Documentary History of American Water-works

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

Ownership and Financing of American Water Works
Moffett, Hodgkins & Clarke

Moffett, Hodgkins & Clarke

In January, 1883, Frank A. Hinds reorganized his engineering, F. A. Hinds & Co., by adding John F. Moffett, H.C. Hodgkins and J.V. Clark in the new firm of Hinds, Moffett & Co.  Hinds and Moffett had both been commissioners for the Watertown municipal water works.  This company designed and built several water systems, and owned some number of them.

Statistical Tables from the History and Statistics of American Water Works
by John James Robertson Croes (1885) Page 40.

Frank Hinds left the partnership in April, 1886 due to poor health and the firm was renamed Moffett, Hodgkins & Clarke.  The new firm assumed the existing contracts and built more than 65 water systems between 1884 and 1893.  The partners incorporated the company in New Jersey in 1891, as that state was the first that allowed incorporated companies to own stock in other companies.  The American Pipe Manufacturing Company and the American Water Works and Guarantee Company had also incorporated in New Jersey to become holding companies..

Statistical Tables from the History and Statistics of American Water Works
by John James Robertson Croes (1887) Page 40.
Manual of American Water Works, Volume 1 (1888),
Page xliii
Manual of American Water Works, Volume 2 (1890),
Page 735
Manual of American Water Works, Volume 3 (1891), Page xvii American millionaires : the Tribune's list of persons reputed to worth a million or more. (1892) Page xxxv

The company owned 37 systems in the U.S. and another 9 in Canada:

Watertown NY Cold Creek Water Co. 1884 Supplied water to the Remington Paper Mill
Canandaigua NY Canandaigua Water Works Co. 1884
Cortland NY Cortland Water Works Co 1884
Fulton NY Fulton Water Works Co 1885
Adams NY Adams Water Works Co 1885
Oswego Falls NY
1885 Supplied from Fulton
Baraboo WI Baraboo Water Works Co 1886
Escanaba MI Escanaba Water Works Co 1887
White Plains NY Westchester County Water Works Co. 1885
Kankakee IL Kankakee Water Co. 1887
Newark OH Newark Water Works Co. 1886
Lincoln IL Lincoln Water Light & Power Co. 1886
Homer NY Homer Water Works Co 1886
Chippewa Falls WI Chippewa Falls Water Co. 1885
Menominee WI Menominee Water Works Company 1885
Duluth MN ? 1888 Bought and rebuilt existing system[?]
Rochester MN Rochester Water Works Co 1887
Beaver Dam WI Beaver Dam Water Works Company 1888
Greenbush NY Greenbush Water Works Company 1887
Green Island NY Green Island Water Co. 1888
Spartanburg SC Spartanburg Water Works Company 1889
Portage WI Portage City Water Co. 1887
Newark NY Newark Water Works Co. 1888
Washington IN Wahington Water Works Co 1888
Salisbury NC Salisbury Water Works Company 1887
Delaware OH Delaware Water Co. 1888
Marshall MI Marshall Water Works Co 1889
Jackson MS Jackson Light, Heat & Water Co 1889
Watervliet NY West Troy Water Works Co 1888
Manitowoc WI Manitowoc Water Works Company 1888 Sold in 1896 to T.W Gray and W.G. Maxey
Waterford NY Waterford Water Co 1888
Canton NY Owned by village 1889
Peoria IL Peoria Water Co. 1891 Bought and rebuilt existing system from City of Peoria
La Grange IL La Grange Light and Water Works Co 1890
Harvey IL Harvey Transit Co. 1892
Butte MT Butte City Water Works Co 1892
Rhinelander WI Rhinelander Water Corks Co 1892

The newly-incorporated company decided to go into the electric light plant and railroad construction business, and also pursued irrigation projects in California.  The company was forced into receivership during the financial downturn on August 30, 1893 and the subsidiary companies were sold off.  John V. Clarke ended up owning the Westchester County Water Works Company in White Plains before it was seized by the city of White Plains on September 1, 1898.

