Lew Harrison, better known as “Dad” to nearly everybody in Bellevue and Dayton, is probably the oldest ferry boat along the Ohio. “Dad” is holding a wooden pole on the right side, or bow, of the good ferry Dayton. A magazine writer would say that “Dad” has traveled 186,151 miles on his ferry. Figure it out: He has been at it for 17 years. Makes about 60 round trips a day. The river is estimated to be about a quarter of a mile wide.
When Harrison started about 17 years ago, he had to paddle the ferry across. He made a nickel a round trip. Now, people think that 5 cents each way is very reasonable. About two years after “Dad” entered the business, he bought his first motorboat.
During his long river career, “Dad” has saved many lives with his ferry. He is constantly on the watch for swimmers who have gone beyond their depth or who have been seized with cramps. He has also towed many a dead motor boat to shore. About four years ago his attention was attracted on a rather dark night, from his meal, by the yells of “Help!” from the middle of the river. Rushing out of his houseboat, he saw a craft in flames. The cries increased. Starting the engine, he directed his ferry to the scene.
When he reached there the boat had sunk and six people were floundering about in the river. All were rescued. However, no Carnegie medal now hangs on the chest of “Dad,” although he was liberally rewarded by the man and his family.
At one time this ferry was owned by the municipality, but wioth the coming of the omnibus, horse cars, steam railroad, and then the electric railway, the patronage lessened. It no longer yielded material income.
The ferry hauls about 300 persons each day through the week, but on Sunday there are a great many who come from the East End of Cincinnati.
From the Kentucky Post, October 2, 1914