by Gerene S.
Webb, as related by Mr. W. J. Faulkner, age 84.
From: Goshen Trails, Vol. 2, #2, April 1966; p. 7
Printed by permission.
|The early road system in this part of the county was more
or less a will-o-the-wisp thing and usually followed the paths of east
resistance. Any unfenced open field might accommodate a roadway or
the wooded areas were not exempt from these trails. This haphazard
use of trails shortened the distance traveled between two points.
If you can find a patch of woodland that has remained for a century or more, you are sure to find old roadbeds long since deserted. I know of three of these old roadways.
When early settlers began fencing their lands the squabbles and lawsuits began. Many times the fences were placed according to convenience and might encroach on the land of someone else. These new fences according to law were to be four feet high, and were to be on property lines as far as boundary fences were concerned.
Since some people disregarded the law as to surveyed lines and substandard fences, one of the early officers was a "fence viewer". I found no authorized duties of the "fence viewer" so choose your own. Since my great, great grandfather, Fredrick Mayberry, was one of the early settlers this office was given to him. How I would like to talk with him of his duties.
Due to this friction between settlers about lines and fences there sprang up a system of roads called cartways. Since they were generally taken off private land they were called "Private cartways for Public Use". They were maintained by private means.
These cartways were from 15 to 20 feet wide. A 30 foot wide one fell in the category of a "road". A rail fence was used on both sides of the cartways. As years passed some of these cartways became part of our road system by "dedication".
Mr. Faulkner recalls the C. C. Mangis family whose land lay east of McLeansboro, and is now part of the Stelle Farm, had cartways completely around their farm. They held to some Scripture that did not allow their boundary to touch another's. Mr. Mangis was the father of Aunt Martha and Uncle Jack Mangis. Many people today can recall them.
Some our older people remember these Cartways. Many of the cartways ran along section lines and mid-section lines. These were more apt to become roadways.
Living on the Old State Road, I know personally of an old cartway. It was in existence by 1850, or earlier. It began at the northeast corner of SE 1/4 of NW 1/4 Sec. 24, R5S, T6E, running south along the east side, and continued south along the east border of NE1/4 of SW 1/4 of same section to the corner of said 40 acres, then westward along the Southside to the second Sulphur Springs school building. Thence southward long the west border of SE1/4 of SW1/4, continuing through section 25 and possibly farther.
On this cartway in the region of the above school we found the now dead "Stringtown" or Longtown" community.
There was a sawmill located on the SW1/4 of SW14, that sawed white oak lumber to build frame houses which were beginning to be built. The old mill pond is still in existence.
The homes of Stringtown were occupied for most part by families of men working at the sawmill. The houses were in a line running north and south along the central dividing line of the section on plots of 20a each.
The business end of Stringtown was on my late mother's farm, but at that time owned by Lyman Munsell, the father of our late Ben Munsell. They lived south and east of the school building. To the north of the school were two or three houses and a "jug" grocery. Evidences of these buildings, all log, remain. Twelve or fifteen of them, most of them south of the school.
A Mr. John Allen and his son, John, lived in Stringtown, as did my great-grandparents, Solomon and Susannah Smith. These houses were to the south. Part of this cartway was used as a road for years. Guss Webb helped survey it back to the land owners when it ceased to be a road.
When the sawmill was removed around 1880, Stringtown died. Even the school was sold and located to the westward as the population had shifted that way.
There are other cartways I could tell about but space doesn't permit it. Cartways along with rail fences, spinning wheels and the yoke of oxen were a part of the way of life of our forefathers a century ago. They served their purpose and like all things pertaining to mortal man, they vanished, and gave way to newer ideas.
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