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
National Water Works Company

National Water Works Company

The National Water Works Company of New York was incorporated on February 19, 1873 by Alson C. Davis, Charles L. Lynn, Daniel L. Norton, Merritt E. Sawyer, A.B. Trowbridge, James E. Jones and George B Voorhies to establish, construct and maintain Water Works in or adjacent to any city, town, or village in the United States of America, or elsewhere, and to supply the said city, town or village and the inhabitants thereof with water.  The capital stock was one million dollars.

National Water Works Company Stock Certificate

The company built water works in Kansas City, Missouri and Kansas City, Kansas, and apparently also bought the water system in Topeka, Kansas.  They also made proposals for water works in St. Joseph, Missouri, San Antonio, Texas, and New Orleans, Louisiana.

Other companies with the same or similar names:
National Water Works Investment Company, incorporated in New York in 1886, dissolved in 1900. March, 1889 - George F. Baker, President; William J. Curtis, Secretary; Charles C. Pomeroy, Treasurer; Capital $500,000.  Directors George F. Baker, Archer N. Martin, Harris C. Fahnestock, E.W. Clark, Charles C. Pomeroy, F.M. Colston, Theodore C. Waterman
National Water Works Investment Company, incorporated in New Jersey, dissolved June 18, 1898.  Authorized as a foreign corporation in New York on January 4, 1893.
National Water Works Syndicate, incorporated in Massachusetts(?), built several systems in New England
National Water Works Construction Company, Dayton, Ohio
National Water Works Corporation, Incorporated in Delaware in 1928.  The company bought 24 water systems, which were sold to the Delaware Valley Utilities Company in June, 1931, which in 1943 merged with the Northeastern Water Company.

1873 Certificate of Incorporation of the National Water Works Company of New York, February 19, 1873.

1873 "Water Works," The St. Joseph Gazette, April 30, 1873, Page 4.
The Proposition Submitted by the National Water Works Company. A. C. Davis, President.

1873 An Ordinance authorizing the National Water-Works Company to construct operate and maintain Water-Works in the City of Kansas.  October 27, 1873.

1873 "The Water Works Question," The St. Joseph Gazette, November 8, 1873, Page 2.
To-day, Mr. Mahan estimates the cost at $800,000.

1875 "Petitions," New Orleans Republican, May 12, 1873, Page 3.
Letter from F. M. Mahan, President of the National Water Works Company of New York, May 5, 1873.

1875 Report of the Chief Engineer and Committee of Construction of the Waterworks, constructed by the National Waterworks Company, of New York, at Kansas City, Missouri, for the year 1874 and up to April 15, 1875.
Officers:  F. M. Mahan, President; G. E. Taintor, Vice President; G. B. Voorhes, Secretary; R. W. Donell, Treasurer.
Kansas City Organization:  John L. Mastin, Financial Agent; Amos Green, Attorney; B. F. Jones, Secretary.

1875 Houston City Council Proceedings, May 1, 1875.  Alderman Kirk introduced Mr. F. M. Mahan of the National Water Works Company of New York, who ... the council on the subject of Water Works for the city and offers a proposition in the shape of an ordinance to erect the same.

1875 Public Ledger (Memphis, Tennessee), May 6, 1875, Page 3.
We see by the Houston Telegraph that Captain F. M. Mahan, President of the National Water-works Company of New York, is in the city with a view to building works there.  He has been remarkably successful in Kansas City and elsewhere.

1875 "A Supply of Water," The Emporia News, May 14, 1875, Page 3. | also here |
Some of our citizens take an interest in water works, and Topeka is figuring on that question. From the report of the Topeka city council proceedings of Monday we clip the following, as the estimates would no doubt answer closely for Emporia:
The Mayor introduced F. M. Mahan, president of the National Water Works, which company has put in such works in some fifty cities.
Mr. Mahan said he bad not had time yet to give full details, but would to-day examine further. He spoke in general terms of the value of such works, the decrease in the rates or insurance, etc., and asked for an expression as to whether the city wanted to own the works, or desired to grant a franchise to some company to supply the city with water. He thought there was no place high enough for a reservoir, and therefore tte direct pressure or Holly system would have to be used. If a franchise was granted, it would be expected that the city would guarantee a certain net revenue, but the amount he could not now state, but thought it would be about $20,000.  Kansas City guaranteed the sum of sixty-eight thousand dollars. He estimated the cost for family purposes at $2 per year for each room in a house. Bath rooms and water closets $5 per year. Business houses, for the purposes of sprinkling streets, washing floors, etc. and use of water at first, $6.25 for a lot 25 feet wide. The cost of pipe from the main to the house 30 cents a foot.  The cut off $7 and the other expenses according to the taste of the occupant. It is more expensive than gas fitting. It is usual when franchise is granted to give it for 20 years with privilege of renewal, the city to have the privilege or buying at any time. Will expect donation of land for works and exemption from taxation.

