Documentary History of American Water-works

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Pacific States
Nevada Carson City

Carson City, Nevada

Carson City was founded in 1858.

On February 29, 1860, the Carson City Water Company was organized for the purpose of supplying the citizens with water for domestic and other purposes, with the following officers:  Wellington Stewart, President; Thos. J. Moore, Superintendent; John Leach, Secretary; and Wm. DeKay, Treasurer.

In 1861, John J. Musser, Jonathan Wilde, Sarah A. Blackburn, and John G. Kelly were granted the right "to lay distributing water-pipes in any of the public streets or alleys of the city of Carson, and county of Ormsby" for the term of fifty years. 

In 1864, T. G. Smith was granted the right "to lay distributing water pipes in any of the public streets, roads and alleys of the town of Carson City and County of Ormsby" for the term of fifteen years. 

None of the above companies are known to have built anything.

The first water system was built by Edward D. Sweeney and began service from the Carson City Water Works on April, 1869.  The following month, William. A Hawthorne and Calvin P. Stevens began supplying water from the Cold Spring Water Works.  The two system advertised in local newspapers until 1870, when legal conflicts began.  Sweeney ended up owning Hawthorne's share of the Cold Spring company, with Stevens owning the other half.  It is unclear what became of Stevens' share or the system, which was probably incorporated into Sweeney's works.

The Carson Daily Appeal, April 25, 1869, Page 2 The Carson Daily Appeal, May 4, 1869, Page 2.

Alfred Helm and Henry F. Rice incorporated the Carson Water Company in December, 1874 that was operating by May, 1875.

Carson Daily Appeal., May 9, 1876, Page 3. Carson Daily Appeal., July 16, 1876, Page 4.

Sweeney apparently sold the system to local butcher and entrepreneur Mathias Rinckel, who claimed ownership in an 1877 court case.  Rinckel died the following year and Sweeney apparently regained ownership, or at least continued to operate the system.

Morning Appeal (Carson City, Nevada), June 15, 1877, Page 2. Morning Appeal (Carson City, Nevada), September 12, 1877, Page 1.

The two companies shared the streets and both had issues with vandalism.

Morning Appeal (Carson City, Nevada), August 8, 1877, Page 2.

Sweeney sold his system to John Eagan in November, 1883, who operated it until April, 1884 when it drops out of view for unknown reasons.

Morning Appeal (Carson City, Nevada), November 6, 1883, Page 3.

Henry F. Rice died in 1879.  Henry M. Yerington bought stock in the Carson Water Company in 1877 and became its president in 1889, replacing Alfred Helm.

The Southwest Gas Company bought the Carson Water Company in 1961, and sold it to Carson City under an agreement dated June 7, 1971.  A deed transferring the company's property to the city was filed on January 6, 1972.

Water is supplied by Carson City

1861 An Act to supply the City of Carson with Water, and to protect the City against Fires.  November 18, 1861.

1862 Sacramento Daily Union, November 18, 1862, Page 1.
Nevada Territorial Legislature.  Notice was given of a bill to incorporate T. T. Israel and others as the Carson City Water Company.

1864 An Act to Supply the Town of Carson City with Water.  February 16, 1864.

1866 Carson Daily Appeal, August 19, 1866, Page 1.
Projected Water Works.- We have heard it rumored that our friend Ned Sweeney, the well-known water-cart man -- and a man by the by, who, when he undertakes anything generally goes through with it, is making preparations to bring the water of King's Canon from the point about one and one-half miles west of town, into Carson City, by means of pipes and bored logs.  We will see Ned and get the particulars.  At least we think we discern an item, in the dim distance.

1866 Map of the State of Nevada, U.S. General Land Office.  Shows location of Carson City in Ormsby County.

1869 Carson Daily Appeal, March 12, 1869, Page 3.
Carson City Water Works. - In addition to what Ed. Sweeney has done or in doing toward providing our city with a water supply, Mr. W. A. Hawthorne is engaging himself in active operations toward the same end.  He has already caused to be erected on his premises opposite General Nourse's house, a large brick, cement lined cistern into which he has caused to be diverted, by means of deep ditches, the spring water of the moist lands nearby; and from this he is laying conduit pipes through which he expects to supply as many as want it, with the best kind of pure, soft ware.  This and kindred enterprises illustrate the steadfast faith of some of our more enterprising citizens in the stability of this place and "the good time coming."

