Kansas Historical Quarterly - Ferries in Kansas, Part II, Kansas River
By George A. Root
August 1933 (Vol. 2, No. 3), pages 251 to 293
Transcribed with permission of the Kansas Historical Society.
THE Kansas river, the principal stream originating within the state, has a history dating back considerably more than 200 years. The river derives its name from the Kanza or Kaw Indians who resided near its mouth and along its course from time immemorial. It is formed by the junction of the Republican and Smoky Hill rivers, which unite at a point near Junction City. From there it flows in an easterly direction for about 240 miles to mingle its murky waters with that of the "Great Muddy," or Missouri.
This stream has been given various names by explorers and early map makers. One of the earliest references to the river was by Antonio de Herrary Tordesilla, historiographer to the King of Spain. Marquette mentions the Kanza in 1673. John Senex's map of Louisiana and of the Mississippi river, in 1719, calls it the "Great River of Cansez." D'Anville's map of 1732 calls it the River des Padoucas and Kansas. DuPratz's map of Louisiana, 1757, calls it the River of the Cansez, while a map of British and French settlements in North America, published in 1758, gives the stream the name of Padoucas river. 1
There is much fiction in early accounts of the river, one authority recording that it had been ascended for a distance of 900 miles, while an equally unreliable historian asserted that it was navigable for a like distance.
The valley of the Kansas had long been a highway to the buffalo hunting grounds on the great plains and to the mountains beyond. The Chouteaus and other early traders among the Indians had posts along the stream, and trappers and hunters used its waters to raft their pelts to markets on the Missouri river.
Thomas Say, of Long's expedition, Lieut. J. W. Abert, Col. John C. Fremont and others started up the Kaw valley on exploring expeditions to the far West. The earliest and perhaps the greatest tide of emigration to Oregon and California passed up the Kaw valley on the first leg of the journey. The river was only fordable during periods when there was a scarcity of rain, and for this reason ferries were a necessity and were established at an early date along its
1. Names from old maps and volumes in Kansas State Historical Society.
252 THE KANSAS HISTORICAL QUARTERLY
course. Being located at easily accessible points on the river, they became deciding factors in the location of territorial and state roads which were established by early legislatures.
The earliest Kansas law regarding ferries was passed by the legislature of 1855, and was designated as chapter 71. This act provided that no person should keep a ferry without a license, and that the county clerk should issue licenses, etc. 2
Ferrying on the Kansas river dates back something over 100 years. Beginning with a ferry established within the limits of present Wyandotte county, the first ferry encountered above the mouth of the river was the one inaugurated by the Wyandott Nation, and was known as the Wyandott National Ferry. These Indians in 1843 purchased lands on the north side of the Kansas river, extending westward from its confluence with the Missouri, from their relatives the Delawares. Being hedged in, so to speak, by the two rivers, a ferry was put into operation, for their convenience, just above the mouth of the Kaw. Here a flatboat, operated by a cable and capable of transporting one wagon and team at a time, was the equipment first used by this ferry, while a small cabin was erected on the bank of the river as a shelter for the ferryman. The exact date when this enterprise went into operation and the name of the ferryman who first had charge of the boat have not been learned. However, the journals of Gov. William Walker throw considerable light on early ferry matters, there being numerous references to the subject. The following are extracts from the journal* entries:
"Jan. 27, 1846. Attended Council to-day but done very little of important business. Agreed to employ Tall Charles another year to keep the ferry.
"Feb. 10, 1846. Paid Tall Charles, ferryman, $45, leaving him a balance due him for 1845 of $55.00.
"July 7, 1846. C. G. G. and Peter Buck arraigned for violently taking the ferry boat from her moorings in the absence of the ferryman ; the former fined $5 and latter $2.50.
"May 8, 1847. Attended the sale at the council room of the goods, chattels and effects of Nofat, deceased. Bought nothing. The company then proceeded to the ferry, hauled out and turned upside down the old boat for repairs. G. A. and myself assorted our lumber.
"Dec. 27, 1847. . . . Went to H. Jaquis's and spent a part of the day, the election of a ferryman being the principal topic of conversation, the candidates are D. Young, Tall Charles, Charles Split-The-Logs.
"Dec. 28, 1847. Council met at James Washington's. Proceeded to the election of a ferryman, and resulted in the election of D. Young.
2. General Statutes, Kansas, 1855, pp. 362-364.
* Nebraska State Historical Society Collections, 2d Ser., v. 3.
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"Jan. 17, 1848. No ferrying, the river being frozen over.
"May 3, 1848. . . . Settled with M. Goodyear for lumber got for the use of the ferry by the council, $27.50.
"June 4, 1848. Mrs. W[alker] and Sophia state that on their return from K[ansas City] they found at the ferry a dozen or more people waiting to cross, and among them was John Charloe, very drunk, and had been severely beat.
"Dec. 12, 1848. At 2 o'clock the joint meeting proceeded to ballot for a ferryman. After several ballots all the candidates were dropped except D. Young and Tall Charles and the final ballots on these two stood thus: D. Young, 16; Tall Charles, 7. Majority, 9 votes. Adjourned.
"July 28, 1849. . . . Attended a special election of ferryman, vice D. Young resigned; and George Steel was elected.
"Nov. 17, 1850. To-day the council and legislative committee met in joint session to elect ferryman for the year 1851 . . . when Isaac Brown was duly elected.
"Feb. 18, 1851. The Kansas river has about run dry; there not being water enough to float the ferry boat, and consequently no ferrying.
"In the evening learned that the ferry was now passable.
"Dec. 14, 1852. . . . Attended the joint meeting of the council and legislative committee and elected Nicholas Cotter ferryman for 1853.
"Mch. 9, 1853. Sent Dudley to K[ansas City], who shortly afterwards returned and reported that the ice above the ferry had broken loose and stove in the ferry boat and carried her off down the river, with a negro on board.
"May 26, 1853. Diable. Those drunken vagabondish ferrymen have lost the ferry boat. They say some one or two broke the lock last night and took the boat, no one knows where. This is provoking. The rascals have been drunk and lost the boat themselves. Now we have another embargo.
"May 29, 1853. Our ferry boat was found and recovered near Randolph.
"Dec. 20, 1853. Harriet and Baptiste set out for Kansas, but on arriving at the ferry found the floating ice so thick and running so rapidly the ferry boat could not cross. So they gave it up and came home. Mr. Dofflemeyer then proposed to Harriet that if she would go back with him, as he wanted to go over, he would venture with the ferry boat, and make the attempt to cross. They went and succeeded in crossing.
"June 5, 1854. Lost our ferry boat again.
"June 17, 1854. Heard of the recovery of the ferry boat.
"June 21, 1854. We have had no mail for nearly two weeks for the want of a boat to cross the river. Although the boat was caught at Richfield, about forty miles from here, yet our worthless council and still more worthless ferryman take no steps towards getting it bro't up again. A pretty set of fellows to want to maintain a separate government."
The above is the last entry in the Walker journals regarding the Wyandotte ferry. The record book of the Wyandotte Indian council, 1855 to 1871, contains several mentions of the ferry, concluding with its sale in 1856. There is a hiatus of a little more than a year
254 THE KANSAS HISTORICAL QUARTERLY
between the last ferry item date in Walker's journal and the first similar one in the Wyandotte records, which follows:
"Nov. 9, 1855. The council paid Adam Brown one hundred and eighty dollars for acting as ferryman for nine months.
"Nov. 13 to 22, 1855. Ferry expenses to Joel Walker, $79.00. Ferry expenses to Northrup & Chick, $22.15. John D. Brown for repairs on ferry house, $35.00.
"Nov. 3, 1856. Silas Armstrong hire of flat boat, paid $61.50. Thomas Smart for crying of ferry sale (paid) Silas Armstrong, $5.00. National ferryman, J. H. Cotter, paid, $199.54.
"Wyandott Council 1st Sept.
"Wyandott Council. 1856.
"Convened this day, present Geo. I. Clark, Silas Armstrong, John D. Brown, John Hicks & Peter D. Clark.
"The commissioners met the council this day and the chiefs and commissioners ordered the four acres of ground attached to the ferry 3 to be surveyed and to be sold to the highest bidder on Monday the fifteenth (15th) day of the present month according to treaty of 31st January, 1856.
"Amount of Sam Parsons (surveying) account $586.68.
"R. ROBITAILLE, Clerk. GEO. I. CLARK, Principal Chief."
"Wyandott Council, 15 September, 1856.
"The Wyandotts council convened this day according to adjournment, full board of chiefs present, Geo. I. Clark presiding. In accordance with an article in the treaty between the U. S. government and Wyandott Indians in date of 31st January, 1855, and according to advertisements affixed in three public places in Wyandott, was sold the four acres of land attached to the Wyandott ferry, this day and adjudged to Isaiah Walker, the highest bidder, for the sum of seven thousand dollars, payable one-half, say three thousand five hundred ($3,500) dollars, payable on the thirty-first of next October, and the other half, say three thousand five hundred ($3,500) dollars, payable one year from said 31st October next without interest, and Charles B. Garrett becomes his security for the full fillment of the conditions of the sale. A plat of said lot of land has been made by Lot Coffman, Esq., one of the commissioners.
"There being no further business the Council have adjourned to the October next. GEO. I. CLARK, Principal Chief. 4
"R. ROBITAILLE, Clerk."
Another early mention of this ferry dating back to 1846 is the following by Louis H. Gerrard, in his Wa-to-yah, page 2:
"The Wyandotte is the nearest Indian tribe to Kansas [City]; and, one afternoon, Mr. Drinker and myself visited the agent, Doctor Hewitt. A walk of a mile, through woods on the river bank, brought us to the mouth of the Kansas, or Kaw, river, a stream ferried by a tall, good specimen of a full-blood Wyandotte, who received the toll with a look as if to say, 'Your money's
3. Kansas Historical Collections, v. 15, map facing p. 158.
4. Wyandotte Indian Council Records, 1855-1871, MSS., pp. 41, 42.
ROOT: FERRIES IN KANSAS 255
no account, and I've a mind to toss you in the river for offering it'; our attempts at conversation failed."
In 1857 the ferry crossed the Kaw at a point near the cable line bridge of later date. It is said that toll charges for this year amounted to $7,000 for crossing, and that charges were not exhorbitant, but reasonable. This ferry continued to be used until 1863. when a pontoon bridge was built across the river near its mouth. 5
A Kansan who used this ferry many years ago, wrote:
"We crossed the Kaw at Wyandotte. In those days there were no bridges, so we had to ferry over on one of those flat-bottomed scows such as are in use to-day for carrying sand from the steam dredges in the Missouri and Kansas rivers. A heavy cable was stretched across the river on which ran two pulleys from which ropes were attached to each end of the boat. When the ferryman was ready to start he wound the rear rope so as to head the boat up stream and the current would propel the boat to the opposite shore. This was a slow process, as only one team at a time could be carried, but was the best we could do in the Far West of fifty years ago." 6
Just what disposition Isaiah Walker made of his ferry has not been learned. However, an advertisement in the Western Argus, of Wyandotte, April 7, 1860, stated that the ferry was running, Isaiah Walker & Co. being proprietors.
Mr. K. L. Browne, of Kansas City, Kan., in a letter to the author, dated July 12, 1932, stated that "Jack Beaton was the recognized operator of the ferry. He was not an Indian. Afterwards he went west with Tom Parks, who was killed by the Indians during the building of the Union Pacific railroad."
The following items relating to Wyandotte county ferry matters are extracts from the minute book of the city fathers of the City of Wyandotte:
"Oct. 12, 1856: Mr. Glick, on behalf of Mr. Steavens, made application for the payment by the town of the amount due him for services performed as ferryman on the free ferry across the Kansas river, he being unable to collect the same from the citizens by whom it was agreed to be paid. Petition laid on the table.
"July 14, 1859: Petition of L. Meyer and other merchants and business men of the city requesting the board to levy a tax on the steam ferry boat "Lizzie," or any other ferry boat running regularly between this city and Kansas City. Tabled.
"November 15, 1859: Resolved that Messrs. Walker, Judd and His Honor
the Mayor, be appointed a committee to confer with Wm. H. Irwin & Co. with a view of establishing a ferry across the Missouri river.
5. Godspeed's History of Wyandotte County, pp. 359, 361.
6. Charles Raber, "Personal Recollections," in Kansas Historical Collections, v. 16, p. 316.
256 THE KANSAS HISTORICAL QUARTERLY
"November 19, 1859: The committee appointed to confer with Wm. H. Irwin & Co. with regard to the ferry across the Missouri river reported that they had submitted the proposition of the board to Mr. Irwin which was that Wm. H. Irwin & Co. was to establish the ferry within thirty days after the 18th day of January, A.D. 1860 and to pay to the city ten per cent of the profits of said ferry and that Wm. H. Irwin & Co. accepted said proposition. On motion of Mr. White the report was received and the committee discharged. Whereupon it was on motion,
"Resolved, That the mayor be instructed to complete the contract between Wm. H. Irwin & Co. and the city with regard to the ferry across the Missouri river and submit the same to a vote of the people at an election to be held for that purpose on the 6th day of December, 1859.
