Samuel Washington McCallie.

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

. (page 16 of 22)
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erals are unrecognizable, megascopically. This rock differs from
the characteristic Georgia diabase, in the unusually small amount
of olivine present. The plagioclase is quite fresh, and the ophitic
structure is well developed.

Museum No. 1,651 — Olivine- Diabase,

Locality — The Gaston Distillery, four miles north of Green-

A dark-gray, homogeneous diabase, in which plagioclase and
augite can be recognized megascopically. Examination of thin
sections shows the presence of but little olivine ; while magnetite
in large irregular masses is usually abundant. The augite occurs
in plates and in imperfect crystals surrounding and filling the
meshes of the felt-like structure, formed of the partly decomposed
lath-shaped crystals of plagioclase.

Museum No. 1,658 — Diabase,

Locality — Four miles west of Woodbury on the public road
leading to Greenville.

This is a typical fine-grained, dark-gray diabase, in which the
individual crystalline grains are so minute, that the mineral spe-
cies cannot be easily determined megascopically. Examination,
in thin sections under the microscope, shows a distinct ophitic
structure. The plagioclase is quite fresh and well twinned ; while
the augite occurs in its usual plate-like form. Magnetite is pres-
ent, in considerable abundance, in irregular masses and imperfect

All the trap rock (diabase), here described, occurs in the form
of a large dike traversing the county, from northwest to southeast.
It is the same dike, that extends through Coweta and Talbot coun-
ties. In Meriwether county, the dike varies in width, from a few
feet to many rods. It seems to attain its greatest thickness in the

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vicinity of Gaston's distillery, where it is ridge-forming. The
texture of the rock differs but little, from place to place. It is all
fine-grained, and is in every respect an ideal road material.


Area, 325 square miles ; approximate road-mileage, 325 ; 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

The surface of Upson county is undulating and broken. Pine
mountain traverses the northwestern part of the county. Its high-
est summit reaches, in places, an elevation of six or eight hundred
feet above the valley. To construct first-class roads, with easy
grades throughout the county, would require a large outlay of
money. Some of the main thoroughfares should be re-located, in
places, before any extensive improvement is undertaken. Many
of the steep grades could thus be avoided, and the cost of maintain-
ing the roads would be, at the same time, greatly reduced.

The road-building materials are granites, gneisses, schists and
metamorphic sandstone. The last-named variety of rock makes up
the larger part of Pine Mountain. It is usually friable, and not
well suited for road-surfacing. The gneisses are the most widely
distributed of the road-building materials. An extensive exposure
of this stone may be seen along the falls of Big Potato creek, three
miles west of Thomaston. Granites, or granitoid gneisses, are also
of common occurrence. Rocks of this character underlie a part,
if not all, of Thomaston, and are often encountered in sinking wells
in the immediate vicinity. The following is a description of a
specimen of this stone taken from a cut on the public road, east of
Thomaston : —

Museum No. 1,606 — Biotiie-Graniie,

Locality — Road cut, one mile east of Thomaston.

This rock occurs in the form of huge rounded boulders in the
red clay, where it has been exposed by the wearing away of the

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Toadbed. It is quite massive, and has a rather coarse texture and
a dark-gray color, slightly tinged with brownish red. The chief
mineral constituents can be distinguished megascopically, without
much difficulty. Feldspar is the most conspicuous constituent.
It occurs in large irregular grains, frequently showing striated
surfaces. The other minerals are present in smaller grains, and
are therefore not so easily recognized by the unaided eye.

Microscopic examination of thin sections shows the rock to be
Tiolocrystalline, and made up of feldspar, quartz, biotite, garnet,
augite, epidote and magnetite, with other iron oxides. The feld-
spar exists, in the form of large grains or irregular crystals, which
<:ontain numerous inclusions. Both orthoclase and plagioclase are
present. Biotite occurs in elongated plates and shreds, with their
longer axes more or less parallel. Associated with the biotite, are
to be seen numerous granular masses, of green augite and crystals
■of garnet. The latter are quite abundant, giving to the rock its
brownish-red tint. Epidote is pretty evenly distributed through-
out the section in small rounded grains. Quartz, which is quite
abundant, also exists in grains ; but, in contrast with those of the
other minerals, they are remarkably angular and interlocked,
which is a structural condition, common to all tough, granular
Tocks. The rock, here described, has many of the qualities of a
first-class road material.

