What (and Where) is Bee’s Ferry?
Anyone who lives west of the Ashley River, or has spent time traveling through that area is familiar with the name of Bee’s Ferry, and the related Bees Ferry Road. If you’re a curious sort of person, perhaps you’ve wondered how this historic name came to be. Was it named after a person or an insect? And what about the ferry? Bees Ferry Road doesn’t cross any significant body of water, nor does it lead to the water’s edge. If there was a ferry, where was it, and when did it disappear?
These questions came to mind recently when Charleston County Council announced its official name selection for a new library branch to be built next to West Ashley High School, just off Glenn McConnell Parkway. The new library building will be called the “Bees Ferry West Ashley Library,” and you can read more about that project on the library’s website. I’m sure most folks will soon get in the habit of calling this new building “the Bees Ferry branch,” and I’ll wager that more than a few people might scratch their heads and wonder about the origin of this familiar, yet obscure place name. Before any unnecessary confusion sets in, let’s take a few minutes to travel back in Lowcountry history and explore the rise and fall of the landmark called Bees Ferry.
Bees Ferry is a historic place name in modern Charleston County, but the historic site that gave rise to the name no longer exists. Bees Ferry was a crossing point over a narrow bend in the Ashley River, at a site located approximately two miles upstream from the current I-526 bridge over the river. The former site of Bee’s Ferry is now host to a railroad bridge that spans the Ashley River, following a similar path as the old ferry crossing. Bee’s Ferry Road is a public thoroughfare on the southwest side of the Ashley River that once led directly to the ferry landing at the river’s edge, but today the northeast end of Bees Ferry road terminates at its junction with Ashley River Road, approximately one half of a mile distant from the river. In fact, the easternmost end of today’s Bees Ferry Road diverges from its original path. About a mile west of the Ashley River, the road curves slightly to the northeast before intersecting with Ashley River Road, while the current CSX railroad line follows a straight line that crosses the original path of the road near the river. This diversion was made in the twentieth century when a raised berm was created to elevate Ashley River Road over the railroad line.
The ferry crossing at this site and the road leading to it were both created (at least on paper) by an act of the South Carolina legislature in December of 1703. The purpose of this law was to create a public path from the first town established in South Carolina, Charleston, to the young colony’s second town, called Wilton (or Wiltown, Willtown, Will Town, or New London), located on the east bank of the Edisto River. The ferry authorized by this 1703 law was to commence from a point on the neck of the Charleston peninsula called Stony (or Stoney) Point, where there was an outcropping of phosphate marl at the edge of the Ashley River. After crossing the river by ferry at this narrow point, measuring about one hundred yards across, the proposed road would then lead in nearly a straight line from the southwest bank of the river to Wilton, some twenty-four miles away. Rather than sending out work crews to build the road and ferry, however, the South Carolina legislature required every property owner in that vicinity to voluntarily contribute both the labor and tools needed to carve this new path through the swampy wilderness.
The work progressed slowly, as you can imagine, and the years passed. Complaints about foot-dragging eventually spurred new government intervention, and in November of 1711 the legislature passed a new act relative to this unfinished road and ferry project. Since the decentralized, volunteer work was “burdensome” to the families settling the area, the legislature appointed one Manly Williamson, the proprietor of a plantation at Stoney Point, to superintend the completion of the sixteen-foot-wide road. The legislature also vested control of the public ferry, which by 1711 was already operational, in the hands of Manly Williamson and his heirs. As long as Williamson maintained the broad, flat-bottomed ferry boats and the ropes that were used to pull the boats across the Ashley River, as well as the earthen causeways built on each side of the river, he would be allowed to charge and collect a fee or toll from every person using the ferry, “whether on foot or on horseback, or with cattle, hogs, sheep, or other things whatsoever.” As with every other ferry and toll bridge in early South Carolina, the government set the rates of ferriage, but passage was always free of charge for all persons “going to or coming from church, or going to or coming from [militia] musters or [public] alarms.”
