Skip to main content

Full text of "Statement of evidence before the Committee of the Legislature, at the session of 1839, on the petition of the city of Boston, for the introduction of pure soft water"

See other formats



.i_i "iii-i^ 


,A^ l92)6a,^ 

~" V a' 




Digitized by the Internet Arciiive 

in 2010 witin funding from 

Boston Public Library 










No. 18 State Street. 


— 1 I r-irmn-rm — 1~' n 











No. 18 State Street. 





February 27, 1839. 

Thomas P. Gushing. Question. Please state your place 
of residence in the City, the quality and quantity of the 
water you use, and any other information relating thereto. 

Answer. I live near the State House, had a well deep 
and inconvenient ; have a filtering apparatus, and drink only 
rain water ; the machinery might cost ^50. 

Back roof of house, 25 ft. by 23 ft. > g^ ^ ^ 

Wood House, 30 ft. by 8 ft. 5 ^ 

gives me 5605 galls. If 36 inches fall annually, it will 
give 16,814 galls, or 46 galls, for each day. 

The front roof included, at 30 inches, would give 24,325 

The front roof included, at 36 inches, would give 29,190 
galls., or nearly 80 gallons per day. 

The smallest quantity of rain, for any one year, was in 
1837, 29.98 inches 

The largest quantity in 1831, - - 60-87 " 

Mean of last 21 years, - - - 39.52 " 

My family consists of nine persons, the water is pure in 
winter, has taste of soot, but we are used to it, and do not 
dislike it. I know of no necessity for an act for the intro- 
duction of water into the neighborhood — should not want 
pond water as long as I can get rain water ; when filtered it 
has no color ; never suffered in my health ; the neighbors 
use my well, the water has 5 grains of lime in 5,000. 

Cross Examined. There was a well in the house when 
I bought it ; did not use the well water, because I thought 


the pure rain water was better ; had a preconceived opinion 
that it was better, the best in the world. 

The capacity of my cistern is 5 feet diameter and 12 or 
13 deep, at the lower part a reservoir. Cost was to be as 
mechanics said, first 60a70 dollars, afterwards thought it 
might cost 150 dollars ; thought it would last 100 years 
without cleaning ; has been in use 2^ years, it is made of 
brick and Roman cement, at ^7 a cask ; frequently runs 
over, I do not know how much, probably two or three times 
as much as the family use ; should prefer this to any pond wa- 
ter ; once lived in Bulfinch street, water very fine, very much 
admired ; I think it better than Vv'here I am now. My well 
not used by the neighbors ; became dry when Mr. Greene's 
estate was dug away, deepened it about 8 feet, now 85 to 
87 feet deep ; expenses of deepening well in 1836 not 
far from ^300 ; should now fill it up if dry again. Have a 
cistern in the garret. Was absent two months, and yet 
there was no impurity in the water. 

Thursday, February 28. 

Dr. Giles Lodge. I have a table prepared by me of 
bills of mortality ; it may have some errors not affecting 
materially the result, one for 1828 and one for 1832. They 
are taken from Dr. Emerson, who states the population in 
the American Medical Journal. If white population alone, 
the proportion of deaths would be in Philadelphia, la40. 
1830 113,942 ratio lc46 

1835 201,000 " la37 

1836 61,697 " la58 

1837 79,464 " la47 
80,335 " ]«46 

Cross Examined. My own calculation is from authori- 
ties of Philadelphia population in the North American Jour- 
nal of Medical Science. 

Re-examined. Paris is well supplied with water by river. 

Cross examined. Never saw but one well in Paris. I 
do not know as to Rome. 

The Faculty suppose water affects the health ; many things 

are supposed, though not proved ; there are no well grounded 
facts to conclude from. I do not know as to the well water 
of Boston, whether it has any effect on the health of the 
inhabitants. I am a son of one of the remonstrants. 

[Dr. L. afterwards handed in a detailed table of mortality 
containing comparative views of different places.] 

Thomas Hudson. I live in Charter street, have a well, 
it gives satisfaction to ail. There are wells in the vicinity 
and good ; should not be willing to pay for water. I liv- 
ed in Cross street 30 years ago, had aqueduct and well. 

To question by Committee. I could not have done with- 
out aqueduct or rain vv^ater. 

Ebenezer Chadwice. I live in Mount Vernon street, 
have a good well and cistern, drink rain and well water. I 
should not want to pay for aqueduct ; built a cistern as I 
feared my well might be afiected ; my v/ell is 24 feet deep, 
well in State House yard is 80 feet, my cistern is 9 feet in 
diameter and 9 feet deep, contains 35 hogsheads ; first had 
water from Dearborn's machine, soon after rain came and 
I bought no more. 

I before lived in Hancock street, good supply, do not 
know that I should not want a larger cistern. I am ac- 
quainted with Jones's estate in Somerset place, they had to 
deepen the well there, had good water. 

Cross examined. Should be content with well water 
except for washing, drink the rain water myself. Cost of 
well do not know. Cistern cost from 250 to 300 dollars, 
very expensively built, I was charged eight casks of Roman 
cernent at ^7. 

James Clark. I live in Hanover street, near Hancock 
School House ; have a good supply of water, quality very 
good, as good as generally through the City, have a cistern, 
supplied except in dry time ; occasionally deficient, but 
might be remedied by sinking wells. I think the neighbor- 
hood well supplied with good water. Estates on Mill Pond 
not well supplied, do not know of any reason why they 
cannot be by Artesian wells. I lived once in Prince street, 
the quality of the water is not so good in the house where I 


lived ; it was abundant and did not use enough of it to keep 
it sweet ; this was in 1820 and 1822. 

Cross examined. I am a Pump Maker; have fixed 
wells of various depths, to over 100 feet — there are some 
sections of the City where the water is not so good. A well 
100 feet deep costs say ^250, pumping apparatus ^100 
more. I never used rain water for drinking, price of dig- 
ging and stoning perhaps 2 50 per foot. 

Re-examined. It is difficult to account why water is 
bad in some wells ; if water should be introduced, should 
not at present be willing to pay for it ; if the water is as for- 
merly in Prince street, should. 

Cross examined. On the Mill Pond, Smith's well is an 
Artesian, good water ; one well in Friend street, water of 
very good quality. I do not know if they will v/ash or not. 

Sewall Kendall. I live in Friend street. Ward No. 3. 
Water good, from cistern — supply the neighbors ; lived in 
Hawkins street ; no water in the well, owing to distil-house 
wells near, and distil-houses there now — should not be 
v/illing to pay water rent, nor to have it come there if for 
nothing — many very good wells in the neighborhood. T. 
Gould's well bad, because not properly boxed. 

Cross examined. For deepening wells I hiive given ^3 
a foot ; am by trade a mason ; deepening is a common 
operation ; last year lowered three wells about 30 feet, 
deepened 3 or 4 feet ; in Hamilton place good water, never 
analyzed any, judge from taste. 

Isaac Dupee. I live on the right side of Friend street, 
Ward 3 ; good well, there are 25 persons on the premises ; 
was formerly a Pump and Block Maker ; water pretty good 
from Deacon street to Hanover street ; own estates at 
north end, one in Murray place. Prince street, all good 
water ; one well in South Russell street, owned by Walter 
Welsh, constantly overflowed ; should not be willing to pay 
for water for any of these estates ; presume neighbors 
have good water. Mr. Kendall and Deacon Sutherland 
have wells never known to fail ; Gould's not so good ; water 
on the other side of street good. 

RoBEKT Marsh. I live in Hanover street, Ward No. 3, 
well supplied with very good water, have a cistern also. 

Cross Examined. Our well failed about a year since, 
dug it about 3 feet deeper, well now about 30 feet deep. 

Ephraim Marsh. I live in Pleasant street, [old Ward 
12] Ward 11, have very good pump water; have rain water 
and take the aqueduct which is better for washing at this 
season, on account of coal-dust in rain water. Fayette 
street supplied by aqueduct ; I own real estate in Franklin 
street and other places, pretty generally supplied with water. 
If the pond water was preferable to aqueduct, should take 
it ; I have sunk about 55 or 60 Artesian wells, generally 
favorable, some about 60 feet below low water mark ; water 
generally rises and falls with the tide ; commenced about 8 
years since ; soft water from South Cove, analyzed by Mr, 

Cross Examined. Cost of Artesian wells from ^400 to 
$1,000; South Cove Company paid $1,600. We went 
down about 250 feet, the water rises within 14 feet of sur- 
face, generally rises and falls with tide ; quality of water 
different in Artesian wells ; on Mill Pond, north side, very 
difficult to get good water ; on Cooper street dug down 72 
feet, drilled about 8 feet farther, expenses over $800, lost 
$200 by it, water did not rise as usual, not more than 18 
to 20 or 30 feet ; might be pumped dry ; on Commercial 
street a good supply of water ; they often lock up the pumps ; 
on Fulton street Adams &- Hammond sell a large quantity ; 
there is a good deal of water carried from the New Eng- 
land House ; have two Artesian wells there which cost over 
$400 each ; water at rail road depot, not so good as some. 

In Canton street thought to be good water, I call it good 
water ; any in the City of that quality I call good ; one well 
sunk just above Land Agent's Office, thought to be very 
extraordinary good water ; never attempted Artesian wells 
in high parts of City, generally in low places ; attempted a 
Well in Treraont place, but met with stone about 15 feet 
deep ; meet with stones, but not always, go through hard 
pan and then quicksand. I have lived in Pleasant street 


54 years ; at the corner of Water and Congress streets, on 
Dalton's estate, there is good water ; rise of that spring was 
above the bottom of the cellar, constant stream, do not 
know how large, hardly so much as a pump ; the water in 
Franklin street I call good, it will not wash. 

Ezra Trull. I live in Alden lane, Ward 4. Water at 
house very good ; first had suction, it was left with dirt, &c. 
Dexter dug it out, it cost ^'60; I have a cistern, I own a 
house in Havv^kins street, the well was dry and I deepened 
it, have one large well, bricked, &.C., and three iron ones ; 
the house where I live has a cistern and is scarcely ever 
out ; supply City dinners with water ; sell warm water to 
masons ; have cistern water also at distil house ; dug distil- 
lery well 25 feet, through putty mud, to clay and red cedar, 
trunks sound, but small stubs or limbs crumbled ; it was 
marsh where the red cedar lay ; well over 25 feet, but 
crushed in, and reduced it to 6|- feet, it is of brick, 65 
feet deep. 

Cross Examined. I sell perhaps 400 hogsheads of wa- 
ter a year, at Is a hogshead ; Dearborn has bought consider- 
able ; should not take water from the City unless short, iron 
wells cost not far from ^300, I do not know the cost of 
stone, a well over 70 feet costs more than one smaller of the 
same depth ; cost I should think more than ^ 1 ,000, cistern 
at distil house cost ^300, cistern at private house cost over 
^*50 ; some hold ten and some 15 hogsheads ; did not con- 
tract, oversee it myself, poor families take rain water, and I 
give away hard water ; do not know how many families are 
supplied, charge 25 cenis a hogshead for soft water ; Dear- 
born takes it in his machine. 

Samuel May. I live in Atkinson street, Ward No. 8, 
have aqueduct for washing, well water as good as ever was. 
There was an examination of wells by Mr. Lester, he said I 
suppose I must report it as the rest, bad ; asked him to go 
in and taste, he declined. I own houses in different parts 
of the City, and have the care of three houses in High 
street ; one well for all, supplied by suction. The father of 
Mrs. Scudder thought it would wash, I thought not, think 

it would not. The well at Tilestou's wharf contains excel- 
lent water and the quantity is inexhaustible, never knew it 
to fail. There is also a well at the head of Russia wharf, 
Mr. Inches set his men to pump it out, two men could not 
do it. Water good all round Fort Hill and there is a 
good supply ; have aqueduct in High street, should not take 
water from the City if brought in at water rent ; say the 
same of all my estates. Country friends say my water is 
good, make exception of mine over other Boston water. 

Cross Examined. Do not use aqueduct for drinking ; 
one tenant has it ; never interruptions of aqueduct, if de- 
prived of it should take from the City. 

Benjamin Russell. I live in Lincoln street, am three 
fourths of a century old ; have water abundant from aque- 
duct and well ; think I could do without aqueduct ; born in 
Court street, lived on bread and water before the Revo- 

Have lived in Nassau street, cannot remember how many 
parts of the City I have lived in ; never found any difficulty 
about water ; never drink anything else with dinner ; should 
not take City water, to pay for it. In Pinckney street, Dr. 
Warren said the water was more nourishing than Madeira 

Cross Examined. The water generally in Boston is 
what I call good. The sources are Fort Hill, Beacon 
Hill and Copp's Hill. In Pearl street, water washed, as I 
was told, for a number of years, but afterwards they com- 
plained of it as being hard or taking more soap. 

Ezra Dyer. I live at the corner of Chambers street, 
Ward 5. Water for well and cistern good and abundant, 
well only 5 J feet deep, I think ; got three men but could 
not clear it ; three houses in connection with mine, never 
short of water in Eaton street ; if water was brought into 
the City should not be willing to take it at a rent ; cistern 
holds about 30 hogsheads. 

Cross Examined. I do not drink rain water, there is no 
other water like mine, an uncommon spring, people rather 
give mine the preference over some others. 


John Gkeen. I live on Washington street, Ward 11 ; 
supplied for four years past by aqueduct, have a pump on 
Lucas place ; a well on Deacon May's estate supplies 40 
people, beautiful water, used for washing. Well on my 
premises Artesian, abundance of water, but it became im- 
pure by not using it after we took the aqueduct ; bored 110 
feet, 5 feet above flats it boiled over; there is an Artesian 
well on Front street, by J. D. Williams ; went with engine, 
worked by a stop watch, took two minutes to play it out ; 
the well would supply 100,000 gallons in 24 hours. May's 
water is a little extra ; I think proper wells sunk on the 
Neck would supply the City. 

Ci'oss Examined. Would supply, as I judged, by en- 
gine playing ; she will hold 30 gallons or more ; would sup- 
ply as above with proper apparatus ; did not exhaust it, put 
down hose and exhausted it in 2 minutes ; it rose up again 
in 4 minutes, quality of water fair but not so good as May's, 
Aqueduct never stops only half hour at a time. 

