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Samuel Washington McCallie.

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

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The road materials of the county consist of granite, gneiss,
schist, gravel and trap rock. The first three named varieties of
rock are abundant in the northern and central parts of the county ;
while the gravel occurs in the Cretaceous deposits, which cover
much of the southern portion of the county. The only trap-rock
examined occurs in a cut on the Georgia Railroad near Fishing
creek, one mile north of Brown station. The dike at this point
has a thickness of about 75 feet, and consists of a medium fine-
grained, homogeneous, dark-gray trap rock {plivine-diabase). The
margin of the dike has a much finer grain than the center, which
is evidently due to a difference in the rate of cooling. In the
public road, near by, and also in the adjacent woods and fields,
may be seen numerous boulders of trap. Some of these specimens
resemble very closely dark, semi-crystalline limestone in general
appearance. However, they are much heavier and more diflScult
to break.



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EQUIPMENT, METHODS AND MA TERIALS, B Y COUNTIES 2 1 3

WILKINSON COUNTY

Area, 417 square miles; approximate road-mileage, 700; 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, not ascertained. The roads are constructed and maintained
by statute labor.

The surface of Wilkinson county is undulating, and the soils
are generally sandy. The roads are kept up mainly by statute
labor, each person subject to road-duty being required to work
eight days each year. A tax of about one third of i per cent, is
said to be collected for road purposes ; but the total amount col-
lected was not ascertained The county owns one road-machine,
which was used for a while ; but, owing to the lack of money to
operate it, the machine was laid aside, although it is reported to
have done good work.

The only rock reported from Wilkinson county, suitable for
road-surfacing, is limestone. A considerable exposure of this
stone, formerly used in the construction of chimneys, is said to
occur near Irwinton. It is a soft, rotten stone, when first quar-
ried; but, after exposure to the atmosphere, it becomes quite
hard.



TWIGGS COUNTY

Area, 376 square miles; approximate road-mileage, 350; 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 kept up by statute labor.

The northern part of Twiggs county is rolling; while the
southern part is comparatively level. The soils are mostly of a
clayey nature, except, in the southern portion, where, at some
places, they are quite sandy. The roads, which are worked on
an average of about 9 days each year, are said to be in fair condi-
tion. The present system of road-maintenance is reported by the



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214 EQUIPMENT, METHODS AND MATERIALS, BY COUNTIES

Ordinary to give general satisfaction ; and no change in the
method of road-working is contemplated.

Limestone and flint, suitable for road-surfacing, occur at a few
points in the southern part of the county.



JONES COUNTY

Area, 386 square miles ; approximate road-mileage, 350 ; 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. $6,0(X). The roads are constructed and maintained by
convict labor.

The highways of Jones county were kept up by statute labor,
until January, 1898, when hired free labor was introduced. This
in turn was replaced, in a short time, by convict labor, which is
still in use. The chain-gang, as now organized, consists of 20
convicts, under the management of a superintendent and two
overseers. The latter act also as guards. Each of these em-
ployees receives a salary of $25 per month. The Chairman of
the Board of County Commissioners, in speaking of the defects
of the present system, says : " One of our mistakes is, that we
are using too cheap men ior our superintendents and overseers."
This statement is unquestionably true, as it hardly seems prob-
able, that a competent superintendent could be had at such a
meager salary.

The road-working outfit of Jones county consists of 2 road-
machines, 3 wheeled scrapers, 2 drag scrapers, 4 wagons, a camp-
ing outfit, 18 mules, and all tools necessary for maintaining first-
class earth-roads. The work, so far accomplished by the chain-
gang, has been mainly repair work. In addition to this, there has
also been considerable work done, in places, in straightening and
crowning the roads. At the time of the writer's visit, only about
one third of the total road-mileage of the county had been im-
proved by the chain-gang. Some of these roads were examined,
and found to be in excellent condition, for common earth-roads.



