Campbell Ferry crosses Deschutes in pioneer days
The Campbell Ferry was located on the Deschutes River about two miles east of the village of Warm Springs. It was near the current bridge on Highway 26 that crosses the Deschutes River near Warm Springs. The ferry was established in the 1870s and was first operated by Chester McCorkle, John L. Luckey and Isom Cleek. A store was also located at the crossing, but it was later moved by Isom Cleek to The Agency (later Warm Springs).
Ed Campbell purchased the ferry in 1895. John Edward Campbell and his wife, Sarah Rodman Campbell, were both early settlers in the region. Ed came to Central Oregon with his family in 1872 when he was 7 years old and Sarah came with her parents to Central Oregon in the early 1870s. Ed moved his family to what became known as Cowles Orchard, which was located near the ferry site. His wife and children helped him operate the ferry while he delivered mail and drove a stage route. A small shack served as the ferry tender shelter. Charges for the ferry were 25 cents for a man on horseback, 50 cents for a two-horse outfit, 75 cents for a four-horse wagon and 10 cents for a man without stock.
The Campbells moved near the mouth of John Brown Canyon in 1902. The ferry location was also moved about one mile upriver at this time. Ed became a partner in the ferry operation with Robert Smith, a Warm Springs Tribal member. The Campbells made improvements on a wagon road extending up from the ferry to Agency Plains that became known as Campbell Grade.
Ed sold the ferry operation in 1905. The ferry continued to operate until 1913, when a bridge was constructed ten miles downriver at Mecca. The ferry provided a crossing for wagon and horse traffic between Warm Springs and The Basin (later Madras) and Prineville.
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