Burr Ferry: An Important Waypoint
Burr Ferry has long been an important location for crossing the Sabine River. Adventurers like Phillip Nolan and cattle drovers on the Old Beef Trail used the location even before a ferry was established here.
It is believed that a Dutch man named Antoine Jonker established the first ferry at this location on behalf of John Baptiste LeComte, who was the first European to possess a legal land grant in the area. LeComte lived in Natchitoches, but operated a stock farm on the 2 leagues square which included "the whole of the plains of Lianacucu", and was given the authority to issue "passports", charge a toll for travelers using his roads, and operate ferries.
By the 1820's, Dr. Timothy Burr, 2nd cousin to former U.S. Vice-President Aaron Burr had established a home for his family on the high ground along Pearl Creek, which empties into the Sabine near the ferry location. He practiced medicine from his home plantation, although his fields and slave quarters were located across the river in Texas. His family prospered and by 1847, the ferry had come to be known as Burr's Ferry. A toll ferry would remain in use at this location until the Burr Ferry Bridge was completed in 1937.
Burr Ferry Saloon
In the late 1840's, when steamboats began coming up the Sabine, Burr Ferry became the shipping point for much of the surrounding area, and soon there were warehouses, a hotel, saloon, cotton gin, watermill and more. Several steamboat captains made their home there.
The arrival of the Kansas City Railroad in Leesville heralded the beginning of a great lumber boom for the area, but also the end for the steamboats and the thriving community on the river, though some steamers did continue until around 1900.
Opening Burr's Ferry Bridge
Today, Burr Ferry is a rural community in West Central Louisiana. It's only business, Country Corner & Cafe, is located just a little off the byway, where Hwy. 111 turns north. Inside they have a restaurant, flower and gift shop, groceries and gas, as well as an assortment of fishing gear and hardware.