Friday, March 1st, 1839, 3 P. M, 
Nathaniel Hammond. I live in Ward 5, bought in 
1820, abundantly supplied with good water ; my tea kettles 
were never furred ; have rain water for washing ; own estates 
in Leverett street, and have care of others in Cambridge 
street and Pemberton square ; have 3 houses ; that nearest to 
Somerset street had well 98 feet before striking water, in 24 
hours water made 48 feet, secured v/ell with curbs till 1837, 
began with horse power to reduce the quantity ; reduced it to 
20 feet and could do no more, leaving 25 feet in the well ; 
reduced it again and stoned it, water rose to 35 feet, filled 
in well with paving stones about 9 feet, put in pump, while 
masons were using water it was good, when not so it grew 
stagnant ; well is about 30 feet from houses and 55 feet from 
other wells ; about 23 feet from surface met a spring very 
fine and abundant. Another well to first estate 95 feet 
deep ; did not find water ; dug 14 feet and struck a power- 
ful spring, on the avenue leading from Pemberton square 
to Somerset street, water pure soft and good ; at the mid- 


die house water good ; none of the water has proved bad 
except one (above first mentioned) had clay which I am 
told contains sulphur. In Leverett street there is some va- 
riation in the depths of wells, have several in that neighbor- 
hood, average about 25 feet deep ; think there is a ledge 
under the City, som3 have to drill through it ; should not 
for any estates I now ov»^n be willing to pay for water ; 
should have been glad to have had it if I had foreseen the 
difficulties ; do not recollect of any complaint in houses I 
have as to quality of water ; I found enough to supply a 
large proportion of the neighborhood ; after laborers struck 
the spring, heard a singing noise as they called it ; I think 
Artesian wells might be used advantageously. 

In Pemberton square (next to B. Adams's) dug 95 feet, 
then bored 14 feet ; a moderate spring ; came to a rock but 
could not get through it and stopped ; good water and 
enough for one family. Erected a block of buildings for 
Merchants' Insurance Company, corner of Water and Con- 
gress streets ; struck a very povv^erful spring, could i.ot con- 
fine it till they got a mechanic to make iron pipes of a par- 
ticular construction ; would be enough to supply a very large 
number of inhabitants ; very good water indeed. During 
the past year sunk an Artesian well for Mr. Hubbard on 
Washington street ; (second from Washington bank) think 
we dug 83 feet ; water rose within 14 or 15 feet of the sur- 
face ; very soft water, used it with soap ; would make a fine 
lather, equal to any rain water; cost I think, about ^600 by 
the contract. Earth there very different from any I ever 
met with ; stratum of clay began about 9 feet from surface. 
In Cambridge street my estate had an excellent well, about 
30 years ago of good quality ; its character changed and the 
water was not used for family purposes. I rebuilt on it in 
1831, 2 or 3, and dug a well on another part of my estate, 
14 or 15 feet, then clay, then dug 14 or 15 feet and came 
to good water. The City sunk a well at the junction of 
Spring and Leverett streets, met a spring, not over 16 feet. 

Cross examined Water in J. P. Thorndike's house very 
excellent, taken from spring by suction from the front of the 


houses ; do not know as to quantity ; Boston and Worcester 
Rail Road Artesian well does not compare with Mr. Thorn- 
dike's. The aqueduct does not go to any of my estates ; 
well at Rail Road cost over ^2000 I believe, think it is 240 
feet deep. They have used chalk to get out gas and think 
it better ; talked of having the aqueduct ; do not have it be- 
cause it is expensive to take it over ; v»^as referred to the 
Committee of the Board, but do not know what was done ; 
understood they had not sufficiency to spare it ; do not re- 
collect hearing they gave us notice to stop. Cost of wells 
in Pemberton square, 2 cost not far from ^'600 each, or 
something over. On Cambridge street not over 50 to 75 
dollars each, including pump. On Leverett street cost 
about 50 to 75 dollars each ; some wells fail on Somerset 
street, Mr. Hammond's ; W. W. Stone's failed about a year 
ago in Bov/doin street, think they were about 35 feet deep ; 
also Dr. Cutler's estate on Tremont street failed a year ago 
last December ; they sunk 2^ feet and found water suffi- 
cient. At the Parsonage House it failed also, repaired by 
sinking wells deeper. Col. Pickman's well, Mt. Vernon 
place, failed about 1834; dug another well 83 feet deep 
and struck a powerful spring ; do not know if the deepen- 
ing draws from other wells or not ; do not know of any 
better wells than those I have spoken of; it is more like 
country water, the one of 98 feet and Mr. Hubbard's. 

One there comes to my mind, S. Hammond's in Conduit 
alley, Artesian, sunk in passage way, think 150 feet deep ; 
Hammond fixed a pump to the well, but in a year after- 
wards there was such a difficulty about calling for the 
water that he took up the pump and put leaden pipes to 
his houses, &c. The water was used for washing. 

Simon Wilkinson. I live in Charter street. Ward 1, 
have abundance of water both rain and pump, very excel- 
lent ; own another estate in Unity street, well there would 
supply 100 families, does not wash, it is like other water in 
the City ; hear no complaint from the Revere estate ; on 
Swift's estate water enough, Darracott's the same. In my 
own where I live, I deepened it 45 feet, should not be wil- 


ling to pay a cent if the City brings it in ; might take it 
gratis ; no trouble in getting water if they put down cisterns, 
do not know of any exigency in that part of the City. In 
Bennet street is a spring that could not be cleared of water. 
There is a well near the Methodist meeting house which 
has been celebrated for forty years, some years ago worked 
it, could not clear ii. Water in Mr, Lucas's well abundant 
and good. Asked Dr. Ware once, why he signed that the 
water was not good. His reply was, it was a matter he never 
had taken particular interest in, and he signed it on the paper 
being presented to him ; I asked him how Boston could be 
so healthy, if the water v/as so impure. He said it was a 
healthy place, and that all water when closely analysed 
would have a sediment, and still the water might be 

Cross examined. Cost of deepening 45 feet, was I be- 
lieve, about ,$225 ; gave him (Fitch) %3 a foot; think it 
would cost more to deepen than to dig anew; 50 to 100 
people are supplied from my well in summer ; pump going 
all day, pretty steady when dry weather. In Unity street 
also a great many people supplied. Hutchinson's well also 
used, but not so good as some others. 

Re-examined. Something like 7 wells in the neighbor- 
hood, but pumps not in order; abundance of water, no 
doubt as good as mine, some pumps have been out of order 
for, perhaps, 15 years. 

In Hanover street, Mrs. Porter's well is good, supplies a 
great many people, do not know how many ; its reputation 

J. Green called. Eleven specimens of water produced, 

No. 1. Canton street. Artesian well, 75 to 105 families 
supplied daily. 

No. 2. City well. Artesian, by Mr. Williams's, 100,000 
gallons a day. 

No. 3. J. French's well, 637 Washington street, never 

No. 4. Hinkley's well, Front street, Artesian, abundance. 


No. 5. Hinkley's well. Front street, old shop, excellent 
and abundant. 

No. 6. Brewhouse, Castle street, Artesian, 90 feet deep, 
used 100 barrels a day, were 6 or 8 hours pumping. 

No. 7. Oil Factory, near Mall, on the neck. Artesian, 
85 feet deep, good and large supply. (Simmons & Thorn- 

No. 8. May's, pump in street, opposite Lucas place, 
supplies as many as 40 families. 

No. 9. Oak place, do not know if Artesian, abundant, 
as Mr. Builard told me ; it washes. 

Mr. Marsh called again. 

No. 10. Granite wharf, Artesian well, great abundance. 

No. 11. North Market street, believe there is a suffi- 
ciency ; clerk of market occasionally locks it up. 

S. Wilkinson called again. I know Granite wharf; 
great supply of water, frequently fill casks for ships ; pump 
going from morning till night, situated about centre of arch, 
think about 600 feet from upland. 

J. Green called again. I was requested to go to pump 
with engines ; worked 2 minutes to get down to make it 
suck ; went down 17 feet, pipe 12 inch bore, it takes 4 min- 
utes to fill up again, by stop watch. I calculated 30 gal- 
lons a minute that we pumped out ; there had not any come 
in ; first part fills up almost immediately, last part not so 

Otis Munroe. I live in Hanover, near Charter street, 
well 17 feet deep, dry for a short time, twice in 10 years, 
one was last year ; the supply in neighborhood good ; plenty 
so far as I know ; soft water ample from rain, thouglit I 
should deepen my well ; from there down to the ferry ; 
same kind of land. A well on the Abrahams estate goes 
with a crotch and sweep, great many go to get water there. 
In neighborhood of 18 Commercial street in the rear, the 
well is about llOallS feet deep ; if used a good deal, say 5 
hogsheads a day, good ; when first pumped has a smell, but 
that soon evaporates, used for washing. Whitney built it 
at a great expense, think ^2,400a2,500. In Fulton street 


stable there is an Artesian well over 100 feet deep; the 
water is good and washes. 

J. Green, recalled. I made experiments at different 
times ; I have played there from half to one hour ; flowed 
in constant streams; never pumped more at once than 
as above. 

Tuesday, March 5, 1839. 

William Gkidley. I live in South street, Ward 9 ; have 
had well and cistern for about 1 1 years, have never been 
out of water ; well water very good and pure, once took 
aqueduct, cut it off because I had a sufficiency without it; 
have charge of father's estate in Chambers street. West Bos- 
ton ; well never failed for about 40 years ; father and mother 
lived there about 40 years, always used the water and as 
healthy as any people. On the estate on Governor alley 
corner, water is good ; within a year past, the well wa& 
deepened and now sufficient ; do not know, but believe 
water good, have owned it about 12 years ; in Hay ward 
place had good water and enough ; lived there 3 years ; my 
place of business is in Brattle street, use the pump there irr 
street ; supply rather limited, all the neighborhood go there ; 
if water was brought in by city should not want to take it. 
I wish to sell my father's estate ; do not know of any neces- 
sity of water in that neighborhood, the pump gets out of 
order in Brattle street. 

Cross examined. Aqueduct connected with the house 
when I bought it, one or two years ago ; rain water some- 
times affected by coal or soot; aqueduct cost 10 or 12 
dollars a year; deepened well in Governor alley 1^ feet, ex- 
pended perhaps 40 or 50 dollars between the two houses ; 
cistern and apparatus about ^ 1 00 ; well 36 feet deep, do 
not know cost ; pump in Brattle street in warm weather con- 
stantly going ; frequently stopped it, so as to let it fill up ; 
do not recollect that the aqueduct ever stopped, cistern of 
brick in Roman cement, told the mason to build it as good 
as he could. 

Benjamin Adams. I live in Pemberton square, Ward 


No. 4 ; my well is very shoal, about 20 feet ; found 
cistern there, supply not large, but have had enough ; 
have not lived there long, lived in Mt. Vernon street, oppo- 
site Hancock ; we had water enough, but my neighbor, 
whose pump was in the same well thought it not good ; we 
always found enough and good ; rain water sometimes out ; 
lived at the corner of Chestnut and Walnut street, also 
next to Judge Shaw's ; yard went through to Pinckney 
street, water abundant and good, had rain water cistern 
also ; in Chestnut street no recollection of not having 
enough ; have owned in Derne street since 1835, 3 houses, 
but one well there for all the houses and one shop (4) ; they 
applied to me to dig another well ; I own no other houses 
except in South Boston ; in every part I have good water 
and plenty ; go from 15 or 17 to 35 feet deep, but on high 
land it is difficult to get water, as at House of Industry. If 
the City should introduce water I would take it ; should want 
it for washing ; my cistern requires to be cleansed, think I 
could build a well like mine for ^35, should be willing to 
pay ^25 for city water ; I do not think there is any neces- 
sity for City's bringing water in, should like to have a corpo- 
ration do it. 

Cross examined. I would not pay for tenants taking 
water, but would for my family ; should prefer drinking the 
water I have to the aqueduct. 

J. P. CusHiNG, recalled to explain. Cost of cistern as 
before, that is, the filtering cistern, exclusive of other cis- 
tern, which is 8 feet in diameter and 6 deep ; in cellar 
store, Brattle street, well good but not a great supply. 

Cross examined. Built my filtering cistern in 1836. 

B. Adams, recalled. Our water washed, asked woman 
how she liked rain water, said it washed very well, after- 
wards said rain water washed better ; (produces samples 
water, viz.) 

No. 1. House on Pemberton square. 

2. Derne street. 

3. M. S. Lincoln's ; have heard it was enough to 

supply Broad street. 


No. 4. North Centre street, near Mill Creek. 

5. Dr. Bigelow's ; I think it the least good. 

6. No. 97 Ann street, well about 35 feet deep. 

7. Old South. 

I do not give any opinion as to qualities, only by taste, 
and by its washing ; rain water not so good as it was ; have 
not used it much lately ; wells in rear are very deep ; in 
front not deep, 15 or 17 feet; my new house, well and 
cistern were built in 1836-7. 

Eliphalet Williams. I live in Pearl street, Ward 8, 
well 96 feet deep ; vi^ater very good, as good as any body's, 
and as much as we want ; have aqueduct and cistern ; 12 
or 13 years ago built cistern ; have the aqueduct very freely ; 
never heard any complaint of want in estates on Pearl 
street ; built my houses in 1801 ; first dug a well 24 feet ; 
water good ; about one month after the well gave up, tasted 
of marsh mud ; then dug a new well, about 40 feet from 
the other. I would not take the trouble to bring the City 
water into my family ; it consists of four persons ; think it 
would be one of the most unfortunate things for the City to 
bring it in. Some years ago in the City Government it 
was talked of and estimates made ; tax-payers would not 
agree to it ; I know of no exigency requiring it ; think it 
an unnecessary expense ; we are well supplied as to water 
for fires ; better than before we sunk wells. 

Cross examined. Should not take the water gratis, 
because I am well supplied, and have used my water for 
30 or 40 years. I use aqueduct in part for culinary pur- 
poses and tea, not for coffee ; prefer well water for drink- 
ing ; people occasionally supplied from my well, not often ; 
water comes up within 14 or 15 feet. 

