History of Ferries in Saluda, South Carolina

In the year 1770, a ferry was established at Saluda Old Town, from the lands of Charles Carson on the south side of Saluda, to the opposite shore at the lands of William Turner. The ferry was vested in Charles Carson, his Executors, Administrators, and Assigns. By the same Act a road was ordered to be made and laid out from the south side of the ferry to the nearest and most contiguous part of the road lately laid out and established by the name of Kelly’s Road.

Anderson’s Ferry over Saluda was established December 19th, 1795. This, I believe, is the same as the Island Ford Ferry. At Abney’s Ford and vested in Nathaniel Abney and Francis Higgins, December 19th, 1795. After some years this ferry was rechartered and vested in Francis Higgins alone, and I believe it is still known as Higgins’ Ferry, though sometimes called Kinard’s.

There was a ferry at Chappell’s before the Revolutionary war, kept by the Chappells. On December 21st, 1792, a bridge was authorized to be built by Thomas Chappell, in whom the right of taking tolls was vested. I do not think the bridge was ever built, as a ferry at that place was rechartered, December 20th, 1800. And again in 182 1, and vested in Charles Chapman. But in a few years it became Chappell’s Ferry, which name it held for many years. Recently a bridge has been built, which is to be free. About the year 1845, Mr. John Chappell built a single span covered bridge at that place. The investment was not profitable and the bridge before many years washed away, and the ferry was reopened. Previous to the year 1765, the Government of South Carolina had given the upper country very little attention, little more, indeed, than was found necessary to regulate trade with the Indians. The Governor and Council could do little more. In 1765 an Act was passed to establish a ferry from New Windsor to Augusta. New Windsor was where Hamburg now is. The place must have been named New Windsor by

John Stuart, Agent for Indian Affairs, as the ferry was vested in him. By the same Act a ferry was established from the ferry of Moses Kirkland to the opposite shore on Saludy River, “Saludy”, so spelled in the old printed Act. This same Moses Kirkland became somewhat celebrated in after years as Agent of the British and Tories, acting in concert with John Stuart in rousing the Cherokees to attack the border settlements at the same time the attack on Fort Moultrie was made.

By the Act of 1768 a road was established from Orangeburg to Saluda and thence to Bush and Rayburn’s Creeks and also for making and establishing a public ferry over Saluda River, and vesting the same in Samuel Kelly and John Mill house. The road thus ordered to be made from Orangeburg to Saluda is surely the same known as Kelly’s Road, with which the road leading from Carson’s Ferry at Saluda Old Town was to join at the most contiguous part.

Again in 1770 a ferry was established over Saluda River at the lands of Robert Cunningham and another ferry over Savannah River, opposite to Augusta in Georgia. The reader will notice that these roads and ferries were all made and established before the Revolutionary war. Others were opened soon after the war, notice of which will be made.

Source: Chapman, John Abney; History of Edgefield County from the earliest settlement to 1897; Newberry, S.C.: E. H. Aull, 1897.

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