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The Rock Bluff Ferry (Ferries!) of Love County, Oklahoma


Ferry
Photo 1: The Rock Bluff Ferry, labeled as "Rock Creek Ferry" by the Ardmore Public Library (OK Gateway).

The Rock Bluff Ferry of Love County, Oklahoma: a Tale of Three Ferries!


Often, photographs lead me down many rabbit trails, and these are, of course, my favorite kind.

The Ardmore Public Library features a wonderful photograph of what has been labeled "Rock Creek Ferry, southwest of Marietta by J. Tal Nutting" (Love County, Oklahoma) in its collection. I don't think this is Rock Creek, however. The undated photo seems to have been taken on the sandy side of Indian Territory /Oklahoma. Across, on the Texas side (Cooke County) is a scenic rock outcrop; this is where the ferry's cable was attached to (Photo #1).


While Rock Creek is located in Love County west and south of Marietta, it doesn't look like this creek ever had a need for the elaborate ferry crossing mechanisms that the library's photograph depicts. It also was never this wide; the creek is narrowed by rock outcroppings on both sides. In 1947, a Warren deck truss was built over Rock Creek (bridgehunter.com). And, while Rock Creek enters the Red River at Sivell's Bend in Cooke County, this was at the site of Freeman's Ferry, at least according to the 1901 USGS map (Photo # 2).


I believe the photo actually depicts the Rock Bluff Ferry (Photo # 3). This Love County - Cooke County ferry should not be confused with the Rock Bluff Ferry that was at one point the Texas Trail's cattle crossing between Grayson County, Texas and Bryan County, Oklahoma (Photo # 4 - this site is now under Lake Texoma). A satellite map shows a landscape between Love County and Cooke County that is very similar to the one depicted in the photograph (Photo #5).


A bit of research leads to uncovering a lot more ferries than was initially intended!


Map
Photo 2: The ferry near Rock Creek in Love County was actually Freeman's Ferry (1901, USGS).
Map
Photo 3: The 1901 USGS map of the Gaineville/Indian Territory Quadrant labels the Rock Bluff Ferry between Love County and Cooke County below Jimtown. This location's geography corresponds to the photograph taken by J. Tal Nutting that is housed in the Ardmore Public Library (USGS).
Map
Photo 4: Another Rock Bluff Ferry was located downriver between Bryan County, Oklahoma and Grayson County, Texas. This was the site of the famed Texas Trail cattle crossing (aka Shawnee Trail). The USGS map of the Denison Quadrant from 1901 shows where the crossing used to be; it is now under Lake Texoma (USGS).

Satellite image
Photo 5: A satellite map shows a landscape between Love County and Cooke County that is very similar to the one depicted in the photograph #1 of the Rock Bluff Ferry in Love County.

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