An act concerning Public Roads.
Sec.[Section] 1. Be it enacted by the people of the State of Illinois, represented in the General Assembly That all roads within this State which have been laid out in pursuance of any law of this State, or of the late Territory of Illinois, and which have not been vacated in pursuance of law, are hereby declared to be public highways.
Sec. 2. The county commissioners courts of the several counties of this State, shall have, and are hereby vested with general superintendance over the public roads within their respective counties; and are hereby authorized to cause new roads to be located and made, and to alter or vacate public roads within their respective counties, in the manner herein after provided and pointed out.
Sec. 3. The county commissioners court of each county, shall, at their March term, or as soon thereafter as may be, in each and every year, to lay out and divide their respective counties into such road districts as they shall deem convenient and proper, defining accurately the boundaries of said districts,
<Page 2>
and they shall appoint one supervisor in each district, who shall serve one year, and continue in office until a successor shall be appointed.
Sec. 4. It shall be the duty of the clerk of the county commissioners court in each county, to make out and deliver to the sheriff, written notices to all the supervisors as aforesaid, within ten days after such appointment has been made, informing them of their said appointment, and describing the bounds of their respective districts, and the roads therein; and the said sheriff shall immediately deliver the said notices to the persons to whom they shall be directed respectively, and if any supervisor shall refuse to accept his said appointment, the sheriff shall return the said notice to the clerk who issued the same noting such refusal on the back thereof. But if the said supervisor shall agree to accept the same then the sheriff shall notify the said clerk of such acceptance, and the said sheriff shall, in all cases, make return of acceptance or refusal within twenty days after the delivery to him of the notice aforesaid. For any failure on the part of the clerk to make out and deliver to the
<Page 3>
sheriff any one of the notices required by this section he shall be fined in the sum of ten dollars and the sheriff shall incur the same penalty for a failure to deliver any one of the said notices in the manner and within the periods herein prescribed
Sec. 5. When any person shall refuse to accept the appointment of supervisor he shall be fined five dollars, to be appropriated to road purposes. Provided, That the commissioners court may excuse any supervisor from the payment of said fine, upon being satisfied that such person ought not to have been appointed. The commissioners’ court shall have power, at any time, to remove from office any supervisor who shall fail or refuse to perform his duty; and all vacancies shall be filled at the next term of the court at which any removal shall be made or vacancy occur
Sec. 6. It shall be the duty of each supervisor to cause all the public roads within his district to be kept well cleared, smooth, and in good repair causing all stumps to be cut low, so as to afford at
<Page 4>
all times, a free and safe passage to wagons and other carriages along such roads; to cause bridges and causways to be made whenever the same shall be necessary; and to keep the same in repair, and to cause to be erected and kept in repair at the forks or crossing place of every public road a post and guide board, with plain inscriptions thereon, in letters and figures, giving the direction and distance to the most noted places to which said roads may lead.
Sec. 7. Whenever any public road shall be obstructed by fallen timber, or in any other manner, and when any bridge or causeway shall be destroyed or become impassable or dangerous to travellers, it shall be the duty of the supervisor to cause such obstruction to be removed, and to have such bridges or causways re-built or repaired, and for that purpose he shall call out the persons bound to labour on the road in his district, or as many of them as may be necessary, but if the persons bound to perform such labour in his district, shall have previously performed the number of days required by this act, or if the
<Page 5>
labour due from such persons shall not be sufficient he shall then proceed to hire as many labourers or teams as may be necessary to remove such obstructions or repair such damages. Provided, the costs shall not exceed ten dollars, and if the costs of such work shall be estimated by said supervisor, to exceed ten dollars, then he shall report such obstruction or damage to any two or more of the county commissioners whose duty it shall be, immediately, to cause such obstruction to be removed, or such bridge or causeway to be rebuilt or repaired, as the case may be, either by ordering the supervisor to hire labourers and teams for that purpose, or by making a contract with some fit person or persons, as they may deem best, and all moneys required to carry any of the provisions of this section into effect, shall be paid out of the county Treasury
Sec. 8. If any person shall obstruct any public road by falling a tree or trees across the same, by encroaching upon or fencing up the same, or by placing any other obstruction therein, he shall forfeit for any such offence a sum not exceeding ten dollars, and a
<Page 6>
sum not exceeding three dollars for every day he shall suffer such obstruction to remain after he shall have been ordered to remove the same by any supervisor, county commissioner or justice of the peace; and if any person shall purposely destroy or injure any bridge or causeway, or remove any of the timber or plank thereof, or destroy or deface any guide board [...?] ^,^ post or a public road mile stone on a public road, or dig any drain or ditch across a public road such person so offending shall be indicted, ^or sued before a justice of the peace^ and on conviction shall be fined in any sum not less than five dollars nor more than one hundred dollars: Provided, however, That this section shall not be construed to extend to any person who shall lawfully cut down any timber for rails, fire wood or other purposes and who shall immediately remove the same out of the road, nor to any person through whose land a road shall run, who shall dig a ditch or drain across such road and shall keep the same in good repair.
