1814: Road Laws of Indiana

This is the 100th post on the Indiana Transportation History blog. I want to thank all of you that have visited. You all make this worth it. I appreciate every single one of you.

Road laws. There have been such laws made in Indiana for many years. So many years, in fact, that there is a book available listing the acts of the General Assembly of the Indiana Territory Passed in 1814. Oh, yes. There is. And here is the link. There aren’t many. Here they are.

The Territorial Legislature recognizes that Edmond Hogan and Thomas Neely are erecting a bridge over the Patoka River where the Saline road crosses said. It is also mentioned that this will be a toll bridge, with the tolls fixed by the Gibson County Court of Common Pleas. I am not sure what road this is talking about. It mentions the town of Columbia in Gibson County. And the only Saline that I have found is Saline City, but that is in, what was then, native American territory. Columbia is a township in Gibson County.

At the time, road work was used in lieu of road taxes. In January, 1815, the General Assembly made it the law that no person shall work more than two days a year on road work in lieu of taxes. Unless there is a new road, then there were to be no more than two days on the old road, and no more than two days on the new road. Also, “any person who chooses to work out their road tax, shall be permitted at the rate of sixty-two and one half cents per day, provided such labour be performed previous to the first day of September.”

Even mandatory military service was mentioned in terms of roads. “Be it further enacted, That the following persons shall be exempt from military duty: all ferrymen, necessarily employed at a ferry on a post road.”

Apparently, the Territorial legislature of 1814 had a lot of important things to do that year, the least of which were road laws. Divorces are listed in the Acts of the Territory.

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