I love the photo. I love all old photos but this one might have been done by the same photographer that did one of my great2-grandparents Allen and Mary Jane Hart. Same posing of the family in a line in front of the house with the dog. Same clothing style so it was about the same time period. They lived above Baker near where Cotton Cemetery and Good Hope Baptist are today. I would actually find it hard to believe we aren't related by marriage, if not directly. Just about all my families in the area had a Garrett married into them at least once. Generally, I've found that if your family was there before the war, we will be related somehow. It was an even smaller pool back then.
Interesting your folks ran a ferry on the river and a mill. Mine did further up the river. I think many small business folks, like ferrymen and millers, might have been "Unionist" (at least closet ones) because they could see the economic hardship it would pose for them and most didn't have money sunk into the economic system of slavery. And they were often targets because their "assets" could assist the other side. Like today, they really got squeezed between politics and livelihood.
I agree about Old River Road. You can imagine as you drive down it that you have been teleported back in time. Same feeling I get driving Yellow River Baptist Church Rd. My Mom has memories of driving on both in the wagon pulled by the mule. She was born and lived next to the river where Hwy 2 crosses it today. If you are on Facebook, look me up. I occasionally share updates on some of my projects that I don't blog. Most of my followers are in that small pool you referenced so when we share it hopefully extends the knowledge about the area. Great sharing family with you!