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Samuel Washington McCallie.

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

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is now in use, and which seems to give general satisfaction. Under
the free labor system, 15 hands were regularly employed. Besides
general repair work, this force was able to do considerable grading,
in places, as well as to crown many miles of road with the road-
machines. The hands, under the system, received 50 cents each
per day and subsistence. They were in charge of a general super-
intendent, or overseer, who directed the work, and who made
reports to the Commissioners, from time to time, concerning the



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EQUIPMENT, METHODS AND MATERIALS, BY COUNTIES 2OI

nature and extent of the work executed. This plan of road-
working seemed to have given good results, as is shown by the
many miles of well crowned roads throughout the county. The
present system of convict labor seems to be another step forward,
in the way of highway improvement ; and it will probably be only
a short time before this county can boast of the best kept earth-
roads in this part of the State.

Putnam county has an excellent road-working outfit, consisting
of three Champion road-machines, scrapers, wagons, twenty mules,
etc., all in fair condition.

The chain-gang, together with the other expenses connected
with road improvement, is maintained by a commutation-tax, of
$1.75, and a special road-tax, of i 3-4 mills on the dollar, on all
taxable property. The total sum, collected from these two sources
in 1898, was about $7,000.

The road materials are abundant and widely distributed. They
consist of granite, gneiss, schist, massive quartz and diorite. The
granites of this county have more or less extensive use for build-
ing and ornamental purposes. They are frequently very fine-
grained and well suited for road-surfacing.

The best materials in the county for road-metal, examined by
the writer, are the diorites, a specimen of which is here de-
scribed : —

Museum No. 1,728 — Quariz-Diorite*

Locality — Electric Light Plant, four miles south of Eaton ton.

This is a dark white-and-black-speckled rock, occurring in the
form of a huge dike, which crosses Little river at the above point,
where it gives rise to the falls, which supply the electric plant
with power. The chief mineral constituents of the rock, namely,
plagioclase, hornblende and quartz, are readily distinguished,
megascopically. The rock is medium coarse-grained, and, in
places, shows evidences of shearing. The sample taken was
somewhat weathered. Microscopic examination of thin sections
shows, that the plagioclase is much broken down, and rarely ex-
hibits distinct cleavage lines. The hornblende is dark-green ; it



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202 EQUIPMENT, METHODS AND MATERIALS, BY COUNTIES

often sho.ws prismatic cleavage. The quartz occurs in the form
of more or less rounded grains, which are often fractured. In ad-
dition to these minerals, there is also present, considerable pyrite
and epidote, unevenly distributed throughout the section.

This rock has all the qualities of a first-class road-material, with
the exception of the decomposed condition of the feldspar, which
will probably disappear a short distance beneath the surface.

Other rocks, of a similar nature, occur on Mr. Oscar Reed's
property, five miles north of Eaton ton ; also, on the public road,
a quarter of a mile west of Clopton's store, eight miles south of
Eatonton. A specimen. Museum No. 1,748, of the last named
Tock, collected by Professor Yeates, has a somewhat porphyritic
structure, due, in great measure, to irregular masses of epidote,
which seems to have originated from the breaking down of the
feldspar. The hornblende is mostly in the form of elongated
masses, or fibres. Large crystals showing prismatic cleavage are
also present.

HANCOCK COUNTY

Area, 474 square miles; approximate road-mileage, 400; num-
ber of miles of graded road, 200; number of miles of macadam-
ized road, o ; amount of money annually raised for public-road
purposes, $4,000. The roads are constructed and maintained by
statute and hired free labor.

Topographically, Hancock county is hilly, and the soils, espe-
cially in the southern part, are sandy. The northern portion of
the county lies within the Crystalline area; and, as a consequence,
it is well supplied with granite, gneiss and trap, suitable for road-
construction. The granites have been quarried for some years in
the vicinity of Sparta, for street paving and for building purposes.
These rocks are usually coarse-grained, and are technically known
as porphyritic granites. They are rather poorly suited for road
macadam; but, owing to their abundance in certain localities,
they will probably become of importance in the vicinity of the
quarries for road-surfacing. Trap rock is reported as occurring



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EQUIPMENT, METHODS AND MATERIALS, BY COUNTIES 203

at several places in the northern part of the county ; but at only
one place, namely, on the road to Linton, half-a-mile south of
Sparta, was this rock examined. The rock here exposed is a
typical dark-gray, fine-grained diabase, showing under the micro-
scope a beautiful ophitic structure. The lath-shaped crystals of
plagioclase are quite fresh and well twinned. Olivine is present
in considerable abundance, and in places is undergoing alteration.
Magnetite, mostly as irregular masses, is pretty evenly distributed
throughout the section.