[No record of an election in the minute book.]
"November 24, 1859: An article of agreement between the city of Wyandotte and Wm. H. Irwin & Co. was presented and ordered placed on file.
"November 24, 1859: A petition signed by Silas Armstrong, David E. James and William Wear, his attorney, for ferry privileges across the Kansas river was presented and read, whereupon on motion of Mr. Overton it was
"Resolved, That we hereby grant unto the Kansas River Ferry Company the privilege of moving their present rope ferry to or near the mouth of the Kansas river and grant unto them the privilege of landing at said point with a flat boat for the term of three years from the present time. Said ferry to be moved within twenty days from the present time.
"November 25, 1859: The mayor stated that the object of calling the meeting to be his veto of a bill passed on the previous day granting the privilege to the Kansas River Ferry Company the right to land on the Wyandott side at the foot of Minnesota avenue for the period of three years, and gave as his reasons for vetoing the same that from information he had derived since that the city had no rights themselves to a landing at that point and that they were giving away private property which they had no right to do and as the resolution now stood he could not approve it.
"November 29, 1859: Petition of J. M. Funk and others for certain ferry privileges to be granted to the Kansas River Ferry Company was brought before the meeting. Whereupon Mr. Overton moved that the company be allowed the privilege of landing on the levee on the Kansas river belonging to the city for the term of three years. Motion lost a majority of the whole board needed to carry over the mayor's veto.
"February 28, 1860: Petition of R. W. Clark, J. M. Funk, et al for ferry landing at the mouth of the Kansas river. On motion the above petition was referred to committee on ordinances with instructions to report at next meeting an ordinance in compliance with said petition.
"March 6, 1860: Committee on ordinances reported ordinance 20 relating to ferry landing on Kansas river. Upon the final passage was passed unanimously.
[Ordinance cannot be found.]
"April 10, 1860: Petition of Wm. H. Irwin for extension of time on ferry contract presented. On motion the time on said contract was extended from May 1, 1860, until May first, 1875.
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"April 17, 1860: On motion Gen. W. H. Irwin was granted until the first of June, A. D., 1860, to procure ferry boat."
The Wyandotte City Ferry Company, operated by Silas Armstrong and associates, was granted a charter by the legislature of 1858 to operate a ferry across the Missouri river, with privilege of landing on either bank of the Kansas river within one-eighth of a mile above its mouth. 7 Two years later this company was granted additional rights and privileges when the city council passed the following:
"ORDINANCE No. 37.
"An ordinance granting Silas Armstrong, or his assigns, the privilege of landing a ferry boat on Kansas river.
"Be it Ordained by the mayor and aldermen of the city of Wyandotte, to- wit:
"Section 1. That Silas Armstrong or his heirs and assigns, if they have the lawful right to keep a public ferry across the Kansas river, at or near its mouth, shall have all the right this city has to grant, to a landing of their ferry boat at any place where any of the streets or avenues of this city, now made open, by any ordinance of this city, or resolution or motion, strikes or extends to the said river, for a period of three years from this date, unless the said place where said boat shall be located shall be wanted before that time for the purpose of constructing a bridge over said river at that point.
"Approved, Dec. 5, 1860. GEO. RUSSELL, Mayor.
"Attest: THOMAS J. DARLING, City Clerk." 8
Willie Willis was granted a charter by the board of county commissioners of Johnson county, at a called meeting April 10, 1858, for a ferry on the Kansas river near the mouth of the stream and opposite the city of Wyandotte for the term of twelve months. This license cost Mr. Willis $75, and he was authorized to collect the following rates of ferriage: Each footman, 10 cents; man and horse, 15 cents; loose horses, 10 cents; cattle, 10 cents each; buggy and one horse, 25 cents; two-horse wagon and horses, 50 cents; each additional horse, 10 cents. 9
The next ferry upstream was about three miles from Wyandotte. This was known as the Santa Fe road ferry and was started in 1857 by Wyandotte interests in an effort to attract trade to that city from territory south of the Kansas river. In order to do this it was necessary to establish a free ferry and open a road from Wyandotte to the river. The point selected for the ferry was on the SE 1/2 of S. 20, T. 11, R. 25, the road crossing the river a few rods below
7. Laws, Kansas, 1858, pp. 70, 71.
8. Wyandotte Commercial Gazette, December 8, 1860.
9. Johnson county, Commissioners Proceedings, 1858, p. 12.
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the Argentine bridge of the 1930's, and continuing on to Shawnee, in Johnson county, where it connected with the old Santa Fe trail. This road did not receive official recognition until October 27, 1859, when it was regularly laid out and designated on the official plat as the "Santa Fe road." It reached the Kaw where Nineteenth street, Kansas City, now meets the river. 10 This ferry soon gave way to a toll bridge.
At the 1858 session of the territorial legislature a company designated as the Wyandotte Bridge Company applied for a charter for a bridge across the Kansas river at a point not closer than two, nor more than six, miles from the mouth of that stream. One section of the act authorized and empowered the company to establish and maintain a free ferry across the river at or near the point selected for the erection of the bridge, 11 which was built that year.
Wyandotte was a natural center for roads from all directions. A road to the west from Wyandotte connected with the Fort Leavenworth-Fort Gibson road ; one to the south connected with the Santa Fe road; another to the west intersected the Fort Leavenworth-Fort Riley road. These were the more important ones. Another, established in 1855, which ran from the Wyandotte ferry across the Kansas river, passing Joel Walker's, Charles Garrett's and Noah Zaines' claims and on to the Parkville ferry, was made a territorial road ; 12 another, established the same time, ran from Wyandotte, via Jacksonville, to Ozawkie, the act requiring the commissioners who laid out the road to erect "finger boards" along the route where necessary. 13 Another ran to Quindaro, Leavenworth and Atchison; 14
another to Mound City, via the Wyandotte bridge, Aubrey, New Lancaster and Ballard's ford, 15 and still another from Wyandotte, via Shawneetown, New Lancaster, Trading Post, Potosi and Barnesville, to Fort Scott, following the old military road as nearly as practicable. 16
Up to 1858 the ferries took care of the commerce and traffic over these routes. By that time those of vision could see that bridges must supplant the ferries. That year a charter was secured from the legislature by the Wyandotte Bridge Company for a bridge over the
10. County clerk, Wyandotte county, Road Record A, p. 4.
11. Private Laws, Kansas, 1858, pp. 48-50.
12. General Statutes, Kansas, 1855, p. 972.
13. Ibid., pp. 978-979.
14. Laws, Kansas, I860, p. 588.
15. Ibid., 1861, p. 249.
16. Ibid., 1865, p. 144.
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Kaw river, to be located within one mile from the mouth and which should not impede free navigation of the river. 17 During the Civil War period there was not much bridge construction, and the toll bridges and ferries had things pretty much their own way.
After the close of the War the era of bridge building in Wyandotte commenced. On August 1, 1865, the Wyandotte Bridge and Ferry Company applied for a charter, which was issued, granting them the right of constructing and establishing one or more bridges or ferries, or both, over the Kansas river between the mouth of the river and the western boundary of the county, and also of operating a ferry or bridge in the Missouri river and opposite to and across the mouth of the Kansas river. This charter was filed with the secretary of state, September 29, 1865. 18
In 1866, 1867 and 1872 bridges were built at Wyandotte, and also a number constructed later, no less than a dozen having been erected across the Kaw river up to the 1930's. 19
Above Armstrong's another ferry was started by Quindaro interests and was known as the Eureka ferry, located on the SE1/4, S. 18, T. 11, R. 25. This ferry was inaugurated in an effort to share in the trade Wyandotte city was drawing from territory to the south of the Kaw river. Both towns surveyed and opened up roads through the Shawnee reservation. Committees were appointed by the two towns to confer and fix upon a point where a joint ferry for both could be established. The location suggested by Wyandotte was rejected by Quindaro as being too far east, and the location designated by Quindaro was rejected as being too far west. These locations were about a mile apart, and compromise was wrong in principle. This resulted in free ferries for both. 20 Exact date of starting the Eureka ferry has not been learned. On March 30, 1857, Aaron W. Merrill and Abelard Guthrie entered into the following written agreement:
"This agreement the 30th day of March A. D. 1857, between Aaron W. Merrill of the one part and Abelard Guthrey in behalf of the Quindaro Company of the other part, witnesseth: That the said Merrill in consideration of the covenants hereinafter contained, covenants and agrees to and with the said Guthrey for said Guthrey for said company, that he will keep the said company's ferry, called "Eureka" ferry, lately established on the Kansas river about four miles below Delaware ferry, and tow the said company's flat boat
17. Private Laws, Kansas, 1858, pp. 51-58.
18. Corporations, v. 1, pp. 44, 45, in Archives division, Kansas State Historical Society.
19. Ibid., pp. 67, 68; Wyandotte Gazette, 1866, 1867, 1868.
20. Kansas City Journal, February 17, 1882.
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across and ferry over all the teams and wagons, horses, cattle and mules and ferry across all persons coming to said ferry, and do all such ferrying free of charge to the persons coming and requiring to be ferryed across said river. And that he will at all times provide sufficient help to do such ferrying of persons, horses, cattle, mules, teams and wagons and goods in expeditious and skillful manner, and that he will keep and protect the said companies boats and keep them in good repair at his own expense, except extraordinary repairs occasioned without his fault.
"And in consideration of the premices the said Guthrey promises and agrees that the company will pay to said Merrill for such services as aforesaid the sum of one hundred dollars per month so long as the said Merrill shall continue to do such ferrying, and bestow the care on said companys boats and keeping them in repair as aforesaid. The said Guthrey further agrees that the said company will furnish the said Merrill the said boats, namely a flat boat and a skiff in good repair. Also 2 picks and 2 shovels for the use of said ferry to be kept and used by said Merrill and to be returned to said company when he shall leave said ferry. The payments aforesaid to be made in cash every month.
"The said Merrill also agrees to cut out the road on the south side of the river and make it good and convenient for teams to pass up and down from the river to the bluff and bridge the stream in the ravine, and also on the north side up to where the ravine crosses the road and to make a bridge over the stream if needed.
"Either party to have the privilege to rescind this contract and agreement at the end of month by giving one week's previous notice to the other party of the intention to rescind said agreement.
"In witness whereof the parties have hereunto set their hands and seals the day and year first aforesaid in presence of
"A. W. MERRILL."
On April 14, 1859, Merrill brought suit in the district court of the third judicial district in and for the Territory of Kansas, Wyandotte county, against Charles Robinson, Abelard Guthrie and Samuel N. Simpson under the name of the Quindaro Company, setting up this contract, alleging that he worked seven months thereunder and that he was paid but $348.20, leaving a balance due him of $357.80. The case is No. 24 on the Wyandotte county dockets.
The defendants answered claiming nonperformance on the part of Merrill and alleging that he neglected the business, failed to have sufficient help, did not cut out the roads, and that he charged, collected and pocketed monies from those who used the ferry, for all of which they asked damages of Merrill.
It took six years to bring the case to trial, but on October 2, 1865, a jury trial was had, seven witnesses were sworn, and the plaintiff was given a judgment against Guthrie of $630.24. Guthrie appealed to the supreme court, where the case was reversed and sent back for
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a new trial. 21 October 8, 1867, the case was dismissed without prejudice and an execution issued against Merrill for costs.
In the spring and summer of 1857 the people of Quindaro built a road to Lawrence, laid out one to Osawatomie, and established a free ferry at what is now John H. Matton's place, with a view of competing for the wholesale trade of the territory ; 22 another ran to Salina, via Lawrence and Topeka; 23 another was laid out in 1860 and ran to Shawnee, 24 and another was laid out leading from Quindaro across Wyandotte county to the Kansas river. This was known as the Madison Corvett road, and the road plat on file in the Wyandotte county clerk's office shows it crossing the Kansas river in the SE 1/4 of S. 18, T. 11, R. 25, at a point designated on the map as "the old ferry." This would be the location of the Eureka ferry, out of which grew the lawsuit with Abelard Guthrie for wages.
