Documentary History of American Water-works

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Biography Alexander Easton

Alexander Easton

Alexander Easton was born in England in 1828 and emigrated to America in 1849

Christening 14 April 1828    Wimborne-Minster, Dorset, England

George Easton 1796-1876,      March 1796, Bradford, West Yorkshire, England,  January 21, 1876 (79) Reading, Reading, England

Frederick Easton, October 17, 1820, Bradford-on-Tone, Somerset, England, United Kingdom

George Easton, 1822-1906

Charles Easton 1826

Frances E. Easton, 1835

Abel Easton, 1830-1902, England

Alexander Easton, baptist October 16, 1861 in Quebec

Built Milwaukee street railway 1859-60 for John Lockwood
Director June 1860
Married in Boston December 31 1860 to Lorenza Albario Potten, who had been born in Chile and previously married.
Toronto street railway 1860/61, sold his interest in 1862 or 1863  Incorporated 29 May 1861

He died on December 22, 1874 while surveying a railroad route across Guatemala..

Alexander Easton's Water Works Experience
City State Years Projects
Rochester NY 1866-1869 President of the Rochester Water Works Company
Milwaukee WI 1869-1870 Contracted for survey from Lake Pewaukee to Milwaukee.

1849 The Sun (Baltimore, Maryland), February 22, 1849, Page 1.
The Steamship Sarah Sands arrived at N. York on Tuesday morning, after a passage of twenty-six days.  Stormy weather and a short supply of coal detained her.  She, of course, brings no news - but had a heavy freight and the following passengers:
Alex. Easton

1857 Map shewing the route of the North Pennsylvania Rail Road from Philadelphia to Bethlehem : with its branches to Doylestown & Freemansburg and its connections with the Lehigh Valley Rail Road : January 1857

1858 Combined letter box and lamp post. Patented March 9, 1858, by Albert Potts, Philadelphia. Engraving by A. Easton's, 407 Walnut St., Phila.

1858 New York Herald, April 1, 1858, Page 6.
Wanted.- A first rate engraver and lithographer may meet with a permanent situation by addressing, immediately, Alexander Easton, box 159 Post office, Philadelphia

1858 Philadelphia city directory
EASTON ALEXANDER, civil engineer, 407 Walnut, h 627 N 13th

1859 Philadelphia city directory
EASTON ALEXANDER, civil engineer, 407 Walnut, h 463 N 7th

1859 A Practical Treatise on Street Or Horsepower Railways, Their Location, Construction and Management, February, 1859, by Alexander Easton | also here | and here | and here |

1859 "Street Railroads," Scientific American, 14(39):325 (June 4, 1859)
Much has been learned by the experience of New York in  the construction of street rail­roads, and a work recently published on this subject  by Alexander Easton, C. E., No. 42 Wall street, Philadelphia, contains a  great amount of practical information on this subject.

1859 "The First Rail Laid," Daily Ohio Statesman (Columbus, Ohio), September 4, 1859, Page 2.
A large crowd assembled on Walnut above Fourth street, yesterday afternoon, to witness the laying of the first rail on the first street railroad in Cincinnati.  Mr. Alexander Easton, superintendent of construction for the Cincinnati Street Railroad Company, superintended operations.  After considerable difficulty and some hard swearing, the crowd was induced to give elbow room, and our friend Caloric F. Hall, Esq., the progenitor of the Penny Press, seized the spike sledge, and, with a tremendous surge, brought it down on the rail, clearly missing  the spike.  He immortalized himself, however, by driving home the first side in the first rail laid down on a Cincinnati street railway - on the eastern side of the track.  The second rail on the west side of the track, was laid and conjointly spiked down by motive power brought into requisition from the Press and Daily Commercial  offices - so that the distinguished privilege of standing god-fathers in the original street railroad in the Queen of the West, appropriately devolved upon the power which gave life and direction to the important enterprise.  Mr. Eastern subsequently proceeded to lay the track rapidly, the company's iron having arrived.  Not many days hense the horse cars will be bowling through out streets. - Cin. Com., Sept. 3 

1859 "Horse and Street Railways," The Buffalo Daily Republic, October 8, 1859, Page 3.
The author, Alexander Easton, Esq., is a practical civil engineer and contractor, largely engaged in building railways in several western cities, and is throughly conversant with such improvements.  He will be in this city in a few days.

1860 Milwaukee Daily Sentinel, June 4, 1860, Page 1.
The following are the names of the directors of the River & Lake Shore Railway Company:
Geo. H. Walker; Alonzo Seaman; Lemuel W. Weeks; H. K. Viele; Alexander Easton; John Myers, Peter Martineau.  Subsequent to the election of Trustees, G. H. Walker was elected Pesident and John Mayers Secretary and Treasurer.

1860 "Street Railways," The Globe (Toronto, Canada West), October 10, 1860, Page 2.
A proposition is now before the City Council for the construction of a system of street railways in Toronto.  Mr. Easton and his associates.

