The following are some extracts from Old Dartmouth Highway Records 1705-1786, which can be accessed online at Without a knowledge of the location of the early homesteads, the modern reader would find it impossible to know, in most cases, which modern road is being referred to. Thus as the first line in each entry I have provided my own interpretation of what road is referenced. Road courses have in numerous cases been altered over time. While in the 20th century these variations tended to be slight, usually involving smoothing out the sharp corners of the early roads to allow safer travel in the age of the automobile, there is some evidence that earlier course alterations were more significant. My own suspicion is that the modern courses of Cornell Road, the south end of Sodom Road, and the south end of Main Road vary substantially from the original. The paucity of information  in the highway records on bearings and lengths (compared to, say, the contemporary records from Crane’s field notes for property layouts) might pose difficulties, but someone with the requisite skills might undertake to “rediscover” some of the original courses.

The records refer to two types of roads: “open ways” are the rough equivalents of modern unimpeded roads, while “drift ways” were generally running through properties rather than serving as borders between properties. Drift ways were divided by gates and bars as one passed from one property to the next. Drift Road, for example, for almost its entire length ran through properties that extended westerly from the East Branch to Main Road (for that section of Drift north of Hixbridge Road) or roughly to what is now the Route 88 corridor ( for that section south of the Hixbridge Road intersection). Main Road, by contrast, generally divided between properties, so that the property owner on the west side was not the same person as the owner on the east side. Thus it was convenient, in one sense, to have Main Road designated an open way and Drift Road made a drift way, but it by no means provided convenience for travelers on the latter road. Each time a traveler came to a gate, he would have to get off his wagon (or horse), open the gate, get back on the wagon, drive it through the gate, then get down again to close the gate before the property owner’s wandering livestock could pass through the gate  themselves to invade their neighbor’s pasture, field, orchard or vegetable garden. Consider that in a trip from the Head of Westport to Westport Point one had to travel through about 20 properties, repeating this exercise each time, and you get a sense of the relief felt when around 1840 Drift Road was finally converted from a drift way to an open way.

The width of the road right of ways was usually set at 2 rods (33 feet), 40 feet or 4 rods (66 feet). Sometimes a single road had different widths at different points. Sodom Road, for example, not only included differing widths,  it was an open way at its south end and a drift way at its north end.


Page 12                1705

Part of Russells Mills Road (plus Fisher Road?)

Description: Beginning at the road to Namquit (Nonquit) Neck {Bakerville Road?] at the head of Ralph Earle’s land, a way “into the old path to the Meeting House*,” westerly by the north side of the Meeting House, then past Joseph Russell’s mills on the west side of the river to the herring “ware” [weir] [north end of Horseneck Road?], then up the old path by Henry Howland’s new dwelling house# to the west side of the land of John Calvin  Jr then past the south end of a fresh pond [intersection of Fisher and Gidleytown Roads?], then between the house of Philip [—ings] [Cummings?] and a swamp on the east side [Deerfield Swamp?] then “up into the country road” [Old Westport/Old County Road]

*I.e. the Apponegansett Friends Meeting House on the north side of Russells Mills Road.

#The “old path” is perhaps Chase Road, as a Henry Howland house dated to 1720 in MACRIS is located near the south end of Chase Road. However, this would undoubtedly place it east of Joseph Rusells’s mills, while the highway record seems to indicate that the Henry Howland house was to the west.


Page 13                1705

Slade’s Corner Road?

Description: Beginning at the way between Joseph Russell’s mills and the “herring ware,” then over the brook to Matthew Wing’s mill* [site of Allen’s mill] then west and northwest until it “comes into the horseneck way [Division Road?]

*By tradition, the mill was established by William Ricketson, who came to Old Dartmouth from Portsmouth, where he had constructed and operated a mill. Matthew Wing, a brother-in-law of Robert Gifford,  came from Sandwich and married the Widow Ricketson. He apparently operated the mill for a time before turning it over to his stepson Jonathan Ricketson when he came of age. At least two more mills were located upstream along Destruction Brook and one other downstream near where it enters the river. The “Allen” of Allen’s mill was James D. Allen, a son of the diarist Frederick Allen, who purchased the mill complex in the late 1800s.


