Early Roads Were Among First Acts of Police Jury

The Gazette
October 5, 1939

One of the first things the organized government brought in this parish was good roads. This cry, incidentally, has not slackened during the rising century for bigger and better roads is just as lusty.

But, improvement of roads was not the main trouble facing the first parish police juries. They had to build roads.

In a section that had been settled only about 50 years when the parish was founded, the road problem was a serious one, for this section was criss-crossed with bayous and small streams and covered with virgin forests.

They plunged into the task of building roads, however. Almost from the very start roads were laid out and commissioners were appointed to look after their upkeep. Later, about 1842, each police juror was made responsible for roads in his ward.

Interesting today is a note made in an early ordinance authorizing the construction of a road, was the mention of tree stumps. As some of the roads had to be cut through timer, the problem of stumps was one to be considered. One particular authorization said that stumps could not be over 18 inches high. Fine for wagons, but devastating to our low-slung, streamlined automobiles.

Some of those early roads and ferries are listed as follows:

On page 11 of the police jury records, the second meeting, the establishment of a ferry across Bayou D’Arbonne was authorized. William Wilkerson, at whose house the first police jury met, was appointed ferryman for the year. The charges were: a four-wheeled wagon, $1; two-wheeled carriages or carts, 50 cents; one person and horse or mule, 25 cents; other animals six and one-fourth cents; single person on a horse or mule, 12 1/2 cents.

A committee was appointed at the same time to survey and lay out a route from Farmerville to the Ouachita River at, or within 2 miles of mouth of Bayou Bartholemew. Another committee was appointed to lay out a road from Farmerville to intersect the Arkansas road at the most convenient point, thence along said road to Little Cypress Creek.

Another was to lay out a road from Farmerville to the mouth of the Bayou Cornie.

Another authorized they laying out of a route from Lick creek to Cornie bridge, and from Lick creek to the Claiborne parish line. Such an early road was the Brown Ferry road which ran from Webb’s gin house to Brown’s ferry on the Bayou De Loutre, as was the road that ran from Linville to Van Hook’s bridge on Bayou De Loutre.

Other early roads were the Kirkpatrick road which ran from Kirkpatrick’s landing to Lang’s on the Arkansas road, the Van Hook road, from ten mile branch to the Van Hook bridge on Bayou De Loutre, Chaddick road, running from J. B. Shute’s place to the cross roads at the state line. Wilkinson road, running from the state line to township 23, Ramsey road running from the cross roads at J. B. Shute’s property to the Arkansas line, Andrews road from the state line to Brook’s branch, the Ridge road running from the Ouachita River at the mouth of Bayou Bartholemew to Farmerville.

There was also a road that ran from Rocky Creek to Parker’s Landing on the Ouachita river.

Another early ferry was maintained as a public conveyance on the Bayou De Loutre near where the Taylor bridge stood on the road from Farmerville to Marion.

Other early roads were the Loch Lomond road, the Ashley Mill road, Wood’s road, Crawford Bluff road, McGough’s road, Claiborne road and the New Orleans road.

Some of these early roads have been taken over by modern paved highways while others have, through disuse become impassable and, in some cases lost.

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