1875 "Water Works," San Antonio Daily Express, May 25, 1875, Page 2.
A recent St. Louis Republican special from New Orleans says:
"F.M. Mahan, President of the National Water Works Company, now at Kansas City, writes Mayor Leeds that his company will lease the water works of this city for fifty years and improve them.  The matter came up to day in the Council.  Mahan will probably be invited here to examine the works. The Council also adopted a resolution to lease the wharves and levees, lessees to pay accrued indebtedness on same, amounting to over $700,000."
In addition to the improvement at New Orleans, the National Waterworks Company will probably build works at San Antonio, Dallas and Denison, Texas, Lawrence and Topeka, Kansas, and St. Joe, Missouri.  The excellent construction of the works in this city will recommend the National Waterworks Company everywhere, as they have no superiors any where. Kansas City Paper.

1875 "Water Works!," The Muscatine Journal, July 22, 1875, Page 4.
A Responsible Company Proposes to Build them for $65,000.
Statement by Frank M. Mahan, of Kansas City, President of the National water Works Association.

1875 "Sale of the Water Works," The New Orleans Bulletin, August 19, 1875, Page 1.
A Liberal Bid.  Lease of the Water Works from the National Water Works Company of New York.

1876 "Alleged Illegal Corporation," New York Daily Herald, November 19, 1876, Page 10.
Some three years ago a corporation announcing itself as the National Water Works Company of New York, made a contract with the city of Kansas, Mo., for supplying water to that city.
It is claimed and no such corporate body has ever been chartered under the laws of this State, and action has been brought by Attorney General Fairchild to declare null and void its contracts. 

1879 "The Way for the City to Get Even With the Water Works Fraud," The Weekly Pioneer (Kansas City, Kansas), January 25, 1879, Page 4.

1881 Col Alson Chapin Davis (1830-1881) grave.  Incorporator and first president of the National Water Works Company.

1885 "The Water Works," The Sedalia Weekly Bazoo, June 9, 1885, Page 8.
Proposal of the National Water Works Company to the board of aldermen of Sedalia.

1885 "He Wants Them Restrained," Chicago Tribune, August 15, 1885, Page 2.
Charles A. Rogers,the owner of fifty shares of stock of the National Water-Works Company, which supplies Kansas City. Mo., with water, today obtained aa injunction in the Supreme Court chambers restraining George E. Simpson. Charles H. Hooper, Robert H. Weems, L. M. Lawson, Giles E. Taintor, and the National Water-Works Company from in any way increasing the capital stock of the company except as shall be actually necessary and proper for the purpose of the corporation, and not as a foundation upon which to base the creation of any new debt or obligation by bond or mortgage, and from executing any bond or other obligation to be given on any of its property and franchises except in payment of existing debts and liabilities.

1886 The Wyandott Herald, January 7, 1886, Page 3.
The National Water Works Company have purchased the Wyandott-Armourdale Water Company's works in this city, and our neighbors across the Kaw will soon be supplied with pure Missouri river water.

1886 "Director's Meeting," The Wyandott Herald, January 21, 1886, Page 3.
The Directors of the Wyandott-Armourdale Water Company.  Giles E. Taintor, president and director.

1887 "National Water Works," The Daily Gazette (Kansas City, Kansas) October 18, 1887, Page 1.
The Combined Cities Supplied with Missouri River Water - The Even Appropriately Celebrated.

1887 "Kansas City, Mo," Engineering News 18:319-320 (October 29, 1887)
The new water supply, which was turned on Oct. 18. was inaugurated with considerable ceremony.  The first water-works were built in 1874-75, and began operating in 1877 with about 300 consumers, 15 miles of pipes, and a consumption of less than 500,000 galls. daily.

