Documentary History of American Water-works

Introduction Historical Background Chronology Geography Biography Technology Ownership and Financing General Bibliography
South Central States
Mississippi Vicksburg

Vicksburg, Mississippi

Vicksburg was founded in 1719.

The Vicksburg Water Works and Banking Company was incorporated in 1837 by Lyman J. Strong, A.M. Winn, Thomas J. Randolph, James R. McDowell, William R. Campbell, Oliver B. Cobb, Bailis Davis, James McCutchen, Robert Tervell, Frederick Norcom, Thomas C. Randolph, Charles Hutson, David S. Sexton and Joshua C. Jenkins "for the purpose of erecting and constructing water works, in or near the city of Vicksburg" in addition to its banking privileges.  The charter included several measures to insure that water works were built, including "if the said water works be not commenced within one year from the first election of directors, or shall not be finished and in complete operation within four years from that time, then this act shall be null and void, and the powers herein conferred shall cease;"  the company shall not declare any dividend to the stockholders until after the completion of the water works;" and "the banking powers this company shall inure to them so long as they continue to furnish an ample supply of water, according to the terms set forth in the tenth section of this article."  Although the company engaged in banking, as shown on the 1838 banknote below, the Panic of 1837 and its aftermath overwhelmed many banks and this company did not survive, although it continued to hold annual elections until 1841.

The Winn Water Works Company was incorporated in 1844 by Albert and Jonathan C. Winn "for the purpose of erecting and constructing water works in the city of Vicksburg."  No evidence has been found that this company built anything.

The city of Vicksburg contracted with the North American Improvement and Contracting Company for a water works system around March, 1883, but the company did nothing for several months and finally obtained a charter in March, 1884. 

The Vicksburg Water Works Company was incorporated in 1884 by William H. Howell, Charles H. Ledlie, George W. Foote, George M. Church and Edward W. Falconer "for the purpose of obtaining and supplying the city of Vicksburg, and all persons within its borders, with water, for public, domestic and manufacturing purposes."   This company engaged in surveys and bought property for a pumping plant, but did not proceed with construction.

The Vicksburg Water Works Company was incorporated in 1886 by A. M. Paxton, Laz Baer, S. P. Metzger, Ben Hardaway, A. Warner, E. S. Butts, W. M. Chamberlin, Geo. S. Irving, Jas. P. Roach, Isaac Brown, Geo. W. Hutchinson, Joseph Hirsch, Ben Guider, Henry Yoste, T. J. Hosley and Sam Brown "for the purpose of obtaining and supplying the city of Vicksburg and all persons within its borders with water, for public, domestic and manufacturing purposes."  This company did not build anything.

In March, 1886, the city was given authority to build water works or to contract with an outside party.  The city advertised for proposals and accepted the offer of Samuel R. Bullock & Co. of New York to build water works on favorable terms.  Bullock had built many water works and the city accepted his proposal in November, 1886, granting him a thirty-year exclusive contract.

The Vicksburg Water Supply Company was incorporated in 1887 by E. S. Butts, John B. Mattingly, L. W. Magruder, Clarence Delafield and Chester R. McFarland "to construct, maintain, and operate a system of works to supply the city of Vicksburg, in Warren county, Mississippi, and the vicinity and the inhabitants thereof with an adequate supply of pure and wholesome water for all public and private uses."  The company built a system pumping water from the Mississippi River into a standpipe that began service in March, 1889..  The company went into receivership in 1900 and was acquired by a new Vicksburg Water Works Company in August of that year.

The city of Vicksburg was not particularly satisfied with the service provided by the company, as evidenced by four legal cases that reached the U. S. Supreme Court, which is probably a record.  The city was unsuccessful as it could not erase the word "exclusive" from the 1886 contract.  These proceedings provide a comprehensive record of the various contracts that make up the history of this water system.

The city of Vickburg bought the water system for $200,000 in April, 1915 after voters approved the purchased by a vote of 839 to 114 on March 23.

Water is supplied by the City of Vicksburg.


References
1837 An act to incorporate the Vicksburg Water Works and Banking Company.  May 13, 1837.
Sec. 13. Be it further enacted, That if the said water works be not commenced within one year from the first election of directors, or shall not be finished and in complete operation within four years from that time, then this act shall be null and void, and the powers herein conferred shall cease.
Sec. 18. Be it further enacted, That the banking powers of this company shall inure to them so long as they continue to furnish an ample supply of water, according to the terms set forth in the tenth section of this article.

1838 The Financial Register of the United States,  1(14):222 (January 3, 1838)
The books of the Vicksburg water works and banking company were opened, a few days ago, at the Planter's Bank in Vicksburg, and $352,000 of the stock taken, whereupon the bank was organized by the election of president and directors.  T. A. Randolph was electd president, and S. P. Webster cashier. An agent has gone to Philadelphia, for plates, notes, books, &c. and the institution is to be put forthwith, into active operation.-- Louisville Journal

1838 An act to amend an act entitled an act to incorporate the Vicksburg Water Works and Banking Company, approved May 13, 1837.  February 9, 1838.

