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SECTION 1. The board of commissioners, or levy court of Washington county, shall be composed of eleven members, to be designated by the President from among the justices of the peace of said county, annually, on the first Monday of May, or as soon thereafter as may be. If a vacancy happen, the President shall proceed to fill it by a selection as aforesaid. The present members of the levy court shall continue to held their offices, according to the tenure of their commissions.
SEC. 2. Two members of the levy court shall be selected from that part of Washington county which lies eastward of Rock creek, and outside the limits of Washington City; two from that part of said county which lies westward of Rock creek, and outside the limits of Georgetown; three from Georgetown, and four from Washington City. A majority of the members shall constitute a quorum to do business.
SEC. 3. Every person appointed as a member of the levy court shall, on receiving his commission, take an oath faithfully to discharge the duties of his office; which being certified on the back of such commission, under the hand and seal of any judge or justice of the peace administering the same, shall be sufficient authority for such person to act as a member of said levy court for and during the time for which he may be appointed.
SEC. 4. The levy court shall be considered a body corporate and politic, by the name and style of "The Levy Court of the County of Washington," and as such, and in such name, may sue and be sued; may purchase and hold for the public use of said county, lands lying within its limits, and any personal estate; and may make all necessary contracts, and do all other necessary acts in relation to the property and concerns of said county.
SEC. 5. The levy court may, by their order of record, appoint agents to sell any real estate belonging to the said county of Washington; and all deeds made in behalf of the inhabitants of such county, by such agents, under their proper hands and seals, and duly acknowledged and recorded, shall be sufficient to convey all the right, title, and interest which said county may then have to such land so conveyed.
SEC. 6. When any action shall be commenced against the county of Washington, it shall be sufficient if service of the process be made
upon the clerk of the levy court. The inhabitants of such county shall be competent jurors or witnesses, if otherwise competent or qualified according to law.
SEC. 7. All the property of every kind belonging to said county shall be vested in the said levy court.
SEC. 8. The levy court shall hold its sessions on the first Monday of each month, and at such other times as the said court may order. Special sessions may be called by the clerk of said court, upon the written order of four members.
SEC. 9. The members of the levy court shall each receive two dollars for every day's attendance upon said court, to be paid out of the funds of the said county.
SEC. 10. The levy court shall have and use a seal for the purpose of sealing their proceedings; and copies of the same, when signed and sealed by the said court, and attested by their clerk, shall be good evidence of such proceedings in the trial of any cause in any court of this District.
SEC. 11. The levy court shall have power to appoint a clerk, treasurer, assessors, collector of taxes, supervisors of roads, overseers of the poor, and such other officers and agents as may be necessary; may fix their term of office, may assign them such duties, require of them such security, and allow them such compensation for their services, respectively, as the said court may think proper.
SEC. 12. The levy court shall have power to lay out, alter, repair, and regulate the public roads and highways within said county.
SEC. 13. No road shall be made to exceed one hundred feet in breadth, nor shall it pass through any building, garden, or yard, without the consent of the owner of the same.
SEC. 14. Reasonable compensation, if required by the owner, shall be made for any land marked and laid out for a public road, to be fixed as follows: The levy court, having first caused to be laid out und marked by the surveyor of the county the proposed road, shall give six weeks' public notice thereof by advertisement, and proper personal notice to the resident owners of the land through which the proposed road may run. If any owner of the land, through which the road may have been laid out, shall require compensation therefor, he shall, within two weeks after the expiration of the said six weeks, apply to the levy court, or to the clerk thereof, for such compensa
tion. If the parties cannot agree, or if the owner shall be a married woman, or insane person, or under age, or shall reside out of the District of Columbia, without having given proper authority to some person within this District to act for him in the premises, the levy court may, within two weeks after the expiration of the aforesaid two weeks, by writing, order the marshal to summon a jury of twelve freeholders, inhabitants of the said county of Washington, not related to the said owner, and in no manner interested in the premises, to meet on the land to be valued, at a day and hour to be expressed in said order. Ten days' notice of such meeting shall be given to the owner of the land, or left at his place of abode, or given to his guardian, if an infant, or to his committee or trustee, if an insane person, or to her husband, if a married woman. If the owner reside out of this District, and no person therein be duly authorized to act for him, sufficient notice shall be given to him personally, or public notice, by advertisement in some newspaper published in the city of Washington, shall be given for six weeks previous to the time for the assembling of said jury.
