This week’s “It Happened in Horry” is drawn from a remarkable article written by eighth-grader Janel Craigie in 1978.
The daughter of Dr. and Mrs. James N. Craigie Jr of Loris, Janel wrote the story while participating in the Talent Development Program at Green Sea-Floyds, Loris and Longs school.
Janel’s article traces the history of Wortham’s Ferry, which was located near the South Carolina-North Carolina border on the Waccamaw River.
As readers of this column will recall, travel in Horry County in the early 1900s was difficult because of the rivers and swamps that isolated it from the rest of the state. Numerous ferries operated on the Waccamaw and Little Pee Dee rivers.
Wortham’s Ferry was located on the Waccamaw River between Longs and Brooksville.
The owner, a Mr. Wortham, sold the ferry and his farm to John Sidney Bellamy. Janel’s research showed the property included the ferry, a farm, a home located on a hill and a general store.
“In Mr. Bellamy’s general store he sold general supplies which might be needed by his neighbors or visitors to the area,” wrote Janel. “On his farm he grew a variety of vegetables and other Southern crops such as tobacco and sweet potatoes.”
Bellamy and his wife, Eva Mae, had four children, John Clyde, Andrew Claude, Eva Mae and Mitchell. They attended school in Brooksville and Little River.
Janel reported that the Bellamy home was on a hill with a road running to the river. A large bell was located on a pole.
“When the bell was rung it could be heard from anywhere on the farm. When any of the Bellamy men heard the bell they came running because they knew that someone wanted to cross on the ferry,” wrote Janel.
The fare for riding the ferry was 25 cents.
According to Janel, the Wortham’s Ferry was a flat wooden barge. It had a wooden post at each end of the through which a cable attached to a tree on either side of the river had been threaded.
To move across the river, the ferry operator stood on the flat and pulled on the cable hand over hand and this moved the boat to the opposite shore.
Janel reported that one team of horses and a buggy or wagon could get on the ferry at one time
If a single passenger sought passage, the Bellamys would use a row boat to cross the Waccamaw River.
The ferry became obsolete in the early 1940s when S.C. 9 was completed.
According to Janel, the Bellamys sold the farm and the ferry and moved to Loris.
This article appeared in the Vol. 14, No. 2 edition of the Independent Republic Quarterly.