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"Established near here before 1730 by Richard Graves. Named for later owner Samuel Street. Replaced by bridge, 1961." In the first half of the eighteenth century, ferries such as Mackey’s and Street’s played an integral role in the movement of goods and people across eastern North Carolina. As the number of settlers into eastern North Carolina increased, so did the need for proper forms of transportation, and specifically methods of crossing the numerous creeks and rivers, not to mention the sounds themselves. The majority of these were either small flatboats that were poled across the waterways, or rope-pulled vessels that were faster and more efficient.
Street’s Ferry, eight miles upstream from New Bern, was established prior to 1730 by Richard Graves. That year, his wife Hannah petitioned the local court for “acquittal of its operation” due to her husband’s death. The ferry then passed to Richard Johnson. A later owner, Samuel Street, operated the crossing point in the early 1800s and gave his name to the ferry. George Washington crossed the ferry on his Southern Tour in the 1790s, as did Bishop Francis Asbury during his travels in eastern North Carolina.
On July 22, 1863, Union General Edward Potter, commanding a raiding party consisting of both cavalry and artillery, was attacked at Street’s Ferry on the north side of the Neuse River by Confederate cavalry and infantry. The skirmish lasted throughout the afternoon and evening, with Confederate forces planning an assault in the morning intended to drive the Federals into the river. During the night, however, two Union gunboats and two steamboats arrived, carrying materials for pontoon bridges. By the next morning the bridges were in place and, under the cover of the two gunboats, Potter’s troopers as well as a column of fugitive slaves that had joined his men, crossed the river headed for the safety of Union-held New Bern and Fort Totten.
The ferry remained in operation after the war, and continued in use as a rope or cable-pulled operation until replaced by a flatboat with outboard motor in the 1940s. The entire ferrying operation was replaced by a bridge in 1961.
Alan Watson, “The Ferry in Colonial North Carolina,” North Carolina Historical Review (Summer 1974): 247-261
Barbara M. Howard Thorne, ed., The Heritage of Craven County, I (1984)
Craven County Court Records, North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh.
David A. Norris, “‘The Yankees Have Been Here’: The Story of General Edward E. Potter’s Raid on Greenville, Tarboro, and Rocky Mount, July 19-23, 1863,” North Carolina Historical Review (January 1996): 1-27
Related Themes: C.S.A., Confederate States of America, Confederacy
North Carolina Civil War Historical Markers.