From this formal establishment in November 1711 until the middle of the nineteenth century, the ferry over the Ashley River changed very little. The earliest known proprietor of the ferry was Manly Williamson, and it’s possible that some people might have called it “Williamson’s ferry.” After all, it was pretty common in early South Carolina to name a ferry after its proprietor. Just think of some local examples, such as Parker’s Ferry, Givhan’s Ferry, Clement’s Ferry, and others. Documents surviving from the colonial era suggest otherwise, however. From the early 1700s to the 1820s, the ferry was commonly called “the Ashley River Ferry,” or simply “Ashley Ferry.” Why this generic title? It was so called because for more than a century Ashley Ferry was simply the only ferry over the Ashley River. Whether one was traveling southward from Charleston or northward to Charleston, everyone traveling by land through the Lowcountry had to cross the Ashley River at some point, and there were only two options in the eighteenth century: either ride across the Ashley Ferry or head a few miles farther upstream to Bacon’s Bridge, built ca. 1700 near the town of Dorchester.
Manly Williamson’s land on the northeast side of the Ashley River was called Stoney Point because of the presence of phosphate marl visible along the river’s edge, but otherwise Stoney Point was—and still is—a pretty low-lying, marshy area that isn’t well suited for human habitation. On the southwest side of the Ashley River, opposite Stoney Point, however, the drier and firmer ferry landing quickly became a gathering place for travelers heading to and from Charleston.
At the beginning of the eighteenth century, a man named Shem Butler obtained a grant for a tract of land on the southwest side of the ferry landing and laid out a small town with a grid of ten streets and 102 building lots. The town, called Ashley Ferry Town, Shem Town (or Shemstown), and Butler Town (or Butlerstown) in various old documents, included a brick tavern next to the ferry landing for the refreshment and accommodation of weary travelers. The town also included a general store, a blacksmith’s shop, stables, and other amenities, and it soon attracted a number of settlers. In February 1723/4, the South Carolina legislature authorized the town to hold a bi-weekly public market and a semi-annual public fair. Ashley Ferry Town was the site of numerous public auctions, including the sale of enslaved Africans. On three brief occasions, in June 1738, August 1760, and September 1761, the South Carolina legislature convened at Ashley Ferry Town to avoid small pox epidemics in Charleston. Inspired by the early success of this real estate venture, Shem Butler’s next-door neighbor, William Cattell, created “St. Andrew’s Town” in the 1730s on a smaller tract at the southeast side of the ferry landing. Mr. Cattell’s town plan never really took off, however, and by the early years of the nineteenth century both Ashley Ferry Town and St. Andrew’s Town were both ghost towns, forgotten vestiges of a colonial-era real estate speculation. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s return to the ferry story.
Back in 1711, the South Carolina legislature vested control of Ashley Ferry in Manly Williamson, who owned Stoney Point, but a few years later Williamson was bought out by Landgrave Edmund Bellinger II. In September 1733, the legislature granted a seven-year license to operate the ferry to Landgrave Bellinger, who had already been maintaining the causeway leading to the ferry “for several years last past.” Meanwhile, Bellinger had married the girl next door, or in this case, the girl across the river: Elizabeth Butler, the eldest daughter of Shem Butler of Ashley Ferry Town. Following the death of Landgrave Bellinger, the legislature granted his widow a further seven-year license for the ferry in March 1741. The widow Elizabeth Butler Bellinger then married Thomas Elliott, and in May 1750 the legislature awarded a seven-year ferry license to her adult sons, Edmund Bellinger and George Bellinger, to be executed in trust for their mother.
