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Morgan Family Pioneer Heritage
Elof Nelson Ferry

A picture of the Elof Nelson ferry before Thomas Morgan bought it


The ferry across the Snake River above Heise Hot Springs was important to settlers living in the Ririe/Poplar/Shelton area and probably to settlers living as far West as Rigby and Idaho Falls because the Snake River ran between them and the Kelly Canyon/Blacks Canyon area, the closest sources of wood. Logs were needed to build houses and other buildings. Poles were needed to build fences and corrals. Firewood was a necessity in winter. And, with a sawmill in Kelly Canyon, sawed lumber was also available. In our Morgan and Radford family histories we have accounts of people making the horse and wagon journey to Kelly Canyon from as far away as American Falls.

In addition, the Kelly Canyon/Blacks Canyon area was an important source of food. Deer, Elk and Moose were harvested there in the fall and Huckleberries were picked there in late summer. In our Morgan/Radford families it was traditional to cross the Snake River on foraging trips to stock up on Huckleberries to be canned and wild meat for the winter.

Crossing the Snake River also gave settlers a short route into Rexburg. Prior to the ferry they had to travel by horseback or buggy to Roberts, where they could cross the South Fork of the Snake River, and then they had to cross the North Fork of the Snake River before they could get to Rexburg. It was a long, hard, trip and one that was virtually impossible during high water periods in the spring and during winter when the river was filled with ice.