Documentary History of American Water-works

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

Whitesboro, New York

Whitesboro was settled around 1784.

The first water works were built by "The Aqueduct Association in the Village of Whitesborough," which was incorporated on March 25, 1799 by Hugh White, Arthur Breese, Jonas Platt, Jeptha Brainerd, James Ferguson, Simeon Webster, Joseph Blake, Gideon Browning, Elizur Moseley, William G. Tracy, Bethael Dod, Caleb Douglass, Amos Camp and Thomas R. Gold. 

Dr. Lyman L. Wight built a water works "sometime around the Civil War" which utilized water from springs on his farm.   He incorporated this as the "Whitesboro Water Works Company" in September, 1896 and died on April 20, 1899.   This company was acquired by Consolidated Water Company of Utica around 1915.

The Whitestown Water Works Company was incorporated in 1899 and installed 22 miles of mains that serves Whitesboro, Oriskany, Yorkville, and New York Mills.  This company was acquired by the Consolidated Water Company of Utica on April 1, 1906.  The City of Utica purchased the company in 1938 for $7.9 million.

Water in the Village of Whitesboro is provided by The Mohawk Valley Water Authority, which was created in 1994 as the Upper Mohawk Valley Regional Water Board.  

1799 An act to ascertain the line of division between the towns of Trenton and Remsen in the county of Oneida, and for incorporating an aqueduct association in Whitesborough in said county, March 25, 1799

1884 Whitesboro, from Engineering News 11:104 (March 1, 1884)

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

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

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

1896 Our County and Its People: A Descriptive Work on Oneida County, New York, by Daniel Elbridge Wager
Biographical pages 233-234:  Wight, Lyman L., M. D., was born in Wales, Mass, July 21, 1822, son of Phiny and Anna Fletcher Wight.  Lyman L. came to Whitesboro in 1844 and studied medicine with Drs. Thomas and Gardner.  From 1847 to 1849 he practiced in New York; then his health failed and he returned to Whitesboro in 1850.  Wight in connection with George Williams started a cheese factory in Whitesboro, and later the bought out Mr. Williams's interest and conducted this factory alone. He was interested in five factories located in New Hartford, Walesville, Colman's Mills, Kirkland, and Whitesboro.  Dr. Wight was instrumental in forming the Board of Trade in Utica, and of which body he was president for about fifteen years. He was one of the originators of the Farmers’ Club in Oneida county. Dr. Wight was the largest cheese manufacturer in Oneida county, and he was also the pioneer manufacturer in turning out a large cheese, making one that weighed 5,233 pounds. which was unheard of at that time. He was a prominent man in politics, and was on the Board of Supervisors two terms, and was chairman of the County Committee. He is also owner of the pipe and water works system of Whitesboro; his water comes from the springs on the doctor's farm, and is piped by him throughout the village supplying the houses.  Dr. Wight married Mary M., daughter of Julius Watkins, a prominent farmer of Oneida county, and also president of the bank in his place. They have one son, J. W. Wight, of Whitesboro, N. Y.

1896 Rome Semi-Weekly Citizen, September 29, 1896, Page 1.
Whitesboro Water Works. Company. In the county clerk's office Saturday the Whitesboro Water Work company filed articles of incorporation. The purpose of the organization is to furnish water to the village of Whitesboro. The capital stock is $10,000 and is divided into 100 $100 shares.  Lyman F. Wright, Charles B. Smith, William M. Gates, Thomas Ellis, Edward G. Wagner, C. M. Dennison and John L. Babbitt constitute the board of directors.

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

1899 Rome Daily Sentinel, May 17, 1899, page 2.
Officers Elected to Fill Vacancies Plan of Operations.
WHITESBORO, May 17.—At a meeting of the Whitesboro Waterworks Company held at the home of Mrs. M. M. Wight on Monday evening the following officers were elected to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Dr. L. L. Wight.  Director, James Goodwin; treasurer, Mrs. M. M. Wight: superintendent and manager, J. Watkins Wight. At a meeting of the board of trustees last evening Hon. Harry S. Patten stated that the waterworks company was now organized and he presented the contracts for signatures. The contracts call for a gravity system of waterworks to start from a storage reservoir at an altitude of at least 175 feet above the level" of the village, and a capacity of 1,500,000 gallons for the sum of $1,200 a year, to be paid in quarterly installments. There will be 50 hydrants placed about the village. A surveyor will be put at work at once to lay out the route of the ditch and workmen will start the first of June or thereabouts. It is expected the system will be completed some time during the fall.  [Note these articles includes information on both water systems.]

