sides to have this done. The only obstacle in the way appears to be a little lack of confidence.
The ferry company would raise all the needed money in a day, if they knew the citizens would subscribe a sufficient sum to employ a first-rate ferryman, and the citizens would raise the money to pay the ferryman if
ROOT: FERRIES IN KANSAS 31
they knew the company would keep the boat, cable and landings in good condition.
Now we urge this course: Let the ferry company go to work immediately, and put the boat and cable in first-rate working condition, then authorize the trustees to enter into obligations that it shall be kept so. Then let the citizens meet and appoint a person, or persons, to take subscriptions on conditions, obligating the company to pay, (monthly, quarterly or otherwise) promptly, the sums subscribed to pay the wages of a ferryman.
This is a measure of great importance to the community, and the advantage to the people will be many times the cost.
Manhattan is losing much of its legitimate trade, because good ferries are kept up at Wabaunsee and Wamego, while crossing at Manhattan has been extremely uncertain. Confidence is wanting, and it operates greatly to the injury of our city.
A free ferry, established in good faith, is the only thing now within our reach to restore confidence in the place and get back the trade that has been drawn away.
A week later the Independent stated that the free ferry over the Kansas was decided upon. P. W. Zeigler, who was in active charge of the innovation, had forwarded an order to Trenton, N. J., for 600 feet of wire cable seven-eights of an inch in diameter, which was thought sufficiently strong for the ferry, having an ultimate strength of twelve tons. This paper also added:
The ferry company have shown commendable perseverance in their efforts in this direction, and now it remains for the citizens of Manhattan to pay the salary of a ferryman, and we shall secure all the trans-Kansas trade which has recently sought other markets.
A new hemp rope has just been received by Messrs. Dent and Beckwith, which will be used until the wire cable arrives.
There is talk also of a free ferry over the Blue. The citizens must be looking after these matters in earnest, or the trade and influence of our town will be much curtailed.
Free access to our city must be furnished, and our motto should be "Free Trade in Everything but Whisky." 326
Their efforts toward getting a free ferry was noticed by the Missouri Democrat,of St. Louis, and called forth this reply:
The effort has been entirely successful. The public are hereby notified of the new arrangement and invited to avail themselves of this, the only free crossing of the Kansas from its source to its mouth. Manhattan has lacked only this advantage to give it the most extensive trade from the surrounding country of any town west of Lawrence. People will take notice that we labor under this disadvantage no longer. 327
Ferrying under ordinary conditions was apt to be a rather monotonous job. Once in a while, however, something transpired, not
32 THE KANSAS HISTORICAL QUARTERLY
on the regular program, which provided a little excitement. A case of this kind happened on August 20, 1867. That forenoon, as a carriage containing two ladies and two children was crossing the Kansas on the free ferry, the horses attached to the carriage commenced to back just as the boat had left the main channel and was approaching shoal water, and continued to step backwards until the back part of the carriage was run over the edge of the boat, precipitating the ladies and children into the water. With commendable presence of mind each of the ladies held a child above the water, which was three or four feet deep at that place, thus by their coolness saving the lives of the little ones who must otherwise have been drowned. 328
The free ferry proved to be a popular public utility and was extensively patronized. 329 Early in December the Independent said, "The free ferry across the Kaw is likely to have a new boat. We are pleased to learn that the misunderstanding between parties interested in the enterprise is now amicably adjusted. The new cable will be put on with the new boat and then with the courteous ferryman, who has done so well the past summer, we shall have a ferry of which we can well be proud." 330
While the old ferry had made a number of improvements this year, there was still more they could do, as the following would indicate:
FERRY.--If the Manhattan, Kansas River Ferry will just fill in stone enough at the landings to cause the removal of the sandbar in the middle of the river, they will do a great thing for their own interest and that of the public. Prompt action will do much to cherish the growing confidence in the enterprise, while neglect and delay will prove disastrous all around. 331
The old company's license was about to expire, and as they had lively competition in the free ferry, they began taking steps to get their affairs in order. There were debts that must be met, and a number of the stockholders were delinquent on their assessments. Late in November the following notice was published:
FERRY COMPANY MEETING
The Manhattan, Kansas River Ferry Company, met at Gove's Hall, on Saturday, November 23. Owing to the limited notice, the attendance of stockholders was small. A quorum of the numbers not being present, no business of consequence was transacted. The meeting adjourned, to meet at the same place on Saturday, December 7. The following motion was adopted:
That a general attendance at the adjourned meeting be urged, and that
ROOT: FERRIES IN KANSAS 33
they be notified to come prepared to settle their arrearages, as provisions must be made for paying off the indebtedness of the company. E. NEWELL, Sec. 332
The Independent early in January, 1868, stated that the old ferry company was to receive another license from the county commissioners, and expressed gratification at the news, as the ferry company had done good work the past summer and had the good will of the public.