Trap rock was reported, at one or two places in Upson county ;
but an examination of the rock proved it to be an impure iron ore.

The roads of Upson county, which were examined by the writer
during the summer of 1899, were found to be in fair condition ;
though, in places, the grades were quite steep.

The Chairman of the Board of County Commissioners says, that
he has made an effort to get the Grand Jury to make the necessary
Tecoramendations, to enable the Commissioners to change the
present system of road-working, and use convict labor ; but his
suggestions have, so far, met with disapproval ; and he expresses
the opinion, that there is not likely to be a change soon in the
present system of road-working.

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Area, 262 square miles ; approximate road-mileage, 175; 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

Considerable interest was manifested in Pike county toward the
betterment of the public roads, as early as 1849. About this time,
a stock company was organized, for the purpose of constructing a
plank road through the county. This road, though built, was ulti-
mately abandoned, and the interest in highway improvement finally
died away. The majority of the roads of the county now, are pretty
much in the same condition, as they were, twenty years ago. There
are, however, some general exceptions to this general rule. The
road, for instance, extending from Zebulon to Jolly station, has had
expended upon it, in the last two years, about $1,500, in grading
down one hill.

The County Ordinary reports an average of only about two days'
work per year, for each person, subject to road-duty.

Granites, gneisses, schists and metamorphic sandstone occur in
the county. The last named variety of rock forms Pine Moun-
tain, in the 7th and 9th districts. The mountain consists of a
number of ridges and hills, elevated several hundred feet above
the surrounding country. The rock is usually friable, and ill-
suited for road-surfacing. Large areas of granite are reported in
the northwestern and eastern parts of the county. Hornblende-
schist and gneiss are also said to be widely distributed. Almost
any of these crystalline rocks will make a fair road material.


Area, 166 square miles ; approximate road-mileage, 450 ; num-
ber of miles of graded road, many ; number of miles of macadam-
ized road, several ; amount of money annually raised for public-

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road purposes, $4,500. The roads are constructed and maintained
by convict labor.

Spalding county has done much, in the last few years, toward
the betterment of its highways. The present system of working
the convicts on the public roads was inaugurated in 1890. The
system has met with the general approval of all the leading citi-
zens; and it has produced very gratifying results, in the way of
excellent earth-roads. When the system was first introduced, as
many as 70 convicts were regularly employed upon the roads. This
large force was continued, until all the main thoroughfares were
worked over and put in shape. The number then employed was
reduced to about 25 men, its present force. This is said to be suffi-
cient to keep all the roads in repair, and also to do considerable
work in cutting down the steep grades and macadamizing the wet
and bogg^ places. Owing to the unsystematic method of work-
ing, it was found impossible to ascertain the exact number of miles
of road graded or macadamized. The main part of the work done,
so far, consists in crowning the roads by the use of machines, and
opening up the side ditches. With the present force of hands, the
Chairman of the Board of County Commissioners says, it is pos-
sible to work over all the roads in the county twice each year,,
and keep them in fair condition. He praises the present system
of road-working very highly, and says, there are no defects in it.
No one now desires to change to the old system.

The chain-gang, as now organized, is under the direction of a
superintendent, whose salary is $60 per month. There are also
three guards, regularly employed at $30 per month.

The total cost of working convicts in Spalding county is placed
at 40 cents per day for each individual. This estimate includes
all expenses connected with the chain-gang, embracing . super-
intendent's and guards' salaries, subsistence and clothing ac-
count, etc.

