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Originally a spiked barrier fixed in or across a road or passage as a defense against sudden attack, especially of men on horseback, a turnpike is now only another word for a roadway, usually a toll road. Good roads were few in the late 18th century and this petition by Caleb Alvord (1751-1819) sought to improve that. He devised and had printed a subscription form to solicit investors so that a road could be built between the Massachusetts towns of Leominster and Greenfield. He then went on to petition the General Court (Massachusetts legislature) to incorporate a company to create the road.