Sunday, August 14, 2016

Carrollton, Kentucky – A Two-River Town

Carrollton of Sarah Eva Howe's childhood was a busy place. It had not one but two rivers to carry people and goods to and from the town. The importance of the rivers is clear in the first name of the settlement there: Port William.

In her early scrapbooks, Sarah mentioned the rivers and her family's appreciation of them – and their dependence on them. Today, we travel back in time to see some of the boats that were familiar to the people of Carrollton in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. All of these images come from the scrapbooks and are captioned with details from other sources.
The Ferry Leon was built in 1895 and named by Captain J.B. Ashe for his only son. 
It was destroyed by ice when the Ohio River froze in 1918.

 Heath's Ferry carried crops to market. This image is undated.

Although I included this newspaper ad in a previous post, I add it here because of the importance of the rivers to the distribution of mail and goods. Boats like the one in the ad  carried people as well as mail to nearby cities such as Cincinnati and Louisville.

Coming through Lock #1, Carrollton, Ky.

The handwriting about a trip up the Kentucky River to Frankfort looks like Sarah's, so her reference to "Sallie" may refer to her father's sister, Sarah Varena "Sallie" Howe Froman (1862-1950). It could also be Sallie Goslee Howe, wife of Sarah's Uncle Joseph Brown Howe.  (Or could Sarah, a.k.a. Sallie, have referred to herself in first person?) "K. of P." is a reference to Knights of Pythias, an international fraternal and benevolent organization. The K. of P. chapter in Carrollton was known as Olive Lodge.

People wanting to travel farther than a ferry could take them boarded larger steamboats. For photos and information about the steamers that stopped in Carrollton, visit

1 comment:

ScotSue said...

Local history meets family history. I find such old photographs fascinating - my favourite the mail steamer advert. How frustrating for us in later years when ancestors and their connections have the same name and you don't know who is being referred to. In my case in the late 18th century there are five interconnecting John Brynings in the family (grandfather, son and three different grandchildren) - it can get confusing trying to unravel them all!