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Samuel Washington McCallie.

A preliminary report on the roads and road-building materials of Georgia online

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diabase structure. The plagioclase occurs in rather large lath-
shaped crystals, which are often cross-striated, and more or less fis-
sured or broken. Kaolinization appears in many of the crystals.
The round grains and irregular masses of olivine, in places, are
almost completely altered to serpentine. Magnetite is of com-
mon occurrence. It is generally in the form of irregular masses,
intimately associated with the olivine. The broad, well striated
plates of augite are quite conspicuous under the microscope, and
make up a considerable portion of the section. A small amount
of chlorite is present. The rock occurs in the form of large boul-
ders, well rounded, and very difficult to break. It is said to be



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1 66 EQUIPMENT, METHODS AND MATEKIALS, BY COUNTIES

quite abundant in the vicinity. It has all the essentials of a first-
class road-material.

Other exposures of trap rock are reported in the county ; but
they were not visited.



OCONEE COUNTY

Area, 1 68 square miles ; approximate road-mileage, 150; num-
ber of miles of graded road, o ; number of miles of macadamized
road, o ; amount of money annually raised for public-road pur-
poses, o. The roads are constructed and maintained by statute labor.

The highways of Oconee county are kept up under the old road
law ; and, as a general rule, they are not always in good condition.
The road-building materials are granites, gneisses and schists.
Trap rock is reported to occur near Bell's mill on the Apalachee
river, some twelve miles southwest of Watkinsville.

The county owns one iron bridge, which crosses the Apalachee
river, on the road from Athens to Madison.



CLARKE COUNTY

Area, 140 square miles; approximate road-mileage, 150; num-
ber of miles of graded road, 12 ; number of miles of macadamized
road, o; amount of money annually raised for public-road pur-
poses, $10,500. The roads are constructed and maintained by
hired free and statute labor.

Clarke county is generally hilly, and considerable grading, in
places, is necessary in constructing good roads. This county has
recently taken considerable interest in the improvement of its
highways, and many of the leading thoroughfares are now being
put in excellent condition. The county employs both hired free
and statute labor. The former is employed, mostly, in grading
and doing work of a permanent nature ; while the latter does gen-
eral repair work, and keeps the roads in a passable condition. The
County Commissioners have passed a rule, requiring all persons in
the county, subject to road-duty, to work eight days on the public



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EQUIPMENT, METHODS AND MATERIALS, BY COUNTIES 167-

roads, or to pay a commutation-tax of $2.00. The amount col-
lected from this source last year ^ was $900.

The Superintendent of Public Roads, in speaking of the method
of road-working in Clarke county, says : •* The Commissioners
have decided to employ the misdemeanor convicts next year. Our
experience teaches us, that the commutation-tax does not obviate
the difficulty of getting our roads repaired properly. The law of
1 89 1 would operate to a better advantage. We should levy a tax,
giving no alternative of working. It is well nigh impossible to-
have farm-hands do good work, because they are untrained ; and
the overseers, as a rule, allow them to kill time."

The county employs regularly, on its highways, at present, one
superintendent, one overseer and several laborers. The superin-
tendent is paid a salary of $1,200 per year, and the overseer,
$480 ; while the laborers receive 75 cents per day.

The road-working outfit consists of a road-machine, wheeled and
drag scrapers, wagons, ten mules, etc., costing originally about
$700. The superintendent says, that the road-machine is operated
by six mules and three men, and that it does the work of at least
40 men in crowning the roads.

Clarke county has an abundance of granite, gneiss, schist and
trap rock, suitable for road material. The trap rock was exam-
ined by the writer, at only two places in the county, specimens
from which are here described : —

Museum No. 1,592. Olivine-Diabase, Locality — W. D. Dean's
property, Lexington public road, six miles east of Athens. This is
a medium fine-grained, dark-gray diabase,, occurring in the form of
a dike, several feet in thickness. Microscopically, the rock is seen
to be quite homogeneous ; and it exhibits a beautiful ophitic struc-
ture. The lath-shaped plagioclase crystals are quite fresh and well
twinned. They are surrounded by broad typical plates or irregu-
lar grains of augite, often showing distinct cleavage. The olivine
occurs as rounded grains, and also as well defined crystals, with
corroded edges. Magnetite and chlorite are both present. The
former is quite plentiful, and is frequently in the form of crystals^

' 1899.



