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Landing No. I

Abraham McCleary Ferry

The McCleary Ferry was located near the mouth of Dumplin Creek at present Pollard Road. Abraham McCleary had North Carolina Land Grant No. 1021 for 200 acres on the French Broad River at the mouth of Dumplin Creek dated Dec. 26, 1791. Later, he received a Tennessee land grant for 381 acres on the south side of the river.[6]

On May 6, 1794, the Knox County Court granted the petition of Abraham McCleary to keep a public ferry at his landing on the French Broad River.

Ferry rates were established as follows:

Single person .06-1/4 cents
Single horse .06-1/2 cents
Person and horse .12-1/2 cents
Cattle and hogs .04 cents
Sheep .02 cents
Cart and horse .25 cents
Two-horse wagon .37-1/2 cents
4-5 horse wagon $1.00
4-5 horse carriage .75 cents
Sulky or gig .50 cents

The rating table concluded:  "When water exceeds 6 feet of common water double rates and if the water is over 12 feet disgression is left with the ferryman".[7]

On October 31, 1818, Abraham McCleary willed property including the ferry landing on the south bank to his daughter, Patsy (Martha).[8]  The site was known as the "Bent Tract". Patsy (Martha) married Stephen A. Underdown.[9]  Stephen Underdown then acquired the ferry landing on the north bank from Patsy's sister, Sally McCleary.

Underdown Ferry

The Underdown Ferry succeeded the McCleary Ferry at the same location.

Stephen A. Underdown, son-in-law of Abraham McCleary, operated the ferry and a store near the ferry landing.

After the death of his wife Martha in 1856, Stephen A. Underdown deeded the ferry property to his sons Joseph B., Gilbert W., William, and Pleasant Underdown on May 2, 1857.[10]

An entry in Patrick Henry's Day Book in July, 1858, states "Paid to Stephen Underdown 2 ferrages at 10 cents each - 20 cents. In October, 1860, "S. A. Underdown ferrage - 10 cents.[ll]  On April 16, 1873, the south side of the ferry was purchased by Henry and Edmond S. Hodges - a total of 140 acres including the ferry landing.[12]  The ferry landing on the north bank also served as a loading dock for steamboats. A warehouse was located at the top of a high bank next to the "Big Road" as it was called then. From this warehouse a shoot or trough was built to go all the way to the river. People of the community would bring supplies they wanted to send to Knoxville to the warehouse and store them until the next steamboat came by.[13] On October 1, 1900, following the death of Joseph B. Underdown on July 1, 1898, the administrator of the estate, G. W. Underdown, sold 91 acres on the French Broad River including "the Ferry Bank at the mouth of Dumplin Creek" to Isaac L. and George H. Smith.[14]

On July 11, 1900, Isaac L. and George H. Smith sold the Underdown Ferry to Edmond S. Hodges who owned the south bank of the river.[15]

Hodges Ferry

The Hodges Ferry succeeded the Underdown Ferry at the same location. The HODGES ferry is not be be confused with the HODGE ferry farther up the river.

Edmond S. Hodges was operating the ferry in 1898 as proven by the following County Court record:

On Thursday October 4, 1898, it was ordered by the court that the following rates of ferrage be fixed for the E. S. Hodges Ferry:

4 Horse wagon - .40 cents 2 Horse wagon - .20 cents 4 Horse hack - .20 cents 1 Horse buggy - .15 cents 1 Horse rider - .10 cents Footman - .05 cents Steam Engine Team - .50 cents

The ferry was not operating in 1904 according to county records. John W. Hodges (1871-1932) operated the Hodges Ferry from about 1920 to 1924 or shortly after. About this time the ferry boat was destroyed probably by high river tides and wind and was not replaced.

The Hodges Ferry had been operated privately as well as publicly. The Hodges family used the ferry to transport farm tools and animals from their farm on the south bank of the river.[l6]

Kenny Hodges remembers his father telling about hauling sheep. For some reason, the sheep broke the rail on the side of the ferry boat causing the sheep to learn to swim very quickly.


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