“Old Ashe’s ferry on the Catawba River at Van Wyck….”
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“The quaint old ferry across the Catawba River was replaced in 1959 by a sparkling new quarter million dollar bridge linking Lancaster and York Counties, South Carolina, and made the creaky old ferry an important part of history.
William Moore of Van Wyck, nephew of W.N. Ashe, who dreamed up the idea for the ferry across the Catawba River, recalls how it came into being. Mr. Ashe owned property on both sides of the river, and, realizing that a ferry was the only means of crossing the Catawba River here from York County to the Van Wyck community, he built the ferry and a road leading to it in 1927. He was assisted by both Lancaster and York Counties.
Mr. Ashe’s idea became a reality in 1928, when the Ashe Ferry, as it was originally called, went into operation on a private basis. Three ferryboats have been in operation there since 1928. The first two ferries were poled across the river, but the third and last craft, built in 1942, was motorized. Ashe’s Ferryboat was operated for more than 20 years by Early Berly Morgan Brown, born in 1891, a full-blooded Catawba Indian. Brown, the “captain” of the Ashe Ferry, floated many vehicles across the several hundred feet of Catawba waters. The county took over its operation for a number of years, and the State Highway Department assumed control in 1942, when it became an official link for State Route 504. The State Highway Department retired Captain Brown and the ferry July 27, 1959.”
(Information in part from: Chester County Heritage Book, Vol. I, Edt. by Collins – Knox, Published by the Chester Co Hist. Society – Jostens Printing, 1982)
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