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l68 EQUIPMENT, METHODS AND MATERIALS, BY COUNTIES

Museum No. i,6i8. Olivine-Diabase, Locality — Mitchell bridge,
four miles west of Athens. This rock occurs at the above point,
intersecting the public road, in six distinct dikes, varying in thick-
ness from twenty inches to thirty feet. They are almost vertical,
cutting the gneiss at a high angle. The strike is northwest and
southeast.

The rock from the largest dike is very coarse-grained, and is
speckled by large white cr}'Stals of plagioclase, which are quite
conspicuous on a freshly broken surface. Augite, olivine and
magnetite are also easily discernible, megascopically. The plagio-
clase crystals are frequently a quarter of an inch in length, and
often show, even to the unaided eye, evidences of kaolinization.
Under the microscope, all the above named minerals, together
with a considerable amount of chlorite, are readily made out. The
large lath-shaped crystals of plagioclase are often much broken
down, and show only an imperfect twinning structure. The
augite occurs, as large plates surrounding the plagioclase crystals ;
also, as irregular grains, which, together with the olivine, chlorite
and magnetite, fill up the interstices. Magnetite is rather abun-
dant. It occurs as irregular masses, intimately associated with
the rounded grains of olivine and flakes of chlorite.



OGLETHORPE COUNTY

Area, 528 square miles ; approximate road-mileage, 350 ; num-
ber of miles of graded road, o ; number of miles of macadamized
Toad, o; amount of money annually raised for public-road purposes,
o ; number of days worked by hands each year, 3. The roads are
constructed and maintained by statute labor.

The surface of Oglethorpe county is rolling. The soils are
mostly clays, frequently mixed with considerable sand, derived
from the weathering of the granites. They are well adapted to
road-building, because they are easily drained.

The road materials are granites, gneisses and schists. The
granites are well exposed in the vicinity of Lexington, where the



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EQUIPMENT, METHODS AND MATERIALS, BY COUNTIES 165

Stone has been quarried for many years for building and ornamental
purposes. It is a dark-colored, fine-grained granite, and is well
suited for road-metal. Trap rock is reported to occur in what is
known as the Flat- woods in the eastern part of the county ; but
the locality was not visited by the writer.



WILKES COUNTY

Area, 464 square miles ; approximate road-mileage, 400 ; num-
ber of miles of graded road, 100 ; number of miles of macadamized
road, 30 ; amount of money annually raised for public-road pur-
poses, $8,500. The roads are constructed and maintained by hired
free and convict labor.

The surface of Wilkes county is undulating; and considerable
grading is required, in places, to make good road-ways. The
soils are mostly sandy, and are easily drained.

The road-building materials are granites, gneisses, schists, dia-
base and diorite. The last named rock was examined only in two
places ; and it is thus described : —

Museum No. 1,580. Porphyritic Diorite.

Locality — Lincoln road, seven miles northwest of Washington,
near Soap creek. This rock is quite abundant in the above named
locality ; and it has been used to a limited extent for macadam-
izing purposes. It has a somewhat laminated or slaty structure ;
and it weathers into small angular blocks, well suited for road
material. The color is dark-green, speckled with white spots.
The texture is quite compact, none of the individual minerals be-
ing recognized by the unaided eye, except the large crystals of
feldspdr. These are numerous; but they rarely ever measure
more than a millimeter in their greatest length.

Microscopically, the rock is seen to consist of hornblende, pla-
gioclase and magnetite. The hornblende consists of numerous
needle-like crystals and irregular plates. The latter frequently
show parallel cleavage-lines, and are distinctly pleochroic. This
mineral constitutes the ground mass of the rock, in which occur



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170 EQUIPMENT, METHODS AND MATERIALS, BY COrATTIfiS

the large, well-twinned, but partly broken down, crystals of pla-
gioclase. Irregular grains of magnetite, together -with other
minute, elongated dark crystals, probably ilmenite, are pretty
evenly distributed throughout the section.

Museum No. 1,585. Quartz-Dioriie.

Locality — Lindsey Plantation, 3 J^ miles northeast of Washing-
ton. This rock is quite plentiful on the above named property,
scattered about over the fields, in the form of rounded boulders.
It was not seen at any point, in situ. However, the area, over
which the boulders extend, makes it quite probable, that it occars
in one or more extensive dikes in the gneisses and schists. The
rock has had a limited local use for macadamizing roads, for i^ehich
it is admirably suited, on account of its toughness. It is distinctly
massive, of a dark-gray color, sometimes veined with yellow ; and
it has such an exceedingly fine, homogeneous texture, that none
of its di£Ferent mineral constituents can be satisfactorily deter-
mined by the unaided eye.

