Horses powered Bristol Ferries in the mid 1800's.

In 1824 the Rhode Island Steam & Team Boat Company was chartered  to use either steam or horsepower to ferry from Portsmouth to Bristol.  The boat was like a square paddlewheel boat with rounded ends.  Two pairs of horses on both sides of the ferry provided the power as they moved on a large round disk.  This was hard work and horses had to be replaced frequently. Ferry Farm was home to the horses.  The horses proved to be an expensive way to power a boat and by 1845 the horse powered ferries were replaced by the steamboats or even sailboats when people were in a hurry.

(Image from book in PHS collection)