Documentary History of American Water-works

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North Central States
Illinois Jacksonville

Jacksonville, Illinois

Jacksonville was founded in 1825, incorporated as a town in 1840 and as a city in 1867.

The Jacksonville Hydraulic Company was incorporated in 1857 by James Dunlap and his associates "to supply the town of Jacksonville and vicinity and the inhabitants thereof with water, from springs or fountains, situated on the laud of said Janus Dunlap,"  This company did not build anything.

The City of Jacksonville built a water system that distributed water from an elevated reservoir fed by surface water.  The system began service in February, 1874, but was soon found to be inadequate to the city's needs.  In January, 1903, the city granted a thirty-year franchise to William F. Mayhon of Chicago to bring water from the Illinois River, but he was unable to raise the necessary capital.

In September, 1904, the city granted a franchise to Charles W. Mackey, an attorney and politician from Franklin, Pennsylvania, and Orin N. Gardner, a civil engineer from Fredonia, New York, who had earlier been city engineer for Akron, Ohio.  The two men proposed pumping water from wells near the Illinois River through an 18˝ mile pipeline.  Once the new pipeline was delivering water, the city would lease their existing water to them for thirty years.  The two men filed incorporation papers for the Jacksonville Water Works Company on December 30, 1904, listing themselves and John Allan Ayers, Edward Sparhawk Greenleaf, Charles G. Rutledge, General Benjamin Henry Grierson and Walter Ayers of Jacksonville as incorporators.  On January 4th the incorporators met and elected John A. Ayers and Gen. B. H. Grierson, of Jacksonville, James William Rowland, Orrin D. Bleakley, Edward E. Hughes, C. F. Mackey, and Charles W. Mackey, of Franklin, Pa. as directors, who then elected the following officers:  President,  Charles W. Mackey; Vice president, J. W. Rowland; Treasurer, O. D. Bleakley; and Secretary, E. E. Hughes.   Mackey told a local reporter that the directors needed to from Franklin "as there the financial part of the system is situated and it would require too much traveling back and forth during the construction of the works."  At the same meeting the directors transferred all of their interest in the water works company to the Franklin Trust Company, of which Bleakley was president.  It was also decided even before this meeting that Gardner would contract for the works, as it was reported in the Engineering News on February 2, 1905.  Gardner incorporated the Venango Construction Company in Pennsylvania with himself as president, and the water works company contracted with the construction company to build the system.

Construction of the pump house and 18 mile pipeline began, but was repeatedly delayed and the company had to obtain extensions from the city.  The work was not completed until April, 1908, and water was delivered on September 24, 1908, but only worked for about six months due to issues with the pumps and pipeline.

The city, frustrated, starting building a new waterworks but the company filed an injunction to stop the work.  A federal judge refused to grant an injunction and set the case for trial.  In the meantime, a reporter for a local newspaper discovered that the Jacksonville Water Works Company had never filed their certificate of incorporation, which they had to do within two years of filing incorporation papers.  On April 21, 1911, the state's attorney for Morgan County filed a case against Charles W. Mackey and others for transacting business without any lawful authority.   The company filled the certificate on April 17, 1911 and was successful in the local courts, but the Illinois Supreme Court held on June 21, 1912 that the failure to file the certificate as required was "fatal to the legal existence of the corporation."

The Jacksonville Water Company was incorporated on November 27, 1912 by Jacksonville attorney Thomas Worthington, Orrin D. Bleakley (of the 1904 company) and Broderick Haskell , who was involved with Bleakley in the Franklin Trust Company.  This company proposed to furnish the city of Jacksonville with 1,000,000 gallons of water a day at eight cents per thousand gallons.  No information has been found about how, and if, the city responded to this offer.

The City of Jacksonville installed their own 18.5 mile pipeline to the Illinois River in 1955.

Water is provided the City of Jacksonville.

1857 An act to incorporate the Jacksonville Hydraulic Company.  February 14, 1857.

1873 Daily Illinois State Journal (Springfield, Illinois) November 17, 1873, Page 2.
The Jacksonville water works will be completed and in operation by the close of the present month.  The total cost of the works will not exceed $120,000, being $30,000 less than the city voted for their construction.

1874 Daily Missouri Democrat (St. Louis), February 7, 1874, Page 3.
The pumping apparatus of the Jacksonville Water works were put to a fair test, and for the first time, Thursday, and found to work admirably.

