Kemp's Ferry
 
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Kemp's Ferry

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(@sara)
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Joined: 12 years ago
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I've been fascinated lately with learning more about Kemp's Ferry. I know enough about 18th century history to know that ferries and their on-site taverns were important fixtures in a community, just as much in very rural communities as they were in larger towns.

Matthias (Mathew) Kemp received a license to run a tavern which we know from June 1764 Craven County court minutes: 

"Ordered that Mathew KEMP have leave to keep a Tavern at his now dwelling house in Craven County he giving good Security as the Law directs."

I'm digging around for land records and found a couple of early land grants received by Mathias Camp (Kemp) in 1748. They are unsurprisingly vague. 

"... upper side of Swifts creek beginning at a pine..."

🙄

Does anybody know where this land was? I'm interested in knowing roughly where the ferry and tavern were located. (Hey, @BSumrell, do you know? 😀 )

 


   
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(@sara)
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Joined: 12 years ago
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I'm wondering if Kemp's ferry was near where the Zeb Tripp bridge is today. I know the old road used to run through my grandfather's farm before they created Hwy 118 from Vanceboro to Grifton. 

There is a branch near Juniper Chapel that's mouth is right near the modern day Zebulon Tripp Bridge, which of course runs over Swift Creek. 

Here are some images for reference. 

The first image shows what the walking path would be today from my grandfather's farm to River Rd. (The road used to run through my grandparent's farm, then right behind Juniper Chapel and would've continued on the Bear Hole Rd, I think.)

The second and third images show the current bridge. 


   
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(@bsumrell)
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Joined: 5 years ago
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I'm sorry to say that I don't know where Kemp's Ferry was located.  The biggest clue I've found so far is a second patent that was issued to Mathias in Apr 1768 (he died before Apr 1767).  It was for 92 acres "on the North side of Neuse River beg. at a pine on the river side at the mouth of the thoroughfare about 80 poles above Cemps Ferry running along Governor Dobbs Line."  Eighty poles converts to about a quarter of a mile.  Does anyone know where the "thoroughfare" was?  I know that one of the Edward Gatlins owned some land near it, as did one of the Johns.  John sold his  tract, granted 20 Apr 1745, to Ann Bright 13 May 1757 who sold it to Ezekiel Everton 2 July 1766.


   
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(@sara)
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Joined: 12 years ago
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Hmm... 🤔

Well, this map from 1775 shows an idea of where Dobbs County and Dublin (became Greene) County began in relation to Craven.  I think the old thoroughfare towards Dobbs County would’ve been just west of where 118 is today (really between 118 and 43, I think).  That’s what I was talking about the old road going through my grandparents farm (and it wasn’t a Morris farm back then),  and obviously not just their farm but it would’ve continued on in the direction of modern-day Grifton.

 I think there are some ferries indicated on this map but I’m not seeing Kemp’s ferry.  I see the Swift Creek though and obviously the Neuse,  so that might help us better gauge what they would’ve been talking about in the grants. 

https://dc.lib.unc.edu/cdm/singleitem/collection/ncmaps/id/125/rec/55

 The Pitt County line did move in the decadeathat are relevant, but I’m guessing Kemp’s land was always considered in Craven?

https://www.eastcarolinaroots.com/formation-of-pitt-county-north-carolina/

All the county descriptions: https://statelibrary.ncdcr.gov/ghl/genealogy/nc-county-formation

 


   
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(@bsumrell)
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Joined: 5 years ago
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Okay, I found a site that suggests that Kemp's Ferry is the same as Street's Ferry and was, at one time, Graves's Ferry.  At the time George Washington crossed there 20 April 1791, it was West's Ferry.  See this here from the Diaries of George Washington.  To be honest, I have my doubts that Kemp's Ferry and Graves's Ferry were the same place, unless it was Kemp's Ferry on one side and Graves's Ferry on the other.


   
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(@sara)
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Joined: 12 years ago
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Well, at least I know now it was on the Neuse River and not Swift Creek (which is where I had originally thought it was). There's this entry in the Colonial Records (28 Nov 1766)

Resolved, that after the Post Master General shall have Established a post, agreeable to the Rout following; that is to say

From Suffolk in Virginia, to the Boundary House of North and South Carolina

On the Sea Coast,
Miles
From Suffolk to Cotton's Ferry on Chowan River
35
To Appletree Ferry on the Roanoke
30
To Salter's on Tar or Pamplico
35
To Kemp's Ferry on Neuse River
28
To New Bern
10
To Trent Bridge
13
To Warburton's
13
To Sneads, on New River Ferry
26
To Sage's
13
To Collier's
14
To Wilmington
15
To Brunswick
15
Brunswick Ferry
2
To Bells
20
To the Boundary House
23
Total
292 Miles.

His Excellency be impowered to draw on the said Treasurers for a sum, not exceeding one hundred and thirty pounds six shillings and eight pence proclamation money, out of the contingent fund, to enable the Post Master General, to carry on agreeable to the Rout above mentioned.

In another reference, advice is given to avoid the broad ferries crossing the Neuse (such as would've been found at New Bern) and instead opt for crossing the river at narrower points. Kemp's Ferry is cited as an example. ( https://docsouth.unc.edu/csr/index.php/document/csr07-0052#p7-149 )

I think it makes sense that it would've been Street's Ferry. It is described here as being exactly 10 miles from New Bern. Google Maps says International Paper (at Streets Ferry) is exactly 10.3 miles to Tryon Palace. 🙂 


   
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(@nathglas98)
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Joined: 3 years ago
Posts: 1
 

Hi folks, I can say with certainty that Kemp's Ferry was indeed the same as Streets Ferry.  It was on the north side of the river.  Now located where 43 crosses.  I have an old plat map showing where it was on the washington post road.


   
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