The Quindaro and Shawnee Bridge and Road Company was granted a charter by the legislature of 1860 to construct a bridge across the Kansas river at or near the crossing of the territorial road, located, or to be located, under an act to establish certain territorial roads, approved February 7, 1859; also to open and improve said territorial road by planking, macadamizing or turnpiking the same. Capital stock of the company was placed at $70,000, with shares $25 each. Construction work on the bridge was to begin within two years, and completion of the bridge was limited to five years. The company was authorized to establish and maintain a ferry across the Kansas river at or near the point selected for the erection of the bridge, and for that purpose was authorized to receive gifts, grants and donations from individuals or corporations. The act also provided that, upon the application of twenty persons living along the line of the territorial road, the commissioners should cause a strip of land to be laid off, not exceeding five miles in width, the road running as near as possible through the center of this strip. The commissioners were also instructed to have the proposition submitted to a vote of the taxpayers who resided on said strip, to ascertain their stand on the proposed subscription to the capital stock of the company, those living on the north side of the Kaw voting at Quindaro, while those to the south of the river voted at Shawneetown. If a majority of taxpayers voted in favor of the subscription,
21. Abelard Guthrie vs. Aaron W. Merrill, 4 Kansas 159.
22. Wyandotte Herald, July 6, 1876.
23. Laws, Kansas, 1860, p. 585.
24. Ibid., 1860, p. 588.
262 THE KANSAS HISTORICAL QUARTERLY
the board was authorized to levy a tax and issue bonds payable in ten years, bearing interest not to exceed ten per cent yearly. The last section of the act provided that when the bonds should be issued by the commissioners, the owners of the said real property so taxed should be entitled to all the privileges and immunities of a stockholder, for every twenty-five dollars so levied; and as fast as any taxpayer should pay the sum of twenty-five dollars he should have issued to him a certificate of a share in the company. 25 It would be interesting to know the result of this road building project. Wyandotte newspapers in the Historical Society's collection for this period are not complete, and no mention of this election has been found.
The next ferry up stream was the Chouteau ferry. Just when this enterprise was started and its exact location have not been learned. In 1820 Francis and Cyprian Chouteau built a trading house near present Bonner Springs, known as the "four houses." Some years later, about 1825, they built new trading posts farther down the river for the purpose of trading with the Delawares and Shawnees. This new location was said by various authorities to be from four to ten miles from the mouth of the Kansas, these extremes of distance being reckoned by following the river or taking the most direct route by land. This site, however, was near and opposite the Indian village of Secondine, and present town of Muncie, but was on the south side of the river 26 and, according to Grant W. Harrington, has been "definitely located on S. 13, T. 11, R. 24, directly north of the town of Turner. John C. Fremont outfitted here in 1842 for his first exploring trip to the west." Franklin G. Adams, first secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, in 1880 had an interview with Frederick Chouteau, who said that the trading houses were on the north side of the river. 27 Another authority, John C. McCoy, an old resident of Johnson county, Kansas, and later of Jackson county, Missouri, who, with his father, the Rev. Isaac McCoy, and other members of the McCoy family, surveyed many of the Indian reservations in Kansas and Oklahoma, places the trading houses on the south side of the river. Mr. McCoy in 1830 surveyed the western boundary of the Delaware reservation, stating that the survey was
25. Private Laws, Kansas, 1860, pp. 25-29. "County Clerk's record of Wyandotte county for this period not preserved. No record of an election. Road plat book fails to show any such road. Think it fell by the wayside." Note of Grant W. Harrington to author, May 26, 1933.
26. R. I. Holcombe, History of Vernon County, Mo., p. 164 ; Andreas, History of Kansas, p. 1254.
27. Kansas Historical Collections, v. 8, p. 425.
ROOT: FERRIES IN KANSAS 263
begun on September 6 and completed late that year. He wrote: "Our party started from Fayette, Mo. ... We passed up to Chouteau's trading house on the south side of the Kansas river and, crossing there, passed on to Fort Leavenworth." 28
Grant W. Harrington, of Kansas City, states that Charles Carpen-ter, an old resident of Wyandotte county, related to him that his parents in 1857 started from Wyandotte to Lawrence by boat, and that their boat grounded at Chouteau's ferry. Passengers were then obliged to leave the boat and complete their journey overland.
Unfortunately the history of this ferry has not been preserved. Aside from an occasional mention nothing else has been found. It is likely the ferry was operated at or near this trading house, and for that reason it is included here. In 1862 several members of the Chouteau family obtained a charter for a ferry to be located in the neighborhood of present Bonner Springs, the history of which will be found in its proper place in this article. In view of this new Chouteau ferry location it is likely the ferry near Muncie was abandoned.
In 1867 another ferry was established in this immediate vicinity, being located somewhere between the mouth of Muncie creek and a point due east from the town of Muncie. On June 8 of that year John Smith, William Rutledge, William Rawson, William J. Gault, Jeremiah H. Materson and Charles S. Glick were granted a charter under the name of the Muncie Ferry Company. This ferry was described as being on the "land of John Smith on the Kansas river, opposite sections 14 and 15, T. 11, R. 25 east." [Error as to range; should be 24.] Capital stock of the company was placed at $500, with shares $25 each. The principal office of the company was to be at the town of Muncie. This charter was filed with the secretary of state June 12, 1867. 29 No further mention of this enterprise has been located.
According to Grant W. Harrington old settlers recall that a rock landing was made for this ferry, and that the road leading down to it was known as the "Ferry road." Old residents of Wyandotte county say that the north and south road between sections 14 and 15, T. 11, R. 24, which now stops at highway 32, formerly extended south between sections 22 and 23 to the Kansas river to a ferry where the Shawnee Indians crossed, and that it was known as the "Shawnee ferry." This would bring it into the NW 1/4 of S. 23, T.
28. Ibid., v. 5, p. 802.
29. Corporations, v. 1, p. 350.
264 THE KANSAS HISTORICAL QUARTERLY
11, R. 24. Nothing has been found in print or on the maps to verify this. 30
The Grinter ferry, about eight and one-half miles west of the Kansas-Missouri boundary, was the next above Muncie. This was the earliest ferry established on the Kansas river. Moses Grinter, according to an account of a Grinter reunion, 31 came to Kansas in 1828, and served for a time in the regular army at Cantonment Leavenworth. He was then appointed to operate a ferryboat across the Kansas river to provide a crossing for a military road to run from Cantonment Leavenworth to Fort Gibson. He arrived at his destination, the Indian village of Secondine, in January, 1831, selected a suitable location and started a rope ferry on the NW 1/4 S. 28, T. 11, R. 24, near the eastern edge of the Delaware reservation as established after the coming of the Wyandottes. No complete scale of ferry charges has been located for this crossing. However, Mary Walton Blanchard, wife of Ira D. Blanchard, in charge of the Delaware Baptist mission, under date of December 11, 1836, wrote: "We are 16 miles from Shawnee and the Kaw is 1/4 mile wide between us and the feriage for a single person 50 cents and for a wagon 2 dollars." 32
In a letter of Rev. Isaac McCoy, in the Kansas State Historical Society archives, dated at Shawnee, Jackson county, Missouri, July 22, 1833, and addressed to Rev. Dr. Bolles, corresponding secretary and treasurer of the Baptist mission board, at Boston, is mention of a ferry of the Delawares, as follows:
"... A week ago yesterday I had expected to Baptize a Delaware at the Delaware Settlements, but I previously sickened and have been two weeks confined to my bed. After I was attacked with sickness we designed that Bro Burch should administer baptism, but the landing near us of a S. boat with Cholera on it so alarmed the Delawares, that they removed their ferry boat to prevent travellers from crossing to them. . . ."
The above item probably refers either to Grinter 's or Toley's ferry.
The first location of the Shawnee Methodist mission was about three miles to the east, while the Delaware council house and Delaware mission were about one and one-half miles to the north. Grinter built a log cabin on the bank of the river, having cultivated lands in sections 20 and 21, a few rods to the north of the ferry. A few years later he married Ann Marshall, a Delaware woman.
30. Grant W. Harrington, statement, February, 1933.
31. Kansas City Times, September 26, 1932.
32. Pratt MSS., Kansas State Historical Society.
ROOT: FERRIES IN KANSAS 265
They raised a family of ten children, all of whom were born in this home. Moses Grinter was a native of Ohio, born about 1805, coming to this country from Kentucky when about 23 years of age. 33 He died June 12, 1878, and is buried at Grinter chapel, about three miles north of the ferry.
Delaware crossing was a noted one in preterritorial and territorial times, and was known under various names, such as Grinter's ferry, Military ferry, Delaware crossing, Secondine crossing, etc. Early military expeditions from Fort Leavenworth to Forts Gibson and Scott crossed the Kaw at this place, as did countless others along the old Santa Fe trail from Leavenworth to military posts and to points in the mountains. 34 A post office had been established at this point in 1849, with James Findley as postmaster. He was still in charge in 1854. There were two or three trading posts there at this time, also a government blacksmith shop for the Indians. Isaac Munday was in charge of this work, having been employed as blacksmith for the Indians as early as 1843, first at the Fort Leavenworth agency and later at the Kansas agency. 35
Up to 1842 the ferry was reached by Indian trails from both sides of the river, but that year a military road was laid out from Fort Leavenworth to the newly established Fort Scott. The road leading to the old Grinter ferry site is now known as the Defries road, and the old crossing can be reached by following highway 32 about a mile west of Muncie to its junction with the Defries road. Up the hill about one-fourth of a mile and on the west side of the Defries road is the old brick home of the Grinters. Mrs. H. C. Kirby, last surviving member of the Grinter family, definitely located the old ferry site. "The landing was right down there," she said, pointing to the right of the intersection of the Defries road with highway 32. "The blacksmith shop and the stores were on this side of the ravine. On the other side of the ravine was the Indian village of Secondine." 36
A plat of Shawnee lands of T. 11, R. 24, shows a road running from Grinter's ferry to the southwest across S. 29, crossing the NW corner of S. 32, the NE corner of S. 31, and connecting in that corner with a road reaching Toley's ferry.
In 1855 the territorial legislature established a road from West-
33. Census, Wyandotte county, 1860, p. 48, in Archives division, Kansas State Historical Society, lists Moses Grinter as 55 years of age, born in Ohio.
34. Kansas Historical Collections, v. 7, pp. 203, 559, 573.
35. New York Tribune, June 28, 1854; Kansas Historical Collections, v. 1-2, p. 253, v. 16, pp. 728, 829, 831, 832.
36. Interview with Mrs. H. C. Kirby by Grant W. Harrington.
266 THE KANSAS HISTORICAL QUARTERLY
port, Mo., via Captain Joseph Parks', 37 and the Shawnee manual labor school, to intersect the Fort Leavenworth road north of and near the Quaker mission farm by way of James Findley's to the Grinter crossing. 38
Percival G. Lowe, in his Five Years a Dragoon, relates many interesting incidents in connection with this old ferry. Toley's ferry was the next one above Grinter's and about two miles distant. Just when this ferry started has not been learned, but it must have been soon after the arrival of the Delawares. Troops for the Mexican war crossed there in 1846. The ferry in 1854 was located on the SE 1/4 S. 31, T. 11, R. 24, as shown on a plat of Shawnee Indian lands. The landing on the south side of the river was on land owned by the Toley family, while the landing on the opposite side of the river was on the same quarter section. Toley, 39 who operated the ferry, was a Shawnee Indian, and said to be quite intelligent. He was a leader in his neighborhood and was a member of Pascal Fish's church. Other members of the Toley family owned land about twenty-five miles farther west, in present Jefferson county. Henry Tiblow owned land less than three-fourths of a mile north of the ferry, and a north and south road running directly east of his farm led directly to the ferry. 40
The following, written by a member of Doniphan's expedition, 1846, probably refers to this ferry: "The Shawnee and Delaware tribes of Indians have settled here. The Shawnees have fine farms, and are quite civilized people; the Delawares are a little behind them. Both tribes speak the English language more or less. They keep a ferry boat here, in which we crossed the river. The keeper of the boat said he had made four hundred dollars this season by the crossing of emigrants bound to Oregon. We purchased a beef steer of them for four dollars, paying for it ourselves, for Uncle Sam finds us no beef." 41
A later mention of this ferry is found in the diary of Hugh Campbell, 42 for 1857, who was a member of Col. Joseph E. Johnston's staff in surveying the southern boundary of Kansas, which relates having crossed the river on Toley's ferry.
37. Chief Joseph Parks was a member of the Shawnee tribe. He was once a resident of Michigan and is said to have enjoyed the confidence of Gen. Lewis Cass. In 1854 he owned land in the Shawnee reservation, described as the north half and the southeast quarter of S. 27, T. 11, R. 25. His name is included in a list of voters of Johnson county for 1857. His death occurred early in 1860, according to the Topeka State Record, February 25, of that year.
38. General Statutes, Kansas, 1855, pp. 973, 974.
39. This name is spelled variously, as Tola, Tula, Toola, Tooley, Toley, Tuley, etc.
40. Kansas Historical Collections, v. 8, pp. 251, 255, 259; Shawnee Indian Reservation Lands in Kansas, Treaty of 1854, Plat of T. 11, R. 24.
41. Jacob S. Robinson, A Journal of the Santa Fe Expedition under Colonel Doniphan, p. 3.
42. Kansas Historical Quarterly, v. 1, p. 108.
ROOT: FERRIES IN KANSAS 267
The following advertisement appeared in the Kansas Weekly Herald, Leavenworth, early in May, 1857, and ran for several months:
"TOOLEY'S FERRY On the Kansas River, And nearest route from Leavenworth to Westport, and to the Shawnee Lands On Cedar and Mill Creeks
"There is now in operation a good ferry boat at Tooley's, on the Kansas river, with attentive hands to cross persons with safety and promptness. A good boat will always be kept and no pains spared to accommodate the public. All persons crossing the Kansas river to or from the Shawnee lands, or from Westport and Kansas City to Leavenworth City and the northern portions of Kansas, will find this ferry the very best and nearest route.
