Narratives are personal stories that help enrich the reader’s understanding of a time period, person, place, or event. These are first-person views of history taken from personal recollections, memoirs, diaries, and oral histories.

Information included in this section is not fact checked by the Encyclopedia staff. The author of the Narrative is entirely responsible for its content.

My mother took a photo of the Pendleton Ferry approaching the north bank of the Arkansas River in about 1948 or 1949. My family crossed on it many times when I was a child on our way to visit kinfolks. It was a floating steel barge that could carry four to five automobiles. The ferry was powered by a farm tractor mounted to starboard, and instead of wheels, the tractor turned large paddles on each side of the barge. The tractor clutches and brakes controlled the paddle wheels. When the river was low, the operator would build a plank road over the sand bars to load and unload his ferry. He got a bulldozer in 1949 or 1950, so the approach was easier after that.
That ferry was a marvelous machine. It looked home-made, but it got you across the river just fine. It might have been a private business endorsed by the state department of transportation. The operator maintained approaches on both banks of the river. The ferry at St. Charles was more modern and was maintained by the state. 
There was a Coke icebox on board from which the operator sold five-cent icy sodas to drink as you crossed the river. He wanted the empty bottles back when you reached the other side.

Sam Jones
Austin, TX