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EQUIPMENT, METHODS AND MA TERIALS, B Y COUNTIES 2 1 5

They were usually well crowned, and had ample side ditches, to
carry off all surface-water. Topographically, Jones county is
hilly ; and much grading will be required, in places, before first-
class roads can be constructed.

The soils of the county are favorable for the construction of
good roads, except in the southern part, where there is more or
less superficial sand. Road-building materials are abundant, and
widely distributed throughout the county. Granites, gneisses and
schists are all nearly everywhere present. There are also numer-
ous dikes of trap rock, occurring in the county. In going west
from Clinton on the Macon public road, the following dikes are
to be seen : —

ist, 2>^ miles west of Clinton, thickness, 2>^ feet
2d, 5 '' ** '* '* '* 4 ''

3d, 5J^ U U U CI cc 5^ u

4th, 6 '* M *' *' '' 50 *'

In addition to these, there is a very large dike, many feet in
thickness, exposed on the Clinton road, about 200 yards west of
Gray's station. This is the continuation of the Jasper County
dike, and is one of the largest, as well as the most extensive trap
dikes in the State. From Gray's station, it extends southwest,
forming a well-defined ridge, running parallel with the Macon
and Northern Railroad, some six or seven miles, where it finally
disappears beneath the Columbia sands. The most southern ex-
posure of the dike is to be seen in a cut on the Georgia Railroad,
only a short distance from Slocum. It here has a thickness of
fully 150 feet, and is favorably located for quarrying. *

The following is a description of a specimen of rock, taken from
the dike on the Macon public road, six miles west of Clinton.
The rock is a medium coarse-grained, dark-gray olivine-diabase.
The center of the dike, from which the specimen was taken, has
a muchcoarser texture than the edges, where it comes in contact
with the enclosing gneisses and schist. With the exception of

' See Plate XIX.



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EQUIPMENT, METHODS AND MATERIALS, BY COUNTIES 217

the Streets of Macon ; but it has not always given satisfaction, on
account of its imperfect binding quality. Besides gravel, there
also occurs in the county an abundance of granite, gneiss, lime-
stone and trap rock, all suitable for road-surfacing. The lime-
stones, which are all probably of Tertiary age, are confined chiefly
to the southern portion of the county ; while the above-named
crystalline rocks occur in the northern portion. There are several
exposures of trap-rock along the Southern Railway, a short
distance north of Macon. One of the most conspicuous exposures
of this rock is to be seen in the railroad cut, only a few hundred
yards north of the pumping station of the city water-works. The
dike here has a thickness of about sixty feet. It continues for
several hundred yards, nearly parallel to and only a short distance
from the railroad. In places, it seems to be buried beneath the
recent gravel deposits; and its presence is detected only by a few
boulders of disintegration, scattered along the hill-slope. Some-
thing like a mile north of the above-named point, is another dike,
exposed in a cut, on the east side of the railroad. The rock form-
ing this dike is slightly laminated, and has evidently been sub-
jected to some movement, since its consolidation. Still further to
the north, probably 300 yards, is another dike, much larger
than either of the others. All these dikes dip at a high angle, and
have a northeast-and-southwest trend. The rock is a medium
fine-grained, dark-gray olimne-diabase^ containing a considerable
amount of magnetite. It is very diflScult to break ; and it weathers
into the characteristic rounded "nigger-head" boulders. Each of
these dikes, as well as another one near the eight-mile post, is in-
tersected by the Southern Railway. They are all favorably located
for opening up quarries.

Hornblende-schists and gneisses, suitable for road-metal, are of
common occurrence in the crystalline rocks north of Macon.
Massive quartz rock is also more or less abundant. It could be
used to advantage, in road-surfacing.

Bibb county is fairly well supplied with road-machinery etc.
It owns 35 head of mules, two road-machines, numerous scrapers.



