2 Your Roots: Clements Ferry Road

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Daniel Island, S.C. (WCBD) – As you may suspect, Clements Ferry Road received its name from a ferry…Clement’s ferry.

Dr. Eric Lager, an Adjunct Professor of History at the Citadel, explains that a man named John Clements purchased land from the State and established a ferry; it operated from the late 1700’s until the mid-1800’s and was located at the southernmost point of Thomas Island.

Historically, ferries played an integral part in colonial transportation.  The Lowcountry is home to numerous creeks and marshes, which made it vital to have a way to cross inland waters and create a connection to the Atlantic.

To meet the needs of a growing population and increasing plantation operations along the Ashley and Cooper Rivers, the South Carolina Colonial Assembly began to charter ferries.

“As plantations developed, they needed to acquire transportation to move their products to town and they also need materials for plantation operation…and so ferries began to be established in the late 1600’s early 1700’s to facilitate trade.”

Dr. Eric Lager

Ferries went on to be a crucial asset during the American Revolution, and in addition to their role as connectors, they boosted economic development in communities.

With ferries came the development of commercial services like trading posts and taverns. Dr. Lager says these services were catalysts for the creation of towns.

Taverns became increasingly important as more people began to travel. Dr. Lager says “classy” taverns were equipped with good cooking, good beds, and fireplaces. More commonly, taverns were located in the backwoods.

After establishing his ferry, John Clements built accompanying taverns; the tavern on the Charleston side was called “Dover Tavern” and the tavern on Thomas Island was “Calais Tavern”.

Dr. Lager says, “John Clements was significant in the sense that he really helped to facilitate trade and develop the Daniel Island region.”

If you have a road, landmark, or piece of history you want Temple Ricke to help uncover, send her an email at tricke@wcbd.com.

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