During Mack Dawson's era there were several very serious accidents. The first occurred in early December 1923 when Dr. Jackson and his nurse, Mrs. Walters drove off the ferry before it reached the landing at Seneacquoteen. The doctor was on his way to the Valley home of Reggie Andrus, whose entire family was ill. Jim Bew's mother Jeannie, had been trying to care for the family and doing the chores. Mrs. Walters went along on the call to see if she could be of help. Gordon Mead, who lived in Seneacquoteen was at the scene when the bodies were recovered. He said that he recalled the sight for some time thereafter.
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On a Sunday afternoon in August 1925, six young people were returning from a picnic at Ione when their touring car slipped off the ferry. Lilly Olson and Sherman Bassett drowned.
Fortunately not all accidents had such tragic endings. One night a visiting motorist drove down the loading ramp and into the water. While waiting for the car to be pulled from the river he had a chance to look around the area. He said he was so impressed that he planned to return to find a ranch to buy.
One night while Mack Dawson was away his brother was operating the ferry. The engine house caught fire and burned. The next night the saw mill burned down.
When Mack Dawson retired in 1932 he moved his family to Morton. In 1936 he returned to Laclede going into business for himself. The July 28, 1939 issue of the Northern Idaho News reported "Motorists, if its real service you want, drive into J. M. Dawson's service station in Laclede for some of that Dawson brand of Conoco service, accessories, candy, tobacco and cold drinks. Known to thousands as the former pilot of the ferry at Laclede, Mr. Dawson has been making many new friends and patrons since he took over operation of this service station in 1936."
In later years there were many other ferrymen, including Chet Gray, G.M.Hart, Chase Norman, Bert Mercer, James R. Rogers, Wesley Stevens and Frank E. Kemper. In 1951, Dick Chapman became the ferryman, at $175.00 per month. In this instance the operators were husband and wife, as Maude Chapman also ran the ferry. According to George Thomas she did a good job. The Chapmans had an interesting arrangement. He ran the ferry in the morning while she did the housework and she ran the ferry in the afternoon while he took care of other matters.
During the time the Chapmans had the ferry their son-inlaw, Bob Meadows would occasionally operate the ferry at night. And as the photograph indicates, their niece Gail Richards also took a turn. On other occasions John Campfield would fill in as needed. To be continued
Dr. Jackson's Car Being Recovered