Documentary History of American Water-works

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Pacific States
California Jackson

Jackson, California

Jackson was settled in 1858 and incorporated as a city in 1905.

The Sutter, Jackson, and Drytown Water and Mining Company, November 1, 1852, by Alonzo Platt, James Hubbard, and others, for the purpose of conveying the waters of the North Fork of the Moquelumne River above Martin's Bar, to the mining region between Moquelumne River and Dry Creek.   The company began building a system to serve Jackson in 1853, and in 1854 the legislature allowed them to change their name to the Jackson Water Company.   The company's system delivered water from their lumber mill twenty miles from the city through a wooden flume.  Water was probably delivered sometime in 1855.  The company ran into legal difficulties and was sold at auction in 1856 for $190,000 to Jules Bayerque, who ran the system until his death in 1869.  The system was then sold at auction to Williams Wells for $1,950 and around 1874 was purchased by Benjamin F. Richtmyer, who was also the local agent for Wells-Fargo and Western Union. He died in 1899 and his wife, Celina, inherited the system and ran it until her own death in 1915, after which it passed to her sister Emily V. Blair.  She left the system to her daughter, Grace Blair DePue.  Upon Grace's death in 1944, the system was willed to two of her employees.  Around 1963, the system was sold to the Citizen Utilities Company and reincorporated as the Jackson Water Works, Inc.  The City of Jackson bought the system in 1993 after a lengthy condemnation proceeding.

In 1959, the Amador County Water Agency was formed as a public non-profit special district by the California Legislature and ratified by the voters of Amador County for the purpose of providing water, wastewater and storm drain services to Amador County.  The Agency purchased the Amador Water System in 1985 from Pacific Gas & Electric and changed its name the Amador Water Agency in 1995, to more clearly demonstrate that it operates independently from Amador County government.

Water is provided by the Amador Water Agency and distributed by the City of Jackson.

1852 Incorporation of the Sutter, Jackson, and Drytown Water and Mining Company, November 1, 1852, by Alonzo Platt, James Hubbard, and others, for the purpose of conveying the waters of the North Fork of the Moquelumne River above Martin's Bar, to the mining region between Moquelumne River and Dry Creek.  Capital $250,000; original number of shares, 2,500, Term 50 years.  Cited in San Francisco Price, Current, and Shipping List, January 23, 1855, Page 2.

1853 "Jackson Water Company," Sacramento Daily Union, November 1, 1853, Page 2.
The Calaveras Chronicle states that this company are progressing favorably with their works.  Already five miles of the line have been graded, and six more are under contract.

1853 "Jackson Water Company," Sacramento Daily Union, November 12, 1853, Page 2.

1854 An act to change the name of the Sutter, Jackson and Drytown Water and Mining Company to that of the Jackson Water Company.  May 13, 1854.

1854 "The Jackson Water Company," Sacramento Daily Union, May 25, 1854, Page 2.
The Sentinel contains an interesting account .of the works of this company,, which is regarded as exceeding in every respect any enterprise of the kind ever projected in this State.  We clip and condense therefrom the following:
The water is obtained from several tributaries of the North Fork of the Mokelumne river, two of which are more extensive than the South Fork of the same, from which the Mokelumne Hill Canal and Mining Company derive their supply.  The main flume commences at their mill, about twenty miles east of Jackson, at an elevation of about 900 feet above the valley of Jackson creek.  The flume crosses the "divide ridge" at the head of Grass Valley, (about 11 miles from the mill,) at an elevation of 700 feet as compared with the above.  After crossing this ridge they can supply a country embracing over three hundred square miles, about two-thirds of which is auriferous.
The entire route to Jackson, or, as far as is necessary, is to be traversed by a flume six feet wide at the top by four at the bottom (for the purpose of floating lumber) and three feet deep. The cross sills are seven feet long and five inches square.  The posts are twelve inches thick by three inches wide at the bottom, and flare two inches at the top, and are gained and tenoned to the bed-pieces by tenons six inches wide by one and a half thick, of five inches long, in such manner as to batter outwards from the inside of the flume in three feet perpendicular in the clear, which is the height of the posts.  The lumber used in planking is l 1/2 inches thick, at bottom and sides.
The saw-mill is propelled by an overshot wheel thirty-four feet in diameter with a surplus of water, and is located in an inexhaustible lumber region. Over a million of logs have been cut and are ready for the mill.  A railway, about a mile in length, is being constructed, penetrating a forest of sugar pine and fir, that will supply the mill for years to come. The capacity of the mill will soon be equal to 80,000 feet per day.  Several small saws are in full operation, edging lumber, and shaping and tenoning the side posts of the flume, while a circular morticing machine does the work of a hundred men in a day. The first large aqueduct, a few rods below the mill, is 90 feet high and 350 feet in length; the second, half a mile further, is 85 feet high and 275 feet long, both already finished.  About twenty smaller ones have also been completed, and the timber of all the remainder, as far as the divide, is on the ground and ready for raising.
The grading is nearly all finished to the divide, and the flume being laid at the rate of about a mile and a half per week, with a prospect of being finished to Grass Valley by July or August.  About ninety hands are engaged on the work.
It is estimated that, immediately on crossing the divide ridge, the sales of water will exceed $500 per day. The country between that point and Jackson is exceedingly auriferous, but illy watered.

1854 Daily Placer Times and Transcript (San Francisco, California), November 7, 1854, Page 2.
Aqueduct City, is another name recently given to the new locality in Amador county, first called "Grass Valley City."  It is in the immediate vicinity of the largest aqueduct of the Jackson Water Company, which is to be 120 feet in height and 1600 feet long. 