1878 History of Morgan county, Illinois
Pages 356-357:  THE WATER WORKS. Prior to the building of the present water works, the inhabitants of the city were greatly inconvenienced by being deprived of an adequate supply of water. In case of fire the only dependence was cisterns or wells, and in times of drought these were a poor reliance. These facts showed the people plainly the necessity of having an improved system of water works. In 1868 Mr. James O. King secured the services of a Mr. Fowler, of Philadelphia, to draw him plans for water works, and make a survey of the ground. The plans furnished by Mr. Fowler called for an appropriation of $174,000. Mr. King took the plans, and securing a petition signed by numerous citizens, presented both plans and petition to the city council, who appropriated $150,000 for the purpose asked. Here the matter rested for three or four years, being delayed for want of action by succeeding councils. About 1872 an ordinance was passed for the building of water works on a plan submitted by Mr. Chesbrough of Chicago; $150,000 were appropriated and their construction soon after  begun. The impounding reservoir was constructed in Pullam's ravine, about two miles south of the city. The capacity of this reservoir, or as it is now known, Morgan Lake, is abundant for all practical purposes.  The pumping works were built seven-eighths of a mile north of the lake.  From there the water is forced to the distributing reservoir, built on College hill, a mile and an eighth west of the city. This reservoir is eighty-six feet above the level of the public square, and one hundred and thirty-four above the pumping works ; its capacity is two and a half million gallons. The pumping capacity is 880 gallons per minute. At the present time every facility is afforded to prevent extensive conflagrations throughout the business parts of the city, as well as on the principal streets. In case of fire all that is needed is the attachment of hose to the hydrants, as the force of the water is sufficient to throw a stream to a height of eighty feet. The present superintendent is Mr. E. Wolcott, who has held that position for a number of years, and has taken an active part in its success from its commencement.

1881 Jacksonville, Engineering News, 8:413 (October 15, 1881)

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

1884 "Water Works," The Revised Ordinances of the City of Jacksonville: Including the General Ordinances, the Charter of the City as Amended, the General Laws of the State Affecting Cities, and the Rules of Order of the City Council

1885 Historic Morgan and Classic Jacksonville, by Charles M. Eames
Page 179:  The agitation of the Water Works question and discussion of various plans for the same, covered many years. Actual labor on the works began in October, 1872, but little was accomplished that season. The distributing reservoir was finished August, 1873, at a cost for excavation and embankment of $3,125, for paving, $2,175; total cost, $6,308.
The impounding reservoir was completed December 2d, 1873. Cubic yards of earth to the number of 83,850 having been excavated at a cost of $16,586. The iron pipe costing $52,000, furnished by Schickle, Harrison & Co., of St. Louis, was laid in August and September by the contractor, M. W. Quan, at an expense of $6,089. Cost of waste weir and sluice way, $2.000; cost of land for the impounding reservoir, 25 acres, $3,100; stoneware conduit pipe, 4,650 feet long, laid during November and December, cost $2,800; building pumping works, $5,000; pumping engine, $3,000, from the Niagara steam pump works, Brooklyn, N. Y. The capacity of this pump is about 700 gallons per minute. Boiler made by J. M.Wilson, $2,000; 34 fire plugs, $1,000. Total expenditures for the construction of the water works $118,000.
The storage capacity of the two reservoirs is 62,500,000 gallons. And at the present time there are 5 feet 3 inches of water in the Impounding reservoir, and several feet in the distributing reservoir. Of the importance of this system, it would, of course, be superfluous to speak. All the public buildings of the city and most of the private residences, are protected by the water mains. The supply of water is assured unless the ocean of lakes go dry, and the rain no longer falls.
At an election held on June 15, 1869, in pursuance of a city ordinance, the legal voters by a majority vote empowered and authorized the city council to issue bonds not exceeding $150,000, said bonds having twenty years to run and drawing ten per cent interest. The funds arising from the negotiation to be expended by the council or their agents in building the Water Works and procuring a supply of water.

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

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

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

1894 Fifty Years and Over of Akron and Summit County [Ohio], by Samuel Alanson Lane
Page 289:  Omar N. Gardner.

1894 The Banking Law Journal, Volume 10, by Edward White
Pages 229-230:  Charles W. Mackey.

1896 State V. Omar N. Gardner, 54 Ohio St. 24, January 21, 1896, Supreme Court of Ohio.  Gardner was indicted for offering bribes.

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

1900 The Progressive Men of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Volume 2, Compiled and edited by Col. Charles Blanchard.
Pages 916-917:  Charles W. Mackey.

