Documentary History of American Water-works

Introduction Historical Background Chronology Geography Biography Technology Ownership and Financing General Bibliography

Biography John B. Jervis

John Bloomfield Jervis

John B. Jervis was born January 14, 1795 at Huntington, Long Island.  He received a common school education and began his career as an axeman on the Erie Canal, but soon rose to the position of Resident Engineer.  He worked on several canals and railroads, but is most famous as the engineer of the Croton Aqueduct from 1836 until 1848.  He was also a consulting engineer on Boston's Cochituate Aqueduct from 1846 to 1858.  He died January 12, 1885 in Rome, New York.

John B. Jervis' Water Works Experience
City State Years Projects
New York City NY 1836-1848 Chief Engineer of Croton Aqueduct; also consulting on second Croton Aqueduct in 1881-1882
Boston MA 1846-1848 Consulting engineer for Cochituate Aqueduct
Hamilton ON 1857 Prepared water supply report with Alfred W.Craven.
Brooklyn NY 1858 Report on the Brooklyn Water works

1827 Report of John B. Jervis, Engineer, Dated Oct. 22, 1827, of Survey for Railroad Honesdale to Carbondale: To the President and Board of Managers, for the Delaware and Hudson Canal Company

1835 Report of the Canal Board, in obedience to a resolution of the Assembly of the 4th instant, relative to the construction of a ship canal between lake Ontario and the Hudson River, and letter from John B Jervis; Holmes Hutchinson; and Frederick C Mills.  Assembly Document No. 335.

1842 Description of the Croton Aqueduct, October 14, 1842, by John Bloomfield Jervis, Chief Engineer

1845 Report of the Commissioners Appointed by Authority of the City Council: To Examine the Sources from which a Supply of Pure Water May be Obtained for the City of Boston, by John B. Jervis and Walter R. Johnson, November 18, 1845.  Document No. 41.

1846 Report on the Hudson River Railroad, by John B. Jervis

1848 Hudson River rail road. Report on the location of the line between Fishkill and Albany; with general remarks on the prospects of the road, by John B. Jervis.

1857 Report of Messrs. J.B. Jervis and Alfred W. Craven, esq's., civil engineers, New York, on a supply of water for the city of Hamilton

1857 Report of John B. Jervis in Relation to the Railroad Bridge Over the Mississippi River, at Rock Island

1858 Report made by an examining board of hydraulic engineers to the water commissioners upon the present state of the Brooklyn Water Works, December 9, 1858, by John B. Jervis, Frederick Graff, and John T. Clark.

1868 A series of letters, written for the Roman citizen, on the currency and public debt of the United States, by John B. Jervis

1869 Railway Property: A Treatise on the Construction and Management of Railways, by John B. Jervis

1876 "A Memoir of American Engineering," A paper read by John B. Jervis, C.E., Honorary Member of the Society, Read October 18th, 1876, from Transactions of the American Society of Civil Engineers 6:39-67 (1878)

1877 The Question of Labour and Capital, by John B. Jervis.

1878 "The Future of the Erie Canal," by John B. Jervis, International Review 5:379-394 (May, 1878) | also here |

1878 A lecture on industrial economy, by John B. Jervis.  Delivered by D.E. Wager, Esq., before the Y.M.C.A. of Rome, N.Y, on the evening of 29th Nov, 1878.

1882 Report of John B. Jervis, constructor of the Croton aqueduct. On the plans proposed by Isaac Newton, chief engineer of Croton aqueduct. January 11, 1882

1885 John Bloomfield Jervis grave in Rome, New York

1885 Reminiscences of the late John B. Jervis, by Friend

1885 "John Bloomfield Jervis," Proceedings of the American Society of Civil Engineers 11:109-116 (October, 1885)

1899 "John B. Jervis," Transactions of the American Society of Civil Engineers, 41:612 (June, 1899)

1899 "John Bloomfield Jervis," The National Cyclopedia of American Biography 9:46

1912 History of Oneida County, New York: From 1700 to the Present Time, Volume 1, Part 2, by Henry J. Cookinham
Page 535-537:  John B. Jervis.  In 1817 was axman on Erie canal work; in 1818 rodman; in 1819 resident engineer over a 17-mile section; in 1823 superintendent of canal construction for a 50-mile section; in 1825 resigned his Erie canal position to plan the route for the Delaware and Hudson canal and superintend its construction from its inception until the first barge of coal traversed its length in 1829; in 1830 resigned to become chief engineer of the Mohawk & Hudson Railway; in 1831 invented bogie truck and was made chief engineer of Schenectady & Saratoga Railroad; in 1833 was engaged by the canal commissioners of New York as chief engineer for the Chenango canal; in 1836 became chief engineer of the Croton Aqueduct; in 1845 made plans for and acted as engineer during construction of Cochituate water supply for city of Boston; in 1847 was made chief engineer of Hudson River Railway; in 1850 resigned to take a five months’ trip to Europe, and immediately upon his return commenced the construction of the Michigan Southern and Northern Indiana Railways; in 1851 was made president of the Chicago & Rock Island Railway; in 1861 was appointed general superintendent of Pittsburgh, Fort Wayne & Chicago Railway, which position he held until 1866, when at the age of 71 years he severed his railroad connections and returned to his home in Rome, N. Y., where the last eighteen years of his life were passed.

1940 "The Private Library of John Bloomfield Jervis," by William Conrad Kessler, The Railway and Locomotive Historical Society Bulletin 52:41-47 (May, 1940)

1971 The reminiscences of John B. Jervis, engineer of the Old Croton. Edited, with introduction, by Neal Fitzsimons. Foreword by Robert Vogel.

1976 "The New York years of John B. Jervis, a builder of nineteenth century America," by F Daniel Larkin, PhD dissertation in history, SUNY Albany

1977 "The "practicable" engineer: John B. Jervis and the old Croton Aqueduct," by Larry D. Lankton,  Essays in Public Works History 5:1-30 (1977)

1990 John B. Jervis, an American engineering pioneer, by F. Daniel Larkin

John B. Jervis (Wikipedia)

John Bloomfield Jervis, American Society of Civil Engineers

Letters and other Ephemera Signed by John B Jervis

Introduction and Index to the Drawings of John Bloomfield Jervis, Jervis Public Library, Rome, New York

© 2018 Morris A. Pierce