Documentary History of American Water-works

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Middle Atlantic States New York Mount Morris

Mount Morris, New York

Mount Morris was incorporated as a village in 1835.

The Mount Morris Water-Works Company was incorporated in 1867 by George W. Phelps, Alexander O. Camp bell, Joseph H. Boeline, John R. Marsh, Alfred J. Moss, Lucius O. Bingham and McNeil Seymour "for tho purpose of supplying the village of Mount Morris with pure and wholesome water."  This company built a system that brought into the village, but the attempt proved a failure and the enterprise was abandoned by this company.

Dr. Myron H. Mills proposed building a water works for the village, which was accepted by the local community.  He formed the Mills Water Works Company system began operating in November, 1879.  Mills died in 1896 and the system was sold to other parties.

The Village of Mount Morris decided to build new water works after the expiration of the company's franchise in 1909.  After planning to build a pumped system, the village decided to build a gravity system taking water from Silver Lake, about 8 miles distant.  The new pipeline was completed in August, 1914.  The village decided not to buy the company's system, which ran out of water in 1917.

Water is provided by the Village of Mount Morris.

1867 An act to incorporate the Mount Morris Water-Works Company.  March 26, 1867

1869 An act authorizing the trustees of the village of Mount Morris to subscribe to the capital stock of the Mount Morris Water Works Company.  May 3, 1869

1881 History of Livingston County, New York, with illustrations and biographical sketches of some of its prominent men and pioneers by James Hadden Smith, assisted by Hume H. Cale.
Page 304:  Mt. Morris Water Works. The project of constructing water works and supplying the village of Mt. Morris with an abundance of pure and wholesome water for domestic use and for fire protection, has been a question of frequent discussion among its citizens for the past twenty-five years.
About fifteen years ago a company was organized to construct works; George W. Phelps, President. The works were undertaken and, although water was brought into the village, the attempt proved a failure and the enterprise was abandoned by this company.
In 1873, Dr. M. H. Mills published an article in the Mt. Morris press, showing the practicability and importance to the village of constructing water works, and the manner of providing the necessary capital.
On June 3, 1879, a public meeting of the citizens was held in Wallace Hall in said village to consider the subject of constructing water works. By special request of the trustees of the village Dr. Mills appeared and addressed the meeting and submitted a plan for the construction of the works, coupled with a proposal to build them. This meeting, without a dissenting voice, indorsed and approved of said plan and proposal. The "Mills Water Works Company" was organized, and entered into a contract with the trustees of said village to construct the works and to supply the corporation of said village with water for twenty-three fire hydrants at $45.00 each per annum, and to furnish water for two public water troughs with drinking fountains attached, without charge, for thirty years, with the proviso that additional fire hydrants should be furnished on the line of any water-pipes hereafter laid, on the same terms.
Water rights, land damages and all preliminary matters being adjusted, the works were commenced August 20, 1879, and prosecuted with energy and dispatch, and were substantially completed the same year. The water supply is obtained from a number of quicksand springs. The water is quite soft and very pure. The works are operated on the gravity system.
In December following an exhibition of the capacity of the works for fire purposes was made.  A large concourse of citizens gathered to witness the display, which was under the direction of the Fire Company. Four streams at the same time were thrown upon and over the highest blocks of buildings on Main street, the streams reaching to the estimated perpendicular height of from seventy-five to eighty feet.
The citizens express their satisfaction with the efficiency of the works, and their belief is that everything has been done in the best possible manner. The reputation of these works stand very high ; and, in fact, are not excelled by any of their capacity in the country.
About seventy private families are now taking water and the number is increasing from year to year.
No other so great an improvement for the future prosperity and health of the village could have been undertaken ; and there is little doubt but that it will eventually prove to have been a wise and sagacious investment for the father of the enterprise.
All the improvements in the construction of water works known to science have been adopted.  Their cost was about $30,000. Dr. M. H. Mills is the sole owner and proprietor. "To him alone are the citizens of Mt. Morris indebted for having their beautiful village supplied with an abundance of pure and wholesome water and protected from the ravages of fire."

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

1884 "Mount Morris," from Engineering News 11:176 (April 12, 1884)

1884 The People, ex rel. The Mills Water-Works Company, Appellant, v. John G. forest et al., Assesors, etc. October 21, 1884, New York State Court of Appeals
A corporation organized under the act providing for the formation of water-works companies in the towns and villages of the State (Chap. 737, Laws of 1873; chap. 415, Laws of 1876, and chap. 171, Laws of 1877), which has contracted with the town or village to furnish it with specified water facilities, for an agreed compensation, is not thereby constituted a governmental agency, and its property is subject to taxation.