In 1889 Hines formed a copartnership with Mr. E. A. Bond for the construction of water works and general engineering, and under their direction as engineers, water works were built in the villages of Antwerp, Theresa, Philadelphia, West Carthage and Cape Vincent, in this county, and also several water works were built under franchise in Canada. This copartnership was dissolved in 1896.

Frank A. Hinds John F. Moffett

1885 "Some Figures in Water," Watertown Daily Times, November 30, 1885, Page 4.
The Wonderful Growth of the Watertown Water Industry - How Hinds, Moffett & Co. Have Prospered In Two Years.
In January, 1883, the contracting and civil engineering firm of F. A. Hinds & Co. was reorganized, and the following gentlemen began business under the names of Hinds, Moffett & Co.:  Frank A, Hinds, John F. Moffett, H.C. Hodgkins and J.V. Clark. 

1886 "About Italian Labor," The Evening Herald (Syracuse, New York), January 15, 1886, Page 1.
Employed of Water Works at Cortland and Elsewhere.  Hinds, Moffet & Company's agent Sayd that "They prefer Italians to Irishmen, because the Italians don't get drunk."

1886 "What is Found," The Evening Herald (Syracuse, New York), February 4, 1886, Page 1.
The  Real Inwardness of the "New Water Company." Its Pretensions Investigated.  A New York Syndicate in Syracuse and a Syracuse Syndicate in New York.  But on Hinds, Moffett & Co.

1886 "An Attack on Hinds, Moffett & Co.," Newark Union, February 13, 1886, Page 4.

1886 The Catskill Recorder, March 19, 1886, Page 3.
John C. Lockwood of New York makes what seems to be substantially the same proposition to Seneca Falls in reference to the building of waterworks that be made to CatskilL The Board of Trustees of that village held a special meeting and granted Mr. Lockwood for six months the exclusive privilege to prepare and report plans, and revoked tho rights granted some time ago to Messrs. Hinds, Moffett & Co, of Watertown.

1886 "Notice of Disolution," Watertown Daily Times, April 1, 1886, Page 1.
April 1st, 1886.  The firm of Hinds, Moffett & Co. is this day dissolved by mutual consent, Mr. Frank A. Hinds retiring.  The business of engineering and contracting heretofore carried on by the above firm will be continued by the undersigned under the firm name of Moffett, Hodgkins & Clarke.  All contracts heretofore entered into by the firm of Hints, Moffett & Co. will be faithfully executed and carried out by the new firm.  John C. Moffett, Henry C. Hodgkins, John V. Clarke.

1886 "A New Firm," Watertown Times, April 1, 1886, Page 4.
By reference to our advertising columns it will be observed that a change has taken place in the personnel of one of our leading business firms.  Messrs. Hinds, Moffett & Co. have dissolved their partnership, and a new firm haa been formed for the purpose of continuing the business of engineering and contracting.
Mr. Frank A. Hinds retires from the firm, leaving the old partners, Messrs. John F. Moffett, Henry C. Hodgkins, and John V. Clarke, who will continue the business under the style of Moffett, Hodgkins A. Clarke.
Mr. Hinds states that the principal reason for his retirement from the business is on account of impaired health. That the magnitude of the firm's combined operations has been such as to require his utmost efforts for several years past, and that the constant strain has severely taxed his health and strength, and he considers it his duty to give himself a respite. Much of the success of the late firm is doubtless due to the wisdom manifested by Mr. Hinds, and the firm Inform us that they regret Mr. Hinds' inability to remain in tho active management of the business. He will, however, as occasion requires, act as consulting, engineer for the new firm, and while not actively engaged ln business will devote himself to pursuits congenial to his tastes and profession.
The new firm have contracts already made for building water-works in several cities in this state and tn the west, and are about to conclude several others, so that in their line, at least, there seems to be no lack of business.  We are of the opinion, however, that so far as the business of the firm is concerned, the reason why they have so much to do is because they are competent and well qualified to perform what they undertake, are thoroughly reliable, and have made a success of every water works enterprise they have taken hold of.
The firm have in their employ some of the bast hydraulic and mechanical engineers in the country, and by reason of their superior ability and the care and attention given to the business, they have established a very high reputation all over the country as water works experts and builders.  The Times wishes the new firm continued prosperity.