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ai8 EQUIPMENT, METHODS AND MATERIALS, BY COUNTIES

plows, wagons, etc., having a total valuation of several thousand
dollars. The chain-gang is under the general direction of a super-
intendent, who is paid $80 per month. There are also regularly
employed two overseers, seven guards, two cooks and one wagoner,
who are paid salaries varying from $20 to $36 per month. The
county, in the last few years, has constructed five iron bridges, at
a total cost of $57,000. It is the intention of the Commissioners
to increase their working force, in a short time, and to begin
macadamizing the roadways, or surfacing them with gravel. The
long and severe freezes of last winter * rendered many of the roads
of Bibb county almost impassable. This, with other causes, has
influenced many of the leading citizens of the county to advocate
the issuing of bonds for road-improvement.



HOUSTON COUNTY

Area, 570 square miles ; approximate road-mileage, 250; num-
ber of miles of graded road, 50 ; number of miles of macadamized
road, o; amount of money annually raised for public-road pur-
poses, about $6,000. The roads are constructed and maintained
by statute and convict labor.

Houston county is generally level ; and the cost of grading the
roads is comparatively small. Both statute and convict labor are
employed on the highways. All persons subject to road-duty are
required to work the road six days each year, or pay a commuta-
tion-tax of $2.00. The amount, thus collected, together with a
special road-tax, of two mills on the dollar on all taxable property,
makes a sum of about $6,000, available annually for road-improve-
ment. This sum is expended chiefly in the maintenance of a
chain-gang, consisting of forty or fifty convicts.

The chain-gang is under the direction of a superintendent, who
receives an annual salary of $600. There are also regularly em-
ployed four guards, at $20 each per month. The cost of main-
taining each convict per month is placed at $7.00. It is not



* i8s8-'99.



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EQUIPMENT, METHODS AND MATERIALS, BY COUNTIES 219

stated, whether or not this estimate includes the cost of guarding ;
but presumably, it does not.

The road-working outfit of the county consists of 16 mules, 6
wagons, I road-machine, several wheeled scrapers, plows, etc.,
valued at about $1,500. The work of the chain-gang, so far,
has been confined mostly to general repair work. Some of the
main thoroughfares have been crowned, and are now in excellent
condition, for earth-roads.

The road-surfacing material of Houston county consists of
limestone. It occurs in several localities in the county; but,
only at one place, near Tivola on the Georgia Southern &
Florida "Railroad, has it been quarried for road purposes.

The rock exposed at the above point consists of highly fos-
siliferous limestone, containing a considerable quantity of sand.
It is friable, and is easily crushed to a powder ; but, when wet,
it readily coheres forming a compact, solid mass, almost equal to
Portland cement. Large quantities of this stone have been used
on the streets of Macon, where it has given general satisfaction.
Its chief merit as a road-surfacing material lies in its high
cementing-power. The stone exists in large quantities, and is
easily prepared for the road-bed. It is one of the most valuable
and one of the cheapest road-surfacing materials, to be found any-
where in South Georgia; and it should be extensively used in
Houston and the adjoining counties, for constructing hardened
ways.



CRAWFORD COUNTY

Area, 324 square miles; approximate road-mileage, 255; num-
ber of miles of graded road, o ; amount of money annually raised
for public-road purposes, o. The roads are constructed and main-
tained by statute labor.

In discussing the present system of keeping up the roads in
Crawford county, the Chairman of the Board of County Commis-
sioners, says : *' Our roads are worked under the old system. A
few days before Court meets, the hands are called out with weed.



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220 EQUIPMENT, METHODS AND MATERIALS, BY COUNTIES

ing-hoes and scrapes, and rake in a little straw and dirt, and most
of the time get through before dinner. Hence, our roads are in a
poor fix. I do not approve this plan ; but the above are the facts.'*
There is abundance of granite and gneiss in the northern part
of Crawford county, for road-surfacing. There is also gravel in
some places in the southern part of the county, suitable for road-
material.



TAYLOR COUNTY

Area, 356 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, o. The roads, which are worked annually only about three
days, are constructed and maintained by statute labor.

