Documentary History of American Water-works

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Middle Atlantic States
New Jersey Flemington

Flemington, New Jersey

Flemington was settled in the early 1700s.

George C. Maxwell, Alexander Bonnell, and George Rea, junior, entered into an agreement on December 7, 1807 to supply water to Flemington.  They built a system using wooden logs that was operating in 1808, and petitioned the legislature for a corporate charter, which was granted in November, 1809.  The Flemington Aqueduct Company operated for some time, but fell into bad repair by 1822 and the town had no supply of water during dry seasons.

The Flemington Water Company was chartered in 1859 by Charles Battles, John G. Reading, John L. Janeway, Alexander Wurts, Hugh Capner, Alexander V. Bonnell, and Bennet Vansyckel, and they built a system that was operating in 1860. 

The Borough of Flemington bought the water company on July 1, 1955.

Water in provided by the Borough of Flemington.

1809  An to incorporate the Flemington Aqueduct Company, November 27, 1809.

1859 An act to incorporate the Flemington Water Company, March 15, 1859

1881 History of Hunterdon and Somerset Counties, New Jersey, compiled by James P. Snell
Water was introduced so long ago as 1808, in wooden logs bored through the centre, and was brought from 'Coxe’s spring, on the property now occupied by Robert Thatcher. Mr. Bartles says it was in bad repair in 1822, and, although there had been two plugs constructed,—one at the court-house and another just north of the Presbyterian church,—the whole affair had been neglected and left to go to ruin, so that for many years prior to 1859 the place was without an adequate water-supply in every dry season. 
Two springs, located on John Capner’s and J. C. Hopewell’s lands respectively, were largely the supply in times of scarcity until the water-works were built, water often being hauled from them when wells and cisterns gave out. “The Flemington Water Company" purchased springs about two and a half miles west of the village, and the first supply was brought in iron pipes from thence to the reservoir on Mullen Hill An additional reservoir, of three times the capacity of the first constructed, was afterwards built, adjoining and connected with it. An engine-house was also built, and a small engine put in, on the west side of the hill, in Suydam’s meadows, to pump water from Mine Brook and other streams. A six-inch main was recently laid to Kershow & Chamberlin’s mill, and the necessary power provided to pump the water from the South Branch. The springs before mentioned supply all the water required for nine months in the year, but for the remaining three months the South Branch is now had to guard against any deficiency. The first officers of the water company were , Charles Tomlinson, President; George H. Bartles, Secretary and Treasurer. The first directors were Bennet Van Syckel, John C. Hopewell, Charles Bartles, William P. Emery, Charles Tomlinson, Alexander Wurts, John L. Janeway, John G. Reading, and Hugh Capner.
Its officers for 1880 are as follows: William P. Emery, President; C. C. Dunham, Secretary and Treasurer. The board of directors is composed of John C. Hopewell, Charles Bartles, William P. Emery, Alexander Wurts, Joseph H. Higgins, Peter I. Nevins, John B. Hopewell, A. V. Van Fleet, and C. C. Dunham.

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

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

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

1894 History of the Presbyterian Church in Flemington, New Jersey, for a Century: With Sketches of Local Matters for Two Hundred Years, by George Scudder MottPages 76-77:  In 1859 gas was introduced into the village. In this undertaking Mr. John C. Hopewell was foremost. He had removed to Flemington, in 1854, having retired from business carried on in Philadelphia. Mr. Bartles was more interested to supply the town with good water. He insisted that the well water was more or less impregnated with copper. He and Mr. Hopewell united their forces, and the year after the completion of the gas works, water was introduced, in 1860. So far back as 1808 water was brought, in wooden logs bored through the centre, from springs on the property now occupied by Robert Thatcher. There were two fire plugs, one at the court-house, and the other just north of the Presbyterian Church. They were greatly out of repair in 1822, and they had been neglected, so that for years previous to 1859, the town was without an adequate supply of water in every dry season.
The "Flemington Water Company" purchased springs about two miles west of the town, and brought the water in iron pipes to a reservoir on Mullins Hill. This supply did not meet the wants of the people, especially in the dry season, and in 1880 a connection with the South Branch was made, from which water is pumped into the enlarged reservoir.

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

1912 Borough of Flemington v Flemington Water Company, Borough was unable to secure a written contract for fire protection water and fined a complaint with the New Jersey Public Utility Commission.
The Borough of Flemington complained that it was unable to get from the Flemington Water Company a contract in writing for Water used for fire purposes; that for water so used the Borough has been charged the sum of twenty-five dollars per hydrant. per year which was claimed to be excessive, “The Borough is charged for twenty-five hydrants, $25.00 per year, $625.00. The Borough has a contract for water for use in 18 flush tanks at $14.00 each, $252.00 per year, in which the water company agrees to furnish one hundred and fifty gallons per day.”  The respondent denied that it ever refused to enter into a contract with the Borough at existing rates and claimed that no negotiations had been suggested for the purpose of entering into a contract; and that it was ready to enter into a contract in writing at any time.
It was further stated that the Borough of Flemington had been in existence since May, 1910; that the respondent had “a contract with the Village of Flemington. which was submitted to and approved by the voters thereof by a vote of 319 for. to 4 against, in June 1896; and that from the time of the installation and building of new water mains in 1896 until it went out of existence as a corporate entity the Village of Flemington paid to respondent the sum of twenty-five dollars for each fire hydrant; that for the short period that the complainant has been in existence as a. corporate entity it has paid to respondent for use of water for fire hydrants a like sum of twenty-five dollars per hydrant, although no written contract. has ever been entered into with the Borough by the respondent.
It was denied that the charge was excessive but claimed to be very moderate considering the conditions under which the Service had to be supplied.
Answer sent to complainant February 9th, 1912.

1913 Statistics of Utilities, New Jersey. Board of Public Utilities
Pages 180-181:  Flemington Water Company. This company was incorporated in 1859 and began water service operations in 1860, which during the year 1911 were confined entirely to Flemington, N. J. At the close of the year the principal officers were as follows: President, J. A. Bullock; Secretary and Treasurer, A. H. Rittenhouse; General Manager, A. B. Allen; all of Flemington, N. J.

1954 "Referendum Vote Ordered on Water Firm Purchase," The Courier-News (Bridgewater, New Jersey), September 23, 1954, Page 10.

© 2015 Morris A. Pierce