Sec. 9. No new road shall be opened, by order of the county commissioners court, unless the same shall be applied
<Page 7>
for by at least thirty five voters, ex^cept^ in counties which shall not have more than three hundred voters, when only fifteen shall be required. such applicants shall deposite in the hands of the clerk of the county commissioners court, a sufficient sum of money to pay the viewing If their report be in favor of establishing the road, the money so deposited, shall be returned to the persons who deposited the same; but if the report be unfavorable, the expences of the view shall be paid out of the money so deposited; and every person applying for such new road, shall contribute one days labour in addition to the number of days required by this act, towards making such road. The clerk of the county commissioners court shall furnish each supervisor through whose road district such new road shall pass with a list of the [pers]ons who petitioned for the same, and any such petitioners who shall not reside within some district through which such new road shall pass, shall be required to perform the days labour herein required of him, under the direction
<Page 8>
of the supervisor of the nearest road district, and for failing to do so, after being duly notified, he shall be fined in the sum of one dollar.
Sec. 10. When a new road shall be applied for as aforesaid, the county commissioners court shal[l] appoint three suitable persons to view the ground proposed for the same, and if after such view, the viewers shall believe the road applied for to be necessary, taking into consideration the expence of constructing the same and its utility to the public, they shall proceed to locate and establish the same on the nearest and most eligible route from point to point given, having due regard to private property, causing the same to be surveyed, designating its course through prairies and improved land, by fixing stakes in the ground, or by plowing two furrows at the distance apart of the full width of the road, and through the timbered land by marking the trees, and shall make report
<Page 9>
thereof to the next county commissioners court; but after the view, if they deem such road unnessary or improper to be made they shall report their opinion to that effect, to the next term of said Court.
Sec. 11. Whenever it shall be represented to the county commissioners court, by a petition of thirty five voters, that a public road established by said court, or any part thereof, is useless or burthensome, the said court upon a sufficient sum of money being deposited with the clerk to pay the expences of a review (such money to be returned if the road shall be declared useless) shall appoint three suitable persons to view the same, who shall report to the said court at the next term after such appointment, whether such road in their opinion be useless and burthensome, together with their reasons for such opinion, and the county commissioners may then order such
<Page 10>
road to be vacated if in their opinion and discretion, they shall deem such order proper. Provided, That no petition, praying for the establishment or vacation of a public road, shall be recieved by the said court, unless the said petitioners, or some of them, shall have given twenty days public notice of such application by a written notices posted up in the most public place in each road district through which the road, or proposed road shall pass and alike notice, particularizing the route and important points, on the doors of the court house, and of the county clerks office should it be kept in a separate building.
Sec. 12. Whenever a new road shall be located, the county commissioners shall immediately cause the supervisors of each district through which such road shall pass, to be notified of such location, and it shall be the duty of the said supervisors to make such road
<Page 11>
within their respective districts, and keep the same in repair, as far as the labour of the persons bound to work on said road shall enable him; and if such labour be insufficient, the county commissioners shall cause the same to be cut out and opened at the expence of the county, whenever in their opinion the funds of the county will justify such expense; and after being so opened, the same shall be kept in repair by the supervisors as in other cases.
