Jefferson County Online
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Roads and Bridges

The following is a chapter from "The History of Jefferson County, Iowa", Page 302, published by the Western Historical Company of Chicago in 1879.



Persons meeting each other on the public highways, shall give one half of the same by turning to the right. All persons failing to observe this rule shall be liable to pay all damages resulting therefrom, together with a fine, not exceeding five dollars.

The prosecution must be instituted on the complaint of the person wronged.

Any person guilty of racing horses, or driving upon the public highway, in a manner likely to endanger the persons or the lives of others, shall, on conviction, be fined not exceeding one hundred dollars or imprisoned not exceeding thirty days.

It is a misdemeanor, without authority from the proper Road Supervisor, to break upon, plow or dig within the boundary lines of any public highway.

The money tax levied upon the property in each road district in each township (except the general Township Fund, set apart for purchasing tools, machinery and guide boards), whether collected by the Road Supervisor or County Treasurer, shall be expended for highway purposes in that district, and no part thereof shall be paid out or expended for the benefit of another district.

The Road Supervisor of each district, is bound to keep the roads and bridges therein, in as good condition as the funds at his disposal will permit; to put guide boards at cross roads and forks of highways in his district; and when notified in writing that any portion of the public highway, or any bridge is unsafe, must in a reasonable time repair the same, and for this purpose may call out any or all the able bodied men in the district, but not more than two days at one time, without their consent.

Also, when notified in writing, of the growth of any Canada thistles upon vacant or non-resident lands or lots, within his district, the owner, lessee or agent thereof being unknown, shall cause the same to be destroyed.

Bridges when erected or maintained by the public, are parts of the highway, and must not be less than sixteen feet wide.

A penalty is imposed upon any one who rides or drives faster than a walk across any such bridge.

The manner of establishing, vacating or altering roads, etc., is so well known to all township officers, that it is sufficient here to say that the first step is by petition, filed in the Auditor's office, addressed in substance as follows:

The Board of Supervisors of ------ County: The undersigned asks that a highway, commencing at ------ and running thence ------ and terminating at ------, be established, vacated or altered (as the case may be.)

When the petition is filed, all necessary and succeeding steps will be shown and explained to the petitioners by the Auditor.

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