1841 Mississippi Free Trader (Natchez MS), February 11, 1841, Page 2.
House of Representatives, Feb. 2.  Mr. Tomkins, chairman of the select committee, to whom was referred the petition of the stockholders of the Vicksburg Water Works Bank, praying to be released from constructing the water works, and to be authorized to construct a factory for the manufacture of cotton bagging, &c., made a lengthy and very able report, showing the incalculable advantages that would result to Mississippi by manufacturing her own bagging, &c.
On motion, five hundred copies were ordered to be printed.

1844 The Vicksburg Waterworks and Banking Company vs. W. H. Washington, et al., 9 Miss. 536, January Term, 1844, Supreme Court of Mississippi

1844 An act to incorporate the Winn Water Works Company of the City of Vicksburg.  February 24, 1844.

1870 The Vicksburg Herald, June 18, 1870, Page 3.
Senate - A bill was passed incorporating the Vicksburg Water Works Association.

1883 "Water Works," Vicksburg Evening Post, September 18, 1883, Page 4.

1884 An act to incorporate the Vicksburg Water Works Company.  March 4, 1884.

1886 An act to incorporate the Vicksburg Water Works Company.  February 20, 1886.

1886 An act to amend the charter of the city of Vicksburg, approved March 7th, 1884.  March 18, 1886.

1886 "Vicksburg Water Works," New York Times, November 16, 1886, Page 4.
Vicksburg, Miss., Nov. 15.-- Samuel R. Bullock & Co., of New-York, made a proposition to the City Council to-night to construct water works, to be competed in 18 months; the city to give a grant for 30 years and pay and annual rental of $70 per year each for 100 public hydrants.  The company agree to lay 12 miles of mains and put in double engines.  The proposition will most likely be accepted, as it is the best the city has ever had from reliable parties.

1886 "The Water-Works Contract," Vicksburg Evening Post, November 16, 1886, Page 4.

1887 "Charter of Incorporation of the Vicksburg Water Supply Comp'y," Vicksburg Evening Post, February 4, 1887, Page 3.

1888 "Saml. R. Bullock Attached," Vicksburg Evening Post, November 12, 1888, Page 4.

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

1889 "The Vicksburg Waterworks. When and How the Present Contract Was Let," Vicksburg Evening Post, February 1, 1889, Page 4.

1889 "A Satisfactory Test," Vicksburg Evening Post, February 19, 1889, Page 4.

1889 "Inspecting The Waterworks. They are Accepted by the City and Placed in Operation at Once," Vicksburg Evening Post, March 27, 1889, Page 1.

1889 "The Vicksburg Settling Basins," by Clarence Delafield, Transactions of the American Society of Civil Engineers 21:88-92 (August, 1889)

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

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

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

1900 An act to authorize the mayor and aldermen of the city of Vicksburg to issue bonds to the amount of three hundred and seventy-five thousand dollars, to purchase or construct, equip and maintain a waterworks system, construct and establish a sewerage system, to purchase grounds for, erect and equip a city hall, construct the necessary buildings for a hospital medical college, and for other purposes.  March 9, 1900.

1900 "The Charter of incorporation of the Vicksburg Water Works Company," Vicksburg Evening Post, May 29, 1900, Page 3.

1902 Vicksburg Waterworks Co. v. Vicksburg, 185 U.S. 65, April 7, 1902

1904 An act to enable cities, towns and villages incorporated under any general or special laws of this state to fix the rates and charges for the supply of water, electric lights or gas furnished by any individual, company or corporation to any such city, town or village, and the inhabitants thereof.  March 19, 1904.

1906 Vicksburg v. Vicksburg Waterworks Co., 202 U.S. 453, May 21, 1906

1907 Vicksburg v. Vicksburg Waterworks Co., 206 U.S. 496, May 27, 1907

1913 "Municipalities Must Keep Contracts. City Cannot Build Plant Until Company Franchise Ends," Public Service, 14(4):131 (April, 1913)

1913 Mayor and Aldermen of the City of Vicksburg, Appts., v. W. A. Henson, Receiver of the Vicksburg Waterworks Company, and Lelia Boykin., 231 U. S. 259, December 1, 1913

1914 "Vicksburg's Water Works Situation," Municipal Engineering, 47(6):454  (December, 1914)

1915 "City Agrees to Buy Old Water Works Plant for $200,000 If Voters Agree," Vicksburg Evening Post, January 5, 1915, Page 1.

1915 "Great Majority Decides to Buy Old Water Plant," Vicksburg Evening Post, March 24, 1915, Page 4.  839 in favor, 114 against

1916 "First Annual Report of the City Water Works Submitted by Manager; Showing Made Was An Excellent One," Vicksburg Evening Post, February 19, 1916, Page 1.  | Page 3 |











2015 Morris A. Pierce