Re-examined. Have been in City Government since 
1822 ; never heard any quack or regular physician say, 
your child is sick by the water. My opinion is that a sup- 
ply of water would be a luxury, but it would be too great 
an expense at this time. 

Simon G. Shipley. I live in Hanover street, No. 94, 
Ward 3, have lived there about 4 months ; my place of busi- 



ness is 5 or 6 rods from where I now live ; have a well on my 
premises ; distil house took 70 hogsheads a day and did not 
lower it ; plenty and good ; have cistern water also ; in 
some few cases we got out of rain water, and went to North 
Centre street for it ; should not take it if brought into the 
City to pay for it ; own a house in Stillman street ; have a 
cistern and well ; well not now sufficient ; 6 suctions have 
been added and not enough ; some few families not digging 
wells have none, and come to mine for water ; about 8 suc- 
tions not enough ; the land is not made ; house on the 
main ridge of land ; use that water for baking ; 12 or 20 
in family, all healthy. 

Cross examined. My water is good and fermentation 
with it perfectly free, and this is a good test of water ; purest 
water best for fermenting, not the softest ; distilled water 
will not answer ; think there is no exigency now for intro- 
ducing water into the City. Cost of my cistern not much 
over ^100 ; it was included in other jobs; if separate, it 
might cost think ^150. 

Jesse Shaw. I live in Chestnut street, am well supplied 
with water, supply my neighbors, have a cistern, think some 
people want water, and some want bread ; should not take 
water at present if brought into the City, water is never 
more than 4 or 5 feet deep in my well, in depths of wells 
the average is from 20 to 40 feet. In Pinckney street, 
water runs through clay, apt to be stagnant. I built at the 
corner of Water street, water rises high, got 2 pumps to free 
it, it would supply for half a mile all around, I should think ; 
the water was excellent, do not know how it is now. 

Cross exarained. Built in the year of the fire in New 
York ; built house in Bowdoin street ; good supply of 
water, and in Temple street ; passes through stratum of 
clay ; do not know as to water in Bowdoin street now ; the 
aqueduct goes through Charles street. 

Re-examined. Do not know of any wells on the west 
side of Charles street, except Brown & Alkers ; never built 
there ; bad water, sometimes becomes stagnant. 

Cross examined. Know of one bad well ; dug it my- 


self and then filled it up ; my present well is not more than 
15 feet deep, first went down into marsh mud ; cost of first 
well perhaps 75 to 100 dollars ; v/ell water not so good for 
washing ; rain water when low becomes impure ; but not 
troubled as to washing. 

Daniel Ballard. I live at the bottom of Clark street ; 
am satisfied with my supply of water ; have cistern and 
well ; well water very good, neighbors take it ; should 
not take water of the City ; do not know any public ex- 
igency that requires water being brought in ; would cost the 
City an enormous expense ; I am a shipwright ; health 
pretty good. 

Cross examined. Never sick but once in my life ; have 
lived there about 30 years ; no objection to having water 
brought into the City, if they will not tax me for it. 

Re-examined. Own stores but not houses ; water may 
be had in neighborhood at 20 feet deep ; dug mine 2 1 feet 
and could not clear it ; Irish people go to Granite wharf, in 
great numbers ; soft and beautiful water to boil peas, &c. 
in ; at present should not give any thing for water. Gener- 
al health of neighborhood, counted to be as good as any 
part of the City. 

Thomas Gould. I live in Friend street. Ward 3 ; last 
summer dug a well 30 feet deep, and bored about 20 feet 
more, excellent spring, through made land ; had to box 
down, in a veiny clay ; lower curb tight with inner one and 
boxed ; man slighted it ; leaks through the curb and calcu- 
late to remedy it ; well in adjoining yard is tolerable ; not 
so good as some on my other estates ; wells good. In 
Brighton street. Ward 5, dug about 25 feet, put in clay and 
bored as much more ; had abundance and good water. 

In Spring street, not quite so fortunate ; water a little 
salt ; had to deepen and box ; have had a constant supply 
ever since ; it was a little deeper than the other ; have dug 
a number of others since ; never would have a house with- 
out a good well ; thought it not worth while to dig on[;MitI 
pond, because it would cost more than it would come to ; 
dug 24 feet but found no water ; the men gave it up, I told 


them to go on, and in 2 or 3 feet got water ; sold a right 

to take water by suction for a stable, also to Mr. ; 

neighbors use it ; have sounded it in dry times, and never 
found less than 13 feet ; on the other side street, opposite 
Baldwin place, north side, dug about 6 or 8 years ago. 

Well in North Margin street appeared to be good ; but 
hot used, became stagnant ; bought estate of Capt. B. 
Smith ; City cut off the land and brought the well into the 
street. I dug another on Cooper street, 40 to 41 feet deep ; 
good spring and abundant ; supplied 3 houses, and people 
coming and going all the time. In Friend street have an 
excellent well, owned by 3 of us ; great quantity ; quite a 
number use from it ; do not know any estate I should be 
willing to take for it, except where I was unfortunate in 
boxing. I cannot say I know of any exigency requiring 
the introduction of water by City ; sometimes drink rain 
water, not so soft as in wooden cistern ; wells in northern 
part of the City generally very good ; abundance of springs 
round Copp's hill ; sometimes go pretty deep, near 100 feet. 

Cross examined. Great deal of complaint on mill pond 
territory for want of water ; on south side of it some bored 
wells ; had good water on the southerly side of creek ; do 
not know of any water being sold there. 

Suction right to Buttrick & Patch sold for ^100 for 
stable, &c. To Mr. Patch, subject to Deacon Pond's right, 
for ^50. 

Cost of well in Brighton street, ^60«70 

Cost of well 2 estates (Hawks,) in Spring street, 120 

Cost of well south side Baldwin place, not much rising 50 
and pipes down to North Margin street, short of 200 

In Friend street cost about 120 ; lived in west part of the 
City, on Brighton street estate ; my master dug a well short 
of 15 feet; people that came to my well, came because 
they liad no water ; poor people, and houses owned by rich 
men, who do not put in wells ; general character of water 
in west part of the City is good. In Poplar street there is a 
ledge of slate ; does not extend through Brighton street ; 
near the bridge found no slate rock. Dalton's estate on 


Congress street, 50 years ago, yielded a large supply of 
water ; wells in Portland street have a good supply ; Mr. 
Farnam's estate well supplied there ; Mr. Jones's well about 
equal to Dalton's. 

Wednesday, March 6. 

JosiAH Knapp. I live at south end ; have Uved there 
for 50 years past ; water good now ; had to bore ; struck a 
very powerful spring ; well 36 feet ; bored 70 feet ; water 
rose within 10 feet of surface ; never sucked, it gives 30 
hogsheads or more daily ; would not wash ; very good 
water, but not so soft as I now use ; being partly supplied by 
the upper spring bored about 20 feet ; as much now as then, 
and ebbed and flowed with tide every day ; one well in the 
street where I live ; bored 95 feet, unfortunate in boring ; 
tool broke and there remains ; now supply 6 families ; this 
is excellent water ; soft, so allowed by people from the 
country ; not so soft as rain water. One well I sunk in 
rear of Kneeland street, distance of 60 feet ; but did not 
box and secure it ; it lets in the upper spring, and is a little 

One on Eliot and Washington streets, dug about 30 feet, 
came to hard gravel ; bored 120 feet without success ; wells 
in neighborhood some good and some bad ; saline qualities, 
affected by salt water ; boxing would not cure them ; there 
is a well in Harvard street. I shall be 86 years old the 19th 
of this month ; the water when first tapped was good ; but 
we often lose it by not securing it against upper springs ; the 
supply would be sufficient if they would go to the expense of 
sinking wells ; suppose they would succeed by iron pipes ; 
aqueduct passes there and not half the people take it ; 
should not be willing to pay for water if brought into the 
City ; do not see as water would affect the health of my 
family ; enjoy good health, and I have Hved as long as any 
body ; several wells in vicinity ; Baxter, Holland, Hinckley, 
(Iron works) and J. Gibson's. 

Cross examined. Have supplied 12 families, tenants; 
cannot spare it to neighbors ; have not sufficient ; used 


aqueduct before I sunk this well ; expense of well I think 
was nigh on to ^400 ; two or three failures in boring were 
gravelly ; do not succeed through clay ; do not know how 
many are without wells, should think not one half ; they 
are supplied from the aqueduct ; it has been common for 
one well to supply many families ; west side of Washington 
street all pretty good wells ; I had a distillery, discontinued 
2J years ago ; the aqueduct was steady, never fails in Front 
street ; in Washington street it often does. 

Samuel H. Remick. I live in Kennard avenue, leading 
from Poplar to Allen street ; housewright by trade ; I have 
a well on the premises ; plenty of water for my own use ; 
probably would afford supply for 20 families ; have cistern 
for rain water ; have care of houses in Garden street, south 
side of Cambridge street, and about 80 feet from it there is 
a well 33 feet deep; built 10 years since ; have cistern for 
soft water ; tenants are satisfied ; well always has full sup- 
ply for two families. 

I have care of one house on opposite side of Garden 
street ; water very good ; well about 20 feet deep ; have 
built houses in other parts of the City ; have dug wells at 
the bottom of the Common, opposite burying ground ; good 
supply to the best of my recollection ; this was some time 
ago ; — also Lafayette Hotel, opposite Boylston Market ; do 
not recollect as to the water. I dug one well for U. Getting 
in Cornhill, (Market street) forget depth, probably 25 or 
30 feet ; plenty of water at that time and called good ; 
should not be willing to pay water rent ; know of no neces- 
sity of introducing water into the City. 

Cross examined. I do not mean to say there is no want 
of water ; some neighbors come to my well, and also go to 
others ; my wells never fail ; on my estates always prefer 
rain water for washing. 

Richards Child. I live corner of Hollis and Wash- 
ington street. Ward No. 10, well supplied by pump and 
cistern ; always have abundance ; never have failed for 26 
years ; well corner of South Bennet and Washington street 
about same as the other ; have care of two houses in Ham- 


ilton street, Fort Hill ; the well to the two is good and 
sufficient as far as I have heard ; have a partial knowledge 
of neighborhood ; my impression is they are well and satis- 
factorily supplied ; do not feel now that I should take water 
if brought in by the City ; know of no reason why I should ; 
know of no necessity, unless from people that are not wil- 
ling to procure water in the same way as others have. I 
consider it a question of expense. 

Cross examined. Do not know cost of well ; have re- 
paired but not to deepen ; do not know of any estates in 
the vicinity without wells ; I believe at south end in neigh- 
borhood of J. D. Williams' they are as much without wells 
as any parts ; I think considerable portion take aqueduct 
who have wells ; they consider it more pure than cistern 

Ebenezer Seahs. I live in Howe place ; am a house- 
wright ; amply supplied with well and aqueduct ; water 
very good indeed, none better ; have charge of three houses 
there ; 2 wells 20 feet deep ; soft water from aqueduct ; 
have one house in Warren street ; sunk a well 24 feet 
deep 1 5 years ago ; water very good ; had a cistern for soft 
water ; one house in Beach street ; had a well 80 feet deep, 
the water bad ; built on another part of Warren street, 
north part, water very good and ample supply ; soft water 
there from cisterns generally ; also Haymarket place, water 
not so good there ; sufficiency for family purposes ; wells 
not much over 25 feet, owing to the soil being porous and 
gravelly ; when much used, very good ; the gas works had 
affected the water there ; have built Boylston stores ; there 
was a well for 40 years ; very good water, bad low down, 
but good from upper stratum and sufficiency ; supply at 
Chickering's building ; sunk a cistern 5 feet from bottom of 
cellar ; there was such a quantity we could not go any 
deeper. In West row. Court street, there is a continual 
flow of fresh water ; in Front street, 2 wells near Essex 
street contain good water, 20 feet down, ample supply. At 
E. D. Clark's building on Rowe street, went to try their 
water, very good ; my opinion of it is I do not tiiink there 


is any necessity of bringing water into the City ; took the 
aqueduct in preference to cistern, more economical. In H. 
Codman's house Tremont street, there are 2 wells, with 
ample supply ; one for stable and one for house ; his estate 
in Washington street has good water ; Amory Hall has 
good water and an abundant supply. Dr. Hale's well cav- 
ed in ; taken up and relaid ; water good, about 20 feet ; oa 
West street ; the water there generally good ; had brick cis- 
terns ; one or two of the houses had the aqueduct ; house 
adjoining Amory hall has the aqueduct. 

Cross examined. Take water from upper springs ; some 
danger of impurities ; I know of vaults breaking through. 

Robert Lash. I live in Commercial street ; that part 
of the City is very well watered; lived there 16 years; 
never out of water ; get soft water from cistern ; generally 
have sufficient ; well is about 40 feet deep, as I have 
been told ; in about 10 rods round there are 6 or 7 good 
wells ; the opinion there is that they are well supplied ; do 
not think there is any exigency for water ; should have no 
occasion to take it and pay for it ; I before lived in Saluta- 
tion street ; water there abundant and good ; have never 
known any want ; I believe that part better supplied than 
others. From Winnessimet ferry round to Foster street, 
there are as many wells as is necessary ; there is a well in 
Foster street, to which a great many people resort. There 
is a pump on Commercial street also, where people resort. 
There is a well at Boston Bank, but now covered up. 

Cross examined. Do not know how many houses are 
without wells ; my impression is not more than one well to 
3 or 4 houses ; I think between Henchman's lane and Fos- 
ter street, there are 15 wells in 20 rods square. 

JosiAH VosE. I live at No. 500 Washington street ; 
have cistern and well v/ater ; plenty and good ; when I 
went there had the aqueduct ; I cut it off, prefer cistern ; 
estate corner of Avery and Washington streets ; have well 
in cellar 1 feet deep ; very good and abundant ; estate in 
Columbia street, water very good and plenty ; have the 
aqueduct ; estate in Haymarket place good and abundant, 


no complaint; in Suffolk place, where I first lived, there is 
good water and plenty ; in Ash street, dug wells ; did not 
go deep enough ; and water not good. On Dr. BuUard's 
estate, good water ; think no exigency exists to bring water 
into the City ; should not take it ; my cistern water as pure 
as rain water, excellent water ; but when built upon, hurt 
it ; on Bedford street corner, water good. 