In thin sections, the following minerals may be made out, mi-
croscopically : Hornblende, feldspar, quartz, magnetite and epi-
dote, with a few patches of pyrite and chlorite. The hornblende
occurs in small greenish crystals, which often show prismatic
cleavage and strong pleochroism. All the other minerals, with
the exception of magnetite, are granular, and are pretty evenJy
distributed throughout the rock mass. The hornblende, on the
contrary, is almost absent in places. This gives to the polished
surface a mottled appearance. The epidote is often seen in large
irregular, granular masses. It is very abundant ; and when segre-
gated along incipient cracks, it produces the yellow-colored veins,
spoken of above.

Museum No. 1,669. Diabase {Trap),

Locality — 2 miles north of Washington. Hand specimens of
this rock, collected by Dr. T. L. Watson, Assistant Geologist, have
the appearance of serpentine ; but microscopic examination shows
it to consist largely of lath-shaped crystals of plagioclase and sec-
ondary hornblende, having a fibrous or massive structure. The rock
is very tough ; and it would make a good road-surfacing material.



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EQUIPMENT, METHODS AND MATERIALS, BY COUNTIES 171

The gneisses and schists are abundant, and are widely distrib-
uted throughout the county.

Much interest has been manifested in Wilkes county, in the last
few years, in the betterment of the highways ; and, as a conse-
quence, the majority of the roads are now in good condition.

The county levies a tax of two mills on the dollar, for road pur-
poses ; also, a commutation-tax of $2.00. The commuted value
of a day's labor is reckoned at 33^ cents ; or, in other words, all
persons subject to road-duty are required to work the public roads
six days each year, or pay $2.00. The road-working outfit con-
sists of two Champion road-machines, several wheeled and drag
scrapers, plows, wagons, sixteen mules, etc.

The number of convicts employed by Wilkes county, as shown
by the last report of the Prison Commission, is 71. The cost of
working these convicts is placed by the Clerk of the Board of
County Commissioners at 44 cents each per day ; while hired free
labor is placed at 75 cents per day. These estimates include all
expenses connected with the working of either hired, free or con-
vict labor.



LINCOLN COUNTY

Area, 309 square miles ; approximate road-mileage, 175; num-
ber of miles of graded road, o ; number of miles of macadamized
road, o j amount of money annually raised for public-road pur-
poses, o. The roads are constructed and maintained by statute
labor.

Lincoln county lies in the eastern part of the State, on the
Savannah river, some 30 miles northwest of Augusta. The sur-
face of the county is hilly, and the cost of constructing good
roads with easy grades, is necessarily great. The road materials
are those, common to the Crystalline belt. The gneisses and
schists are the most abundant and widely distributed rocks. In
many places, however, they arq so deeply weathered, that they
appear only in a fresh state along the streams, or in deep washes.



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1 72 EQUIPMENT, METHODS AND MATERIALS, BY COUNTIES

The nietamorphic sandstone, forming Grayes Mountain, is inter-
esting from a geological standpoint ; but it possesses little value
as a road-buflding material. Trap rock is reported from the
county, though its exact location and extent is not given.

The road-hands of Lincoln county are said to work, on an aver-
age, only two days each year on the public roads ; and, as a con-
sequence, the roads are generally in poor condition.



TALIAFERRO COUNTY

Area, 168 square miles ; approximate road-mileage, 150 ; num-
ber of miles of graded road, o ; number of miles of macadamized
road, o; amount of money annually raised for public-road pur-
poses, o. The roads are constructed and maintained by statute
labor.

Topographically, Taliaferro county is hilly. The soils are gen-
erally clays, having sufficient sand to make them well suited for
road-surfacing.

The road materials are granites, gneisses and trap rock. The
first two here named are abundant ; while the trap rock occurs
only in a few localities.

