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Valley of the Shadow

Valley Virginian: November 4, 1869

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Good County Roads
(Column 01)
Summary: This article focuses on the benefits of new roads to the citizens of Augusta county. First, the author enumerated the many different ways in which these roads could be useful to the population, including bringing produce to market and getting to church on Sunday. Second, he illustrates that there will be no significant tax increase to pay for the road's construction. There are several new inventions that could be put to use building the roads, such as a stone-breaking machine. Finally, while the author underscores the importance of rail lines, he suggests that roads are even more important, especially in everyday usage.
Full Text of Article:

In our issue of last week, we expressed our pleasure at the proposition to make a new, short, and well-graded road from Staunton to Barterbrook. We regard this as one of many valuable improvements that ought to be made by our county. Nothing tends more to stimulate production, to promote trade, to advance general prosperity than good roads. We have no special interests in the Barterbrook road, nor indeed in any particular road. Our motive is, to promote the general welfare. We look on the Barterbrook road, as a sort of pioneer enterprise, and we hope to see many, of a similar character, undertaken, at an early day.

We believe that the wisest thing our people could do, would be, to enter on a general revision of our whole system of roads. Very few of them are properly located, and most of them are impassable during the winter and spring. The location of a road is properly the work of a scientific engineer, and yet it is generally entrusted to men of limited scientific attainments. Hence the insurmountable blunders that have been committed. A county like Augusta, ought to have a competent engineer to examine and report on all the leading roads of the county, suggesting the alterations in location, which the public interests require, and the best means of making them. The first step in the process is, to ascertain what location is the best for the public convenience, and then, from time to time, to put the roads on such locations.--Then the people would know what to depend on, and all the work done, and money expended in making the roads, would be for a permanent benefit.

After it shall have been ascertained, by a comprehensive survey and report, what roads are necessary, and what locations are best to accommodate all sections, a legislative effort should be made to construct them--of course every thing could not be done at once, but all that is done, should be done, with reference to, and in part execution of the general plan. Let a system be agreed on, which will give a convenient outlet to all the important points in the country, (with internal roads leading into them), and then let a persistent effort be made to do something every year, on each one of them. When such a system is once commenced, and people begin to understand that they are not frittering away their means on roads which are liable to be changed at any term of the Court, they will work with a will. Farmers will understand that these roads are for their benefit, and a spirit of emulation will spring up among them.--After the locations are definitely settled, what would contribute more to the public convenience than to McAdamise these roads, commencing at Staunton, and making, say two or three miles each year, on each road? By this process, in seven years, good solid roads could be extended to every important point in the county. The local roads would connect, at suitable points, with these main routes, and thus a convenient system of inter-communication, would be established, throughout the county. Every man, by traveling a few miles, on one of these common roads, would be able to reach one of these great thoroughfares. The nearer the town, the better the roads should be, because more people would travel over them. The advantages of such a system of roads, in an agricultural, commercial, and social point of view, can hardly be over-estimated. Every farmer could haul a much larger quantity of produce over a good road than over a bad one, and he could haul at seasons when his teams would otherwise be idle. The merchants would profit by the increased volume of trade into the town. And neighbour could visit neighbour, or come to town, and bring his wife and daughters, when the roads would otherwise be impassable. On Sundays too, our pious citizens could go, with their families, to church, instead of being confined to their homesteads. All these advantages can be secured by a comparatively small outlay. The main thing is, to operate with proper system, and to do thoroughly what we undertake. There is no necessity for burthensome taxation. Ten thousand dollars a year, would amount to only about 30 cents per head for the entire population of the county. In our opinion the county could expend double this amount annually for ten years, without feeling it. At the end of seven or ten years, we would have an admirable system of roads, which would be kept in order for a trifle, and thereafter, through all time, the people would be, in a great measure, relieved from taxation on this account. Can any man doubt that if such a system of roads were finished, the enhanced value of lands in the county would pay the cost tenfold?

In this connection, we would call the attention of the county authorities, to a stone-breaking machine which has been invented and which we learn, is now being successfully used. We do not feel competent to express an opinion on the merits of this machine. But a committee of the Court could soon, by actual experiment, test its capacities. If it fulfills half that its inventors and manufacturers promise, it would be of great value to the county, and materially expedite and cheapen the construction of the roads.

These considerations address themselves to the people of every portion of the county.--But we think the citizens of Staunton especially, ought to bestir themselves to have the plan carried into effect. It would unquestionably give a new and vigorous impulse to the trade and business of the town, and thereby augment its population and prosperity.

We hear a great deal about the construction of a new Railroad line with a view to give more convenient access to the market. This is all very well in its place. But we believe the system of good county roads extending to all the important points of the county, would do more to promote the general prosperity than any single railroad. We now have a railroad which gives us an outlet at all seasons. The difficulty under which a large portion of our people labor is, their inability, during the Winter and Spring, to get to the railroad.

We earnestly beg the citizens of Augusta to give these suggestions careful consideration. Every dollar spent on our roads will be seed sown in good ground.

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[No Title]
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Summary: The Augusta County Circuit Court began session on Monday, Judge Fultz presiding. The trial of John Stanley for the murder of Jacob Scherer is in progress.
(Names in announcement: Judge Fultz, John Stanley, Jacob Scherer)
(Column 02)
Summary: S. Brown Allen and Miss Mary S. Hamilton, daughter of John Hamilton of Augusta, were married at the residence of the bride's father on October 26th by the Rev. P. Fletcher.
(Names in announcement: S. Brown Allen, Mary S. Hamilton, John Hamilton, Rev. P. Fletcher)
(Column 02)
Summary: W. F. Fauber and Miss Mary Ann Alexander, daughter of William B. Alexander, were married in Waynesboro at the residence of the bride's father on October 5th by the Rev. C. Beard.
(Names in announcement: W. F. Fauber, Mary Ann Alexander, William B. Alexander, Rev. C. Beard)
(Column 02)
Summary: Rufus Alexander Howdershell of Fauquier County and Miss Martha Elizabeth Parker, daughter of Maurice Parker, were married near Staunton at the residence of the bride's father on October 27th by the Rev. G. Kramer.
(Names in announcement: Rufus Alexander Howdershell, Martha Elizabeth Parker, Maurice Parker, Rev. G. Kramer)
(Column 02)
Summary: Dr. George Eyster and Miss Inez Josephine English, daughter of the Rev. John A. English, were married in Staunton at the residence of the bride's father on November 2nd by the Rev. Dr. Haynes.
(Names in announcement: Dr. George Eyster, Inez Josephine English, Rev. John A. English, Rev. Dr. Haynes)

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