1860 "Street Railways," The Globe (Toronto, Canada West), October 29, 1860, Page 2.
Promotes agreement with Mr. Easton

1860 "City Council," The Globe (Toronto, Canada West), November 1, 1860, Page 2.
Common Council discusses street railway contract with Easton

1860 "City Council," The Globe (Toronto, Canada West), November 6, 1860, Page 2.
Debate about legality of street railway contract

1861 Articles of Agreement had, made and concluded this 26th day of March, in tho year of Our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-one. Between The Corporation of the City or Toronto, of the first part,  and Alexander Easton, of the Village of Yorkville, of the second part.

1861 An act to incorporate the Toronto Street Railway Company.  May 18, 1861.

1863 "Attachment against Absconding Debtor," The Globe (Toronto, Canada West), March 6, 1863, Page 3.
Alexander Easton.

1863 "City Council," The Globe (Toronto, Canada West), May 5, 1863, Page 1.
The Street Railway.  Ald. Jarvis moved that the City Solicitor be instructed to ascertain the names of the Directors of the Toronto Street Railway Company, the number of shares they hold, and report to the Council whether the said Company is constituted and conducts its affairs in accordance with its charter.  He said that Mr. Welsh, the President, had come before the committee, but had refused to give information regarding the directors, as to whether the Company was constituted in accordance with the charter.  He also refused to show the transfer from Mr. Alexander Easton, which whom the contract had been made.

1866 "Water Works," Rochester Union & Advertiser, July 7, 1866, Page 2.
It is talked in the streets that a Mr. Easton, of New Haven, has purchased of the "Rochester Water Works Co.," the right to construct water works for this city, on his own account pretty much.

1866 IRS Assessment, November, 1866
Alexander Easton, East Haven, three carriages, watch, piano

1869 "City Water Works," The Daily Milwaukee News, October 12, 1869, Page 5.
The Messrs. Easton, of Rochester, N.Y., propose to furnish this city with water from the Pewaukee lake, and last Saturday Messrs. Cosgrain & Saulerin, civil engineers of this city, commenced making survey of the grounds.  The Messrs. Easton are about to ascertain the full cost of accomplishing the work, and then will make an offer to the city.  The Pewaukee lake is 256 feet above the level of this level, and it is proposed to supply water from them in the same way as New York city obtains it by the Croton aqueduct.

1869 "Special Meeting on Water Works," Proceedings of the Rochester Common Council 1869-70, Pages 229-230, November 5 & 6, 1869. 
The original contract with Alexander Easton has been abandoned, and a new contract made with Frederick Easton, who is now in Europe, but who, previous to his departure, executed a power to attorney to Alexander Easton to prosecute the work for him.  Alexander Easton subsequently executed a power to attorney to Richard Merrington, who is now prosecuting the work under the authority thus delegated to him.

1870 An act to incorporate the Milwaukee, Manitowoc and Green Bay Railroad Company.  March 12, 1870

1870 "Railroad Matters," Manitowoc Tribune, March 24, 1870, Page 4.
On Saturday evening Messrs. Alex. Easton, R. W. C. Merington, and S. W. Cozzens, of New York, Chas. Cain and Levi Blossom, of Milwaukee, and A. c. Albano, of Washington, officers of the Milwaukee, Manitowoc & Green Bay Railroad, registered at the Windate House

1870 "Our Railroads," Manitowoc Tribune, March 31, 1870, Page 4.
The M. M. & G. B. R. R. Co. entered into contract with Messrs. Alex. Easton and his associates to build the said road within three years of the date of subscription.
Messrs. Easton & Co., the contractors for all three roads, propose to have their headquarters here at Manitowoc, to land their iron, locomotives, cars, &c, in our harbor, and to construct their car-shops and all the other buildings necessary for the railroads in the most substantial manner, right in our midst.

1870 United States Census, 23rd Election District 18th Ward, County of New York, January 3, 1871.
166 Fifth Avenue, 22nd Street
Alexander Easton, 39, England
Mrs. A.. 34, Keeping House, Spain
Alexander, 9, Connecticut,
Alfred, 5, Canada

1871 "Passengers Sailed," The New York Times, September 26, 1871, Page 8.
Sept. 23, in Steamship Oceanic, Alex. Easton

1872 Steamship Denmark arrives in New York City, February 10, 1872
A. Easton, age 45

1872 "Railroad Subscription," Manitowoc Pilot, May 23, 1872, Page 3.
It is true that the first contractors, Messrs. Easton & Co., deemed the aid voted by the County sufficient, but they long since passed away and left the State largely in left, without making a colossal fortune from our bonds.  Inf act, they lost all the money they put in and succumbed because they could not be money to go on.