1899 The Engineering Record 39:577 (May 20, 1899)
Whitesboro, N. Y. -- The Whitestown Water-Works Co. is reported incorporated with capital of $50,000.  Directors:  Henry W. Millar and Wm. E. Lewis of Utica, Wm. G Stone of Whitesboro, and others.

1919 Poor's Government and Municipal Supplement
Page 441: CONSOLIDATED WATER CO. OF UTICA, N. Y.—Inc. Nov 13, 1899, in N. Y.; consolidation of Utica Water Works Co., New Hartford Water Co., West Canada Water Co. and Whitestown Water Works Co., located in Utica, N. Y., and suburbs. Subsequently leased the Whitesboro Water Works Co. Franchise perpetual. Population served, 110,000. Storage capacity over 2,000,000,000 gallons; distribution capacity 12,000,000 gallons daily. Miles of mains, 205. Meters, 15,700. Controls practically all the available sources of water supply for the city of Utica and adjacent towns. The system is operated by gravity, making it unnecessary to maintain pumping stations.

1922 In Memoriam: John Vacher Bacot, 1857-1921  By Consolidated Water Company (Utica, N.Y.). Board of Directors

1949 Here's Whitesboro; an informal history by D. Gordon Rohman
Page 26:  Down Railroad Street W. G. Stone ran a coal company where for $6.50 you could buy a ton. He also ran a local water works,  "Whitestown Water Works Company," which they said in 1903 "is now furnishing its customers with pure filtered water."   It was formed in 1889 when Harry S. Patten of Whitesboro and William E. Lewis, Henry Millar and Leslie Kernan of Utica got together and decided it was about time that Whitesboro had a water system. They engaged Stone to be engineer, Millar was president, Kernan was secretary and Patten was treasurer and superintendent.  On top of Harts Hill they built a reservoir (recently filled in) and using this water and that from surrounding streams, they filled 22 miles of mains in Whitesboro, Oriskany, Yorkville and New York Mills with H20.  Curiously enough, about this same time, the village on December 19, 1898 voted $1,200 a year for five years to secure a supply of' water for fires. This was 12 days after the Baptist church fire, when a lack of water doomed the church to destruction. Soon after, hydrants were introduced into the town and probably used water from the reservoir on Harts Hill.  Certainly coming down the hill the pressure would be sufficient for almost any emergency.
The competitor of this company was the "Whitesboro Water Works Co." which was a much less ambitious enterprise. It furnished patrons "for first or second floor use" spring water at the lowest rates. J. W. Wight was proprietor.  Sometime around the Civil War, his father, Lyman L. Wight, started this system which utilized springs in the bluffs south of Foster Street for its supply of water.  The same Mr. Wight built a cheese factory on Watkins Street (the drying shed is still standing) and here, so Mr. Jim Symonds tells me, Mr. Wight built a 200-pound cheese once which Mr. Lipton (of Lipton's Tea) heard about when he was in Utica shortly afterward. Going to Whitesboro, Mr. Lipton bought this hunk of cheese and had it shipped to England where he gave away samples of it with his tea (which is one way to sell tea, you'll admit).

1982 Whitesboro: My Home Town by Charles and Claire Sperry
Apparently water service for Whitesboro first appeared in 1799 when Hugh White and several of his contemporaries formed the Aquaduct Association. It is believed that this association actually provided some service to the Village as fragments of pipe have been found. It is believed that they used hollow logs for pipe.
The next attempt occurred in the 1860's when Lyman Wight constructed a system that served a part of the Village. Its water supply came from springs located in the hills south of Foster Street, with a small reservoir at the foot of the hills. This system had good quality water, but very low pressure, it continued in operation until the early 1900's when it was absorbed by the Consolidated Water
Company of Utica.
There was also a Whitestown Water Works with its source of supply being springs on Hart's Hill which apparently supplied the Clinton Street area.
In the early 1900's the Consolidated Water Company (which was formed October 17, 1899 by a merger of the Utica Water Works Company and the West Canada Creek
Water Company) extended its service to include Whitesboro and in a short time became the sole supplier of the Village for water.
In l938 the City of Utica took over control of the Consolidated Water Company and has since been the supplier of water to Whitesboro. First under the Water Bureau and then under the Board of Water Supply.

© 2015 Morris A. Pierce