Documentary History of American Water-works

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Middle Atlantic States New York Oxford

Oxford, New York

Oxford was incorporated as a village in 1808.

The first water works in Oxford was built by General Benjamin Hovey to supply the new Oxford Academy building that he constructed.  This was the first of around 20 separate water systems that delivered water to the village from several nearby springs.  A Holly pump was installed at the Lewis mills in 1880 to provide fire protection through a network of pipes and hydrants.

The village built a water system in 1897.

Water is provided by the Village of Oxford.

1854 The Oxford Academy Jubilee, Held at Oxford, Chenango County, N. Y., August 1st and 2d, 1854̇

1879 A Water Supply for the Village of Oxford, N.Y., listed in Proceedings of the American Society of Civil Engineers 9:72 (April, 1885).  No copy of this has been found.

1880 History of Chenango and Madison Counties, New York: With Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of Some of Its Prominent Men and Pioneers, Volume 1, by James Hadden Smith
Page 264:  Oxford Village. The village is supplied with excellent water from numerous copious springs which issue from the adjacent hills. The water is conducted to the village by means of underground pipes, some of iron and some of wood, laid by individual enterprise and associated effort. There is no organized company for the purpose. There are nine chains of pipe from as many different springs on the west side of the river, with about a mile of pipes; and about an equal length of pipes on the east side, with more numerous springs, and also more numerous, but shorter chains of pipe.
Page 277:  Oxford Village - Academy.  1794 By paid Benjamin Hovey for procuring materials for building a house and bringing water thereto. 164 13s. 6d.

1880 History of Chenango and Madison Counties, New York: With Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of Some of Its Prominent Men and Pioneers, Volume 2, by James Hadden Smith

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

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

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

1895 The Oxford Academy Centennial: A Record of the Proceedings and Exercises Had in Honor of the One Hundredth Anniversary of that Institution, with Notes by the Editor. Held at Oxford, Chenango County, N. Y. June 28, 29, 1894

1897 Fire and Water Engineering 22(8):304 (August 21, 1897)
Oxford, N. Y., has voted to establish a system of water works, to cost $28,000.

1897 Municipal Engineering 13(3):187 (September, 1897)
Oxford, N.Y. - The contract for construction of the water works plan was awarded, Aug. 13, to M.B. Birdeye & Son, of Fayetteville, N.Y., for $20,634.35.

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

1897 Historical souvenir of Oxford, N.Y, by Edgar Luderne Welch
Page 2:  This place is noted for the numerous springs which supply a large number of residences with constantly running water. This is a rare feature which attracts the attention of strangers. In addition thereto the town has within the past year appropriated $22,000 for the construction of a water system just completed, which is fed directly from springs and connected by a "Y" line with a reservoir for fire purposes, situated 200 feet above the level of the village, thus giving sufficient head to throw a stream over the highest buildings.
Page 33: In 1880, the Silsby Pump was placed in the Lewis mill and 1,200 feet of iron pipe was laid and put in condition for fire purposes.
Page 38: The Water Works was completed Oct., 18, 1897, by M. B. Birdseye & Son of Fayetteville, N. Y. ; contract price about $22,000, the work occupying six weeks, a record rarely surpassed. The supply consists of two springs, three miles north of the village, at an elevation of 300 feet above it. The capacity is about 8,000 or 10,000 gallons. A reservoir 200 feet above the village and a quarter of a mile distant is connected with the main by a ' Y" pipe. It has the capacity of nearly one-half million gallons, and is a reserve supply for fire purposes The pressure Jrom the springs is 80 lbs. to the square inch. There are nine miles and 600 feet of four, six, eight and ten inch pipe, and forty-eight hydrants. 

1906 Annals of Oxford, New York : with illustrations and biographical sketches of some of its prominent men and early pioneers, by Henry Judson Galpin
Page 11:  The advantage of pure and wholesome water for domestic purposes is of immense consequence, both for the convenience and health of a community. In this particular the village possesses decided advantages and perhaps is unrivalled in the State. On the eastern and western range of hills within a short distance of the village issue a great number of springs, which before the system of water works was inaugurated, were readily conveyed by logs or pipes to the dwellings. Several of these springs are large and they afforded the year around an abundance of soft water, free from any impurity.
Pages 47-50:  General Benjamin Hovey
Page 52:  In October, 1897, while workmen were engaged in trenching the village for the system of water works they uncovered parts of two skeletons. The bones were found at a depth of five feet and were in the highway near the crosswalk west of the Congregational church.
Page 127: October, 1794. Voted. That a committee of three be appointed for the purpose of keeping the academy in repair and to make some alteration in the water now brought to the house for the use of the school.
Pages 357-358:  The Village Bell Ringer. The first bell in the county was placed in St. Paul's church in this village in 1818, and was rung for many years by an old man named Walter Dwiglit Russell. He was a well known character, and rang the bell on all occasions, morning, noon and night, and for funerals, after which he struck the age of the deceased. He used to say that he knew when he was a mile away whether he was ringing the bell or not. His business was boring pump logs for water to be conveyed through the village.
Page 558:  Fire, Congregational church, Nov. 28, 1897. Water works first used.
Page 564:  Water works completed Oct. 18, 1897.

2013 Burr, Clinton and the Falls of General Benjamin Hovey, by Karl Connell

2018 Morris A. Pierce