And whether it’s Brady, Pavilion, Schoolcraft or Wakeshma, the role of township government has changed and evolved over time.
Back in the day, township residents were taxed for road upkeep, but with a twist. The head of the household—if a man—had a choice: he could pay a set amount of road tax, or he could reduce that amount—or eliminate it—by spending a certain number of days working on road repairs.
In addition to an elected supervisor, early townships also chose path masters and fence masters. In the days of the horse and buggy, an intricate map of walking paths crisscrossed the townships and it was the responsibility of several men to see that pathways across private property were kept open.
Fence masters monitored the condition of road fences. Property owners could be fined if their fences were in poor repair, as livestock was routinely driven along the roads either to market or to distant pastures.