"May 2, 1857." Johnson county granted a license to this ferry in 1858, charging $60 a year for the privilege. 43
In 1859 Charles Toley received from the legislature a charter for a ferry at or near the east line of S. 32, T. 11, R. 24, with privileges for a mile on each side of section 32, for a period of twenty years. A plat of Shawnee reservation lands of 1854 shows Toley's ferry location in the SE 1/4 S. 31, T. 11, R. 24, the south landing being on land of Martha Toley. This site is about two and one-third miles above Grinter's. Mr. Toley in 1854 owned land in the NW 1/4 of S. 32, bordering the river on the south, and William Toley had land in the NE quarter of same section. The nearest point to the river from the east line of this section is fully a third of a mile. Toley apparently, was seeking a new location by 1859 and must have moved his boats something over a mile down stream.
Theodore Garrett and forty others petitioned for a county road from Silas Armstrong's to a point near Delaware ferry, and thence by the nearest and best route to Toley 's ferry. This petition was approved by the county commissioners, viewers were appointed and the road laid out. The field notes of this survey give distances by poles and claims, and this would indicate that at this time the "Toley" ferry was not over three-fourths of a mile above the Delaware or Grinter ferry. 44 No further history of this ferry has been located.
Keeler's ferry, about three-fourths of a mile above the location of Toley's ferry in 1854, was the next crossing on the river. In 1860 the legislature granted Charles G. Keeler authority to main-
43. Johnson County, Commissioners Proceedings, 1858, p. 28.
44. Road Records, Wyandotte county.
268 THE KANSAS HISTORICAL QUARTERLY
tain a ferry on the Kaw river where the range line divides ranges 23 and 24. This location is about one and one-half miles southeast of present Edwardsville, in Johnson county, and immediately north of the junction of the Southern Kansas branch and the main line of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe railroad. This act granted special privileges for one mile up and one mile down the river at this point for a period of ten years. 45 No further history located.
In 1858 I. May and fifty-five others presented a petition to the county commissioners of Johnson county asking that a license be granted to William Chouteau to run a ferry boat on the Kaw river, at or near the place known as Chouteau's ferry, and also asking that a road be opened from Olathe to the ferry, via Monticello, and that the road be continued on to Leavenworth city. Another petition was presented at this time by Jonathan Gore and thirty-seven others, asking that a license be granted to W. W. Cook to establish a ferry at the same point. After hearing the evidence it was moved that Mr. Chouteau and Mr. Cook should each choose a representative, these two to choose a third person, all three to examine the case and, if necessary, call to their assistance a surveyor, providing the interested parties agree to pay all costs, the said three parties to report to the board at its next regular term. It was moved that Mr. Chouteau be requested to get a license to run his ferry for three months, conditioned that if the case be decided against him that Cook shall refund to Chouteau a sum equivalent to what he paid for the remaining part of the term for which he procured a license. This Mr. Chouteau did, his license for the three months costing him $12.50. 46 Under date of September 2, following, the committee to whom was referred the petitions of W. W. Cook and Francis Chouteau, asking for ferry licenses, made through Mr. Holmes the following report:
"Your committee appointed by the board of county supervisors of Johnson county, K. T., at Shawnee, on the 1st and 2nd days of July, 1858, on two separate petitions of Wm. W. Cook and Francis Chouteau, each asking for a license to keep a ferry on the Kaw river at the same place.
"Report that after an examination of the lines of the lands of each of the aforesaid parties to the ferry landing on the south side of the river that in their judgment Francis Chouteau has decidedly the better right to the ferry privilege at said point. Signed this 2nd day of Sept. 1858.
"R. H. WILLIAMS,
"J. D. ALLEN, per WM. HOLMES." 47
45. Private Laws, Kansas, 1860, p. 272.
46. Johnson County, Commissioners Proceedings, 1858, pp. 25, 27, 28.
47. Ibid., p. 47.
ROOT: FERRIES IN KANSAS 269
Mr. Cook evidently was persistent, for in February, 1859, a petition signed by A. Williams and fifty-two others was presented to the county commissioners asking that a license be granted to W. W. Cook to keep a ferry on the Kansas river on sections 34 and 35, T. 11, R. 23. This petition being considered by the board, the same was granted, the fee for a license put at $50 per annum by the board, and a license was granted Mr. Cook for three months from the 22nd of February, 1859. 48
On March 15, following, R. H. Williams presented a petition from John Toler, asking that the license granted to W. W. Cook to run a ferry on the Kansas river, at or near sections 34 and 35, T. 11, R. 23, which license was granted on the 21st of February last, may be rescinded and the license granted to him. A petition was also presented by W. W. Cook asking that the license granted him might be continued. The bond of said Cook was also presented and approved by the board, and the petitions having been considered by the board were, on motion of Mr. Storrs, laid on the table. 49
On April 26, 1859, Francis Chouteau petitioned for a license to operate a ferry across the Kansas river north of Monticello. His petition was considered by the board, and on motion of Mr. Mahaffie it was ordered that the board appoint a committee to investigate the right of the ferry privilege, the committee to consist of three persons. This committee was authorized to employ the county surveyor and to meet on the ground on the 25th day of May, 1859, and be sworn in before entering upon their duties. 50 The report of the committee was spread upon the record.
To ascertain to whom a certain ferry known as Chouteau's ferry belonged, in short, whose land the road intersects the Kansas river at that place, the Committee set out its survey and then found that the road beaten from Olathe via Monticello to this ferry was three roads on the southwest quarter of S. 35 that lays on the river and so found for Chouteau. The board approved the report and granted to Chouteau a license to run a ferry on the said ferry privilege, and that he pay back to Cook the rate for the unexpired term of his license. 51
The Chouteaus apparently sold or leased their ferry late in 1860, for on November 1 Stephen S. Stuart was granted a license for a
48. Ibid., p. 102.
49. Ibid., p. 116.
50. Ibid., p. 138.
51. Ibid., p. 147.
270 THE KANSAS HISTORICAL QUARTERLY
ferry at this crossing for twelve months dating from that time. 52 Stuart was in charge at this place in 1863, and in his application the ferriage rates established were as follows: For each footman, 20 cents; man and horse, 50 cents; 1 horse wagon or buggy, 80 cents; 2 horses and wagon, $1; 3 horses and wagon, $1.30; 2 yoke of oxen and wagon, $1.50; each additional span of horses or oxen, 50 cents; mules or cattle per head, 20 cents; sheep or swine per head, 10 cents. 53
This ferry was in operation in 1864, for which year they paid a $40 license fee to Johnson county. 54
On December 23, 1862, Frederick Chouteau, 55 William Chouteau, Benjamin I. Chouteau, Francis Chouteau and John M. Owens 56 formed a corporation known as the Chouteau Ferry Company. The company was capitalized at $1,000, with shares at $20 each. The act stated that the ferry was to be located on the state road leading from Leavenworth to Fort Scott, where the same crossed the river at the NE1/4 of S. 35, T. 11, R. 23, of Johnson county, and is shown in Heisler & Smith's Atlas, page 8. This point is about three and one-half miles north of Monticello, and about one-half mile south of present Edwardsville, at what was called the Chouteau ferry. The south landing was on land owned in fee simple by Frederick Chouteau, and the landing on the opposite side of the river was on Delaware land. This charter was filed with the secretary of state January 8, 1863. 57 On May 15, 1863, the company filed with the state an amended charter, identical with the first, with the addition of Talbert Kelley as one of the incorporators. 58
An advertisement of this company appeared in the Leavenworth Daily Conservative, May 14, 1863, and mentioned that "the boat at Chouteau's ferry is now in good order and ready at all times to attend promptly to the wants of the traveling public." Just how long the Chouteau ferry operated has not been learned, but it is probable it ceased operations or was sold to other parties before the spring of 1867.
Frank L. Chouteau, resident of Monticello township, Monticello
52. Ibid., p. 225.
53. Ibid., Book B, p. 30.
54. Ibid., p. 108.
55. F. Chouteau, age 55, farmer, owner of real estate valued at $59,000, personal property, $8,000, born in Missouri, is listed in the census of Johnson county, Kansas, 1865, p. 130.
56. John Owens was a white man who married a Delaware wife, and was adopted into the tribe. "Wild Bill" Hickok made his home with the Owens. Heisler & Smith, Atlas of Johnson County, Kansas, p. 10.
57. Corporations, v. 1, pp. 204, 205.
58. Ibid., v. 1, p. 5.
ROOT: FERRIES IN KANSAS 271
post office, Johnson county, is listed in the census of 1865, Johnson county, page 76, as a ferry proprietor. He was 24 years of age, listed as Indian by adoption, owned real estate valued at $350 and personal property worth $400. He was a native of Kansas, was married and had one child, one year of age.
"Road Record A," page 216, county clerk's office, Wyandotte county, gives a plat of the "Kouns road," which runs into Edwardsville from the north and extends south a half mile to the Kansas river at a point marked "Ferry." This is in the NE1/4 of 35-11-23. Later the "G. W. Galloway road" was laid out. It starts at the same point which it designates as the "Chouteau Ferry." In the
petition asking for this road it is asked to have it start from "the Shoto ferry" on the Kansas river. 59
On March 25, 1867, the Campbell Ferry Company was chartered, D. G. Campbell, J. H. Gamble, L. S. Cofley, A. J. Campbell and Jonathan Gore being incorporators. The principal office of the company was at Monticello, Johnson county, and the ferry was to operate across the Kansas river at a place known as Chouteau's ferry, being at a point where the public highway leading from Monticello to Leavenworth City crosses the river, the exact location being described as the NE 1/4 of SW 1/4, S. 35, T. 11, R. 23E. The capital stock was $500, in five shares of $100 each. This location on the north side of the river is less than one-fourth of a mile south of present Edwardsville. 60
Less than a mile upstream was the site of the next ferry. As early as 1859 an effort was made to secure a ferry opposite Monticello. That year R. W. Catherson and ninety others petitioned the legislature for a ferry across the Kansas river. 61 Apparently no ferry was established at that time. On January 19, 1863, a charter was secured by the Monticello Ferry Company, the incorporators being Stephen S. Stuart, Jacob Trembly, 62 Sam Garrett, 63 Uriah Garrett and Elias Garrett. Capital stock of the company was $5,000, divided into fifty shares. The company proposed to establish a ferry at S. 34, T. 11, R. 23E., for the town of Monticello. This charter was filed with the secretary of state January 24, 1863. 64
59. Wyandotte county clerk, Road Records, v. B, p. 62; v. C, p. 89.
60. Corporations, v. 1, pp. 314, 315.
61. House Journal, Kansas, 1859, p. 150.
62. Jacob Trembly, in 1874, owned land in S. 83, T. 11, R. 22, in Leavenworth county.
63. Sam Garrett, of Monticello township, was a white man, proslavery in sentiment, who married a Shawnee wife and was adopted into the tribe. Heisler & Smith, Atlas of Johnson County, pp. 13, 44.
64. Corporations, v. 1, p. 2.
272 THE KANSAS HISTORICAL QUARTERLY
The corporation was reorganized late in 1864, to operate "as where the first franchise stated." Uriah and Elias Garrett, of the first organization, were succeeded by A. B. Bartlett and John K. Hale. Capital stock was reduced to $1,200, with shares $20 each. The new charter was filed with the secretary of state, December 24, 1864. 65 February 2, 1866 this company filed with the secretary of state a copy of resolutions of the company, defining boundaries of operation and giving the location of their ferry as being at or near the center of S. 32, T. 11, R. 23E., and claiming privileges one mile each way from center of section 32. It was signed by John K. Hale, secretary of Monticello Ferry Company. 66
A state road was established in 1865 from Olathe, following the county road to Monticello, thence on said road to the Kansas river, and crossing at or near the center of S. 32, T. 11, R. 23E.; thence following as near as practicable what is known as Waite's survey, to the city of Leavenworth. 67
Henry Tiblow operated a ferry at a point opposite the station of Tiblow, being on S. 32, T. 11, R. 23. 68 Perl W. Morgan, in his History of Wyandotte County, Kansas,page 320, in speaking of the village of Tiblow, now Bonner Springs, says: "For many years a ferry was operated by Henry Tiblow, a club-footed Indian and official interpreter for the United States. He lived in a log cabin which still stands on the west side of the city."
On September 5, 1863, Jacob Trembly and Stephen S. Stuart were issued a license, good for three months, for a ferry at this location, they paying for the privilege at the rate of $40 a year. They were operating in 1866. Their scale of ferriage charges for 1864 were as follows: Man and horse, 25 cents; 1 horse wagon or buggy, 40 cents; 2 horse wagon or yoke of oxen and wagon, 50 cents; 4 horse wagon or two yoke of oxen and wagon, 75 cents; Additional yoke of cattle or span of horses, 25 cents; 3 horse wagon, 65 cents; Loose horses, mules or cattle, per head, 10 cents; Sheep or swine per head, 5 cents. Each footman, 10 cents. 69
In 1869 Thomas Dunfree and W. B. White were granted a license to operate the ferry at Tiblow station, where the Olathe and Leavenworth road crosses the river, paying $10 for the privilege. Mr.