A good exposure of the last named rock may be seen in the rail-
road cut, about 200 yards east of the depot at Crawfordsville,
where it occurs in the form of a dike about two feet wide cutting
the schists at a high angle. The rock, here exposed, is a dark-
colored, rather fine-grained olivine-diabase, containing a few large
crystals of plagioclase and augite. An examination of thin sec-
tions of this rock under the microscope shows, that it consists of
plagioclase, augite, olivine and magnetite. The plagioclase occurs
in the form of long, slender, lath-shaped crystals, which are fre-
quently enveloped by the large irregular plates of augite, thus
giving rise to a very distinct ophitic structure. The olivine is very
abundant. It is always in the form of rounded grains, and often
shows an advanced stage of serpentinization. Magnetite occurs
both as crystals and grains.



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EQUIPMENT, METHODS AND MATERIALS, BY COUNTIES 173

GREENE COUNTY

Area, 361 square miles; total road-mileage, 250; number of
miles of graded road, o ; number of miles of macadamized road,
o; amount of money annually raised for public-road purposes,
$7,500. The roads are constructed and maintained chiefly by
convict labor.

Greene county has been working its highways by means of con-
vict labor for the past two years. The result of this trial, has, so
far, been very satisfactory. The roads during this time have been
greatly improved, and the system seems to meet the general
approval of all the leading citizens.

The chain-gang as now organized, consists of 15 misdemeanor
convicts. They are placed under the management of a superin-
tendent, who receives $35 per month, for his services. There
are also, regularly employed, two overseers acting as guards, who
are each paid $20 per month. The expenses of the chain-gang
are met by levying a special road-tax oi ij4 mills on the dollar,
on all taxable property, and a commutation-tax of $2.00 upon each
individual, subject to road-duty. The 'money value of a day's
labor on the public roads of Greene county has been placed by
the Commissioners at 30 cents. This low rate has been made, in
order to force all persons, subject to road-duty, to pay a commutk-
tion, instead of working on the roads. The result of enforcing
this rule, enacted by the Commissioners, brings annually into
the county treasury nearly $5,000, which is expended upon the
public roads.

Greene county has a very complete road- working outfit, valued
at something over $3,000. It consists of two road-machines, and
wheeled scrapers, plows, wagons, a camping outfit, blacksmith's
tools, twelve mules, etc. The road-surfacing materials of Greene
county are abundant. They consist of granites, gneisses, horn-
blende-schist and diorite.

A good exposure of the last named rock is to be seen on the
public road, about two miles south of Greensboiro. It occurs here



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174 EQUIPMENT, METHODS AND MATERIALS, BY COUNTIES

in considerable quantities. Megascopically, this is a rather coarse-
grained black-and-yellow-speckled rock, in which hornblende and
epidote are quite conspicuous. The former mineral frequently
occurs in the form of imperfect crystals, often a sixteenth of an
inch or more in diameter ; while the latter is present in irregular
masses, filling up, in a great measure, the intervening space be-
tween the hornblende crystals, and giving to the rock its yellow-
ish, mottled appearance. Microscopic examination reveals, be-
sides the two above named minerals, a large quantity of plagio-
clase, much decomposed, considerable quartz, and a few scattering
grains of augite and magnetite. The rock is very tough, and is
well suited for road-surfacing. Trap rock (diabase) is reported as
occurring in several places in the county ; but the localities were
not visited.



MORGAN COUNTY

Area, 322 square miles; approximate road-mileage, 450; num-
ber of miles of graded road, 40 ; number of miles of macadamized
road, o; amount of money annually raised for public-road pur-
poses, $8,500. The roads are constructed and maintained by hired
free labor.

The highways of Morgan county have been kept up, by means
of hired free labor, for about seven years. The County Commis-
sioners, in speaking of the method, say : * ' We are ver>'^ well pleased
with the system, under which we are working. The greatest
trouble is, that we have so much more road, than we have money,
that we cannot do it justice. We cannot get over the road fast
enough."

The road-working force, as now employed, consists of from 20
to 30 laborers, paid 50 cents per day, and two overseers, one re-
ceiving a salary of $50 per month, and the other, $20. The ex-
pense of maintaining the road-working force is met by a special
road-tax, of one mill on the dollar, and a commutation- tax of $2.00,
exacted of all persons subject to road-duty. The amount, thus
collected, aggregates about $8,500, of which $5,800 is collected as



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EQUIPMENT, METHODS AND MA TERIALS, B Y COUNTIES 175

commutation-tax. The value of a day's labor, when commuted, '
is rated at 25 cents ; that is, all persons subject to road-duty are
required to work the highways eight days each year, or pay the
commutation-tax of $2.cx>.

