“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Sharpsburg in Washington County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)

Swearingen’s Ferry and Pack Horse Ford

Swearingen's Ferry and Pack Horse Ford Marker Photo, Click for full size
By Craig Swain, June 9, 2007
1. Swearingen's Ferry and Pack Horse Ford Marker
Inscription. Thomas Swearingen began operating in 1755 a ferry where Rumsey Bridge now crosses the Potomac. It was about half a mile upstream from Pack Horse Ford. During the Revolution the Ford and Ferry served the Continental Army; British and German prisoners frequently crossed the river here, being marched from Virginia to Maryland prison camps at Frederick and Fort Frederick. Ferry was discontinued in 1849, when a covered bridge was erected.
Erected by Maryland Bicentenial Commission and Maryland Historical Society.
Location. 39° 26.272′ N, 77° 47.81′ W. Marker is near Sharpsburg, Maryland, in Washington County. Marker is at the intersection of Shepherdstown Pike (Maryland Route 34) and Canal Road, on the left on Shepherdstown Pike. Click for map. Marker is in this post office area: Sharpsburg MD 21782, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Blackford’s Ford (a few steps from this marker); The James Rumsey Bridge / The Battle of Antietam or Sharpsburg (within shouting distance of this marker); Ferry Hill Place (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Ferry Hill (about 400 feet
Markers Clustered at the Intersection of Shepherdstown Pike and Canal Road Photo, Click for full size
By Craig Swain, June 9, 2007
2. Markers Clustered at the Intersection of Shepherdstown Pike and Canal Road
away); a different marker also named Ferry Hill Place (about 500 feet away); A View into the Past (approx. 0.2 miles away); a different marker also named Blackford's Ford (approx. 0.2 miles away); Shepherdstown (approx. 0.2 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Sharpsburg.
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. To better understand the relationship, study each marker in the order shown.
Additional comments.
1. Name and Location of the Ford
The ford here became one of the favored crossing points on the Potomac from the colonial times. The ford would go by many different names over time, and by some accounts each name was specific to a particular crossing path along the river bed. Early settlers used the name Pack Horse to indicate the crossing point used by Indians, with a rather ambiguously defined location. Later the ford became part of the Philadelphia Wagon Road and the path used by the road was called Wagon Road Ford. Later a flour and cement mill was built upstream with a dam, known as Botelor Mill. The ford just down from
Looking Upstream at the Ford Location Photo, Click for full size
By Craig Swain, July 28, 2007
3. Looking Upstream at the Ford Location
In the distance is a modern day railroad bridge. The various ford locations crossed the river between that bridge and the deeper channel in the foreground.
the dam was then called Botelor’s Ford. The names Shepherdstown Ford and Blackfords Ford have been applied by other sources. There are several crossing points, even today, along the one mile length of river centered around the old mill ruins.
    — Submitted July 28, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.

Categories. Roads & VehiclesWar, US Revolutionary
Pack Horse Ford Photo, Click for full size
By Craig Swain, July 28, 2007
4. Pack Horse Ford
Looking north at the Maryland shore.

Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 2,652 times since then. Last updated on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.   3, 4. submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. • J. J. Prats was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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