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The original meaning of the word turnpike was a barrier placed across a road to stop passage until the toll was paid; in other words, a toll-gate. Gradually the whole road on which a toll-gate was maintained was called a turnpike. There were two such roads in Orange.
The Derby Turnpike Company was formed in 1798. Its capital stock was about $7,500. There were ten original stockholders, and just one hundred shares were issued.
When Joseph Wheeler and others petitioned the General Assembly for a charter on the 2nd Thursday of May, 1798, it was stated that ''the road now leading from Derby landing to the New Haven Court House is extremely bad, hilly, crooked and rough so as to be almost impassible for teams and carriages; that a new road or highway might be laid out from said landing to said Court house which would shorten the distance two mites, and be laid over good level and feasible land." Isaac Ticknor of Lebanon was the contractor who built the road, which was about eight miles in length, and was to be 18 feet wide, traveling part, at the rate of $2.00 per rod. There was a condition in the contract--"it is to be understood that where by reason of rocks or other obstructions it shall be extremely difficult to make the road 18 ft. wide, the party of the 2nd part shall make it as wide as the make of the ground shall admit."
The limits of the road were from ''the house of Eneas Monson on York Street, New Haven, to the house of Joseph Wheeler, Derby landing." Derby was a prosperous village at this time, with quite an export trade, as ships came up the river from foreign ports, especially the West Indies.
In his history of Derby, Orcutt tells of the disappointment of the man who worked so hard to get the road and helped build it at great expense. He had an extensive trade, which he expected would be increased; but instead, after