1886 Watertown Re-Union. April 7, 1886, Page 4.
Messrs. Hinds, Moffett & Co. have dissolved their partnership, and a new firm has been formed for the purpose of continuing the business of engineering and contracting. Mr. Frank A. Hinds retires from the firm, leaving the old partners, Messrs. John F. Moffett Henry C. Hodgkins, and John V. Clark, who will continue the business under the style of Moffett, Hodgkins & Clarke.

1886 "The Fulton Water Works Scheme," The Evening Herald (Syracuse, New York), April 25, 1886, Page 5.

1886 Democrat and Chronicle (Rochester, New York) June 17, 1886, Page 3.
Messrs. Pecke and Kellogg, civil engineers, representing the Moffett, Hodgkins & Clarke water-works conractors, (late Hinds Moffett & Co., Mr. Hinds having withdrawn on account of ill-health) are spending a little time in Newark looking up the question of water-supply for that village and hoping to pick up the dropped thread, and work it to a successful issue, in some way.)

1886 Annual report of the mayor and officers of the city of Raleigh, for the fiscal year ending April 30, 1887.
Pages 111-156: Report of Water-Works Committee
Page 123:  List of bidders, August 9, 1886, including Moffitt, Hodgkins & Clark.

1888 An Ordinance Providing for the Supply of Water for the City of Delaware, Ohio.  October 4, 1888.  Also includes Rules and Regulations of the Delaware Water Company.

1891 Moffett, Hodgkins & Clarke Company incorporated in New Jersey, March 3, 1891, capital stock $500,000.  Dissolved 1896.

1893 The Boston Stock Exchange: With Brief Sketches of Prominent Brokers, Bankers, Banks and Moneyed Institutions of Boston, by Clarence Walker Barron
Moffett, Hodgkins & Clarke Company, Farmers' Loan and Trust Company Building, 16 William Street, New York
Increased wealth in the United States has reduced interest rates until at present long-time investments at 6 per cent are rare. There is no better investment than a waterworks bond under proper conditions.
The plant must be well built, the water pure and wholesome, and the supply abundant. The bonded indebtedness must not be excessive, and the bonds must be issued in compliance with law. With these conditions and good management, a waterworks plant in a growing place is a basis of unquestionable security.
Moffett, Hodgkins & Clarke Company of New York make a specialty of 6 per cent waterworks bonds. They have constructed some 65 waterworks systems in the United States and Canada, and have sold more waterworks bonds than any other house in this country. This company has never sold a bond that has defaulted in principal or interest.
This good record is due to the fact that they invariably insist upon having the above conditions fully complied with; and, further, to their careful supervision of each plant until it is firmly established. The bonds they offer are payable in gold.
This house was organized in 1883, at Watertown, N.Y., as Hinds, Moffett & Company. In 1886 the firm was changed to Moffett, Hodgkins & Clarke. They removed to Syracuse, N.Y., in 1889, and in June, 1891, the Moffett, Hodgkins & Clarke Company was incorporated, with a capital of $500,000. On June 1, 1892, the end of their fiscal year, their surplus was $304,000.
In September, 1892, they removed their offices to New York, where they are now located in the Farmers' Loan & Trust Company Building, 16 William Street.
The officers are: J. F. Moffett, President; H. C. Hodgkins, Vice-President; J. V. Clarke, Treasurer; and C. T. Moffett, Secretary.

1893 "Goes into the Hands of a Receiver," Chicago Tribune, August 31, 1893, Page 3.
Morris, Hodgkins & Clarke Company are pressed by small creditors.

1893 "To Pay Creditors in Full," The New York Times, September 6, 1893, Page 5.
New-Jersey Receiver for he Moffett, Hodgkins & Clarke Company.

