Town Highway Records
Most towns in the County retain some early highway records. They are
for the most part kept in separate books, though others are included with
minutes or other records.
The earliest surveys of roads were in a form such as the following from
the town of Milo: "The following road was laid out and surveyed the
11th Day of Novr 1800. Beginning about 70 rods from the Landing at the
foot of the Crooked Lake thence North 58 degrees East 205 rods to where
it intersects the road leading from Waggoner's Mills by Susannah Clamford's
and John Lawrence's. Surveyed by Joseph Jones. Ezra Cole, John Plimton Commissioners."
Some towns transcribed records of roads within their boundaries but
surveyed in parent towns before they were split off: the above example
is from such a record, as is another from the town of Torrey: "Survey
of a Road beginning at the road leading from Thomas Lee's to Hopeton between
Joshua Legg's House and Barn thence South 20 degrees east 118 rods thence
South 32 degrees and 20 minutes east 200 rods until it strikes the Town
Line. March 12, 1808. L. Benton, M. F. Shepherd Commissioners of Roads."
Milo was still part of Jerusalem when Lake Street (part of Rte. 54) was
surveyed in 1800, and Torrey still part of Benton when the Ridge Road south
of Rte. 54 was surveyed in 1808.
These surveys are valuable not only for their original purpose, that of
locating and describing town roads, but will also help locate buildings
on specific people's properties and indicate where early mills, taverns,
bridges and so on were located.
The roads were grouped into districts and an overseer appointed for
each. An example of a district description from the town of Benton in 1844:
"Beginning at a stone sluice opposite the Sprague House thence westerly to the middle
of the four corners near the Widow Lydia Briggs." By 1853 there were 78 such districts in Benton.
Taxes were assessed in terms of so many days of labor, depending on
the assessed value of the property. Each property owner was levied so much
work on the highways in his district each year. Some of the towns retain
assessment lists of property owners within each highway district.
For the most part highway activity was overseen by a board
of Highway Commissioners in each town. They kept minutes, which would include
such matters as alteration or discontinuance of existing roads, petitions
for new public and private roads, changes to the boundaries of the districts
within the town, complaints and releases of damages caused by building
or use of the roads, petitions for removal of obstructions, appropriations
for equipment and other such items.
TOWN HIGHWAY RECORDS ON MICROFILM
Record of Highway Surveys 1823 - 1851
- Includes highway district changes after town was organized,
and new surveys thereafter; many petitions for removal of obstructions.
Survey of roads 1844-1862
- Includes descriptions of road districts at about 5-year intervals;
a list of taxpayers at the end of the book;
Survey of roads 1846-1871
- Includes surveys, discontinuances, petitions for removal of
Survey of roads 1864-1894
- Includes descriptions of districts;
Road records 1871-1914
- Includes minutes of Commissioners' proceedings;
Old Highway Documents
- Include agreements to improve certain roads, complaints and
releases, petitions, contracts, notices of encroachment, proposals for
alterations and a few surveys. Highway district lists and descriptions
for 1825, 1834 and 1835 are at the end.
Minute Books 1806 - 1947
- Also include minutes of Highway Commissioners and some road surveys
Minute Books 1862 - October 1944
- Includes minutes of Overseers of Highways
Record of Roads 1798-1850
- Early road surveys and lists of taxpayers within each district
- Includes highway districts for 1816
Road scraper book 1893-1905
- Includes names of taxpayers, their assessments, the number
of days owed and the tax to be paid
Record of highway survey 1800-1869
- Roads surveyed before the town's organization in 1818 were
transcribed in this book, and new surveys added afterward; book also includes
information on alterations, discontinuances, the boundaries of highway
districts and the survey of private roads
Record of highway survey and commissioners' minutes 1852-1904
- Include surveys, alterations, releases, discontinuances, applications
from taxpayers to be removed from one district to another and the establishment
of new districts
Minute Books, 1833 - 1958
- Includes minutes of Highway Commissioners; and Highway
Commissioners' books 1810-1888, 1876-1906 and 1884-1900
Record of highway survey and commissioners' minutes 1807-1887