1902 "City Council.  The Aldermen Discuss the River Ordinance," The Jacksonville Daily Journal, September 16, 1902, Page 2.
Text of ordinance granting W. F. Mayhon right to deliver water from Illinois River.

1903 "An Ordinance," The Jacksonville Daily Journal, January 4, 1903, Page 2.
Providing for a supply of water to the city of Jacksonville, Illinois, and its inhabitants, contracting with W. F. Mayhon.

1904 "An Ordinance," The Jacksonville Daily Journal, September 13, 1904, Page 2. | Part 2 on Page 4 |
Providing for a supply of water to the City of Jacksonville, Illinois and its inhabitants, contracting with Omar N. Gardner, of the city of Jamestown, New York, and Charles W. Mackey, of 253 Broadway, New York City. [Charles William Mackey]

1904 The Jacksonville Daily Journal, December 8, 1904, Page 2.
Gratifying Progress.  The Money for the New Water Works System Almost in Sight. The following letter will be read with interest by all public spirited citizens:
Franklin, Pa., Dec 6, 1904.
Mr. John A. Ayers, President Ayers' National Bank, Jacksonville, Ill.
Dear Sir:  I have already had underwritten by my own friends, who are among our wealthiest and most substantial people, over $200,000 of bonds, and expect to have the entire subscription closed before I leave here Saturday for New York.
The subscriptions to the present time guarantee the carrying out of the proposition.  Yours truly, Charles W. Mackey.

1904 "Jacksonville Water Works," The Jacksonville Daily Journal, December 13, 1904, Page 8.
Subscriptions for stock have reached an amount beyond $200,000.  Incorporation papers will be taken out with the secretary of state within the next few days, the following being the incorporators:  Col C. W. Mackey, O. N. Gardner, E. S. Greenleaf, M. F. Dunlap, and Col. John R. Robertson.

1904 "Pure Water for Jacksonville, Ill.," The Wall Street Journal, December 19, 1904, Page 3.

1905 "Big Water Project," The Daily Review (Decatur, Illinois), January 2, 1905, Page 3.
Application papers for the incorporation of the Jacksonville Water Works company were forwarded to the secretary of state Friday afternoon.  The incorporators are;  Charles W. Mackey, of Franklin, Pa.; O. N. Gardner of Jamestown, N. Y.; John A. Ayers, E. S. Greenleaf, Charles G. Rutledge, B. H. Grierson and Walter Ayers of Jacksonville.  The capitalization will be $350,000.  The plan is to build a pipeline to the Illinois river, eighteen miles away.

1905 "The River Water Works," The Jacksonville Daily Journal, January 5, 1905, Page 2.
Now Legally and Formally Organized and Ready for Business.  Directors elected:  John A. Ayers and Gen. B. H. Grierson, of Jacksonville, James W. Rowland, Orrin D. Bleakley, Edward F. Hughes, C. F. Mackey, and Charles W. Mackey, of Franklin, Pa.
The directors then organized, selecting the following officers:
President - Charles W. Mackey.
Vice president - J. W. Rowland.
Treasurer - O. D. Bleakley
Secretary - E. E. Hughes.
Colonel Mackey said to a Journal reporter: "For the present it is necessary to have the officers all of Franklin, Pa., as there the financial part of the system is situated and it would require too much traveling back and forth during the construction of the works.

1905 "Deed of Trust Filed," The Jacksonville Daily Journal, January 18, 1905, Page 2.
Jacksonville Water Works Company Transfers All Interest to Franklin Trust Company for consideration of a $350,000 first mortgage.

1905 Engineering News, 53:41 Supplement (February 2, 1905)
Jacksonville, Ill.- We have received the following information concerning the water-works system at this place:  On September 23, 1904, the City Council of Jacksonville passed ordinance granting a water-works franchise for 30 years to Chas. W. Mackey and Omar N. Gardner, and to turn over their present plant, consisting of 30 miles of mains and 200 hydrants, when the terms of the franchise were complied with.  Mackey & Gardner have assigned franchise to a company known as the Jacksonville Water Co., and of which Chas. W. Mackey is Pres.  The water company have let contract for all new work to the Venango Construction Co., of which Omar N. Gardner, Jamestown, N. Y., is Pres.  The  contract calls for the construction of a forcing main 18˝ miles in length and 20 ins. in diameter; standpipe, pumps, boilers, pumping station and water supply.  The source of supply is the valley of the Illinois River by a system of driven wells.  The bonds of the water company for the completion of this work, amounting to $350,000, have been underwritten by Franklin, Pa., capitalists, and arrangements have been made for an early completion of this work.

