Lincoln Ferry Park


Lincoln Ferry Park: A Narrative

My name is Green Taylor -- funny name for a fellow, I guess, but still that's the name my Pa wanted for me...Green. My Pa was James Taylor and we lived in the small village of Troy right over there, close to where we're standin' right now.

Pa was a might important fellow in Troy in 1826. He had his hand in a bunch of business ventures. One of 'em he had was a ferry boat that he operated across the Anderson River...just where it empties into the Ohio right over there.

Now, this time I'm talkin' about...I was a lad of 12. Along about then, Pa decided to hire himself a Captain for that ferry boat. After all, Pa was the boss and I guess he figured that he could find somebody else to do the work. Well, the fellow he hired to run that ferry boat was none other than Abe Lincoln. Abe was 17 then, a big, strong lanky guy who lived with his folks over on Pigeon Creek, about fifteen or so miles from Troy. He might have lived over there, but he was in Troy most days. After his chores at home, he'd walk into Troy, the closest town to his cabin and stay over at the Post Office 'til he got the newspaper read. Then he'd mosey around looking for little jobs to make some money. Well, he was around so much that my Pa asked him if he'd like the job of runnin' that ferry boat, and Abe said he would right fast. So Pa hired him. Offered him six dollars a month and a roof over his head. So Abe moved in with us. Him and me shared a room in our cabin. That's how I got to know him real good.

Pa's ferry was big enough to hold a wagon and team of mules and it was a pretty good business. Sometime someone would come along who wanted to cross the Anderson on foot so Abe built him a little boat that he'd rowin 'em across on. He charged about six cents for that trip, and Pa let'em keep that money. He liked Abe...he sure was an enterprisin' fellow. Soon Abe was lookin' around for more ways to make money. Abe sure loved that river, so he noticed all the heavy traffic of steamboats goin' up and down on the Ohio and they all needed wood for fuel to keep their boilers fired up. Pretty soon he was choppin' wood on the riverbank and he sold wood to passing steamers for fifty cents a cord.

Wasn't long before he come up with yet another idea for gettin' rich. He built himself a fair-sized rowboat and he began takin' passengers out into the Ohio so they could board a passing steamboat mid-stream. Why, the first two men he took out to the middle of the river, they each gave him a shiny, silver half-dollar. One dollar a trip...Abe was really on to something.

But trouble for Abe was not far behind. Two brothers -- the Dill brothers -- over on the Kentucky side of the Ohio, had been given the exclusive rights to run a ferry across the Ohio to the mouth of the Anderson on the Indiana side. They claimed that Abe was breakin' the law by doing what he was doing. cause only they had that right. They got downright mad about it because they filed a charge against Abe and he had to appear before a Justice of the Peace over there in Lewisport, Kentucky. Anyhow, the law was looked up and it looked like Abe was in a peck of trouble. Now, Abe had no lawyer, but Abe could read and he read that law over and over. He pleaded his own case. He presented evidence that his business was limited to delivering passengers to boats in the middle of the river. He had never ferried anyone all the way across the river. Well, Abe had'em. He won that case. Yes, it was right here where we are today that old Abe first learned about the law. He started studying the law right then and look where he wound up...at the White House in Washington, D.C.

There's something else I want to tell you about old Abe. This happened right here, too. My Pa had a corn crib, right over there about a hundred yards from where we are. One day when business on the river must have been slow, Pa told me and Abe to go in that crib and do some corn shucking. We got in there and pretty soon Abe got to teasin' me about some pretty little girl in Troy who let it be known that she liked me pretty good. Well, I didn't like her or any other girl, but Abe kept it up like he always did. Pretty soon, I got tired of it and I picked up one of them ears of corn. I hauled off and threw it at 'im. It struck 'im right above his right eye. The blow left a scar that old Abe Lincoln had with 'im till the day he died.

Happened right here in Perry County, Indiana.