Apparently the company was reorganized early in 1868, for on January 20 the Manhattan Ferry Company was chartered, Allen B. Lee, Hiram Beal, E. W. Newell, Alanson Carlton, E. R. McCurdy, H. S. Roberts, James Gahan, George Andrews, John H. Pinkerton, H. J. Letore and E. L. Foster being the incorporators. The company proposed to operate and maintain a ferry across the Kansas river at points between the mouth of the Blue river and one and one-half miles up the river, these boundaries being in T. 10, R. 8 E., of the 6th P. M., and at and near the principal ferry crossing on the Kansas river. The corporation proposed to construct and maintain a first-class ferry across the Kansas river near the present highway, south of the Union Pacific Railway, or at the present crossing known as the Manhattan Kansas Ferry Company's Ferry, the corporation claiming exclusive privilege of erecting and operating a ferry anywhere within the limits above. This charter was filed with the secretary of state January 21, 1868. 333
The ferryboat used by the company appears to have met with some accident or misfortune early in 1869, and the company not having attended to the matter with their previous promptitude, drew condemnation from points quite distant. The Wabaunsee County Herald,Alma, May 6, contained the following plaint: "The ferryboat at Manhattan, across the Kaw, has been sunk some two or three weeks. We understand that on Saturday the county board of Riley county granted a license to a new company, providing the old company do not get their boat running by to-night."
Evidently there was a change in the local ferry situation very shortly, for a local paper had the following:
THE KANSAS FERRY--The people living south of the river, as well as the merchants of Manhattan, will be glad to learn that the ferry is likely to be a permanent institution, and that the difficulties heretofore experienced in crossing the river are not likely to occur again soon. A new boat is soon to be put
34 THE KANSAS HISTORICAL QUARTERLY
on, built of pine, sawed in Chicago to order for the purpose. The boats have heretofore been built of oak, and were too heavy and unwieldy. The Deever Brothers and John Flagg, Jr., have leased the institution for a term of years, and they don't mean the boat shall be stopped either for high water, sandbars or wind. Their success will be a blessing. 334
Apparently the first steps for a bridge over the Kansas river at Manhattan was in 1866. On March 9 of that year the Overland Bridge Company was chartered by the state, John G. Otis, James M. Spencer, Orrin T. Welch, Spofford D. Macdonald, Franklin L. Crane, David W. Stormont and Mahlon Bailey, all of Topeka, being the incorporators. The company was organized for the purpose of constructing, maintaining and operating bridges and ferries across the Kansas, Republican and Smoky Hill rivers in and between the following points: Commencing at a point on the Kansas river where the east line of S. 11, R. 6 E., crosses the Kansas river, and running up the Kansas to the mouth of the Republican river, thence up the Republican river to a point where the second standard parallel crosses the river; also from the mouth of the Smoky Hill river, running up that river to the mouth of Lyon creek, all being between and in the counties of Davis (Geary) and Riley, in the state of Kansas. This charter was filed with the secretary of state March 9, 1866. 335
Evidently the above company did not erect a bridge. Early in 1867 another organization known as the Manhattan and Kansas River Bridge Co., was formed to take care of the local situation. This company's charter, signed by Wm. Allingham, John Hoar, John E. Jewett, Andrew J. Mead and Henry Leffer, on February 25, 1867, recited that the capital stock of the new enterprise was $45,000, with shares at $100 each; that it was the purpose of the company to erect and maintain a first-class bridge across the Kansas river, near the present highway adjacent to Manhattan and south of the Union Pacific Railroad Co., at or near the former ferry crossing known as Hoar's ferry. Rights for bridge purposes were reserved for any point from the mouth of the Big Blue up the Kansas river for a distance of one and one-half miles. This charter was filed with the secretary of state March 6, 1867.
