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Bridges at Cheraw

  • Route 1 at Pee Dee River Cheraw, SC 29520

Bridges at Cheraw: Cheraw 's earliest bridges and ferries were located just below this sign. Kershaw's Ferry was in operation for about fifty years, although not continuously. In 1796, the legislature specified that the ferry charge was foot passengers 4¢, man and horse 7¢, wagon and team 75¢, and every head of cattle 4¢. By 1821. traffic was enough to warrant the formation of the "Cheraw Bridge Company" for the purpose of constructing a toll bridge at Cheraw. George Hearsey was responsible for the first bridge, constructed in 1824. The building of this lattice mode bridge is believed to have been supervised by Ithiel Town, inventor of the bridge truss. This bridge was carried away by flood in 1826. When rebuilt in 1828, the rules stated that slaves must have a pass to cross, users must keep to the right of center, and no one could stop in mid-stream. Bridge tolls were $1.00 for a private four-wheel carriage drawn by four mules, six cents for those on foot, and two cents for each hog, sheep or goat. This bridge burned in 1836. The next bridge lasted until it was burned by the Confederate Army as they retreated toward Fayetteville on March 3, 1865. A skirmish between Sherman's Advance and Hardee's Rear Guard was fought on this site, complete with the only engagement of the Confederate gun boat "Pee Dee". The "Pee Dee" was scuttled less than two weeks later to keep it from being captured, never having been anywhere except Cheraw. The successful burning of the bridge meant that Sherman's forces had to remain in Cheraw until pontoon bridges arrived, and the river receded from "Sherman's Freshet." In 1866 the covered bridge was again rebuilt, continuing as a toll bridge until 1899 when the town bought the old bridge. On Aug. 26, 1908 at 12:20 in the afternoon, the bridge went down in the midst of a raging flood. (See some pictures of the bridges.) One section of the old covered bridge remained on the Cheraw side. The rest. of the bridge was replaced with a steel bridge, and remained in use until a new bridge was built upriver in 1939. The last section of the old covered bridge burned ire the 1940's. Remains of the pilings are visible just below this sign.