Documentary History of American Water-works

Introduction Historical Background Chronology Geography Biography Technology Ownership and Financing General Bibliography

Biography of American Water-Works

The people who designed, built, and operated water-works faced enormous challenges.   Brief biographies of those who were involved in multiple systems or were otherwise notable will be included here, while others are noted on pages for individual systems.

Bacot, Robert Cochran 1818-1902 Jersey City; Hackensack; obit
Baker, Moses Nelson 1864-1955 Edited the four-volume Manual of American Water Works (1888-1897); in 1949 published The quest for pure water; the history of water purification from the earliest records to the twentieth centuryWikipedia entry
Ball, Jonathan 1797-1868 Inventor and manufacturer of cement-lined wrought-iron pipe; promoted water systems in order to spur sales of his pipe.
Ball, Phinehas 1824-1894 Worcester; founded the Union Water Meter Company
Battin, Joseph 1807-1893 Buffalo; Elizabeth; sought water works franchises in several cities; invested in Jonathan Ball's Patent Water and Gas Pipe Company.
Baylis, John Robert 1885-1963 Chemistry, sanitary engineer and author; developed powdered activated carbon (PAC) for taste and odor control.
Bernie, William 1818-1889 bio; Water works contractor, built sixty systems with C. L. Goodhue
Birkinbine, Henry Peter Miller 1819-1886 Germantown (erected first stand-pipe in America, 1851; West Philadelphia; York; chief engineer of Philadelphia Water Department 1858-1861 and 1864-1866.    Prepared reports on water supply of Harrisburg, Reading, Allentown, Lebanon, Lancaster, Bethlehem, and other cities.;  obituary
Birkinbine, John 1844-1915 South Bend: York, PA; Obituary
Boutelle, Thomas N. 1845-1905 Water works engineer, designed many systems in the Midwest | biography .
Bragg, Braxton 1817-1876 New Orleans; Columbus, GA; Wikipedia page
Bullock, Samuel R. 1847-1908 Build more than twenty water works in the late 1880s.
Cassin, Isaac Sharpless 1826-1897 Bio; Grave, Philadelphia, another bio
Chesbrough, Ellis Sylvester 1813-1886 Boston; Chicago; Kalamazoo: Memphis; Milwaukee; Pittsburgh; Jacksonville, Illinois; Toronto; Akron; Cambridge; and New York City.
Church, Benjamin Silliman 1836-1910 New York City. Chief Engineer of Croton Aqueduct;  Helped President Abraham Lincoln repair a Worthington pump in the White House in May, 1861 while he was stationed in Washington as an Army Captain.  bio
Clark, Patrick 1818-1887 Installed first mechanical filter at Rahway, New Jersey in December, 1879 and was a founder of the Newark Filtering Company.
Cook, Josiah Davis 1830-1902 Fort Wayne; Marion; Sandusky: Toledo; Galveston.  Obituary - Designed and construtetd water-works plans in some 63 cities in the United States.
Coverdale, Robert Todd 1822-1901 Designed and built gas and water works with William C. Weir and Truman Cowell; grave; obituary
Cowell, Truman 184-1895 Built several water works; grave
Croes, John James Robinson 1834-1907 bio: New York City; Washington; Cincinnati; Newark; Syracuse; Indianapolis; The Statistical Tables of American Waterworks
Daniel, Trevors 1827-1888 Built water works in Clarksville, TN; Birmingham, AL: Cairo, IL; New Albany, IN; Dallas, TX; and Little Rock, AR
Davis, John 1770-1864 Philadelphia; Baltimore
Disbrow, Levi 1785-1863 Promoter of artesian wells; held several patents.
Douglass, David Bates 1790-1849 New York City; Albany
Eastman, Cyrus 1787-1862 Natchez; Manchester
Easton, Alexander 1828-1874 Rochester, Milwaukee
