Lynch's Ferry

By: Diana J. Kleiner

Type: General Entry

Published: 1952

Updated: August 4, 2017

Lynch's Ferry, on the San Jacinto River below its confluence with Buffalo Bayou in Harris County, was built in 1822 by Nathaniel Lynch at the approximate site of Lynchburg on the main land route from South Texas to the Mexican border. The ferry, a flatboat service with a hand-pulled rope for power, was one of numerous conveyances that developed on the waterways of southern Harris County. On January 1, 1830, Lynch received an operating license from the ayuntamiento of San Felipe. When Antonio López de Santa Anna hoped to cut off the retreat of the Texas army across Lynch's ferry in April 1836, local residents fled the approaching Mexican army in the Runaway Scrape. Dilue Rose Harris later recalled waiting three days at the ferry with 5,000 others. Lynch bequeathed the ferry to his family, and it was later sold to a series of operators. In 1837 the Harris County Commissioners Court set ferry rates, and by 1890 the ferry operated for the first time free to persons, freight, and animals. In 1949 a ferry operating at the same site across the Houston Ship Channel was called the Lynchburg Ferry. Twenty-five miles below the turning basin, today's ferry, operated by Harris County, connects the Crosby-Lynchburg Road below the San Jacinto River mouth with the midpoint between the Washburn and Baytown-La Porte tunnels, which handle the majority of auto traffic. Ferry service consists of two ferryboats, the William P. Hobby and Ross S. Sterling ferryboats, built in 1964.

June A. Begeman, "Lynchburg, Cedar Bayou and Morgan's Point Ferryboats: Historical Highlights," Touchstone 7 (1988). Harold Schoen, comp., Monuments Erected by the State of Texas to Commemorate the Centenary of Texas Independence (Austin: Commission of Control for Texas Centennial Celebrations, 1938). Marilyn M. Sibley, The Port of Houston (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1968).

Time Periods:
  • Texas Revolution
  • Houston
  • Upper Gulf Coast
  • East Texas

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Diana J. Kleiner, “Lynch's Ferry,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 23, 2022,

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August 4, 2017

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