The road-working outfit consists of two road-machines, several
road-scrapers, carts, wagons, 20 mules, etc., all in good condition.
The work, so far done by hired labor on the public roads of the
county, has been confined chiefly to general repair work ; but, at
the same time, there has been considerable grading done, and, in
a few places, there has been a limited amount of macadam put
down. It is the intention of the Commissioners, to begin, at an
early date, improvements of a more lasting nature — such as the
erection of iron bridges, grading down hills, etc.

The road materials are granites, gneisses, schists and diorite.
The first three kinds of stone are widely distributed throughout
the county ; while the last named, the diorite, occurs only in a few
localities. A good exposure of the diorite is to be seen at the resi-
dence of Mr. J. H. Morgan, a short distance from Buckhead. It
is very compact and fine-grained, and is well suited for road-
surfacing.



NEWTON COUNTY

Area, 260 square miles ; approximate road-mileage, 250 ; num-
ber of miles of graded road, o ; number of miles of macadamized
road, o ; amount of money annually raised for public-road pur-
poses, o. The roads are constructed and maintained by statute
labor.

The surface of Newton county is generally rolling, and the
roads, in places, are often steep.

The rocks, suitable for road material, are abundant. They con-
sist of granite, gneiss and trap (diabase). The last-named rock
occurs in considerable quantities, in the vicinity of Covington.
In the several railroad-cuts between the depot at Covington and
the bridge across Yellow river, there was seen by the writer no
less than eight trap dikes. These dikes are usually small, vary-



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176 EQUIPMENT, METHODS AND MA TERIALS, B Y COUN^T-IJ^S

ing from a few inches to five feet or more in thickness. The
largest of these is well exposed in the second railroad-cut -west ol
the depot. In a field near by, may be seen a stone fence con-
structed of rounded boulders from this dike. Another dike, of
small size, crosses the public road, a short distance west of Oxford ;
and it again outcrops in the worn-out fields just back of Kmory
college campus. The rock in all these dikes is identical, beings a
close-grained, dark-colored, olivine-diabase, possessing all the qual-
ities of a first-class road-surfacing material.

The roads of Newton county were found to be in fair condition,
considering the system, under which they are maintained.



HENRY COUNTY

Area, 570 square miles p^ap{»oximate road-mileage, 450 ;* num-
ber of miles of graded road, o ; number of miles of macadamized
road, o ; amount of money annually raised for public-road pur-
poses, o. The roads are constructed and maintained by statute
labor.

But little interest seems to have been manifested in Henry
county, so far, in the betterment of its highways. The roads are
kept up entirely by statute labor. The hands work, on an aver-
age, five days each year. The roads, as a general rule, are in fair
condition, considering the method, under which they are main-
tained. The Ordinary says, that the present system of road-
maintenance is unsatisfactory, but that no immediate change is
anticipated.

Henry county has an abundance of gneisses and hornblende-
schist, suitable for road-surfacing material. A considerable expos-
ure of granite also occurs in the northeastern part of the county in
the vicinity of Stockbridge. The stone is fine-grained, and will
make a fair road-metal.



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EQUIPMENT, METHODS AND MATERIALS, BY COUNTIES 1 77^

CLAYTON COUNTY

Area, 135 square miles; approximate road-mileage, 100; num-
ber of miles of graded roads, o; number of miles of macadamized
roads, o; amount of money raised annually for road purposes, o^
The roads are constructed and maintained by statute labor.

Clayton county lies within the Crystalline area ; and, as a con-
sequence, it has abundance of granite, gneiss, hornblende-schist,
etc., suitable for road-material. Trap rock is also reported, in the
southern part of the county ; but the exposures were not visited by
the writer. Mr. Z. T. Manson, the County Ordinary, in speaking
of their present system of road- working, says : " We have never
tried it ; but I think to work the roads by taxation would produce
the most satisfactory results ; and I am sure we would have much
better roads." But little interest seems to be manifested in this
county in improving the present condition of the highways.



FAYETTE COUNTY

Area, 162 square miles ; approximate road-mileage, 200 ; num-
ber of miles of graded road, o ; number of miles of macadamized
road, o ; amount of money annually raised for public-road purposes^


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Online LibrarySamuel Washington McCallieA preliminary report on the roads and road-building materials of Georgia → online text (page 14 of 22)