The Cowford Ferry

The colonial government's policy was to reserve land for one mile on each side of the ferry, on both the north and south shores, as Crown property for public use. The site for the landing on the north of the river is today the intersection of Liberty and Water Streets in the central business district of Jacksonville. On the south bank travelers waited to board the ferry at what is now the South Bank River Walk approximately one-quarter mile downriver from the Main Street Bridge.

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The ferry crossing of the St. Johns River known as the Cowford was located about one-fourth of a mile beyond the Main Street Bridge (the second bridge seen here, painted blue). On the north bank the landing was at the foot of today's Liberty Street. The Acosta Bridge appears in the foreground. The Hart and Mathews Bridges can be seen in the distance.

The surveyor's map above (circa 1775) clearly marks the " Cowfoard " adjacent to Phillip Lee's property, the King's Road to St. Augustine, and a series of plantations that ran for several miles in succession through land that is today San Marco and San Jose.


A 1771 survey by John Funk locates Phillip Lee's farm adjacent to the ferry landing on the south bank of the St. Johns, bounded by Edward Wood's 10,000-acre tract and Miller's Creek to the east. Lee was probably in charge of the ferry crossing at the Cowford.

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