Posted by cherr on December 19, 1999
Found this during my reading of histories of upstate New York. In New England towns before there were funds for jails and other municipal structures, a drunk person or other felon would be sentenced by the local constable, who worked out of his home but lived, like everyone else in farming towns just starting to sprout , near the local blacksmith, usually a strong guy. anyway, the felon would be sentenced for 30 days or so to walk back and forth between constable and blacksmith abodes. after 30 days of this , he wouldn't want to do it again, so people so redeemed and others who lead an honest life, would be referred to as living or staying on the straight and narrow path. It comes from the resultant furrow in the ground made by sentenced felons . I've read so many books on upstate new york and new new england , I'm now trying to find which one contained this.