The surface of the northern portion of Taylor county is some-
what hilly, while the southern and central portions are compara-
tively level. This difference in topography is due in a large
measure to the underlying geological formations. The northern
part of the county lies within the Crystalline area, while the
southern part lies within the Cretaceous area. The surface soils
in the latter area are generally sandy and are poorly suited for
constructing roads. In many places, as in the vicinity of Butler,
the' county-seat, and also at other points south of that place, the
surface sands are quite thick and render the building of good roads
a serious question. The surfacing of these sandy roads with clay
greatly improves their condition, as is shown by one of the road-
ways leading into Butler. However, in many places, this method
of road-surfacing is impracticable, as the clay would have to be
hauled for a long distance. In the northern part of the county,
just the opposite condition from the above exists, that is, clay soils
abound, which invariably make unsatisfactory roads during the
spring and winter months.

The material for road-surfacing, which consists mainly of gran-
ites, gneisses and schists, is confined to the northern part of the
county. The material noticed south of the Crystalline area of the



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EQUIPMENT, METHODS AND MATERIALS, BY COUNTIES 221

county, suitable for road-surfacing, is gravel, a good exposure of
which is to be seen in a cut on the Central Railway, about three
miles east of Butler. The gravel, here exposed, forms a bed
several feet in thickness, and appears to be of good quality for
road-surfacing. In the southern part of the county, sandstone
and limestone are reported to be found in a few localities ; but
neither stone probably exists in sufficient quantities, to be of much
importance.

The County Ordinary, in speaking of the public roads of Taylor
county, says : " The present system of road-working is unsatisfac-
tory, and it is the intention of the County Commissioners during
the present year to adopt a new road-law, and work the roads
hereafter by taxation."



MACON COUNTY

Area, 288 square miles ; approximate road-mileage, 400 ; num-
ber (rf -mites 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.

Macon county is usually level, and the soils are sandy. The
road-building materials consist of limestones, which occur in a few
localities. Small exposures of these rocks are to be seen within
the corporate limits of Montezuma. They are usually fossiliferous
and soft ; but occasionally, they become compact and hard. Gravel
also occurs in places in the northern part of the county, though
the beds are of limited extent. Clays suitable for surfacing sandy
roads are pretty generally distributed throughout the county.

The roads of Macon county are worked, on an avereage, only
about three days-each year.



SCHLEY COUNTY

Area, 163 square miles ; approximate road-mileage, 150 ; num-
ber of miles of graded road, o ; number of miles of macadamized



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222 EQUIPMENT, METHODS AND MATERIALS, BY COUNTIES

road, o ; amount of money annually raised for public-road pur-
poses, o. The roads are constructed and maintained by statute
labor.

Topographically, Schley county is level, and the soils are sandy.
The roads are worked under the old law. Sandy roads are im-
proved by surfacing with clay, which is found widely distributed
over the county. Limestone rocks occur in some localities ; but,
so far, they have not been used for road purposes. The county
owns no road machinery ; and, apparently, but little interest has
been taken in the improvement of its highways.



MARION COUNTY

Area, 330 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, Marion county is generally level, and the soils,
sandy. The Chairman of the Board of County Commissioners, in
speaking of the roads of Marion county, says : "Really we have
no system of road-maintenance. The old statute system, by
free labor and overseers, is the system, by which we pretend to
do work. This is a make-shift at best, and, when poorly enforced,
is almost a failure. Our county in this particular, is a half-
century behind the times. Commissioners of Roads and Reve-
nues have been recently appointed ; and we would attempt re-
form ; but we are handicapped by a heavy indebtedness on the
county, imposed by the former management."

The roads are worked, on an average, about five days each year,
which is sufficient to keep them in passable condition. Owing to
the ievelness of the surface, but little grading is required in con-
structing first-class roads.

The road materials are limestone and gravel, neither of which
is abundant, or widely distributed. Clays, for surfacing sandy
roads, are plentiful, and nearly everywhere present.