1905 "Ordinance Accepted," The Jacksonville Daily Journal, January 26, 1905, Page 8.
The Jacksonville Water Works Company Ready for Business.

1905 "Indict Mayor Davis of Jacksonville for Taking $2,000 Bribe," Illinois State Register (Springfield), March 19, 1905, Page 1.
Mayhon was unable to float the necessary bonds to put in operation his water works scheme.

1905 "Our Water Works," The Jacksonville Daily Journal, November 12, 1905, Page 5.
Bits of early history concerning this important enterprise.  Includes a description of progress on the new works.

1906 "Water Works Ditcher Will Complete Trench Today," The Jacksonville Daily Journal, October 20, 1906, Page 8.  This was probably a Buckeye Steam Traction Ditcher.

1906 Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois, Volume 2, Newton Bateman
Pages 684-685: City of Jacksonville.  City Water Works.–The late Joseph O. King was also literally the father of the water-works system. It was he alone who first conceived the idea, and, with the aid of a few, fought it through to a successful issue against well-nigh incredible opposition. The first election was mainly carried by four persons–Mr. King. the late Dr. George Ribb, David B. Smith and Samuel W. Nichols. The enterprise was set back by adverse votes in the Council a number of times, and the persons who fought against it were in many instances prominent in the city, and the record of their opposition seems, at this late date, like a story from the fairy books. Great efforts were made to ascertain the amount of water which would be needed, and the best judgment of the time was that the city might eventually grow to the use of 125,000 gallons daily. The first surveys were made at Mr. King's expense, with the volunteer aid of S. W. Nichols and Robert White, then a student in Illinois College, and Deily & Fowler, of Philadelphia, then constructing a holder for the gas company, made a bid of about $185,000 for the completion of the system so that something definite might be laid before time people.
The water-works system was placed upon a sound footing June 15, 1869, when the people, by a majority vote, empowered the City Council to issue bonds in an amount not exceeding $150,000 for the establishment of such a system, said bonds to be known as the Jacksonville water bonds, and to draw not exceeding ten per cent interest.
The City Council, on June 21, 1869, passed an ordinance providing that ten per cent water bonds should be issued from time to time, 1n an amount not exceeding $150,000, and providing further for the election, by the Council, of three resident tax-payers, to be styled the Board of Water Commissioners, who should have full control of the construction and operation of the system, and whose duty it was to prepare and submit to the Council, for its selection, at least two general plans for the construction of a water-works system, with estimates of the cost of each. Messrs. Ellzur Wolcott, James H. Lurton and Irvin Dunlap were elected the first members of the Water Board, and held their first meeting June 24, 1869. On March 22, 1870, the Board reported to the Council three plans. One of these plans, that of E. S. Chesbrough, was adopted, and on April 10, 1870, the board–in accordance with the Council's resolutions passed over the Mayor's veto– made purchase of the present Morgan Lake and reservoir grounds, on which to build said lake and reservoir in putting into operation the plan adopted. R. C. Crampton was appointed Supervising Engineer, and Elizur Wolcott was made Superintendent of Construction, his term on the Board having expired.
Up to 1874 ten per cent water bonds were issued to the amount authorized, which bonds have since been refunded at four per cent, and of that amount, $149,408,40 was expended in establishing a water-works system, which at that time consisted of the present lake and reservoir and grounds, the pumping station, the creek dam, three miles of ten-inch and an unrecorded amount of smaller water mains.
John N. Marsh was the first water superintendent. The following gentlemen also served on the Water Board during the early years of lts existence: A. E. Ayers, William Ratekin, J. T. Cassell, D. W. Fairbank, F. G. Farrell, B. F. Gass, Abram Wood, W. C. Carter, J. P. Willard, N. Kitner, B. W. Simmons and Alexander Platt. It may be of interest to state that the first pipe purchased, consisting of three miles of ten-inch and some smaller mains, cost $83.50 per ton at the foundry, and that in 1899 the city purchased over two miles of mains at $17 per ton, f. o. b. cars, Jacksonville.
The water department had been established but a few years when the water furnished by Morgan Lake and the Mauvaisterre Creek was found to be inadequate for the demands of the city, and in 1881 a pump was placed on the Davenport coal-shaft, and another at the same place in 1887, which temporarily relieved the shortage. In June, 1887, the city rented a pump and placed it over the gas well now known as the Capps well, from which water Was pumped for two months.
The Decker well was drilled to a depth of 2,342 feet in 1888, and in 1893 an air compressor was installed to increase the flow. This proved a failure owing to the amount of steam necessary to operate it.
In 1895 the American well was drilled to its present depth, 3,028 feet, at a cost of $12,300.57. and the Decker well was deepened to 3,110 feet in 1896, at a total cost of $13,533.39–-the total cost of both artesian wells being $25,833.96. The present combined flow of these wells is 625,000 gallons daily.
There are in use at the present time two pumps, each of dally capacity of 2,000,000 gallons–one a Worthington, purchased September 20, 1878, at a cost of $4,746.70; the other a Stilwell-Blerre and Smith Valle, purchased April 27, 1897, for $4,935. Two Niagara pumps and one Hooker were purchased prior to 1878, but have all been abandoned.
At present the city has in use twenty-three miles of water mains and 172 fire hydrants. For the past nine years the average annual receipts have been $12,177.04, and the cost of operating, not including extensions, $9,380.37. It will be seen that the average annual income is only $2,796.67 more than the cost of operating, and–considering the fact that the above figures do not include extension of mains, new pumps and boilers, cost of artesian wells and other items of expense, for which special appropriations are made, and which will easily equal the above, commonly called profit–it will be seen that the city is receiving no interest on its enormous investment.
A New Water System.–Work upon a new water system has been commenced and the enterprise will be rapidly pushed to completion. The pumping station will be in the Illinois River bottoms, about a mile and a half west of Bluffs. Two triple expansion, high-duty pumps will be installed, with a capacity of 3,000,000 gallons each, which will work against a head of 400 feet.
A twenty-inch main will be laid from the pumping station to this city, passing directly through the city of Bluffs, and parallel to the Wabash Railroad to Chapin. At that point it will leave the track and follow approximately the middle line of the third tier of sections from the north line of the township as far as Markham, where it will drop back to the section line and enter the city on Lafayette Avenue. A stand pipe sixty feet in height will be erected on the reservoir property, for high service on College Hill and for fire protection. Water for other purposes will be pumped directly into the city mains.
The water will be obtained from the gravel beds of the Illinois River bottom through a system of tubular wells. It is soft, with a slight trace of iron, and a minimum amount of lime, which makes it good for steam purposes and excellent for domestic use. With such a supply of water, which will equal any in the State in purity, there will be little to be desired to make Jacksonville the best residence town in the Middle West.
Mr. Charles W. Mackey, of Franklin, Pennsylvania, and Mr. O. N. Gardner, of Jamestown, N. Y., became lessees of the present system of water-works of Jacksonville. A Jacksonville water-works company has been formed with a paid-up capital of $350,000, The Directors of the company are Charles W. Mackey, Fay Mackey, Edward E. Hughes, J. M. Rowland, O. D. Bleakley, B. H. Grierson and John A. Ayers, with Charles W. Mackey an President; Edward E. Hughes, Secretary, and O. D. Bleakley, Treasurer. The city water system will pass into the possession of the new company on the completion of the work as prescribed.