The spring of 1867 was a wet one and the Kansas and Blue rivers were taxed to their capacity to carry off flood waters. The Manhattan Independent, commenting on conditions said: ". . . More water has doubtless flowed past us in the Blue and Kansas rivers during the past few days than in any former period of equal dura-
ROOT: FERRIES IN KANSAS 35
tion since this country was settled. The Blue has been rivaling the Mississippi in magnitude. . . ." 336
These high waters brought the subject of bridges before the people with more force than ever. Some steps had been taken towards securing bridges, but the apparent lack of push among the promoters had produced no tangible results. The Independent voiced the following protest at the local situation:
BRIDGES WANTED.--Where are the bridge companies; and where are the several thousand dollars already subscribed to rid us of the "man traps" which now float over our streams to decoy man and beast into dangers from which they are lucky to escape at half a dollar a head for horse and buggy?
We cannot cross our "bridge of sighs" without being reminded of the re markable structure upon which Xenophon crossed his army over an Asiatic stream. The pontoons were made of the skins of his beasts of burden, sewed into the form of bags, and floored over with rushes.
Our bridge may be an improvement on Xenophon's, but his had at least this advantage, that it was a free bridge. With such a structure as ours over such a river, we wonder that Manhattan gets any immigration. We are doubtless now inhabiting the "promised land," but it would require a Moses to lead anybody else over to us dry shod and good natured. 337
This stirred things up and shortly afterwards a movement of those most interested in the bridge was started, asking the county commissioners to call an election to vote on the question of the county taking stock in the two Manhattan bridge companies. The commissioners, however, refused to call an election for this purpose, their action based on the manifest illegality of the measure, the county having no legal right to subscribe to the capital stock of these or any other bridge companies. 338
Manhattan's lack of a bridge over the Kansas river deprived the city of much trade from territory south of the river, and prompted the following frank admission from a local paper: "BRIDGE THE KANSAS--We need a bridge over the Kansas more than we do over the Blue, and everybody should vote for the Kansas bridge as well as for the Blue." 339
By the spring of 1870 the city had decided to have some bridges--one each over the Kansas and Blue rivers. Out of a total of 289 votes cast those voting for the Blue river bridge polled 250, and those in favor of the Kaw river bridge cast 243. 340 This latter structure was 530 feet long. 341
36 THE KANSAS HISTORICAL QUARTERLY
Fall rains hindered the completion of this structure. The Standard,of September 30, 1870, stated: "The Kaw is on a bender. There has been a surplusage of water in the stream for the past week. The temporary bridge constructed by the contractors was washed out but not lost entirely, it having been rescued by ropes." Another item in the same issue said: "The rise in the Kansas and Big Blue rivers has put a stop to bridge operations and we are not likely to enjoy our bridges this fall."