Page 13                1705

Division Road (south) ?

Description: A way southwest into the horseneck way and along the way until it comes to Increase Allen’s house lot.

Comments: The homestead of Increase Allen, previously the property of Peter Lee, who acquired it from his father-in-law Hugh Mosher, was at the south end of Division Road.


Page 14                1705

Horseneck Road (Dartmouth) between Russells Mills and Barney’s Joy Road

Description: Open way of 4 rods width, beginning at the herring weir by Joseph Russell’s mills, then southwest until it comes to Peleg Slocum’s stone wall near his dwelling house* then along the west side of the wall until it comes to the land of the Soules.# [In the later 1700s some corrections and adjustments were made to this stretch, by then owned by Peleg Slocum’s heirs, with the road being narrowed at some points in exchange for the Slocums providing a more convenient routing. In the original layout Peleg’s brother Giles Slocum would have owned the northern portion of the land the way passed through, but he is not mentioned here in the highway records].

*The house of Peleg Slocum was located on the northern part, or just north of, Dartmoor Farm, about 100 yards west of the house marked S. Barker on the 1871 Dartmouth map. By ca1900 only the remains of the chimney were left of the Peleg Slocum house; the Barker house, a 2.5 story “Dutch cap” (hipped roof structure) which survived into modern times, was built ca1790 by Peleg’s grandson Holder Slocum Jr.

#The land of the settler Soule brothers, Nathaniel and George Jr., some in Westport and some in Dartmouth, was probably divided by that time, as both were deceased by 1705. The parcel in question is probably the homestead of George Jr’s son William Soule, whose NE corner appears to have been at or near the intersection of Horseneck and Barney’s Joy Roads. The 90 degree turn in Horseneck Road to the west of this point is perhaps an artifact of the division between the homesteads of Peleg Slocum to the north, William Soule to the southeast and Increase Allen to the west.


Page 15                1705

Adamsville Road?

Description: From Widow Potter’s* house near “the old way to the land of John Taber# near Taber’s south line, then down a hill into the old way, then west to Capstone’s brook** to Widow Potter’s marsh meadow.

*Elizabeth (Stokes) Potter, widow of the settler Nathaniel Potter Jr. The houses of two of her sons survive on Adamsville Road, the ca1720 gambrel of her son Ichabod Potter (Wood’s farm) and the ca1705 house of son Stokes Potter (Oscar Palmer farm). Both of these houses are on the footprint of the Nathaniel Potter Jr farm, the house referred to here may have been on the north side of Adamsville Road in the vicinity of Angeline Brook.

#John Taber = WLCT/St. Vincent de Paul property. According to the Dartmouth Proprietors records, the way would run in between John Taber’s property to the north and his brother Elder Philip Taber’s property to the south. There is reason to believe that when the causeway was built between the mill pond and the mill the road was redirected on a more southerly course in that area.

**”Capstone” is probably an Anglicization of Capatonest, the Wampanoag name for Adamsville Brook, the name used, with various spellings, in several early deeds [Dan Taber materials].

The 1705 date probably predates by about 10 years the construction of  Taber’s grist and saw mill on the site of the modern Gray’s grist mill. In Dan Taber’s opinion, the original road passed north of where the mill pond is now. Given that the mill pond did not exist in 1705, the “marsh meadow” of Widow Potter referred to here may have been in that area.


Page 15                1705

Hixbridge Road (part)

Description: Continuation of entry above, but apparently a separate road. From Widow Potter’s house a way eastward to Noquechuck River, to run eastward between two hills near the river at Earle’s stockyard [near the landing?] then east past where Valentine Huddlestone now lives [north side of Hixbridge Road east of the bridge] until the way goes into the way to Horseneck and Nutaquansett [either Horseneck Road, Westport or Division Road], and from there the nearest and best way to the gristmill. There is discussion that no other convenient point for crossing the river could be found either north or south of this location.

