Documentary History of American Water-works

Introduction Historical Background Chronology Geography Biography Technology Ownership and Financing General Bibliography
North Central States
Illinois Quincy

Quincy, Illinois

Quincy was first settled in 1819 and was incorporated as a city in 1840.

The Quincy Water Company was incorporated in 1855 with a capital stock of $500,000 by John Wood, Charles A. Savage, Thomas Redmond, Abraham Jonas, Charles Meortz, Nehemiah Bushnell, William H. Benneson, Amos Green, Henry Hayes, Samuel Holmes, William Carlin, and I. N. Morris "to supply with water the city of Quincy, in the county of Adams."  This company did not build anything.

Quincy Water-Works Company was organized on May 8, 1872 by James D. Morgan, Edward Prince, Robert S. Benneson, H. F. J. Ricker, John Robertson, Lorenzo Bull, and Henry Root, and was incorporated on May 10, 1872 with a capital stock of $200,000.  The company was unable to raise the required capital and faded from existence.

The city engaged local engineer Edward Prince to explore water works options, and he suggested building a small, temporary system to pump water from the Mississippi River, primarily for fire protection.   This system was built in 1872, and the following year the city contracted with Prince to sell him the existing system, which he would then enlarge and operate under an exclusive thirty-year contract.  His enlarged works were operating in early 1874, and in July, 1875 sold half of the system to Lorenzo Bull.  An 1879 history states that his son, William B. Bull, was also an owner at that time.

Quincy Daily Whig, June 12, 1876, Page 1.

A second Quincy Water Works Company was incorporated on August 2, 1880 with a capital stock of $300,000 by Lorenzo Bull, William S. Warfield, O. H. Browning, Richard F. Newcomb, William Marsh, H. S. Osborn and William B. Bull.  Colonel Prince had a one-third share in the company, which he sold to Lorenzo and William Bull in 1888 for $75,000.  The Bull's had a contentious relationship with the city over the quality of the water being delivered, which is covered in an excellent 2013 article.  After the expiration of the thirty-year contract in 1903, the company and city negotiated an agreement, resulting in a payment of $650,000 for the system.

Although the city has been building up a fund to buy the water works, it was unable to finance the purchase, so instead formed the the Citizens Water Works Company in 1904 to own the system in trust for the city.  The city was finally able to purchase the system on September 30, 1916.

Water is provided by the City of Quincy.

1855 An act to incorporate the Quincy Water Company.  February 13, 1855. 
§ 5. Said company shall have the exclusive privilege of supplying the city of Quincy and its inhabitants with water for the term of fifty years

1869 An act to reduce the law incorporating the city of Quincy, and the several act amendatory thereof, into one act, and to amend the same.  April 15, 1869. In force when adopted by legal voters.
Chapter IX. Water Works.

1872 Quincy Daily Whig, March 22, 1872, Page 2.
The Water Works Bill.  Gov. Palmer's Veto of the Quincy Water Works Bill.

1873 "An Ordinance to Provide the City of Quincy with Water," passed August 7, 1873, from The Revised Ordinance of the City of Quincy (1875)
Section 1.  The exclusive right to construct, maintain and operate Water Works in the City of Quincy, Illinois is hereby granted to Edward Prince, for a period of thirty years, from the date of this ordinance, upon the terms, conditions and stipulations hereinafter mentioned.

1874 "The Water Works," Quincy Daily Whig, December 31, 1874, Page 4.

1875 Quincy Daily Whig, July 31, 1875, Page 4.
Quincy Water-works. We learn that Lorenzo Bull has purchased from Col. Edward Prince one half of the Quincy waterworks, with all the property and franchise pertaining thereto, and will be hereinafter associated jointly with Col. Prince in the ownership and management of the works.

1879 "Quincy Water-Works," The History of Adams County, Illinois

1880 Daily Illinois State Journal, August 2, 1880, Page 3.
Articles of incorporation of the Quincy Water Works Company were filed.  The corporators are Lorenzo Bull, W. S. Warfield, O. H. Browning, R. F. Newcomb, Wm. Marsh, H. S. Osborn and Wm. B. Bull.  The amount of the capital stock is $300,000.

1881 Daily Illinois State Journal, September 16, 1881, Page 2.
Col. Edward Price has secured a one-third interest in the Quincy water works.  The pumping machinery now being put in will furnish five million gallons of water daily.