Sec. 13. Any person or persons desirous of having a cart road laid out, for his or their convenience, from the dwelling or plantation of such person or persons, to any public road, or from one public road to another, or from one lot of land to another, shall present a petition to the county commissioners court of the proper county, setting forth the reasons for desiring such road, and describing the points from and to which said road or cart way is desired to pass; and the court shall, upon a sufficient sum of money being deposited to pay for viewing such road, appoint three free holders to view the same. Provided, That twenty days notice shall be given of the intention
<Page 12>
to present such petition, to each person residing in the county through whose land such cart way is desired to pass, and also by posting up a notice thereof on the door of the court house and clerks office of the county if not kept in the court house, for the same period of twenty days, and the viewers when appointed, shall examine the route proposed for such road, and shall examine any other route which they may deem proper, and if they shall be of opinion that a cart way is necessary and proper from and to the points named in the petition, they shall lay out the same in such manner as to produce the least inconvenience to the parties through whose land the same shall pass, and shall make a written report to the court describing the route of the road, and the numbers of the lots of land through which the same shall pass and naming the owners thereof, if known, which report shall be examined by the court and on hearing the objections, if any, and if the court shall be of opinion that the road is necessary and right an order shall be made establishing the same, not exceeding thirty feet wide; Provided, That no such road shall be allowed to pass through any
<Page 13>
orchard, garden or yard. And provided also, That if any owner of land shall object to the opening such road the same shall not be opened by the person or persons desiring the same until the person or persons objecting shall be paid all the damages to be sustained by the opening thereof and in case the parties cannot agree on the amount of damages the same shall be ascertained and assessed as herein after provided, and the damages being paid on final decision the person or persons applying therefor their heirs and assigns shall have the right to open said road and shall have a right of way upon the same forever thereafter.
Sec. 14. The county commissioners court of each county in this State, at their March term annually, shall fix and enter upon the record of their court a certain number of days that each able bodied man between the age of twenty one and fifty years, shall do upon some public road within the county, during the year. Provided, That in no case shall said court be authorized to fix the number of days less than one, or to exceed five days as a requisition in labour. The clerk
<Page 14>
of said court shall append the number of days fixed as aforesaid, to the notice of each supervisor appointed in said county.
Sec. 15. The county commissioners court of each and every county shall, if in their opinion the people desire a road tax to be levied and the public good requires it, and not otherwise, in addition to the work required in the preceeding section, at the March term annually assess a road tax of not less than five nor more than ten cents on every hundred dollars worth of taxable property real and personal owned by each and every individual in the county, and a colum in the tax book shall designate the amount of road tax due from each person to be collected.
Sec. 16. The clerk of the commissioners court immediately on return of the assessors book shall make out a list of the names of all individuals owing road tax in each road district in the county with the amount of tax due therefrom, ascertaining the residence of, and the road district to
<Page 15>
which each person properly belongs; which lists shall be handed to the sheriff and by him delivered to the respective supervisors. And any clerk or sheriff who shall fail or neglect to perform the duty required in this section within the time given to each as specified in the fourth section of this act, in serving notices on supervisors, shall be fined in the same sums as stated in said section.
Sec. 17. It shall be the duty of each supervisor to call on all able bodied male persons over twenty one and under fifty years of age in his district to perform the number of days labour due for the year, giving such person at least three days notice of the time when and place where the work is required and stating what description of tools to bring, which notice shall be given by the supervisor in person verbally, or by a written or printed notice, or by some person appointed by him to warn in the hand, in which latter case the notice shall be in writing or printed signed by the supervisor. The supervisor shall observe the hour appointed to meet, that each individual do appear at the time with the tool directed to be brought and when on the road that each
<Page 16>
person shall work industriously and diligently doing at least eight hours faithful labour in each day, at such work and in such manner as shall be directed by the supervisor. Any person neglecting or failing to attend and do the work due on the road, after being notified as above stated, by himself or a substitute equally able as himself, shall pay for each day one dollar. Should any person be idle, not work diligently, turbulent, interrupt other hands or disobey the supervisor power is hereby given, and it shall be the duty of the supervisor to discharge said hand from the road, and for each days labour which may then be due from such person he shall be bound to pay one dollar and fifty cents, suing and holding the principal bound for the same.
