Documentary History of American Water-works

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Middle Atlantic States Pennsylvania Milford

Milford, Pennsylvania

Milford was founded in 1796 by John Biddis (1749-1820).

Biddis first advertised lots for the proposed town in 1793, noting that "a never-failing supply of most excellent water can be introduced from a neighboring spring, the expense of which will be but trifling."

In 1815, James Barton and George Biddis (son of John) were granted permission to convey water from a spring into the town of Milford, with the work to be completed within twelve months.  Barton had built a mill in the town and married Biddis' sister Sarah.  A supplemental act the following year increased the completion time to three years along with other changes, but it appears that nothing was built as another act in 1820 granted permission to Barton alone to convey water into the town, again with the work to be completed within three years of the act's passage. 

Barton's system was operating by 1824, but after several years he fell ill and gave a deed of trust for the system on behalf of his wife and grandchildren.  By 1839 he had recovered his health, but the system has fallen into disrepair and the trustees were unwilling to repair it.  The legislature granted his request to return the works to him.

Harvey Roys was granted permission in 1846 to convey water into Milford under nearly identical terms.  Roys may have acquired Barton's system but no evidence of this has been found.  Roys was a local judge and died early in 1847.

The Milford Cold Spring Water Company was chartered in 1849 with Cyrill C. D. Pinchot, Henry S. Mott, T. H. Smith, Samuel Courtright, Jon Cornelius and Milton Dimmick were appointed commissioners to sell stock.  This company built a system, although details about it are unknown. 

The Milford Water Company was incorporated April 23, 1873 by the Pike County Court of Common Pleas as authorized by an 1867 law.  This company apparently bought the stock of the Milford Cold Spring Water Company, but the latter company continued to own and operate the water system as reflected in the reports of the Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission. The Milford Water Company also had problems with the Borough of Milford, which are recounted in the 1889 lawsuit cited below.

The Milford Water Company was acquired by the Milford Water Authority in 1965.

Water is provided by the Milford Water Authority, which was formed in 1965 and has a history page.


References
1793 Proposals for establishing a town on the River Delaware at the distance of 120 miles from Philadelphia, Federal Gazette, March 28, 1793. "A never-failing supply of most excellent water can be introduced from a neighboring spring, the expense of which will be but trifling."

1815 An act to authorize James Barton and George Biddis, their heirs or assigns, to convey water from a spring or steam of water, called the Yandine Kill, into the town of Milford, in the county of Pike. March 13, 1815.  This act set the maximum price of water at $6/year for any one family.

1816 A supplement to the act, entitled " An act to authorize James Barton and George Biddis, their heirs or assigns, to convey water from a spring or steam of water, called the Yandine Kill, into the town of Milford, in the county of Pike."  March 18, 1816.  This act raised the price of water for a family to $8/year, or $60 "for the right of using the said water for ever."

1820 An act authorising James Barton, his heirs or assigns, to convey water into the town of Milford, in Pike county. March 27, 1820.  This act set a maximum price of water for a family at $10/year, or "for a right of using the said water for fifteen years shall not exceed the sum of ninety dollars."  Also, "the water so introduced shall be used gratis in all cases of extinguishing fire, and by waggoners and travellers passing through said town."

1839 A resolution reinstating the rights of James Barton in the Milford water works.  March 27, 1839

1846 An act authorizing Harvey Roys, his heirs or assigns, to convey water into the town of Milford, in Pike county. February 24, 1846.  This act retained the maximum price of water for a family at $10/year.

1849 An act authorizing the governor to incorporate the Milford Cold Spring water company.  April 5, 1849. 

1852 The Jeffersonian Republican (Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania), February 12, 1852, Page 2.
An Old Man Gone.  Died in Milford, Pike county, Pa., on the 14th ult., James Barton, aged about ninety years.  He was born in the year 1762, in the State of New Jersey.  At the time of the revolution he held a Lieutenant's commission under the British Government, being then in the 16th year of his age.  He never renounced his allegiance to England, and died a subject and pensioner of the Queen.  For the last fifty years he has resided in this place, and to him are the people mainly indebted for the principal improvement of Pike county, and more particularly of the Village of Milford.  He was always foremost in every public enterprise.-- Being a great reader, he acquired a fund of general information surpassed by none.  He was perfectly familiar with the affairs of our Government, and was warmly attached to our institutions.  His talents were of the highest order, and but for his alienation from our country, he would undoubtedly have filled high places of trust and confidence.  He died Universally respected.--Cor. of the N. Y. Tribune.

1857 A bill "a supplement o an act authorizing the Governor to incorporate the Milford Cold Spring water company passed the fifth day of April one thousand eight hundred and forty-nine."  This bill passed the state senate but not the house.  Read in the senate March 12, 1857.

1886 History of Wayne, Pike and Monroe counties, Pennsylvania, by Alfred Matthews
Page 859: Sarah Biddis, married James Barton, who built the first Milton water-works.

1889 Borough of Milford v Milford Water Company, Weekly Notes of Cases Argued and Determined in the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, the County Courts of Philadelphia, and the United States District and Circuit Courts for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Volume 23.  Page 413:  The Milford Water Company was incorporated April 23, 1873.

1889 Milford Borough v Milford Water Company, 124PA610, March 18, 1889

1896 Pike County Press, December 4, 1896, Page 1
An Old Relic. Workmen in digging holes for shade trees along Broad street struck the original Milford water works, put down by James Barton.  The water was conveyed in logs through which a two inch hole was bored. The logs were coupled by an iron ring joining the end of each length. The logs were all decayed, but the ring was nearly as good as new.

1917 Report, Part 2
 By Pennsylvania. Dept. of Health         Page 1098:  Milford Borough, Pike County is supplied with water by the Milford Cold Spring Water Company, from springs. The drainage area is uninhabited.



2015 Morris A. Pierce