In planning the “biggest celebration this town has ever seen,” everything came together without a glitch to produce Calvert City’s Sesquicentennial Celebration. Even so, in planning so many events all taking place over four days, a few plans had to fall by the wayside. One of those was the ferry excursions across the Tennessee River from Haddox (originally Haydock’s) Ferry Landing on July 3.
Sesquicentennial committee member Dwayne Stice negotiated diligently to bring the ferry here. But alas, issues arose that prevented that event from coming to fruition. It would have allowed visitors to experience a mode of transportation that was so important to pioneers flooding in to settle the Jackson Purchase in the 1820s. The ferry operated until after a bridge was opened across Kentucky Dam in 1951.
When it opened in 1836, Haydock’s Ferry provided a great improvement in transportation between what was northern Calloway County and the nearest trading post at Smithland in Livingston County. (The northern half of Calloway County became Marshall County in 1842). When it was new, Haydock’s Ferry cut travel time between the two counties by about two hours from the earlier route via Burradell’s Landing (later Patterson Ferry at Altona).
Gideon A. Haydock, of Smithland, and his brother-in-law, Howard P. Kuykendall, bought the 64-acre ferry site from Kuykendall’s father, Josiah Kuykendall, on Jan. 2, 1836 for $75 and opened the ferry. The Kuydendall and Haydock families received large land grants west of the Tennessee River soon after the region was purchased from the Chickasaw Nation in 1819.
“Calvert City owes its very existence to the proximity of the Tennessee River and the railroad,” Stice said. “This (ferry) is part of our heritage that we need to embrace.” Haydock’s Ferry “was an important river crossing for Ky. 95 (a dirt road in 1836) to access Livingston County and points north for many years, and we don’t need to see that fact lost to history and just look back on the way things used to be.”
The Kuykendall family migrated to this region from Butler County in 1822. The Haydocks originally immigrated to this country from Liverpool, England, in the mid-1600s. Gideon Haydock’s line eventually settled in Rahway, New Jersey. Gideon and a brother, Joseph Haydock, moved to Smithland. Howard Kuykendall married Mary Elizabeth Haydock of Rahway in 1834 in Calloway County. She was Gideon’s and Joseph’s sister. The Kuykendall ancestors immigrated from Wageningen in Gelderland, Holland, to New Amsterdam in the winter of 1646 as employees of the Dutch West India Company. Gideon Haydock and Howard Kuykendall also ran a general store at the ferry and both men had other business interests in the region destined to become Calvert City. Mary Haydock Kuykendall’s rosewood piano was floated down the rivers via flatboat, unloaded at Haydock’s Ferry, loaded onto an oxcart and moved overland to the large three-story farm home Howard built for himself and his bride on the Needmore Road halfway between Palma and Lone Valley. The home was still standing in the mid-1940s.
Gideon Haydock died in 1850, but the 1933 History of Marshall County by Leon Freeman, his great-nephew, and Edward Olds, mentions that a Mr. Haydock was running the ferry while the Paducah & Elizabethtown Railroad was under construction between 1869 and 1872. Freeman could have been referring to one or both of Gideon Haydock’s sons, John Haydock or Joseph G. Haydock.
Exactly when the ferry property passed out of the Haydock/Kuydendall families is unclear. However, on March 15, 1895, Willie P. Findley and her husband, L. E. Findley, sold half of the 64-acre ferry tract and her interest in the ferry boat to her sister, Mary Lander, and her husband, John W. Lander. The two women inherited the property from their mother, Palina J. Miller, who had inherited it from her son, Oscar Miller.
John Lander also ran the Lander Hotel on Railroad Street, just west of the railroad depot in Calvert City. Lander bought the hotel from Potilla Calvert, who built it with his brother, Wilson. The building was the home of Lela Vasseur until her death. It burned one very cold night in 1974.
At the writing of the Lander deed, the ferry’s name was still spelled Haydock’s Ferry. On Dec. 30, 1926, Mary Lander’s 11 heirs sold the ferry tract to Lee Cox, and in this deed, the spelling was changed to Haddox Ferry. Ethridge Harrell managed the ferry for Cox and hired workers to operate it. The Jess Burkeen family was the last to operate the ferry for Cox beginning in 1942. His son, Buel Burkeen, of Benton and Buel’s younger brother, Cletus Burkeen, started operating the ferry when Buel was 14.
Lee Cox sold the ferry site to the Pennsylvania Salt Manufacturing Company (now Arkema) of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on March 28, 1948. The company continued to operate it for a time and moved the landing about 2,000 feet down river from its original site, Buel Burkeen said in an interview in the 1990s. The site is now a county park with a pavilion. It is the only access to the Tennessee River between Kentucky Dam and Paducah.
Bobbie Foust is a former reporter for The Paducah Sun. She is the great-great-granddaughter of Howard P. Kuydendall and Mary Haydock Kuykendall, and Dwayne Stice is the great-great-great-grandson of the Kuykendalls. Gideon Haydock was their great-great-uncle.