1882 Edward Prince v. The City of Quincy, 105 Ill. 138, September 28, 1882, Illinois Supreme Court.  Rehearing denied January Term, 1883.
Municipal Indebtedness—constitutional limitation. By section 12, article 9, of the constitution of 1870, a city or other municipal corporation is absolutely prohibited from becoming indebted, in any manner or for any purpose, to an amount, including existing indebtedness, in the aggregate exceeding five per centum on the value of the taxable property therein, etc. Under this provision, when such municipality shall have reached the limit prescribed by the constitution, it is prohibited from making any contract whereby an indebtedness is created, even for the necessary current expenses in the administration of the affairs and government of the corporation.

1882 Quincy, Engineering News, 9:341 (September 30, 1882)

1882 Quincy from "The Water-Supply of Certain Cities and Towns of the United States," by Walter G. Elliot, C. E., Ph. D.

1883 The City of Quincy v. Lorenzo Bull, et al. 106 Ill. 337, March 29, 1883, Supreme Court of Illinois

1888 "Bondholders and Illinois Water Bond Decisions," Commercial and Financial Chronicle 46(1,191):498 (April 21, 1888)
City of Quincy water bonds.  Upheld the validity of a contract for supplying water to that city, and the claim of the city that it had the right to declare a forfeiture was denied by the Court, notwithstanding the fact that the grant by the city contained an express reservation of the power to forfeit..

1888 Daily Illinois State Journal, June 30, 1888, Page 2.
Col. Edward Prince has sold his interest in the Quincy water-works to his partners, L. & W. B. Bull, for $75,000.

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

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

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

1896 "The Jewell Mechanical Water Filter in Quincy, Illinois," Engineering News 35: 356 (May 28, 1896)

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

1904 "The Appraisal of the Quincy Water-Works," Engineering Record 50(4):118 (July 23, 1904)

1905 The Quincy Way of Securing City Ownership of Water Works: The Contract Between the City and the Citizens Water Works Company and Statement of Benefits Secured by the City Therein, by Mayor John A. Steinbach, March 18, 1905.  March 18, 1905.

1905 "Quincy Water Works," Past and Present of the City of Quincy and Adams County, Illinois, by William Herzog Collins and Cicero F. Perry

1908 "Incrustation Experience at Quincy, Illinois," with discussion, by William R. Gelston, Proceeding of the American Water Works Association 28:165-194 (May 1908)

1910 "Bleaching Power as an adjunct to filtration at Quincy, Ill.," by William R. Gelston, Proceeding of the Illinois Water Supply Association 2:193-199 (March, 1910)

1913  "The Quincy (Illinois) Typhoid Epidemic," by Edwin O. Jordan and Ernest E. Irons, The Journal of Infectious Diseases 13(1):16-29 (July, 1913)

1918 "In the Matter of the Complaint of the Public Commission v. the Citizens Water Works Company et al. Relative to an Unauthorized Sale to the Municipality," April 1, 1918. Orders and Opinions of the Illinois Public Utilities Commission, Volume 5.

1919 Quincy and Adams County history and representative men, Volume 1, by David F. Wilcox. 
Page 358: John P. Mikesell - In 1878 he was appointed as superintendent of the board of public works. And in 1892 he was elected mayor of the City of Quincy, being re-elected in 1893 and in 1894, serving for three successive terms. It was he who started the waterworks fund, by devoting the balance of approximately $10,000, left in the treasury at the expiration of his term in 1895, to that purpose. John A. Steinbach, who became the successor of John P. Mikesell as mayor of Quincy, being re-elected again and again, saved all he could in the different departments of the city government, adding substantial amounts at the end of each municipal year, so that, when the franchise of the Water Works Company had expired, the Citizens Water Works Company could be organized, which took over the plant from the Water Works Company, for and in the interest of the City of Quincy. Then John P. Mikesell was selected as one of the directors of the company, in recognition of the fact that he had started the waterworks fund.

1926 "Promotion of Municipal Bond issues," by William R. Gelston, Journal of the American Water Works Association 16(5):653-658 (November 1926)

1926 Quincy, Illinois, in the heart of the great valley
Page 45:  The fourth illustration is the filtration plant of the City waterworks, a successful venture in municipal ownership and operation. Formerly in private hands the concern was assumed by the city which rapidly liquidated the indebtedness and now owns and operates its water supply system.
The filtration plant is but one feature of the water system. Taken from the river the water is treated in the nearby plant and then carried to a large reservoir from which point it is distributed to consumers. An adequate supply is practically assured for all time and expansion needs are met from time to time.
Quincy's water works system is one of the few thoroughly successful municipal ownership ventures in the country.

2013 The great Quincy water wars of 1890-95: The Bulls versus the city fathers, by Beth Lane, Herald-Whig, February 13, 2013.


© 2017 Morris A. Pierce