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
Turner, Clarke & Rawson

Turner, Clarke & Rawson

Albion B. Turner was the son of Job A. Turner, one of the early partners of George F. Blake, who began manufacturing pumps and water meters in 1864 and was incorporated as the George F. Blake Manufacturing Company in 1874.  The elder Turner was treasurer of this firm when he died in 1886, and he left an estate of more than $1 million which was divided among his five children.  Albion had been an assistant bookkeeper and clerk for the Blake Company, and in 1886 he and his brother-in-law, Blake salesman George A. Rawson, partnered with Charles O.L. Dillaway to form the firm of Turner, Dillaway & Rawson to build water works systems.  They submitted proposals to build works in Wabash, Indiana; Battle Creek, Michigan; Raleigh, North Carolina; and Memphis, Tennessee, and also acquired existing franchises in Racine, Wisconsin and Plattsmouth, Kansas.

In January, 1887, Dillaway was replaced with Botsford R. Clarke and the firm became Turner, Clarke & Rawson.   The newly-named firmed acquired the franchise in Minneapolis, Kansas and a construction contract in Helena, Montana.  The partners also received franchises in Salem, Ohio; Janesville, Wisconsin; Old Orchard, Maine.

Statistical Tables of American Water Works (1887), Page 49

The firm's systems are listed below:

Racine WI Racine Water Co. 1887 Franchise to Racine Water Company, March 18, 1886; accepted by A. H. Howland, president of the company. Transferred to Turner, Clarke and Rawsom.
Plattsmouth NE Plattsmouth Water Co 1888 Franchise to George B. Inman, March 11, 1886; works constructed and owned by Turner, Clarke & Rawson
Minneapolis KS Minneapolis Water Co. 1887 Franchise to Lamb & Keeler of Chicago, November 9, 1886; system constructed and owned by Turner, Clarke & Rawson
Helena MT Helena Water Co. 1888 Franchise to George F. Woolston of Boston November 27, 1886
Salem OH Salem Water Co. 1888 Franchise March 19, 1887 to Turner, Clarke & Rawson
Janesville WI Janesville Water Co. 1888 Franchise granted to Turner, Clark & Rawson on May 10, 1887.
Old Orchard ME Old Orchard Water Co. 1887 Contract June, 1887

By the age of 25 Turner was president of three water companies in Old Orchard, Maine, Minneapolis, Kansas and Plattsmouth, Kansas, which is probably a record.  The firm appears to have dissolved sometime in 1889, an the new partnership of  A. B. Turner & Brother was formed later that year with Albion, his brother Job, Jr., and Botsfield Clark.  The firm was heavily involved in water works bonds, and failed in 1891.  Turner's brother Job, Jr. committed suicide in 1894 due to the stress of bill collectors, but Albion continued in business.

Albion B. Turner in 1891

1879 New England Manufacturers and Manufactories: Three Hundred and Fifty of the Leading Manufacturers of New England, Volume 1, by J. D. Van Slyck
Pages 105-107:  George Fordyce Blake
 In 1864 the business of the brick-yards, both at Cambridge and at Medford, having passed into the hands of the Bay State Brick Company (organized in that year), Mr. Blake, though retained as directing engineer, engaged with Peter Hubbell and Job A. Turner, under the firm of George F. Blake & Co., in the manufacture of watermeters and steam-pumps ; and for this purpose they purchased a building on Province Street, Boston. The steam-pumps were manufactured under Mr. Blake's patent, granted April 12, 1864. This pump had been in operation for some years at the brick-yard at Medford, for which it was at first designed, under his charge. In 1867, the building on Province Street not being adapted to the work, large rooms in the building of Messrs. Bowker and Torrey, having on its three sides Bowker, Chardon and Portland Streets, were hired. The interest of Mr. Hubbell was soon after bought by Messrs. Blake and Turner; and their sons, Thomas D. Blake and Edward C. Turner, were admitted to the firm. These premises soon proved insufficient for their increased business; and, in 1873, the large building on the corner of Friend and Causeway Streets was bought from the American Steam Company. It had been constructed for the manufacture of heavy iron-work, and was therefore well adapted to the business of George F. Blake & Co.
The business of the firm was finally organized as a joint-stock company, under the style of the George F. Blake Manufacturing Company. Its ofi’icers are: George F. Blake, President; Job A. Turner, Treasurer; and William E. L. Dillaway, Clerk. Its directors, besides Messrs. Blake and Turner, are: Ebenezer N. Blake, George H. Storer, Edward C. Turner and Thomas D. Blake.