1869 Carson Daily Appeal, April 6, 1869, Page 3.
First Water.- The constructors of the Sweeney Water Works were engaged yesterday in cutting a drain from Koppel & Platt's corner over to Doc Benton's stable, and along in the afternoon the boss plumber, Davis tapped the "main" and the first water gushed forth to the eyes of an admiring world.  Benton and Sweeney went off and "chucked" on the strength of it.

1869 Carson Daily Appeal, May 25, 1869, Page 3.
Water Supply Temporarily Shut Off.- General Sweeney desires us to state that the Carson City water-works will be shut off from 7 until 9 a.m. to-day.  Certain extensions to be made, we believe.

1870 Carson Daily Appeal, March 27, 1870, Page 3.
A verdict for the defendant was given by the jury, yesterday, in the District Court, in the case of Hawthorne vs. Sweeney.

1870 Carson Daily Appeal, June 22, 1870, Page 3.
In the Second Judicial District Court, Hon. S. H. Wright, Judge, June 20th, in the case of Robert Woodburn (E. D. Sweeney) vs. W. A. Hawthorne, the motion of defendant to compel satisfaction of the judgment pro tanto, was argued and submitted.

1870 Edward D. Sweeney, Appellant, v. William A. Hawthorne, Respondent, 6 Nev. 129, July 1870, Supreme Court of Nevada.
Sheriff's sale of Cold Spring Water Works.

1871 The Daily State Register (Carson City, Nevada), May 26, 1871, Page 2.
Water.  Notice is hereby given, that I own and have a deed for all the right, title and interest of Wm. A. Hawthorne in and to the Cold Spring Water Works, in Carson City, Nevada, and I forbid the further payment for water rents, for said Water Works, to the said Hawthorne or any person acting for him.  E. D. Sweeney.

1871 The Daily State Register, July 27, 1871, Page 3.
Receiver Appointed.- In the water suit of Hawthorne & Stevens vs. Sweeney, recently commenced in the District Court, Senator Israel Crawford has been appointed receiver by the Court.

1873 Carson Daily Appeal, October 07, 1873, Page 2.
Notice of Equalization.  C. P. Stevens, ˝ int. in Water Works, $259.00

1874 "Rice & Helm's Carson Water Works," Territorial Enterprise (Virginia City, Nevada), November 11, 1874, Page 2.

1875 Carson Daily Appeal, July 21, 1875, Page 3.
The Water Question.  Competition between water works of Mr. E. D. Sweeney and Messrs. Rice & Helm.

1875 Carson Daily Appeal, October 2, 1875, Page 2.
Our Fire Department and the Water Supply.

1877 S. F. Thorn, Respondent, v. E. D. Sweeney et al., 12 Nev. 251, July, 1877, Supreme Court of Nevada.
Page 254:  The defendant, M. Rinckel, avers that he is the owner of the Carson water works.

1877 Henry F. Rice, born in 1818, died November 27, 1877. | Second superintendent of Carson City Mint. |

1877 "Death of Henry F. Rice," Territorial Enterprise (Virginia City, Nevada), November 29, 1877, Page 2.

1879 Matthias "Matt" Rinckel, born 1833 in Germany; died October 6, 1879 in Carson City.  Bought Edward Sweeney's water works sometime around 1878.

1881 History of Nevada, edited by Myron Angel, published by Thompson and West
Page 555:  The Carson City Water Company, for the purpose of supplying the citizens with water for domestic and other purposes, was organized on the twenty-ninth of February, 1860, and the following officers were elected: Wellington Stewart, President; Thos. J. Moore, Superintendent; John Leach, Secretary; and Wm. DeKay, Treasurer.
Advertisement in Territorial Enterprise:  Ed. Sweeney, water-works.

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

1889 Elko Daily Independent, February 6, 1889, Page 3.
A Norwegian wood chopper near Carson City, Nov., mado uu ingenious uso of an accident. He discovered a ioak in one ef the mains of tho water company, where a jet was forcod out under enormous pressure. After experimenting ho found tblt this would cut wood equal to a flue saw, so bo sot to work and now makes handsome brackets of choice woods which find a ready sale.

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

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

1893 The Record-Union (Sacramento, California), June 19, 1893, Page 3.
Died. Stevens - in Los Angeles, June 17th, Calvin P. Stevens, a native of New Hampshire, aged 87 years.  [Stevens' occupation was carpenter in the 1870 census.]

