“Old Ashe’s ferry on the Catawba River at Van Wyck….”
City Directories and History: R&R has divided the 1939 SCDOT map of York County into (28) sectional maps. Many of the individually listed schools and churches shown on this section are pictured. However, in many cases, the individual site also has its own post on R&R, which often provides added information and image. Be wise and use the search function to locate all of the entries for this and other homeplace listings.
On Sept. 21, 1887 the Yk Enquirer reported – “105 convicts for employment under lease by contractors, Rice and Coleman left the penitentiary yesterday to work on the GC & N Railroad.”
The Rock Hill Herald reported on Feb. 2, 1888 – “Mr. George A. Denning, who had the contract for building bridges over the Catawba River and Fishing Creek for the GC & N Railroad has had the contract taken away for lack of progress. He will be replaced by Mr. Joseph Lee of Columbia.”
On April 12, 1888 the Rock Hill Herald reported – “Isaac Ferguson, colored drowned in the Catawba River last Wednesday, a short distance above Cureton’s Ferry. He was working on the GC & N bridge and was hauling materials on a flat when he fell off.”
The Yorkville Enquirer reported on July 25, 1888 – “Today the bridge of the Georgia, Carolina and Northern Railroad across the Catawba is finished. It is said to be one of the finest and most substantial railroad bridges in the South.”
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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)
Dr. Wm. James White was the grandfather of J. William White – his name sake. Mr. White ran a drug store and practiced here, Rock Hill, and around Ashe’s Ferry, he was the organizer of the first County Health Board
and was President of the Board. Memories of Rosa B. Guess and others…
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