For road purposes, the county levies a special road-tax, of one
mill on the dollar, on all taxable property. It also exacts of each
individual subject to road-duty a commutation-tax of $1.50. All

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-persons, who refuse to pay this commutation-tax, are required to
^work on the public road six days each year. The result of the
low price placed upon statute labor, is that nearly all persons pay
the commutation- tax. The amount of money thus collected aug-
ments the sum available for public-road purposes by nearly one

The road-working outfit owned by the county is as follows :
Two Austin road-macbhies, scrapers, wagons, plows, nine mules,
a camping outfit, etc. The Chairman of the Board of Road Com-
missioners speaks in the highest terms of the road-machines.
They have unquestionably saved the county many times their
value, since their purchase. It would be practically impossible
for Spalding county to keep up her highways with 25 convicts,
without the use of the road-machines.

The road materials are abundant, and are widely distributed.
They consist of granites, gneisses and schists. Extensive ex-
posures of granite, or granitoid gneiss, may be seen at the Turner
-quarry, one mile north of Griffin. Other exposures, of a similar
character occur at different localities in the county. The gneisses
proper are more widely distributed, and are better suited for road-
metal. Hornblende-schist is also of common occurrence.


Area, 204 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, and hands work, on an ayerage, five days each year.

The surface of Butts county is undulating, and the soils are
usually somewhat sandy. Both the topography and the soils of
the county are favorable for road-building.

The main thoroughfares are kept in good condition ; though, in
places, the grades are steep. Many of the steep hills could be
4ivoided, by re-location of the roads.

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The road-building materials are gneisses, schists, diorite and

Typical gneisses of the county may be seen at Indian Springs.
They are usually fine-grained, and well suited for road-metal.
The schists are very abundant, both the mica and the hornblende
varieties. The latter, when not too distinctly laminated, has all
the qualities of a good road-surfacing material. Diorite occurs in
:several localities, a specimen of which is described, as follows : —

Museum No. 1,639 — Quartz- Diorite,

Locality — Road -side, two miles west of Jackson. A holocrys-
talline, light-gray, massive rock, in which garnet is the only min-
eral recognized megascopically. Thin sections, under the micro-
scope, reveal the presence of plagioclase, hornblende, quartz,
garnet, epidote and magnetite. The quartz and hornblende are
the principal constituents. The former occurs as small angu-
lar grains, while the latter is present as irregular, greenish plates,
frequently containing inclusions. The plagioclase, which is not
very abundant, occurs in small grains with the quartz. It is quite
fresh and is well twinned. The crystal faces of the garnets are
rarely well formed. They appear mostly as irregular granular
masses, similar to the epidote.

Trap rock (diabase) occurs on Mr. H. H. Carmichael's prop-
erty, six miles west of Jackson. Specimens of this rock were ex-
amined by the writer ; but its exact location and extent were not
investigated. It is a fine-grained, typical oli vine-diabase, well
suited for road purposes.


Area, 490 square miles ; approximate road-mileage, 325 ; num-
ber of miles of graded road, several ; number of miles of macad-
amized road, o ; amount of money annually raised for public-road
purposes, not reported. The roads are constructed and main-
tained by statute, free and convict labor.

Topographically, Monroe county is hilly; and the public roads,
in places, have steep grades. The soils are mostly clay; and

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when dry they make good roadways. The main thoroughfares
are kept up chiefly by convict and hired free labor ; while the
less important roads are kept in repair by statute labor. At the
time of the writer's visit, the chain-gang consisted of only nine
convicts. There was also, regularly employed, besides the con-
victs, a force of six free laborers, each paid 50 cents per day.
Both squads of hands were under the management of a superin-
tendent, who received $25 per month for his services. Two guards
were also employed, each receiving the same pay per month as
the superintendent.

The county raises a special road-tax, of 1.59 mills on the dollar
on all taxable property ; it also exacts of each person subject to
road-duty, eight days' labor on the public roads, or a commuta-
tion-tax of $3.00. The total amount collected from these sources
is not given ; but it probably aggregates something like $6,000.

