Sunday, June 1, 2008

Ohio River Connects To Our History

A scenic look at the Illinois side of the Ohio River from the Ferry landing on the Kentucky side.

A peaceful fifteen minute drive from Marion on Highway 91 North, will take you to the Ohio River and the historic ferry, that is still in operation today. The Ohio River has always been a part of our history. The importance of this great river for navigation and trade was recognized as early as the 17th century.

In the early 1800's, the river was busy with flatboats traveling south, bringing immigrants from ports North, looking for new lands south to make their homes. It was the main form of transportation for transporting goods from river town to river town. Crittenden County had several river port towns along the Ohio River.

One of these was the town of Ford's Ferry, named after Mr. James Ford. The town was located a few miles north of the present day ferry landing. Ford was a well thought of neighbor and a respected business man. He owned and operated the ferry that would take the pioneers traveling north across the river to the Illinois side. As history tells us, Ford was not the man that people thought and he operated a gang of outlaws that would meet and lead the pioneers and their wagons of goods to his ferry landing.

Sometimes the pioneers would reach the landing, other times they were murdered along the road and their goods stolen by the gang of outlaws. The river is also told to be the grave of many of these early travelers.

Other riverport towns along the Ohio were Westonburg, which was later called Weston, Clementsburg, and Kirksville, which later became Tolu.

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