Hancock county employs a General Superintendent of Roads
and one Assistant Superintendent. The Superintendent is paid
$50 per month, and the Assistant, $25 per month, while the com-
mon laborers receive 50 cents per day. The road-working outfit
consists of one road-machine, plows, scrapers, 16 mules, etc.
The expense of maintaining the hired force of hands is met by
levying a special road-tax, of two mills on the dollar. The hired
force at present is chiefly engaged on the main thoroughfares,
crowning them with the road-machine, and otherwise putting
them in good condition for traffic. After these principal roads
are put in good condition, it is the intention of the Superintendent
to go over the less important roadways. Besides the hired labor,
statute labor is also pretty generally employed throughout the
county, working the full number of days, as required by law.



WARREN COUNTY

Area, 264 square miles ; approximate road-mileage, 400 ; 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, Warren county is more or less rolling. The
soils in the southern part are sandy, and easily drained ; while, in
the northern part, they are made up largely of clays, which make
good road-surfaces, as long as they are kept properly drained.

Rock suitable for road material is confined chiefly to the north-



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204 EQUIPMENT, METHODS AND MATERIALS, BY COUNTIES

western part of the county. It consists mainly of granites and
gneisses ; although trap rock is said to occur, in considerable
quantities, in some places.

The Chairman of the Board of County Commissioners says^
that the roads are worked under the old law, but that the system
is unsatisfactory. It is thought, that a special road-tax will soon
be levied, and the roads will be worked, either by convict or by
hired free labor.

The roads are now worked, on an average only about four days
each year. They are frequently in poor condition.



MCDUFFIE COUNTY

Area, 235 square miles ; approximate road-mileage, 300 ; 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, $3,500. The roads are constructed and maintained by
statute and convict labor.

McDuffie county, in its northern part, is rolling, and the soils
are mostly clayey ; while, in the southern part, the surface become
more level, and the soils are sandy.

The road materials are granites, gneisses, schists etc., confined
chiefly to the northern part of the county. There are also, to be
found in places, deposits of gravel, suitable for road-surfacing. The
chain-gang is kept up, by a special tax of i 3-4 mills on the dollar,
and a commutation-tax. The former amounts to about $1,500 per
year, and the latter, to about $2,000. The money value of a day's
labor in McDuffie county, when commuted, is rated at 40 cents ;
and the average number of days, worked upon the road during the
year, for each person subject to road-duty, is estimated at five days.

The road-working equipment consists of one new Western road-
machine and seven mules. The Chairman of the Board of County
Commissioners, in speaking of this machine, says: — ''This ma-
chine with six mules and two men does the work of at least fifty
hands." The present system of working the roads in McDuffie



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EQUIPMENT, METHODS AND MATERIALS, BY COUNTIES 205

county is reported to give satisfaction, and the roads are being
gradually improved.



COLUMBIA COUNTY

Area, 333 square miles ; approximate road-mileage, 350; number
of miles of graded road, o ; number of miles of macadamized road,
o ; amount of money annually raised for public-road purposes, $i,-
500 ; number of days worked by road-hands each year, 5. The
roads are constructed and maintained by statute labor.

Columbia county is situated in the eastern part of the State, im-
mediately north of Richmond county. Its surface is broken, and
the soils, especially in the southern part, are sandy. The Chair-
man of the Board of County Commissioners in this county says :
" Our present system is for each male person subject to road-duty,
to work five days during the year at such times as he may be called
upon, or pay a commutation-tax of 50 cents for every day's work
required." The overseers are paid each $1.00 per day, for every day
actually employed on road-duty. The county assesses a special
road-tax of two mills on the dollar, of all taxable property. The
road-building materials are granite, gneiss, hornblende-schist and
massive quartz. Trap rock is also reported to occur in the vicinity
of Harlem.



