HistoryView – Knights Ferry


Knights Ferry Attacked !!!!!
By Lloyd Ploutz

The sounds of cannons, rifles and the screams of the dying were all to present at Knights Ferry’s Civil War Re-Enactment that took place a few months ago. General Paul Vancase, Battalion Commander of Artillery for Confederate States of America, along with Rob Orr of Modesto lead and supported there troops through the battles. WOW, what a day.
As you may be aware Knights Ferry was the temporary home of General Ulysses S. Grant in 1852 and again in 1854. He later became President of the United States. Knights Ferry abounds with tremendous history like the 1863 Covered Bridge which is 330 feet long and is the longest Covered Bridge West of the Mississippi River. Next to the Covered Bridge is the 1855 Tulloch Mill powered by water wheels to mill flour.

Knights Ferry had floods in 1862 and 1955 along with the great fire of 1895 that almost destroyed the entire town. The people and the town were tough and they reconstructed and flourished. The building of the Goodwin Dam up stream was a great boost to the economy with a lot of construction workers requiring entertainment, lodging and a jail. The jail is still there. Saloons at the Miller Hall, Williams Place and the General Store kept the miners and construction worker very happy. Lodging was in high demand at the Washington Hotel, Knights Ferry Hotel, and of course the Fisher Hotel that was lost to fire. A very popular place was the Dankin & Mc Llauflin’s Blacksmith Shop in 1853, next was the Butcher Shop from 1852 to 1907. As you may know there was no refrigeration for perishable foods and meats, so they were purchased daily. The 1852 General Store has a race for its historical title of being the oldest and longest operating store in California with the La Grange’s General Store. Knights Ferry was also one of our original County seats before losing out to Modesto in 1871. Miners needed social programs like the 1871 Fireman’s Muster, 1891 IOOF Lodge, 1985 Community Club House for dances, 1870 Summit Lodge #112 of the Free and Accepted Masons.

Knights Ferry had its founding families like Abraham Shell 1856, Lewis Dent 1851, Lewis Vayle 1860, Dr. James Lowe 1869, Issac Dankin 1853, and of course, Dr. William Knight who was a scout with John C. Fremont in 1848. On November 9, 1849, Dr. Knight was shot to death and buried in an unmarked grave. That grave is thought to be in front of the Masonic Lodge Building as he was a Mason. Do not try to find it, because many years ago the grave was paved over to be used for a road, as the local historic folklore has it.

As you can see Knights Ferry abounds with great local history. It also has a great restaurant and bar called the Rivers Edge. The owner Chris and Stacy Martin have completed a beautiful remolding of the establishment. The view of the river is great location for lunch or dinner. I like the bar. This is a must see place while your touring historic Knights Ferry You’re only 20 miles from Oakdale on Highway 120 just past Lover’s Leap. Look for Bob Hunters Road House Restaurant and Bar. Now you have found the spot.

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