The road-working outfit owned by the county consists of one
Champion road-machine, wheeled and drag scrapers, wagons, 9
mules, etc.

The road materials are granites, gneisses, schists, diorite and
trap. The first three varieties of rock, here given, are very abun-
dant, and widely distributed. They can be had in large quantities^
at numerous places along all the leading thoroughfares, thus re-
ducing to a minimum the cost of transportation in placing the
stone on the road.

The diorite occurs at several localities in the county. One of
the best exposures of this rock is to be seen on Mr. C. C. Calla-
way's property, two miles north of Forsyth. The rock is near a
small branch, and is also quite abundant in the adjacent fields,
where it forms boulders of various sizes, strewn over several
acres. The exposure in the road, and in the branch near by,
shows that the rock is usually massive ; however, in places it is
slightly laminated, and exhibits a somewhat schistose structure.

It is a black-and-white-speckled, medium coarse-grained rock,
with a granitoid structure. Feldspar, hornblende and garnets are
readily distinguished, without the use of the lens. The first

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•named mineral is quite conspicuous, owing to its white, pearly
lustre, contrasted with the dark-green hornblende. The garnets
are very small, but numerous, and are pretty evenly distributed
throughout the rock. The hornblende is the most abundant min-
eral constituent. Augite is also plentiful. The rock is very
tough, and well suited for road-surfacing.

A similar rock to the above occurs on the Juliette road, eight
miles east of Forsyth. The rock is found here in large quantities.
In places, it is so plentiful in the fields, as to seriously interfere
with cultivation. To rid the fields of these boulders, they have
been piled in heaps ; and, in some cases, they have been utilized
for making fences. The rock is massive, and of a light-gray
color, with a slight greenish tint. It has a uniform and rather
fine texture ; however, all the principal mineral constituents can be
made out, without the use of the lens. Thin sections, when ex-
amined under the microscope, disclose the following minerals
named in the order of their abundance : Feldspar, hornblende,
quartz, epidote and magnetite.* The minerals are all compara-
tively fresh ; and the rock is quite tough, and hard to break. It
has all the qualities of a good road material.

Trap rock (olivine-diabase) occurs at a number of places in the
county. The most extensive exposure of this rock examined by
the writer is on the Meek plantation, four miles south of Forsyth.
The rock occurs here, in great abundance, forming a hill many
feet in height. It is also the most common rock, seen along the
public road, for a mile or more south of this point.

The rock is holocrystalline, dark-gray and massive, resembling
granite very closely in structure. It is rather coarse-grained.
Both feldspar and biotite are easily distinguished by the unaided
eye. The latter mineral is pretty evenly distributed throughout
the rock, in the form of small plates, which give to the fresh
broken surface a glistening appearance.

Under the microscope, the rock is seen to be made up of feld-
spar, augite, biotite, epidote, olivine and pyrite. Both the plagio-
clase and microcline feldspars are present ; but the former is much

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more plentiful than the latter. Augite, the second most abundant
mineral named, is in the form of rather large rounded grains
whose edges are frequently bordered by a narrow, pale-brown
margin of secondary hornblende. Plates and shreds of biotite are
unevenly spread throughout the section. This rock differs from
the common diabases of Georgia in possessing a granitoid struc-
ture; also, in having an unusually large amount of biotite and
microcline present.

Another exposure of trap rock (olivine-diabase) occurs on the
Middlebrook plantation, seven miles east of Forsyth. This is a
greenish-gray, rather coarse-grained diabase. The three chief
minerals, namely plagioclase, augite and olivine, can each be dis-
tinguished, without the use of the lens. In thin sections, chlorite
and magnetite are also seen to be present.

The plagioclase crystals, in places, are partly kaolinized ; al-
though the rock, on fresh broken surfaces, looks to be perfectly
sound. The rock occurs in a dike, about twenty feet in thickness.
It can be traced through the cultivated fields, for some distance,
by the rounded boulders strewn about the surface.