Emes, Luther 1760-1827 Boston; Keene, Lansingburgh, New York.
Erdman, Frederick 1791-1862 Philadelphia; Harrisburg; Lancaster; Alexandria; Frederick; University of Virginia
Freeman, William R. 1846-1890 Austin, San Antonio, Waco, Cuero
Fuller, George Warren 1868-1934 Expert in filtration | Wikipedia page |
Geist, Clarence Henry 1866-1938 Owned the Indianapolis Water Company from 1912 to 1938 and the Philadelphia Suburban Water Company from 1924 to 1938.  Wikipedia entry
Gilman, Benjamin Clark 1763-1835 Portsmouth: Exeter: Boston: Salem: New London.
Goodhue, Charles Leonard 1838-1912 Water works contractor, built sixty systems with William Birnie
Graff, Frederick 1775-1847 Philadelphia; consulting on 37 other systems.
Graff, Jr., Frederick 1817-1890 Philadelphia; also engineered several other systems after 1872, superintendent in Philadelphia from 1847 to 1856 and again from 1867 to 1872
Gray, Carroll Eugene 1851-1890 Constructed several water works in the 1870s and 1880s, and owned the Fergus Falls Water Works in Minnesota.
Hanchett, Walter P. 1827-1882 Started building water works in Niles, MI; made proposals in Appleton, WI; Ann Arbor, MI and Yankton SD
Hazen, Allen 1869-1930 Expert in hydraulics, flood control, water purification and sewage treatment. | Wikipedia page |
Hermany, Charles 1830-1908 Louisville; Cincinnati; Bowling Green; Frankfort; obituary
Hobbie, Isaac Smith 1820-1909 Manufacturer of Wyckoff wood water pipes, built water works in Elmira
Holly, Birdsill 1820-1894 Manufacturer of pumping engines; inventor of direct pressure water supply; designed and built several water system
Howland, Arthur Henshaw 1852-1923 Built and owned several water works in the 1880s; partner with George A. Ellis and William F Ellis in firm of Howland & Ellis
Jervis, John Bloomfield 1795-1885 New York City Croton Aqueduct; Boston Cochituate Aqueduct, Hamilton, Ontario; Brooklyn
Jones, Benjamin Franklin 1831-1912 5th president of American Water Works Association; Kansas City
Jones, James A. 1851-? Built some 15 water works in the 1880s
Ketcham, Alonzo R. 1814-1890 Buffalo, Memphis, Atlanta
Kuhn, James Speer 1853-1928 Founder of American Water Works and Guarantee Company
Kuhn, William Speer 1856-1944 Founder of American Water Works and Guarantee Company
Latrobe, Benjamin 1764-1820 Philadelphia; New Orleans.  Architect of the U.S. Capital and many other buildings.
Leach, Caleb 1755-1837 Plymouth; Boston, Philadelphia, New York City.  1797 patent for machine to bore wooden logs for pipe
Ledoux, John Walter 1860-1932 Chief Engineer of the American Pipe Manufacturing Company (1891-1920) for which he designed and built many water works for the company, later he was an active consulting engineer for many water works systems.  Obituary (1939); bio (1908)
Lockwood, John 1814-1891 Frankfort KY; Dayton, Columbus, Zanesville, Sandusky, Steubenville OH; Newport RI; Dallas, Fort Worth, TX; New Albany, Madison IN; Milwaukee, Janesville, WI: West Troy NY; New York City. | obituary |
Loweree, James M. 1815-1881 Long Branch; Houston; Perth Amboy; Knoxville
Mahan, Frank M. 1826-1917 Memphis; Kansas City; President of National Water Works Company
Marsh, Daniel 1800-1873 Bridgeport; Rochester
Mason, Charles 1804-1882 Burlington, IA; head of US patent office; patent attorney
McAlpine, William Jarvis 1812-1890 Buffalo, Albany; Brooklyn, Chicago; New Bedford; Norfolk; Hartford; Buffalo; Troy; Schenectady; New York City; Burlington, Vermont; Manchester; New Hampshire; Wilmington, Delaware.; San Francisco.  Also Toronto and Montreal, Canada.
