By John Olinskey, III
The first ferry location that is crossing the muddy mo was by Ft. Osage. After the Fort was abandoned in 1822, whence it moved upstream to the confluence of the Little Blue, called Blue Mills Landing, also known as Pine's Ferry, located at the mouth of the Little Blue River and was "the most used and longest lasting."
Next came Liberty Landing, located at the far north of a big horseshoe of the river, three miles south of Liberty, Missouri. In 1825 an engineer, Shubael Allen, from back East, established a landing. Liberty Missouri had been around for about 3 years. He also was an associate of the American Fur Company, founded in 1808 by John Jacob Astor, and went bankrupt in 1847, but in between sent a lot of dead mammal skins to Europe to be made into hats. Big profits from trapping drove people west.
John Baxter took over from Shubael in 1841, him being a wealthy man. There as also an arsenal that later moved to Fort Leavenworth, way before the Civil War. Warehouses, hemp mills, baling, a wine vineyarette, but nothing equal to the next stop upstream, Wayne City.
No one knows for sure when white people first crossed the Muddy Mo at the location that would one day be Wayne City. According to Google Earth, the location is 39 degrees 08 36 46 N Latitude. 94° 25° 15.99° W Longitude. 780 feet above the Gulf of Mexico.
Notice, per illustration, how slower it was at that time, free of sandbars. Flooding in 1826 cleared out any. In May of 1828, Thomas Frost purchased a license for a ferry from Jackson County. Some river activity was already there, as someone else's name appeared on the records, which only go back to the 27th of May, 1827. One and one half mile downriver from the Big Blue, Independence needed access to Liberty, Missouri, a dozen or so miles north and the markets in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Franklin, Missouri, was the origin of the Santa Fe Trail. A year later, William Everett ran the ferry until he drowned in 1834. William Ducker married his widow in 1836 and it became Ducker's Ferry, he had three employees in 1840. Nobody knows exactly how the ferry passed the river, but it was probably by poles.
Prices from May 1828: For a loaded wagon and five horses, $1.50. For an empty wagon and no horses, $1. For a light wagon or dearborn, 50 cents. For a two-wheeled carriage, 50 cents. For a man on a horse, 25 cents. For each horse without a rider, 12½ cents. For every head of meat cattle, 12½ cents. For each hog, sheep, or goat, five cents; for each person on foot, 12½ cents. For each 100 pounds of lumber not belonging to a wagon, 12½ cents. All other prices stayed the same until 1833, when 100 pounds of lumber went down to a dime. In 1841, William Gilpin came to town, and things would change.