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

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

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

1895 Biographical review; this volume contains biographical sketches of leading citizens of Livingston and Wyoming counties, New York
Page 9-13:  Myron Holley Mills.
The  system  of water-works, which  has added more  than any other enterprise  to the welfare of  the  village,  was  constructed  after  plans submitted to the village trustees and  the citizens of Mount Morris by Dr. Mills, at a meeting held  on  the 4th  of  June, 1879, and has greatly improved the sanitary condition  of the town, besides being most  useful  for domestic purposes and of great protection  to the property of  its  inhabitants.  For  this enterprise
and  the  great  benefit  and  protection  to  the  village from destruction by fires and the blessings resulting therefrom, the citizens are indebtedly wholly to Dr. Mills, who furnished the entire capital.

1897 Myron Holley Mills (1820-1897) grave

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

1899 "Mount Morris Water Plant," The Scranton Republican, October 24, 1899, Page 5.
Purchased by a Company of which Scrantonians are Members.

1905 Portage, NY Quadrangle and Nunda, NY Quadrangle show the location of Silver Lake and Mt. Morris.

1909 "Mount Morris Water System Plans Ready," Buffalo Evening News, March 26, 1909, Page 20.

1909 "Mills Company Down to $50,000," Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, April 29, 1909, Page 3.

1908 Municipal Journal and Public Works 24:621 (May 13, 1908)
Mt. Morris, N.Y.- The Mills Water Works Company has made a proposition to the Village Trustees to sell their interests in the water works; a meeting of the residents will shortly be held for the purpose of discussing the matter.

1909 Municipal Journal and Engineer 26:149 (January 27, 1909)
Mount Morris, N.Y. - The Board of Trustees have entered into a contract with J.F. Witmer, an engineer of Buffalo, for plans and specifications for the village; the present system is owned by the Mills Water Works Company; plans for the new pant will provide for a reservoir with a pumping station on the flats and mains extending over the entire corporation; cost, about $40,000.

1910 "Mount Morris Water Supply is Not Pure," Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, March 10, 1910, Page 8.
Company is requested to clean system.

1913 Third Annual Report of the Conservation Commission, State of New York
Pages 183-189: Water Supply Application No. 116. In the matter of the Application of the Village of Mt. Morris, for approval of the maps, plans, profiles, source of water supply and its proposed water supply system.  Approved with modifications, December 7, 1912.

1913 Fire and Water Engineering 53:349 (May 21, 1913)
Mount Morris, N.Y., has decided to purchase the Mills Water works Company's plant for $50,000.  For the supplemental system, which will be installed throughout the places in the village that have no city water the Silver Lake will be utilized.  It is estimated that the total cost of the plants will be $137,345.50.

1914 "Contract Let for Mt. Morris System," Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, January 2, 1914, Page 5.

1914 "Soon to Start Work," Buffalo Morning Express, January 25, 1914, Page 37.

1914 "Right of Way for Mt. Morris Line All Secured Now," Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, February 4, 1914, Page 10.
Only Existing Trouble is Question of Farmers Tapping the Mains.

1914 "Three Miles Now Complete," Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, June 8, 1914, Page 9.
Work progressing on Mt. Morris Water System under Difficulties.
The colony of Italian laborers, which has been in Perry for over four months, will move to Gibsonville his week, where they will make their headquarters during the summer.

1914 "Investigating New Water Works System," Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, August 13, 1914, Page 4.
Some irregularities Claimed by Mt. Morris Board.

1914 "Taxpayers Vote Big Bond Issue," The Buffalo Times, December 17, 1914, Page 12.
$20,000 to complete the new pipe line from Silver Lake and install filtration plant.

1917 "Waterworks Co. may be without customers soon," Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, January 16, 1917, Page 5.
Village plant to rescue.

1923 "Mount Morris Water System Again Repaired," Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, January 30, 1923, Page 4.
Service is resumed after three weeks suspension due to break.

1932 "Water Supply Work Plan Approved," Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, June 23, 1932, Page 9.
Rebuilding the old Mills Water Works reservoir.

1934 "Mt. Morris Water War Hits Homes," Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, November 22, 1934, Page 1. | part 2 |
Board cuts off supply on pleas of inability to pay increase.

2018 Morris A. Pierce