Page 15                                1705

Adamsville Road (east), Sodom Road (south) and Narrow Avenue?

A way of 4 rods from Widow Potter’s to George Wood’s [NW corner of Adamsville and Sodom Roads], then to Thomas Rogers’* land, then through his land to Tiverton bounds

*Thomas Rogers Jr owned a farm located between Sawdy and Poganset (Devol’s) Pond. In 1706 this farm was sold to Peleg Tripp, a decade later Peleg’s son Richard Tripp sold it to Philip Taber (Worth). Despite this (and other) references in the highway records to what would appear to be Narrow Avenue, Worth insisted that the farms in that area were difficult to access until the 1800s, and could only be reached by private driftways. Perhaps the earlier version of Narrow Avenue followed a different route.  A route directly through the land of George Wood to Thomas Rogers, without naming other landowners, implies a more westerly location for the south end of Sodom Road (using the modern course as a reference, the Potter,  Davis and Mosher families owned the land along the east side of Sodom Road, and Soule and Cory were owners on the west side in addition to Wood).


Page 16                                1705

Cornell Road (old route)?

Description: A way out of Paukachuck about one half mile above where William Macomber Jr’s dwelling house now stands , then west and northwest into the way from Widow Potter’s to near where John Taber now liveth [the WLCT/St. Vincent de Paul property, and thus intersecting Adamsville Road]

This description raises the question of where William Macomber Jr’s dwelling house stood. Using later  reference points in deeds from William Jr to his sons Timothy and William III disposing of the northerly parts of his homestead farm, it is indicated that William Jr’s house — presumably located on the southerly part of his homestead, which he retained — was on the east side of  Main Road to the south of where Dunham’s Brook crosses the road.


Page 18                                1705

Barney’s Joy Road (north part)

Description: A private way, upon the complaint of Ebenezer Allen, to establish a way from his homestead to the grist mill and Meeting House, the house of William Soule was on the west side of the way and Peleg Slocum’s stone wall on the east side, this way goes into the “way that goes from Nutaquanset up into the Country Road” [Horseneck Road, Dartmouth], land is near Paskamansett River.

Comments: One of the four Allen brothers (Ebenezer, Increase, Joseph, Matthew) who relocated to Dartmouth from Sandwich in the 1600s, Ebenezer lived near the intersection of Barney’s Joy and Allen’s Neck Roads.


Page 20                                1705

Division Road (part)?

Description: Upon the complaint of Increase Allen, a way from his homestead to the grist mill and Meeting House, this way borders land of Peleg Slocum.

Slocum’s west boundary ran northwest/southeast, with Allen on the west side. Slocum also owned about 130 acres on the Westport side of Division Road, and on the Dartmouth side owned the area where the MA Wildlife property is now located.


Page 20

Horseneck Road (south) (plus Pine Hill Road?)

Desription: Given that “the proprietors were damnified” for not providing egress to the meadow lots in the Horseneck, and that in prior times a way had been surveyed but that “the man who laid out the way is dead” and the prior bounds lost, a new way at Nutoqansett by the sea to go east, west and north. To the east, a way by the beach to salt marsh meadows at Nutoquansett [no longer a road, perhaps following the pathway on the Audubon Society property along the south side of Allen’s Pond]. West, a way into Horseneck to the meadows and other lands. North, a way through the land of the Moshers to the land of John Kerbe [Kirby], then north in a straight line to the new dwelling house of Nicholas Mosher, near the east side of a brook called Mashtuxet, and from that point north into the Country Road or Queen’s Highway from Acushnet to James Sisson’s.

