Woodland Ferry

Formerly known as Cannon’s Ferry, Woodland Ferry was founded in the 1760’s, and is the oldest operating ferry in the United States. Members of the Cannon family were the first to operate a ferry at this point along the Nanticoke River. Jacob and Betty Cannon first opened the ferry and proprietorship passed to their sons Isaac and Jacob after the older Jacob passed away. The history of the Cannon proprietorship of the ferry has a violent end: in April 1843, Jacob was shot and killed on the ferry wharf by a disgruntled tenant. Isaac died a month after his brother, with the cause of death unknown. Soon after the name of the town and ferry were changed from Cannon to Woodland in order to disassociate it from the negative connotation. Cannon’s Ferry is also related to the unsavory history of Patty Cannon. Patty, distantly related to Isaac and Jacob by marriage, was the ringleader of a notorious gang of kidnappers who stole free blacks and enslaved people from their homes in the northern Delmarva Peninsula and sold them into slavery in the Deep South. Her gang operated from a tavern in what is now Reliance, Maryland, just miles away from the town of Woodland on Woodland Ferry Road. Today, Woodland Ferry continues in operation as it carries travelers approximately 400 feet across the river connecting both sides of Woodland Ferry Road. Approximately 225 vehicles per day use the crossing during the summer, with annual estimates at approximately 45,000 trips per year.