The Flying Jenny

Mr. Edgar Sullens shared these memories with the museum while visiting in the Basin in 1977.

“Sure I remember the Flying Jenny. It was a curiosity to everybody. It was built in 1905 or 1906, by Bill Taylor and the community. Wire was bought and the cable strung up for the accommodation of the people to cross the river. The Mannford side did not have a tree large enough to anchor the cable, so they had to build a tower and run the cable over it and then to a tree. It wasn’t really a tower but a 8 foot square platform. You had to climb up to get into the car to go across. The Jenny was just a little open box, which held two, facing each other. It had a pulley. You turned the hand crank and rolled it from bank to bank. There was two handles. It was a job to do it by yourself.”

“One Sunday my cousin Perry Sullins and I went down there, young people were strolling on the sand below. We went out over the river and of course it sagged down. Perry was a big fellow. I told him I would drop off the jenny if he would go first. He said all right. We were about 10 feet off the sand bar. He swung around and jumped. I was watching him and it about jerked my head off. The cable was a long 1/4 of a mile and it bounced up and down for 1/2 hour. When it slowed down I was now 20 feet from the ground, so I couldn’t drop off. I had to pull that thing by myself back to shore.

“Another incident at that crossing — they had a ferry boat with just a narrow strip of water deep enough to cross with it. A man who worked for Joe Butz came down there in a spring wagon to cross, but the ferry was on the other side from Mannford. I came by and turned the boat loose to cross to him. He got on with his team and load. This fellow just had a new wife — he had advertised for a wife and she had just come. They had gone for their initial grocery purchase and they had a lot of things on the wagon. The man on the ferry kept asking if he was far enough over. If he had known anything, he’d have known to wait until the boat hit the bottom and then drive off. A fellow on the other side said he was close enough and he drove off that boat and went plumb under. New wife, groceries and everything. He said he wouldn’t have cared so bad but he had a pound of fresh tobacco on there.

“I was there but I don’t remember if I was the one who told him to get off or not??”

From KCHS files

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