Marsha's Warrick Web & Warrick InGenWeb

Finding Our Warrick County, IN Ancestors

Plank Toll Road

Submitted by Tamara Kincaide

In 1830 ABRAHAM PHELPS came to Warrick County from Vermont after an invitation from MR. ALBERT HAZEN. MR. A.M. PHELPS was a prominent businessman, merchant and philanthropist to the community. In September 1850 recognizing the need for better transportation to the wharf for farmers and their products. Not only the Warrick farmers but producers of Spencer, Dubois, Pike and surrounding counties. It was his suggestion to organize the Warrick County Central Plank Road Company. He petitioned the commissioners of Warrick County with one thousand signatures to construct a plank road from Newburgh to Boonville and from Boonville to Lynnville. It was ordered by the court that the Plank Company be given the right of way for lands to be needed to construct said roads.

MR. PHELPS was the president of the company and largest stockholder. The surveyor was CHESTER ELLIOTT. The road was completed in 1852 using trees that were plentiful in the path of these roads, It was estimated that the cost was between 12 and 15 hundred dollars per mile of road. A toll was charged to cover costs of maintaining the roads with tollhouses at each end of the roads.

The tollhouse located at the north end of Newburgh on the road that ended in Boonville was owned by MR. PHELPS who purchased it for his sister.

The toll road was opened by the toll keeper using a pole and sweep, The road itself wide enough for one cart or wagon in most places. It was quite prosperous for several years. In 1868 the population had grown to two thousand making the need to travel to the river to transport goods on the toll roads a prosperous business.

About 1880 the Wabash and Erie Canal came to Evansville with the primary function to transport the goods in larger numbers the need for the roads from Boonville to Newburgh were used with little frequency and the roads were allowed to deteriorate.

MR. PHELP'S sister whose home was used as the tollhouse in Newburgh was MRS. MARGARET PHELPS SARGENT. Sadly she never lived in the home having died in Vermont 1850. MARGARET was the wife of JACOB SARGENT and the mother to three of his children: ORSAMUS P., FRANCES and ERMINA PHELPS.

MR. JACOB SARGENT brought instead his new wife HARRIETT to Indiana. They had their firstborn ELLA a daughter in 1855. His son ORSAMUS P. SARGENT married twice The second marriage to RACHEL TAYLOR the mother of EUGENE and MARURICE SARGENT.



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