|TURNPIKES AND PLANK ROADS.
Columbus and Sandusky Turnpike – Columbus and Worthington Plank Road – Columbus and Portsmouth Turnpike – Columbus and Harrisburg Turnpike – Columbus and Johnstown Turnpike – Columbus and Sunbury Turnpike – Columbus and Granville Plank Road – Columbus and Lockwin Plank Road – Columbus and Groveport Turnpike – Cottage Mills and Harrisburg Turnpike – Jackson and Franklin Turnpike – Clinton and Blendon Plank Road.
THE Columbus and Sandusky Turnpike was the first joint stock Company road constructed, any part of which was in Franklin County.
On the 31st of January, 1826, an act was passed by the Legislature incorporating John Kilbourne, Abram I. McDowell, Henry Brown, William Neil, Orange Johnson, Orris Parish, and Robert Brotherton, of Franklin County, and nineteen others, named in the act, and residing along the line of the road, in and about Delaware, Bucyrus and Sandusky, and their associates, by the name of the “The Columbus and Sandusky Turnpike Company,” with a capital of $100,000, with power to increase the same to $200,000; the stock divided into
shares of $100 each; and the company to be governed by a Board of nine Directors.
The charter was accepted by the Company; and by an act of Congress, passed March 3, 1827, there was thirty-one thousand eight hundred and forty acres of land given to the State of Ohio in trust, for the use of the said Company, to aid them in the construction of the road. Without unnecessary delay, the road was surveyed and located. Col. Kilbourne was the surveyor, and Orange Johnson, Esq., was one of the locating commissioners, and the principal agent for the Company from first to last. The road was near eight years in the constructing, and was finished in the fall of 1834. It is one hundred and six miles in length, from Columbus to Sandusky, and cost $74,376, being an average cost of a little over $701 per mile. The charter required that, at least eighteen feet in width should be made “an artificial road, composed of stone, gravel, wood, or other suitable, materials, well compacted together, in such manner as to secure a firm, substantial and even road, rising in the middle with a gradual arch.” Upon a proper construction of this clause has hung all the troubles between the road Company and the traveling public. The Company seem to have supposed that a properly formed clay road would meet the requirements of the charter, while the public seem to have expected a stone or graveled road. The
charter required that the Governor should, at the proper time, appoint an agent to examine the road, and report his opinion in writing to the President of the Company, whether the same be completed agreeable to the provisions of the charter; and Nathan Merriman was appointed the agent for that purpose, and he reported “the he had examined the road, and that, in his opinion, the same was completed agreeably to the provisions of the act incorporating said Company.” And thereupon the Company erected their gates, and exacted toll from those traveling the road. The road was quite an important public improvement at that time, but is was only a clay or mud pike; and in the spring and wet seasons of the year, it was, in places, almost impassable; and to be obliged to pay toll at such times, was grievously complained of, and the gates occasionally torn down; but the agent of the Company would immediately reërect them. The subject was finally brought before the Legislature, and on the 28th of February, 1843, the act incorporating the Company was unconditionally repealed; and it was further provided, that it should not be lawful there after for said Company to erect or keep up any gate or collect any tolls on the road. At the same session, in March, 1843, commissioners were appointed for that purpose, who surveyed and laid out a State road from Columbus to Sandusky, upon the bed of the turn-
pike; and on the 12th of March, 1845, an act was passed establising the same a public highway. Until this time, the toll gates had been kept up and the toll received, notwithstanding the repeal of the charter. But immediately after the passage of this act, the gates on the road were torn down by and excited populace, and never more erected. There was but one gate on this road within the bounds of Franklin County, and that was about two miles north of Columbus. The Company claim that these acts of the Legislature are unsonstitutional; that their road had been made according to the provisions of the charter, and rely most particualrly upon the decision of the State agen, who had fromally accepted the road; and they have been applying ever since each successive Legislature, for relief. At the session of 1843-4, a committee, of which Dr. S. Parsons was chairman, reported in favor of the Road Company conveying to the State all their rights, interests and privileges in the road, and that the State pay the stockholders, severally, the amount of their stock in State bonds, and that the road be declared one of the public works of the State, and placed under the control and supervision of the Board of Public Works.
In 1847, by a resolution of the Legislature, the subject was referred to the Attorney General, (Henry Stanberry, Esq.,) and in his report, he did not directly give
an opinion on the constitutionality of the repeal, but says: “I am of opinion that a wrong has been done the Company,” etc. At the session of 1856-7, a bill passed the Senate, to authorize the Company to bring suit against the State for injustice done in the repeal of the charter; but the bill was lost in the House.
