According to research, Washington Ferry was begun in the very early 1800’s, and the roads were not more than buffalo trails or Indian paths. The river crossing for the ferry was referred to as “Washington Landing,” even though there was already a landing on the river south of Spring Creek approximately one mile downstream.
This ferry provided much needed transportation from the Town of Washington to the West and to the East, which would later become known as being between the towns of Decatur and Dayton. Washington Ferry also operated under the name of Locke Ferry around 1839; then became Henry’s Ferry in the late 1800’s.
After this time, James Hagler, of Meigs County, owned the ferry; it was leased by Grover Aikman of Rhea County. Aikman later purchased the ferry and leased it to Charles H. Smith for a number of years. In 1986, Smith bought the business, and operated it with his two sons, Dean and Darrel, until the new bridge connecting Dayton and Decatur opened in the late 1990’s.
Credit: Pat Guffey, published in Rhea Herald News