1907 "River Water A Reality," The Jacksonville Daily Journal, January 22, 1907, Page 2. | Part 2 on Page 6|
New System is Now Complete and in Satisfactory Running Order.  History of project.

1907 Jacksonville Water Works Company, Easement, House Joint Resolution No. 4, March 19, 1907.  Allows pipeline to pass through lands of the Illinois School for the Deaf.

1907 "The New Water Works," The Jacksonville Daily Journal, June 4, 1907, Page 2.
Work being pushed toward completion.

1911 "Injunction is asked.  Jacksonville Water Works Company Says City Is Violating Contract," The Pantagraph (Bloomington, Illinois), March 16, 1911, Page 2.

1911 "U. S. Court has Jurisdiction," Daily Illinois State Register (Springfield, Illinois), March 28, 1911, Page 5.

1912 "To Hear Jacksonville Water Case," Daily Illinois State Register (Springfield, Illinois), March 13, 1912, Page 5.
Continuing the fight which was precipitated in April, 1911, when the Illinois Courier of Jacksonville discovered that the water works company of that city had not filed its certificate as required by law with the recorder and published the fact, the case will be heard by the supreme court in the April term.

1912 The People ex rel. Robert Tilson, State's Attorney, Appellant, vs. Charles W. Mackey et al. Appellees, 25 Ill. 144, June 21, 1912,
The company was engaged in this construction work from January, 1905, until April, 1908, and that commencing September 24, 1908, the company supplied the city of Jacksonville and its inhabitants with all the water required, for a period of six months.