1894 The Growth of a Century: as Illustrated in the History of Jefferson County, New York, from 1793 to 1894, by John A. Haddock
Pages 224-225:  John F. Moffett was born in Paris Hill, Oneida county, on the 15th day of April, 1841. His parents, Charles D. and Emily H. Moffett, moved to Rodman in the spring of 1845. There he attended school until he was 17 years of age, and after that he put in two years at the old Jefferson County Institute.
In September, 1860. he obtained a situation in the Watertown Bank and Loan Company, of which Hon. George C. Sherman was President, and Charles Strang, Cashier. He remained in this bank until 1865, when he was for a short time in the employ of Wooster Sherman's bank. In 1866 he was elected cashier of the Merchants' Bank, then a private banking institution, owned by Hon. Norris Winslow.
He remained in this position until the Merchants' Bank was organized as a State bank in 1870, and then continued to be identified with that institution until 1882, when he engaged in building water works, electric light plants and railroads in many towns and cities throughout the country. His principal place of business is now in New York city, but his residence is with his family at 32 Sterling street, Watertown.
Mr. Moffett's career has been eventful and interesting. His mind is broad and not readily confined to petty details, though his education and rearing gave him a full knowledge of business both in trade and banking. Large enterprises, even though attended with some risks, are congenial to his mind. His comprehensions are acute and critical, analyzing in an hour the details that a man of less individuality might be a day in digesting. He is a broad man in his way of living, in his ways of thinking and in the management of  affairs. He has been an enterprising, progressive citizen, advocating all the improvements that have built up Watertown, and it is a source of regret that his business takes him so much away, for his face is a pleasant one to meet, his manner eminently democratic, and by being friendly he has made many friends. When in the Merchants' Bank, he was ever favorably inclined to aid men who were conducting industrial establishments, a class of people who had not, as a general thing, met with favors at the older banks in Watertown, when it was the fashion to require three to four endorsers upon a $50 note, when the maker owned enough property to pay taxes on $5,000. Such limited methods, lets us hope, have forever passed away, and a broader system appears to be animating the breasts of financiers.
Page 282:  Frank A. Hinds, civil engineer, was born in Watertown. His parents, Earl B. and Almira (Allen) Hinds, were natives of Northern New York. After a year in the engineering department at Yale College, he spent a year with the engineer of New York city. On Christmas, 1867, he was married to Miss Mary R. Thompson, of Watertown, daughter of William Thompson of that city. In 1868 he was engaged on the early survey of the Black River & St. Lawrence Railroad. He was chief engineer of the Carthage, Watertown & Sackets Harbor Railroad, which position he held to the completion of the road. Later he laid out and mapped the Thousand Island Park of the St. Lawrence river, and the numerous summer resorts in that locality, and also for a time had charge as engineer of the construction of the Kingston & Pembroke Railway, of Canada. Besides other important positions he has served as city engineer of Watertown for several terms. He formed an association with J. F. Moffett, H. E. Hodgkins and J. V. Clark, and under the firm name of Hinds, Moffett & Co., established water works in many cities and villages. In 1866 he sold his interest to his partners, and the firm became Moffett, Hodgkins & Clarke.
Mr. Hinds' official positions have been numerous and important. He is yet in the prime of life and good for many years of hard work. His residence, on a suburban farm, gives him all the enjoyments of a country life.

1898 "Water Works Besieged," The Sun (New York, New York), September 4, 1898, Page 4.
White Plains Village Holds is Plant by Force Against a Private Water Company.

