Crossing the River with John Ovitt
During the mid-1800s folks living on the Wood County side of the Maumee, especially Miltonville and Haskins, found it necessary to shop and trade in Waterville where there were stores and a mill. Crossing the river to do so was the problem. When the water level was low, fording the river on foot or by horse and wagon was easy and at high water times, impossible. For light loads a rowboat or skiff was used. Crossing on the ice in winter was also possible although sometimes dangerous. A working bridge over the river at Waterville wasn’t accomplished until 1888. The solution before that was a ferry service. This document from the Wakeman Archives and shown here indicates that entrepreneur John Ovitt of Miltonville received approval in the Wood County Court of Common Pleas to establish a ferry service from Miltonville to Waterville and the fees to be charged were set by the court. His ferry was a simple cable ferry, a shallow barge that ran along a cable stretched from bank to bank.