The Bellinger-Elliott partnership seems to have fizzled in late 1757, at which time one Edward Legge took over the management of the ferry business. After renting the “Ferry House” tavern and purchasing the ferry boats, Mr. Legge rented several enslaved men from local planters to run the boats back and forth and to maintain the causeways and equipment. He applied to the provincial legislature in early 1758 for a ferry license in his own name, but the assembly adjourned before settling the matter. Legge petitioned the legislature again in the spring of 1762 and finally obtained a fourteen-year franchise to operate Ashley Ferry. The legislature of the newly-independent State of South Carolina renewed Mr. Legge’s license in January 1777 for a further seven years. On the 12th of February, 1778, a Yankee businessman named Ebenezer Hazard crossed the Ashley River at this site on his way from Charleston to Savannah. Hazard observed that the river was “about 100 yards broad in this place and the boat or scow (which is 19 feet wide in the middle) is pulled over by a rope.” Although Ebenezer Hazard didn’t mention the proprietor by name in his journal, Edward Legge was still in charge of Ashley Ferry during the final months of 1779. When British troops swept through the area in the spring of 1780 and captured Charleston, however, they burned the popular Ferry House tavern and most of Ashley Ferry Town.
After the conclusion of the American Revolution in 1783, and after nearly twenty-five years at the site, Edward Legge retired and conveyed his interest in the property and equipment to one John Freaser (also spelled Frazer or Fraser). Formerly the proprietor of Strawberry Ferry over the Cooper River, Mr. Freazer was operating the Ashley Ferry service when Mr. Legge’s license expired in early 1784, at which time he and three other men petitioned the state for permission to conduct what was apparently a lucrative business. The General Assembly awarded the customary license to John Freazer in early March 1784, and he and his wife continued to run the ferry for the next two decades.
Freazer’s long tenure at Ashley Ferry wasn’t as quiet and peaceful as that of his predecessors. In the spring of 1784, one of his ferry boats sank in what the local newspaper described as a “most uncommon and melancholy accident.” On the afternoon of Saturday, March 20th, Mr. Freazer was crossing the Ashley River with an unusually large party of customers. His passengers included an enslaved boy belonging to Mr. Freazer, an enslaved man traveling on a horse, and seventy-two enslaved people belonging to Thomas Elliott, who might have been traveling to or from an auction in Charleston. The maximum capacity of the broad flat-bottomed ferry boat is not known, but the weight of seventy-five humans and one horse proved excessive. It’s possible that Mr. Elliott or his agent insisted that the large gang of enslaved people, some of whom might have been tied or chained together, cross the river together as a single unit than dividing them into multiple trips. As the shallow flat boat neared the center of the river, some fifty yards from shore, it split in half and quickly sank beneath the slow-moving water. The tidal current pulled many of the passengers away from helping hands, and some must have been too encumbered to swim. Fifty-one of the seventy-five passengers drowned, including the lone horse. John Freazer nearly perished as well, but a neighbor managed to pull him from the river. In the aftermath of this tragedy, the state appointed a commission to superintend the management of Ashley Ferry and insure a better standard of service. Mr. Freazer might have been embarrassed and perhaps culpable for the accident, but he nevertheless continued the operate the ferry service.
A few years after the mass drowning of 1784, John Freazer faced another setback in the form of unwanted competition. In the spring of 1789, Colonel Richard Hampton began building a substantial toll bridge across the Ashley River, from a site adjacent to Freazer’s ferry landing to Stoney Point on the opposite shore. The South Carolina legislature had first authorized the construction of a bridge near this site in the spring of 1754, but no one had accepted the challenge to build and operate such an ambitious project out of their own pockets. The state renewed the bridge charter in 1784, after which time Colonel Hampton submitted an alternative proposal. Rather than build the structure in the vicinity of the Ashley Ferry crossing, Hampton proposed to start the bridge at Ashley Ferry and continue it across to Stoney Point. The legislature agreed to the revised location, much to the chagrin of John Freazer, and amended the bridge charter in the spring of 1789.
The bridge erected at this narrow bend in the Ashley River was apparently a timber-framed draw bridge nearly three hundred feet in length. Raised earthen causeways led pedestrians, animals, and vehicles across the marshy river margins to the substantial wooden structure, where they paid a toll to pass over the privately-operated bridge. When it was completed in the summer of 1790, one observer noted that it “is said to exceed anything of the kind ever constructed in this country,” but provided no further details. The bridge was apparently severely damaged by flood waters at some point in 1792, and Richard Hampton died shortly thereafter. His executors negotiated with the legislature for several years to rebuild the structure, but eventually conceded defeat and abandon the project.
