Culpeper County Road Orders, 1763-1764: Final Report

Report No: 94-TAR13

Published in 1994

About the report:

The establishment and maintenance of public roads were among the most important functions of the county court during the colonial period in Virginia. Each road was opened and maintained by an overseer (or surveyor) of the highways, who was appointed each year by the Gentlemen Justices. The overseer was usually assigned all the able-bodied men (the "Labouring Male Tithables") living on or near the road. These laborers then furnished their own tools, wagons, and teams and were required to work on the roads for six days each year. County court records relating to roads and transportation are collectively known as "road orders." The Virginia Transportation Research Council's published volumes of road orders and related materials contain not only information on early roads, but also the names of inhabitants who lived and worked along the roadways, plantations, farms, landmarks, landforms, and bodies of water. At its creation from Orange County in 1749, Culpeper County comprised most of the region between the Rapidan and Rappahannock rivers: the present counties of Culpeper, Madison and Rappahannock. From this territory would be cut the counties of Madison (created in 1793) and Rappahannock (1833), leaving the remainder of Culpeper County at its present boundaries. The Culpeper Court Minute Books for most of the 18th century were destroyed during the Civil War. The partial Minute Book for the years 1763-1764 is the only Court Minute Book to survive for the period when the territory of Culpeper County was at its largest extent. The road orders contained within this volume constitute the sole transportation-related court orders surviving for Culpeper County during this period.

Disclaimer Statement:The contents of this report reflect the views of the author(s), who is responsible for the facts and the accuracy of the data presented herein. The contents do not necessarily reflect the official views or policies of the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Commonwealth Transportation Board, or the Federal Highway Administration. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation. Any inclusion of manufacturer names, trade names, or trademarks is for identification purposes only and is not to be considered an endorsement.

Last updated: December 23, 2023

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