1912 - The steam tug "Fisher" was replaced by gasoline tug "Vivian"

The old tug sure needed replacing, according to an old crewman, "she had a habit of sinking during the night, and a good many mornings we had to pump her out. A couple of times she went down to her gunnels and when we got her up we had to get the crabs and the hardheads out of her."

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1886 - Sails and oars were replaced by a small coal-fired steam tug called the William H. Fisher

A small steam tug, with power generated by a coal fire, towed a wooden scow across the river. A signal system was devised, as only the tug was needed to transport passengers. The scow was towed when wagons, horses or later automobiles needed to get across the river.

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1750's - Elizabeth Skinner was the ferry keeper. Her original ferry was a scow propelled by sculling

The old method of sculling entailed the scow being propelled by a fourteen-foot sweep oar operated at the stern. It required strength and skill few men possessed. It is reported that two Oxford residents, Al Haddaway and Wid Tull were the last two men who could do it, so that the tug was an enormous improvement when it finally came into use in 1886.  

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Early 1700's Most remarkable proprietor of this era was Judith Bennett

Judith Bennett had three husbands (Thomas Bennett, John Valliant, and Edward Elliott) each of whom kept the ferry during the marriage and she ran it herself for more than ten years "when between spouses". 

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1690's - Early history is vague - other ferry keepers included Amy Jensen, Will Alderne and Isaac Sassaerson.

Isaac Sassaerson ran the ferry for five years. It appears that there may have been a brief break in service late in the decade when the county cut off its financial backing and told Sassaerson to continue the service and charge whatever he could get. The predictable result was that the ferry operations stopped. 

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On November 20, 1683 Talbot County authorized the establishment of a ferry service for "Horses and Men". Richard Royston, was paid 2,500 pounds of tobacco per year (about $25) to operate the ferry

Richard Royston was a kinsman of Seth and Elizabeth Foster, who owned Tilghman and Poplar Islands. He came to Talbot County from London as a merchant, and settled in what is now called Ferry Neck, across the river from Oxford, with his wife Mary. The records reveal some fascinating facts about Richard Royston. He was one of Oxford's founding fathers, and when the town of Oxford was laid out he took up Lot No. 1. It turns out that Royston was also one of the town's earliest and most grievous sinners. Royston was convicted of forgery in 1686, after he had given up the Tred Avon ferry. Just what was involved does not appear in the record, but the punishment included a public whipping. Royston died at sea in 1694. After his death, the Maryland Assembly formally condemned him as a man whose "life & actions (were) notoriously scandalous in this province".

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1931 - Captain Buck Richardson had the first self-propelled ferry, later named the Tred Avon, built in Oxford.

Buck Richardson, one of Oxford's most famous sailors, financed the building of a new boat to keep the ferry line alive. The gasoline powered, self-propelled ferry was in service until 1974. It was a wooden structure, 50 feet long, and was constructed at the Oxford yard of Captain Al Sparklin. Captain Richardson's two sons then ran the ferry for six more years.  

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  • On November 20, 1683 Talbot County authorized the establishment of a ferry service for "Horses and Men". Richard Royston, was paid 2,500 pounds of tobacco per year (about $25) to operate the ferry (more)
  • 1690's - Early history is vague - other ferry keepers included Amy Jensen, Will Alderne and Isaac Sassaerson. (more)
  • 1699 - 1739 The service was started again by innkeeper, Thomas Bennett, his wife Judith and family
  • Early 1700's Most remarkable proprietor of this era was Judith Bennett (more)
  • 1725 - William Bennett, son of Judith by her first marriage
  • 1737 - Catherine Bennett became the ferry keeper, (it isn't clear if she was William's widow or daughter). She was the first to be paid in cash rather than tobacco
  • 1740's - Anthony LeCompte, another innkeeper, ran the ferry for at least seven years
  • 1750's - Elizabeth Skinner was the ferry keeper. Her original ferry was a scow propelled by sculling (more)
  • 1760 - 1766 Owners unknown (research is currently underway)
  • 1836 - The ferry was reestablished with Morris Orem Colston as keeper and is believed to have run continuously since then.
  • 1886 - Sails and oars were replaced by a small coal-fired steam tug called the "William H. Fisher" (more)
  • 1912 - The steam tug "Fisher" was replaced by gasoline tug "Vivian" (more)
  • 1925 - William S. Dawson was the reported owner/operator of the "Vivian" until 1931
  • 1931 - Captain Buck Richardson had the first self-propelled ferry, later named the "Tred Avon", built in Oxford. (more)
  • 1938 - Captain William L. Benson took over and began a record run of more than 36 years.
  • 1950 - "Captain Bill" converted the "Tred Avon" to diesel power and extended the length from 50 to 56 feet in order to accommodate three cars
  • 1974 - Captain Gilbert "Gib" Clark purchased the ferry and replaced the "Tred Avon" with the "Southside"
  • 1975 Dave and Valerie Bittner joined Captain Clark in the family business
  • 1980 - The ferry "Talbot" was built of steel by Blount Shipyard in Warren, R.I. and was put into service in July. The "Southside" was used as spare until 1987.
  • 1987 - Captain Gilbert Clark retired. Captains Dave and Valerie Bittner continued the service through 2001
  • 2002 In January 2002 Tom and Judy Bixler purchased the line

Oxford-Bellevue Ferry

Established 1683