Documentary History of American Water-works

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New England States Vermont Plainfield

Plainfield, Vermont

Plainfield was chartered was a town in 1797 and the village of Plainfield was chartered in 1867.  The town and village merged in 1985.

The first water system was built in 1856 by James Merrill Batchelder and others.

The Plainfield Aqueduct Company was incorporated in 1859 by Batchelder, his father James Batchelder, his uncle Daniel Batchelder (1818-?), Spencer Lawrence, Henry Kinney, and Charles H. Heath "for the purpose of constructing and maintaining an aqueduct to supply the inhabitants of the village of Plainfield with water for domestic and other purposes."  

Another attempt to form a Plainfield Aqueduct Company was undertaken in 1902 by H. E. Cutler, Fred Perrin and Fred A. Howland, but the charter was not approved by the legislature.

The Village of Plainfield was authorized to construct or purchase water works in 1911.

The Vermont Department of Health reported that A. Bachelder owned a system in Plainfield from 1912 to 1915 that supplied about 50 families.  This was likely Arch Mead Batchelder, son of James M. Batchelder.  Arch died in 1924, and by 1940 Anice A. Barlett owned the system under the name Plainfield Water Works.  She sold the system to the Village of Plainfield in 1946 for $20,000, at which time it had 110 customers.

Water is supplied by the Town of Plainfield.

1859 An act to incorporate the Plainfield Aqueduct Company.  November 21, 1859.

1882 The history of the towns of Plainfield, Roxbury and Fayston, by Abby Maria Hemenway

1897 The Vermont Watchman, Montpelier, Vermont, September 11, 1897, Page 5.
Marshfield. J. M. Batchelder of Plainfield, has begun on the ditch for the running water he is bringing into our village.  Several families are anxiously waiting to see the water running into their houses and realize a long felt want.

1899 "J. M. Batchelder Dead," Barre Evening Telegram (Barre Vermont), October 24, 1899, Page 1.
Was One of Plainfield's Most Successful Business Men.  J. M. Batchelder died at his home at 7 o'clock a.m. Oct. 23 after an illness of about a week with pneumonia.
He was born in Plainfield in April 1829.  He was one of the first in this section to supply a village with water having put in a system of aqueducts in 1856, which has been a great convenience to the village, and profitable to himself.

1899 The Vermont Watchman, Montpelier, Vermont, November 1, 1899, Page 4.
Marshfield.  We regreat to learn of the sudden death of pneumonia of J. M. Batchelder, proprietor of our village water supply, which occurred at his home in Plainfield Monday morning, October 23.  Many people in the village owe him thanks for a supply of nice spring water at their buildings, who would to-day be carrying water in the same old way from their more fortunate neighbors had he not intersted himself in their behalf, at the same time making a profitable investment.  He recently spent several days in town with the object of very materially increasing the supply by the addition of new springs.

1902 Journal of the Senate of the State of Vermont.  Biennial Session 1902.
Page 103:  Thursday, October 30, 1902.  Bills introduced. By Mr. Sibley, S.98 An act to incorporate the Plainfield Aqueduct Company.

1902 The Vermont Watchman (Montpelier, Vermont), November 5, 1902, Page 8.
Marshfield.  Property holders in the south part of the town, especially those who have springs or water privileges would do well to carefully read Senate bill68, introduced by Senator Sibley.  "An act to incorporate the Plainfield Aqueduct Co," and see if they want the bill as introduced to pass.  Now is the time to make yourself heard if you have any interests that are liable to be taken over by such an act.

1902 The Burlington Free Press, November 22, 1902, Page 3.
Bills killed.  S.98, to incorporate the Plainfield Aqueduct company.

1902 Engineering News 48(23):203 Supplement (December 4, 1902)
Plainfield, VT.- The Plainfield Aqueduct Co. has been formed by H. E. Cutler, Fred Perrin and Fred A. Howland to furnish water to Plainfield and Marshfield.

1903 Genealogical and Family History of the State of Vermont: A Record of the Achievements of Her People in the Making of a Commonwealth and the Founding of a Nation, by Hiram Carleton
Page 71: Arch Mead Batchelder (1855-1924), son of James Merrill Batchelder (1829-1899), son of James Batchelder (1794-1875) 

1909 The Vermont Watchman (Montpelier, Vermont) April 8, 1909, Page 5.
Marshfield. Arch Batchelder of Plainfield was in town last week looking after the village water.

1911 An act to amend the charter of the village of Plainfield.  January 13, 1911.
Section 1.  The corporation of the village of Plainfield is hereby authorized and empowered to acquire, own. construct, maintain and renew, and, when required, extend and enlarge a water system for the purpose of supplying said village and the inhabitants thereof with water for fire, domestic and other purposes.
Sec. 3. And said corporation, if it decides so to do at ďa meeting thereof duly called and holden for that purpose. may purchase any existing water system or any in process of construction, if the owner or owners are willing to sell the same."

1914 Ninth Biennial Report of the State Board of Health of the State of Vermont from January 1, 1912, to December 31, 1913.
Page 154.  Plainfield.  Water supply, private springs. Used chiefly for domestic purposes, though partly for fire protection.  A few springs fail in the time of drought, at which time other springs are used.  Mr. A. Batchelder, Plainfield, Vt., supplies about fifty families from a spring which he owns.

1916 Tenth Biennial Report of the State Board of Health of the State of Vermont from January 1, 1914, to December 31, 1915.
Page 69.  Plainfield.  The supply is by gravity directly from springs.  There are no inhabitants upon the watershed.  The system is owned by A. Batchelder.

1940 "May Mortgage Water System," The Burlington Free Press, October 19, 1940, Page 2.
Montpelier, Oct. 18.- Anice Bartlett of Plainfield, doing business as the Plainfield Water Works, was given permission by the Public Service Commission to mortgage her water system for $5,000 in order to finance improvements necessary to fulfill additional demands for service from Goddard College and other customers in Plainfield village.

1946 "Plainfield Granted Permission to Buy A Water System," The Burlington Free Press, November 13, 1946, Page 2.
PSC authorizes sale to town for $20,000 from Mrs. Bartlett.

1948 "Plainfield.  Water at Bartlett Spring at Low Level," The Burlington Free Press, February 4, 1948, Page 10.

1972 "Plainfield Forum on Water Improvements is Tonight," The Burlington Free Press, February 16, 1972, Page 13.
The Plainfield water system was designed more than 40 years ago.

1993 The Town of Plainfield, Vermont: a pictorial history, 1870-1940, by Plainfield Historical Society (Vt.)
Page 30:  Portraits and biographies of James Merrill Batchelder and Arch Mead Bachelder.

© 2017 Morris A. Pierce