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Landing No. IV

Hubbert's Ferry

Hubbert's Ferry was located in the first bend of the French Broad River east of the mouth of Little Pigeon River.

James Hubbert received North Carolina land grants for over 2500 acres north of the French Broad River. Deed records from 1787 to 1795 show that he sold the land except his own plantation.[28]

Cherel Henderson describes the site of Hubberts Ferry as it appeared in 1987:

"The site of Hubbert's plantation today is still beautiful, serene and pastoral. The placid French Broad River, a ribbon of silver and blue, flows onward to join with the Holston. Across the river the eternal mountains tower in the distance. A red barn and twin silos nestle against the hills. Grazing cattle are dark dots on the rolling green plains . . . As I drive down the road leading to Hubberts' old ferry a rabbit darts in front of the car. " [29]

In February, 1792, James Hubbert "hath leave to keep a Public Ferry over the French Broad River near his own house "as recorded in the Greene County Court Minutes. At the same session the Court appointed James Hubbert overseer of a road from Wilson Road to his own ferry.[30]

Bryan Ferry

Sometime between 1813 and 1823, James Hubbert's ferry was taken over by Allen S. Bryan Sr., husband of James Hubbert's daughter, Betty.[31]

East Tennessee Land Grant No. 8286 was issued to Allen Bryan on 29 May 1823 for 20 acres on the North Side of the French Broad River "beginning on the bank of said river just above Bryan's boat landing to stake line of said Bryan's former survey including BRYAN'S FERRY LANDING. " [32]

William Ellis (1793-1878) owned the land of the ferry landing on the south bank of the river.

After the death of Allen S. Bryan, Sr. in 1839 his second wife Elizabeth McSpadden Bryan, continued to oversee the operation of the plantation until her death in 1862.[33]

Apparently John Ellis was the ferry operator as recorded in Patrick Henry's Day Book "July 8, 1859 - two ferrages to John Ellis $1.20".[34]

Ellis Ferry

On Monday, July 7, 1862, the Sevier County Court ordered that James Ellis be allowed the privilege of keeping a public ferry boat at Bryan's Ferry and he be required to give bond according to law.

The Sevier County Court Minutes of April 6, 1863, state: "Ordered by the Court that Public Ferry Keepers in Sevier County shall demand and receive the following rates on ferrages:

Six horse wagon $1.00 Four horse wagon .75 cents Two horse wagon .50 cents Two horse buggy .50 cents One horse buggy .25 cents Man and horse .10 cents Man on foot .05 cents Cattle per head .25 cents Lead horses .03 cents

The Sevier County Court Minutes of April 5, 1870, state: "Ordered by the Court that all the ferries can only charge .10 in all cases for getting a man and his horse across the river".

William Ellis in his will written in 1872 and probated Dec. 2, 1878, gave the Ellis Ferry to his son, John Ellis.[35]

The ferry was still going by the name of Bryan's Ferry on January 6, 1879, when the county court appointed James Ellis as "overseer of the road from Bryan's Ferry to the forks of the road near the white mill and he is required to keep the same in lawful repairs as a second class road with the hands on the following farms".

On Monday, April 5, 1880, the County Court again made changes in the rates that a ferryman in Sevier County could demand:

Footmen .05 cents Man and horse .10 cents Each additional horse .05 cents Cattle - each head .05 cents One horse wagon .20 cents Two horse carriage .25 cents Sheep and hogs each head 2-1/2 cents

"And the ferryman is required to enter into bond as the law directs for his faithful per finance as such. "

Kyker Ferry

The Kyker Ferry followed the Ellis Ferry at the same location.

Andrew Jackson Kyker (1853-1905) a school teacher in the 1880 census, purchased the ferry landing on the south banks of the French Broad River July 3, 1901, from Miss Kate Ellis of Catlettsburgh for the sum of $155.00 the land "being my one-eighth undivided interest in the John Ellis farm having been willed to him by my grandfather, Rev. William Ellis.

Said premises are free of encumbrances except the life estate of her father, John Ellis".[36]

Mr. Earl S. Ailey recalls that a Kyker farm of 52 acres was known as "the Ellis tract".

The ferry landing on the north bank was used with the permisssion of the descendants of the Hugh and Nancy Ellis Goforth family who owned the property.

Following the death of Andrew J. Kyker in 1905 his son, J. Arthur Kyker (1880-1967) was the chief operator of the ferry until it was discontinued the second week in February, 1944.

The Kyker Ferry boat was sold to a dairy in Knox County.[37]

Mr. Ralph Sims of Ridge Road has prepared a diagram showing the location and operation of the ferries as he and Mr. Fred Valentine remember them.

The Kyker Ferry was located on the river near the present Smoky Mountain Knife Works about a mile off Highway 66.

Mr. Tommy Hickman assisted Mr. Arthur Kyker as a ferryman in the 1920's. Mr. Clifford Atchley was a ferryman in the 1930's. A large tall pole on each side of the river bank about 100 yards above the ferry boat held a steel cable. Another steel cable on a pulley extended from the steel cable between the poles to the wheel house on the ferry boat. When the wheel was turned in the wheel house either end of the boat could be turned up river about 200 degrees. The force of the current moved the ferry boat.

The ferryman charged 25 cents per car for the crossing.

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