The opening of a draw bridge across the middle of the Ashley River in 1790 definitely cut into the profits of John Freazer’s ferry service, but it didn’t put him out of business. Having obtained legislative permission to raise his fees in 1785, Freazer and his team managed to earn a living from travelers who, for whatever reason, didn’t want to pay the toll to cross the wooden bridge. On several occasions in the early 1790s, Mr. Freazer complained to the state about the competition he deemed unfair because he held a public charter for the site. If anyone should be allowed to operate a bridge at the site, he told the legislature, it should the proprietor of the long-established public ferry. South Carolina lawmakers politely ignored Mr. Freazer, however, and the issue was eventually resolved by the disappearance of the short-lived bridge.
John Freazer probably didn’t have the capital to launch his own bridge construction project across the Ashley River, so he continued to run the old-fashioned ferry for the remaining years of his life. The state legislature renewed his license in 1798 and he died sometime in the early days of the nineteenth century. Sarah Ladson Freazer, John’s widow, obtained permission from the state to take over the ferry business in late 1804. Towards the end of her life, Sarah Freazer brought in her young grandson, Joseph Ferguson Bee, to take over the ferry business. In December 1821, the state legislature vested the operation of Ashley Ferry in Joseph Bee, and his seven-year license was dutifully renewed in 1828, 1835, and finally in 1842 for a period of fourteen years. Mr. Bee didn’t live to see the end of his license, however, for he died at the age of 50 in August 1850 and was buried at St. Andrew’s Church, just half a mile from the old ferry site. His heirs continued to operate the ferry until the expiration of his license, and then a few more years, until his ferry boats crossed the Ashley River for the last time, according the local newspapers of the day, on January 3rd, 1859.
Joseph Ferguson Bee was the last in a long succession of men and women who presided over the old boat ferry over the Ashley River, and that essential public service operated under Bee’s name for more than thirty years. Based on these two simple facts, it seems logical that the ferry site and the road leading to it should bear his name. Our story might end right here, but in reality, these facts are merely red herrings that distract our attention from a more complete version of the story. In order to explain what I mean, let’s back up to early years of the nineteenth century, just before Joseph Bee entered the picture.
For more than a century after its creation in 1703, Ashley Ferry was the only ferry crossing the Ashley River, and the only other way over the stream was Bacon’s Bridge, several miles upstream. Its name, Ashley Ferry, remained constant over the years as a succession of proprietors came and went. All of that changed, however, when a group of investors formed a corporation in 1808 for the sole purpose of building and operating a toll bridge across the Ashley River on the west side of urban Charleston. The Charleston Bridge Company, as it was called, promised to augment the commercial and social interests of the region by expediting travel across the river at a convenient point adjacent to the heart of the city. The project excited popular interest, and the first bridge connecting the west end of Spring Street to the land west of the Ashley formally opened on September 1st, 1810. Travelers heading to and from Charleston were no longer obliged to travel nearly ten miles upstream to cross the Ashley River. Business at old Ashley Ferry was in decline when a hurricane struck the area in August of 1813 and totally destroyed Charleston’s popular new wooden bridge.
The Bridge Company’s executives planned to rebuild their successful venture, of course, but they knew it would take time to gather the capital necessary to begin again from scratch. In order to keep their business afloat, the Charleston Bridge Company petitioned the state legislature for permission to operate a ferry across the Ashley River, from one end of its former bridge to the other. In 1815 the legislature granted their wish, and once again the old Ashley Ferry at Stoney Point found itself in a competitive market. When twenty-one-year-old Joseph Bee petitioned the state legislature about taking over his grandmother’s lease of the ferry in 1821, he lamented that in her time the ferry business “brought in a reasonable compensation for the labour bestowed upon it, until the Bridge (now a Ferry) was granted to a company of stockholders near to Charleston, which has almost destroyed this Ferry in as much as very few people pass it.” Thus when Joseph Bee formally took over the venerable ferry over the Ashley River in 1821, the once-thriving business was already in decline. Furthermore, the old name “Ashley Ferry” ceased to have a unique meaning. Travelers over the Ashley River now used either the “Bridge Ferry” next to urban Charleston or “Bee’s Ferry” further upstream.