Cross examined. I use the rain water myself, family do 
not ; I have not used filtering but for a short time ; neigh- 
bors do not use rain water for drinking ; I cut off aque- 
duct because it is cheaper to have a cistern ; 2 cisterns and 
a pump cost about ^100 ; brick cisterns lined with Roman 
cement ; w^ell about 30 feet deep ; never heard complaint 
for water. 

Horace Dupee. I live in Hamilton street, very large 
supply and good water ; the well supplies 3 houses ; soft 
water from cistern ; when short we use well water ; put 
soda in it. Estate in Leverett street, near jail, 50 feet off; 
dug it 31 feet and then filled it with gravel 10 feet ; water 
pretty good for all purposes of washing ; have something to 
do with a well in Well street ; it has a good supply for all 
purposes ; 34 houses are supplied ; think 3 families each ; 
they take about 500 buckets daily ; is kept down, but would 
rise 60 feet if let stand for a week ; well 75 feet deep and 
stoned up. On Fort hill there are a good many good wells ; 
in Broad street, there are but few wells. The aqueduct goes 
through Batterymarsh street to Maynard's bake house ; it 
might be extended to Foster's wharf; only 3 or 4 persons 
take it in Broad street ; they go to the wells above mention- 
ed, some to Fort hill and some to the Waltham Company's 
well ; many houses in Broad street have no wells or cis- 
terns ; the aqueduct passes their doors, but they will not 
take it ; principally Irish families ; do not own their houses ; 
the landlords tell them to get water where they can ; water 
from the above well used for washing ; a number of old 
wells which used to afford good water are now covered up ; 
not taken care of by owners ; my well was dug 20 odd 
years ago. I have lived in Eliot and Pleasant streets ; have 


good water and abundance ; previously boarded in Orange 
street, on an estate of Arnold Welles ; the well was cover- 
ed but I believe had suctions from it ; (produced sample) 
it is inexhaustible ; do not know whose estate it now is ; be- 
lieve it belongs to Willet & Ballard. 

Gross examined. The well is kept under lock and key ; 
the water is sold; owners of the buildings pay ^6, some 
more; give 15 buckets a day for ^'6; yearly income about 
^200 ; City let us have ^25 to start with ; we pay a man 
^10 per month to take care of it; open at 7, 11, and 4 
o'clock, 1 hour each ; sometimes it sucks in summer ; if 
there is a scarcity, do not let any one take it but those who 
pay ; do not calculate at any time to let others have it — a 
Committee was appointed by the City to see to this welly 
viz ; Samuel Bird, J. H. Cheney, and Horace Dupee ; I 
have been in the office 9 or 10 years. The aqueduct not 
taken there becatise they will not pay for it ; the owners of 
buildings will not take it because the well is cheaper than 
aqueduct ; only 6 per annum ; some families take 3, some 
4 buckets a day ; some, that have cisterns. 

Daniel Shillaber. I hve in Crescent place, Ward 3, 
am well supplied with water ; I am in the dry goods busi- 
ness ; have a well and cistern, good ; supply 4 families m 
the court ; water has never failed for ten years ; do not 
know of complaints for want of water ; people from Mill 
Pond frequently come for it ; water on estate in Salem 
street, near Baldwin place, is good ; supplies 4 or 5 families ; 
they keep soft water in hogsheads. On an estate in Prince 
street, No. 60, the rain water is plenty ; the well water can't 
say much of ; 4 years ago had well sunk, and very good 
water till within about 2 years. Mr. Haskell's well is about 
15 feet from mine ; good water as I am informed ; do not 
know generally if water is wanted ; should not pay for it 
myself, with the accommodations I now have. On an 
estate in Pinckney street never dug a well ; get it from 

Cross examined. There is no aqueduct ; do not know 
of selling water ; my well in Prince street is not used ; 
good while used by two families. 


Thursday March 1, 1839. 

Reuben Richards, Jr. I live in Hancock street, Ward 
4 ; own and have charge of real estate in various parts of 
the City ; sufficient supply there ; springs and cisterns, cor- 
ner of Cambridge and Hancock street ; brick cistern and 
2 wells. I have lived there 17 years ; have been out of 
rain water in dry seasons ; never out of well water. I live 
out of town in summer ; if City bring in water should not 
be willing to be taxed for it ; it is not a matter of necessity ; 
good many wells sunk in neighborhood ; have estate in 
Bowdoin street, one house ; never heard any complaint as 
regards the well water ; have 4 estates in Myrtle street, but 
not able to speak of them ; have stores in South Market 
street, water from City pump, at east end of Market House ; 
conceive no necessity of bringing vvater into the City ; most 
prominent reason is the expense ; if taxed high they will 
drive me away from the City. I might take it if a corpora- 
tion would bring it in ; depth of my well in Hancock street 
about 26 feet ; 3 houses supplied from one well, and 2 from 

Cross examined. My principal objection to bringing 
water in, is expense ; do not know cost of wells ; built 4 
cisterns ; do not know expense ; never took the aqueduct ; 
like Boston water better than soft water ; Mr. Coolidge's 
filtered water I do not like ; it has a smoky taste. 

James Page. I live in Temple street ; am a bricklayer ; 
have water abundant ; too much ; is pretty good, but some 
adjoining is better ; supposed it is used more ; rain water, 
only taken from part of my roof ; estate on Gooch street 
supplied from a vv^ell above, which supplies 10 houses be- 
sides ; Mrs. Jepson's water is much better than mine. On 
an estate in Hancock street water is abundant and good, 
just below Myrtle street ; on an estate in Belknap street 
there is a well 90 feet deep ; water abundant and good ; on 
an estate in Morton place, well only 10 feet deep, and 
abundance of water and good ; enough for 1 00 families ; in 
Allen street, north of Hospital, they are well supplied as I 
am told ; in Myrtle street good, but wells deep ; land solid 


as marble all the way down ; as good water as I ever drank 
was on the low lands of City. I should not pay tax for 
water if brought in ; do not know of any exigency ; the 
time may come in a century. 

Cross examined. The water in some of the wells is 
not fit to drink ; some good ; there is carelessness in keep- 
ing wells ; prefer well water to brooks or ponds ; used for 
cooking ; it coats utensils ; generally furs them up, but not 
so bad as to stop use of kettles ; never saw it coated all 
over ; have seen in several places where kettles were coated 
so as to be stopped entirely ; I think at tavern near Market ; 
hav'e known them to buy privileges in wells by Mill Pond ; 
wells there by Gooch street are very good. Elisha Wood- 
ward has a good well near the theatre. In Jenkins' house 
had no cistern ; family I suppose bought soft water. At 
School House, Derne street, water is good ; do not know 
depth, soft I believe, but never used it. 

Charles Sprague. I live in Washington street, 502, 
Ward 10, water very good from spring and cistern and 
abundance ; never have heard complaints. My father lived 
in neighborhood 50 or 60 years ; never out of water ; a 
year and a half ago removed from Boylston street ; lived 
there 12 years ; never out of water; well 40 feet deep; in 
some other parts had same good luck, and never out of 

I have lived in Bedford street. Distil House square. Beach 
street, and 4 different houses on Washington street ; have 
moved 8 times. I do not know of any exigency for water ; 
have taken little or no pains to inquire ; have heard some 
noise. I live in the south part of the City, where perhaps 
it is less necessary ; the aqueduct passes our house, and 
should not take the trouble to take it in ; know but little of 
the City generally. 

The water at my house is good enough, that which Prov- 
idence has given us ; there is some humbuggery as to del- 
eteriousness of water, that is talked of. 

R. G. Shaw. Fifty years ago I lived at north end ; in 
Bridge street 5 or 6 years ; then in Union street ; then in 


Federal street, by Milk street ; then in Bowcloin square ; 
now in Beacon street. At the north end water was hard 
and brackish ; in all the other places good ; I have soft 
water by cisterns, or collected in hogsheads. I do not know 
of any necessity for introducing water into the City ; I 
lately dug a well by the Custom House 70a80 feet, by bor- 
ing; an Artesian well. On Commercial wharf the well 
supplies many families ; it is inexhaustible. I would not 
now take water from the City ; have a cistern that holds a 
100 hogsheads. In Bowdoin square, the cistern there built 
by Mr. Quincy, supplied by spring ; when I dug it there I 
found a living spring ; made our mortar from it. In Court 
street, dug a well, cost only ^15 for digging and stoning ; 
had an abundant supply ; good as can be ; at Parkman's 
old house it is of a very superior quality ; the wells not so 
good as before reservoir was dug. 

Cross examined. I do not know as to reservoirs affecting 
wells ; the well on Commercial wharf is always surrounded 
by people ; I use well water from choice ; if soft water 
should be brought in I should not take it ; have one cistern 
and a filtering one; they hold more than 100 hogsheads; 
I believe my well is 80 feet deep ; but do not know ; I do 
not know of any well where people pay for it ; never heard 
of water affecting cooking utensils ; never lived in a place 
in town where there was not an abundance of pump water, 
all good ; in Richmond street not so good as others. 

Isaac Davis. I live in Hanover street, No. 20 ; I am a 
jeweller ; have water from a spring ; my well is 17 feet 
deep ; contains good and pure water ; such as my family 
are pleased with ; I own 3 houses in one block ; have a suc- 
tion underneath my house. On an estate on Staniford 
street, never heard any complaint ; lived before on Wash- 
ington street, No. 18 ; while there, had plenty of water and 
pure ; heard no complaint. On Eliot estate, good water ; 
at present I should not take of the City and pay water rent ; 
I keep store No. 28 Washington street ; do not know of 
any necessity for water ; should not take it as at present 
supplied ; have lived in Hanover street 16 years. 


Cross examined. I use pump water ; give that the pre- 
ference ; the aqueduct does not go to my house ; think I 
should prefer well water. 

Joseph Noyes. I live 72 Salem street ; I am as well off 
as I wish for water ; I am not ashamed to let any body see 
it ; if every one would do as I have done, make a brick cis- 
tern, there would be no difficulty in obtaining water ; have 
1 1 houses in Noyes place, and one well supplies the whole ; 
if neighbors on Mill pond would let us alone we should 
have water enough. It is 50 years in July, since I lived in 
Boston ; almost all the time at the north end ; do not know 
the least necessity for water, if they would take pains to 
make wells or clear them out ; I do not know if they could 
supply the whole from the ridge ; 16 families come to my 
well ; I carried suction about 80 feet. 

Cross examined. As to expenses of well, I was very 
fortunate ; cost not more than ^150; is worth ^6,000 to 
my estates ; never had aqueduct ; do not like pond or river 
water ; there are too many things in it ; I do not know any 
neighbors that take it ; generally good wells there ; some 
bad ; Deacon Beals's well is bad by not pumping. I do not 
think I could let my houses for so much, by interest of 
^6,000, or ^400 a year, without good water. 

He-examined. The three swelled front houses in Rich- 
mond street, corner of Salem street, have an inexhaustible 
supply ; I understood from Cook, the mechanic, that there 
were 25 suctions from it. Philip Adams's well, opposite 
Baldwin place, contains excellent water ; I speak of it as it 
was in Dr. Baldwin's time. 

Adin Hall. I live in Lynde street, Ward 5 ; have 
plenty of water ; well for two houses ; have plenty for 10 
families ; I think it good water and a large supply ; have 
soft water plenty, there has been a little difficulty by the 
descent ; the digging of one would affect the other wells ; 
when we go to equal depths all are supplied ; have charge 
of several estates ; 2 estates in Lynde street and 2 in Tem- 
ple street ; one well would supply 100 families ; there is a 
very large old well, there is much difficulty in keeping it 


clear ; it rises within ten feet of tlie top ; it is below Grace 
Church ; 2 doors below this, another well that supplies 2 
families ; I live on estate in Spring street, (near Leverett 
street,) water good and plenty. On estate in Poplar street, 
well never dry. On an estate in Portland street, would 
supply 200 families, (2 wells.) In Lynde street cannot get 
over 2 feet of water, but cannot exhaust it where I live. In 
Tremont street, corner of Montgomery place, there is a 
well, and now a supply ; they dug near me, and mine be- 
came dry ; water has not returned again. Have had to do 
with estates in all parts of the City ; I am a Pveal Estate 
Broker ; have heard little complaint concerning water ; 
should not take City water if for nothing ; know of no ne- 
cessity for water only on Mill pond ; those who own there 
are very strenuous to get water ; I am particularly acquaint- 
ed at north end ; have sold and bought a great many estates 

Cross examined. I advertise a great many houses that I 
never look at ; I seldom let any houses ; purchasers do and 
sometimes do not inquire about the water ; lived only in 
one house where t used the aqueduct, and did not like it ; 
like well water ; in summer the aqueduct is unpleasant and 

Henry Hall. I live in Somerset street. Ward 4; I am 
well supplied with good water; my well is 25 feet deep; 
have 2 cisterns for rain water ; I lived in Bowdoin street 1 1 
years, no water ; well ruined after we went there ; when 
first dug very good ; became offensive by drains breaking 
through, as we supposed. In Purchase street, very well 
supplied and good ; pump is at head of Tileston's wharf; 
had to go for it ; also in John Brown's in Bowdoin street ; 
in Franklin place great abundance and good water ; suction 
in Brown's gave out : not enough water in the well ; do 
not know how many families took from it. I lived in Pur- 
chase street 7 years ; built house in Bowdoin street ; did 
not occupy it myself ; water plenty but not good ; (oppo- 
site Bulfinch place.) Had no confidence in my well ; the 
water comes from upper surface ; while present supply lasts 


should not take City water ; I fear that my well will either 
fail or deteriorate ; there is no better water now ; every 
body is delighted with it. 

Cross examined. I dug a well in Bowdoin street ; think 
it cost about $60 ; do not know of any becoming dry ; well 
in No. 53 became bad and was like bilge water ; examined 
it a great many times, but did not attempt to do any thing ; 
B. Parker owner of estate dug a well in street, and supplied 
with suction, but not constant. On Tileston's wharf, had 
to go 80 feet to well ; the water furred tea kettle ; hard 
water but pleasant to taste ; for soft water had aqueduct ; 
my family did not hke it ; sometimes interrupted by frost, 
but not cause of complaint; never drank rain water; do 
not know how many families are supplied by well at Tiles- 
ton's wharf ; most of the neighbors are. 

