Documentary History of American Water-works

Introduction Historical Background Chronology Geography Biography Technology Ownership and Financing General Bibliography
South Central States
Kentucky Maysville

Maysville, Kentucky

Maysville was incorporated in 1787.

The Maysville Neptune Water Works Company was incorporated in 1837 by Wm. Mackey, John Armstrong, Richard Collins, Andrew M. January, Richard H. Lee, John M. Morton, and Robert J. Langhorne to "to supply the city of Maysville with water."

The Maysville Water Works Company was incorporated in 1854 by Henry R. Reeder, Hiram T. Pearce, Robert A. Cochran, James Barbour, John B. Poyntz, and Stanislaus Mitchell "to supply the whole city of Maysville with water from their works."

No evidence has been found that either of these companies built anything.

The Maysville Water Company was organized on November 14, 1879 and, after a favorable vote by local citizens, entered into an agreement with the City of Maysville on December 27, 1879 to supply water for fire protection and other purposes for payment of a single lump sum of $50,000 (which had been increased to $65,000 by 1897).  The company was incorporated the following March, and built a system that began pumping water using steam power from the Ohio River into an elevator reservoir in early 1881.  

The water provided by the company was considered to be impure in the early 20th Century, and legal action was started to force the company to install filtration, which the company lost.

The City of Maysville bought the water company in 1963 for $1.3 million.

Water is provided by the Maysville Utility Commission

1837 An act to incorporate a Water Works in the City of Maysville.  January 15, 1837.

1854 An act to incorporate the Maysville Water Works Company.  March 10, 1854.

1880 An act to charter the Maysville Water Company, and to ratify and validate the water-works ordinance of the city of Maysville and its contract thereunder with the Maysville Water Company.  March 3, 1880.

1880 An act to amend the charter of the City of Maysville.  March 3, 1880.

1881 Cincinnati Commercial Tribune, January 26, 1881, Page 3.
Maysville Water-Works. Maysville, Ky., January 25.- The Maysville Water Company made a private test of their machinery this afternoon.  Everything worked well, and the Works were voted a success by the Superintendent.

1882 An act to amend an act, entitled (chapter 34) “An act to charter the Maysville Water Company," &c.  March 17, 1882.

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

1884 Maysville from Engineering News 11:219 (May 3, 1884)

1888 An act to amend an act, entitled “An act to charter the Maysville Water Company, and to ratify and validate the water-works ordinance of the city of Maysville and its contract thereunder with the Maysville Water Company.”  March 17, 1888.

1888 Maysville Evening Bulletin, July 28, 1888, Page 3.
Warning to Water Consumers.  The pumps are disabled, and the repairs cannot be made under any circumstances for several days.  People should stop sprinkling and be as economical as possible in the use of water.  Maysville Water Company.

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

1890 Maysville Evening Bulletin, July 31, 1890, Page 2.
Warning to Water Consumers.  Owing to an accident to our pumps, water consumers are requested to discontinue street and garden sprinkling for a few days, and be as economical as possible in the use of water until repairs are completed.  Maysville Water Company.

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

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

1893 Maysville Public Ledger, September 29, 1893, Page 1.
Some of the machinery at the pumping station of the water-works has been broken for several days and cannot be repaired until the broken piece, which had to be moulded, arrives.  The supply in the reservoir is almost exhausted and the water will be shut off at noon to-day.  All the elevators and the manufactories in the city will be compelled to close down.  The electric plant will also be unable to run and therefore we will have no electric light nor street car service until the repairs are made.

1897 "Maysville," from Manual of American Water Works, Volume 4

1900 "Water Works," Maysville Public Ledger, January 18, 1900, Page 3. 

1901 Maysville Public Ledger, March 9, 1901, Page 1.
Captain R. T. Coverdale died a few days ago at Rome, Ga. He was a member of the Cincinnati firm Coverdale & Cowell, and it was his concern that competed with the Louisville parties for the contract to build the Maysville Water-works in 1880.

1920 "U.S. Health Agent Threatens to Stop Maysville Water," Louisville Courier-Journal, March 4, 1920, Page 9.

1921 Lexington Leader, July 5, 1921, Page 12.
Receiver for Maysville Water Company Asked.  Maysville - The suit for a receiver for the Maysville Water Company, which has been under fire for several years, will be heard in circuit court Friday, when a temporary injunction against discontinuing power to the pumping station will be heard.

1921 Purnell v. Maysville Water Company, 193 Ky 85, November 19, 1921.  Court of Appeals of Kentucky.
1.  The State Board of Health or county board of health of a county where a water company is operating may require such water company to abate any nuisance which it may be maintaining that causes sickness among the people.
2.  A water company engaged in supplying water to the city and its inhabitants is a quasi public institution and it is its duty to provide water suitable for the purposes for which it is to be used, and if it fails to do so and provides muddy, filthy, impure and unwholesome water it may be proceeded against criminally by the board of health either of the state or of the county in which the water company operates.
3. While a board of health may cause a nuisance which produces sickness or disease in the community to be abated it has no power or authority to direct the manner in which the nuisance shall be abated or to prescribe any particular method to be employed in the abatement of the nuisance, but can only require its abatement.
4. Although a water company is guilty of furnishing to a city and its inhabitants impure and unwholesome water the board of health cannot prosecute said water company criminally for failing to obey an order of the board of health requiring the water company to install a filtration plant to improve, clarify and purify the water, but its powers are confined to abatement of the nuisance without the right to direct the manner of its abatement.

1928 Lexington Leader, May 24, 1928, Page 18.
City May Buy Water Plant. Maysville. Alfred M. Peed, a member of the city council, is preparing a resolution to be presented to the city council for the purchase by the city of the Maysville Water Works, the city to operate the plant.  City Attorney James M. Collins stated that the city can take over the water works by condemnation proceedings at the valuation figures minus the amount the city has put into the water works, which is $65,000.  Eleven members of the council are said to be in favor of the proposal.

1963 Lexington Leader, August 22, 1963, page 2
City Commissioners buy Maysville Water Company. Maysvile, Ky. - The Maysville City Commission has voted to buy the Maysville Water Co. for $1,30,000.  Mayor Thomas T. McDonald said after the vote Wednesday night that there would be no change in rates.  Revenues from rates now in effect will pay off bonds for the purchase, he said.

1963 "PSC OKs Sale to City Water Firm's," Lexington Herald, October 5, 1963, Page 13.
The Public Service Commission Friday approved Maybille's request to buy the Maysville water Company from private owners.  The water company is owned by R. A. Cochran III, Maysville.  His relatives founded the firm in 1879.

© 2015 Morris A. Pierce