1882 The Boston Directory for the year commencing July 1, 1882.
Page 1035:  Turner, A.B., asst. bookkeeper, 44 Washington, h. at Newton
Page 1036:  Turner, Job A., treas. George F. Blake Manuf Co. 44 Washington, house at Newton
Turner, Job A, jr., clerk, 44 Washington

1885 The Boston Directory for the year commencing July 1, 1885.
Page 225:  Clarke Botsford R., salesman, 44 Washington, bds. 55 Columbia, Dor.
Page 911:  Rawson, George A., clark, 239 Franklin, bds at Newton [Cleveland Rolling Mill Company}
Page 1091:  Turner, Albion B., clerk, 44 Wash. bds. at Newton
Page 1092:  Turner, Job A. treas. George F. Blake Manuf. Co. 44 Washington, h. at Newton
Turner Job A. jr., clerk, 44 Wash.

1886 "Funeral of Job A. Turner," Boston Daily Globe, March 17, 1886, Page 6.
Treasurer of the George F. Blake Manufacturing Company

1886 Wisconsin State Journal (Madison, Wisconsin), April 30, 1886, Page 4.
The Racine Water company, with a capital stock of $5,000, has filed articles of association with the secretary of state, the incorporators being J.E. Dodge, F.M. Fish and J.W. Knight.

1886 "The Waterworks," Racine Daily Journal, May 3, 1886, Page 3.
A.H. Howland, of the waterworks company, arrived in the city to-day, and is pushing matters along as fast as possible.  The contract for the pipe was awarded to Dennis Long & Co. of Louisville, Ky., who will commence shipping to Racine as soon as possible.  When four or five miles of pipe arrive work of digging trenches will be commenced.  It will probably be three weeks yet.  The contract for gates and hydrants was given to the Coffin Valve Co., of Boston; the standpipe to Tibbets & Wood of New Jersey.  Proposals for pumping machinery will be opened this afternoon.  Between 80 and 90 men have thus far signed to work.  Messrs. A.B. Turner and A.B. Rawson of Boston, two of the capitalists are also here.

1886 Wisconsin State Journal (Madison, Wisconsin), May 11, 1886, Page 4.
The Racine Water Company filed amended articles, increasing its capital stock from $5,000 to $400,000.
The Wisconsin Construction Company, of Racine, filed articles, the incorporators are E.C. Deane, L.R. Clement and R.C. Carpenter.  The object is to construct water, gas or other works and to operate or sell them, and the capital stock is $3,000. 

1886 "Wabash, Ind., Water Works," Engineering News 16:111 (August 14, 1886)
Water Works Bids, July 28, 1886.  Turner, Dellaway & Ranson of Boston

1886 "Battle Creek, Mich.," Engineering News 16:127 (August 21, 1886)
Water works bid from Turner, Dellaway & Rawson of Boston

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 Turner, Dillaway & Dawson

1886 "Raleigh, N.C.," Engineering News 16:142 (August 28, 1886)
August 10, 1886, Water works bid from Turner, Dillaway & Rawson of Boston

1886 "Waterworks Talk," Racine Daily Journal (Racine, Wisconsin), September 7, 1886, Page 3.
Everything to be Finished and Water to Flow before Winter.  Mr. Dillaway, a lawyer residing in Boston, and one of the principal owners of the water works, is at present in the city in connection with the business of the company.  Mr. Howland, however, who originally planned the works, is still retained as consulting engineering.

1886 Racine Daily Journal, September 9, 1886, Page 3.
Geo E. Rawson and W.E.L. Dillaway of the Racine Water Co., have gone to Plattsmouth, Neb., to view the work on the new plant in that place.

1886 Biennial Report of the Secretary of State of the State of Nebraska
Page 158:  Incorporations:  Plattsmouth Water Works Co., Capital stock $200,000; September 16, 1886, W. E. Dillaway, Albion B. Turner, Geo. A. Rawsom.