Comments: Hugh Mosher owned land on both sides of the south end of Horseneck Road, which he sold to William Almy in 1706. Hugh’s son Nicholas Mosher lived near the SE corner of Akin’s Corner. John Kirby was deeded part of the homestead of his father, Richard Kirby Jr, who lived in the area of Fisherville Lane, and additional land, apparently adjoining, by his father-in-law Hugh Mosher.

No mention is made in this record of any property owner north of Akin’s Corner, though the language used in this ambitious project would seem to connect up a way from the ocean to Old County Road.


Page 22                                1705

Upon the complaint of William Earl, William Wood, Zachariah Allen and others, a way from Paukachuck, a previous way having been ordered and surveyed by the Proprietors but the bounds have been lost. Beginning at Christoper Gifford’s fence*, then south to the landing place, this section to be by gates and bars. From the first point, north to William (—)’s [Macomber Sr?] house, near land now in the possession of Joseph Hix, then north and northwest by a “bog fresh meadow” to the house of William Macomber Jr, then north to the Country Road.

The following appears to be a separate but connected road]. A way to be 6 rods wide  to the salt water westerly  between the land of Thomas Macomber and Joseph Hix.

Joseph Hix probably lived in the area later owned by his great-grandson, Barney Hicks (Joseph > Gabriel > Joseph 2d > Barney)

*Christopher Gifford’s north wall probably ran through Westport Point Cemetery in a WNW/ESE direction. The chain of title for the cemetery land, an amalgamation of three separate parcels,  shows two different root titles, William Wood for the north part and Christopher Gifford/Daniel Wilcox for the south.


Page 24                                1707

Main Road

A correction to the way from Paukachuck, an open way of 4 rods, beginning at the Neck between the land of William Macomber and the Wilcoxes. N along Macomber’s land to Thomas Macomber, then N to Joseph Hix, N between Hix and the Wilcoxes to the homestead of William Macomber Jr, to the NW corner of Richard Evans (SW corner of Colman), the N to the NW corner of Stephen Wilcox’s homestead, then  N to the swamp in Reuben Waite’s line, to the SW corner of James Tripp’s homestead, then along the head of the homestead of Joseph Tripp to the head of Peleg Tripp’s land, then N across George Cadman’s homestead to the path from James Sisson’s to (—), then E over a brook and up a hill to the Queen’s road.

Comments: Stephen Wilcox homestead included Westport Town Farm (as with the following until Peleg Tripp, these homesteads extended west from the river to the east side of Main Road). Wilcox’s SW corner would be the NW corner of the Friends Meeting House property. This and the following four homestead all ran from the East Branch to Main Road.

Reuben Waite: Next homestead north of Wilcox

Thomas Waite/Widow Waite: Next homestead north, included Waite-Potter house, not mentioned here

James Tripp: Next homestead north, ca1720 house repaired by Pete Baker and moved SE, house originally on the site of the modern Cummings house on Drift Road.

Joseph Tripp: Noquochoke Orchards

Widow (Mrs. Joseph) Devol: Not mentioned here, on E side of Main Road opposite Peleg Tripp

Peleg/Benjamin Tripp: SW corner of Main and Charlotte White Roads

George Cadman homestead: House in area of 450 Drift Road, here the 900+ acre property extended along the north side of Charlotte White and Charlotte White Extension.

Note that the north end of the road in this description would appear to be Old County Road from Gifford’s Corner east to the Head.


Page 26                                1707

Hixbridge Road (part)

Description: On east side of Coxset River, beginning at the foot of Valentine Huddlestone’s on the south side of the valley where the ferry boat usually lands, then along Huddlestone’s land to the homestead of Samuel Cornell [Westport Vineyards area], then east along Cornell until it meets the highway that goes from Horseneck to the Country Road [Horseneck Road plus Pine Hill Road*]

*There is some evidence in the land and highway records that “Old” Pine Hill Road is actually of more recent vintage than the south end of Pine Hill Road.