Sec. 18. The tax list being placed in the hands of the supervisor he shall notify each person of the amount due and that the same may be discharged in labour and shall thereupon request payment in money or labour, firstly notifying the individual to cause the same of the time and place to attend and work the same out at the rate of one dollar per day bringing with him such tool as may be directed by the supervisors, the labour to be
<Page 17>
performed by the principal or a substitute equally able, working industriously at least eight hours each day, and may for any of the causes in the foregoing section, idleness, turbulence or disobedience be discharged from the road by the supervisor and the balance due shall be collected with twenty five per cent advance
Sec. 19. It shall be the duty of supervisors to cause a portion of the labour due to be performed during the Spring months and the balance if practicable in the fall; to sue in the name of the county commissioners, in their official capacity for all labour and taxes which shall be due and remain unpaid after notice shall have been given and a failure to settle the same as provided in the foregoing sections, and having collected the same shall without delay disburse the money to the best advantage on public roads in the district to which such labour or tax properly belongs.
In all cases the supervisor shall be a competant witness in suits brought as above stated; and an appeal may be taken to the circuit court by either party as in other cases of
<Page 18>
of appeal from justices of the peace
Sec. 20. Every supervisor shall endeavour to collect all road and labour tax and close the work by the twenty fifth of December annually. And they are absolutely bound to return to the clerk of the county commissioners court the tax list by the first of January, marking carefully and truly the amount paid on said road tax list, how much in work and the amount in money by each individual named And ^and shall give a reciept to each individual if requested^ The clerk and collector shall give credit on the general tax list, to each person, for the amount paid, and the balance due shall be collected by the proper officer out of the goods and chattels, lands and tenements of the person owing in the same manner as other revenue for the State and county shall be collected. All moneys collected as above, after deducting the per cent for collecting and costs paid out ^to be^ allowed by the commissioners court, shall be set apart in the treasury of the county as a Road fund to be disbursed by order of the commissioners court in the erection of bridges and improvement of such
<Page 19>
public roads in the county as they may deem most advantageous to the public, and in no case shall the court appropriate or divert any portion of said Road fund to any other purpose than the construction of roads and road purposes.
Sec. 21. Supervisors are hereby authorized to hire teams to do the necessary hauling, plowing and scraping, to contract for materials for building bridges, causeways, erecting guide boards, for making and furnishing road scrapers and repairing roads in discharge of labour and road tax due, and so far as funds shall come into possession, procuring said teams, materials, implements and work on the best possible terms.
Sec. 22. All power, jurisdiction and control is hereby given to the county commissioners’ court of the several counties, of, and concerning State roads, roads located directly by the State, and the same shall be opened, improved and kept in repair as other roads in the counties, subject to alteration, change and re-location as herein after pointed out.
Sec. 23. When any person or persons desire a change or re-location of any State road now located, notice of such intended application shall be given by setting
<Page 20>
up advertisements in writing, at least one in each road district through which said road shall pass, and on the court house door, twenty days previous to the sitting of the court to which application shall be made, and on petition of a majority of the qualified voters of each road district through which said road shall pass and a majority of the voters living immediately in the vicinity of such road, the court shall appoint three viewers to examine and make the necessary re-location, they shall carefully view the road as located, and the ground for the proposed route, and being of opinion that the public good requires an alteration, in view of obtaining a more suitable place to erect a bridge over a stream, wind a hill, avoid a swamp, expensive work, or where the present road greatly damages an individual and can be varied without material damage to the public, in such cases alterations may be made, and a majority of said views being of that opinion they shall cause a survey and re-location to be made returning to the commissioners court a plat with the courses and distances of the road as established. But if they consider an alteration not necessary
<Page 21>
they shall so report and the court may confirm and accept the report, or take such further action thereon as to them may seem right. In like manner any State road now established which may be considered useless or burthensome on notice, petition, view and report to that effect as required in this section in case of an alteration, the same may be annulled and vacated.