The Columbus and Worthington Plank Road or Turnpike. By an act of the General Assembly, passed March 23, 1849, Solomon Beers, John B. Piatt, Philip Fisher, and Robert E. Neil, and such others as might associate with them, by subscribing to the capital stock of the Company, were incorporated by the name of the “Columbus and Worthington Plank Road or Turnpike Company,” to construct a plank road or turnpike from columbus to Worthington, with privilege to extend it to Delaware, at the option of the Company. The Company to be governed by three Directors, to be chosen annually. The charter was accepted, and books opened on the 15th of April, 1849, the requisite amount of stock being subscribed, the stockholders proceeded to the election of Directors, and B. Comstock, Wm. Neil, and Alanson Bull, were chosen the first Board of Directors. The Company were authorized to construct their road upon any public road or highway; and
they accordingly constructed it on the bed of what had been the Columbus and Sandusky Turnpike. The road was made in 1849 and '50, and on the first of January, 1851, the first dividend was made and paid to the stockholders. The capital stock of the company is $27,825, divided into shares of $25 each; but may be increased to $50,000. The present officers of the Company are W. T. Martin, Pres't;Luther Donaldson, Sec'y; Ansel Phinney, Trea'r; Directors.
The Columbus and Portsmouth Turnpike. This is a good graveled turnpike road, all the way through from Columbus to Portsmouth, and is properly but one road; though there were separate books for subscription in each county through which it passed; and the stockholders of each county made, keep in repair, and control the road, within their respective counties. The capital stock of the Franklin County part is $8,800, divided into shares of ten dollars each. The subscriptions were promptly paid, and the road constructed in 1847, since which it has paid fair and reasonable dividends. There is but one gate in this county, and that is about one mile south of Columbus. The elections or Directors have always been held at Circleville; the number assigned to Franklin county is three, and they attend exclusively to the business of the road within their
The Columbus and Harrisburg Turnpike. This Company was incorporated in 1847, and the road was constructed in 1848 and '49. Uriah Lathrop, Esq., was the surveyor and engineer. The capital stock of the Company is $20,815, divided into shares of $25 each. The construction of the road cost $35,602. The county (through the County Commissioners) donated $4,500 for the erection of the bridge over the Scioto. This, it will be seen, still left the Company largely in debt when the road was finished. During the first two or three years, there were two gates kept on the road, but the western one has since been removed, and there is now but the one, two miles west of Columbus. There has never been any dividend made to stockholders; but all the proceeds of the road have been applied to the defraying of expenses, and the gradual payment of the debts, which are now nearly extinguished. The Company is governed by a Board of five Directors, to be chosen annually. The present Board (most of whom have served from the first organization of the Company), are Joseph Chenoweth, Pres't; George M. Parsons, Treas'r; Harvey Bancroft, A. P. Stone, and Adam Gantz.
The Columbus and Johnstown Turnpike Road. By an act passed March 1, 1850, Robert Neil, Windsor Atchison, George Ridenour, Jesse Baughman and Walter Thrall, and their associates, were incorporated by the name of the “Columbus and Johnstown Turnpike Company,” to construct a turnpike or plank road, from Columbus to Johnstown, passing through New Albany, with the privilege of extending it to Mt. Vernon, in Knox County. The capital stock subscribed and paid, is between ten and eleven thousand dollars, divided into shares of #25 each; but the stock may be extended to $70,000. The Company organized, and in the summer of 1851, constructed about seven miles of the road, extending from Columbus to Walnut Creek, opposite to the village of Bridgeport; and erected two (less than half toll) gates on it. The construction, so far as it is made, is paid; and the Company are receiving moderate dividends. The further extension of the road is considered doubtful. The Company is governed by a Board of five Directors. The present Board consists of Ermine Case, Pres't; Robert Neil, Windsor Atchison, George Ridenour, J. W. Baldwin.
John Dill, Peter Harlocker, Timothy Lee, W. G. Edmison, John Curtis, E. Washburn, Stillman Tucker, and their associates, were incorporated to construct a turnpike or plank road from Columbus to Sunbury. The capital stock may be extended to $75,000, divided into shares of $25 each.
This road commences about three miles north-east from Columbus, where it verges off from the Columbus and Johnstown Road, and extends to Central College. It was constructed in 1852; capital stock taken and expended in construction, is between six and seven thousand dollars. The Company are out of debt; have one gate on the road, and are receiving moderate dividends. It is governed by a Board of Five Directors, to be elected annually. The present Board consists of C. Heyl, Pres't; T. Lee, Sec'y; Jno. Dill, Treas'r; James Park and Henry Zinn.