RICHMOND COUNTY

Area, 329 square miles ; approximate road-mileage, 250 ; num-
ber of miles of graded road, 250 ; number of miles of sandy road
surfaced with clay, 140 ; number of miles of gravel road, 75 ;
amount of money annually raised for the maintenance of the chain-
gang and the public roads, $24,000. The roads are constructed
and maintained by convict labor.

The citizens of Richmond county have always taken an active
interest, in the improvement of their highways. White, in his
Statistics of Georgia^ published in 1849, says, that the bridges and
roads at that time were kept in fine condition.



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206 EQUIPMENT, METHODS AND MATERIALS, BY COUNTIES

The roads of this county were maintained, until 1879, by means
of statute labor, when the present system of road improvement was
inaugurated. Judge W. F. Eve, in discussing the road problem
of Georgia, before the National Road Parliament, held in the city
of Atlanta in 1895, ^^^ ^^^ following to say, in r^ard to the method
of road improvement, adopted in Richmond county : — *

"A few years since, the county organized, and placed in charge
of her road department a road engineer ; organized her misdemeanor
convicts into a road force ; and has made very satisfactory progress.
The class of work done in my county was, first, an effort to reduce
the grade and to give the roads proper drainage. Then we did a
very considerable amount of gravel work. We have a great many
miles of gravel road. Our sand beds, which were very extensive,
have been hardened by the use of clay. We shape up a bed, and
then put from 8 to 10 inches of clay, rolling it ; and then, placing
upon it from one to three inches of sand ; and, when the wet sea-
son comes, the sand is ground into the surface. Then we shape
it up, and give it a crown, and we get it so, it becomes impervious
to water — it sheds the water. This road is cheaply made, and a
good one to travel over ; and is much more durable than one would
think. Then, too, it comes within the reach of our people."

The gravel roads of Richmond county are constructed of gravel
obtained from South Carolina, some seventeen miles southe^t of
Augusta on the Port Royal & Augusta Railroad. This material
consists of water-worn quartz pebbles cemented together by iron
oxide and sandy clays. It possesses all the essentials of a first-
class road material, and its cheapness (65 cents per ton on board of
cars at Augusta) insures its general usage, on the highways of
Richmond county. The cost of constructing roads of this material,
20 feet wide, has been estimated by Judge Eve at $1,600 per mile.
This seems to be an unusually low estimate, when the excellent
quality and durability of these roads are taken into consideration.
The chain-gang, as now employed by Richmond county, consists
of 75 misdemeanor convicts, each of whom is said to cost the county

Road Bulletin No. 19, U. S. Department of Agriculture, Office of Road Inquiry, p. 16.



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EQUIPMENT, METHODS AND MATERIALS, BY COUNTIES 307

30 cents per day. This estimate includes board and clothing of
the convicts, and the payment of the following employees, together
with all other expenses connected with the chain-gang : —

I Superintendent, salary per month |83.33>{

I Night watchman, ** " " 4^.66%

8 Guards, each 30.00

Judge Eve says of the convicts : " We find them the most sat-
isfactory labor for the roads, and the very best disposition to make
of the convicts.*'

Richmond county owns the following road-working outfit :
Road-machines, wheeled and drag scrapers, a road roller, carts,
wagons, 25 mules, a camping outfit, etc. The road-machines are
much used ; and they are said to do excellent work, in crowning
and grading the road.

The rocks suitable for road-building material are confined mostly
to the northern portion of the county, which is underlaid by the
gneisses and other crystalline rocks. In this county, only one ex-
posure of rock, well suited for road-surfacing material, was exam-
ined by the writer. This rock is described as follows : —

Museum No. 1,657 — Gneiss.

Locality — Quarry near the head of the canal, 7 miles north of
Augusta.

This rock has been used quite extensively for the last few years
in the city of Augusta, for macadamizing purposes. It is exposed
in a bluflF, many feet in height near the canal, where a large quarry
has been opened up. The rock is very much fissured and jointed,
which reduces the expenses of quarrying to the minimum; but
which does not materially injure the value of the stone for th e
purpose, for which it is used.

