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Heather Heddleson
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HIGHWAY DEPARTMENT

The first record of we have of “path masters” is dated 1877.  This was a system of highway work with Commissioners of Highways for the town, and overseers for various roads or districts.  The property owners were assessed a certain number of days to work on the roads.

The Highway Commissioners divided the town roads into districts and numbered them.  They also entered into records where each road started and ended.  A list of property owners in each district was compiled in proportion to the value of the property.  Each owner was assessed a number of days that work was to be done on the highway.   The work was done by the owners or someone they hired within the district the property was located.  To see that the work was done, the Commissioners appointed an “overseer” or “pathmaster” for each district.  A “road warrant” containing the names of property owners and number of days assessed was given.  Many residents who were assessed owned no property, however, if they had a horse, they were assessed as well.

In 1909 the system of road work was changed from assessed labor and contracts to the present system of highway money being raised by taxes.  The Superintendent of Highways was, and still is today, in charge of the maintenance of the highways.