William Lawrenck. I have lived in Bulfinch street, 
Ward 4, 19 years last December; water very abundant; 
as good perhaps as there is in town or country ; had charge 
of William Boardman's estates, viz : in Washington street, 
(No. S3) and in Devonshire street ; stores supplied by same 
well, by suction ; never any want of water that I know of ; 
the American House, which is a large establishment, has 
stable ; dug well 18 feet; has stalls for over 100 horses; I 
was fearful it would not be adequate ; deepened it about 10 
feet ; the supply was still inadequate for 80 horses, (the 
constant number.) Commenced a new well ; dug about 
40 feet, then bored about 40 more ; struck water, a spring 
that came with such violence, that one of the men had to stop 
it with his jacket ; 3 suctions were put in when the meet- 
ing house was burned ; no better water in the City. The 
American House was built in 1834; the same well supphes 
the house, stable and another house. Mr. Boardman has 
another estate opposite this, on Wing's lane, (Elm street,) I 
believe but one well there, but do not know. Stores in 
Merchants' row have plenty of water, but do not know the 
quality ; the water is used in packing provisions. On Mr. 
Boardman's estate, on Hancock street, good water and 
plenty. The stores I built in Market street, (Cornhill) I 


do not know that I built a well. Should not be willing to 
pay for water, if brought in by the City. Where I live, I 
built a large cistern containing 40 or 50 hogsheads ; this 
winter at the American House, they were out of rain water; 
first time since it was built ; do not know of any exigency 
for water ; but not so conversant with other parts of the 
City of my own knowledge ; I do not know of any injury to 

Ct'oss examined. I never heard of water coating my 
tea-kettle ; it was hard water ; I was at a great expense in 
making a cistern, more than common. They do not take 
aqueduct at the American House ; my impression is that 
the well at the American House must have cost ^200; 
have never used rain water for drinking ; in spring it is a 
little discolored ; I think this is owing to burning soft coal, 
but I do not know ; the aqueduct does not go by us. My 
partner, Stone's, is very good ; at fire in Hanover street, 
do not know of my own knowledge as to the quantity ex- 
hausted ; the next morning the water was only 3 feet down. 
' Long Pond supplies Concord River. I own a dam across 
river; have now a lease for 10 years of the whole power 
at ^2,300 ; if water were taken from that pond should 
object ; do not know personally as to quantity supplied 
to river. 

Caleb Curtis. I live in Chestnut, corner of Spruce 
street, Ward 6 ; lived there 12^ years, and never saw want 
of water ; I have 2 wells on the estate ; supply 3 houses ; 
do not know any want of water ; one or two persons there 
have dug wells deeper ; do not know if I should take it 
from the City at water rent ; bought water once when my 
cistern was cleaned ; should not object to pay for aqueduct ; 
rain water sometimes not so clear ; for myself should do 
very well without it ; no necessity for soft water except for 
washing sometimes. 

Cross examined. I do not hear of any deficiency in 
wells ; mine is not very hard ; after 8 years found a coating 
on boiler in the first house ; I have bought aqueduct water ; 
should prefer that to cistern for washing. 



John Welles. I have lived in Summer street, Ward 9, 
20 years ; am 75 years of age ; very excellent well of water 
and great abundance. Horace Gray's pump log is in same 
well ; have soft water from aqueduct. I own several tene- 
ments in the City. In Front street I built about 60 houses ; 
they are partly supplied from a well, partly by aqueduct ; 
own perhaps 25 houses ; water excellent and abundant. 

For 20 years lived in Franklin Place ; was supplied from 
a spring that supplied Barrel's fish-pond ; own other 
houses and have some interest in Mill Pond ; had a man on 
the ground who bored with success, I believe. I own 
an estate in Cornhill ; (Lincoln & Edmands) the water 
there is used for manufacturing purposes. As to the ex- 
igency, I wish to answer with candor. I prefer aqueduct 
water, and am the only one of my family that does. The 
water in well of State House yard is said to ebb and flow. 

1 have heard of inconvenience experienced in this part of 
the City for want of water ; formerly there was not so 
abundant a supply as before ; if the City water should pass 
my estates have no necessity for it. I own an estate in 
Natick, one tenth of a mile from Charles river ; use pond 
water for v/ashing ; never use river water for drinking. 

Cross examined. I reside in the country 3 or 4 months 
in summer, in Dorchester and Natick ; the well in Dorches- 
ter is good ; used for washing ; for the 60 houses have only 

2 wells ; they are ancient and in use ; first well is in the 
street. The aqueduct passes in Front street ; do not know 
how many houses take it ; should think most of them do ; 
generally in letting, people inquire as to water. Few per- 
sons want to drink the aqueduct, not one in fifty ; I was 
President of the Corporation ; had 5 or 600 dollars left and 
it was laid out in boring ; understood it was successful ; do 
not know as to other borings on Mill Pond. 

Henry Gassett. I live in Summer street ; have a well, 
cistern, and aqueduct ,• my well is abundant and of fine 
quality ; cistern hardly ever in use, because I have the 
aqueduct. I seldom clean out my cistern ; the neighbor- 
hood is in excellent condition as to water. In Otis place, 


well good and abundant ; in Kneeland street had aqueduct 
alone ; in Newbury place have well and aqueduct ; — at 
times, in great rains I think, the well water was not so good. 

I do not know of any necessity for water, because people 
will not pay for the aqueduct ; only 3 in Colonade row 
take it ; have a sufficiency of well water and good quality ; 
this is mere opinion. At stores in Kilby street, boys get 
some water, but not so good ; my well, 40 feet, dug in win- 
ter season. 

Cross examined. I do not recollect the expenses ; wells 
in the neighborhood, not more than 20 or 25 feet deep ; I do 
not drink aqueduct water, nor my family ; my well water is 
the best I ever drank ; like it better than country water ; 
that is too soft. My ground of opinion as to the necessity 
was, their not taking the aqueduct ; that fact decided me, 
but not entirely. Aqueduct has not failed more than a fort- 
night in 15 years ; some of neighbors' failed last winter ; a 
leak was found. 

Benjamin Willis. I lived on Fort Hill about 25 years ; 
water ample and of good quality ; when I shut up my 
house, people in Broad street come ; my well is 31 feet 
deep ; when absent they tell me they suck it ; I own 3 
houses on Copp's Hill ; supply of water ample and very 
good; 2 wells to the three houses; wells 14 feet; have 
had no complaints ; also three houses on Gridley street ; 
the well supplies three houses ; have a house on the top of 
Fort Hill ; supply of water very good, I believe ; 2 pumps 
in same well ; my pump not so long and failed ; have care 
of house in Hamilton court ; no well on the estates ; have 
right in another ; the pump on top of hill belongs to City, 
and is never dry ; fourth house in Gridley street, supplied 
by the well at Russia wharf; have known them pump all 
day ; I should not take water for any tenements I own. 

Cross examined. Water on Fort Hill very good ; have 
cisterns to all but one ; that is occupied by a great many 
tenants ; let it to two Irishmen ; do not know how many 
families ; they catch water in hhds. ; formerly the aqueduct 


came in ; I did not see fit to continue the aqueduct on ac- 
count of the expense ; they have never apphed for it. 

Lemuel Pope. I hve at corner of Bowdoin and Derne 
streets ; the well is good ; have 2 cisterns ; in the neighbor- 
hood wells are from 15 to 16 feet deep; good but sometimes 
short ; do not know of any necessity for water ; would not 
pay a water rent ; I have lived in Myrtle street 3 years ; the 
supply of water very great and of good quality ; have also 
lived in Poplar street 12 months ; water good and abun- 
dant ; in Pinckney street, one year ; supply not good ; too 
many had a right to the pump ; the quality of water is good. 

Cross examined. Wells sometimes short ; do not know 
for how long a time ; 5 or 6 families take from my well ; 
they use it for washing ; I have used it but put in soda a 
few times ; never heard of its coating the household uten- 
sils ; think there are not as many as 8 or 10 families suppli- 
ed from Pinckney street. 

Thomas Curtis. I Hve in Summer street; my well 
water good ; have cistern ; they never fail ; in Purchase 
street, head of Pearl street, good water. Have lived 3 
years in Suffolk place ; plenty of water, but not so good ; 
somewhat of a milky color ; have a filtering cistern ; addi- 
tional cost about ^33 for the filtering part; the rest was in 
the contract for my house ; would not take it from the City 
and pay water rent with my present supply. 

Cross examined. Have not the aqueduct ; it passes by 
my door ; my cistern holds about 3,000 gallons ; there was 
a well on the estate when I bought it ; well 28 feet deep ; 
never fails ; about 14 feet of water ; said to be the best 
well in the neighborhood ; have drank some aqueduct wa- 
ter ; in Suffolk place never drank aqueduct water ; the well 
there was the poorest of any 1 had. 




Friday, March 15, 1839. 

Dr. George Hayward. Question. What is your opin- 
ion respecting the necessity of a supply of soft water, for the 
health and comfort of the inhabitants of the City. 

Answer. I always regarded it as desirable to have a 
supply of soft water for the comfort and health of the inhab- 
itants, the purer the better. In the water of this City, the 
foreign mixtures are more injurious than the articles that are 
chemically combined with it. It is difficult, if not impossi- 
ble, in a place as compactly built as Boston, to prevent some 
of the fluids from the drains and vaults escaping into the 
wells. Personal cleanliness, which cannot be preserved 
without an abundant supply of soft water, I regard as a very 
efficient means of preserving health. 

The well water in Boston generally contains a quantity of 
neutral salts ; it is not positively injurious to any great ex- 
tent; I have known instances where benefit has been de- 
rived to patients from using soft water ; it is important that 
the supply of soft water should be constant and certain ; as 
to the ratio of mortality last year, the deaths were 1 to 42 ; 
it was a healthy year; population 80 to 81,000. 

In Philadelphia infantile diseases prevail during the sum- 
mer months. Pulmonary disease prevails there nearly, if 
not quite to the same extent as in Boston. 

In New York, pulmonary diseases have been nearly 1-4 
part of all the diseases of that City for 32 years past ; about 
the same proportion as in Europe. 


London has become more healthy since 1 800 ; the pro- 
portion of deaths used to be 1 to 28 ; now 1 to 42 ; I am 
not aware of the effect of water on children particularly ; 
since the City has been better cleaned, the bowel complaint 
has been less frequent ; do not know as to the amount of 
supply of soft water in London ; but there is a copious sup- 
ply ; if water is unpalatable, or noxious, people would mix it. 

To a question by the Mayor. 

The effect of salts in the water of Boston is ordinarily 
none ; but in a diseased state are perceptible in the stom- 
ach and digestive organs, but not in producing calculous 
diseases ; there is so little lime ; I referred to dyspepsia 
where there is a benefit from change. Soft water was in- 
troduced into the Massachusetts General Hospital with good 
, effect to the patients, I believe ; I speak of the general ef- 

Cross examined. To dyspeptic patients, no doubt, the 
diet is important ; there are, no doubt, some stomachs which 
cannot bear hard water. An abundant supply of water is 
essential to health and comfort ; water suffers changes by 
boiling ; it has an effect on cooking utensils ; in a dense 
population impurities will get into the water. I recollect 
one striking case. When the cholera broke out in Eliot 
street, a drain broke into a well ; all the families who used 
that water had the cholera. I believe that in this instance 
the impure water acted as an exciting cause of the disease, 
at a time when the whole population of the City was pre- 
disposed to cholera. I heard that a tan vat had been 
there ; but families had lived there years and years before 
without any effect. I never knew any other case where an 
effect could be distinctly traced ; the water was disagreea- 
ble ; I tasted it ; the families drank it and used it for cook- 
ing, &c.; it was unpleasant to the taste ; I feel very certain 
a drain ran into it ; hard water cannot be applied to clean- 
liness so well as soft ; soap is decomposed in hard water ; 
soft water I think would be conducive to health, in regard 
to personal cleanUness. 

In Philadelphia, bowel complaints prevail beyond those 


of the eastern Cities ; but this is among patients, (infants) 
who use but Httle Avater ; rain water, if abundant and pure, 
would be the best we could have. 

As to the London tables, do not recollect the particular 
table, but the proportion is as before stated. 

There is a large proportion of persons of my acquaint- 
ance who now drink aqueduct water. A\\ soft water is un- 
palatable to persons unaccustomed to it. Calculous diseas- 
es usually arise from lime, of which there is a small propor- . 
portion in the City water ; they are now very rare here ; 
fifty years ago, they were much more frequent. The calcu- 
lous concretions at that period were probably uric acid, and 
the free use of vegetable acid in punch, which was so com- 
mon then, might have had an influence in their production. 
It is certain that they have, in a great measure, disappeared 
among us since a change in that respect has taken place. 

Change of water does not often affect health on changing 
from town to country ; people who go to the western coun- 
try, which is a lime country, are affected with bowel com- 
plaints. In the Massachusetts General Hospital, we for- 
merly used well and rain water ; now use aqueduct. In 
Philadelphia, the water is soft ; do not know of any City of 
equal size of Boston more healthy. I drink well water, be- 
cause I get no other ; do not know of any ill effect from 
drinking well water. [The witness here referred to the dis- 
eases from the Tables of Boston for 1837.] I should not 
say there were any diseases peculiar to Boston and not to 
Philadelphia ; there are affections of the stomach here ; 10 
or 1 5 years ago they were more prevalent than now ; some 
diseases prevail at certain times. 

Boston is not so healthy as some parts of the country ; 
deaths in large cities over those of the country are caused in 
part by vice and excesses ; Boston is remarkably healthy for 
a City. Dr. Emerson of Philadelphia makes that City as 
healthy as any City. Consumptions are prevalent in Eu- 
rope and here ; not more common in Boston than in the 
country towns on the sea coast ; they prevail where cold 
and moisture are combined, as in Scotland ; in very hot 


and cold countries they are more rare. I never analysed 
any Boston water ; have merely read the analyses of chem- 
ists ; distilled water will wash ; I never used it for that ; 
have used it for medicinal purposes. 