Two other dikes, of similar character to the above, were exam-
ined by the writer in Monroe county. One of these, which has a
thickness of less than three feet, crosses the public road on the way
to the Meek plantation, about one mile south of Forsyth ; and the
other appears on Mr. C. C. Calloway's farm, two miles north of


Area, 381 square miles; approximate road-mileage, 500; num-
ber of miles of graded road, o ; number of miles of macadamized
road, o ; amount of money annually raised for public-road purposes,
$8,400. The roads are constructed and maintained by convict

The present system of working the public roads of Jasper county
went into effect, upon the recommendation of the grand-]ur>', in
1897. Convict labor is now exclusively used on all the highways^.

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and is said to be very satisfactory to the tax-payers. The roads
have been much improved by the new system, and are in fair con-
dition throughout the county, though, in the winter and early
spring, they become quite muddy, in places, a defect to be over-
come only by the use of macadam.

The county chain-gang, as now organized, consists of 22 ipisde-
meanor convicts, under the management of a superintendent, who
receives a salary of $45 per month. There is also regularly em-
ployed two overseers acting as guards, and two men, who operate
the road-machines, each paid $20 per month. Since the organi-
zation of the chain-gang, all the principal roads of the county have
been gone over by the road-machines, and their surfaces have
been crowned. It is the intention of the Commissioners to begin,
at an early date improvements of a more permanent nature, such
as grading and macadamizing.

The road-working equipment owned by the county consists of 3.
road-machines, i wheeled scraper and 6 drag scrapers, besides
wagons, plows, 18 mules, a camping outfit, etc., all in fair condition.

The rocks suitable for road-surfacing are granites, gneisses,
schists and trap, all of which, except the last named, are widely
distributed throughout the county. Trap rock also occurs in con-
siderable abundance; but it does not appear to be generally dis-
tributed. As far as the writer's personal observation extends, the
trap rock seems to be confined to one large dike, traversing the
county from north to south. This dike is well exposed about a
mile north of Monticello ; also, at Hillsboro, and several interven-
ing points. In places, notably in the vicinity of Hillsboro, it
forms a well defined ridge, with slopes strewn with innumerable
boulders, originating from the breaking down of the dike.

The rock is a medium fine-grained, light-gray, massive, homo-
geneous olivine-diabase, in which feldspar and a few scattering
grains of pyrite may be recognized by the unaided eye. Micro-
scopic examination of the sections shows the rock to contain
the usual minerals common to a typical diabase. The plagio-
clase occurs in rather small lath-shaped crystals^ well twinned,^

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and usually quite fresh. Augite is present, mostly in large
brown plates, which enclose the feldspar crystals, and gives rise
to a very distinct ophitic structure. Olivine and magnetite are
both found in the sections ; but neither is abundant.

This rock is an excellent road-surfacing material. It can be
easily quarried at several points along the Macon & Northern
Railroad. Probably one of the best locations for opening up a
quarry, along the line of outcropping, is at Hillsboro, where
the railroad intersects the trap dike ridge.


Area, 335 square miles ; approximate road-mileage, 250 ; num-
ber of miles of macadamized road, a few ; amount of money an-
nually raised for public-road purposes, $7,(XX). The roads are
constructed and maintained by hired free labor.

Topographically, Putnam county is undulating ; and the soils
are usually favorable for road building. Many of the highways
throughout the county are steep, in places, and need to be re-
located, before any work of a permanent nature is undertaken ;
but otherwise, they are in much better condition, than the aver-
age roads throughout the counties of North Georgia.

Much interest has been manifested in this county in the better-
ment of the highways, since 1892, when the old system of work-
ing the roads by statute labor was replaced by hired free labor.
This system of highway improvement was kept up, until last
year, when it, in turn, was replaced by the convict system, which

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Online LibrarySamuel Washington McCallieA preliminary report on the roads and road-building materials of Georgia → online text (page 16 of 22)