1887 "Notice," The Daily Gazette (Kansas City, Kansas), November 15, 1887, Page 1.
The corporate name of the Wyandotte-Armourdale Water Company, of the State of Kansas, has been changed to the "The Kansas City Water Company."  G. E. Taintor, President.

1889 The Trow City Directory Co.'s, Formerly Wilson's, Copartnership and Corporation Directory of New York City
Page 188:  National Water Works Co. (Giles E. Taintor, Pres.; Robert H. Weems, Sec. Trustees; Giles E. Taintor, Leonidas M. Lawson, Robert H. Weems, Gaston D. L'Huiler, George E. Simpson, Henry E. Bowers, Alfred Ray) 102 B'way

[1890] National Water Works Company of New York at Kansas City, Missouri, Advertisement, page 11, from an unidentified publication showing Giles E. Taintor as president..  The engraving was published in Engineering News 18:346 (November 12, 1887)

1893 National Water Works Company of New York vs Kansas City, Columbia bar code BS00051373

1894 National Waterworks Co. v. Kansas City; Kansas City v. National Waterworks Co., 62 Fed Rep 853, July 2, 1894, Circuit Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit.

1898 "To Own Its Water Works," The National Field (Salina, Kansas), November 18, 1898, Page 2.
Topeka voted Saturday to purchase the water works plant now owned by the National Water Works company.

1901 "Death Instead of Jubilee," The St. Louis Republic, June 9, 1901, Page 1.
Mrs. Kate M. Mahan died, wife of Frank M. Mahan, a prominent manufacturer, and formerly a steamboat captain and intimate friend of Samuel Clemens.

1905 The Akron Beacon Journal, July 28, 1905, Page 2.
Frank M. Mahan of Chicago, president of the Lingren-Mahan Fire Apparatus Company, declares that in the near future he will start for Washington in an airship of his own make and that he will reach that city within ten hours. Mr. Mahan's projected airship is to be a flying machine, pure and simple. It will have wings like unto those of a bird, and these wings will furnish the sole progressive motive power, though they are to be worked by a gasoline engine.

1910 "George B. Voorhies," The Standard Union (Brooklyn, New York), May 17, 1910, Page 3.
Died May 16, 1910, born in Brooklyn sixty-two years ago, survived by a widow, Susan.

1911 History of Wyandotte County, Kansas
Page 261:  Colonel A. C. Davis
Alson C. Davis, a member of the Free State legislature of 1857-8, settled in Wyandotte county, then a part of Leavenworth county, coming there from New York about 1857. He lost his seat in the territorial council through the contest of Crozier, Root and Wright for the seats of Halderman, Davis and Martin, but sat in the extra session of 1857 from its convening, December 7th, until December 11th. In 1858 he was appointed United States district attorney for Kansas territory, holding the office until 1861. He was among the active members of the railroad convention of 1860. In October, 1861, he obtained permission from Major General Fremont to raise a regiment to be known as the Twelfth Kansas Volunteer Cavalry; December 26th four companies of Nugent's regiment of Missouri Home Guards were attached to the organization and the name changed to the Ninth Kansas Volunteers. On January 9, 1862, Davis was made colonel of this regiment, but resigned in February. He died in 1881, in New York.

1917 Chicago Tribune, September 18, 1917, Page 17.
Frank M. Mahan, father of Jessie M. Abbott, Sept. 27.

1919 "Giles E. Taintor," New York Tribune, January 14, 1919, Page 8. | Part 2 |

1921 Centennial History of Missouri: (the Center State) One Hundred Years in the Union, 1820-1921, Volume 5, Walter Barlow Stevens
Pages 387-389:  George Elliott Simpson.  The death of Mr. George Elliott Simpson was occasioned by an accident while returning from the Quindaro pumping station in a buggy with Charles A. Jones. The horse became frightened, the vehiclewas overturned and the injuries which Mr. Simpson sustained caused his death on the 11th of April, 1893.
In 1892 Mr. Simpson severed his business connections in the east and returned to Kansas City, where he became the vice president of the National Water Works Company and so continued to the time of his demise.

2019 Morris A. Pierce