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EQUIPMENT, METHODS AND MATERIALS, BY COUNTIES 323

MUSCOGEE COUNTY

Area, 244 square miles ; approximate road-mileage, 2cx> ; num-
ber of miles of graded road, several ; amount of money annually
expended upon the highways, not reported. The roads are con-
structed and maintained by convict and statute labor.

The northern portion of Muscogee county is generally hilly ;
while the southern portion is level and sandy. Owing to these
topographic differences, the northern and the southern parts of
the county present different problems, in the way of road-con-
struction. In the northern part of the county, one of the main
questions, to be considered in road-building, is the cost of grad-
ing. This item of expense, in many places in the southern part
of the county, is frequently reduced almost to nothing ; however,
the cost of removing, or covering heavy beds of sand with sur-
facing material, is often equally expensive. The road-surfacing
materials of the southern portion of the county are gravel and
clay. The clays are pretty generally distributed ; while the
gravel deposits are of limited extent. Good exposures of gravel
are to be seen along the Southern Railway, within the corporate
limits of Columbus. These gravel deposits are frequently defec-
tive in binding quality, on account of the large amount of coarse
sand present.

The road materials of the northern part of the county are more
varied, and more widely distributed, than those of the southern
part. They consist chiefly of gneiss, granite and schist. The
most abundant of these is gneiss, much of which is well suited
for road-surfacing. material. Typical specimens of this variety of
rock are to be seen in the bed of the Chattahoochee river, just
below the Eagle and Phcenix Mills, at Columbus. The rock here
exposed is a dark-colored, banded hornblende-biotite-gneiss. It
has. been used, to a limited extent, in the city of Columbus for
macadam, for which purpose it seems to be fairly well suited.
The banded structure of the rock is barely noticeable in a hand
specimen ; but it is very pronounced in the natural outcroppin g



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224 EQUIPMENT, METHODS AND MATERIALS, BY COUNTIES

The rock varies considerably in texture. However, it generally
has a medium-fine grain, which renders it quite tough, and diflB-
cult to break. Hornblende, biotite, feldspar and quartz are read-
ily made out, by the unaided eye.

Microscopic examination of thin sections shows, that the essen-
tial mineral constituents are quite fresh, and are quite equally dis-
tributed throughout the rock. Chlorite, epidote and pyrite are
also present, but only in small quantities.

Granite, suitable for rpad material, occurs at Flat Rock, on the
Southern Railway, some ten miles north of Columbus. There are
also exposures of similar stone on the country road extending from
Columbus to Hamilton.

The County Ordinary, in speaking of the condition of Muscogee,
says : " We work, on our public highways, a chain-gang of about
30 convicts. The cost of each individual, including feeding,
clothing and guarding, is, on an average, approximately $4.50 per
month. We pay our superintendent $50 per month, and the guards,
$30. Besides the chain-gang, which is worked constantly on the
roads, the road-hands are summoned, as occasion requires, working
on the average about seven days each year."

The chain-gang is now mostly engaged in draining and crown-
ing the road-ways, and doing general repair work. The county
has recently purchased a complete portable Champion rock-
crushing plant, at a cost of $1,500. It is the intention of the road
authorities to commence at once macadamizing the leading thor-
oughfares of this county. The roads, as a general thing, are in
good condition for common earth-roads.



CHATTAHOOCHEE COUNTY

Area, 220 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 ; number of days worked by road-hands each year, 4 to 6.
The roads are constructed and maintained by statute labor.

Chattahoochee county is situated in the southwestern part of



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EQUIPMENT, METHODS AND MATERIALS, BY COUNTIES 225

the State, on the Chattahoochee river. Its surface is generally
level, and the soil, sandy. As far as is known, no rock suitable for
road-surfacing occurs in the county. The Ordinary in speaking
of the present system of road- working, says : '* It has no merits to
commend itself."

As the county is entirely underlaid by the Cretaceous formation,


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Online LibrarySamuel Washington McCallieA preliminary report on the roads and road-building materials of Georgia → online text (page 18 of 22)