Documentary History of American Water-works

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Middle Atlantic States
New Jersey Mount Holly

Mount Holly, New Jersey

Mount Holly was first settled in 1677.

The Mount Holly Water Company was incorporated in 1845 to supply "the town of Mount Holly with pure and wholesome water."  Abraham Brown, Charles Bispham, James Langstaff, Clayton B. Rogers and Richard Jones were appointed commissioners to sell stock.  The company initially contracted Richard Cox Shreve and A. R. Shreve to pump water from their grist mill, and water service began in late 1845 or early 1846.  The action of the pump interfered with the operation of the mill, however, and the company built a new steam pumping plant that began service in 1851.  Excess power from the engine was used to power a saw- and planing- mill, but that proved unprofitable.

The company had ongoing problems with water quality and was blamed for typhoid outbreaks in the early 1900s.  Several attempts to buy the company were made by the town of Mount Holly, but none were successful.

The Mount Holly Water Company was purchased by the Elizabethtown Water Company in 1969, and has since been under several changes in ownership, mostly recently in December, 2006 when it was purchased by New Jersey American Water.

Water is provided by New Jersey American Water.

1845 An act to incorporate the Mount Holly Water Company.  April 5, 1845.

1845 Public Ledger, October 17, 1845, Page 2.
Mount Holly Water Works - Workman are busily engaged in cutting down the trees and clearing the brushwood from on the small Mount to give room for the basins which are to supply Mount Holly with water.  These basins are to hold 600,000 gallons of water.

1851 Newark Daily Advertiser, May 10, 1851, Page 2.
The Mount Holly Water Co., the Mirror says, are making arrangements to put up a steam engine on the lot near the Buttonwood Hill, for the purpose of forcing water into the basins on the Mount.

1851 Trenton State Gazette, June 27, 1851, Page 2.
Mount Holly Water Works.-- The Water Works at Mount Holly are rapidly approaching completion and will, it is thought, be finished in a short time.  They are located on the Mount, a more pleasant site than which could not have been selected.  They will be a great acquisition of convenience to the citizens of that place.

1851 "Steam Power to Let," Newark Daily Advertiser, July 31, 1851, Page 3.

1867 A supplement to an act entitled “An act to incorporate the Mount Holly Water Company,” approved April fifth, eighteen hundred and forty-five.  March 27, 1867.

1882 Mount Holly,from Engineering News 9:143 (May 6, 1882)

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

1883 History of Burlington and Mercer Counties, New Jersey : with biographical sketches of many of their pioneers and prominent men, by Evan Morrison Woodward and John Frelinghuysen Hageman
Page 211:  Mount Holly Water-Works. — In 1845 a company was organized at Mount Holly for the purpose of supplying the town with water, for the better convenience and comfort of the inhabitants as well as for use in case of fire for the protection of property. A basin or reservoir was constructed on the lower mound above the town, at an altitude of ninety-eight feet above the Rancocas Creek. To convey the water to the reservoir, a six-inch ascending main two thousand seven hundred feet in length was laid from the grist-mill to the reservoir. At the mill the pipe was connected with a force-pump, and in this way the waters of the Rancocas were forced up into the reservoir. R. C. & A. R. Shreye, owners of the mill, contracted to pump water to supply the town for a term of five years, but they soon found the action of the pump caused so much jar and unsteady motion to the mill that it interfered with the grinding of grain. At the end of the five years the Water Company purchased the water on Buttonwood Street and erected their
present buildings, and drew a supply of water from the mill-race through iron pipes, with fall enough to fill a small reservoir at the pump-house. In connection with their water-works the company added a saw-and planing-mill, which proved an unprofitable enterprise, and that part of the business was soon abandoned. The company have laid mains through most of the streets in town, and water is now one of the permanent blessings of the town.
The first president of the company was Abram Brown, who died in 1848. Hon. John C. Ten Eyck was then elected, and served until his election to Congress in 1860, when Richard C. Shreve was elected, and served till 1881, when he declined further honors, and Marmaduke Pancoast was elected. The present officers of the company are: President, Marmaduke S. Pancoast; Secretary, Henry C. Risdon; Treasurer, Franklin B.Levis; Directors, M. S. Pancoast, Charles Bispham (since deceased), Theodore H. Risdon, Henry C. Risdon, Franklin B. Levis, Benjamin F. Shreve, and James W. Deacon.

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

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

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

1893 Trenton Evening Times, May 16, 1893, Page 3.
A number of men employed in building the new reservoir for the Mount Holly Water Company went on a strike for an advance of 25 cents per day, which was refused.

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

1908 "Mt. Holly Water is Contaminated," Trenton Evening Times, July 30, 1908, Page 5.

1910 "Historic Grist Mill Burned To-Day," Wilkes Barre Evening News, March 12, 1910, Page 10.

1912 "Water Causes Typhoid Fever," New York Tribune, February 17, 1912, Page 9.

1912 "Delivering Fish via Water Pipes," Trenton Evening Times, August 1, 1912, Page 13.

1915 Jones v. Mt. Holly Water Co., 87 N. J. L. 106, April 15, 1915, Supreme Court of New Jersey.

1916 Philadelphia Inquirer, June 3, 1916, Page 3.
Mt. Holly, N. J., June 2.- It now seems certain that the proposed purchase of the plant and property of the Mt. Holly Water Company by the town will be carried to a successful completion as soon as there can be a compliance with the legal formalities giving authorization for the issuance of bonds to cover the cost.  It is estimated that the total cost of buying the plant, boring, well and getting the artesian system working will be about $125,000.  The matter will be submitted to the taxpayers at a public meeting next Thursday.

The Historical Society of Pennsylvania has records of Richard Cox Shreve, including his diary and manuscript "History of Mount Holly, N. J."

© 2016 Morris A. Pierce