Great Depression & World War II Roads


In 1942 there were only two paved roads in Stafford County, U. S. Route 1 and U. S. Route 17. All others were unpaved and proved difficult to impossible to traverse in all but the driest weather. In January 1898, the local newspaper made the following comment:

“The condition of the roads through the county is horrible. The Garrisonville road has been practically abandoned” (Free Lance, Jan. 25, 1898).

In 1912 workmen were endeavoring to improve the Warrenton Road, now U. S. Route 17, by putting a layer of gravel on it. John Hammett (1874-1946) and his brother, Eppa (1879-1953), owned a farm near the junction of Poplar Road (Route 616) and the Warrenton Road and the gravel was being dug from one side of their property. A newspaper article reported:

“Difficulty Over Gravel. Much excitement was caused on the Warrenton road above Falmouth Saturday morning when a difficulty arose between Messrs. John and Eppa Hammett and Mr. Goodman, foreman at the gravel pit. The Hammetts objected to their land being plowed to secure gravel for the new road. This caused a personal encounter between these gentlemen. During the melee several shots were fired by the Hammetts and a club used by Goodman. Ex-Sheriff Chas. Kennedy and several others appeared on the scene and the encounter stopped. Warrants were issued for all the parties engaged in the trouble and Sheriff Moncure, who was here, went at once to the scene of the trouble. The work on the road was suspended on account of the trouble” (Fredericksburg Daily Star, Nov. 23, 1912).