Note: The following is part of a series of columns looking at points of interest throughout the history of Bulloch County.
Lumberman George Heard built two bridges across the Ogeechee River to what would become the town of Rocky Ford. It is assumed one was a railroad bridge, and one was a toll bridge. At least one document of the period states that E.E. Foy bought both bridges at a later date.
Named after Ebenezer Jencks, the mastermind behind the building of the Savannah, Altamaha and Ogeechee Canal, this ferry was originally built and operated by the Lanier family. Jencks later built a bridge, the modern replacement of which is still known today as Jencks Bridge, where the United States Army's 15th Corps, under command of Maj. Gen. P. J. Osterhaus, arrived to cross the river on the way to Savannah in December 1864. Finding the bridge burned, a pontoon bridge was laid down. Rice's Brigade crossed, drove back the defenders with minor losses, and then moved on Eden to join Woods' Brigade, which had crossed 3 miles upstream at Wright's Bridge. The soldiers referred to the ferry here in some of their diaries as “Junks Ferry.”
This Ferry crossed the Ogeechee River at the intersection of the Bulloch, Bryan and Effingham County borders. Ebenezer Jencks paid John Lanier Sr. the sum of $5,000 for 1,080 acres that included the Lanier's Ferry operation and land on both banks of the Great Ogeechee River in January 1808. He renamed it Jencks Ferry, and then shortly thereafter Jencks built what was known as Jencks Bridge.
This bridge was operated by the McCall family. An 1803 document lists Jesse McCall as the proprietor of McCall's Bridge, while an 1809 document lists Sherwood McCall as the operator. It was located on the Ogeechee River just north of the Bryan and Effingham County borders. Their neighbors, the Youngs, operated William Young's Bridge (also referred in documents of the period as William's and Young's Bridge). Records show the Young's Bridge still existed in 1836. McCall’s Bridge may have been downstream from the Young's Bridge, or it may have actually been the Young's Bridge.
Referred to in some documents as Moore’s Crossing, it is uncertain if there actually was ever a Ferry here first. Moore's Bridge crossed the Canoochee River just south of the Bryan and Bulloch County lines.
Operated by the Nelson family, this bridge crossed the Ogeechee River near the Screven and Effingham County lines. Documents state that Walter Allen Hagin operated a ferry service across the Ogeechee nearby until he bought the Nelson family's operation.
In 1903, M.C. Sharpe built a toll bridge across the Ogeechee River to Scarboro in Screven County. This may have been built on some of the land deeded to John Sharpe along the Ogeechee River in 1784.
This particular bridge was located where Kennedy's Bridge now crosses the Canoochie River between Hound (or Wound) and Dry Creeks. The ferry was built and operated by Joseph Tillman (or Tighlman). Quite curiously, according to some older maps, there was another Tillman's Ferry/Bridge across the “Ohoopee River” further west along the road that crossed Edward's Ferry into Bulloch County.
Roger Allen is a local lover of history. Allen provides a brief look each week at the area's past. E-mail Roger at email@example.com.