Late in the fall another rise in the Kaw river delayed completion of the bridge, a portion of it floating down the river. It was supposed that the rise had done some damage west of Manhattan. 342
Work on the bridge was pushed vigorously in the spring of 1871. A large force was engaged. The last pier was completed by the middle of March and two spans finished by the end of the month. 343
The bridge was completed by midsummer. 344
Manhattan was fairly well provided with roads reaching out in different directions. The city was on the great military road from< Leavenworth to Fort Riley. In 1857 the legislature established a road running up the Blue, by way of the towns of Tauromee, Randolph, Brownsville, Marysville and Palmetto, and to connect with the road to Nebraska City; 345 another ran from Seneca to Manhattan, by way of Centralia, Nottingham and Barret; 346 another ran from Manhattan to Irving. 347
Ashland, about four miles due south but about six miles up the river from Manhattan, had the next ferry, which was in operation as early as 1857. No record of any license issued for this ferry is found in Davis (Geary) county Commissioners' Journals, but there is a record dated April 20, 1857, that citizens of Shane creek asked for the establishment of a road from Ashland ferry to Manhattan ferry. This was "not granted for want of form, and laid over as unfinished business." Another record of the same date fixed the license fee for this ferry at $10 per annum, and also ferriage rates for every ferry in the county as follows: For each two-horse team, mules, oxen, or asses, 50 cents; for each additional span of horses, mules or asses, 20 cents; for every buggy or one-horse vehicle and horse, mule or ass, 30 cents; for every horse, mule or ass and rider, 20 cents; for every horse, mule or ass led, 10 cents; for footman, 10
ROOT: FERRIES IN KANSAS 37
cents; for cattle, 10 cents; for sheep, hogs and freight, the county court left the charge with the parties to agree. 348
Davis county about this time was having some trouble collecting licenses, for the Journal, under date of May 18, following, contains a record that the court ordered that all those who should take out a license shall be required to date said license back to the time of exercising licensable privileges, as all who ferry must pay license for the whole time the ferry has been run without a license, at the rate of license per year for each licensable business. 349
On July 20, following, a petition signed by twelve citizens asking for a road from the Ashland ferry to the Manhattan ferry, was presented to the Davis county commissioners. This petition asked that the road lead from the Ashland ferry to the Manhattan ferry, touch at Ashland and the bend of the river between the claims of J. E. Ross and John Holbin. 350 Commissioners were appointed August 11, 1859, to view this road. Upon the completion of their work they submitted a report, which, being read, was not received for want of form. New commissioners were appointed to report at the September term of the county commissioners. 351 This road was still under consideration late in 1859, H. A. W. Tabor, 352 D. B. Chapman, and George Bowers being commissioners. 353
Ashland had few roads leading to its ferry. The bulk of travel east and west went over the military road north of the river. In 1860 a road petition was presented to the county commissioners of Davis county by Jesse Hunt, praying for the establishment of a road from the Manhattan road near Thomas Ross’, running thence< through the lands of Messrs. Stone, Robinson, Barlow, Beach (?) and Hunt to the junction of the Ashland road and the Pottawatomie trail leading to Fort Riley, as near said trail as possible. This petition was ordered to be filed and notice given that the board would review said road on Monday, March 5, 1860, its findings being recorded under date of March 7, I860. 354
Ogden, about six and one-half miles due west of Ashland and< about eight miles southwest of Manhattan, by land, had the next ferry. The legislature of 1857 granted a fifteen-year franchise to operate here to Robert Bates and John W. Parsons. License fee
38 THE KANSAS HISTORICAL QUARTERLY
was fixed at $10. Rates of ferriage prescribed by the act were: Foot passengers, each 10 cents; each person on horseback, 25 cents; each unharnessed animal, 20 cents; single horse and carriage, 40 cents; two horse, or oxteam and driver, 70 cents; each additional animal, 15 cents; packages, 50 lbs. or less, 10 cents; merchandise not in teams, 10 cents per hundred pounds. 355
The foregoing ferry apparently ceased functioning within a couple of years, for the legislature of 1860 granted authority to C. R. and Richard D. Mobley to keep a ferry across the Kansas river at or near the city of Ogden for a period of five years, and have exclusive privileges for two miles up and two miles down the river from the city of Ogden. The act provided they should not be required to pay more than $20 for the first two years, nor their ferriage rates be lower than charged by other ferries in that county on the Kansas river. 356
A new company took over the ferry business in 1866. On March 22, that year, Thomas Dixon, Henry Mitchell, Patrick Dixon, James M. Harvey and Calvin M. Dyche formed a corporation known as the Ogden, Pawnee and Santa Fe Bridge and Ferry Company. It was the purpose and plan of the new company to erect bridges and operate ferries across the Kansas river at the place where a certain state road running from Ogden to the southeast corner of S. 1, T. 17, R. 4 E., crossed the Kansas river, near the mouth of Three Mile creek, and at such other points within the boundaries mentioned as may be necessary. Capital stock of the new company was placed at $3,000, with shares $100 each. The principal office of the company was at Ogden, Riley county. This charter was filed with the secretary of state April 14, 1866. 357
No record of licenses have been located between the years 1866 and 1879, though old citizens of the county assert that a ferry was operated during the most of this time.
