43 millionth passenger uses Delaware Bay ferry service

Ruth Macintire, a Lewes native, reminisces about the 1964 maiden voyage of the Cape May-Lewes Ferry. BY DENY HOWETH
January 20, 2014

The Cape May-Lewes Ferry registered its 43 millionth passenger at the Lewes Ferry Terminal Jan. 8. An original passenger from the July 1, 1964 inaugural ferry crossing was on hand as well.

Ruth Macintire, a Lewes native, was 33 at the time, and remembered the dress she wore to board. Tickets were hard to come by and she received hers from a friend, Alda Parsons. That June day was one of the hottest of the year and Macintire remembers the boat was so hot and since there was no shade, Halsey Knapp burned his feet the floor of the boat. "It was a disaster," she said of the first voyage. "And when we got to New Jersey and dumped us at what looked like a desert, I was determined to get into Cape May."

When they were ready for the return trip they stood on the shore and watched the ferry struggle to get in the slip, and the story is it was hung up on some gear used to drive the pilings. "It just wasn't ready, but they went anyway," Macintire said.

Bill and Fran Kisby of Millsboro purchased a ticket for the 9:15 a.m. departure bound for Cape May, N.J. They quickly became celebrities as the 43 milllionth passenger. Lewes Terminal Manager Nikki Fisher presented the Kisbys with a gift package of Cape May-Lewes Ferry logo items and a book of six vehicle tickets.