Early “State Roads” Revisited

I have covered many times about what state roads in Indiana were in the 1820’s through the 1840’s. At that time, a law was passed to make the state road, the road was built, and then it was turned over to the counties for maintenance. While these roads were built to connect towns, occasionally they were built to the property of specific individuals. Even then, the state didn’t seem to have the power to take personal property to create these roads, leading them to twist and turn their way across the state based on property lines and roads that were already in place to connect them. State roads were established TO destinations, not with specific instructions.

The purpose of this post is to show the creation of state roads, specifically from the acts of the Indiana Legislature of 1832-33. It will be more of a list post than anything, but it will give you an idea of what the legislature was thinking when it created those early state roads.

The following was taken from the Richmond Weekly Palladium of 16 February 1833. All spelling, capitalization, punctuation and grammar is as it appears in that newspaper.

To establish a state road from Fairfield in Franklin county to West Union in Fayette county. (Fairfield is seven miles north of Brookville. West Union is a village seven miles south-east from Connersville.)

To alter a part of the Mooresville and Crawfordsville state road, lying between Mooresville and Danville.

To relocate a part of the Terre-Haute state road.

Supplemental to an act entitled “an act to amend the act entitled an act to establish a state road from William Connelly’s in Lawrence county, to Greencastle in Putnam county, approved February 3, 1832.

Locating a state road from Delphi in Carroll county, to Crawfordsville in Montgomery county.

Authorizing a change in a part of the Munceytown (Muncie) and Logansport state road.

To establish a state road from Mount Pleasant in Martin county, to Springville in Lawrence county. (As listed in the 1833 Indiana Gazetteer, Mount Pleasant is a post town and county seat of Martin County, located on the west bank of the east fork of the White River, on the New Albany-Vincennes State Road. It was only the county seat from 1828 to 1844.)

To establish a state road from Fairplay in Green county, to intersect the Vincennes state road, at or near Benjamin Stafford’s in said county. (The village of Fairplay was three miles north of Bloomfield along the White River.)

To locate the Alquina state road.

To locate a state road from James Marr’s in Barthlolomew county, to Jacob Woodruff’s in Johnson county.

To locate a state road from Delphi to Munceytown.

To locate part of the Martinsville, Danville and Franklin State road and for other purposes.

To locate and establish a state road from the Fort Wayne road, near Stephen Stutsman’s, by way of the mouth of the Elkhart river, to the State line, in the direction of Edwardsburgh in Michigan territory.

To locate and establish a State road from Orleans, in Orange county, via Lavonia in Washington county, to intersect the State road leading from New Albany to Vincennes in the direction of Greenville, in Floyd county.

To locate a State road from New Castle in Henry county, to Munceytown, in Delaware county.

To locate so much of the Knightstown State road as lies between Pendleton, in Madison county, and strawtown in Hamilton county.

To relocate part of the Mauk’s ferry State road.

To establish a State road from Salisbury, in Harrison county, to Providence, in Clark county, by the way of Greenville in Floyd county. (The mentioned Providence was on the Muddy Fork of Silver Creek about 16 miles west north-west of Charlestown.)

To locate a State road from Lagrange in Tippecanoe county, to the State road leading from Williamsport, in Warren county, to Chicago in the State of Illinois.

To locate a State road from Centreville in Wayne county to a certain point in Henry county.

To establish a State road from Frankfort to a point on the Michigan road, and other purposes.

To establish a State road from Bloomington in Monroe county, by way of Bale’s ferry to Leesville, in Lawrence county. For the relief of Thomas Pogue and others.

Supplemental to an act authorizing the location of a State road from Lafayette, to Lake Michigan.

To vacate a certain State road therein named.

To locate a State road from Frenchtown in Warren county to Rusks’ Mill, in Parke county.

To locate a state road therein named.

To establish a state road from Shelbyville, in Shelby county, by the way of Goshen and Newbern, in Barthlomew county, to intersect the Indianapolis and Madison state road, near Klapp’s mills, in Jennings county. (The mentioned Goshen mentioned in this reference was the original name for the town of Hope. Newbern has been mentioned in several posts as having been on the state road from Shelbyville to Madison. One would assume that this is the act creating that road.)

To establish a state road from Lexington in Scott county, to Charlestown in Clark county, and for other purposes.

Looking at some of the locations on this list, it isn’t hard to tell that some of these roads still exist. Many are in the hands of the local counties. Some have been bypassed in places, cut off in others. Some of the places listed no longer exist. Others are just vague, with no locations of destinations mentioned.

As an aside, also passed by the legislature in that session was a joint resolution “on the subject of a railroad from the Mississippi river to the city of Washington.” That could be almost any number of routes across the state. I won’t even begin to venture a guess as to which it could have been.

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