Documentary History of American Water-works

Introduction Historical Background Chronology Geography Biography Technology Ownership and Financing General Bibliography
Middle Atlantic States
New Jersey Washington

Washington, New Jersey

Washington Borough in Warren County was settled in the mid-1700s  

The first water system in Washington was built by Aaron Vansyckel, William McCullough, Henry Hankinson, Charles Johnston, Conrad Davis, John P. Ribble, Nicholas E. Emmons, Thomas C. Barton, John G. Robbins, Gershom Rusling, John Petty, John W. Smith, Joseph Barton, Frederick Colmbock, William A. Martin, and Imla Drake.  This group acquired rights to a spring owned by John Mowder and built an aqueducts using wooden logs, "at a considerable expense," to convey water into the village of Washington.  This group secured a corporate charter in 1831, which recognized that they had conveyed water "for some years past," but no information has been found about when the first pipes were laid.  The charter authorized a capital stock of up to $10,000 "to purchase at some future period, lead or iron pipes, or any other kind which they may see proper to convey the water through and keep them in repair, also to purchase other water and water-courses, should the present springs fail or prove unsufficient to supply the inhabitants with water.

A supplemental law passed in 1864 increased the capital stock allowed to $20,000, among other things.  Warren County deed records show that property of the Aqueduct Company was sold at public auction in August, 1929, but it is not known when the system ceased operating. Lula A. Birdsall, Edward B. Birdsall, and Thomas McGoey are shown as the President and Directors of Washington Aqueduct Company at that time.

The Washington Water Company was incorporated on September 10, 1881 with a capital stock of $40,000, and constructed a gravity system to supply water to the community.  The company threatened to shut off water to the borough's hydrants over a contract dispute in 1904, but were prevented from doing so by court action.  The company was acquired by various holding companies after 1931 and is no longer a separate entity.

Water is currently supplied by New Jersey American Water.

1831 An act to incorporate the Washington Aqueduct Company.  January 19, 1831.

1864 A supplement to an act entitled "An act to incorporate the Washington Aqueduct Company," approved January twentieth, Anno Domini, eighteen hundred and thirty one.  March 24, 1864.

1905 Borough of Washington v. Washington Water Co. 70 N. J. Eq. 254, Decided November 22, 1904.  New Jersey Equity Reports, Volume 70.
1. A water company, which is the sole source of water-supply for a borough, is a quasi-public corporation bound to supply water to the borough at a reasonable price, to be fixed by a competent tribunal in case no agreement between the parties can be reached.
2. If the company threatens to cut oflf the supply unless the borough pays a sum for past service which the borough claims to be unreasonable, a court of equity, in a suit to restrain the cutting off of the supply and to fix a reasonable charge, may at the final hearing determine whether the price demanded is unreasonable, and if so, may enjoin the cutting otf of the supply for its non-payment.
3. If on application for preliminary injunction a fair case for the trial of the question of unreasonableness is shown, the court may, on proper terms, enjoin the cutting off of the supply pending the hearing.

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

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

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

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

1911 History of Warren County, New Jersey, by George Wyckoff Cummings
Page 257:  Washington possesses an excellent privately owned gravity water supply coming from a reservoir at Roaring Rock, two miles away. The reservoir collects water from a watershed of two square miles, a great part of which is owned by the water company, that uses every effort to protect the purity of its supply. The water system was established in 1881. The good water pressure makes easy the work of the volunteer fire department, which has had several disastrous fires to deal with, mostly connected with the industries of the town, which require a large stock of inflammable material for their successful  operation. 

1929 Deed of Sale from Washington Aqueduct Company Master to John J. Bower Company, August 14, 1929, Warren County, New Jersey, Deed Book 254, pages 623-626. County Clerk's Office, Belvidere, NJ

1931 New York Times, December 5, 1931, Page 27
Utility Deal Approved.  New Jersey Board allows sale of stock of 9 water companies.  Trenton, N. J., Dec 4.-- Transfer of the capital stock of nine water companies operating in the Delaware River Valley to the Delaware Valley Utilities Company, headed by John H. Ware Jr. of Philadelphia, was approved by the State Board of Public Utility Commissioners.  The companies are now subsidiaries of the National Water Works Corporation.
Washington Water Company, 1,179 shares.

1936 New York Herald-Tribune, February 13, 1936, Page 30.
Public Offering will be made today of an issue of $1,200,000 Penn-Jersey Water Company first collateral trust 5 1/4 percent sinking fund bonds.
Six Companies Combined.  The Penn-Jersey Water Company owns six operating water companies in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, all within a radius of approximately eighty-five miles of Philadelphia.
Washington Water Company.

1936 Trenton Evening Times, March 7, 1936, Page 10.
Washington Water Mortgage Is Refused
Fiscal management of the Washington Water Company was criticized by the Board of Public Utility Commissioners today in a decision disapproving negotiation of a mortgage to discharge an $80,000 note held by the Penn Water Company.
At the same time representatives of the company were directed to confer with the board at Newark on Wednesday to consider an adjustment of existing rates.  An investigation by the board engineers disclosed a return on 1934 charges ranging from 6.81 to 7.75 percent.

2015 Morris A. Pierce