Page 27                                1708

Barney’s Joy Road plus Horseneck Road Dartmouth (part)

Description: An open way from Nutaquanset to Wing’s mill, beginning at the harbor below the land of Eliezer Slocum [Slocum’s Neck in the area of Demarest Lloyd park], then through Eliezer Slocum’s land to the land of Josiah Allen* and Ebenezer Allen, the Soules and Peleg Slocum’s homestead until it comes to the way from the Meeting House.

*Son of Joseph Allen (d.1696). Josiah inherited his father’s homestead farm on the east side of Allen’s Pond. His uncle Ebenezer Allen was to his east, his uncle Increase Allen to his northwest, the Soules to the northeast. Josiah’s brothers Joseph Jr and John (the “J & J Allen” of the Crane maps) were large landowners in Westport) and his brother William was a large landowner in Acushnet.


Page 42                                1718

Drift Road

Description: A way of 4 rods, with gates for carts and horses, beginning near the NW corner of James Sisson’s dwelling house*, then south over George Cadman’s brook [Kirby Brook], past Joseph Tripp’s orchard [Noquochoke Orchards area], then past Widow Wait’s oven [area of Waite-Potter house?], then passing 9 yards SW from Stephen Wilcox’s dwelling house** then into the way that comes to the ferry by Coleman’s land [Hixbridge Road west]

[the following portion is beginning at the far south end and working north]

Beginning near William Wood’s barn, then through the land of Nathaniel Soule and Nathan Soule

*Probably in the area where the Stone House is now. From deeds it is clear that the far north end of Drift Road was re-routed westward ca1820.

**Wilcox built the east end of the Westport Town farm building ca1720, so possibly in existence at that time.

Page 78                                1718

Adamsville Road

Description: Beginning at the west boundary of the town by Philip Taber’s mills, passing on the south side of Swett’s house* then along the NE side of the mill dam, past the land of Philip Taber and George Wood, Ebenezer Tripp**, Widow Potter, Potter’s old dwelling house, Stokes Potter, deceased#, then over a brook [Angeline Brook?] to Ichabod Potter [Wood’s farm/Post Office area].

*Benjamin Swett [Sweet] was a blacksmith who was given land by Philip Taber to encourage him to settle there; his house and blacksmith shop was in the area where Gray’s store and ice houses were later built.

**Ebenezer Tripp purchased the former Samuel Potter farm, in the area on the south side of Adamsville Road between the Sodom  Road intersection and the WLCT Herb Hadfield property.

#Stokes Potter = the Oscar Palmer farm, although at that time the property extended westerly to include the Sharples farm


Page 81

Cornell Road (old route?)

Description: A way from Philip Taber’s mills to the way from Paukachuck against William Macomber Jr’s homestead, passing near the NE corner of Philip Taber’s dwelling house and through Brightman’s land.

Comments: Philip Taber’s dwelling house possibly the ca1720 house on the south side of  Cornell Road. If so, it indicates a more southerly early course for Cornell Road to pass “near” the house.


Page 82

Sodom Road (south) plus Narrow Avenue

Description: A way that goes from the way leading easterly from Philip Taber’s mills up to the west line of the town through the homestead of Richard Tripp*

*Richard Tripp obtained from his father (Peleg) his own homestead farm, which appears to have been at the west end of Narrow Avenue (the Dartmouth boundary used to run south from Sawdy Pond) and his father’s former homestead farm located between Sawdy and Poganset/Devol’s Pond. Both of these properties were later sold by Richard Tripp to Philip Taber. My overall impression from reading this description is that while the beginning and end points of this route match or at least approximate the modern route, the omission of Aaron Davis and Benjamin Davis (who owned the land on the east side of Sodom Road from the Weatherlow farm area north almost to the Narrow Avenue intersection) from the list of landowners, leads me to believe that in these olden times this segment of Sodom Road was more to the west. Also note Henry Worth’s observation that until well into the 1800s the farms in the area between and to the south of the ponds could only be accessed through private ways. Perhaps the route “laid out” in this record was never completed.


