Knights Ferry


Cionna Washington (9th), Reporter

Knights Ferry as it is known today was first settled by Dr. William Knight in the spring of 1849, but sadly in the same year on November 9, 1849, Dr. William knight was gunned down and murdered “by a name lost to history” in the streets of Knights Ferry, a town he founded along with his wife and family only months earlier. Witness James G. Fair of “the Big Four” remarked it was “one of the most cold-blooded murders” he had ever witnessed.


Before Knights was murdered he partnered with a local, James Vantine, and with the help of an old whaling vessel, created a ferry that would be the staple of business in Knights Ferry.

Its purpose was to support their trading post and to service traffic crossing the river along the Stockton/Sonora Road to the southern gold mines.


Located conveniently between the port of Stockton and the Sierra foothills which were at the time rich in gold, Knights Ferry became a hot spot to cross the river, and during the gold rush profits were as high as $500 per day. Dr. Knights, his foresight as an entrepreneur did not yield him great profits as he was murdered.


The Knight’s Ferry Bridge is a historic covered bridge spanning the Stanislaus River at Knights Ferry, California. Built in 1863, it was one of the best-preserved 19th-century wood iron Howe truss bridges to survive. It was designated as a U.S National Historic Landmark in 2012.

The bridge, however, is seen differently today, a heavy winter and an early warm spring rain created an abundance of water in Stanislaus, and flood waters raged through Knights Ferry at levels that were so close to 35 feet over present-day low watermarks. Unfortunately, the bridge upriver at the two-mile bar was not built sturdy enough and eventually washed down and destroyed the old Knights Ferry bridge. The bridge is the longest covered bridge west of the Mississippi River, the bridge is one of the nation’s finest examples of a Howe truss covered bridge. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2012.


I asked Marco Mercado, a current 9th grade student, How would you describe Knights Ferry?

His response was, “Honestly I would describe it as calming with good scenery”.


Knights Ferry Rec Area and Hiking Trails are open from sunrise to sunset. Knights Ferry is a great place to hike and swim and a lot more; some  events that go on at Knights Ferry too. I would definitely recommend going there!