Alabama Folkways Articles

MONROE COUNTY MAN SHARES MEMORIES OF LIFE ON THE ALABAMA RIVER

 

When he was growing up in the 1930s in Packer’s Bend (Monroe County), Slater Huff, Jr. helped his father operate the Davis Ferry on the Alabama River.

The ferry took passengers, and sometimes livestock, back and forth from Packer’s Bend to the community of Franklin on the other side of the river.

He began helping his father when he was 7 years old and by the time he was 11 his father trusted him to run the operation by himself. He remembers charging 50 cents per car or wagon and 10 cents for people on foot. On Sundays, people going to church got a free ride on the ferry.

Ferry service was available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week except when the river was too high. The Huffs lived near the river landing, so it was not uncommon for travelers to wake them up in the middle of the night for a ride across the river.

At the time, the ferry consisted of a motor boat tied to a flat. If no wagons or cars were crossing they would use only the boat to ferry passengers and leave the flat tied to the river bank.