Covered Bridges in Daviess County (1856)

Soon after the Stallings-Shriver Bridge washed away in 1852, the Daviess County Court started planning a new bridge over the Grand River northeast of Gallatin. The planning started in June, 1853, with the appointment of John B. Comer as commissioner to plan for the bridge — a “Buckingham” or covered bridge.

Soon after the Stallings-Shriver Bridge washed away in 1852, the Daviess County Court started planning a new bridge over the Grand River northeast of Gallatin. The planning started in June, 1853, with the appointment of John B. Comer as commissioner to plan for the bridge — a “Buckingham” or covered bridge.

A bridge as first proposed at Shriver’s Mill (Mill Dam) but the idea was rejected by the county court on May 3, 1854. Then the court ordered Mr. Comer to let the contract for a wooden bridge on an arch plan, with stone abuttments at Adkinson’s Ford. Comer was instructed to supervise construction. Notice of the contact was advertised in the Bruswicker and Richmond Mirror, to be awarded on the first Monday of July, 1854. This was later delayed to the second Monday in August with the contract readvertised in the Missouri Sun.

The contract was awarded to James C. Heaton for $7,000. It was to be completed by May 5, 1856. The bridge was described as a “Buckingham Bridge” (covered with a good shingle roof). It was to be located 1-1/4 mile northeast of Gallatin, causing more business to pass through Gallatin. There were to be two stone peers on either bank of the river, 160 feet apart. The peers were to be 30 feet high and taper to 4×6-1/2 feet at the top. The bridge was ready to be “raised” (an old term for post and beam assembly) on May 8, 1855. But other work was not compelted by the contract date due to high water.

The contract was renegotiated on May 8, 1856. Heaton was required to add a protection wall on the east bank, and $2,000 in payment was withheld until completion of that work. In addition, a $4,000 surety bond was required for construction and service for three years. At this time, a road was approved by the county from the east end of the bridge to Auberry Grove. The bridge must have been completed by June, 1856, since Heaton was then paid $900 for a similar covered bridge across the old bed of Honey Creek, south of Gallatin.

The Adkinson-Heaton covered bridge probably failed by March, 1857, since a ferry license was sold to Daniel Culter on the Gallatin-Chillicothe road; George N. Rogers bought a ferry license at Shriver’s Mill in parternership with Andrew Shriver.

Another bridge across the Grand River was not considered by the county court until Feb. 5, 1869. Free ferries and low water crossigns were considered during this 12-year period of time. The iron bridge, Smith Patent Truss Bridge,” became available here in 1869 and two were built by C.W. Wheeler on the Grand River in Daviess County. The one near Gallatin was called the Roger’s Ferry Bridge. It is rememberd now as the old wagon bridge, in use for over 100 years. Evidence of this bridge may currently be seen 1/4-mile above the Highway 6&13 bridge near Gallatin.

Written by David Stark, Gallatin, in June, 1990.