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

Water Works Bequests

Several individuals have left money for water works in their wills.   


Year City State Comments
1653 Boston MA Robert Keaynes bequeathed 300 to the City of Boston for a Town House and conduit.  The conduit was built in 1659 but proved unsatisfactory and was abandoned in 1671.
1788 Boston MA Benjamin Franklin bequeathed 1,000 to the City of Boston with the expectation that after one hundred years it would be worth 131,000.  of that amount 100,000 was to be used for public works including aqueducts. 
1788 Philadelphia PA Franklin bequeathed the same amount to Philadelphia with the same conditions, and recommended that water from Wissahickon Creek be brought into the town.
1864 New Bedford MA Sylvia Ann Howland left $100,000 for water works in New Bedford.
1869 Lynchburg VA Samuel Miller bequeathed to the city $20,000 on condition of its use in 10 years toward payment of the cost of "furnishing a supply of water to persons residing on the hill west of the city not now supplied with the James River water."
1881 Montpelier VT Daniel Baldwin left $2,000 to the village of Montpelier for water works.
1887 Detroit MI Water board president Chauncy Hurlbut left a large portion of his estate to the water board.
1921 Bristol RI Col. Samuel P. Colt left $100,000 in Bristol and Warren Water Works stock to the Town of Bristol. (Note:  Unlike the other bequests this was not to build water works.)




2015 Morris A. Pierce