After the destruction of its wooden bridge in 1813, the Charleston Bridge Company remained afloat by operating a very busy ferry until its new bridge finally opened nearly forty-three years later, in March of 1856. Meanwhile, in 1854 the state legislature granted a charter a new upstart business venture called the Charleston and Savannah Railroad, which planned to build a railroad line from downtown Charleston to Savannah, following a path across the Ashley River at a site adjacent to Mr. Bee’s Ferry and parallel to Bee’s Ferry Road. The first leg of this rail line opened in November of 1858, carrying passengers and freight from Bee’s Ferry southward to the Edisto River. The planned railroad bridge over the Ashley River didn’t materialize until after the Civil War, so when it began operations in late 1858 the proprietors of the Charleston and Savannah Railroad transported their customers in a four-horse omnibus from downtown Charleston, across the new bridge over the Ashley River, and up Ashley River Road to its railway depot next to Bee’s Ferry.
The first railroad bridge across the Ashley River adjacent to the old site of Bee’s Ferry opened in December 1877, and within a few months, by April of 1878, that bridge had been expanded to accommodate pedestrians, bicycles, carriages, and animals. Today there’s still a railroad bridge at this site, although it hasn’t been pedestrian- or bicycle- or cattle-friendly for nearly a century. By the late twentieth century, the site of Bee’s Ferry was an abandoned wasteland. Little remained above the surface of the earth to mark the location of either the ferry, the once-thriving Ashley Ferry Town, or the less prosperous St. Andrew’s Town. Limited archaeological investigation of these sites was performed in the 1970s, just prior to the construction of two major development projects. Today, the subdivision known as “Drayton on the Ashley” sits on top of the forgotten Ashley Ferry Town (alias Shem Town or Butlers Town), while the adjacent subdivision called “Ashleytowne Landing” obscures the site of the smaller St. Andrew’s Town.
Bee’s Ferry is a historic place name familiar to almost everybody in Charleston County, but the story behind the name is far less well-known. Although the Ashley River Ferry and Ashley Ferry Town have long since disappeared, their legacy continues to echo into the twenty-first century. For nearly 160 years the ferry was a vital hub for the people in this community, and today—nearly 160 years after the ferry closed—this community is thriving and expanding at a rate that would astonish Joseph Bee and his predecessors. Homes, businesses, schools, and churches now dominate the once fertile fields around the ferry, and every day more and more cars crowd onto Bee’s Ferry Road, which was first laid out in 1703 as a narrow path through the wilderness. Soon there’ll be a new addition to the neighborhood, when Charleston County Public Library opens its new “Bee’s Ferry” branch on a site located about three miles from the old ferry landing. I think it’s a fitting name because we hope that new library, like the old ferry in its heyday, will serve as a hub for the community in the generations to come.
 23 December 1703: “An Act for the cutting and making a Path out from the Road on the North side of Ashley River, to the Town of Wilton in Colleton County; and appointing Ferries in the said Road.” David J. McCord, ed., The Statutes at Large of South Carolina, volume 9 (Columbia, S.C.: A. S. Johnston, 1841), 2–3.
 10 November 1711: “An Additional Act to an additional Act to an Act entitled an Act for the cutting and making a Path out from the Road on the North side of Ashley River to the town of Wilton, in Colleton County, and appointing Ferries on the said Road; and to repeal three clauses or Paragraphs in the said additional act.” McCord, ed., Statutes at Large of South Carolina, 9: 17–21.
