In early times, and for many years after the organization of the county, the passage of the river was made by ferry boats-little scows which were poled and rowed across. In 1800 there was a ferry kept by old Arthur Coates (called Coates’s ferry) a few rods below where the south bridge now stands, and another one called Harper’s ferry, kept by William Harper, about 100 yards above where the Marietta and Cincinnati railroad crosses the Hockhocking, west of Athens just where the road turns. Mr. Harper lived a short distance the other side of the river, and Isaac Barker, at that time, in a log house situated on this side and about where the road now turns southward. It was at that tinge expected that a town would grow up at this ferry, and it was named rather prematurely, Elizabethtown, after a woman who accompanied Mrs. Margaret Snowden to the settlement-her surname is forgotten.
The rates of ferriage for man and beast, loaded teams, etc., were fixed yearly by the county commissioners. There are now several excellent bridges in the township. The East bridge, as it is called, was built about 1834i by Joseph B. and R. W. Miles, and their associates. Isaac Jackson was the principal mechanic, assisted by Oliver Childs. This bridge was modeled after the bridges at Zanesville, Ohio, then recently built by the Buckinghams. The West bridge was built in 1836, and by the same mechanic, Isaac Jackson. The South bridge was built in 1839; Samuel Miller was the principal mechanic, assisted by Francis Beardsley. All three of these bridges were built under acts of incorporation, making them toll bridges, but have since been made free by voluntary contributions of the citizens, aided by appropriations of the county. There are two other good bridges in the township, across Margaret’s creek, one at its mouth, near the Bingham mills, and the other about a mile above, at the old Goodrich saw mill. Both of these were mainly built by Joseph Herrold, on subscriptions of the neighboring citizens, and appropriations by the county.
Back to: Athens, Athens County, Ohio History
Back to: Athens County, Ohio