On April 7, 1879, L. M. Estes and others of Ogden township petitioned for a license to run a ferry on the Kansas river in Riley county at or near the town of Ogden. The license was granted and license fee remitted. Toll rates were fixed by the county board as follows: For four horses and wagon, 50 cents; for two horses and wagon, 25 cents; for one horse and wagon, 20 cents; for man and horse, 15
ROOT: FERRIES IN KANSAS 39
cents; horses, cattle and mules per head, 10 cents; swine and sheep, per head, 5 cents; men on foot, 5 cents. 358
This ferry was operated as late as 1888 or 1889, when Henry Schiller was in charge.
The second effort to secure a bridge for Ogden was made in 1871, when the Ogden and Kansas River Bridge Co. was organized to build a bridge across the Kansas river at or near the mouth of Clark's creek in Davis county, and near the east line of the Fort Riley military reservation in Riley county. This company was capitalized at $50,000, with shares at $100 each. The principal place of business was at Ogden. This company was to be managed by five directors, those chosen for the first year being Thomas Dixon and C. M. Dyche, of Ogden, and E. B. Purcell, N. A. Adams and Wm. P. Higinbotham of Manhattan. This corporation was formed to exist for twenty years, and was organized April 8, 1871, but delayed filing its charter with the secretary of state until October 13, 1871.
The Ogden town company was inaugurated in 1857, and that year a United States land office was opened. The Fort Leavenworth to Fort Riley military road ran through the town, which in early days was one of the most important points in the county.
The next ferry on the river was at Pawnee, site of the first territorial capitol building. The old capitol was located on S. 28, T. 11, R. 6 E., and the ferry landing is said to have been located about eighty rods downstream from this building. This was also said to be the crossing for the old Mormon trail to the west. Fox B. Booth 359 maintained the ferry at this point, having secured a ten-year license from the legislature of 1855, his ferry being located on lands owned by him opposite the new town of Pawnee. 360
This ferry was operating next year, when Gov. John W. Geary paid a visit to Fort Riley. At this time the governor had as escort a company of Dragoons under Major Sibley. They were on the south side of the river when they reached Riley City, and crossed by ferry to old Pawnee, which had been totally destroyed in Septem-
40 THE KANSAS HISTORICAL QUARTERLY
her the year before. 361 No further history of this ferry has been located.