1873 Sidney A. Newman v. Francis X. Beckwith  Case on Appeal, John Van Voorhis, Quincy Van Voorhis and Walter L. Hyde against Alexander Easton

1874 Newman v. Beckwith, 61 N.Y. 205, September 5, 1874, Court of Appeals of the State of New York. | Records and Briefs |  Case involving Alexander Easton and Rochester Water Works Company. 

1875 England and Wales, National Probate Calendar
March 13.  Easton, Alexander, Effects under l20. 
Administration (with the Will) of the effects of Alexander Easton, formerly of 68 Ladbroke-grove in the County of Middlesex but late of Quirigua in the Republic of Guatemala Central America Civil Engineer who died 22 December 1874 at Yzabal in Guatemala was granted at the Principal Registry under the usual Limitations to Frances Elizabeth Eastman of the Limes Erleigh near Reading in the County of Berks Spinster the Aunt and Guardian of Alexander John Easton and Alfred Easton Minors the Sons and only Next of Kin.

1875 "In the matter of the estate of Alexander Easton," The Times (London, England), June 8, 1875, Page 13.
Who died in or about the month of December, 1874.

1876 Charles Harrison, as Survivor of Himself and James Jones and Henry Jones, Appellant, v. William R. Utley and Andrew J. Wilkin, Respondents, 6 Hun. 565, January Term 1876, New York Supreme Court Fourth Department.  Dispute about ownership of cast-iron pipe purchased by Alexander Easton and installed by the Rochester Water Works Company.

1881 History of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, from pre-historic times to the present date, Volume II
Page 1417:  Street Railways, River and Lake Shore City Railway.  The above line is the nucleus of the present system of street railways.  In July, 1859, an association was formed for the purpose of obtaining subscriptions of $50,000, to push on the enterprise.  Early the next spring the work went vigorously on, under the energetic management of Alexander Easton, of Cincinnati, the contractor.  The city had been supplied with her first cars the previous September, and Mr. Easton soon added to enthusiasm, which already existed in favor of the innovation.

1884 "The Rochester Water Works," by Nelson J. Tubbs, Engineer in charge of the water works, from Semi-centennial History of the City of Rochester: With Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of Some of Its Prominent Men and Pioneers, by William Farley Peck
Page 581:  The writer has no desire to criticise the motives of the managers of the Rochester Water Works company, previous to the time when the control and management of its affairs went into the hands of Alexander Easton.  During this person's administration, it maybe safely asserted, the Rochester Water Works company was  in the hands of a Philistine. The wooden conduit pipe laid by him was so notoriously unfit for the  purpose that it was a common remark among the farmers, as they saw it manipulated, that it would not hold white beans, much less convey water under heavy pressure.

1889 The charter of the Toronto Street Railway Co. together with certain statutes, by-laws, resolutions and agreements relating to the said company and the corporation of the city of Toronto, from March 14th, 1861 to April 26th, 1889  
Pages 10-15:  By-law 353 of the City of Toronto, containing original Agreement with Easton -  July 22, 1861.
Pages 16-19:  Act incorporating the Toronto Street Railway Company - May 18, 1861.

1893 The American and English Railroad Cases: A Collection of All the Railroad Cases in the Courts of Last Resort in America and England
Pages 549-576:  In the matter of arbitration respecting Toronto Street R. Co., 22 Ontario Reports 374
On the March 26, 1861, Easton was authorized to construct and work a street railway system.
Easton, in January 1862, duly assigned to that company all the rights secured to him under the agreement with the city of Toronto.
On February 10, 1862 the company was conveyed to William Cayley.

1903 "Richard W. C. Merington," United States Investor 14:1790 (October 24, 1903)
Richard Whiskin Crawford Merington was born in England, He died at his home in New York city, on Aug 24, 1901, at 73 years of age.

1920 Report on the Electric Street Railways of Milwaukee, Wisconsin: And Other Public Utility Companies for the City of Milwaukee, with Historical References on Street Railways and Electrolysis, Together with Report on a Report Made by the National Bureau of Standards, November 26, 1918, of Electrolytic Conditions in Milwaukee for Railroad Commission of Wisconsin
Page 92:  Alexander Easton, a contractor of Cincinnati, Ohio, built the original system, about 2 miles of horse car line, in 1859-60.

1972 "Water for Rochester," by Blake McKelvey, Rochester History 34(3):1-24 (July 1972)
Pages 5-6:  Daniel Marsh, who became the company's engineer, devised a plan for construction, but unfortunately the onset of the Civil War and the difficulty of raising the necessary funds delayed action until the summer of 1866 when a group of investors from Hartford, headed by Alexander Eaton who had built its water works, acquired control of the Rochester company. The council renewed its contract for another five years and the company proceeded to acquire rights of way and to construct an open canal ditch 1800 feet long from the foot of Hemlock Lake feeding into a wooden conduit 24-inches in diameter that ex­tended some 16 miles to a reservoir near Henrietta.

© 2020 Morris A. Pierce