65. Ibid., v. 1, pp. 90, 91.
66. Ibid., v. 1, pp. 90, 91.
67. Laws, Kansas, 1865, p. 143.
68. Heisler & Smith's Atlas of Johnson County, p. 8, shows this ferry.
69. Johnson County, Commissioners Proceedings, Book B, pp. 62, 84, 228.
ROOT: FERRIES IN KANSAS 273
White apparently was in charge of the ferry from 1870 on, his last license being paid up to April 9, 1874. 70 Journal C, "Commissioners Proceedings of Wyandotte County," page 12, date of March 7, 1870, recites: "The board granted a ferry license to Wm. B. White to run a ferry across the Kansas river at Tiblow station, said White having given a sufficient bond to the state of Kansas, for one year from Feb. 1, 1870, which was filed."
Again on, page 89, under date of March 8, 1871, the following appears: "W. B. White was granted a ferry license to run a ferry at Tiblow station for one year from March 6, A. D., 1871, said White having given a good and sufficient bond to the county for the faithful discharge of his duties as ferryman."
The above two entries are the only records that can be found of the granting of ferry licenses over the Kansas river by Wyandotte county. Evidently 1871 saw the last of the public ferries across that stream in this county. 71
As Leavenworth county embraced all territory included in present Wyandotte county up to the year 1859, it is likely other licenses for Kansas river ferries were issued by Leavenworth for Wyandotte county enterprises.
A member of the Tiblow family owned land in S. 31, T. 11, R. 24. His land is shown on a map of the Leavenworth, Pawnee & Western railroad and its connections in the Delaware reserve, which also shows a wagon road connecting with Leavenworth and Wyandotte. The Wyandotte Gazette of May 30, 1873, mentions that the ferry at Tiblow was still in operation.
Isaac Parrish, 72 who owned land on the opposite side of the river and a short distance upstream from present Bonner Springs, was granted authority by the legislature of 1857 to establish a ferry across the Kansas river, at the crossing of the territorial road from Leavenworth to Peoria, in Franklin county. Steam was proposed
70. Ibid., Book B, pp. 401, 489; Book C, p. 306.
71. Letter of Grant W. Harrington to author, Feb. 10, 1933; Kansas Historical Collections, v. 7, p. 476.
72. Isaac Parrish was a proslavery resident of Monticello township, Johnson county. He was born in Virginia, and lived in Ohio and Missouri before coming West. After coming to the Indian country he was employed at the Shawnee Methodist mission for a number of years. He married a Shawnee woman and was adopted into the tribe. The census of Johnson county, 1865, lists him as 45 years of age, Indian by adoption, farmer, owner of real estate listed at $11,520, and personal property worth $2,845. His wife was named Virginia, aged 32, Indian, born in Kansas, and their family consisted of five children. The plat of Shawnee reservation land for T. 12, R. 23, shows land owned by Isaac and Asenath Parrish in the N 1/2 of S. 5. The Parrish ferry was located about one-half mile north. The "Telegraph road" from Fort Scott to Fort Leavenworth was about one mile east of Monticello, crossed the east 1/2 of S. 5 and ran on to the river. When the Shawnees removed to Indian territory, Isaac Parrish with his family removed and made their home with the tribe. Heisler & Smith's Atlas of Johnson County, p. 11; census, Johnson county, 1865, p. 78; Plat of Shawnee reservation lands in Kansas.
274 THE KANSAS HISTORICAL QUARTERLY
as the propelling power, but the act provided that a flat boat might be substituted when the business did not justify the use of steam. This crossing was near the center of S. 32, T. 11, R. 23E. 73
On December 29, 1863, the Parrish Ferry Company 74 was in corporated, its projectors being Henry D. Smith, 75 Henry Tiblow, Isaac Parrish, Charles B. Garrett and Sam. Parsons. They were authorized to establish a ferry across the Kansas river, commencing at a point six chains above the center of S. 32, T. 11, R. 23. The landing on the south side of the river was on land owned by the incorporators, who had written consent of owners for landing on the north side. This location is in present Bonner Springs, on highway 7, and close to where the Leavenworth & Northwestern railroad crosses the river.
On January 5, 1866, Isaac Parrish, president of the Parrish Ferry Company, petitioned for a ferry license, which was not granted, it being within the bounds of an established ferry. 76
The next ferry above the Parrish ferry was at the town of De Soto, about six and one-half miles distant. At this point a twenty-year license for a ferry was granted by the legislature of 1858 to G. W. Hutchison, J. A. Finley, Brinton W. Woodward, D. W. Weir, A. D. Searl, James F. Legate, Henry Campbell, E. S. Lowman and Warren Kimball. Rates of ferriage prescribed by the act were as follows: Man and horse, 50 cents; one horse and carriage or wagon, 75 cents; two horses and carriage or wagon, $1.00; four horses and carriage or wagon, $1.25. Provided, the company may by by-laws, provide an addition to the above rates of not to exceed 50 per cent. 77
In 1858 the operator of the ferry at De Soto, for some reason or other, refused to take out a license. The sheriff of Johnson county was sent by the county commisioners to collect the fee, threatening to take legal steps to collect in case of refusal, yet promising to forgive all if the ferry owner took out his license and paid for such expense as the county had already been put to. 78 Evidently the operator refused to comply with the instructions of the commissioners, for Mr. R. Potter was instructed to make complaint and start an action against him in the name of the board. 79
73. Laws, Kansas, 1857, p. 165.
74. Corporations, v. 1, p. 10 ; Shawnee Indian reservation lands in Kansas, treaty of 1854, plat of T. 11, R. 23E., in archives of Kansas State Historical Society.
75. Henry Smith was born in Madison county, Kentucky, in March, 1819. He settled on Mill creek, present Johnson county, April 20, 1842. He was a resident of Lawrence in 1879.
76. Johnson County, Commissioners Proceedings, Book B, p. 185.
77. Laws, Kansas, 1858, pp. 54, 55.
78. Johnson County, Commissioners Proceedings, 1858, p. 36.
79. Ibid., p. 49.
ROOT: FERRIES IN KANSAS 275
A Mr. R. Potter, of Lexington, owned a ferry, which must have been at De Soto, as Lexington was several miles from the river. He applied to the commissioners of Johnson county for a ferry license, which was issued, costing him at the rate of $20 yearly. The commissioners fixed the rates of ferriage to be charged by all ferries operating in the county after July 1, 1858, as follows: Each footman, 10 cents; man and horse, 25 cents; loose oxen, cows, mules and horses, each 10 cents; loose swine and sheep, 5 cents; horse and buggy, 35 cents; two horses or ox wagon, 50 cents; and for each additional horse or ox attached to the team, 10 cents. For government trains drawn by six mules, $1.30 each. 80
R. Potter's name does not appear in the early census returns of Lexington township.
Two years later the legislature of 1860 granted another ferry charter for De Soto, the incorporators including six of the nine incorporators of 1858, with the addition of J. A. Triley and Paul R. Brooks. 81 Rates of ferriage prescribed by the new act were identical with those of the act of 1858. 82 Whether the second company ever functioned we have no knowledge, but there seems to be a shadow of doubt, for the legislature of 1861 granted a fifteen-year franchise for a ferry at this town to Warren Kimball and George W. Fraim, 83 with exclusive rights for two miles up and two miles down the river. 84
This firm probably made a "go" of it this time. Two years later, in 1863, troops of a Kansas company under Capt. William Larimer crossed the river here while on their way to Camp Williams, near Fort Scott, and other camps, a rope ferry being in operation at this time. 85
On January 2, 1863, the De Soto Bridge Company was chartered for the purpose of bridging the Kaw at that point, but no bridge was built at that time. The next effort to obtain a bridge was made in 1867 by a joint stock company, known as the Leavenworth, De Soto and Fort Scott Bridge Company, which eventually built a Howe truss structure. 86
On November 19, 1858, a petition signed by W. Christison and
80. Ibid., pp. 28, 29.
81. Brooks was for many years a prominent resident of Lawrence.
82. Private Laws, Kansas, 1860, pp. 267, 269.
83. Geo. W. Fraim, is listed as ferryman, he being 26, native of Michigan, and owning real estate worth $250 and personal property worth $600. Census, Johnson county, 1860, p. 21.
84. Laws, Kansas, 1861, p. 33.
85. Biography of William Larimer, p. 211.
86. Corporations, v. 1, p. 3; Leavenworth Daily Conservative, Jan. 1, 1867; Olathe Mirror, Sept. 1, 1867.
276 THE KANSAS HISTORICAL QUARTERLY
twenty-six others was presented to the Johnson county board asking that a license be granted to Galatia Sprague, William Brown and Jesse Hodges to keep a ferry across the Kansas river at or near where the range line between Ranges 21 and 22 crosses the river. This petition was considered by the board and allowed. 87 This ferry location is about three miles upstream from De Soto. No further history located.
Pascal Fish's ferry was the next beyond De Soto, about nine miles by the Kansas river and seven by land. This was one of the early ferries on the river, being in operation when the Mexican War broke out. In 1846 a portion of Doniphan's expedition to Mexico crossed the river over this ferry. Lieut. J. W. Abert, that year, set out from Fort Leavenworth for a reconnaissance to San Diego and made his "Camp 4" at the ferry. Under date of June 29, 1846 he wrote:
"In the river we found two large flatboats or scows, manned by Shawnee Indians, dressed in bright colored shirts, with shawls around their heads. The current of the river was very rapid, so that it required the greatest exertions on the part of our ferrymen to prevent the boats from being swept far downstream. We landed just at the mouth of the Wakaroosa creek. Here there is no perceptible current; the creek is fourteen feet deep, while the river does not average more than 5 feet; and in some places is quite shoal.
"It was nearly 10 o'clock before all our company had crossed and was so dark that we could scarcely see to arrange our camp; so we lay down on the river bank and sent our horses out on the prairies to grass. We finished our supper at 12 o'clock and lay down again to sleep; but, worn out as we were, the mosquitoes showed us no compassion, and large hooting owls (bubo virgimanus), as if to condole with us, commenced a serenade.
"The pure cold water of the Wakaroosa looked so inviting that some of us could not refrain from plunging beneath its crystal surface; one of the flatboats forming a convenient place from which to spring. . . ." 88
Fish was a cousin to Tecumseh and the Prophet. He lived about a mile south of the river, on a road leading to Westport, Mo., and kept a tavern, located near the center of S. 8, T. 13, R. 23. 89
In 1856 an association of Germans was organized at Chicago, under the name of the Neuer Ansiediungs Verein, for the purpose of making a settlement in the great west. In March, 1857, a location committee selected the site of Eudora. A tract of 800 acres was secured from the Shawnees, through Pascal Fish, their chief, who was to receive every alternate lot. The townsite laid off was
87. Johnson County, Commissioners Proceedings, 1858, p. 88.
88. Emory, Notes of a Military Reconnaissance from Fort Leavenworth in Missouri to San Diego in California, pp. 389, 390.
89. Connelley, Doniphan's Expedition, p. 142; J. Cooper Stuck's map of Douglas county, Kansas Territory, 1857.
ROOT: FERRIES IN KANSAS 277
named Eudora, in honor of the chief's daughter. The first house on the townsite was built by Mr. Fish, who ran a hotel known as the "Fish house". Eudora became an incorporated town February 8, 1859. 90
This ferry was in operation at Eudora during the fifties and sixties. Two ferrymen were employed, one named George Brown. The other, whose name has not been learned, kept a liquor shop and was indicted by federal authorities for selling liquor to Shawnee Indians in violation of United States laws. 91
The Fish family must have continued the ferry business, for in 1860 Charles Fish was granted a five-year license by the legislature to operate a ferry which was to be located at or near the mouth of the Wakarusa, with exclusive privileges for a distance of one mile up and one mile down the river. 92 The precise location of the ferry was on S. 4, T. 13, R. 21 E, at or very close to present Eudora. In 1864 a state road was established from Eudora, running in a northerly direction so as to intersect the road leading from Lawrence to Leavenworth at the nearest and most practicable point on the road; and, also, a road from Eudora, running south to intersect the Santa Fe road at Black Jack. 93 Another road was laid out from Eudora running south to the Santa Fe trail at or near Black Jack; another ran north from the Eudora ferry landing on the north side of the river, to intersect the Pacific railroad at the nearest and most practicable point, 94 and another road started from the Santa Fe road, near Black Jack, thence north through Eudora, crossing the river at Eudora ferry, thence north to the Lawrence and Leavenworth road, on the most practicable route. 95
A bridge across the Wakarusa, finished early in May, 1861, diverted much travel and traffic to the Fish ferry, where it crossed the river. This bridge, about 160 feet in length, was said to be the best and only really substantial bridge in the county at the time.