1912 "Jacksonville Water Co. Incorporated," Daily Illinois State Register (Springfield, Illinois), November 28, 1912, Page 6.
Secretary of State Doyle yesterday issued a license to incorporate to the Jacksonville Water company with a capital stock of $35,000.  The object of the corporation is to supply Jacksonville and other cities with water. The incorporators are B. Haskell, Thomas Worthington and O. D. Bleakley.

1912 Daily Illinois State Register (Springfield, Illinois), December 10, 1912, Page 5.
Jacksonville - The Jacksonville Water company has proposed to furnish the city 1,000,000 gallons of water a day at eight cents per thousand gallons.

1912 Illinois State Water Survey, Issue 10
Pages 129-130: JACKSONVILLE, Existing Water Supply.—Visited April 30, 1912, May 4, 1912, and again on July 23, 1912. These visits were made at the suggestion of interested citizens, some of the local officials and representatives of the Jacksonville Water Company, in the hope that the State Water Survey might be of assistance in securing a working agreement between the water company and the city by the removal of certain difficulties which had arisen as a result of the failure of the company to meet the terms of its contract.
The Jacksonville Water Company had a contract with the city to furnish water within a certain specified time, the water to be obtained from a group of tubular wells in the bottom lands of Illinois river about 18 miles distant from the city. Because of difficulties with its pumping machinery and the failure of its main pipe line, which was constructed of thin, spiral, riveted pipe, 20 inches in diameter, the company was unable to deliver the water in the appointed time and in the volume agreed upon. The city, therefore, abrogated the contract, whereupon the company brought suit to enforce the city to accept the terms of its contract on the grounds that it was able to meet its obligations, and that the city had no right to take full advantage of a technicality.
Meanwhile the city had sought a new supply to supplement the old and inadequate supply, derived partly from an impounding reservoir and partly from deep wells yielding a highly mineralized water. This new municipal supply comprised a series of tubular wells in the northeast part of the city and in the valley of Mauvaisterre creek. These wells and their equipment also proved more or less defective and were regarded, perhaps without sufficient basis in fact, as incapable of yielding  a water of good sanitary quality on account of their proximity to Mauvaisterre creek at a point below the entrance of a large portion of the sewage from the city. ..
The final result of the negotiations was a formal agreement on the part of the, company with the city to furnish the city with water, pending the results of the litigation, charging the city a sum agreed upon for the actual quantity of water furnished; the city to retain possession of its system of mains, the old pumping station and of other water works equipment. Upon the termination of the litigation, a new agreement might, if both parties were agreeable, be entered into.
Accordingly the water company proceeded to place its plant in order with a view to delivering water to the city, but unfortunately the pipe line was in such bad repair, due to corrosive action of a waste material from a coal mine in which a. portion of the pipe line is embedded, that the company was unable to meet its agreement and the whole matter was thrown back into a state where satisfactory arrangements between the water company and the city officials seems impossible.