1855 "Jackson Water Company," Sacramento Daily Union, March 13, 1855, Page .
From the Sentinel we learn that the grading and acqueducting of the Jackson Canal is all finished, and the flume laid to within three miles of the dividing ridge at Acqueduct City.  The late rains have greatly increased the facilities of floating the lumber from the saw mill.
On the completion of the work it is estimated that the sales of water at Acqueduct City and vicinity will reach $500 per day.

1856 Daily Alta California, April 11, 1856, Page 3.
Request to obtain an injunction restraining the sheriff from selling the property of the Jackson Water Company by virtue of a judgment.

1856 "Jackson Water Company," Sacramento Daily Union, April 23, 1856, Page 1.
The property of the above company was sold last week, under an execution, for the sum of $21,509.34, and was bid in by Thos. B. Wade, Esq.  The original cost of the work was over $300,000.

1856 "Another Accident," Sacramento Daily Union, May 19, 1856, Page 2.
Capt. J.C. Ham, President of the Jackson Water Company, was thrown from his horse at Aqueduct City, Amador County, on the 10th of May, and so severely injured, according to the Jackson Sentinel, that his life was dispaired of.

1856 "Sale of Jackson Water Co.'s Works," Sacramento Daily Union, July 10, 1856, Page 2.
July 9th. Geo. P. Johnson, Master in Equity, sold the works of the Jackson Water Company, of Amador county, to Jules Bayerque, for $196,000 today.

1858 Green v. The Jackson Water Company, J.B. Bayerque (Intervenor), 10 Cal 374, October Term 1858, Supreme Court of the State of California.

1859 Ellison v. The Jackson Water Company and Bayerque, 12 Cal 542, January Term 1859, Supreme Court of the State of California.

1870 Sacramento Daily Union, April 26, 1870, Page 1.
Amador County. On Thursday last E.C. Palmer, surviving partner, sold at public auction, at the door of the Court-house, the entire Jackson Water Works and appurtenances belonging thereto, for the sum of $1,950.  William Wells, of Mokelumne Hill, was the purchaser.

1881 History of Amador County, California, by Jesse D. Mason
Pages 317-318:  B. F. Richtmyer

1888 "Jackson," from Manual of American Water Works, Volume 1.

1890 "Jackson," from Manual of American Water Works, Volume 2.

1891 "Jackson," from Manual of American Water Works, Volume 3.

1897 "Jackson," from Manual of American Water Works, Volume 4.

1899 "A Pioneer Dead," Sacramento Daily Union, May 21, 1899, Page 5.
Jackson, May 20.- Benjamin Richmyer, an Amador pioneer and for the last 25 years Wells-Fargo's agent in Jackson, died here today after an illness of two weeks, aged 75 years.  He was the owner of the Jackson water works.

1901 A Volume of Memoirs and Genealogy of Representative Citizens of Northern California: Including Biographies of Many of Those who Have Passed Away
Pages 72-74:  Benjamin F. Richtmyer

1910 "New Water Pipes are Being Laid," Amador Ledger, July 8, 1910,
Mrs. C. Richtymer, owner of the Jackson water works, has just received 500 feet of 11 inch pipe, for the repair of the main line between the tank and Main street.  It is intended to replace that portion which lies at the point of greatest pressure, and which crosses the creek, and running about 300 feet on the east side.  At this point the old pipe has given considerable trouble of late, with frequent breaks, it is about worn out, so it was decided to replace it with New no 12 pipe, which is much heavier than the old pipe.  The work of laying the new pipe will be rushed to completion as speedily as possible.

1915 Celina Vannatter Richtmyer
She was the proprietor of the Jackson water works, which she had managed ever since her husband's death some twelve or more years ago. l She leaves two sisters, Mrs. Blair of Jackson, and Mrs. Manning of San Francisco.

1916 James M Forshey
James M. Forshey, for years caretaker of the Jackson Water system died at his home in this city Monday afternoon. He had been in poor health for some weeks, but had been confined to his home but two days before the end came. Jim was well known in this community served faithfully under the late Mrs. Richtmyer.

1922 Report of the Railroad commission of California
Page 432:  Jackson Water Works.  Mrs. Emily V. Blair, Owner; Grace B. DePue, Manager; Jackson, California.

1927 Emily V Vannatter Blair.  She owned the water company after the death of her sister Celina Vannatter Richtmyer.

1944 "Grace DePue of Amador County Dies in Jackson," Sacramento Bee, May 25, 1944, Page 10.
Jackson, May 25, Funeral services will be held tonight for Mrs. Grace De Pue, 85, owner and operator of the Jackson Water Works for many years and one of Amador County's most widely known citizens.  She died yesterday.

1944 Grace Blair DePue House and Indian Museum (No. 1101 National Register of Historic Places)
Grace became a prominent business women, inheriting the Jackson Water Works from her uncle in 1924 and running the company.  The Jackson Water Works was left to two employees who were friendly and loyal to her.

1963 Incorporation of Jackson Water Works, Inc. October 31, 1963.  California Secretary of State Corporations search

1986 Jackson Water Works, Inc., a California corporation, and Citizens Utilities Company, a Delaware corporation, Plaintiffs-Appellants, v. The Public Utilities Commission of the State of California, et al., Defendants- Appellees, 793 F.2d 1090, July 8, 1896, United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit.  Related to city condemnation of water works.

2018 Morris A. Pierce