He-examined. The aqueduct water was introduced into 
the Hospital on account of insufficiency of supply. The 
cases of gravel here are, for the most part, from the uric 
acid ; in London they are from lime ; most of our patients 
are therefore benefited by alkahes ; in other countries usu- 
ally by acids. In Lexington, Kentucky, there have been 
more operations for stone than here, though that is a new 
place. I should take soft water, and pay rent for it ; at the 
hospital, water is collected in a reservoir ; in the cellar I 

Dr. Walter Channing. Soft water is of great import- 
ance ; very important as to diet and cleanliness. In the 
first place in the kitchen and cooking ; hard water will not 
cleanse ; it decomposes soap ; cisterns impure ; clothes 
rinsed in hard water will not be cleansed ; it is impossible 
to be cleanly with the present water of the City. I find 
the tea kettle coated with thick deposit ; when I see 
such a mass of material, I think the incrustation is suffi- 
cient to affect water used in food. It also requires more 
heat to boil water in vessels so incrusted, and is not 
economical. I think what is thus deposited in cooking, 
cannot answer any good purpose in the system, when the 
water containing it is used as a drink. In relation to 
health, I would observe that in the City house lots are small, 
and growing smaller ; people are brought nearer together ; 
drains are crossing your lands ; there are vaults and cess 
pools, and you will have an interchange of these materials. 
In my own house lately, there was a nuisance, which was 
very offensive ; it was said my neighbor's drain or privy was 
flowing in upon me ; I found his cess pool, drain and cis- 
tern broke into my cellar ; this exposed my family to dis- 
ease, and my domestic accomodations, vegetables, &c. wer& 
injured ; my neighbor was obliged to buy water from Ja- 
maica pond for some time, his cistern water being wholly 


Unfit for use, as his drain water found its way into the cis- 
tern. The City has allowed me to have a drain from my vault 
to a common sevi^er ; my cistern water is often yellow and 
offensive. Two to three thousand years ago, the Romans had 
aqueducts ; when I recollect what they did, I am surprised 
to find how little we have done towards this object. I do 
not know any particular fact or case as to the effect of wa- 
ter ; I have no question, that the more free water is from 
foreign admixtures, the better for health. 

The skin is one of the most extensive organs in the sys- 
tem ; every part of the surface is constantly performing im- 
portant functions ; we may talk, eat, &c. as we may, but 
perfect health depends upon the skin ; if this is dirty, it 
does not perform its functions. We have not been accus- 
tomed to know how to clean the skin, and a child comes to 
washing very reluctantly ; they are so unaccustomed to it ; 
I do not appear as an advocate for this plan of getting water 
into the city ; hard water will rub the skin off, but will not 
cleanse it ; animals will suffer for want of soft water ; hard 
water takes off varnish from chaises, as I am told. 

Cross examined. It is difficult to be particular in a 
question of this kind ; I have spoken of salts, &c. ; and 
said I knew from the vessels used that the water was impure. 
I do not know if calcareous disorders have increased or 
not ; I am not a surgeon ; I know of no cases of gravel, 
dysuria, &c., and believe they may be owing to for- 
eign matter, injuring digestion ; cannot bring to mind par- 
ticular cases of stone ; do not know as to the extent of oper- 
ations for calcareous diseases ; I do not know the effect of 
water on those diseases ; surgical diseases of the bladder 
are not within my knowledge ; have occasionally seen cases 
of gravel ; do not know if increased or not ; tables of dis- 
eases are published, and I contribute to them ; have very 
little confidence in them myself; I suppose there is a con- 
nection between the disease of the urine and the water hab- 
itually used in the community ; cider might impair the di- 
gestion ; do not know a case of calcareous complaint trace- 
able to any particular cause. I do not know the mode m 


we do not know ; in animals I have no knowledge of the 
effects of water in the country and town respectively. I 
collected information some time ago for lectures on the an- 
cient aqueducts, and was surprised at the extent and the 
supply, and the readiness to bear the expense of them ; 
they were made at a great expense. 

The comparison of Boston with New York is in our fa- 
vor ; the mortality is from i^ to ^ deaths under 5 years ; 
consumption is prevalent in Boston ; tubercles are the prom- 
inent cause ; do not know the cause of tubercles ; there is 
less consumption in the fever and ague countries ; I never 
knew of but two cases of fever and ague here which ap- 
peared to have been produced in this City ; think there 
is as much in the country as in Boston ; in consumption 
here, we often find calcareous deposits in patients ; can- 
not say if more here than in the country ; I do not know 
that the water has this effect ; hard water would produce 
bowel complaints. 

Re-examined. Medical men act upon the principle in 
practice, that water has an effect on the constitution, and 
on diseases ; we are very particular always to direct apothe- 
caries to use pure water ; in the families I visit, few have 
aqueducts ; the City is not well supplied with them. 

Dr. J. V. C. Smith. I concur very fully with the other 
medical gentlemen who have testified, upon the general ne- 
cessity of a copious supply of pure soft water. 

Cross examined. I am inclined to give as much weight 
to the statements of Dr. Hay Jrard as to the others ; perhaps 
because he spoke more slowly and was better heard ; yet I 
think the medical philosophy of Dr. Channing is true ; I am 
confined in practice to a hospital ; have no private practice ; 
the opinions of medical men are formed by interchange of 

Augustus A. Hayes, (Chemist.) I have analysed wells 
in Boston ; one was an Artesian well at the Worcester rail 
road depot ; this result is from water taken 130 feet deep ; 
since that, the borings have been deepened, as I have under- 
stood ; I have made two or three comparative analyses, 


which yellow fever is caused ; the operation of those causes 
[produces a paper containing his analysis] the water was 
brought to me by Nathan Hale, who stated to me where 
it came from ; the paper contains a true analysis of the 
wells, as stated to me. 

Cross examined. I have analysed the waters of the 
stream in Roxbury, where the chemical works are ; at my 
own motion ; they contain a peculiar vegetable deposit. 

Monday, March 28, 1839. 

Henry Rice. I live in Bulfinch place ; have a good 
supply of hard water ; for soft water I use rain ; have no 
aqueduct ; have occasionally purchased ; bought of man at 
north end ; have twice sent to my store for aqueduct water ; 
my well water is changed ; I was told it was soft ; think my 
well is about 26 feet deep ; my store is in Milk street. On 
an estate in Pearl place, have no soft water except from 
cistern ; on another estate in Sewall place, have no soft 
water except in cistern ; I have a sufficient supply of hard 
water but it is not fit for washing ; I believe much like 
other hard water ; never examined particularly ; use water 
from my own well because I have no other ; I would cheer- 
fully pay 50 to 100 dollars per annum, to have soft water 
at my house ; think it would be for the interest of owners 
to take soft water; but not to pay so much as I would ; on 
an estate in Essex street have no aqueduct, but have rain 
and well water ; have three estates in Washington street, 
above the Marlboro' Hotel ; believe they have only well 
water ; they are old buildings ; I think they have cisterns ; 
one has ; I have two houses on Vernon street, (Barton 
point) have only a well and cistern ; well is said to be good ; 
is is a part of the old Alms House land ; think they dug 
12 to 15 feet deep. 

To Committee. I would give 50 to 100 dollars a year 
for soft water ; it is one of the greatest luxuries ; I have put 
washing out and think I have paid ^ 50 a year ; a dollar a 
week ; I do not know of any complaint in the neighbor- 
hood for want of water ; I should take it at every estate, 
at the price it would cost. 


Question by Committee. Do you know of any com- 
plaints for want of water ? 

Answer. I do ; hard water forms a crust on the inside 
of the tea boiler ; washing is done out of the family and 
continues so still ; rain water is very bad from coal dust ; it 
is discolored slightly ; do not use it for shaving or bathing ; 
very seldom for shaving ; do not know but I might use it 
once or twice in a year. 

Cross examined. My cistern holds about 20 hhds. ; has 
been out this and last year also ; my family consists of 10 
to 20 persons ; have suffered from want of quantity in for- 
mer seasons ; the complaints referred to are for want of 
hard and soft water. On Pearl place, dug a new well last 
October; supposed to be sufficient ; cost about ^'60; 22 
feet deep ; it was dug by Higgins ; the well has given out ; 
about a fortnight ago I was so informed ; I have done noth- 
ing yet ; I am considering wiiat to do ; neighbor James 
Boyd's well is 80 feet deep ; I enjoy good health ; my fam- 
ily do not ; I have no other water, and it is useless to com- 
plain of what we cannot remedy. I lived once in Mt. Ver- 
non street, (next to Judge Shaw's) I was plagued for want 
of water ; my well was 90 feet deep ; my domestics could not 
pump it ; have the aqueduct at our store ; good as we want 
for our purposes ; if the aqueduct passed my house would 
give ,^50 a year ; I do not know why it is not carried into 
Sewall place ; I never applied for aqueduct to my house, 
because I knew it was useless on account of the height ; I 
never applied for aqueduct at Sewall place nor in Washing- 
ton street ; have rented on long lease in Washington street ; 
I think the aqueduct would be cheaper than a well ; if I 
should build a block of houses I should take it ; a well 80 
feet deep would cost ,^'250. 

Dr. Warren. I have been in the habit of using rain 
water for domestic purposes, from 12 to 15 years; I was 
led to do this by facts that took place early in my practice. 

The first cases which attracted my attention to this sub- 
ject, were those called the Cholic of Infants. This disor- 
der attacks young infants with periodical, and in many cases 


daily pains. It lasts a few weeks and disappears as the 
child gains strength. In a case of this kind, I noticed that 
when the mother went into the country with the child for 
a few days, the child was free from the pains the day after 
its arrival in the country, and continued so till it returned to 
town. I attributed this to the change of water, and was led 
by it to prescribe pure water to mothers and nurses, when 
the children were severely affected with these pains. Some 
time after these occurrences, a medical friend informed 
me, that he had been affected for some time with the dys- 
pepsia and diarrhoea, and could only get relief by employing 
pure soft water. Another circumstance which awakened 
my attention to this matter, was my meeting with the works 
of Dr. Lamb on distilled water. He thought that impure 
water disordered the digestive organs ; and that it served, 
as he said, for the vehicle of the poison of cancer. With- 
out giving into Dr. Lamb's views altogether, I attached 
some importance to them ; and when one of my family was 
attacked with a formidable dyspepsia, for which all remedies 
were tried in vain, and among them a voyage to Havana, 
I at last thought of the use of rain water. From the time 
we began to use it he recovered rapidly, and we have con- 
tinued to use it from that time to this, for drink and for all 
■cuUnary purposes, and we have always found it to answer 
much better for the cookery of vegetables than the spring 
water of this City. These facts have led me to recommend 
rain and aqueduct water to a considerable number of per- 
sons ; and so important do I consider the use of pure water, 
-that it is my intention to put up works for the purpose of 
supplying it freely to every part of my house. 

Nearly all the towns in Europe have a supply of soft wa- 
ter ; they have not pumps like ours, but pipes, through 
which the water is conveyed to every part of the house, in 
an inexhaustible stream. It is not unusual for citizens to 
leave their pipes open and flowing through the night to 
cleanse the drains and water closets. 

In Italy nearly all the cities are supplied with soft water ; 
this is a general fact ; they have a supply by pipes. 


In Rome there are three aqueducts, and the City is wa- 
tered in a splendid way ; one canal brings hard water for 
the fountains only ; not used for drinking ; I do not know 
of Artesian wells there. In London the mortality is 1 to 
35 ; it has been changed from 1 to 20 or 25, to 1 in 35 ; 
Boston is I believe 1 in 40. In Philadelphia it was stated 
to me, that since the introduction of soft water, there had 
been no great epidemic ; and it is well known they have 
suffered less by cholera than most of our great cities ; a 
statement presented to me of deaths, shows 1 in 20 or 
25. In London, at Somerset House, I saw tables of deaths, 
&c. kept, which will be valuable ; the ill effects of water are 
principally by extraneous matters, animal and vegetable ; 
strangers are affected with purging in Paris ; I do not 
mean that mineral impregnation has no influence ; there 
are calcareous impregnations. In the Western States of 
this country, where there is a calcareous soil, the water is 
distinctly purgative and poisonous to strangers ; have expe- 
rienced it myself ; I was attacked by fever and then diarrhoea ; 
we know that that water is strongly impregnated with lime ; 
this and all saline matter must have some influence on the 
human body ; the upper springs are most likely to be affect- 
ed by animal and vegetable impregnations ; lower springs 
by mineral ; more children than adults are affected by 

Cross examined. I have been in practice since 1802 ; 
the predominant disease with us is consumption ; I think 
about 1-5 ; I do not recollect any more peculiar to us than 
Philadelphia ; consider chance of life here considerably 
above that of Philadelphia ; I think here it was 1 in 30, 
when there it was 1 in 20 ; bowel complaints there are fre- 
quent ; generally affect children the most ; I cannot tell 
whether all physicians ask or direct as to water ; I do not al- 
ways ; but generally and habitually I direct distilled, or aque- 
duct, or rain water for all medical purposes ; water and air 
operate much alike on health ; but we cannot observe exactly 
the manner and degree in which they operate ; water and air 
stand upon much the same footing in medical treatment ; 


I wish to be understood, that if water operates, it does 
slowly ; Boston is very healthy ; but think, if supplied with 
good pure water we should enjoy better health even than we 
do now ; in my diet I use coarse wheat bread, vulgarly called 
dyspepsia bread ; I think it best ; I judge of water as of 
medicine ; if a patient gets well after using a particular 
medicine, we say the medicine cured him ; cannot recollect 
any other cases than those I have mentioned ; it is just as 
certain in my opinion, that hard water has an injurious ef- 
fect, as that bad air has ; and it is generally allowed that 
epidemic diseases are dependent on the atmospheric condi- 
tion ; distilled water is not so wholesome for want of atmos- 
pheric air. It is a curious fact, that this part of the coun- 
try is very free from calculous complaints, that is stone and 
gravel. In my experience I do not recollect of more than 
one or two cases of stone originating in Boston ; Dr. Nel- 
son, of Canada, told me he had operated on four times the 
number I had ; also Dr. Drake, in Ohio, informed me to the 
same effect ; I have attributed the great prevalence of this 
disorder on the St. Lawrence, Ohio, &c., to the beds of 
lime stone, which form a large part of their soil ; here there 
is but little in the Commonwealth ; some cases in my prac- 
tice from the State of Maine, were from a limestone country. 
I have cured gravel by use of alkali ; sometimes use alkalies^ 
sometimes acids. My family is much the same as others in 
health ; we use considerable exercise and eat coarse bread, 
as before stated ; diarrhoea is common in limestone coun- 
tries ; I do not know that there is a greater change of air 
from town to country than from country to town ; but it is^ 
certain that patients affected with disordered bowels are- 
cured by going into the country. These cases I attribute 
to change of water and change of air ; I do not imagine 
there is any great difference ; there is evidence here that 
people live longer in the country than in towns ; the docu- 
ments in support of these opinions are imperfect in this 
country ; but in Europe it is perfectly established ; in Eng- 
land there is a difference of ^ of mortaUty between town 
and country. The difference in eating, that is the want of 

good food, is in part the cause, but not the whole ,' the pro-' 
portion of fluid which goes off from the pores is exactly 
ascertained, but I do not recollect it. Digging canals is de- 
cidedly unfavorable to the longevity of laborers ; I do not 
think I ever turned my attention to the effects of water be- 
fore the case of my own family ; my father never instructed 
me about it ; the water after I moved to my present resi- 
dence grew worse. If I sent a number of children, affect- 
ed with disordered bowels, out of town, and they all grew 
better, I should think it afforded strong presumption of 
the good effects of the practice. As to the health of chil- 
dren in Rome, I did not particularly inquire ; but I know 
the mortality was very great, 1 in 28 : the mortality of chil- 
dren in the country here, is not ascertained. The tables of 
mortality in Europe answer for insurances here ; the English 
are unwilling to insure lives in this country ; they ask a 
double premium ; I take it their opinion is founded on the 
supposed unhealthiness of the country. The aqueduct 
water from Jamaica pond, is as good as any that can be 
brought in. 