A charter was granted the Nevada City Town Company 96 by the legislature of 1858 to operate a ferry across the Kansas river, with special privileges for a period of ten years. Nevada was a post office early in 1856, P. H. McGee being postmaster. Beers' Atlas of
90. Andreas, History of Kansas, p. 353.
91. Original documents, Archives division, Kansas State Historical Society.
92. Private Laws, Kansas, 1860, p. 276.
93. General Laws, Kansas, 1861, p. 31.
94. Laws, Kansas, 1864, p. 204; Andreas, History of Kansas, p. 353.
95. Laws, Kansas, 1866, p. 226.
96. Ibid., 1858, p. 57.
278 THE KANSAS HISTORICAL QUARTERLY
Douglas County,1873, shows one J. McGhee owned lands bordering on the Kansas river in the SE 1/4 of S. 31, T. 12, R. 21. The census of Douglas county, 1859, lists three members of the McGhee family as settling in that locality in May, 1855, there being a total of twelve in family of J. McGhee, five being minors. These McGhees were from Pennsylvania and Illinois, J. McGee being listed as 64 and native of Ireland. His real estate was listed for $5,000, and personal property at $300. 97 The ferry site was on the McGhee land, and the embryo town of Nevada, which never was more than a post office, was located at the same place. It was an intermediate point on a post route running from Leavenworth to the Sac and Fox Agency. 98
In 1855 the legislature passed an act naming commissioners to view, locate, and establish a territorial road from Leavenworth, by way of Franklin, to Bernard's store. 99 Bernard kept a store in Franklin county and traded with the Sacs and Foxes and other Indians in that neighborhood. A town sprang up at that location, called St. Bernard, which was at or near the site of Centropolis of later date.
Two years later the legislature of 1857 granted John M. Wallace a fifteen year privilege to operate a ferry on the Kansas river at the point where the above-named road crossed. The ferry was to be located within a mile of the crossing above mentioned, and ferriage rates were prescribed as follows: Foot passengers, 10 cents each; horse, mule, mare, gelding, ass, without a rider, 10 cents; with rider, 25 cents; two-horse team, loaded or unloaded, 75 cents; single horse carriage, 50 cents; each additional cow or ox, 15 cents; each swine or sheep, 5 cents ; for all freight of lumber, merchandise, or other articles, not in teams, at the following rates: For each 1,000 feet of lumber, $1 per 1,000 feet; for all other articles 5 cents [per 100 lbs.]
The act provided that the above rates should be amended by any succeeding legislature. 100 Exact location of this ferry has not been learned, but in all probability it crossed the river at a point about north of old town of Franklin, or slightly east. Franklin was laid out in 1855 or 1856 and was located on S. 10, T. 13, R. 20, about three miles southeast of Lawrence of that day and slightly north of
97. Census, Douglas county, 1859, MSS., 1860, pp. 48, 52.
98. Laws, Kansas, 1857, p. 58; Herald of Freedom, Lawrence, Feb. 16, 1856.
99. General Statutes, Kansas, 1855, p. 965.
100. Laws, Kansas, 1857, pp. 162, 163.
ROOT: FERRIES IN KANSAS 279
the Wakarusa. A territorial fight, known as the "Battle of Franklin," occurred in this locality on the night of June 3, 1856. 101
The next ferry up the river was "at or near the east line of Lot 2, S. 24, T. 12, R. 20 E." In 1858 William Burtzer received a charter from the legislature to operate a ferry at this point, with special privileges within one-half mile on each side for a period of twenty years. 102 This location is not over one mile from the southwest corner of Leavenworth county, about two miles from Lawrence of that day, and approximately six or seven miles above Eudora Perhaps this ferry site may be the location of the crossing for the road which ran from Leavenworth to Bernard's store, via Franklin.
Lawrence, distant about two miles from Burtzer's location, had the next ferry. John Baldwin in 1855 was granted authority by the legislature to maintain a ferry within the city, with exclusive rights for two miles from the town, for a period of fifteen years. 103 This was one of the noted ferries on the river, and during the time it ran did a thriving business. John J. Ingalls, of Atchison, who had occasion to cross the river at Lawrence while it was in use, has described it as a "swing ferry."
The following advertisement, the first of this ferry, appeared in the Herald of Freedom, Lawrence, June 2, 1855:
"JOHN BALDWIN, FERRYMAN,
Has just completed his new ferryboat and holds himself in readiness to take passengers and teams over the Kansas river, opposite Lawrence, at all hours, on application, at the usual prices."
Another advertisement of this ferry appeared in a rival paper:
"Crossing the Kansas River at Lawrence
"The undersigned, having built a good and substantial ferryboat, would inform the traveling public, that they are prepared to carry over all passengers and teams who may desire to cross at this point. Travelers wishing to visit Lawrence from Leavenworth, Parkville or any other point on the Missouri river, need not be under the inconvenience as heretofore, of going out of the way, to cross at the Tecumseh, or Delaware ferries. We will always be at our post and ready to wait on all who may need our services.
"WM. N. and JOHN BALDWIN." 104
A notice of this ferry given on the editorial page of the same issue of the Free State, says:
"Messrs. Baldwins have spared no pains to make their boat a substantial
101. Kansas Historical Collections, v. 8, p. 313.
102. Laws, Kansas, 1858, pp. 59, 60.
103. General Statutes, Kansas, 1865, p. 773.
104. Kansas Free State, Lawrence, June 4, 1855.
280 THE KANSAS HISTORICAL QUARTERLY
and safe one. It is what has been greatly needed, as persons desiring to cross the river at this place with teams, have been compelled, until now, to go 20 miles above or 30 miles below. As Leavenworth on the Missouri and Lawrence in the interior, are the most noted towns in the territory, it is highly important, for the interest of both, and the convenience of the traveling public, that there should be a direct communication between them. The ferry at this place is one important step towards this, and we hope that the next one will be to make a better and more direct road to Leavenworth."
During 1855 C. W. Babcock entered into partnership with Baldwin, this arrangement lasting about two years. The management of the ferry, however, was left to Baldwin. 105
Robert Morris Peck, "Recollections of Early Times in Kansas Territory," in Kansas Historical Collections, v. 8, p. 506, says:
"We crossed the Kaw river at Lawrence on Baldwin's ferry, a rickety flatboat, without guard or railing, capable of holding only one six-mule team, and pulled back and forth by means of a rope stretched between trees on opposite banks. The soldier men facetiously called it Baldwin's 'steam' ferry. The ferryman carried his 'steam' in a gallon jug; and our fellows 'did not do a thing' to that jug but drink all the whiskey and refill the jug with muddy Kaw river water while the old man was busy pulling the leaky old tub across. I expect Baldwin made some pious remarks about 'soger men' the next time he hooked his bill over the muzzle of that jug to take another 'snort,' but we didn't stay to hear his discourse."
Col. P. G. Lowe, of Leavenworth, in his Five Years a Dragoon, describes the Baldwin ferry as a flatboat run by pulleys on a rope stretched across the river and fastened to a tree on either side and propelled by the force of the current. He wrote:
"The boat was not large enough to hold a wagon and six mules, so the leaders were detached from the team and led around to a shallow ford higher up the stream where one might cross on horseback or with loose animals, but could not cross wagons. A Frenchman, married to a Delaware woman and living with the Delaware Indians on the north side of the river, built a boat and stretched a rope; and when I came along one day he met me two miles north of the ferry and wanted me to cross some of my wagons on his boat. I galloped on and found that he had made a good road and had a good boat that would carry a wagon and six-mule team, with room to spare ; so I divided the train, going to the new ferry, about 40 rods below the old one myself with Mr. Lanter, an assistant wagonmaster, while Mr. Beery went to the old ferry. Just as the first wagon got on the ferry, I noticed that the old boat was on the south side and Beery was calling the ferryman. As we were about shoving off, the man who ran the old ferry called to me not to attempt to cross wagons on that [the new] ferry, if I did, he would cut the rope and send me down the river; and suiting the action to the word, he caught up an axe and started at a run for the big cottonwood tree where the rope was fastened. We were now in the stream and rapidly nearing the south bank. Standing on the front
105. Andreas, History of Kansas, p. 326.
ROOT: FERRIES IN KANSAS 281
of the boat with pistol ready, I warned him to stop, and if he attempted to cut the rope, I would surely kill him. The boat landed and he stopped within 10 feet of the tree. I ordered him back to his boat, at the same time asking him what he meant. He declared that the Frenchman had no charter to run a boat, hence no right, while he had a charter from the territorial legislature for fifteen years. On the other hand, the Frenchman claimed that the Delawares owned the land on the north side, and had just as much right to land on the south side without any charter as the other fellow had to land on the Delaware reservation, over which he claimed the legislature had no jurisdiction. I ended the controversy by telling the Frenchman to cross all the wagons he could, and that I would protect him. I told the old ferryman to get his boat in motion quickly or I would run it with my own men, and that the ferry which crossed the most wagons would get the most money. ... I had the teamster of the first wagon drive close to the tree and told him to shoot anyone attempting to approach it. ... Then I got aboard the old ferry and gave the ferryman one more chance to run his own boat, and just as I was about to let go, he and his man jumped on. He was sulky and threatened to report me to Colonel Cooke at Lecompton. I cut him off short with the answer that I did not care a ----- what he did, so that he lost no time with the ferry; and I told Beery to push things with the new ferry, while I stayed with the old one. All worked with a will, but the old ferry lost two trips to start with, and in the end the new ferry had six wagons the most. All, more than 70 wagons, were crossed in time to camp south of town before dark; whereas, without the new ferry half of them would have camped in the bottom north of the river. ... I crossed many times afterwards, and each ferry worked its best for the most money. The Frenchman generally captured the best of it by two or three wagons. The Frenchman kept the approach to his ferry in perfect shape so that there would be no delays, and the old ferryman kept up the competition---result, a great saving in time and talk."
The following, found among the papers of the Kansas State Central Committee, a free state organization, and turned over to the Kansas State Historical Society by James Blood, probably is a bill of the Lawrence ferry for services. It was included in a bundle of accounts marked "not allowed":
Lawrence, August 26th, 1856. War Department Dr. J. DeWitt
Aug. 26th To horseman at 20cts $8.40
Aug. 28 Horseman 88 at 20 cts 17.60
Aug. 29 and 30 and 31 162 horseman 32.40
Sept. 2 and 3th 200 footman at 10 cts 20.00
Sept. 5 and 6th 300 footman at 10 cts 30.00
Sept. 8th 52 horseman 10.40
Sept. 8th 4 wagons at 50 cts 02.00
Sept. 9th 19 footman at 5 cts 00.95
Sept. 9th 1 waggon at 50 cts 00.50
Sept. 10th 8 waggons at 50 cts 04.00
Sept. 10th 19 horseman at 20 cts 03.80
282 THE KANSAS HISTORICAL QUARTERLY
Sept. 11th 94 horseman at 20 cts 18.80
Sept. 12th 72 horseman at 20 cts 14.40
Sept. 12th 11 waggons at 50 cts 05.50
Sept. 13th 10 waggons at 50 cts 05.00
Sept. 13th 12 horseman at 20 cts 02.40
Sept. 14th 11 horseman at 20 cts 02.20
Sept. 15th 1 waggon 9 horseman 02.30
Sept. 16th 19 horseman at 20 cts 03.80
Sept. 17th 27 horseman at 20 cts 05.40
Sept. 18th 1 waggon and 8 footman 00.90
Lawrence was an important road center, and numerous state and territorial highways either had their start from there or made the town an intermediate point. The old Oregon and California road passed through the county and city. The legislature of 1855 created a territorial road which started from Leavenworth, via Lawrence and on to Salem; 106 another, authorized in 1857, ran from Lawrence, via the Sac and Fox agency, to Burlington; 107 another, established in 1860, ran from Lawrence to Emporia via Clinton, Twin Mound and Superior. 108 Six roads were established by the legislature of 1861, as follows: one from Lawrence to Osawatomie; one from Lawrence to Paola; one from Lawrence to Wyandotte, by way of Eudora, DeSoto, Monticello and Shawnee; another from Lawrence to the state line near Westport, Mo., via Franklin, Hesper and Olathe; and another from Lawrence to Osage City, Garnett, lola and Humboldt; and one from Lawrence to Hiawatha, 109 this latter road, however, not being located until 1863, when the commissioners in charge of the work specified it was to run by way of Grasshopper Falls, Muscotah, Oskaloosa and Kennekuk. 110 A road from Lawrence to Paola was made a state road in 1862. 111 A number of new roads were provided for in 1864; one from Lawrence to the north line of Bourbon county, in direction of Fort Lincoln, Osawatomie and Davis' Gap, near the Armstrong ford of Big Sugar creek and Mound City; another from Lawrence, by way of Baldwin City, Ohio City in Franklin county, to Garnett; another from Lawrence, via Eudora and Olathe to the east line of Johnson county, opposite Westport, Mo.; one from Lawrence to the north line of Bourbon
106. General Statutes, Kansas, 1855, p. 975.
107. Laws, Kansas, 1857, p. 168.
108. Ibid., 1860, p. 585.
109. Ibid., 1861, pp. 247-249.
110. Ibid., 1863, p. 88.
111. General Laws, Kansas, 1862, p. 798.
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county by way of Ottawa Jones' and Dutch Henry's crossing; one from Atchison, by Springdale, to Lawrence. The law specified that these roads should be not less than 60 nor more than 100 feet in width. 112 In 1865 three more were established, one running from Lawrence to Hiawatha; another from Lawrence to Neosho Rapids; and the next one from Lawrence to Fort Scott, via the new bridge on the Wakarusa, thence to New Haven, and crossing the Santa Fe road on the east line of the farm of W. P. Ramsey, thence on the east side of Ottawa creek, via Tomberlain's and Sower's, or as near as practicable, and crossing Ottawa creek at Copple's ford, thence on as straight a line as practicable to Ottawa, thence to Garnett, thence to Mapleton and Fort Scott. 113 In 1866 a road was established from Lawrence, by way of Lecompton, to Tecumseh, while another ran from Leavenworth, by way of Big Stranger bridge, Berry's store on Tonganoxie creek and Nine Mile house on Ten Mile creek, to Lawrence. 114 This was practically the last of the state roads laid out affecting Lawrence. There were many county roads laid out from time to time, but space prevents mention of them.