Megascopically, this is a very compact, fine-grained, light-gray
rock, which has, in places, a decided schistose-structure. Quartz,
feldspar and pyrite are the only minerals, distinguishable by the
unaided eye. Thin sections, microscopically examined, reveal,
besides the above named minerals, epidote, which is pretty evenly
distributed throughout the section. The quartz, which forms a



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2o8 EQUIPMENT, METHODS AND MATERIALS, BY COUNTIES

great part of the rock, occurs in small irregular grains, often ex-
hibiting uneven extinction. The feldspar also occurs as irregular
grains ; but they are generally much larger than the quartz grains.
They are neither abundant, nor are they distinctly striated. The
City Engineer of Augusta speaks in high terms of this stone as a
street-surfacing material.

Besides the above named rock, a few small gravel-beds occur in
the vicinity of Augusta, which have a limited local use for road-
surfacing. As a general rule, these gravel deposits are mixed with
a coarse sand, and are lacking in binding quality.



BURKE COUNTY

Area, i,o8o square miles ; approximate road-mileage, 600 ; num-
ber of miles of graded road, 300; number of miles of macadam-
ized road, o; amount of money annually expended on public
roads, $9,000. The roads are constructed and maintained by
statute, hired and convict labor.

Burke county employs on its public roads an average of 35 con-
victs and about 20 hired laborers. The latter each receive 50 cents
per day, and are under the direction of five overseers, who are
each paid $1.50 per day. These overseers also have charge of the
statute labor of the county. The chain-gang is under the imme-
diate direction of four overseers, or guards, three of whom are
paid $20 each per month, and one, $40 per month. Burke county
raises no special road-tax ; but it appropriates, annually, from the
general county-fund, $2,000 for road purposes. This sum is
increased by about $7,000, which is collected as commutation-
taxes. The rated money value of a day's labor has been placed
by the County Commissioners at 40 cents.

The equipage for road-working, of Burke county, consists of one
road-machine, five drag scrapers, plows, wagons, four mules, etc.
Mr. J. P. Palmer, Superintendent of County Roads, reports no
rock suitable for road-construction, found within the county.



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EQUIPMENT, METHODS AND MA TERIALS, B V COUNTIES 209

JEFFERSON COUNTY

Area, 640 square miles ; approximate road-mileage, 700 ; num-
ber of miles of graded road, 100 ; amount of money annually raised
for public-road purposes, $2,000. The roads are constructed and
maintained by convict and statute labor.

The highways of Jefferson county are kept up, at present, chiefly
by convict labor. There is also a limited amount of statute labor
employed. All persons, subject to road-duty, are required to pay
a commutation-tax of $1.60, or to work upon the public roads six
days each year. The latter alternative is sometimes chosen ; and,
as a result, there is more or less statute labor utilized upon the
highways. Such labor is said to be almost worthless. The Chair-
man of the Board of County Commissioners, in speaking of the
present method of road- working, says : '*The system was adopted
under much opposition ; and it still has its enemies ; nevertheless,
the roads have been greatly improved, and the system is gradually
growing in favor. The roads are now, for the first time, being
worked in a systematic manner, and, in a short time, under the
present management, all the main thoroughfares will be placed in
good condition to the county-line."

The chain-gang, as now organized, consists of about 40 convicts.
It varies in numbers from 10 to 50, the average being probably
about 20. A superintendent and two guards are regularly em-
ployed; but their salaries were not stated in the report of the
Chairman of the Board of County Commissioners. The county
owns the following road-working equipment : One Champion road-
machine, two wheeled scrapers, two drag scrapers, and plows, wag-
ons, eight mules, etc.

No rock, suitable for road material, is reported from Jefferson
county. Clay is generally used for surfacing on sandy roads. The
chain-gang has been employed, so far, mainly in crowning and
widening the roads.



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210 EQUIPMENT, METHODS AND MATERIALS, BY COUNTIES

GLASCOCK COUNTY

Area, 90 square miles ; total road-mileage, 100 ; number of miles
of graded road, o; number of miles of macadamized road, o;
amount of money annually raised for public-road purposes, $2,ocx).
The roads are constructed and maintained by hired free labor.