1886 "Has Visited Racine," The Oshkosh Northwestern (Oshkosh, Wisconsin), September 22, 1886, Page 1.
Racine, Wis., Sept 22 - The defaulting treasurer of the First National Bank, Portland, Me., who got away with $87,000 has visited this city as the guest of E.C. Deane, cashier of the Union National.  Mr. Gould came up to look the water works scheme over and if he found it satisfactory it was his intention to make a large investment.  He was satisfied and with Mr. Darling proposed to secure a controlling interest, meantime Messrs. Turner, Dillaway and Rawson had secured the stock leaving him out.  Mr. Gould appeared to be a well posted, prudent, cautious business man.

1886 "An ordinance authorizing Charles A. Lamb and H.E. Keeler, of Chicago, Ill., to construct, operate and maintain water works in the city of Minneapolis, Kansas, December 9, 1886," Solomon Valley Democrat (Minneapolis, Kansas), November 10, 1886, Page 10.

1886 "Water Works," Solomon Valley Democrat (Minneapolis, Kansas), November 12, 1886, Page 4. | Part 2 |
At a special meeting of the city council last Monday evening, a franchise was granted to Messrs. Lamb & Keeler of Chicago, who represent the National Tube Works of McKeesport, Pa. [Charles A. Lamb and Hervey E. Keeler also built water works in Pekin, Illinois.]

1886 "Water Works," Solomon Valley Democrat (Minneapolis, Kansas), November 26, 1886, Page 8.
Mr. Chas. A. Lamb, of the firm of Lamb & Keeler, was here last Tuesday.  He filed the bond for the proper fulfillment of the contract for water works.

1886 "An ordinance amending Ordinance No. 69, entitled an ordinance authorizing Charles A. Lamb and H.E. Keeler, of Chicago, Ill., to construct, operate and maintain water works in the city of Minneapolis, Kansas, December 24, 1886," Solomon Valley Democrat (Minneapolis, Kansas), December 24, 1886, Page 4.

1886 "Memphis Water Works System," The Tennessean (Nashville, Tennessee) December 18, 1886, Page 1.
Memphis, Dec. 27 - A telegram was received here to-day from Messrs. Turner, Dillaway & Rawson, of Boston, directed to the City Council, soliciting an opportunity to submit proposals for a system of water works at annual hydrant rental.  The parties named are are present proprietors of large water works in this country.  They ask for a hearing before any contracts are made with other parties.

1886 "Memphis, Tenn.," The Times-Democrat (New Orleans, Louisiana), December 28, 1886, Page 2.
A telegram was received here to-day from Messrs. Turner, Dillaway & Rawson, of Boston, directed to the city council, soliciting an opportunity to submit proposals for a systems of waterworks at annual hydrant rental.  The parties names are at present proprietors of large waterworks in this country.  They ask for a hearing before any contracts are made with other parties.

1887 "Memphis, Tenn.," Engineering News 17:15 (January 1, 1887)
A proposition has been made to erect works by Messrs. Turner, Dillaway & Rawson, of Boston, Mass.

1887 "Water Works Company," Minneapolis Messenger (Minneapolis, Kansas), January 13, 1887, Page 1.
Last Monday evening the Minneapolis Water Company was formed in the city, with Mr. Rowson, of Boston, as president, Mr. B.R. Clarke, of Boston, as treasurer, and Mr. Adolph Gilbert, of this city, as secretary.  The directors are Messrs. Turner, Clarke, Rowson, of Boston and Messrs. Adlph Gilbert, J.S. Adair and S.M. Stanford of this city.  This company will build under the franchise granted by the city council to Messrs. Lamb and Keeler, of Chicago,

1887 "Montclair, N.J.," Engineering News 17:66 (January 22, 1887)
Mr. Frederick M. Wheeler, of Montclair, representing Messrs. Turner, Clark & Rawson, of Connecticut, proposed to sink wells in such places as the Township Committee might designate.

1887 "Great Day for Racine," Racine Daily Journal (Racine, Wisconsin), March 10, 1887, Page 3.
Everybody pleased with the results of the waterworks exhibition and test. 
Alluding to Mr. Howland's early connection with the scheme of our water supply, and of the transfer of his interest in the Wisconsin Construction Co. to Messrs. Turner, Clarke & Rawson, of Boston, who have constructed the works.

1887 "Salem. O.," Engineering News 17:227 (April 2, 1887)
The water works committee unanimously recommended the accepted of the the proposal of Turner, Clark & Rawson.

1887 Annual Report of the Ohio Secretary of State
Page 391:  April 13, 1887, incorporation of the Salem Water Company, Salem, Ohio.  Capital stock $200,000.