SEC. 15. The marshal shall summon the said jury and serve notice as aforesaid, and shall administer an oath to each of the jurors, justly and impartially, according to the best of his skill and judgment, to value the land and all damages, if any, which the owner will sustain by the road passing through the same, having regard to all circumstances of advantage or disadvantage, benefit or injury, which the owner may receive thereby.
SEC. 16. The inquisition, signed by the marshal and seven or more of the jurors, shall be returned by the marshal to the recorder, and filed in his office. Unless good cause be shown against said inquisition within a reasonable time, not exceeding three months, it shall be affirmed by the circuit court, and recorded, at the cost and charge of the levy court. If such inquisition be set aside, the circuit court may direct another inquisition, to be taken in the manner herein before described. The valuation expressed in the inquisition shall be paid by the levy court to the owner of the land or his representatives, before the road shall be opened.
SEC. 17. If no compensation shall be claimed within eight weeks after the first publication of the notice as aforesaid, the land laid out and marked shall be adjudged to be condemned for the purposes of a
public road, and no compensation shall thereafter be required, unless the owner be a married woman, or insane person, or under age, or shall reside out of this District, having no person residing therein. duly authorized to act for him; in which several cases the proceedings for condemnation shall be as aforesaid.
SEC. 18. Whenever a road shall be opened according to the foregoing provisions, the levy court shall cause a plat of the same to be recorded, and such road thereafter shall be a public road and common highway.
SEC. 19. In all cases where materials shall be necessary for making or repairing a public road, if the levy court cannot agree with the owner as to their purchase, or if the owner be a married woman, or under age, or insane person, or shall reside out of this District, having no person therein duly authorized to act for him, the said court may proceed in the same manner for condemning said materials as is herein before directed for the condemnation of land for the purposes of a public road.
SEC. 20. No field of ground in actual cultivation shall be laid open or used as a public road, until after the usual time of taking off the crops growing thereon.
SEC. 21. The levy court shall have power, upon petition, to establish, at the termination of any public road leading to any navigable water, a public landing place; and may proceed in the same manner, and exercise the same powers, for establishing and maintaining such public landing place, as is herein before directed for opening and repairing public roads.
SEC. 22. The levy court shall have power to make all proper and needful rules, not inconsistent with the laws of this District, for regulating, preserving, and keeping in good order, the roads and bridges of the said county of Washington; and may annex penalties, not exceeding twenty dollars, for any breach thereof, to be recovered in the name and for the use of said levy court, before any justice of the peace; provided, however, that no person shall be subject to any such penalty, unless such regulations have been duly and properly published.
SEC. 23. It shall be the duty of the levy court to keep, or cause to be kept, the public roads, causeways, and bridges, of said county of Washington, in proper repair; and if any person shall receive any
injury in his person or property, by reason of any defect or want of repair which has existed for the space of fifty-six hours in any public road, causeway, or bridge, in said county, he may recover from the said levy court the amount of damage sustained thereby.
SEC. 24. If any person shall desire any private road or way from his land, in said county of Washington, to a public road, and cannot agree therefor with the person through whose land such private road would pass, he may petition the levy court, which shall thereupon. direct the surveyor of said county to view and survey such road, not exceeding sixteen feet wide, clear of ditches, and return a plat thereof within one month.
SEC. 25. The owners, or the duly authorized agents of owners of land through which such private road may pass, shall be notified to appear at a certain day named in said notice, before the levy court, to show cause against such petition; and upon hearing, the levy court may make such order respecting such private road as it shall think proper; and shall determine the compensation to be made to such owners by the petitioners.
SEC. 26. Upon the payment of such compensation, such road shall be deemed a private way, appurtenant to the land of said petitioner; to be kept open and repaired at the expense of the party using the
SEC. 27. Nothing in this chapter contained shall authorize the making of any private road or way as aforesaid, through any garden, yard, orchard, or meadow, without the owner's consent.
SEC. 28. The levy court shall provide for the support of the paupers of the county of Washington, and to that end may make such contracts, from time to time, for their support, as shall be deemed proper.
SEC. 29. The levy court may purchase and hold any quantity of land, not exceeding fifty acres, and erect thereon a workhouse or almshouse, for the employment and accommodation of the paupers of said county. The said levy court may direct what paupers shall be received into any such house, and, from time to time, may make reasonable and proper rules and regulations for the government thereof, and of the dwellers therein.