 15 February 1723/4: “An Act for settling a Fair and Markets in Ashley River Ferry Town, in Berkley [sic] County, for the better improvement of the said Ferry, it being a principal Ferry leading to Charlestown,” in Thomas Cooper, ed., The Statutes at Large of South Carolina, volume 3 (Columbia, S.C.: A. S. Johnston, 1838), 217–19; Henry A. M. Smith, “Some Forgotten Towns in Lower South Carolina,” South Carolina Historical and Genealogical Magazine 14 (1913): 201–8.
 22 September 1733: “An Act for vesting the Ferry over Ashley River in Edmund Bellinger, Esq., for a number of years therein mentioned,” in Statutes at Large, 9: 82–84; 26 March 1741: “An Act for vesting the Ferry over Ashley River, in Elizabeth Bellinger, widow, her Executors, Administrators and Assigns, for a term of years therein mentioned,” in Statutes at Large, 9: 114–15; 31 May 1750: “An Act for vesting the Ferry over Ashley River, in Edmund Bellinger and George Bellinger, Esqrs., their Executors, Administrators and Assigns, for seven years, in trust for and to the use and appointment of Mrs. Elizabeth Elliott, wife of Thomas Elliott, Esq.,” in Statutes at Large, 9: 155–56.
 Terry Lipscomb, ed. The Colonial Records of South Carolina: The Journal of the Commons House of Assembly, October 6, 1757–January 24, 1761 (Columbia: University of South Carolina Press for SCDAH, 1996), 123, 162, 168, 194, 195, 197 (available online from SCDAH); South Carolina Department of Archives and History (hereafter SCDAH), Journal of the South Carolina Commons House of Assembly No. 35 (1762), pp. 56–57, 72; 19 May 1762: “An Act for vesting the Ferry over Ashley River in Edward Legge, his Executors, Administrators and Assigns, for fourteen years,” in Statutes at Large, 9: 197–99.
 16 January 1777: “An Act for vesting the Ferry over Ashley river, in Edward Legge, his Executors, Administrators and Assigns, for seven years,” in Statutes at Large, 9: 248–49; H. Roy Merrens, ed., “A View of Coastal South Carolina in 1778: The Journal of Ebenezer Hazard,” South Carolina Historical Magazine 73 (1972): 186–87; 11 September 1779: “An Act for Raising the rates of Ferriage heretofore allowed by Law to the Proprietors of Ashley and Combahee Ferries; and for reestablishing several other Ferries therein mentioned,” in Statutes at Large, 9: 270–73.
 See Mary Legge, wife of Edward Legge [senior], to John Freazer, renunciation of dower, 1783, SCDAH, Renunciation of Dower Books, volume beginning in 1775, page 330. In his discussion of the “Ferry Tract,” Henry A. M. Smith, “The Ashley River: Its Seats and Settlements,” South Carolina Historical and Genealogical Magazine 20 (April 1919): 83–84, identified Edward Legge as a “strong Royalist during the Revolution” who lost possession of the ferry. In fact, however, the state legislature punished Edward Legge Jr., not his father, for his loyalist sympathies.
 Henry Salters, James Lytton Richards, Edmund Bellinger, and John Freazer petitioned the South Carolina General Assembly for the privilege of operating Ashley Ferry; see SCDAH, Petitions to the General Assembly, 1783, No. 11, No. 12, No. 58; 1784, No. 4 No. 13. The state legislature passed an act on 10 March 1784 vesting the ferry license in John Freazer, but that act is not included in the published Statutes at Large of South Carolina. Freazer mentioned it, however, in a petition to the General Assembly; see SCDAH, Petitions to the General Assembly, 1785, No. 42.
 South Carolina Gazette and General Advertiser (hereafter SCGGA), 20–23 March 1784, page 4. Notices published by “the Commissioners by law appointed” appear in SCGGA, 8–10 June 1784, 12–15 June 1784, and 3–6 July 1784.