1914 Illinois State Water Survey, Issue 12
Pages 57-58:  Jacksonville. Water Supply.  Jacksonville has had unusual difficulties with its public water supply. The first installation, completed in 1871, utilized as a source an impounding reservoir on a small tributary of Mauvaise Terre Creek south of town. This reservoir, which is still in use, forms the central feature of Nichols Park. The capacity of the reservoir thus formed is about 60,000,000 gallons. It is said to be fed largely by springs in addition to the normal run-off. When the reservoir in 1885 failed to yield sufficient water a 2,200-foot tubular well in the city was equipped and utilized to increase the supply, but it was abandoned in 1895 because of its small yield. A second well, known as the Decker well, drilled in 1888 near the pumping station on the banks of Mauvaise Terre Creek, is 3,110 feet deep and 10 inches in diameter at the top and 4⅝ inches in diameter at the bottom. Another similar well was drilled in 1890 within 200 feet of the Decker well. Late in 1894 or early in 1895 another well known as the American well was sunk several hundred feet from these wells. All 3 wells near the pumping station flowed into a 25,000-gallon pump pit. The deep-well water was never popular for domestic use because of its high mineral content and strong odor of hydrogen sulphide. The flow from the wells has gradually grown less until only one of them now flows and that has a very small stream. At an unknown date, probably about 1899, the water of Mauvaise Terre Creek was diverted into the pump pit by a small dam near the pumping station. In 1897 or 1898 a project for procuring an adequate supply from an impounding reservoir in the valley of Big Sandy River about 5 miles southwest of Jacksonville was considered, but apparently this project was never thoroughly investigated and was ultimately dropped.
The Jacksonville Water Co. obtained in 1904 a franchise to supply the city with water derived from wells in the alluvial deposits bordering Illinois River near Bluffs, about 20 miles from Jacksonville, and work on that project was commenced in 1905. The installation comprises a group of tubular wells in the alluvium in the valley of Illinois River, a pumping station equipped with two 3,000,000-gallon duplex pumps, necessary boiler equipment, and a rising main 20 inches in diameter and 97,357 feet long leading from the pumping station to Jacksonville. The rising main was constructed of spiral riveted steel pipe, about ⅒ inch in thickness. Part of this pipe was laid through an accumulation of coalmine wastes, which strongly corroded it. Though the contract provided that the works were to have been placed in operation within 2 years after beginning construction they were actually not placed in operation until 1907 or 1908, and were then unable to deliver the required quantity of water. Failure to deliver the water apparently resulted from improper piping of wells and defective pumping machinery. After 6 months' inadequate service the city gave the water company a definite time in which to deliver the guaranteed quantity of water, namely, 6,000,000 gallons a day, but one difficulty followed another, and the company was never able to comply with the terms of its contract. The principal difficulty resulted from the corrosion of the rising main. The city officials abrogated the contract, and the abrogation was contested in the courts for several years with a final decision in favor of the city.
Meanwhile, the city proceeded in 1910 to develop a group of tubular wells on property about one mile northeast of the center of town and adjacent to Mauvaise Terre Creek. Five wells were sunk, ranging in depth from 58 to 74 feet and penetrating what appear to be alluvial deposits of clay and several thick beds of sand and gravel. This group of wells is known as the Widenham-Daub wells from the owners of the land. Each well was equipped with a deep-well pump which raised the water into a collecting reservoir, from which it was pumped into the distribution system by high-service centrifugal pumps. Much apprehension was felt in reference to the quality of this supply because Mauvaise Terre Creek, which flows past the property on which the wells are located, carries about 70 per cent of the sewage from the city discharged from an outfall in the east part of the city. Furthermore, in times of flood, the land occupied by the wells is entirely covered by the sewage-polluted water.

