m. Sept 6 1857
Facts and Events
Stories of Horace Mason, related by James C Mason to James R Mason
Horace Mason was, for some time, road agent on the East Conway Road, in Conway. This was before motor driven equipment and pavement. During the winter, the road was not plowed, but instead rolled flat. The roller was a huge affair drawn by horses. At the time this is written, there is a reproduction sitting in front of the State DPW in Concord. During one particular storm, Horace was rolling the road over a bridge that spanned the Maine Central. Due to the heavy snow, the sound of a coming train was muffled and the horses did not hear that there was a train nearby until the train was almost under the bridge. This spooked them and threw Horace forward. The roller went directly over him which, under normal circumstances would have been fatal. Fortunately for Horace, the snow had been particularly heavy so he was not crushed to death. He was, as my Grandfather said, laid up for quite a while with a number of broken ribs.
Another roller-related story. Lots of people believe that covered bridges are covered in order to keep snow off the bridge. This is not true. As my Grandfather told it, as soon as they had the first "good snow", men would go to the bridge and fill carts with snow from the roadside on either side of the bridge. The carts would be dragged up into the bridge and there the snow would be spread across the bridge deck. I seem to recall that the roller was then taken through to help create a nice ice surface for sleigh travel.
Mud season was much more epic in those days, and led to the only time of year when travel was really impossible. As soon as the mud was slightly dried out, the roads would require evening out. This was done with a grader, which looked a lot like graders of today except that there was no motor, it was smaller, and it was drawn by horses. The deep cart ruts in the road would then be evened out by pulling the grader over the surface. The grader would then be followed by a couple of men, who would pick up any large stones that the grader blade flipped up. Those stones would be thrown to either side of the road as might be convenient. Behind them, a couple of boys who's job it was to get smaller stones. So, roadside rock walls were not just a production built by farmers pulling rocks from their fields, but also due to year in and year out grading operations.
Additionally, at some point during my Grandfather's life, Horace was a representative to the NH House. What was particularly impressive about this, was that he did it as a Democrat. From Carroll County.