Lassen County Road Tax

Janesville Road Crew
Janesville Road Crew, 1910. Courtesy of Verna Tanner Haley*

Way before gasoline taxes were introduced as a funding mechanism to maintain roads, there was a $2 a year road tax applied to all males over the age of 21. Sometimes, it was confused with the Poll tax, for often one would pay the tax when one voted.

Janesville Road Crew
Janesville Road Crew, 1910. Courtesy of Verna Tanner Haley

However, one could opt of the road tax and provide labor in an exchange. Each county supervisor would appoint a road district overseer, who in turn would perform the work on in their respective districts, usually with the volunteer labor of those who did not pay the tax. Not the best system, especially in a large rural county like Lassen, but nevertheless it got the job done.

*To the far left is Satch Whitten, road overseer. The long time Janesville resident was married to Carrie DeWitt.

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