Sec. 24. That when it shall become necessary to have a State or county road now located and established, altered, re-located or vacated at a county line or a new road laid out, the same being petitioned for and notice given as required in the preceeding section, the same shall be agreed on by viewers from each county to be appointed by the counties immediately interested, and no road shall be altered at a county line, or elsewhere unless a majority of the viewers appointed, agree on such change or alteration. Provided, That no application shall be acted upon or viewers appointed as contemplated in the preceeding sections unless the petitioners deposite money sufficient to pay the viewers in case an unfavorable report be made, to be refunded should the road be located, altered or vacated as petitioned for; And the petitioners in case a new
<Page 22>
road shall be established, or a change in the location of a road, shall contribute one days work on the same or some other road in the county as required in the ninth section of this act. In case of a disagreement in the location or alteration of any road crossing a county line by the county authorities either county may appeal to the circuit court, who shall hear and determine the case, grant a review[,] appoint viewers and make such order therein as shall seem right, in the establishment of the road in dispute.
Sec. 25. All roads shall be surveyed and a plat with the courses and distances thereof returned with the report of the viewers to the commissioners court which shall be recorded and filed. The commissioners court on return of the report and plat shall determine and establish an order on record the width of the road making the main leading roads four rods wide and none less than thirty feet.
Sec. 26. In the location and alteration of all roads it shall be the duty of viewers to make the same as direct as the ground and circumstances will allow 1
<Page 23>
balance should appear in his hands [the] same shall be disbursed in the district or added to the general road fund as the court shall order. Supervisors may appoint one or more persons to warn in the hands and make an allowance to such persons out of the labour or tax due from such persons. No allowance shall be made to any supervisor for services out of the county treasur[y] except ^but^ that they shall be wholly exempt from doing military duty in time of peace and from serving on grand
<Page 24>
and pettit juries while acting as supervisor and shall have power and authority to appoint deputies as suitable one or more deputies suitable persons to oversee labourers and direct the work, the supervisor being responsible.

<Page 25>
particularly the main leading roads; previous to entering upon their duties they shall be sworn and make oath before some judge of a court or justice of the peace of the State, that they will faithfully, impartially and to the best of their judgement discharge the duties incumbent on them as road viewers under the law and appointment of the court.
Sec. 27. At the March term of the commissioners court annually, each supervisor shall make a report shewing the whole number of days work done in his district during the year, by whom done, the amount of money by him recieved, from whom, for road tax or otherwise due on roads, the amount paid out by him in constructing roads with the vouchers accompanying, at which term he shall make a settlement with the court, and if a balance ^appears^ after allowing him one dollar per day ^per day^ for each ^day^ necessarily employed in naming hands and overseeing ^hands^ charging him with the amount of his own labour and road tax due, the same shall be added to the Road fund
Sec. 28. Road viewers shall be allowed one dollar ^ each ^ per e day each and
<Page 26>
surveyors two dollars for each and every day necessarily employed, chain and axe men seventy five cents per day.
Sec. 29. The supervisor ^ [...?] ^ for the purpose of building or repairing any bridge or causeway, by order of the county commissioners’ court, is hereby authorized to enter upon the nearest unimproved land, and to cut and haul away timber, or to quarry and haul rock, gravel or sand which [...?] or earth which may be necessary for that purpose. Provided, he shall not take away timber already cut, or any rock or gravel already quarried for another purpose without lease from the owner or his agent: Provided also, That unless the owner, or his or her agent, shall first consent to the cutting of timber and to the quarrying of stone or the taking of gravel, sand or earth, the supervisor shall call upon two discreet householders to value the materials about to be used. If the owner of the materials or his agent shall see proper, he may choose two other discreet householders to act with such as may be chosen by the supervisor, and if they cannot agree, the four shall choose a fifth as umpire; and the five, or a majority of them shall make out their award, under their
<Page 27>
hands and seals, and transmit it to the clerk of the county commissioners court who shall file and preserve the same, which award shall be final and conclusive of the amount of damages sustained by such persons, and the amount so awarded shall be paid to the owner of the materials, or his or her agent, out of the county Treasury, and the supervisor shall be authorized and warranted in taking such materials so soon as the award shall be made.
