Date Original

1829 April 28


This is a penal bond of one hundred dollars for Thomas S. Drew and William Baird to operate a ferry across the Black River for the term of one year.

Biographical/Historical Note

Ferries were an integral part of early frontier travel as they provided a generally safe method of crossing rivers. Because they were critical to transportation of people, goods, and livestock, ferry operators were required to post penal bonds in which they vow to maintain and operate the ferry site or risk having to pay the full sum of the bond. Of particular interest in this bond is that they were bound to the governor of Missouri Territory, William Clark. However, the document and filing dates are April 28, 1829, after William Clark's term in office (1813-1820) and the creation of Arkansas Territory (1819). In looking closely at the date on the front of the document it looks as if it may have been originally written in 1817 and the 29 was written over top. Since ferry operations could be lucrative, ferry operators often ran the same site for many years meaning that it's possible this bond may have been altered and reused.


Know all man by these presents that we Thos[Thomas] S. Drew
and Wm[William] Baird as principals and James G. Russel security
am h--- and firmly bound unto William Clark Governor
of Missouri Territory and his suceessor in office the
penal Sum of One hundred dollars
dollars[sic] which payment will and truly to be made we
bind ourselves - - - - - -[our heirs] executors and adminstrators[sic]
fir---[firmly] by these presents Witness our hand and seal
this 28th day of April 1829
The condition of this obligation is such that
Whereas it writen named Thos S Drew and Wm Baird
has obtained license for[from] the circut court of
Lawrence County to Keep a ferry across Black River
for one year. Now if the said Drew and Baird
shall faithfully perform the duties and services of a
ferry man according to Law the obligation to be
void and of no effect otherwise to remain in
full force and effect
Thos. S Drew
Wm Baird
J.G. Russel
In prese---[presence]
I approve of the above
Tho P --hu---

Physical Description

Document, 12.5" x 7.75"


Ferries; Land use; Law; Rivers; Pioneers; Transportation


Thomas S. Drew; William Baird; James G. Russel

Geographical Area

Lawrence County (Ark.)




MSNE.0018, Box 1, Folder 39

Resource Type



Lawrence County (Ark.) bonds, MSNE.0018


Arkansas State Archives

Contributing Entity

Northeast Arkansas Regional Archives

Recommended Citation

Ferry bond, Thomas S. Drew, William Baird, and James G. Russel, Northeast Arkansas Regional Archives, Powhatan, Arkansas.


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Ferry bond, Thomas S. Drew, William Baird, and James G. Russel