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Retrieval Number: 0102/3 p. 61
List of inhabitants of Middle District required by law to work upon the highways, Jas. Ryan, Surveyor, May 1810.
Mount Allison University Archives, Trueman family fonds.
May be reproduced only with permission of Mount Allison University Archives

List of inhabitants of Middle District.

From the earliest days of the colonial government of New Brunswick, and in the absence of a civil service with resources to build and maintain public roads, land owners were required to provide labour for the upkeep of these roads as important means of local and regional communication. In fact the notion of statutory labour was a very old one with roots in medieval English law, and it was one of the institutions introduced in all colonial jurisdictions as a matter of course. In this document the Surveyor lays out the duty and records those required to perform this service, noting who had completed their obligation and who was “defitiant” or deficient in this duty. The specifics of the task was stated as follows:

you are requested as soon as planting is over at the most convenient time to warn all the male inhabitants in your district to work on the High roads as the law directs beginning at Charles Bulmers & from thence to John Dobson’s Batterdo [aboideau]. The swamp leading to Harmon Truemans must be repaired and a bridge over Mr. Trenholms spring & stones taken out of the Road where wanted and thence from Mr. Jones Brook to portage Bridge repairing the worst places your first care to make good the bridges on the Old Road and Reserve on the third of your work for the New Road leading from Stephen Wards to halfway house. Signed by Mr. James Ryan Surveyor, Wm. Trueman, Sam’l McCurdy, Wm. Copp Commissioners, May 22, 1810.

Fifty-two names are listed and beside each is the number of days to be contributed by each man. The contribution ranges from 3 to 6 days and all but 12 of the residents completed their duty.

 

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