As the question is asked me, I reply that I think I am 
more particular than most persons, as to what I eat and 
drink ; I do not believe Dr. Lamb was right in his opinion, 
that water was the vehicle of the poison of cancer. Dys- 
pepsia I think is diminishing here ; a great many people are 
getting into the use of aqueduct and rain water ; I recollect 
in 1812, there was a rain water doctor here ; he was en- 
couraged owing to the common disposition to quackery. 

Re-examined. I believe the water in Boston is diminish- 
ing ; do not know any fact to prove its general deteriora- 
tion as to quality ; people complain more than formerly of 
want of it ; particularly on Mt. Vernon. A friend of mine 
in that quarter has found it necessary to have a rain water 
establishment. In Philadelphia fever and ague was very 
prevalent, before the introduction of the Schuylkill water ; 
since, it has diminished or quite disappeared. The in- 
crease of population will I think deteriorate the water ; for 
this increase must increase the quantity of impurities ; if 


people had the means of using water freely, they would 
keep themselves more clean ; I cannot answer as to effects 
produced in warm climates, by the use of water ; it must be 
salutary ; in England the climate is much the same as our 
own. In London, water is used in all houses I have been 
into, to an extent we have no idea of; the life of man has 
been diminished by excesses ; the Irish lower class of the 
country do not live long ; the use of ardent spirits affects 
their health ; other laborers also short lived ; the Germans 
perhaps not so much ; they have higher employments than 
the Irish. The higher classes in Europe, though in some 
respects luxurious, live long ; this is remarkable, and must 
be accounted for by the fact that they are generally inde- 
pendent and therefore cheerful. They also take great pains 
about the preservation of health by exercise. It is difficult 
to recollect particular facts in practice unless noted. For in- 
stance, it is well known that calomel purges ; if you should 
ask me what proof I have of it, I should say my general ex- 
perience of its use. But if you then call on me to say in 
what particular case I know it to have had that effect, per- 
haps I could not recollect one particular case. This diffi- 
culty applies to the use of hard water ; for though we be- 
lieve and even know it to be less healthy than pure water, 
it might be difficult to adduce one single instance of its ill 
effects. In the range of tenements from School or Beacon 
to Howard street, there were several old men, Mr. Greene, 
Mr. Hubbard, Mr. Babcock, and others ; but I think if you 
get pure Avater, there will be a greater number of long lived 
persons than there have been. River water has the advan- 
tage of atmospheric air. over lake water, but the latter is 
more pure. 

Thursday, March 21, 1839. 

Dr. Jackson. My impression is that pure water is more 
healthy than impure water ; this is an old opinion. In 
attending to the influence of water in this City, I do not 
know any evidence of its deleterious effects internally ; I 
mean there are no certain evidences of any deleterious 


effects on an extensive scale. There are individual instan- 
ces tending to show, that pure water is more salutary than 
well water. I ought however to state that this circumstance 
is no evidence that it is not producing an effect at all times ; 
there are many things operating injuriously, whose effects 
are slow and not observable. 

The well water is not agreeable to the taste ; and people 
are led to mix something with the water ; and this begins 
often early in life ; the consequences are obvious to every 
man ; I must say that this has always appeared to me to be 
the worst effect of our water, as regards its internal use. I 
know instances of people so mixing it. As a physician, I 
inquire of patients as to what they drink, their habits of life, 
&c. I do not know that I can state any thing more positively 
than I have done. I recollect an instance of a coachman 
in this town, who applied to me under dyspepsia ; he was 
severely, affected ; I found him to be a respectable, discreet 
man, being in a family where he was not confined to severe 
labor, and paid every attention to his diet ; he twice left the 
City by my advice for some months ; recovered and returned 
again ; I could discover nothing unless in the water ; he 
could not live in town ; went into the country, recovered 
fine health, and for years afterwards told me he had become 
perfectly well, and so much changed I did not know him. 
I have used aqueduct water till within 18 months; pure 
water is vastly more agreeable ; I find it so in the country. 
I use well water in the City and some of my family use it. 
Several years since, while living in Summer street, I used 
first well water, afterwards aqueduct water ; was prejudiced 
against it at first, but very soon left off well water. I have 
a cistern for rain water at my present house, but the water is 
disagreeable with coal dust (or soot) so strong, I could not 
use it. I tried it and endeavored to persuade my family to 
drink it but they would not. I do not know the expense of 
the cistern. 

As to the external uses, I am not aware that the differ- 
ence of water is so important ; the great difficulty is we do 
not get enough of it with sufficient ease. One consequence 


of deficiency of water I can state, but not without some ex- 
planation. In this City one cause of less health is, the 
being overworked, not so much from great efforts, as work- 
ing longer ; people in the City walk quicker, in the country, 
slower ; this applies to all kinds of effort. In the City the 
motions are quicker than in the country. In most houses 
there are persons who seldom go abroad, being engaged in 
domestic labor. The wife, in some cases, does the labor ; 
in others, the domestics ; washing and scouring are very 
important items in this labor of the City ; and a facility for 
getting water is important ; no persons are more apt to 
overwork themselves than mothers, &c. I have seeti the 
evils of this overwork within doors ; many suffer from it ; 
among others, my friends, the lawyers, &c. ; I have fre- 
quently advised them ; but a woman who works with her 
hands, has no alternative ; she cannot get rid of the labor. 
Among the poor, I always inquired as to causes of ill health. 
In no set of people is it more important to obviate the 
causes of ill health, to get more work out of doors and less 
within. Thus I have been led to the discovery in many 
cases, that their labor was greatly increased from want of a 
sufficiency of good water. I cannot call to mind any par- 
ticular cases now ; I do not lay up the instances whic'i are 
the evidence of it ; I do not recollect the effect in the Hos- 
pital ; I do not recollect any thing very definite as to other 
cities ; the health of London has been constantly improving. 

Cross examined. As all or nearly all use the hard water 
for drink in some way, there is not an opportunity of com- 
paring the effects of the hard and soft water. As to sohds 
we can compare the effect of different articles, because we 
have an option which to use. 

I frequently have asked about the water that patients 
used ; a large proportion drink other things. When a ques- 
tion arises, I ask whether they drink the aqueduct water, 
principally in cases of complaints of the alimentary canal ; 
and where diet comes under discussion I commonly 
ask ; a distaste of water often leads to this. I know gen- 
erally where the aqueduct runs, as in Washington street. 


not far up Winter street ; I believe in some part of Tremont 
street ; I do not direct it to be obtained ; there is a difficul- 
ty in getting it ; I cannot mark any distinction in the health 
of the City, where aqueduct is taken, and where not. I 
cannot say how many people take the aqueduct ; should not 
think a large proportion of people dislike it; generally, in 
first using it, my impression is, people do not like it. I do 
not think jnq should have to go through any degree of in- 
temperance before we get used to the aqueduct ; we get fond 
of soft water sooner than in hard ; my experience in this 
case is hke that in all common affairs of life. 

I should say from my experience, that one half the young 
men who mix something with water, begin on account of the 
water not being good. I do not know as to the practice in 
the country ; am very sure it is a cause ; it may be an ex- 
cuse ; an apology for the practice of mixing. My opinion is 
that intemperance often begins with mixing something with 
the water ; when people change from hard to aqueduct 
water, and the reverse, it is generally disagreeable ; the 
same in changing from country to city, and the contrary, 

As to labor, I did not distinguish between the use of aque- 
duct and hard water ; in this I wish to be understood. In 
tracing back disease, I find one cause is, the quality of the 
water used by laboring people. I cannot bring facts enough 
to prove the effects ; but we may judge from this ; these 
people say to me, it is well I have the aqueduct, or on the 
contrary, I am badly off for water. I have no question but 
the labor is lessened, in parts of the City where the aqueduct 
is used ; in some cases they have said to me they had been 
obliged to leave such a house for want of water. As an 
illustration I ask a woman in respect to labor ; endeavor 
to see if it cannot be diminished ; I ask her if she has to Uft 
the water, &c. ; she will say, if I had the aqueduct I should 
do better. The health of Boston is better than that of 
New York or Philadelphia. Boston is among the most 
healthy cities ; my impression is, they have gone beyond us 
in some cities in England in guarding against causes of dis- 


ease, but I may be wrong. Of disorders causing death, 
consumption causes one fifth ; among those not causing death 
are many disorders of the ahmentary canal. Of calculus 
there is very little. I have known only one case of stone 
in the bladder originating in this City ; it is extremely com- 
mon in the gall bladder. One family moved to Atkinson 
street, and during two years, they had the jaundice ; in 
five of them, which was unusual, it proceeded from calculus 
in the gall bladder ; I advised them to remove ; they did ; 
the mother had returns occasionally, but the children recov- 
ered. Longevity is not very common here ; I only know 
of one person 100 years old. So many causes are operat- 
ing here to produce ill health, that it is difficult to trace dis- 
ease to any one cause in particular. Filtering is only a 
mechanical process, not chemical ; the water is probably 
deprived of some of its atmospheric air, but not materially 
altered in its composition. 

Re-examined. In very many cases it is difficult to trace 
ill health to a particular cause ; if any one case is frequently 
brought before me where a particular cause exists, I attribute 
it to that. I have advised patients to drink aqueduct water 
in preference to any other ; more in reference to the distaste 
they have for the well water, but still from a belief that it 
is better for the health. My knowledge of cholera is not 
so much from my own observation as from the reports of 
my medical friends ; it is certain it appeared in the filthy 
parts of the town, mostly, as in Eliot street, 6lc. The 
first case occurred in an old house, formerly Dr. Rand's, in 
Atkinson street, the play-ground of the Asylum for the 
Blind ; it was left in a state of decay ; as far as I have 
known, the cholera generally happened in filthy parts of 
cities in Europe. 

In Boston and Philadelphia the cholera is less than in 
New York. In Eliot street there were striking facts con- 
nected with the water. I do not know of any difference 
between children and adults, except that children have fre- 
quently sandy or gravelly complaints. I do not know that 
it is traceable to water ; my impression is, it has been. 


Dr. H. I. BowDiTCH. I have been in practice 4 years 
last autumn ; I concur with the other gentlemen, that I 
do not distinctly trace disease of the internal organs to 
Boston water. I have observed a want of water among 
patients who fell under my charge as dispensary physician ; 
first on Fort Hill, about the back of the centre of Broad 
street for one year, and in Ehot and Warren streets. I 
was very much struck with the want of water in Broad 
street ; the houses I mean, are back of Broad street, by 
Burgess alley ; also in Purchase street, as I thought from 
appearances; my attention was particularly called to the 
subject while I was dispensary physician. I had the Fort 
Hill district, which embraced houses back of Broad street ; 
within a week I have visited three places ; two I had 
visited as dispensary physician, one as physician to the 
poor. I have a memorandum of facts. 

1 . I visited one house at the corner of Eliot and Warren 
streets ; it had six families ; in one entry all except one are 
Irish ; and in this entry of the house 2 of these families 
were obliged to give up their business (washing) for want 
of water as they said. On the premises there is only one 
hogshead for all of them ; the pump is out of order ; no 
aqueduct; two of them said they had to go to Church 
street, or to borrow aqueduct of their neighbors ; they went 
to neighbors for well water. 

2. Peck Lane, called the old college ; there are, at least, 
100 inmates ; I counted 107 ; they stated the numbers ; I 
went into each room ; there are 24 rooms; in the rooms I 
saw almost invariably 2 or 3 people. Of water I can speak 
from personal experience ; twice I have attempted to draw 
water from the aqueduct ; have taken out stop-cocks, but 
found none when I called. I went first in the afternoon, 
and to-day in the forenoon ; saw no well on the premises ; 
they get enough from neighbors. 

3. Back of Broad street. While dispensary physician, 
I heard a loud noise proceed from a number of Irish 
women ; saw them disputing, and appeared to be striv- 
ing to get to the pump. I cannot now state any one 


fact ; but my dispensary practice forced upon me daily 
occasion of observing, that there was the want of some 
place where they could free themselves easily from the im- 
purities upon them, by a copious supply of soft water ; I 
mean, to wash themselves. The importance of public baths 
was more impressed upon me then, than since. 

