Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Building Roads in 1838

The Jefferson County Court Minutes from May 1838 (transcribed in 1939 and reprinted in the Tennessee Genealogical Society's Ansearchin' News from Summer 1999, page 44) describe two roads that were commissioned involving my 5th-great-grandfather Thomas Jones and 5th-great-grandfather Joseph Thornhill (father of Elizabeth Thornhill Jones). The text below describes these roads and mentions a number of Jefferson County residents in 1838:

Monday, 7 May 1838

The Jefferson County Court met at the courthouse in Dandridge on the first Monday of May (it being May 7), 1838. Present: William Hill, William Manson, and John Roper, Esq., being the quorum court elected.
Thomas I. Routh was appointed overseer of a first-class road from Thomas Jacobs' to John Routh's with the following assigned hands: Benjamin F. Franklin, hand on William N. Haskins farm, from Widow Gass' farm, Thomas Kimbrough, John Routh's farm, John Gass' upper farm, James I. Gass' farm, and that part of Joseph Thornhill's farm on the south side of Dumplin Creek.
The court received and confirmed a report by James Cox, Martin Bailey, David Bettis, Conaway Jones, and Thomas Jones, who had earlier been appointed a jury to view and lay off a second-class road by leaving the present road near the branch below the Gap, thence the best way, passing the stable of Robert Moore and thence intersecting Dumplin Road near the corner of Nicholas H. Davis' fence.

In 1821, the State of Tennessee created three classes of roads. A first-class road was to be a stage road, up to 30 feet wide. A second-class road was up to 12 feet wide, and a third-class road was wide enough for a horse and rider.

The entries above give a pretty clear picture of where Joseph Thornhill lived (on Dumplin Creek), and also shows Conaway (or Conway) Jones working as a hand for his father Thomas. Conaway would have been 26 years old at the time, while Thomas would have been about 60 years old.

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