1893 T. J. Edwards and J. M. Wright, Executors of the Estate of S. C. Wright, Deceased, Appellants, v. The Carson Water Company, a Corporation, Respondent, 21 Nev. 469, October 1893, Supreme Court of Nevada.
Page 474:  Some time prior to the incorporation of the Carson Water Company, Alfred Helm and Henry F. Rice purchased the land upon which the company’s reservoir is constructed and the water right connected therewith, from W. P. Warren, and gave their promissory note in payment therefor in the sum of two thousand dollars. On the 29th day of December, 1874, the company was incorporated and has been in existence ever since.
Page 477:  H. M. Yerington testified that he was now and had been since 1889 president of the Carson Water Company; that he first became acquainted with and interested in said company in 1877: that he owned two thirds of the stock; that he had been a trustee of the company since 1877.
Page 480:  The Carson Water Company was organized for the purpose of purchasing and laying in place water pipe, and keeping and maintaining such pipes, leading to and through the town of Carson City, and elsewhere in the county of Ormsby, state of Nevada, for the purpose of supplying the people of the aforesaid town and others with water, and for the purpose of acquiring such real and personal property as might be necessary for the purposes above mentioned. The affairs of the company were to be managed by three trustees, and its principal place of business was to be Carson City, Nev.

1895 John M. Wright and S. C. Wright, Plaintiffs and Appellants, v. the Carson Water Company, a Corporation, Defendant and Respondent, 22 Nev. 304, Supreme Court of Nevada.

1895 John M. Wright and S. C. Wright, Appellants, v. the Carson Water Company, a Corporation, respondent.  23 Nev. 39

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

1898 Morning Appeal (Carson City, Nevada), August 31, 1898, Page 3.
Died in this city, August 30th, 1898, Alfred Helm, Aged 81 years.

1904 William Alexander Hawthorne, born July, 1822 in Pennsylvania; died August 6, 1904 in San Francisco, buried in Lone Mountain Cemetery in Carson City.

1904  A History of the State of Nevada: Its Resources and People, by Thomas Wren
Page 383-384:  Hon. James G. Sweeney, attorney general of Nevada.  He is the son of Edward D. Sweeney, one of the honored early pioneers of Carson City, who located in that locality in the spring of 1857.  He was born in Ireland in 1829, but came to America in 1833, when only four years of age, so that nearly all of this life has been spent in the land of his adoption.  In 1849 he was attracted to California by the discovery of gold, and was a placer miner at Hanghtown. now Placerville. Later he went to the Frazer river, and experienced many thrilling adventures. Upon arriving in Nevada he went directly to Eureka, Humboldt county, built a cabin and conducted a toll road, sometimes taking in as much as two thousand dollars a day. He delivered water at Carson City in barrels to the first settlers of that place, and a little later piped the first water to the city.
Pages 410-411:  Henry Marvin Yerington.  Mr. H. M. Yerington also owns a large amount of stock in and is president of the Carson water works.
Pages 709-711: Hon. William A. Hawthorne

1909 Carson City Daily Appeal., June 23, 1909, Page 1.
Forty years ago today. [June 23, 1869] Hawthorne and Stevens announced that they would supply cold spring water throughout the city but that the customer "must lay the top pipe," and that the company would lay a block of pipe for two customers.

1911 Annual Report of the Carson Water Company for the year ending June 30, 1911, from Report of the State Railroad Commission of Nevada.

1920 Henry Marvin Yerington, Born September, 1829, Ontario, Canada; died November 25, 1910, Carson City.

1913 Edward Daniel Sweeney, born December 5, 1825 in County Cork, Ireland; died February 17, 1913 in Carson City.   Built the first water system in Carson City in 1869.

1918 The History of Nevada, Volume 2, edited by Sam Post Davis
Pages 1211-1212:  E. D. Sweeney.  Came to Nevada in 1857.  He also installed the first water system in Carson City at an expenditure of over $200,000 and, typical of his energy, had hauled redwood pipes for the system from points in California and Utah.
Page 1255:  Henry Marvin Yerington.  He was interested largely in the Carson Water Works.

1935 "Gold Rush Town's Water Plant," by T. A. Bither, Water Works Engineering 88:1462-1463. (December 25, 1935)

1972 "Bon Voyage!," Reno Gazette-Journal, January 10, 1972, Page 8.
To the new owners of our subsidiary, Carson Water Company, we wish you Bon Voyage.  Southwest Gas Corporation.

1981 Review of the Marlette Lake Water System and Proposals for sale or the System or Water from the System to Carson City, Background paper 81-7

2003 "A Violation of Innocence:  A look at people v. Wellington Stewart," by Amy Anderson, Masters Thesis in History, University of San Diego.

2011 City of Carson City Agenda Report, April 21, 2011
Includes copies of 1972 deed selling the Carson Water Company to Carson City.

© 2017 Morris A. Pierce