Cross examined. I believe the house in Warren street 
has as good a reputation as others ; Peck lane, much the 
same ; Broad street, less intellect ; morals much the same ; 
I believe that class have not a tendency to cleanliness ; 
I would have it in the power of the dispensary physician 
to find means of cleansing children, &c. when sick. I 
satisfied myself, I cannot get a sufficient quantity of soft 
water for medical purposes among the poor patients ; I 
mean particularly in bathing. 

Joseph Tilben. I hve in Charles street. Ward 6 ; the 
pump water in Charles street, I used to call very good ; my 
neighbors call it so now ; my tea kettle used to get furred 
up, so that about every two years I had to take it to the 
copper smiths to have it cleared out ; I had a good rain wa- 
ter cistern ; when we began to burn coal, it became yellow 
and turned the clothes ; I gave up use of cistern and now 
take aqueduct ; my cistern holds 9 hhds. ; I had the aque- 
duct brought into cistern with a ball and stop cock ; now 
have a supply ; I do not use the pump at all ; the water look- 
ed like iron rust ; a neighbor had half of well, but now 
takes the aqueduct ; I do not know of any complaints 
among the neighbors for want of water ; most of them take 
the aqueduct ; I have been called upon to deepen 3 wells • 
one at Ticknor's house in Park street ; do not know the 
depth ; two in Leverett street ; do not know who occupies 
the estate ; the owner lives in New York ; in Tremont 
place I built 6 houses ; the wells of different depths, 25 to 
30 feet ; in the corner well, plenty of water, and good when 
dug; the other two were bad ; this was in 1829. This 
summer H. Andrews built a cistern in one of that block ; I 
was called to go and see about taking up the well, which is 
the second from the burying ground (Mr. Parker's) he was 


willing to dig ; his neighbor was not ; this was the last 
summer; I built a block in Union street, about 1826; we 
had no water when we first began, (where the fire was) I 
dug down and boxed out and then bored ; I could not get 
good water ; it was brackish ; the estate was owned by Wm. 
Eliot; he spent about ^1,500, as Mr. E. I think said ; I 
saw the bills to about that amount ; last year took up Dr. 
Warren's well, deepened it 5 feet ; had very good water ; 
do not know the expense ; for two years past it has been 
common to be called upon to deepen wells ; at the Old 
South, there are two wells of good water, 30 feet deep, I 
think ; I do not know the expense ; at Brooks's buildings, 
on Washington street, the water is good and plenty ; wells 
not more than 18 or 20 feet deep ; there are two wells, one 
in the street by Suffolk place ; part of the houses take by 
suction from them ; I never dug a well in Broad street. 

Cross examined. The aqueduct in Charles street gener- 
ally taken ; Brown's well there is affected by tides ; I tried 
to deepen it, but the gravel run in ; at high tides the water 
comes into my cellar ; my cellar is 5 feet below the street ; 
I do not know how many take the aqueduct ; at the houses 
above, on Cedar street, they say some of the wells are bad ; 
Mr. Ingraham complained of his ; I think my wife enjoys 
better health than before we had the aqueduct ; when I was 
an apprentice, I used to mix spirit with water, when it was 
so bad I could not drink it without ; my own family always 
lived in Charles street ; I do not mix any thing with water 
now ; there was a spring formerly very good, between 
Pinckney and Mt. Vernon streets ; I have walked over the 
hill to Belknap street about 38 years ago ; there is now a 
house where the spring was, built by Mr. Dunbar ; when 
we dug his cellar it drained some of the wells round ; I saw 
one or two ; no spring runs out from there now ; two wells 
were deepened ; I do not know if there is water now or 
not ; since I have used aqueduct, I can find no other good ; 
I think Boston water is called good ; I should be willing to 
pay ^ 100 a year to have a supply of water, so I could draw 
it in my house. 


Friday, P, M., March 22. 

Dr. John Ware. I think I recollect conversing with 
S. Wilkinson, but will not swear to it; think it was two 
years ago this spring ; I have no recollection of saying, and 
and cannot say whether I signed the petition or not ; I 
cannot recollect the particulars of the conversation ; I never 
said I took no particular interest in it, or had signed the pe- 
tition merely on its being presented ; because it was not 
true that I took no particular interest in it ; I had moved 
the resolution in the Medical Association to vote the peti- 
tion, and moved that it should be signed by all the members ; 
my opitiion then and now is that the introduction of pure 
water is important to the health of the City. 

Cross examined. I give this as a professional opinion ; I 
earinot state any particular cases. Boston water I have not 
found has diminished the health or life. I have no partic- 
ular cases where death or disease has been produced by the 
water. The City is a very healthy one ; more so than the 
four or five principal cities in the United States. I cannot 
say the mortality is not a fourth, but I think it less than 
that. There are many things besides the water, in the con- 
dition of the City, that tend to diminish mortality. This 
is affected by cleanliness and character of the country geolo- 
gically ; some countries are hilly, some swampy ; here it is 
free from malaria. In New York and Philadelphia there is 
liialaria, and in the surrounding country there are intermittent 
fevers ; a small proportion of diseases arises from malaria. 
I know instances of intermittents where the patients have 
come here from New York ; intermittents do not make a 
great difference in the mortality of New York ; where they 
prevail, it is more sickly ; the amount of sickness is greater, 
than where they do not ; my general belief is that pure 
water is- conducive to health. I cannot state any particular 

I do not perceive any difference in the houses where the 
gqiiedtfet is taken or not. I have few patients that take it. 
I almost always use well water when I cannot get rain 
water ; but I cannot get this filtered sufficiently. I think my 


medical brethren concur in opinion as to Boston water's 
effect on health ; but they also concur in the opinion, that 
we have not a sufficient supply of soft water for all purpo- 
ses for which water is used, or ought to be used. 

In regard to deaths, pulmonary diseases are the prevalent 
ones ; I think one fourth I attend are cases of disease of 
the lungs. The physicians, who were my predecessors, 
have not left any memorial or instructions, tending to show 
that Boston water produces disease. I think among my 
acquaintance aqueduct water is preferred ; those who use it 
say they prefer it to pump water ; I think there is a flatness 
about it that is not liked ; the stone or gravel is not com- 
mon here. My well water is good for Boston water, and 
sufficient ; I had to lower it ; do not know how deep ; for 
many months there was a difficulty in getting a supply ; 
when our water was deficient, a number of wells in the 
neighborhood failed. I do not know how it is now. 

Ebenezer a . Lester. I made a return of the wells in 
the City, September 2, 1834. In Bulfinch street and place 
the whole number was 15; those used for drinking, 13; 
when Col. Baldwin employed me to get returns, he directed 
me to get the number of wells ; those that were hard, 
drinkable, &c. as in my list. I went to each house, where 
I could ascertain there were wells on the place, and where 
houses were not closed ; I think I commenced in June, and 
continued it for some weeks ; I went to all the houses, and 
endeavored to find by inquiry of occupants as to the water ; 
this list, [produced by the witness] is I believe a true re- 
turn ; I do not know that I made any returns without those 
previous enquiries ; I tasted the water sometimes, when 
thirsty, and when good ; I had last fall the original document 
of names, &,c., but destroyed it as of no value ; I do not know 
but think it probable that I said, (because Mr. May now says 
so, as I understand) that I supposed I must report his well 
as the rest, bad ; I do not know I said this ; but if he says 
so, I probably did ; but I should have reported according as 
Mr. May told me it was ; I do not recollect his asking me 


to go in and taste it ; I do not recollect seeing him at all ; 
whole number of wells in the City was 2767. 

Cross examined. I went in and generally saw the oc- 
cupants ; if not the gentleman, then the lady of the house ; 
in some instances I took it from domestics ; I cannot say I 
saw half, or how many heads of families ; I beheve I found 
one instance, if not more, where two families took from the 
same well, and one called it good, the other bad ; in every 
instance where used for drinking at all, I put it down in the 
column of drinkable ; in one instance a father of a family 
said water was good, and his daughters said it was bad ; I 
put it down as the father said. The wells were as follows. 
In Milk street, drinkable, - - - - 16 

bad, 17 

In Bath street, drinkable, _ - - - 2 

not drinkable, - - - - I 

In Chambers street, drinkable, - - - - 31 

bad, 3 

failed, - - - - 7 

In Water street, drinkable, - - - - 3 

not drinkable, _ _ - 3 

In Hancock street, drinkable, - - - v " ^^ 

bad, 1 

In Green street, drinkable, - - - - 17 

bad, or not drinkable, - - 4 

In Congress street, drinkable, - - - - 5 

not drinkable, _ - - 3 

In Bulfinch street and place, drinkable, - - 13 

bad, - - - - 2 

I took my information from the famiUes ; I generally 

went into the house ; made it a matter of business, and a 

pretty tedious one it was. 

George Hallett. I live in Green street ; I have a 
plentiful supply of well water ; have cistern containing 25 
hhds. ; I use well water for drinking ; in the neighborhood 
there is a pretty general supply ; I have a house corner of 
Montgomery place ; it is short of water ; often complaining 
there for want of soft and hard water. For 14 years I re- 


sided in Portland street, where there is a plentiful supply of 
hard water ; as good as Boston water in general, I think ; I 
had something to do with Artesian wells ; one on Commer- 
cial wharf and two on Commercial street ; on the wharf 
there is a pretty fair supply and good water, believe it is 
soft ; others are pretty nearly a failure, both ; one is about 
given up, and the other we are obliged to lock up ; sunk 
these wells because there was no water there ; there is on 
Ellis estate, (Ann street and Commercial) one well quite 
brackish ; I should be willing to pay pretty liberally for a 
plentiful supply of soft water ; I live out of town 7 or 8 
months, where we have a supply ; but should be still wil- 
ling to pay ; Artesian wells cost about ^500; my cistern 
cost about ^75 ; have no filtering apparatus. 

Cross examined. Dr. Wing's cistern, (Montgomery 
place) is small ; I usually move out of the City in April ; 
have well water for house out of town ; use same for wash- 
ing as for drinking ; I live |- of a mile from Jamaica pond, 
and no doubt our well is from the same source ; it is of the 
same height ; I have 3 wells ; I have lived out of town 7 
years ; as long as I have lived in Boston, (39 years) I have 
been of opinion the Boston vv^ater was not suitable for drink- 
ing ; my health vv'as not so good as since I lived out of 
town ; I do not know as to the effect of water ; I am a 
great drinker of water. 

Jaevis Bkaman. I have baths under my care, in Tre- 
mont House, and at the bottom of Chestnut street. At Tre- 
mont House it is my regular business two or three times a 
day ; have no supply of soft water ; when the house was 
built they dug two large reservoirs ; one on Tremont place, 
and one in Tremont House area ; some part of the time 
both are out ; last year, out about 1st June, and continued 
so pretty much through the summer ; I have not more than 
half enough for baths ; it is hard water ; the reservoir in the 
court was built with a view to the baths ; but they cut me 
off because they had not enough for the house ; several re- 
servoirs under roof; the reservoirs in the place supplied 
from roofs of houses ; the reservoirs, Mr. Tilden told me, 


cost ^1,000 for the two ; I would give ^300 a year for a 
supply of soft water ; I lived in Charles street four years, 
(No. 100, 5th door from Chestnut street) had well water; 
very bad ; had the aqueduct brought into my house ; I 
moved to bottom of Chestnut street and had a bathing estab- 
lishment ; offered to lay logs from Charles street ; but the 
aqueduct company, (Mr. Dexter) told me that they could 
not supply me as they had not enough for their customers -, 
I understood they supplied steam engines, but said they 
should be obliged to cut them off; for bathing I would give 
^300 a year ; I built a reservoir, &c. expecting to get soft 
water ; it cost 5 to 600 dollars ; in my neighborhood peo- 
ple complain for want of water ; Brown &, Seaver's water 
is brackish ; do not recollect any others ; I sometimes use 
it myself; but sometimes it is so bad, say for 2 or 3 weeks, 
I cannot use it ; they do not use it for cooking at such 

Cross examined. I have lived in City, off and on, about 
15 years ; came from New Orleans ; was born in Holden, 
Worcester county. The Tremont cisterns were put down 
with cement ; heard Mr. Tilden say he cleaned out one, and 
there was no defect in it ; my well at Tremont House is 83 
feet deep ; I do not know how much water I should use ; I 
did not deepen well at Tremont House. 

Re-examined. I had charge of a house in Charles street, 
next to Alker's stable ; water is bad and they do not use it ; 
they have the aqueduct. 

Nathan Hale. I was appointed one of the Commis- 
sioners of the City after the examination began, and am 
not conversant with all the proceedings ; I think I entered 
on my duties in June or July, 1837 ; I procured the water 
for Mr. Hayes ; had previously had analysis of water out of 
town ; and concluded to have one of a well in the City, 
(Mr. John P. Thorndike's house, built by him ;) said to be 
of great purity ; it was remarkably transparent and recom- 
mended to us highly by Mr. T., and selected by us as the 
best specimen within our knowledge of Boston well water ; 
sent some demijohns of it to Mr. Hayes, by a man in our 


employ ; three different kinds, marked A, B, C, on label^ 
tied to the neck of demijohn ; I made an entry of the 
description of water, in a book, (now in Mr. Baldwin's 
hands) when they were marked and sent away ; the entry 
is in my hand writing ; I hve in Frankhn street. No. 5 ; 
have cistern water, but it is rarely used ; the well water is 
indifferent, but sometimes use it ; it is brackish and not 
palateable at all ; I only use it when the aqueduct fails ; 
the aqueduct failed this winter occasionally, for the last two 
months ; perhaps not more than ten days. 

Monday, March 25, 1839. 

The Committee informed the parties, that the examina- 
tion of witnesses must now stop, for want of time. The 
proceedings were then closed with an examination, by 
chemical tests, of various samples of well water, and aque- 
duct and pond water, which had been produced before the 
Committee. This examination of the different waters was 
made by Mr. Hayes, the witness who had formerly made 
the analysis of the Boston well water referred to in Mr. 
Hale's testimony, (p. 61,) and the experiments and results 
of the present examination were of a highly interesting and 
striking character, tending to show the presence of foreign 
ingredients in many samples of water described by the wit- 
nesses as good. 


3 9999 06428 000 9 

*"«' m om