The Heritage of Daniel Haston


The Caney Fork of the Cumberland
Ferries Above Great Falls - Pages 26-27
Back Next

Ferries Located above the Great Falls

Name of Ferry Location & Notes
Black's Ferry On Collins River where the McMinnville-Sparta Highway crosses.
Denny Ferry On Caney Fork at the mouth of Dry Creek.  According to Will Slatton it was not run regularly and was really a local convenience.  There was no through traffic because there was no place to go.
Dillon Ferry On Caney Fork River about 2 miles above mouth of Rocky River and more than a mile downstream from McElroy Ferry.  The "Dillon Ferry Road" mentioned in grant to Larkin Baker entered 1826.  John B. Rodgers bought the land in 1841 at a sale and sold it to Carter Dillon, reserving ferry privileges in 1857.  In 1851 James Dillon sold some land to John Dillon including ferry and ferry-boat.

There was a very fine well on the White County side.  One winter the river froze over and Mount Dillon walked across the ice.  Helm Slatton was one of the ferrymen.  He always made the school boys crossing to Antioch School sit down saying, "Too-toot, sit down there boys."  They all like him very much.  He was a man who never ate very much.  Business dropped off at Dillon Ferry at the end of the Civil War.

McElroy Ferry On Caney Fork River just below the Tosh Mill and later the Tosh Bridge.  It was known in later years as the Tosh Ferry.  According to Wiley Slatton it was a very old ferry crossing and operated till the Tosh Bridge was built.  Florence Woods told the writer that the Stage Line used this crossing at one time.

Before the War it was hard to get over the roads down to the ferry but after the War the roads improved and there was a big increase in traffic.  Rube Davis was one of the last men to operate the ferry.  It appears that Tosh owned the ferry before the War and that Ed Blankenship also had an interest in it.

Joe Slatton use to tell abut the time Tosh was crossing the river with a Baptist preacher.  The cable across the river which kept the boat from going down stream broke.  The river was  up and the ferry-boat started downstream.  Tosh grabbed the long sweep and tried to guide the boat to shore.  The preacher dropped to his knees and Tosh said, "What are you doing?"  He replied, "I'm praying to the Lord to get this boat to the shore and keep us from going down the river and over the Great Falls."  Tosh hollered, "You've got your religion mixed up.  My Bible says the Lord helps them as helps themselves.  You better grab that other oar and help me and the Lord."  He did.

Land on Van Buren side of river mentioned in a survey in 1808.  In 1818 deed from Cook to wife mentions the ferry.  The boat landing on the Van Buren side mentioned in a deed from A.J. McElroy in 1888 and in another deed in 1907 the ferry is mentioned.

Reed's Old Ferry On Collins River.  Deed of 1833 from Thos. Hopkins to Peter Buram refers to "where stage road from Sparta to McMinnville crosses Collins River known as Reed's Old Ferry."  This tract was granted to John Read in 1809 and entered in 1807.  Another deed in 1873 refers to Reed's ferry tract and Reeds or Blacks ferry.  In 1883 another deed refers to Black's Ferry Road and Stage Road.
River Hill Ferry On Caney Fork at the mouth of Cane Creek.  This ferry was probably a three-way affair.  Served those crossing Caney Fork from River Hill on right bank to left bank above mouth of Cane Creek and from right to left bank below mouth of Cane Creek and then took care of those who wanted to cross Cane Creek but not Caney Fork.  A deed covering the Parker Stillhouse in 1841 refers to "ferry road."
Rock Island Ferry On Caney Fork River at the mouth of Rocky River.  Ferry crossed by way of the Island.  Joseph Terry was the first settler and built a one room log house, without windows, and with a rough stone fireplace on the main shore opposite the Island.  He was definitely living there September 11, 1806 when the General Assembly designated his house as the place to hold Court for White County.  He is said to have settled there about 1796.  There is some question whether he ever had any land title.  In October 1813 Rock (William) Martin, who was already living there bought the property at a sale to satisfy a debt John Armstrong, who owned the property, owed John Carter.  Sold by Sheriff Smartt for $100.  The deed was dated July 14, 1814 and refers to the ferry.  Rock Martin was running the ferry during the War of 1812 according to Mrs. Jennie Hash Rucker.  One day the ferry took in $40.00.  This came from men living in the Cane Creek area who had been called out and were on their way to Nashville to join Jackson and go to New Orleans with him.  Mr. Lamb, who drove the Stage drove in and through the river one day when no ferry man was present - a very risky thing to do.

Later a bridge was built and used till it was washed out and the ferry was put back in operation.  It had stiff competition with the Dillon and McElroys ferries.  The last regular operator was Mr. C. Arnold till about 1908.  He died at Rock Island village in 1910.  The Odle boys ran it for a few years and then gave it up.  The Bosson Ford was being used at that time.

Ross Ferry On Caney Fork.  "Old ferry and Mill" mentioned in a deed of 1848.  This probably had reference to the Underwood property which was later owned by the Ross family.  It must have been a local ferry for the convenience of local people.
Tosh Ferry On Caney Fork River.  See McElroy ferry.

Back Next