The Columbus and Granville Plank Road or Turnpike. On the 8th of February, 1850, Joseph Ridgway, Samuel Barr, Gates O'Harra, Wm. A. Platt, and Samuel Brush, and such others as might become associated with them, were incorporated by the name of the “Columbus and Granville Plank Road or Turnpike Company,” to construct a road of gravel, stone, or plank, at the option of the Company, from Columbus to Granville, with the
privilege of extending it to Newark. The capital may be extended to $100,000, divided into shares of $50 each. The road was located and constructed with one good plank track, in 1852, from Columbus to Walnut Creek, a distance of about seven miles, and a gate erected. The affairs of the Company are controlled by a Board of five Directors. The present Board consists of Samuel Brush,* Pres't; Gates O'Harra, Wm. A. Platt, F. C. Sessions and Wm. G. Deshler.
Columbus and Groveport Turnpike. By an act passed 19th of March, 1849 William Harrison, Nathaniel Merion, Wm. H. Rarey, William Darnell, Edmund Steward, Wm. W. Kyle and their associates were incorporated by the name of “The Columbus and Groveport Turnpike Company,” to construct a turnpike road from Columbus to Groveport, with the privilege of extending it. The capital stock to construct it to Groveport to not exceed $20,000, to be divided into shares of $25 each. The actual amount subscribed was about $12,300, and the road was completed in the fall of 1850. The cost somewhat exceeded the amount of stock subscribed, but the balance was soon paid from the earnings of the road,
* Mr. Brush has been President from the first organization of the Company. Hence it is generally called “Brush's Plank Road.”
and it is now out of debt and paying fair dividends. There are two gates on this road, and it is governed by a Board of five Directors. The Present board are Amor Rees, President; Dwight Stone, Secretary; William Merion; Treasurer; Jacob Arnold, and John H. Earhart.
Cottage Mills and Harrisburg Turnpike. On the 20th of March, 1851, an act was passed, incorporating Adin G. Hibbs, Levi Strader, Solomon Borer, Isaac Miller, and William Duff, and their associates, by the name of the “Cottage Mills and Harrisburg Turnpike Company,” to make a turnpike road from the Columbus and Portsmouth turnpike, opposite to the Cottage Mills, to intersect the Columbus and Harrisburg pike.
The road was made in 1852; is about seven and a half miles in length, and has one gate on it, which was erected, and the first toll received in October, 1852. The road cost about $13,000, which being considerably over the amount of stock subscribed and paid, left the Company in debt for its construction. The directors have not yet made any dividends, but applied the earnings of the road toward the payment of the debts.
The first Board of Directors were S. B. Davis, A. G. Hibbs, Isaac Miller, Levi Strader and Solomon Borer. The contractor who constructed the road was A. Poulson, Esq. The present acting officers of the Company
are Dr. S. B. Davis President; A. G. Hibbs, Esq., Treasurer.
Franklin and Jackson Turnpike. By an act, passed 20th of March, 1851, Samuel Landes, John Moler, Adam Miller, Jacob Huffman, John Stimmel, John Cherry, Wm. L. Miner, Gersham M. Peters, and Michael L. Sullivant were incorporated to make a turnpike road from the Columbus and Harrisburg turnpike, or from Franklinton, at the option of the Directors, to the south line of Franklin County.
The Company organized, and in 1852, the road was constructed from the Harrisburg turnpike down the river to the Cottage Mill and Harrisburg pike, a distance of nine or ten miles. The amount of stock subscribed and paid was about $6,000. The cost of the road was between $7,000 and $8,000, leaving the Company between $1,000 and $2,000 in debt on the construction. The Directors have not made any dividends to stockholders, but applied the earnings of the road towards the discharge of the debt, which is not yet all paid. They have two half gates, one at the south end of the road and the other at the north end.
The Columbus and Lockwin Plank Road. This Company was incorporated in the spring of 1853, under the general law, authorizing such incorporations, and the evidence thereof filed with the Secretary of State. The road commences at the intersection of the old Harbor road with the Columbus and Johnstown Turnpike, and extends seven miles. The first five miles were made in 1853, and the remaining two miles, the next year. The charter authorizes the extension of it to Lockwin, Delaware County. The original stock was $14,000, which was nearly all paid The cost of the Seven miles was about $16,000, a fraction less than $2,400 per mile; plank eight feet long and three inches thick, laid on two stringers our inches square. The deficiency to meet the cost of construction has been paid by tolls collected from the road; and the road being now out of debt, is paying fair dividends.
The Clinton and Blendon Plank Road. This Company organized under the general act, in 1853; and in '53 and '54 they constructed their road. It commences at the Lockwin road, about four miles north of Columbus, and extends to the county line half a mile north of
Westerville, its whole length being a fraction over eight miles. The capital stock subscribed was about $16,000 about $14,000 of which was promptly paid, the balance being as yet unpaid. The whole cost of the road was about $16,600, averaging a little over $2,000 a mile. The earnings of the road necessarily had to be applied for a time to pay the balance on the cost of construction. There are two gates on this road. From the southern terminus the travel to Columbus passes on the Lockwin road. This road is decided public utility; but whether it will remunerate stockholders is another question that time must determine.
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