John C. Fremont passed through the site of Lawrence in the early 1840's. Capt. J. W. Gunnison also passed through on his ill-fated expedition in 1853. Horace Greeley was also an early visitor, when he came up the Kaw valley in 1859 on his westward journey. Albert D. Richardson, a visitor in the territory in 1859, crossed the river on the Baldwin ferry and gave an account of the crossing and an illustration of the ferry, on page 35 of his book, Beyond the Mississippi.
Early in April, 1861, streams of emigrant wagons wended their way through the city. They were usually loaded with the household goods of the family, sacks and boxes of grain and seed, and live stock. As soon as spring had fairly arrived, from 30 to 100 teams daily crossed at this ferry, many of them belonging to persons from southern Kansas counties who were on their way to or from Leavenworth and, according to a local paper, this travel gave some idea of the want of a bridge. 115
While much trade reached Lawrence from surrounding territory via Baldwin's ferry and roads much of the travel did not stop in that city. An item from a Leavenworth paper copied into the
112. Laws, Kansas, 1864, pp. 204-209.
113. Ibid., 1865, pp. 140, 142, 148.
114. Ibid., 1866, pp. 224, 225, 227.
115. Kansas State Journal, Lawrence, April 11, May 9, 1861.
284 THE KANSAS HISTORICAL QUARTERLY
Journal,of December 11, 1862, says: "The travel between here and Lawrence was never so large as now. The receipts of the ferry at that place sometimes reached seventy-five dollars a day. A bridge there would add thousands upon thousands to our trade."
When ice broke up on the river each year that was an additional hazard to be reckoned with. On February 15, 1862, ice went out rather unexpectedly, and the ferry boat had a narrow escape from sudden destruction. A wagon that had been partly run aboard was destroyed by the rush of ice. 116
The drouth of 1860 had its effect on the ferry business on the Kansas river. The "June rise," which river men talked about, had not manifested itself. During the early summer Indians who lived along the river said that the river had never been lower than it then was. Teams daily forded it a few rods above the ferry. The following winter moving ice for a time suspended operations of the ferry, much to the inconvenience of great numbers of teams encamped on the banks of the river. However, by hitching cattle to the boat on each side of the river, crossing was resumed. The operators of the ferry were frequently obliged to spend large sums and much labor in opening a way through the ice. Early in 1861 a local paper, in commenting on the situation, stated that few men have any idea of the amount of travel over the ferry at that place. 117
James Baldwin, son of the original owner of the ferry, became one of the owners in the early ‘60’s. 118
Another ferry was projected for Lawrence early in 1861 when Caleb S. Pratt and Horace L. Enos obtained a charter from the legislature that year for the Lawrence Ferry Company. This act granted charter rights for fourteen years for a ferry site and for exclusive privileges for one mile up and one mile down the river. They were also granted the right to construct as many roads or ways to the ferry as was deemed necessary. 119 No further history of this ferry has been located.
The levee was a popular and convenient site and served the needs of the community in other ways than strictly as a ferry landing. The Journal, of June 12, 1862, contained the following: "Last Sunday evening quite a number of our citizens assembled on the levee to witness the immersion of a couple of colored persons. The ceremony was well conducted and novel to many present."
116. Ibid., Feb. 19, 1862.
117. Ibid., 1861.
118. Ibid., May 7, 1863.
119. Laws, Kansas, 1861, pp. 36, 37
ROOT: FERRIES IN KANSAS 285
The first move for a bridge at Lawrence over the Kansas river was in 1857, when the legislature granted a charter to the Lawrence Bridge Company. 120 No bridge was begun under this act. A new charter was obtained in 1858, which was amended in 1859, but nothing was done until 1863, when work started, and the bridge was finished late that year. 121
By the early 1870's there developed a strong sentiment for a free bridge at Lawrence. The officers of the bridge company were asked to sell but apparently turned a deaf ear to the proposition. The income from tolls was evidently satisfactory to the bridge officials.
Dissatisfaction with the toll bridge grew as time passed, and in 1871 a steam ferry was put into operation to relieve the situation. This boat went into service about June, 1871, and almost revolutionized the transportation business at this point. Dr. Edward Bumgardner, of Lawrence, in an article on Lawrence ferries published in the Journal-World of May 30, 1933, has this to say of the steam ferry:
"Mr. Wilson had the first portable steam threshing-machine engine that had been brought to this part of the state, and this was used to operate the ferry. Two great cast iron wheels were made at the Kimball Bros. Iron Foundry. These wheels, placed on opposite sides of the river, acted as pulleys to carry a continuous wire cable to which the ferryboat was attached. The toll in the ferry was fixed at 25 cents for a round trip, while the bridge company charged 25 cents each way. This ferry was satisfactory for a time, though Mr. Wilson had a serious accident in operating it.
"Once, in 1871, the wheel on the south side of the river became loose on its axle by the displacement of the key by which it was attached so that the cable would not run. Mr. Wilson rearranged the wheel and drove the key to place so as to make the wheel tight on the axle. At that moment his helper started the engine and Mr. Wilson's right hand was instantly cut off by being caught between the wheel and the cable."
The two items following not only give additional information but also furnish a graphic description of the new enterprise:
"The city of Lawrence has lately established a steam ferry which carries passengers and freight free. The engine which drives the boat is stationary. We do not understand the arrangements, but have been informed that the power is applied by means of an endless chain. The Lawrence experiment is a success. It has crossed six hundred teams in a single day. It carries six loaded teams and any number of footmen at a trip, and makes the trip in two minutes. This is much less time than it takes a team to walk across the bridge.
120. Ibid., 1857, p. 148.
121. Private Laws, Kansas, 1858, pp. 41, 42; 1859, p. 23; Kansas State Journal, Lawrence, April 30, 1863.
286 THE KANSAS HISTORICAL QUARTERLY
The cost of this ferry, exclusive of the franchise, was five thousand dollars." Alma Union, June 15, 1871.
"A small frame building on the left bank of the river containing a ten-horse power portable engine, from the driving wheel of which runs a band which passes over another wheel attached to a frame work. To this is also attached a grooved wheel, five feet in diameter, over which passes an endless wire cable, 1,370 feet in length. This passes also through three upright standards of heavy timber, at each end and in the middle, respectively, of the boat, on one side, thence over a grooved wheel in a frame upon the opposite bank, similar to that in the engine room. Upon a raised and covered platform on the boat sits the pilot, with his hand upon a brake, with which, alternately, he firmly holds the upper and lower strands of the wire cable, according to which side of the river the boat is to be drawn; this is the point of attachment of the moving force. A wave of the pilot's hand and the engineer turns on the steam, the driving wheel of the engine, together with the cable upon the grooved wheels on either bank, revolve and the boat shoots across the river in one minute, by the watch, much faster than a team would ordinarily trot across the rival bridge, if allowed to. The ferry will carry six heavy-loaded teams at a trip, besides several foot passengers. It has carried 728 teams and 3,200 foot passengers during one day's operation. It has crossed the river in the short space of forty seconds, although from one to one and one-half minutes is generally consumed at a trip. It makes from 250 to 300 trips per day. The expense of operating it, including the hire of three men, etc., is $12 per day. Kimball Bros., of this city, who are the inventors of this improved ferry, have applied for a patent. . . ." Lawrence Republican Journal, June 16, 1871.
This free ferry was cutting into the profits of the toll bridge company and something had to be done about it. In 1872 the bridge company obtained an injunction against the ferry, on the ground that it was a "floating bridge." The bridge company in the meantime had been obliged to reduce tolls to a minimum while the ferry was in operation, but as soon as the injunction had been obtained toll rates went back to former prices. The injunction suit was finally tried and resulted in favor of the ferry. All this time the campaign for a free bridge went steadily--if not merrily--on. It became a political issue in the spring election of 1873. A local paper, speaking of the toll bridge, said:
"It is an incubus that should have been removed years ago, and could have been, and would have been, had it not been for the fact that the bridge company had too many advocates in the city council, and county boards. . . . Public sentiment has been in favor of a free bridge for the past ten years, but the bridge company have so manipulated those in authority that this sentiment has not availed anything. . . . This monopoly ... is taking from twenty to thirty thousand dollars out of our city every year, a good part of which is invested in Chicago real estate." 122
122. Daily Kansas Tribune, Lawrence, April 4, 1873.
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This same authority exhorted the farmers and others who had occasion to cross the river with teams to patronize the ferry, because the charges were the same, and the ferry could not be run unless it was better patronized. The ferry's prices had been met by the bridge company, and it was presumed that in case the ferry was discontinued the toll rates would be raised to the old figure. 123
The steam ferry was doing a thriving business in the spring of 1873. A Mr. Morton had the contract for running it, and the following rates charged by him for crossing were certainly attractive to those having occasion to visit the opposite side of the river: 1 horse, 2 1/2 cents; 1 horse and vehicle, 5 cents; 2 horses and vehicle, 5 cents; 4 horses and vehicle, 7 1/2 cents. Foot passengers free. The fact that the bridge company was obliged to meet this rate in order to get any patronage 124 prompted a Marysville paper to remark that the ferry was "playing smash with the bridge company." 123 Another item from the same source was to the effect that "Lawrence is hot about her bridge affairs. She has a toll bridge that don't give satisfaction, and therefore a ferry has been established to connect her with the railroad on the north side of the Kaw." 126
The campaign of the Tribune for a free bridge brought on about the hottest fight staged in that city up to that time, and a mayor and council who, during the campaign, professed to be favorable to the free bridge proposition had been elected. Their apparent reluctance in taking action in the bridge controversy caused the Lawrence people to regard them as more favorable to the bridge company than to her own citizens. The Tribune asked why the city attorney had not done his full duty in regard to the injunction that had been obtained against the ferry, and added:
"It is a matter of surprise to us that any court could ever put on glasses with magnifying power enough to magnify a ferry boat into a floating bridge. . . . That floating-bridge dodge was pretty thin; but thick enough to put about $20,000 of the people's money into the pockets of Babcock & Co. They can well afford to pay damages, and the city should make them to do it." 127
Within the next thirty days the Tribune suggested that the city council should appoint a committee to examine the bridge, and if it was found unsafe to have it condemned and abated as a common
123. Ibid. 124. Ibid., March 22, 1873.
125. Marshall County News, Marysville, March 29, 1873.
126. Ibid., April 25, 1873.
127. Daily Kansas Tribune, Lawrence, April 9, 1873.
288 THE KANSAS HISTORICAL QUARTERLY
nuisance or have the approaches to it closed up so as to protect the lives and property of the unsuspecting crossers. 128
In the meantime the bridge company made an offer to sell the structure to the city, but at a price which the Tribune thought beyond its physical value, and this provoked a charge that the company was trying to sell the city a "rotten old structure" for three or four times what it was worth. 129
Late in May, 1873, the ferry was put out of commission by flood wood that came down the river as the result of a heavy rain on the night of May 20. Driftwood in such quantity lodged against the ferry cable that it was broken, and that route "closed for repairs, leaving no choice but to hazard crossing over on that rotten old bridge and pay the old prices for the risk incurred." 130
Acting on the Tribune's suggestion, a committee had been appointed to investigate the condition of the bridge, and at a special meeting of the council it reported that the bridge was unsafe. 131 A few days later the council notified the bridge company of the findings of the committee. Notices were at once posted at each end of the bridge, warning the public of its condition, but as the ferry had been temporarily put out of commission, traffic across the bridge went ahead unabated. 132
Meetings were held to check the bridge situation up to the people, and at one of these the bridge company wanted the council to take the ferry off the river. This could not be done as the county commissioners had jurisdiction over that matter. Resolutions were passed at this meeting against making any arrangements with the bridge company by which tolls were to be collected ; and it was voted that in case the company erected a new toll bridge and attempted to collect tolls the mayor and councilmen should immediately make the ferry free and run it until a free bridge could be had. This meeting placed the valuation of the bridge at not to exceed $15,000. 133
The bridge company late in June issued a statement signed by C. W. Babcock, secretary and treasurer of the Lawrence Bridge Company, in which it was proposed to make the bridge free for foot travel, free for all city business, free for all public occasions, and
128. Ibid., May 8, 1873.
129. Ibid., May 29, 1873.
130. Ibid., May 22, 1873.
131. Ibid., May 23, 1873.
132. Ibid., May 28, 1873.
133. Ibid., June 20, 1873.
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all public processions. Tolls on all wagons and buggy travel were to be reduced to 10 cents. Tolls were to remain at that figure until a final decision was rendered in the case then pending, (unless the county attorney should unnecessarily delay), or until the city should express a willingness to purchase the property at a fair price. 134
Desirous of quieting the public mind in regard to the condition of the bridge, the company called in two engineers, one a Mr. Sneed, of the Union Pacific railway, who made a thorough examination of the structure, and pronounced it unsafe. 135
During the summer, among other items printed about the old bridge, were the following:
"Condemned the Second Time.--The elephant attached to Robinson's circus could not be induced to cross the bridge. His keepers urged and scolded him, but in spite of all their efforts he refused to trust himself on Babcock's bridge, but went on the ferry readily. Mr. Robinson stated to some gentlemen in front of the Eldridge House that it was the first time in ten years that the elephant had refused to cross a bridge." Daily Kansas Tribune, Lawrence, August 2, 1873.