Page 85                1707

Gooseberry Neck

Description: A way through the “plumb hills” [i.e. beach plum?] to William Almy’s land on Gooseberry Neck.


Page 87

Sodom Road (north)

Desription: A way connecting the way to Richard Tripp’s [Narrow Ave] to the way from Stony Brook to George Lawton’s [Rt 177 west of Sodom Road intersection], through the land of Joseph Mosher, James Mosher, Jonathan Devil (Devol) and his son Benjamin Devol. Way to be of 4 rods width with gates and bars.


Page 89

Rt 177 (west) plus part of Old County Rd?

Description: A way from Stony Brook to the Nokachuck River, beginning at the SW corner of James Sisson’s land “that runs up towards Cranbury Neck” [Brownell’s Corner area?} through land of George Lawton, George Cadman, Abiel M(—), deceased, mentions the “Little Bridge.”

Comments: Stony Brook is, perhaps, the brook connecting Sawdy and South Watuppa Ponds.

It is consistent with several other records that describe the Country Road/Queen’s Highway as the “way from Acushnet {River] to Sisson’s” to consider that in its early days that road extended no further west than the Head of Westport. The segment of road in this record provides a connection from the Head to Bulgarmarsh Road in Tiverton.

The advisability of such a connection to facilitate east/west travel must have become manifest, as the other options were limited. To consider the options from north to south, if someone wanted to travel from Fall River (from the Braga Bridge area, for example) to New Bedford, the most common route until the 1800s would be to travel east down Bedford Street (hence its name) to its end, then north via Wilson Road passing by the north end of North Watuppa Pond, then south on Blossom Road to Old Bedford Road, then east through Hixville then southeast through Smith Mills to Route 6/Kempton Street (there was very little worth visiting in the north end of New Bedford in those days).

Until the first causeway was built ca1800, the Narrows was impassable except on foot (by “Indian bridge” across the shallows) or on horseback, travel by wagon was out of the question. Before 1800, the pond was referred to as a singular entity (Watuppa) instead of being divided into North Watuppa and South Watuppa, and this designation represented the true state of affairs.

So our Fall River traveler’s other available option was to travel south through Tiverton past the Stone Bridge area to Bulgarmarsh Road then east to the Head of Westport and on to New Bedford.

Newport travelers headed for New Bedford had the choice of crossing either at Howland’s Ferry (Stone Bridge) then traveling south on Main Road to Bulgarmarsh Road , and then east to the Head, or crossing at Taggart’s Ferry from Sachuest Point to Taylor’s Lane in Little Compton, thence on through the Commons to Adamsville.


Page 108              1743

Gifford Road (south)

Description: A way of 4 rods width from George Lawton’s mill lot to the Country Road to the west of Noquechuck Bridge, total length 92 rods.

This indicates that, contrary to the story passed down by Gladys Gifford Kirby, John Gifford did not leave the south end of Gifford Road uncompleted, instead it was already completed, or at least laid out, a decade before John Gifford was born.


Page 115              1751

Sodom Road (north)

Re-survey of a 40 foot open way from Jonathan Taber’s homestead [SW corner of Narrow Ave and Sodom Roads?] to the Country Road by George Lawton’s [intersection of Rt 177 and Sodom Road], through land of Joseph Mosher, Robert Mosher, passing near John Davil’s crib [corn crib], near George Wood’s dwelling house [area of 315 Sodom Road], and near George Lawton’s crib.


Page 116              1753

Old County Road (east) and Old Westport Road

Description: From Noquechuck Bridge eastward past the land of Robert Gifford and Mary Hix [both south side of Old County between the east landing and Pine Hill Road], past the Mile Swamp [Landers or Deerfield Swamps?]  past the land of Matthew Wing [former Landers property, north side of Old Westport Road], past land of William Gifford [Old Westport Road in area of UMD], past land of John Lapham until the way enters the way from the sawmill to Maxfield’s [Chase Road?]