HIGHWAYS - ROADS
The following is a listing of acts which once had some effect upon the county road system in Roane County, but which are no longer operative. Also reference below are acts which repeal prior law without providing new substantive provisions.
1. Acts of 1806, Chapter 31, Page 132, named Joseph Hawkins WINDLE, Thomas FARIS, and William EVANS, as Commissioners to select the most eligible way for a public road to run from the waters of Poplar Creek in Roane County over the Cumberland Mountain between the head of Wolf River and Obed River as far as the commissioners might think proper towards Jackson County. The commissioners could let the opening of the road, and its repair, along the selected route. A schedule of tolls to be charged when the road was in operation was included. The commissioners would be compensated at the rate of $2 per day for their services.
2. Acts of 1817, Chapter 148, Page 184, authorized Thomas BROWN of Roane County to form a company to be called the Kingston Bridge Company and as such the company would be incorporated. The company was given the right to build a bridge over the Clinch River on the lands belonging to Thomas BROWN at such a point as he deemed convenient at or near Brown's Ferry in Roane County. The bridge could not be built in any way which would interfere with the navigation of the river. When the bridge was completed, tolls which did not exceed those specified in the act could be charged.
3. Acts of 1821, Chapter 6, Page 10, required the county courts of all the counties to Index and classify the roads in their respective counties into three classes, defined in the act, which were determined primarily by the width and type of surfacing material. The width ranged from stage roads, the widest, to a road wide enough to pass two horses and riders on their way to mill or market. Penalties were provided for those who obstructed roads or failed to comply with the terms of this Act. This Act was probably the first step leading to the present transportation network in the state which is one of the best in the nation (sic).
4. Acts of 1823, Chapter 290, Page 249, was the legislative authority for John TOTLETT, James ORMS, George GORDEN, and Jesse LINCOLN, to cut out a turnpike road from the foot of Walden's Ridge in the Sequatchie Valley running a direct course across Walden's Ridge to White's Creek, near Gorden's iron works in Roane County.
5. Acts of 1824, Chapter 84, Page 84, authorized Thomas BROWN and John TEDDER to cut out and open a turnpike road commencing at the courthouse in Morgan County and running the most direct and practical route to intersect the stage road at or near Dunlap's Stand in Roane county. John HILL, of Morgan County, and Joel EMBRY, of Roane County, were appointed commissioners to examine and inspect the road every four months and allow tow gates as they deemed right and proper.
6. Acts of 1824, Chapter 138, Page 131, allowed Thomas BOTTOM of Roane County to change that part of the Emery Road where the same crosses the main branch of Poplar Creek, so that the road would cross the creek below the mills there owned by BOTTOM to leave and intersect the old road at the nearest point where a good road could be had.
7. Acts of 1826, Chapter 173, Page 148, required John BROWN and Robert BURKE, proprietors of the Cumberland Turnpike Road, to bring the road up to and maintain it at a level of repair specified in the act for which they were permitted to charge certain tolls but could not exceed the amount of the tolls stipulated in the act. If the owners failed to keep the road in repair for a period of three months, this fact would be reported to the circuit court of Roane County which could assess fines against them for not doing their duty.
8. Acts of 1827, Chapter 104, Page 82, suspended until the meeting of the next general assembly the annual tax of $25 which had been placed on that section of the Cumberland Turnpike owned by John BROWN and located in Roane County.
9. Acts of 1837-38, Chapter 174, Page 245, Section 6, named James BERRY, Samuel ESKRIDGE, William S. McEWEN, Henry LEGGETT, William CLARK, George GILLESPIE, John BROWN, Elbridge G. SEVIER, Thomas BROWN, and Lewis GORDON, all of Roane County, and eight other citizens of Knox County, as commissioners to open books on stock subscriptions up to $100,000 with which to build a turnpike road from Knoxville through Kingston in Roane County to join John BROWN'S turnpike road. The stock would be subscribed and sold under the standard rules in force in the state for that and for building roads of this caliber.
10. Acts of 1837-38, Chapter 250, Page 375, Section 6, incorporated all the stockholders in the Kingston-Jacksborough Turnpike Company with an authorized capital stock of $150,000 in $50 shares. Named as commissioners to serve under the normal rules and regulations were Robert McEWEN, Henry H. WILEY, Thomas BROWN, William ELLIS, and John ROBERTS, all of Roane County, plus several others who were residents of other counties.
11. Acts of 1848, Chapter 184, Page 293, was the enabling law for Caleb ELLIS, of Roane County, to open a turnpike road beginning at the foot of the Cumberland Mountain, near Jesse KIMBROUGH'S, or John BROWN'S old place in Roane County, thence running along the best route to intersect SCOTT'S Road in Morgan County. The road, as described above, must be completed in three years, be no less than sixteen feet in width and free of all obstructions. The county courts of the two counties could appoint commissioners upon the application of ELLIS who would inspect and report on the status of the said road.
12. Acts of 1879, Chapter 227, Page 269, was the legal authority for Knox County and Roane County to build turnpikes or macadamized roads in the respective counties using convicts, or workhouse labor, meeting the specifications in the act, concerning road width and surfacing materials, and to build bridges whenever necessary. Whenever fie miles of road were completed a toll gate could be erected and the tolls stipulated could be charge those traveling on the roads.
