Times change and roads change. By the mid-1800s, the time for nothing but winding paths was over. As this demand for better roads or “advanced paths” continued, there was a need for restrictions and guidelines. A few of the first regulations were:

      1. roads couldn’t be less than 20 feet, nor more than 40 feet in width;
      2. roads had to be cleared of trees and tree limbs which would hinder the horsemen and carriages;
      3. no stump could exceed eight inches in height;
      4. wet grounds and small streams had to be raised high enough or bridged in a way horsemen and carriages could cross over them safely;
      5. there had to be a sign at every cross-roads or fork. The sign was to have a fingerboard directing the way and the distance to the next noticeable place in the road.

As the need for roads continued, men were needed to build them. In 1850, a history book stated all able-bodied men between the ages of 16 and 45 who’d resided in the state 60 days and in the district one month were subject to work on the roads, and when called by the road overseer were obliged to pay $1 for each day he might attend, or $2 for each day he should attend and fail to work in earnest. The law also provided for making out new roads and altering old ones for the formation of road districts.

This bridge was completed on Oct. 13,1912, in Daviess County, MO. Shown are Del Terry, Eslie Terry, Arthur Carroll, Curt Brown (builder), J.J. McCoy, C. Schapaugh, Harry Wynne (teams), Vora Wynne. The south team is Harry Wynne’s; the north team is J.J. McCoy’s. (courtesy Imo Brown)

By 1913, the Painter Good Roads Law provided for the state to maintain the roads between all county seat towns. The newly created highway department was to have general supervision over laying out this state system of roads. It also created a county highway to lay out a state road from the county seat to connect as a state road from the adjoining county seats.

In the end, Missouri was to be marked off, checkerboard style, into a system of state roads. The state was to appropriate out of the state motor car fund $15 each year to pay for the dragging of roads between the county seats.

Road repairs in 1913 were quite different than in more modern times. Frequently the work focused on dirtwork approaches to culverts or small bridges found on dirt roads. The work here was done on Andy Smith hill. The tractor belongs to Floyd S. Tuggle who donated its use for the work. Henry Carter led efforts to finance the project. Others shown are George W. Lockridge, county highway engineer, along with several other men and teams of horses engaged in the work.