Glascock county is the smallest county in the State. It lies
wholely within the Tertiary area ; and, as a consequence, its sur-
face is level and sandy. Good roads can be constructed in the
county, with comparatively little or no grading. Heavy beds of
sand constitute one of the chief obstacles to be overcome, in mak-
ing hardened ways.

Rock suitable for road-surfacing is almost entirely absent. A
ferruginous rock, probably an impure iron ore, suitable for road-
surfacing, is said to occur in some localities. Its extent and the
exact localities were not given, in the report from that county.

The highways of Glascock county are at present kept up by
means of hired free labor. This method of road-working went
into efEect the first of January, 1899 ; and, so far, it seems to give
general satisfaction. The road-working force, as now employed,
consists of 16 laborers and 2 overseers. The latter are paid $1.20
per day, and the former, 50 cents. The county, as yet, levies no
special road-t^x ; but it raises all money expended upon the public
roadways, by exacting a commutation-tax of all individuals subject
to road-duty. The money value of a day's labor, when commuted,
is rated at 50 cents. The amount of money, thus raised, is reported
to be about $2,000.

WASHINGTON COUNTY

Area, 688 square miles ; approximate road-mileage, 650 ; 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, $10,000. The roads are constructed by statute, hired and
convict labor.

There has been much interest manifested in Washington county



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EQUIPMENT, METHODS AND MA TERIALS, B Y COUNTIES 3 1 1

recently in good-road improvement. In January, 1898, the new
road-law, after much opposition, went into effect; and a special
tax, of one mill on the dollar, together with a commutation-tax,
was levied for road purposes. The amount of money, collected
from these two sources last year, was $3,500 and $6,500, respect-
ively; making a total sum, of $10,000, available for road-improve-
ment The roads of the county, as now improved, are under the
management of seven superintendents and twenty-one overseers,
appointed by the Commissioners. The superintendents are paid
$2.00, and the overseers, $1.00 each per day for their services,
while actually engaged on road-duty. In addition to hired and
statute labor, the county employs a chain-gang of about 15 con-
victs. Thi3 force is engaged mainly, in rounding up the roads
with the road-machines, and doing general repair work.

The county owns the following road-working outfit: 3 road-
machines, 126 wheel-barrows, 252 picks, 252 shovels, 12 spades,
36 axes, 126 hoes, 126 mattocks, wagons, 15 mules, etc.

Local beds of fossiliferous limestone, suitable for road-material,
are known to occur in the county ; but their extent has not been
investigated.



BALDWIN COUNTY

Area, 240 square miles ; approximate road-mileage, 350; num-
ber of miles of graded road, o; number of miles of macadamized
road, o; amount of money raised annually for road purposes,
$6,000. The roads are constructed and maintained by convict
labor.

Baldwin county has been working convicts on its public roads
for eighteen months. Mr. Daniel B. Sanford, Chairman of the
Board of County Commissioners, in speaking of the system, says :
"I am satisfied, after 18 months' trial, that to work convicts or
paid labor with proper machinery, is the only system, by which
respectable public roads can ever be had in Georgia. It is expen-
sive, to organize and operate in the beginning ; but, the longer it



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212 EQUIPMENT, METHODS AND MATERIALS, BY COUNTIES

is operated, the less the expense will be. The old system of
working the public roads was, and is still, a farce."

The road employees of Baldwin county consist of one superinten-
dent, at $75 per month ; one overseer, four guards, and two machine
men, each at $30 per month ; and two drivers and one cook, at $20
per month. The average number of convicts employed is fifteen.
Each convict costs the county about $4.00 per month. The road
equipment consists of twenty mules, two Champion road-machines,
wagons, scrapers, etc. The county assesses a special road-tax, of
two mills on the dollar, and a commutation-tax, of $2.50 on each
individual subject to road-duty. The money value of a day's
labor is rated at 30 1-4 cents, and, as a consequence, all persons,
assessed, pay the $2.50 per annum, rather than work out their
assessment. From this source, more than one half of the money
expended on the public roads is obtained. Baldwin county has
three excellent iron bridges, valued at $20,000.


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Online LibrarySamuel Washington McCallieA preliminary report on the roads and road-building materials of Georgia → online text (page 17 of 22)