McClallan, William C. 1828-1888 Built water works at New Haven, Windsor, Chicopee, Quincy, Weymouth, Sharon, Cohasset, S. Framingham and Marblehead
Meigs, Montgomery Cunningham 1816-1892 Washington Aqueduct
Moffett, John Fletcher 1841-1917 Partner in Hinds, Moffet & Co, and Moffett, Hodgkins & Clarke; built more than 65 water works from 1884 to 1893, owning more than forty of them.
Morgan, George Cadogan 1833-1913 Built more than thirty water systems in the Midwest; death notice
Morison, Nathaniel 1779-1819 Contracted to built Natchez water works, died of yellow fever.  Grandfather of Samuel L. Morison and great-grandfather of naval historian Samuel Eliot Morison
Morison, Samuel Lord 1851-1907 President of Morison-Jewell Filtration Company
Norman, George Henry 1827-1900 Built many water works; obituary; Middletown, CT; Newburyport, Frnaklin, New Bedford, Lowell, Beverly, Lynn and Gloucester, Mass.; Manchester, NH; Newport, Bristol, Warren and Jamestown, R.I.; Seneca Falls and Hoosac Falls, NY; Frankford, Ind; Waukesaw, Green Bay, and Fort Howard, Wis.; also manufactured cement-lined wrought-iron pipes.
Parks, Charles Francis 1853-1903 Partner in Wheeler & Parks of Boston, built and bought several water works.
Payson, Charles Henry 1853-1933 Owned and financed numerous water systems and help found the American Water Works and Guarantee Company.
Pearsons, Galen W. 1833-1907 Ogdensburg, Kansas City, Marshall, MO; Rockaway Beach, NY: Potsdam, Bangor, Olathe, Memphis, Pueblo, Leavenworth, New Orleans; obituary
Pillsbury, Joseph L. 1829-1873 Columbus, Dayton,
Prescott, Benjamin 1755-1825 Northampton; Albany.  Later superintendent of the Springfield Arsenal.
Richardson, Joseph 1814-1897 Bridgeport; Laramie; Houston
Runkle, Daniel 1845-1914 Son of Daniel Runkle; Houston; Hackensack; Alliance, OH; Council Grove KS; Plainview NJ; president of Warren Foundry and Machine Company
Schussler, Hermann 1842-1919 San Francisco, Virginia City, Pioche, Tuscarora | Wikipedia page |
Scowden, Theodore Ransom 1815-1881 Cincinnati; Madison, Indiana; Cleveland; Louisville;  Dubuque; Newport, Kentucky; Sidney, Ohio; San Francisco
Shelton, Nathan 1846-1896 Omaha, Freeport, Galesburg
Starr, Jr., Jesse W. 1845-1928 Charleston, Joliet, Marion, Eau Claire
Stein, Albert 1785-1874 Lynchburg; Richmond; Nashville; New Orleans; Mobile.
Stripe, William C. 1812-1888 Keokuk; Principal founder of American Water Works Association.
Taylor, Lucien Arnold 1846-1914 Partner with William C. McClallan; built many water works in New England; biography
Tubbs, Joseph Nelson 1832-1909 Rochester, Mt. Morris, Medina, Geneseo, Geneva, Syracuse.
Venner, Clarence H. 1856-1933 Denver, Omaha, Alton, Urbana, OH.  Involved in much litigation.
Walker, Miciah 1835-1929 Built more than fifteen water works after 1880.  Death notice
Ward, John Frothingham 1830-1902 Jersey City: Hackensack; Providence; New York City; patented a widely-used flexible pipe joint in 1863.  Obituary
Watts, Sylvester 1837-1912 Built many gas and water works in the Midwest; grave; obituary
Weir, William C. 1840 -1876 Covington, Ironton, Evansville, Portsmouth, Anamosa, Muscatine
Wheeler, William 1851-1932 Partner in Wheeler & Parks of Boston, built and bought several water works.
Wiley, Solon Lysander 1840-1926 Built twenty-six water systems.
Woodruff, James Orton 1840-1879 Indianapolis; Kansas City, MO; obituary
Worthington, Henry Rossiter 1817-1880 Manufacturer of pumping engines and water meters

2018 Morris A. Pierce