JAILS AND PRISONERS
The following acts once affected jails and prisoners in Roane County, but are no longer operative.
1. Acts of 1820, Chapter 77, Page 74, was the authority for the county court of Roane County, a majority of the justices being present, at their discretion to direct that the jail of the said county, located in the town of Kingston, be sold by the sheriff to the highest and best bidder at public sale after the same had been advertised for at least twenty days prior to the sale. The county court had the further authority to let a contract to the lowest and best bidder to build a new jail for the county. If sufficient funds were not available to construct a new jail, the county court could levy a general property tax on all the property in the county to finance the jail's construction.
2. Acts of 1823, Chapter 157, Page 149, was the enabling law for the county court of Roane County to order that the jail and the land upon which it was located in Roane County to be sold in such manner and fashion as the court determined would be in the best interests of the county. The court had the authority to appoint commissioners to purchase a lot and to supervise the construction of a new jail for the county. The court had further authority to levy a general property tax, if necessary, to pay for the new jail, but could not exceed the scale established in this law. The county trustee could call on the commissioners if they were appointed. Penalties were prescribed for failure to comply with, or for a violation of the terms of, this act.
For many years during the early portion of Tennessee's history, the county units of the state militia were a vital part of the peace keeping and law enforcement arm of the state, being subject to call when certain conditions existed.
Those acts once affecting Roane County, which related to the militia and to other law enforcement agencies other than the sheriff, are mentioned below in chronological order.
1. Acts of 1803, Chapter 1, Page 1, constituted one of the first statewide military codes and militia laws enacted for Tennessee, preceding several others to come. The militia was to be composed of free men and Indexntured servants between the ages of 18 and 45, with certain professions and occupations being excepted. The militia regiment in Roane County was designated as the 14th regiment and it joined the regiments then existing in the counties of Knox, Sevier, Blount, and Anderson to form the third brigade. The first, second and third brigades constituted the first division. This act was all new militia law and military code dealing with all facets of military organization, logistics, and internal discipline and order.
2. Acts of 1815, Chapter 119, Page 127, was the next general militia law for Tennessee providing for the same composition of free white males and Indexntured servants no younger than 18 and no order than 45. Organizational assignments were changed due to the growth of the state in population and the number of counties. The units in Roane County were the 14th Regiment still but these units, plus those in Anderson, Rhea, and Bledsoe Counties, would make up the Seventh Brigade. A regiment consisted of two battalions of two companies which contained 40 privates, 2 musicians, 3 corporals, 3 sergeants, and a captain, one lieutenant, and one ensign. The rest of the act was devoted to the enactment of a new military code designed to meet the times and changing situations found in a growing state.
3. Acts of 1821, Chapter 184, Page 175, scheduled the annual muster and drill times for several of the county regiments in the state militia, including Roane County's Regiment which was directed to come together for the regimental muster and drill on the first Saturday after the third Tuesday in September of each year.
4. Acts of 1822, Chapter 52, Page 51, was the legal authority for the militia in Roane County situated on the south side of the Tennessee River to hold a battalion muster within the bounds of that area at such time and place as might be directed by the field officers of the said units and of the regiment.
5. Acts of 1825, Chapter 69, Page 78, was the next general militia law for the state which rewrote the whole militia law. The units in Roane County were designated as the 40th and the 95th regiments, which would combine with the units in Monroe County, Morgan County, and Anderson County to form the Seventh Brigade. The 40th Regiment would hold its annual muster and drill on the fourth Thursday in September and the 95th Regiment on the third Thursday in September each year.
6. Acts of 1826, Chapter 163, Page 139, declared it to be lawful for a volunteer rifle company to be raised out of the 14th Regiment and the 85th Regiment of Roane County, which would be composed of not less than 34 nor more than 68 privates, which company would be known as the Kingston Rifle Company. The commanding officer of the Fourteenth Regiment would select the commanding officer of the new company who would be charged with the responsibility of holding regular drills for the company.
7. Acts of 1835-36, Chapter 21, Page 97, was a new military code and militia law ranging over every phrase of organization and operation of the state militia, being enacted subsequent to the adoption of the 1835 Constitution of the State. The units in Roane County were named in the 28th Regiment and the 29th Regiment which together with the units in Monroe County, McMinn County, and Bradley County, would constitute the sixth brigade in the state.
8. Acts of 1837-38, Chapter 157, Page 223, Section 3, among other things related to amending the basic military code of the state, also provided for the scheduling of annual musters and drills for all county units in the state militia. The units in Roane County would hold their annual muster and drill together on the first Friday and Saturday in September of each year, and would be a part of the sixth bridge with Monroe County and McMinn County.
9. Acts of 1839-40, Chapter 56, Page 91, was a virtual re-enactment of the state militia law, which did not affect Roane County in its reorganization of some tactical units, but this act did enlarge the membership of the sixth brigade to include the militia units in the counties of Roane, Monroe, McMinn, Bradley, and Polk.