Pawnee was on the military road from Fort Leavenworth to Fort Riley. The territorial legislature of 1855 established two roads that touched Pawnee--one running from Atchison, via Grasshopper Falls, 362 and the other from Saint Joseph by the nearest and best route to Fort Riley by way of Pawnee. 363
Riley City, in the Ashland bottoms, south of the river, and almost adjoining Pawnee, had the next ferry, which was operating in 1856, and paid a $50 license fee this year. 364
There may have been two ferries in operation here in 1857, though no names of the operators have been located. The Journal of the Davis county commissioners, of April 20, 1857, contains entries of ferry license fees fixed by the commissioners, the ferries at Ashland and Ogden being assessed $10 each for the year, while Riley City, two in number, were fixed at $20 each. Ferriage charges were standardized for every ferry operating in the county this year, and were as follows: Two-horse teams, 50 cents; buggy or one-horse vehicle, 30 cents; horse and rider, 20 cents; each led horse, mule or ass, 10 cents; footmen, 10 cents; cattle, 10 cents; sheep, hogs and freight, the county court left with the parties to agree. 365
The next ferry upstream was located just opposite the Fort Riley military reservation on S. 27, T. 11, R. 7 E., on the east side of the river. It was started by L. B. Perry, who came from near St. Louis, Mo., in 1856, and operated it for about nine years. County com missioners' records for Davis county fail to disclose the annual license fee exacted for this ferry privilege, but it does record ferriage charges allowed by the commissioners, as follows: Two horses, mules, or oxen and wagon, 40 cents; each additional span, 20 cents; one horse and wagon, 35 cents; for each man and horse, 25 cents; for each footman, 10 cents; loose horses, mules or cattle each, 10 cents; sheep and swine, per head, 5 cents. 366 This ferry was located on a point of land partly encompassed by a crescent-shaped slough, the whole plot being entirely surrounded by water during times of flood. This slough has long since been known as “Whisky Lake." A small settlement sprang up near the landing, which was in the SE 1/4
ROOT: FERRIES IN KANSAS 41
S. 27, which was platted April 7, 1860, as Island City, by David Wilson, for L. B. Perry, who owned the land. 367 Some parties later had attempted to start a rival town at the extreme western point of this so-called island, giving it the name of West Point. The town never amounted to more than a few low-class grog shops. Accord ing to Andreas:
The name of the place was afterwards changed to Whisky Point, it having derived this name from somebody in court having said he would rather die in Junction City than live at Whisky Point, referring by this remark to West Point. Since that time the place has been known by the name of Whisky Point. On May 14, 1862, a very unpleasant affair occurred at Whisky Point, between a party of soldiers, in which two were killed and one wounded. On the same day the provost marshal, with a squad of men, went around and closed up every saloon in which intoxicating liquors were vended. 368
Just eight days before this happened, Captain Sylvester, of Com pany K, Twelfth Wisconsin, visited Island City with a squad of men, and on this occasion thirteen barrels of whisky were broken open and their contents spilled.
A ferry was in use at Fort Riley in 1856, according to Herman Oesterreich, for the purpose of getting hay across the river for use at the post. This institution was being operated by Alex and John Smith, and apparently was the last ferry met with ascending the river, its location being close to the junction of the Republican and Smoky Hill rivers. 369 The Smiths had settled on land to the south west at the third crossing of Lyon creek, which later became known as the Alex Smith crossing. How long the Smiths operated this ferry has not been learned, as early commissioners' journals of Davis county give scant mention of ferry matters.
Fort Riley is located near the junction of the Smoky Hill and Re publican rivers and alongside the Kaw river. This point was known to the Indians and traders as the "Grand Point." 370 Many roads terminated at or started from the fort. The earliest was a Mormon road which crossed the Kansas slightly south of Whisky Lake. Sections of this old road, according to Henry Thiele, an old resident of Junction City, can still be traced past the Geary county poor farm and for some distance beyond. Another road ran to Fort Kearney; another to the southwest by way of Fort Barker and on to the Santa Fe trail at Fort Zarah; another to Bent's Fort was declared a terri-
42 THE KANSAS HISTORICAL QUARTERLY
torial road. 371 The military road running from Fort Riley northwest to the Nebraska line was also made a territorial road. 372 In 1859 a bill was introduced in the council by Senator Mead, for the estab lishment of a territorial road from some point at or near Fort Riley to some point near the base of the Rocky Mountains, at or near the thirty-ninth parallel of latitude. The bill passed both houses of the legislature, but for some reason did not become a law. At this same session an act was passed declaring ''that all roads now used as mili tary roads in the territory be and the same are hereby made terri torial roads, and are established on the best and most traveled track at the passage of this act." This law received the approval of Gov. Samuel Medary February 7, 1859. 373 Another road ran from Leav en worth to Fort Riley by way of Grasshopper Falls; 374 another from Fort Riley to Fort Larned was made a territorial road, 375 and two years later Congress was memorialized by the legislature to make provision for bridging and improving this road from Fort Leaven worth, via Fort Riley to Fort Larned. 376 A number of other roads passed the fort and terminated at Junction City. These will be mentioned in a future paper.