"A flock of woodpeckers made a raid on the old Babcock bridge yesterday, but after punching the timbers in all the ways they could, they gave it up in disgust. They could not find what they were looking after--live grubs, the timber was too rotten to afford life to them."-- Daily Kansas Tribune, Lawrence, August 29, 1873.
Early in September the company tacitly admitted the true condition of the bridge, and set to work making substantial repairs. A temporary bridge—pontoons--was constructed to serve travel while repairs were being made. About this time the Tribune was selected as the official city paper and, strange to say, the fight on the old bridge company suddenly ceased, though the paper did modestly claim the credit for having gotten the city the new structure. 136 This temporary bridge was quite well patronized, and the people were crossing nearly all the time. 137
The bridge controversy came to an end in 1879, the supreme court holding that the bridge company's charter had already expired and that they had no further control over the bridge or highway. This decision gave Lawrence the free bridge she had been wanting for years. 138
134. Ibid., June 28, 1873.
135. Ibid., June 29, 1873.
186. Ibid., October 1, 1873
137. Ibid., October 30, 1873.
138. 22 Kansas Reports, pp. 438-443.
290 THE KANSAS HISTORICAL QUARTERLY
The following abridged account of Lawrence's last ferry is taken from a story written by Dr. Edward Bumgardner of that city, and published in the Lawrence Journal-World, May 30, 1933:
"The last ferry across the river at Lawrence was an emergency service operated by Gustave A. Graeber at the time of the 1903 flood, just thirty years ago. In the latter part of May, 1903, the heavy rains all over the Kaw water-shed had so swollen the tributary streams that the river reached the flood stage about the 20th of the month and began overflowing the rich farm lands of the Kaw valley.
"On May 30, Decoration Day, it seemed that the highest possible level of water had been reached. The house of Will Parsons, a mail carrier, a quarter of a mile up stream, had floated down the current, struck the bridge, carried away a section, and interrupted communication between North Lawrence and the main part of the city south of the river. A small building with a sign announcing that it was the 'Salina Bakery' was stranded a short distance below the dam. The Bowersock mill had collapsed and disappeared down stream after sending up a great cloud of flour that covered with white a thousand spectators who were standing near the south end of the wrecked bridge.
"Gustave A. Graeber had made that day in a row boat what he thought was his last round trip to North Lawrence, and had gone home exhausted. No one else in Lawrence was as familiar with the Kaw, and no one had watched the development of this flood with more concern than 'Dolly' Graeber. He lived at that time, as he still does, on the bank of the river at the north end of Ohio street. The bank is rather high there, and Mr. Graeber's house stands some 15 feet above the grade of the Santa Fe railroad track which runs along the river between it and the Graeber home.
"To the astonishment of all and the dismay of many Lawrence people, the river rose four feet more that Saturday night. Through the night rockets were seen rising from an island in North Lawrence, the only spot not covered with water, where an undetermined number of the population were assembled. On Sunday morning above the roar of the raging waters the North Lawrence church bells could be heard, not calling the people to worship, but tolling a prolonged appeal for relief. Early in the morning 'Dolly' Graeber was besieged by excited citizens urging him to do something for the marooned people in North Lawrence. For awhile he demurred. . . . But, knowing that many human lives were at stake, he could not resist continued appeals.
"He got into his little boat and pushed out into the water. . . . After a hard struggle he reached the opposite shore and sized up the situation there. Hundreds of homeless people were huddled together, frantic in their desire to escape from their crowded and terrifying situation. So long as this was impossible, food and clothing were in urgent demand, and everybody had a message for some relative or friend on the south side. After an hour's survey of the situation, Mr. Graeber worked his boat up stream a short distance and braved the foaming waters for the return trip, which he accomplished successfully, landing near the Santa Fe depot, and reported to Mayor A. L. Selig and other anxious citizens.
"Mr. Graeber's task was now only outlined. The people in North Lawrence must be rescued as soon as possible, and in the meantime they must be pro-
ROOT: FERRIES IN KANSAS 291
vided with the necessities of life. It was before the days of electric and gasoline launches, but he thought of fixing up an antiquated launch which he owned and which was provided with a one-cylinder steam engine. The engine had never worked properly, but he determined to make it work now. As he was starting on his first trip a poppet valve went bad, andthe engine was useless. A repair man, C. L. Rutter, quickly made a new valve and the engine began to function.
"Accompanied by L. L. Phillips, Mr. Graeber now made a trip with a cargo of food, wraps and medicines. This was the beginning of a service that he rendered for six weeks, until the waters had subsided and other means of crossing had been provided. A problem that had to be solved immediately was the preservation of order in the flooded district and the protection of such property as had not been destroyed by water.
"At the request of Mayor Selig, Company H of the First Kansas national guards was ordered out by Governor Bailey, and Capt. F. B. Dodds and 48 men of this company were transported by Graeber to the north side where they remained on duty for fifteen days. "Government officials had been notified when the bridge went out, and a company of army engineers at Fort Leavenworth was ordered across the country with materials for constructing a pontoon bridge. They found it impossible to cross Mud creek for several days, so that they did not reach North Lawrence until the 10th of June. One platoon made camp on the north side of the river, while the remainder of the company were brought across in Graeber's launch and camped on the south side. On the third day after their arrival they completed a swinging ferry which was operated daily from five in the morning until one at night for about two months, until a Union Pacific construction gang had made such temporary repairs on the bridge as to make it passable.
"For full six weeks Mr. Graeber ran his launch as a ferry boat back and forth every hour of the day. For two weeks he received nothing but the grateful thanks of the people he served. During the additional four weeks he made a charge of fifteen cents for each passenger that he carried. He kept count of the passengers transported until the number exceeded 20,000, when he lost count, but he says he is confident that he hauled at least 25,000 in the six weeks; and during all that time he had no serious mishap. Several times there were accidents impending that would have been fatal, but no passenger of his was ever thrown into the water.
"On one occasion a sharp snag punctured the bottom of the boat, but it broke off in such a way as to partially close the rent and keep the boat from sinking immediately, and he reached shore with the boat nearly full of water. Now, at the age of 79, Mr. Graeber looks back with satisfaction to the record that he made thirty years ago without the loss of any passenger whose life was placed in his hands."
Hugh Cameron had the next ferry above Lawrence. The legislature of 1857 granted him a charter for a ferry across the Kansas river opposite fractional E. 1/2 S. 14, T. 12, R. 19, with a ten-year privilege of landing on the north side of the river on the Delaware
292 THE KANSAS HISTORICAL QUARTERLY
reserve. 139 This ferry is shown on a map of Douglas county, Kansas, by J. Cooper Stuck, for 1857, and was approximately two and one-half miles up river from Lawrence. Cameron was a resident of Douglas county for many years, and was known locally as "The Kansas Hermit," this nickname having been given him for his solitary mode of living. He was in the federal army during the Civil War and had been brevetted brigadier general. He was a strong advocate of prohibition and equal suffrage, and wrote some of his views in verse. In his later life he was known for his many eccentricities, one of which was having his sleeping quarters in a long box which he had erected in the forks of a tree near his cabin.
The next ferry above Cameron's was John Harris', about five miles above Lawrence. Harris was granted a charter for a ferry by the legislature of 1860, the crossing to be located near the west line of S. 2, T. 12, R. 19 E., in Jefferson county. This act granted exclusive privileges for a distance of two miles on each side of S. 2 for a period of twenty years. 140 The landing on the south side of the river was a point slightly north and east of Horseshoe lake.
This lake was formerly a part of the main channel of the Kansas river, which here made a big turn to the south and doubled back to the north, forming the lake when high water in an early day cut a new channel directly across the narrowest part of the loop, leaving the old bed cut off. This body of water was given the name of Lake View in modern times, and now belongs to a private club which has made it one of the pleasure and fishing spots of eastern Kansas. This ferry was located near another historic spot. The Kaw Indian agency in 1827 was located on the north side of the river opposite Horseshoe lake, near the village of Williamstown of present day. Daniel Morgan Boone, farmer for the Kaw Indians, had his farm close by. 141
Douglas, two or three miles up the river, was the next point to have a ferry. The town was incorporated by act of the territorial legislature of 1855, John W. Reid, George W. Clarke, Chas. E. Kearney, Edward C. McCarty, Paris Ellison and M. W. McGee being its projectors. 142
These men were also granted a twenty-year charter for a ferry by the same legislature, with exclusive privileges for one mile up from the town and down the river to the eastern line of the town of Douglas. 143
139. Laws, Kansas, 1857, p. 162. 140. Ibid., 1860, pp. 269, 270.
141. Kansas Historical Collections, v. 4, p. 302 ; v. 9, p. 321.
142. General Statutes, Kansas, 1855, p. 854. 143. Ibid., p. 778.
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This ferry, if operated at all, must have been discontinued within a couple of years, for in 1858 Paris Ellison 144 was granted a charter at this location for a ten-year period.
The charter members of the first ferry company, in all probability, were proslavery men. M. W. McGee was a member of an early family of Westport, Mo., and was a member of the first territorial legislature. Geo. W. Clarke was an Indian agent, purser in the navy, register of the Fort Scott land office, and will be remembered by Linn county citizens as the leader of a band which raided that county. J. W. Reid was a proslavery man and was at the head of the 400 Missourians at the Battle of Osawatomie. He was also one of the generals in command of territorial militia when Lawrence was threatened by the 2,700 Missourians in 1856. 145
Douglas was about opposite the mouth of Grasshopper (Delaware) river. A post office had been established in March, 1855, which also served Lecompton, Andrew McDonald being the first postmaster. In September the post office was removed to Lecompton, its rival. A steam saw mill had been established by Messrs. Johnston, McDonald and White at Douglas early in January, and advertised good native lumber, one-inch thick, at $3 per hundred. The firm pointed out that this lumber could be rafted down the Kansas river at nearly all seasons, and that they would run the mill day and night, if necessary, to accommodate the public. 146 Douglas received two votes for territorial capital when the members of the legislature were called on to make a selection. It received the votes of Messrs. O. H. Brown and G. W. Ward. Brown was from Maryland, aged 34, single and proslavery in politics, while Ward was a Kentuckian, aged 55, farmer, married, and also "sound on the goose." 147 The legislature this year ordered a territorial road laid out from One Hundred and Ten to the town of Douglas, via Glendale, and thence by the most practicable route to the most desirable point on the road leading from Fort Leavenworth to Fort Riley. 148
Douglas was one of three towns located between Horseshoe lake and Lecompton, the others being Benicia and East Douglas, the townsites almost adjoining. All three towns are shown on Whitman & Searl’s map of Kansas, 1856, but have long since disappeared.
(To be Continued in November Quarterly.)
144. Laws, Kansas, 1858, pp. 55, 56.
145. Kansas Historical Collections, v. 4, pp. 532, 533, 537.
146. Kansas Free State, Lawrence, June 4, 1855; Andreas, History of Kansas, pp. 309, 310; Colton's Kansas and Nebraska, p. 75; Kansas Historical Collections, v. 3, p. 897; v. 7, p. 443.
147. Kansas Weekly Herald, Leavenworth, July 28, 1855.
148. General Statutes, Kansas, 1855, pp. 972, 973.