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The Old Home Town

Published: Thursday, March 16, 2017 12:49 p.m. CDT

In July, 1867, the railroad had made it as far as the fork of Brush and Gooseberry creeks in Clarke County. The town that sprung up in this valley was Woodburn. Some of the interesting laws of yesteryear follow.

The first ordinance in the incorporated town in 1878 prohibited hogs from running at large in the town. A judgment against a lady for delivering her hogs from the pound illegally was rescinded.

In June, 1880, an ordinance to tax dogs was repealed. A town marshal was hired in 1881 for $50 a year. That year the mayor also made a motion that during council meetings only one person talk at a time and to take the floor. An 1885 ordinance prohibited cows from running loose at night.

The rule established for board sidewalks was: All sidewalks shall be 4 ft wide laid with boards not less than 1-1/2” in thickness and not less than 6” in width to be laid crosswise of three stringers 2” thick and 4” wide laid on edge lengthwise of the street. Said boards to be well nailed to said stringers with sixteen penny nails.

In 1890, the town well was constructed at the costs of: $23.25 to dig and put a top on the well, $37.25 for lumber and brick, 20 cents for nails, $1.75 to make a trough, and $24 for the pump. They also purchased a plow for use on the road and hired a street commissioner for $30 a year. The marshal was paid $8 a month and he was to keep the crossings clean of snow and mud.

The council met to devise a plan to light a portion of the town in November, 1890. Ordinance 37: The private citizens shall furnish lamps for lighting of the streets to the number of six. Town shall furnish oil to run lamps and they shall be lighted each night by 7 p.m. It is the duty of the marshal to light or cause to be lighted said lamps. Failure shall be of 10 cents for each not lit. He shall receive $2 per month for lighting, payable quarterly.

Boys were prone to jumping on and off the trains as they slowed down through town. An ordinance was passed to prohibit this while trains were in motion. Two boys were fined $2.25 for this offense in 1894. Ordinance #43 stated that any person under the age of eighteen was not to be on the streets after 9 p.m. except under control of their parent or guardian. Ball playing on the streets was declared a nuisance.

The telephone started arriving in June, 1900, and electricity in 1915. Consideration was given to fire protection in 1906 and a chemical fire engine was voted down in 1907. (This after large fires in 1904 and 1905 burnt many businesses). In 1913, they bought two dozen buckets and ladders. 1911 and the more prevalent use of cars brought about the speed limit law of 10 miles per hour within the town. And so the town moved into the modern age……..

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