 8 May 1754: “An Act for building a Draw Bridge across Ashley River in the Parish of Saint Andrew from some place at or near Stoney Point on the East side to the Marsh opposite to the said point on the West side of the said River, and for making a Causey upon the said Marsh leading to the said Bridge, for making a road to the said Bridge and Causey, and for Vesting the said Bridge when Built in such person or person, his and their Heirs and Assigns forever, as shall be at the expence of building the said Bridge and making the said Causey and keeping the same at all times hereafter in repair”; 10 March 1784: “An Act to alter and amend an Act of the General Assembly, passed the 8th day of May 1754, intitled, An Act for building a draw bridge cross the Ashley River, in the parish of St. Andrew, from some place at or near Stoney Point, on the east side to the marsh opposite to the said point on the west side of the said river, and for making a causeway upon the said marsh leading to the said bridge, and for making a road to the said bridge and causeway, and for vesting the said bridge, when built, in such person and persons, his and their heirs and assigns for ever, as shall be at the expence of building the said bridge and making the said causeway, and keeping the same at all times hereafter in repair.”; 13 March 1789: Act No. 1470: “An Act for building a Bridge across Ashley River,” found in Statutes at Large, 9: 166–72, 329, and among the manuscript engrossed acts held SCDAH.
 [Charleston, S.C.] City Gazette and Daily Advertiser (hereafter CGDA), 30 July 1790 (Friday), page 2. The extant newspapers of the day don’t mention the destruction of the bridge, but it was still operational when a slave auction was advertised at “Ashley Bridge” in State Gazette of South Carolina, 9 January 1792, page 4. Hampton’s death was reported in CGDA, 6 November 1792, page 2. His executors subsequently petitioned the legislature on several occasions to extend the deadline for repairing the damage; see SCDAH, Petitions to the General Assembly, 1792, No. 127, No. 161; 1794, No 42, No. 70, No. 226.
 SCDAH, Petitions to the General Assembly, 1785, No. 42; 17 March 1785: “An Ordinance for raising the rates of Ferriage at Ashley Ferry,” in the engrossed manuscript acts at SCDAH.
 SCDAH, Petitions to the General Assembly, 1792, No. 63, No. 93; 1794, No. 78.
 SCDAH, Petitions to the General Assembly, 1797, No. 78; The license for Ashley Ferry was renewed by legislative acts ratified on 21 December 1798 and 21 December 1804, in Statutes at Large, 9: 391, 416; see the will of Sarah (Ladson) Freaser, dated 31 January 1814, proved on 13 February 1818, at CCPL, WPA transcript volume 33C (Will Book E, 1807–1818), 1369–73.
 The license for Ashley Ferry was renewed by legislative acts ratified on 17 December 1813, 20 December 1821, 20 December 1828, 19 December 1835, and 20 December 1842, in Statutes at Large, 9: 462, 510, 603; South Carolina General Assembly, The Statutes at Large of South Carolina, vol. 11 (Columbia, S.C.: Republican Printing Company, 1873), 247. Joseph F. Bee’s death date is taken from his tombstone at St. Andrew’s Church. Charleston Mercury, 1 January 1859: “The Old Ashley Ferry.—We have been requested to state that this Ferry will be closed on and after the 3d inst.”
 17 December 1808: “An Act to Establish Certain Roads, Bridges, and Ferries therein Mentioned,” in Statutes at Large, 9: 434–35; Robert Mills, Statistics of South Carolina (1826), 422–23; the opening of the bridge was announced in CGDA, 30 August 1810; its destruction was noted in Charleston Courier, 30 August 1813.
 16 December 1815: “An Act to Establish certain Roads, Bridges, and Ferries, therein Mentioned,” in Statutes at Large, 9: 481–82; SCDAH, Petitions to the General Assembly, 1821, No. 60, No. 61.
 17 December 1834: “An act to establish certain Roads, Bridges, and Ferries,” in Statutes at Large, vol. 9: 601; Mercury, 8 and 17 November 1858.
 Charleston News and Courier, 8 December 1877, page 1; News and Courier, 2 April 1878, page 2; ; Elaine Bluhm Herold, Report on Historical and Archaeological Survey of Ashleytowne Landing Development(Charleston Museum, 1975); Michael O. Hartley, The Ashley River: A Survey of Seventeenth Century Sites (Columbia: South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology, 1984), 62.