1887 "Our City," Plattsmouth Weekly Herald, May 12, 1887, Page 2.
How it celebrated last Thursday, May 5th.
On the 11th day of March, 1886, a contract with closed with the firm of George B. Inman & Bros. of New York, for the construction of a system of water works by stand pipe and direct pressure, the completion of which was duly celebrated on the 5th day of May, 1887.
The Plattsmouth water works system, for the completion of which a special day was set apart to celebrate, were erected under a contract and are owed by Messrs. Turner, Clark & Rawson, of Boston.

1887 "Water Companies," Engineering News 17:338 (May 21, 1887)
The Consolidated Water Supply Co. has been incorporated at Jersey City by A. B. Turner, F. M. Wheeler and others, to build water-works, sewers, etc. Capital stock, $5,000,000. [Consolidated Water Supply Co.,    Dissolved June 27, 1890

1887 "Racine, Wis.," Engineering News 17:353 (May 28, 1887)

1887 "Janesville, Wis.," Engineering News 17:354 (May 28, 1887)
Franchise granted to Turner, Clark & Rawson on May 10.

1887 "Water Works," Engineering News 17:388 (June 11, 1887)
Turner, Clark & Rawson, of Boston, have the contract for the water-works of Old Orchard, Me.

1887 Helena Weekly Herald, November 24, 1887, Page 8.
B.R. Clarke, of Boston, arrived from the East last night and is at the Grand Central.  Mr. Clarke is a well known capitalist of the Hub and is one of the partners in the firm of Turner, Clarke & Rawson who are putting in the new Woolston water works at Helena.

1887 Fire and Water Engineering (December 31, 1887)
OLD ORCHARD, Me.—The system of water-works just completed by Turner, Clarke & Rawson of Boston, Mass., for Old Orchard. Me., has been carried out with the greatest care as to detail from the design of B. R. Clark of the above firm. The town has a population of 4000. The works were commenced in August, 1887, and completed December 10. The source of supply is surface, distant about three miles from the town, and the system is gravity.
The pumps, for high service, heavy fire purposes, were manufactured by the George F, Blake Manufacturing Company, Boston, and arc of 1,000,000 gallons daily capacity. This pumping plant is a “quick steaming ’’ apparatus, and can raise steam and start in six minutes from alarm. The boiler was made by the Herreshoff Manufacturing Company of Bristol, R. I. A fire pressure of 125 pounds can be obtained, and a pressure for ordinary purposes of forty pounds to the square inch. The cast-iron distributing mains are from ten to four inches in diameter, and were furnished by the Dohaldson Iron Company of Emaus, Pa. There are over six miles of pipe. The Chapman Valve Manufacturing Company of Indian Orchard, Mass., supplied the twenty-five hydrants set, also the valves, and the Builders Iron Foundry of Providence, the special castings. The reservoir has a capacity of 300,000 gallons, and is situated 104 feet above the town.
The works are owned by the Old Orchard Water Company, which has a capital of $75,000. A. B. Turner is president ; J, W. Duff, superintendent, and Clarence E. Hale of Portland, secretary. M. M. Tidd of Boston was engineer of construction and Stephen Child of Boston assistant. The contractor for trenches and pipe laying was C. W. Talcott of Woonsocket, R. I. The company has a franchise for twenty years at an annual hydrant rental of $1000 for twenty-five hydrants. The works, when tested on December 21, gave a pressure of 125 pounds, and proved successful in every respect. The town clerk is M. F. Ferauld.

1888 The Boston Daily Globe, April 15, 1888, Page 6.
Mr. Woods is building a new steam yacht for George A. Rawson.

1888 "Janesville, Wis.," Engineering News 19:416 (May 19, 1888)

1888 "Helena, Mont.," Engineering News 19:460 (June 2, 1888)

1888 "Old Orchard, Me.," Engineering News 20:318 (October 20, 1888)

1888 "Minneapolis, Kan.," Engineering News 20:338 (October 27, 1888)

1889 The Boston Directory for the year commencing July 1, 1889.
Page 1263:  Turner, Albion B. (Wisconsin Construction Co.), 1 Beacon, Rm 90, h. 253 Commonwealth av.