268. Cone, Historical Sketch of Shawnee County, Kansas, p. 12; Andreas, History of Kansas, p. 532.
269. Original document in office of county clerk, Shawnee county.
270. W. W. Cone, Historical Sketch of Shawnee County, p. 12; Andreas, History of Kansas, p. 587, says the ferries were three or four miles apart, the main crossing being at the Baptist mission.
271. Corporations, v. 1, p. 108.
272. This information was furnished by Mr. W. F. Douglas, of Willard, who is farming the Widow LePoint farm, on which old Uniontown was located.
273. Corporations, v. 2, p. 39.
274. Shawnee county, Commissioners' Proceedings, Book B-C, p. 204.
275. Ibid., p. 204.
276. Ibid., pp. 350, 351; original bond on file in Shawnee county clerk's office.
277. Original bonds in office Shawnee county clerk; Commissioners' Proceedings, Book D, pp. 119, 494; Book E, pp. 30, 82, 155.
278. Shawnee county, Commissioners' Proceedings, Book E, p. 487.
279. Ibid., Book F, p. 45.
280. Ibid., July 7, 1881, Book F, p. 268.
281. W. W. Cone, Historical Sketch of Shawnee County, Kansas, p. 13; Andreas, History of Kansas, p. 589.
282. Shown on map of the Pottawatomie Reserve lands belonging to the A. T. & 8. F. R. R. Co.
283. John P. Gleich was born in Bavaria in 1829. He landed in New Orleans in 1848, where he worked in a blacksmith shop for two years. Cholera becoming prevalent in that city he left, and after roaming around for two years came west and took a squatter's claim on Mill creek, Wabaunsee county, which he subsequently preempted. He followed farming and stock raising, and for many years made his home in Alma.
284. Kansas Historical Collections, v. 16, p. 732.
285. Thomson, Early History of Wabaunsee County, p. 336.
286. Map of Pottawatomie Reserve lands.<
288. Corporations, v. 3, pp. 200, 201.
289. Max Greene, in The Kansas Region, p. 43, says: "Next we have Uniontown, a village of log cabins, a mile to the south of the river. Then, Red Bluffs, taking name from the peculiar light brown of the soil, which is highly productive. This mulatto color pervades the soil to considerable depth and extends for several miles around. Darling's ferry is passed; and Mill creek comes splashing and leaping in, like a little mountain river. Nor is its force spent in wanton gambols; on it the Pottawatomies have erected a grist mill. And what with its belts of trees, and grassy reaches between, and clusters of tall mounds, the Kansas valley has no lovelier scene."
290. Shawnee county, Commissioners' Proceedings, Book D, p. 85.
291. Beers' Atlas of Shawnee County, Kansas, 1873, p. 9.
292. Cone, Historical Sketch of Shawnee County, p. 13.
293. Wabaunsee County Herald, Alma, August 5, November 25, 1869.
294. Fort Riley originally was in Riley county, but changes in county lines subsequently placed it in Davis (now Geary) county.
295. Laws, Kansas, 1857, p. 180.
296. Kansas City Times, May 17, 1933
297. Corporations, v. 1, pp. 225, 226.
298. Ibid., p. 390.
299. Ibid., v. 2, p. 80.
300. Wabaunsee County Herald, Alma, June 3, 1869.
301. Ibid., June 10, 1869.
302. Ibid., July 8, 1869.
303. Ibid., July 8, 1869.
304. Ibid., December 23, 1869.
305. Alma Union, May 26, 1870; October 20, December 28, 1871; Kansas Reporter, Louisville, June 13, July 4, 1872.
306. Kansas Historical Collections, v. 17, pp. 460, 461, 488, 499; Andreas, History of Kansas, p. 976.
307. Kansas Reporter, Louisville, October 6, 1870.
308. William P. Douthitt and John G. Otis were early residents of Topeka; the latter was a member of Congress from 1891 to 1893.
