While the pioneering spirit was far from dead, the lumber industry was brought into life by the railroad. The centuries old importance of the river crossing began to fade and with it the future of the little settlement on the south bank. The ferry that had come to be known as Markham's became the Laclede ferry, when the county assumed responsibility.
Send Email to Sandpoint.com
One of the early county ferrymen was W. L. Kinney. When he resigned, his replacement was Louis Frederich. In April 1908, Loren Markham, one of Francis' sons, was appointed ferryman with a salary of $75.00 per month. He posted a $500.00 bond. The Commissioner's Minutes stipulated that the ferry was to operate as a "free" ferry from 6 AM until noon and from 1 PM until 7 PM. At that same meeting the Commissioners authorized paying Melvin C. Markham (another son) $20.00 for having raised the ferry. It probably had been damaged by ice. A year later the County paid Dudley Brown $225.00 for two horses that drowned at Laclede.
In 1910 there was a significant development that would affect the Laclede ferry. On March 11, the long awaited Wagon Bridge at Sandpoint was completed. Suddenly the county seat was much more accessible to people living south of the river. The Laclede ferry continued to be very important to the people living in the general vicinity because the roads on the south shore could be pretty bad at times. The ferry did regain some of its former importance when fire took out a span of the new bridge. While repairs were made to the bridge the old ferry came back into its own.
At the April 12, 1916 meeting the Commissioners approved the purchase of a 4-horse power Fairbanks-Morse gasoline engine, with magneto. The cost was $110.00 FOB destination.
With the war in Europe over and the terrible flu epidemic past, 1919 should have been a good year. Keith Merritt was the ferryman. Lester Markham, another son of Francis thought that it was time to replace the ferry with a bridge, just as had been done a few years earlier at Priest River and was about to be done at Clark's Fork. He initiated a petition, which he presented to the Commissioners at a February meeting. The only action taken was to ask the County Surveyor to make a report. There isn't any record that he did. The ferry continued to operate.
Late in the year James M. Dawson arrived on the scene. Mack, as he was known to everyone, became the ferryman and stayed on the job for 12 years. When he arrived it is said that he found the ferry Keith Merritt had been operating to be in very poor condition. Perhaps that is why Lester Markham thought it was time for the ferry to be bridged out. At the July 19 meeting the Commissioners accepted a bid of $2,275.00 for a new ferry. To be continued