1889 "The Janesville Water-Works, Janesville, Wisconsin," Engineering News 22:50-55 (July 20, 1889)

1890 Boston Daily Globe, January 4, 1890, Page 3.
Botsford R. Clarke of the firm of A.B. Turner & Co. was today admitted to membership in the Boston Stock Exchange.

1891 "Keel Triumph," The Boston Daily Globe, September 9, 1891, Page 8.
Portrait of A.B. Turner, owner of the Oweene

1891 "Water Works Too Heavy," Boston Daily Globe, October 2, 1891, Page 4.
Burden that broke down A. B. Turner & Co.
The firm of A. B. Turner & Bro., bankers, with offices in the Fiske building on State st., have failed.  The firm is made up of Messrs. A. B. Turner, A. B. Potter, B. R. Clarke and J.A. Turner. 
The failure of C.H. Venner & Co. created a distrust in this sort of security, and it is believed that banks holding these securities must have called them in.
Mr. Turner's personal expenses must have been large, for last winter he bought a fine residence on Marlboro st., and also had built for him that crack racer in the 46-foot class, the Oween.
A.B. Turner, Job A. Turner, and F.W. Atherton were associated together in the old Albion building.  A. B. Turner was then treasurer of the Wisconsin Construction Company, and was also of the firm of Turner, Clarke & Rawson.
A dissolution occurred in November, 1890, and the present firm was formed. 

1892 The Boston Daily Globe, August 7, 1892, Page 5.
The 46-footer Oweene, built last year for A. B. Turner, has been sold to W. O. Gay of the Massachusetts Yacht Club.

1894 "Bankrupt and a Suicide," The New York Times, June 2, 1894, Page 9.
Job Turner, brother of Albion B. Turner

1895 The Boston Daily Globe, October 31, 1895, Page 2.
Mr. A.B. Turner of the firm of A. B Turner & Bro. recently returned from Paris.

1903 "Firm of A. B. Turner & Bro. Suspends Business," The Boston Daily Globe, March 3, 1903, Page 14.

1908 "Gives $30,000 Forged Check," The Boston Daily Globe, September 12, 1908, Page 1.
Gets away with Bonds from A. B Turner & Co.

1909 Charles O L Dillaway (1842-1909) grave

1913 Boston Daily Globe, October 17, 1913, Page 14.
Deaths  In Boston, October 25, Botsford Ralph Clarke, 59 years 10 mos.

1937 "Must Conform to Racine code to Obtain City Water Service," The Racine Journal Times, August 17, 1937, Page 5.
Supt. Walter A. Peirce was instructed by the committee to write to George A. Rawson, Newton, Mass., and thank him for his good wishes on the fiftieth anniversary of the water service.  Mr. Rawson was president of the Wisconsin Construction Co August 16, 1887, when the water system was given its final test.  His company installed the system.

1943 "George Rawson Dies in East," The Racine Journal Times, February 6, 1943, Page 3.
Was builder of Racine's First Pumping Station.  Died at his home on November 29th.

1946 Albion Bryant Turner (1863-1946) grave

Back Bay Houses
358 Commonwealth, On August 15, 1885, 358 Commonwealth was purchased from George Wheatland, Jr., by Job Abiel Turner. He and his wife, Vesta Howard (Torrey) Turner Turner, lived in Newton (Vesta Turner had previously been married to Job A. Turner’s second cousin, Albion Turner, who had died in 1853). Job Turner was treasurer of the George F. Blake Manufacturing Company, which manufactured steam pumps and water meters.
Job Turner purchased the house for his son and daughter-in-law, Albion Bryant Turner and Mary Alice (Rawson) Turner, who had married in January of 1885. On August 28, 1885, he transferred the property to Mary Turner.
Albion Turner was a clerk with the George F. Blake Manufacturing Company. In about 1887, he joined with his brother-in-law, George A. Rawson, and Botsford Ralph Clarke, a mechanical engineer, to form Turner, Clarke & Rawson, developers of water works systems. He later became a banker and broker.
Albion and Mary Alice Turner continued to live at 358 Commonwealth during the 1886-1887 winter season, but moved thereafter to 457 Beacon.

459 Marlborough, sold on June 2, 1890 to Mary Alice (Rawson) Turner, the wife of Albion Bryant Turner.  On December 22, 1892, 459 Marlborough was purchased from Mary Alice Turner by Elizabeth Bradlee (Abbot) Stimson, wife of Frederic Jesup Stimson

© 2019 Morris A. Pierce