Paradise The Ferry!
The Paradise Ferry operated on the Green River at Paradise from about eighteen hundred until the mid-nineteen fifties. It permitted access from Ohio Country to Muhleberg County or from the Hopewell Community to the small town of Paradise. On the Muhlenberg Country side, Paradise is no more and was bought out by The Tennessee Valley Authority. On the Ohio Country side, about all that is left is the Hopewell Cemetery. The land was stripped from about Pond Run Baptist Church to the Green River. E. P. Williams' farm and the old Campfield bottoms are long gone meeting the fate of Peabody's massive strippers as well as Jubilee School. I can remember E. P. Williams' farm, Campfield Bottoms, and Hopewell Church, but do recall Jubilee School nor the Paradise Ferry. As one approached the ferry from the Ohio County side, and going down a small grade, an old Ancient Indian Burial Ground was located off to the left. This grave site was completely excavated in 1960 and in 1966, the area known as Indian Knoll was designated a National Historic Landmark. Paradise Ferry or Hopewell Ferry, was originally known as Stom's Ferry and later more commonly called Paradise Ferry. It was operated by Jacob Stom for more than 40 years starting around 1800. Paradise was an eastern Muhlenberg county town on the Green River about ten miles east-northeast of Greenville. The town of Paradise and the ferry are no more.
As most young boys from Rockport were entering their teen years of life, some were noticing that the local young girls were not pest after all, and the fluttering in the hearts of these, soon to be young males, was a sign that the old Green River was not the only thought in their mind. As they looked at and talked to their young female friends, desire to be on the river would not be the only want in their mind. This "Puppy Love" condition had probably occurred since the beginning of the Green River. My first love, and I am sure that countless other boys thought the same, outside of family, was the Green River. If we were not swimming, fishing, hunting, playing, or ice skating on and near the Green River, we were thinking about getting near that old river. I am sure that parents, girls, visitors from out of town, and others had and used many terms to try to explain our passion for the river. One particular expression was used affectionly by these people to try to explain our problem. We were called "River Rats". "River Rats" were not only the youth of the town, but a lot of adults as well. I knew many adult men that were either retired of working on the river that were referred to as being a "River Rat".
Two such men that I did not know, but have heard of were "Bubby" Short and Mr. Ham. Both of these men were a generation before me, but they were legends on the river and most of the young "River Rats" in the fifties and sixties knew of these two. "Bubby" Short was a ferry operator at Rockport until the ferry closed and then he became a Paradise Ferry operator. If you were on the river in the forties, sooner or later, you would make contact with "Bubby". "Bubby" was just a fine old man that seem to know everyone in the area and had a knack for remembering a person by sight and name. Mr. Ham was not that much of a legend, but he, as well as "Bubby", seem to spend most of their time on the river. Pictured is "Bubby" Short standing in the river boat with Mr. Ham sitting. Your guess is as good as mine as to what they were doing. I see an oar and a shovel in the boat if that will give you a hint. I think that the picture was made at Paradise or near Paradise.
Hope you're all gonna have a great day ahead.