Nebraska State Historical Society Blog

Marker Monday: Shinn's Ferry

Location

1290-1292 Road 41, Bellwood, Butler County, Nebraska

View this marker's location 41.337062, -97.13917

Marker Text

Moses Shinn and his son Dick began operating Shinn's Ferry across the Platte in 1859. The original site was near Savannah, the first Butler County seat, and a short distance from the present Schuyler bridge. Just above this location the Platte was joined by the Loup River, providing ample water for the operation of a ferry. Farther west, the Platte could be crossed only by fording. Between 1859-1872, thousands of wagons and travelers crossed at Shinn's Ferry, some en route to Ft. Kearney via the south bank of the Platte, and others representing local traffic between Butler and Colfax counties. Moses Shinn was reportedly a religious man who held daily services for travelers using the ferry. The original ferry was accidentally destroyed in 1865. A replacement was used until a bridge was constructed at Schuyler in 1872. The demise of Shinn's Ferry, and the removal of the Butler County seat to David City in 1873, doomed the town of Savannah which at one time boasted the courthouse, a hotel, stores, and a blacksmith shop. No traces of Savannah survive today.

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