1914 Bernard Gause (Abendroth & Root Manufacturing Company, Defendant in Error), v. Venango Construction Company, et al., Plaintiff in Error, 188 Ill. App. 130, May 5, 1914, Rehearing denied June 25, 1914. Appellate Court of Illinois
In 1904 Omar N. Gardner, a civil engineer, Charles W. Mackey, an attorney at law, and Orrin D. Bleakley, president of the Franklin Trust Company of Franklin, Pa., originated a scheme for constructing a water works for the city of Jacksonville, Illinois. Gardner and Mackey procured a franchise from the city of Jacksonville granting them the privilege of supplying the city with water. The ordinance granting the franchise was passed in September of that year and authorized them to assign it to a corporation to be organized by them and required that the water should be brought from the river bottom about eighteen miles away. They caused to be organized the Jacksonville Water Works Company, to which they assigned said franchise, with a capital stock of $350,000. Of this capital stock Mackey subscribed for 3,494 shares, the par value of each share being $100. Mackey was elected president and was also a member of the executive committee, Gardner became a director, and Bleakley became a director, treasurer and member of the executive committee. The directors passed a resolution authorizing Mackey, the president, to enter into a contract with Gardner to construct the water works. Thereupon Gardner resigned as director, but instead of entering into a contract with Gardner for the construction of the works, the Venango Construction Company was organized under the laws of Pennsylvania with a capital stock of $50,000, of which Gardner was made president, and he subscribed for substantially all of the stock of that Company, and the contract for the construction of the works was let by the Water Company to this Construction Company. No part of the capital stock of either the Water Company or the Construction Company was ever paid. After the meeting of the stockholders of the Water Company at which they elected the directors, which was in January, 1905, there never was another meeting of the stockholders for over two years. After the first preliminary meeting of the directors of said Company there never was another meeting of the directors for a like period of time. The stockholders of the Construction Company met and elected directors and never met again. The directors met and elected Gardner president and never met again. All the future transactions involved in this litigation so far as the Water Company, the Construction Company and the Trust Company are concerned were carried on by the three individuals, Gardner, Mackey and Bleakley. The contract between the Construction Company and the Water Company provided that the Construction Company should obtain the land and right of way, furnish all materials and construct the wells, pumping station and pipe line, and that when the plant should be completed it should turn the same over to the Water Company complete and ready for use, and the Water Company agreed in consideration thereof to turn over to the Construction Company bonds to the amount of $350,000, which it had authorized to be issued, and all its capital stock with the exception of ten shares. Thereafter the Trust Company, by O. D. Bleakley, its president, entered into an agreement with the Construction Company by which the Trust Company agreed to loan the Construction Company $280,000, and received as security the Water Company’s bonds to the amount of $350,000, and to secure the payment of the bonds a trust deed was executed by the Water Company to the Trust Company as trustee and conveyed to the latter all property it then had, and all that it might afterwards acquire. At this time the Water Company owned no real estate. This trust deed was executed immediately upon the organization of the Water Company and was dated January 4, 1905, but was not recorded until January 28, 1905. On this same day, January 4, 1905, an agreement was entered into between the Construction Company, the Trust Company and certain underwriters, among whom were Mackey and Bleakley, which agreement referred to the organization of the Water Company and the Construction Company and recited that the Construction Company had entered into such contract with the Water Company and that the Water Company had issued its bonds for $350,000, and its stock to the amount of $350,000, and had delivered the bonds and stock to the Construction Company in full consideration of the work to be done under the contract between the two companies, and the underwriters agreed to underwrite the bonds. The bonds were underwritten at the rate of $800 per bond, the par value of each bond being $1,000. Shortly thereafter Mackey, Bleakley and Gardner personally entered into a written agreement to divide all the profits on the whole deal equally between them. Bleakley was then substituted as trustee in the trust deed in place of the Franklin Trust Company. In January, 1905, prior to the recording of the trust deed in question, the Construction Company entered into a contract with the defendant in error, the Abendroth & Root Manufacturing Company, whereby the latter was to furnish steel pipe and forcing mains to be used in the construction of the plant and through which the water should be carried from the wells to the city, about eighteen miles away, for the agreed price of $1.50 per lineal foot. Other contracts were made with other persons and companies for other material and construction work and all the contracts were prepared by Mackey. The Manufacturing Company furnished the pipe and there was a balance due it of $22,445.36. The Construction Company proceeded to construct the plant and obtain the right of way and ten acres of land on which the pumping station was erected, but instead of taking the title to the land in its own name, as its contract with the Water Company contemplated, had the deed executed conveying it directly to the Water Company. Before the Manufacturing Company entered into the contract to furnish the pipe to the Construction Company, the latter had furnished it with a copy of this contract with the Water Company, which provided that the Construction Company should obtain the necessary land and right of way and on the completion of the work should convey it to the Water Company. The Construction Company defaulted in its payments under its various contracts for the material and construction of the works, and it having no assets of any kind whatever and the deeds to all the property on which the improvements had been made having been taken in the name of the Water Works Company, the various creditors, among which is the Manufacturing Company, filed bills or cross-bills to foreclose mechanics’ liens upon the property of the Water Company, on the theory that the Water Company and the Construction Company were substantially one and the same thing and that the Construction Company was simply used as a scheme by which the creditors who furnished the labor and material for the construction of the water works might be defrauded out of the just payment of their claims. The chancellor who heard the case found that the Construction Company and the Water Company had equal interests in the property, and decreed a foreclosure of the liens.

1917 Illinois State Water Survey, Issue 15
Pages 57-61:  Jacksonville. Water Supply.  A public water supply was installed in 1871 with a small impounding reservoir known as Morgan Lake, located south of the city as the source of supply. Later, to increase the supply a well was drilled to a depth of 2,200 feet and three other wells were drilled to a depth of more than 3,000 feet. As the water contained considerable mineral matter and hydrogen sulfide gas, making it objectionable for domestic use, the wells were abandoned. A water supply was developed at Bluffs by the Jacksonville Water Works Company,‘ organized in 1905, and a 20-inch steel pipe line was built from Bluffs to the city of Jacksonville. Several tests were made but water was not supplied to the city for any considerable length of time.

1955 "Pipe Line Celebration Set for Aug. 25; Many Attractions Planned," The Jacksonville Daily Journal, July 24, 1955, Page 12.
New water pipeline from Illinois River, 23 miles long cost $2.5 million.

1999 Jacksonville, Illinois: The Traditions Continue, by Betty Carlson Kay and Gary Jack Barwick
Page 91: Water availability was a challenge if the town would attract new industry. A plan in 1868 to develop a waterworks system proved too expensive. Almost 100 years later, in 1955, water was still an issue and an expensive plan to bring water all the way from the Illinois River became a reality. The $2,300,000 project, built with no State or federal funds, guaranteed a water supply and attracted further industry such as A.C. Humko (previously Anderson Clayton).


© 2017 Morris A. Pierce