Rabbit Hash Ferry Landing
<html><img alt=“The Mildred” src=“https://bcp.ent.sirsi.net/client/en_US/search/asset/29494/0” width=“300” align=“right” title=“The Mildred”></html>
Excerpt from Rabbit Hash Kentucky: River Born, Kentucky Bred by Donald Clare
A ferry service connected Rabbit Hash, Kentucky with Rising Sun, Indiana for over a century. James Alexander Wilson, first proprietor of the Rabbit Hash General Store, then known as “the storehouse,” “the store,” or “Wilson's store,” was also the first operator of the ferry. He operated the ferry from about 1842 until 1849 when it was then taken over by James Calvert and James Carlton.
Ferry Keeper's Bonds and Court Order Books at the Boone County Courthouse in Burlington, Kentucky, provide an accurate record of the subsequent Rising Sun Ferry Owners. They are as follows:
- James Carlton and James Calvert, 1849
- John Quincy Adams Stephens, 1852
- Pembroke Ryle, 1855
- Thaddeus Constantine Sobieski Ryle and William Rice, 1856
- William P. Ryle, 1858
- Leonard Clore, 1859
- James Calvert, 1861
- James Perkins, 1867
- Richard S. Ryle, 1874
- Robert Piatt, 1872
- John J. Huey, 1888
- Thomas Lumpkins, 1890
- Benjamin Wilson (son of James A.), 1899
- Josie R. Piatt, Katie Piatt Bottorf and C. M. Bottorf, Susie Piatt Greenup and George H. Greenup, 1899
- Benjamin Wilson, 1906
No other ferry keeper's bonds were recorded in the Boone County Courthouse after 1906. A handwritten note from William J. Stephens in the possession of the Rabbit Hash Historical Society details the following owners and operators of the ferry. Stephens stated that for as long as he could remember, the ferry was operated by Ben Wilson but owned by Josie Piatt. She lived in Rising Sun and eventually sold the ferry franchise to J.W. Whitlock of Rising Sun. Clarence “Windy” Bedgood and Ben Harris both operated the ferry for Whitlock for many years. Then, Windy's brother Raymond took over until “the ice finally got her [the ferry],” in 1945.
The Rising Sun and Ohio County Sesquicentennial booklet from 1964 concurs that the last ferryboat to operate between Rising Sun, Indiana and Rabbit Hash, Kentucky was the Mildred, built in 1922 by Whitlock. Operators, according to the booklet, included Ben Harris, Frank Cunningham, Clarence Bedgood, Stewart Whitlock, and, finally, Raymond Bedgood, who took over the business from Whitlock in 1937 until 1945, when he quit the business, dismantled the boat and sold the hull to a boat club in Carrollton, Kentucky. Unfortunately, the hull sank and eventually washed ashore at Rising Sun before it reached Carrollton.