Road Survey

Source: Osceola Centennial Issue 1851-1951, section 5, page 1.

Road Survey One of First County Acts

When the county was organized and Osceola selected as the county seat, the starting of the county road system was among the first actions of the county commissioners. What is apparently the resolution ordering a survey of a road east and west through the county remains in part on these records. It is undated but presumed to have been in the late summer or early fall of 1851 and was signed by John Sherer and Dickinson Webster as commissioners. The first part of the record is lost. The remaining part says:

"... on a line east as near as practicable, also a road to be laid running west from said county seat to the west line of said county on the direction of the center of Union county commencing at the southwest corner of the public square of the county seat and running west as nearly as practicable. George W. Howe, John Lewis, and Washington Connyers are appointed viewers on said roads. The viewers are to meet the first Monday of November next at Osceola."

The commissioners ordered the east-west road surveyed west to the county line, however, the appointed viewers agreed that there was no need for such a road and stopped at a point about six miles west. The road west follows almost exactly the route of the present (1951) U.S. 34. The route on the early plat map shows the right of way going west from Osceola about 1/4 mile to the section line, then southwest to a point midway on the section line of 18 and 19. It travels west a mile and then turns southwest until it reaches the section line between 23 and 24 and turns northwest, and angles northwest for about three miles and then goes directly west, ending about a mile west of the present Lacelle road. Jerry Jenks signed as surveyor.

The road east to the Lucas county line, like that west, follows in the general vicinity of the present U.S. 34. It goes east out of Osceola on about the line of the road east of Clay street to East Chapel church and then bears to the right, coming to the present line of pavement at the school house six miles east. From there it goes almost directly east to the county line. The entry following the plat is signed by Geo. W. Howe and John Lewis, viewers; G.W. Glenn, recorder; and A. Williams, deputy.

When the board met on January 5, 1852, the matter of roads was taken up but only to order the establishments of roads to Winterset, Indianola and the county seat of Decatur county. At first little effort was made to do more than mark the routes in order to keep traffic off private lands. Gradually the land was fenced and some semblance of grading and bridging was made. As the land was settled the road problem grew, with necessity for keeping the roads passable and the creeks and ditches bridged.

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