Hugs for all the persons on Fred’s
almost-last run across the Mon River
NOTE: Wednesday was Fred Ferry’s the last day.
The Thursday and Friday runs were cancelled
due to high Monongahela River water.
FREDERICKTOWN FERRY’S ALMOST-LAST RUN
“It’s too bad you read the newspaper,” my husband told me this August 28, 2013, morning as I did my morning wake-up ritual, reading the newspaper while sipping a mug of coffee.
He was referring to a May article I read stating that the historic Fredericktown Ferry would have its last run on September 3, our 47th anniversary.
“Wouldn’t that be a neat way to celebrate?” I commented.
Sporadically through the summer I attempted to learn the last run schedule. I discovered the September 3 date was set not considering that it was after Labor Day weekend. Fred the Ferry would likely have its last run on the Friday before the weekend.
But the momentum for us to visit Fred, was on. As the third week of August arrived, however, we still had no set date. Finding the Fred Ferry website I requested some information in a comment, which garnered an email response from one of the site’s managers, Evan Williams: Since the ferry is on a truncated schedule next week, potentially operating from 6:30 AM to 1:30 PM, we want to get a group, a large group, to meet down the ferry at noon on Wednesday the 28th. We can all get on, take a ride, BS, shoot some final videos for histories sake, and try and get a nice group photograph…
So our question became—Should we wait until Friday for the historic last run or should we join the party on Wednesday?—because going on our anniversary wasn’t an option. But we could celebrate early.
On Tuesday evening I decided I’d had it sorting and filing papers and suffering through a dental appointment. I raised my hands, saying Let’s blow caution to the winds and go. Neither our daughter nor a couple friends could make it either day. However, our good friend Lois made a last-minute change in her day off joined us.
The sky began shedding gentle tears on Tuesday evening as I went to bed at midnight. A little after 1:00 a.m. I heard a dreadful sound. The gentleness of the tears had turned into sobbing, an emotional outburst of raindrops pounding our roof accompanied by a tympani of thunder. At 4:00 and 7:20 a. m. the sky’s tears still flowed amply. Monte said the tears would stop between mid-morning and 1:30 p. m. when more rainfall was predicted.
We left the house at 9:52 a. m. The sky, overcast but its tears no longer falling, was hanging on by an emotional thread, ready to break down at any moment.
Rt. 30 east—Ligonier, PA
We picked up Lois as Ligonier’s Heritage United Methodist Church bells joined the Ligonier Town Hall bells in ringing in the hour—10:00 a. m. For better or worse, we were going to meet Fred for the first time on one of his last rides across the Mon River. Our decision was based on both our anniversary and on the fact that Fred was born in 1790, the same year a group of French emigres crossed from Alexandria, Virginia to the town they were founding, Gallipolis. They traversed the Nemacolin Indian trail to its end at Redstone (Brownsville), a few miles upriver from Fred Ferry. They then traveled up the Mon River to the Ohio River and on to Gallipolis. I’ve researched this because it is a part of the historic romance novel I’m writing on 1790s land speculators Gen. Henry Jackson and William Duer.
Upriver towards Redstone (Brownsville), PA
Downriverview of the Mon
The Fredericktown Ferry, 30 miles south of Pittsburgh, is the last of three original ferries to run across s 400 foot wide section of the Monongahela River between Fredericktown, (Washington County) and La Belle (Fayette County).
West side of the Mon River
East side of the Mon River
“It’s a quaint little artifact that (more…)