309. Corporations, v. 1, p. 112.
310. Kansas Reporter, Louisville, June 20, 1872.
311. Laws, Kansas, 1858, p. 58; original document in Archives division, Kansas State Historical Society.
312. Private Laws, Kansas, 1860, pp. 275, 276.
313. Corporations, v. 1, p. 146.
314. Ibid., pp. 155, 156.
315. Laws, Kansas, 1861, p. 248.
316. Corporations, v. 1, p. 113.
317. Wabaunsee County Herald, Alma, April 1, 1869.
318. Ibid., April 15, May 27, June 23, 1869.
319. Ibid., September 2, 1869.
320. Kansas Reporter, Louisville, December 31, 1870.
321. Alma Union, June 15, 1871.
322. Kansas Reporter, Louisville, August 22, 1872.
323. Private Laws, Kansas, 1860, pp. 270-271.
324. Manhattan Independent, August 24, 1863.
325. Ibid., June 6, 1864.
326. Ibid., August 3, 1867.
327. Ibid., August 10, 1867.
328. Ibid., August 24, 1867.
329. Ibid., October 5, 1867.
330. Ibid., December 7, 1867.
331. Ibid., November 2, 1867.
332. Ibid., November 30, 1867.
333. Corporations, v. 1, pp. 444-445.
334. Manhattan Standard, June 19, 1869.
335. Corporations, v. 1, pp. 86, 87.
336. Manhattan Independent, April 20, 1867.
337. Ibid., May 18, 1867.
338. Ibid., July 13, 1867.
339. Manhattan Standard, April 30, 1870.
340. Ibid., May 7, 1870.
341. Ibid., August 20, 1872.
342. Ibid., November 4, 1870.
343. Manhattan Nationalist, March 12, 31, 1871.
344. Ibid., August 11, 1871.
345. Laws, Kansas, 1857, pp. 178, 179.
346. Ibid., 1861, p. 248.
347. Ibid., 1864, p. 209.
348. Davis county, Commissioners' Journal, Book 1, pp. 2, 3.
349. Ibid., p. 5.
350. Ibid., p. 6.
351. Ibid., p. 8.
352. Later United States senator from Colorado.
353. Davis county, Commissioners' Journal, Book 1, p. 16.
354. Ibid., pp. 44, 49.
355. Laws, Kansas, 1857, p. 164.
356. Private Laws, Kansas, 1860, pp. 271, 272.
357. Corporations, v. 1, pp. 136, 137.
358. Davis county, Commissioners' Journal, Book 2, p. 2.
359. William H. Mackey, Sr., of Junction City, writing to Charles E. Cory regarding slaves in Kansas, said: "Fox Booth, a North Carolinian, who came from some point on the Platte to Fort Riley, in 1854, owned a negro woman slave. She worked a ferry boat for him, and rowed me across the raging Kaw many times. Booth tired of her and brought her down to McDowell's creek to Tom Reynolds' place and offered her for trade. Reynolds looked her over and came to the conclusion she would make a good herder. Booth wanted a few cows for her, but Reynolds would not part with the cows, and finally offered an old white stallion, and the deal went. I was an eye witness to the transaction. This was in the fall of 1855." Kansas Historical Collections, v. 7, p. 241.
360. Kansas Historical Collections, v. 13, p. 2; General Statutes, Kansas, 1855, p. 790.
361. Andreas, History of Kansas, p. 1002.
362. General Statutes, Kansas, 1855, p. 976.
363. Ibid., p. 942.
364. Riley county historical clippings in the Kansas State Historical Society's library, v. 1, p. 12.
365. Davis county, Commissioners' Journal, Book 1, pp. 2, 3.
Book 2, p. 148.
367. Junction City Union, January 11, 1912.
368. Andreas, History of Kansas, pp. 1001, 1002.
369. Kansas Historical Collections, v. 14, p. 146.
370. John C. McCoy's manuscript "Map of Indian Surveys in Kansas, 1830-1836," in Kansas State Historical Society's archives.
371. Laws, Kansas, 1857, p. 170.
872. Ibid., pp. 170, 171.
873. Ibid., 1859, p. 584.
375. General Laws, Kansas, 1861, p. 32.
376. Laws, Kansas, 1863, pp. 83, 84.