Sec. 30. In all cases where a public road shall have been heretofore authorized by law to be laid out or constructed in this State, either by state or county authority, and the same is required to pass over the land belonging to any company, corporation or individual and the owner or owners shall object thereto and cannot agree with the commissioner, superintendant or supervisor authorized to construct the same, on the amount of damages which such owner or owners may claim it shall be lawful for such commissioner, superintendant or supervisor to apply to some justice of the peace of the county
<Page 28>
where the same may occur, who shall cause three householders to appear before him and the householders so summoned, after being sworn faithfully and impartially to examine the ground which shall be pointed out to them by the commissioner[,] superintendant or supervisor shall assess the damages which they shall believe such owner or owners will sustain over and above the additional value which such lands will derive from the construction of such road and make two written reports signed by at least a majority of them, one of which they shall give to the commissioner, superintendant or supervisor requesting the [...?] view and the other to the opposite party, which award or assessment of damages shall, as well where the amount shall be agreed upon by the parties without applying to a justice of the peace, be laid before the county commissioners court for consideration, who shall examine the matter and should they decide that the amount of damages is not unreasonable nor more than should be given and that the opening
<Page 29>
such order therein as may seem right and just, which decision shall be final. The provisions of this section shall extend to a cart way as contemplated in the thirteenth section of this act viewers appointed, to be sworn report to be made, the damages to be paid by the individual desiring the cart way, to be confirmed by commissioners court, and either party may app[eal to the] [circuit] court where the case being f[ully heard] such judgement or order [shall be] made thereon as the court [shall deem] right, and which shall be a [final decision]
<Page 30>

<Page 31>
and improving the road the road is called for by the public interest and the finances of the county will justify, they in that case will approve and accept the award and order the money to be paid, and the same being paid, the commissioner, superintendant or supervisor shall proceed to open and construct said road; which proceedings being recorded in the commissioners court the right of way shall be thereby secured. Provided, That the corporation, company, owner or owners of the land shall have the right to appeal from the decision of the commissioners court to the Circuit court, and the case shall be acted upon in such manner as the court may determine with a view to justice and the establishment of the road and shall make such order therein as may be deemed right and just. 2
Sec. 31. Supervisors are hereby authorized
<Page 32>
to bring suits before any justice of the peace of the county to recover any and all sums due for road labour, road tax, fines and forfeitures imposed by this act which are intended to come into the hands of such supervisors for road purposes and to collect, disburse and account for the same, suing in the name of the county commissioners in their official capacity.
Sec. 32. Any supervisor who neglects to keep the roads in his district in good repair, agreeably to the provisions of this act, or fails to perform any other duty herein required, shall be liable to indictment, and on conviction thereof, shall be fined in a sum not less than five dollars, and not exceeding fifty dollars, to be expended on some road within the district of said supervisor.
Sec. 33. The clerk of the commissioners court ^in each county^ shall at each term of the circuit court make out and furnish the grand jury with a list of the names of all supervisors in the county with the date at which they were appointed.

<Page 33>
Sec. 34. Sheriffs, and clerks of the county commissioners courts shall be allowed a fair and reasonable compensation for discharging the duties required of them by this act, to be paid out of the county treasury on the allowance and order of the commissioners courts respectively.
Sec. 35. That all laws heretofore passed, and now in force, upon the subject of State and county roads, be and the same are hereby repealed; but rights acquired, or liabilities incurred thereby are not hereby affected. Provided, That nothing herein contained, shall be construed so as to operate as a repeal of the act, entitled “An act concerning the right of way, and for other purposes,” approved, February 28. 1833.3 This act shall not extend or be construed [...?] in any manner to authorize a change or any interferance with the Great Western Mail route, or the Darwin and Charleston Turnpike. This act to be in force from and after the first day of March next.

<Page 34>
[ docketing ]
No 115 HR
1The text on pages 23 and 24 are connected to Section 27 in the companion act. The remaining text for Section 26 begins on page 25.
2The text for this section concludes on page 29 above.
3“An Act concerning the Right of Way, and for Other Purposes,” 28 February 1833, Revised Laws of Illinois (1833), 534-37.

Handwritten Document, 34 page(s), Folder 49, HB 79, GA Session: 12-2, Illinois State Archives (Springfield, IL) ,