1898 Our County and it's people: A descriptive work on Jefferson County, New York, edited by Edgar C. Emerson
Pages 903-906:  FRANK A. HINDS, civil engineer, is a native of Watertown, and a son of Earl B. and Almora (Allen) Hinds, both born in northern New York. His father was a farmer of Pamelia, moving into that town from the town of Watertown in 1845, and was a resident of Jefferson county from his youth. Earl B. was a nephew of Corlis Hinds, the first supervisor of the town of Watertown from 1805 to 1808. Frank A. is the older of two sons, and his brother, Oscar E., lives in Pamelia, on one of the farms which his father owned.
Frank A. began the study of engineering in Jefferson county, and at the age of twenty-one went to Portland, Oregon, where he continued his studies under the county and city surveyor of that place for two years; the next year he passed in the engineering department of Yale College, then a year with an engineer in New York city, whose specialty was landscape work and drainage, and returned to Jefferson county where he was married on Christmas Day, 1867, to Mary R. Thomson of Watertown, who, with her parents moved to Watertown from Houseyule, Lewis county, about ten years before.
During the year 1868 Mr. Hinds was engaged in the early surveys of the Black River and St. Lawrence Railroad (now the Carthage and Adirondack) under Mr. Octave Blanc as chief engineer. After completing the preliminary surveys of this road Mr. Hinds was made chief engineer of the Carthage, Watertown and Sackets Harbor Railroad, which position he held to the completion of the road. Later he laid out and mapped the Thousand Island Park, Westminster Park, Round Island, Central Park and numerous others of the great summer resorts of the St. Lawrence River. He had charge as engineer of the construction of the Kingston and Pembroke Railway in Canada, and after that was placed in charge of the surveys of the New York and Boston Inland Railway, serving this latter corporation for two years. He was city engineer of Watertown for a number of terms, and made the survey for the city boundary when it was first incorporated.
His next operations were building and operating water works for supplying cities and towns. He formed an association with J. F. Moffett and later took H. C. Hodgkins and J. V. Clarke, under the firm name of Hinds, Moffett & Co., and established water works in a number of cities and villages in the United States. In 1888 Mr. Hinds sold his entire interest in the business to his partners and his connection with the firm then ceased and the firm became Moffett, Hodgkins & Clarke. In 1887 and 1888 the organization and construction of the Ontario Paper Mills near Brownville occupied his attention, and he is at present a director in that Company; he is also vice-president of the Board of Water Commissioners of the city of Watertown, which position he has held for the past ten years, having served on the Board of Water Corn. missioners since 1880; he has also been one of the vestrymen of Trinity church, Watertown, N. Y., since 1887.
In 1889 he formed a copartnership with Mr. E. A. Bond for the construction of water works and general engineering, and under their direction as engineers, water works were built in the villages of Antwerp, Theresa, Philadelphia, West Carthage and Cape Vincent, in this county, and also several water works were built under franchise in Canada. This copartnership was dissolved in 1896 and Mr. Hinds has since been engaged in general hydraulic and mechanical engineering, principally among the various mills and water powers of the Black River valley.
In business Frank A. has always taken a deep interest in the young men of his employment, and has been generally successful in encouraging habits of usefulness in their profession, himself furnishing an example of temperate personal habits. There are a number of successful business men, engineers, contractors, &c., now about the country, who commenced their career in his office, and who look back with pleasure to their early experience.
He has resided for more than twenty-five years on a suburban farm located at No. 101 State street in the city of Watertown, about one and a half miles from the public square, where, with a competent man to attend to the work, he enjoys the quiet of country life and the opportunities for study and investigation thereby afforded.

1899 History and genealogy of the Hinds family, by Albert Henry Hinds
Pages 239-240:  Franklin Allen Hinds

1900 Moffett, Hodgkins & Clarke Co. v. Rochester, 178 U.S. 373, May 21, 1900, U.S. Supreme Court

1901 Lillian Traver Carr, Respondent, v. The National Bank and Loan Company of Watertown, Appellant, 167 NY 375, June 4, 1901.  Court of Appeals of the State of New York
Case involved sale of second mortgage bonds of the Westchester County Water Works Company, The Baraboo Water Works Company, the Lincoln Light and Power Company, and the Washington Water Company.

1901 The National Bank and Loan Company of Watertown, New York, Plaintiff in Error, vs. Lillian Traver Carr, Transcript of Record, Supreme Court of the United States, filed September 16, 1901.

1903 National Bank and Loan Company v. Carr, 189 U.S. 426, March 9, 1903, U.S. Supreme Court

1904 "John V. Clarke Dead," New York Tribune, June 10. 1904, Page 6.

1904 "John V. Clarke," Watertown Re-Union, June 11, 1904, Page 1.
John V. Clarke of White Plains, formerly of this city, died at Roosevelt hospital, New York, at 1:30 Thursday morning.

1904 John Victor Clarke (1859-1904) grave

1913 Proceedings of the American Society of Civil Engineers 39:1767 (1913)
Franklin Allen Hinds, died August 23d, 1913.

1917 John Fletcher Moffett (1841-1917) grave

1925 Henry Clarence Hodgkins (1854-1925) grave

1929 Edward Austin Bond (1849-1929) Wikipedia page

2019 Morris A. Pierce