Dr. Marsh's Letter to the Maysville, Kentucky, Bulletin

His Personal View of Natural Gas Impact on the City of Muncie, Indiana


Publication: The Muncie Daily News

Muncie, IN, United States
p. 4, col. 2 - 3








Maysville (Ky.) Bulletin.

Dr. H. M. Marsh is one of the few Maysville boys who picked up their traps within the past year and turning their backs on their old Kentucky home hide themselves away to Muncie, Ind. The doctor left here about the first of last September and was soon fitted up in his new home in the land of natural gas. In a recent letter to a relative in this city he says:

Judging from what I see every day this country is rapidly surpassing "the grand old Commonwealth," whose three principal attractions are "fine whisky, fast horses, and pretty women." To-day, what do we find here? If that question was thundered or whispered for that matter in the ears of every man, woman and child in Muncie, they would answer as by one voice natural gas and it is true. Natural gas is the principal attraction here and is the loadstone that is drawing such prosperity to Muncie. True, we have other attractions too numerous to mention all that Kentucky has, and natural gas besides.

A few years ago Muncie was a small town known only to Delaware County, and, perhaps, to Indiana. To-day, it is one of the most prosperous and thriving little cities in the "West." To-day, it is known all over this great country as being the center of one of the great natural gas belts in the world. To-day, you will see located here some in active operation at least fifteen large factories of different kinds. And the representatives of many more have been here making arrangements for the removal of various enterprises to this point. To-day, you will find a city of 10,000 or 12,000 inhabitants, with the population steadily increasing. To-day you will find one of the most beautiful and prosperous little cities in this country. If you ask what is the cause of all this, there isn't a child in the city but would answer "gas." Why, the people live on gas, and sleep on gas. Gas is the foundation of Muncie houses are built on gas but it is nine or ten hundred feet beneath the earth's surface. To use a remark of nearly every stranger who comes here, "it is the greatest invention of the age."

I would like to say a word here to the Maysville Natural Gas Company. I am well acquainted with the gentleman who has "drilled in" most of the wells here, and he says it is "wasting money to try to find gas where you strike salt water." A word to the wise &c.

We have some eighteen or nineteen wells here, with a total capacity of at least fifty million rough guess cubic feet per diem. We have one with a capacity of five million feet every day. Eight new factories have located here since I came, and "still they come." Among the number are "Ball Bros' Glass Factory," of Buffalo, N. Y.; "the Hemingray Glass Factory," of Covington, Ky.; a window glass factory from Wheeling, W. Va., the Kinnear Manufactory, the "Bent-wood Works," and greatest of all, an immense flour mill from Brooklyn, N. Y. the second largest mill in this country, with a capacity of ten thousand barrels per diem. These are "straws" which show the way the current runs and it is my opinion that the current runs right along by the side of Muncie and that all the good things will eventually find a safe landing within the harbor of the "future great city." Our "Board of Trade" don't let anything float by our wharf. The fact is, there is an eddy in the current here and everything floats in naturally.

But this natural gas isn't the only "attraction" we have here not by a jug-full. The country round here is about as fine blue grass land as ever a "crow flew over." The soil is rich and productive, and the land well, it's hardly rolling enough, I believe, for good surface drainage, but this is not needed, as the soil is under laid with a gravel deposit. I understand Delaware County, of which Muncie is the capital seat, is one of the best and richest sections in the State. I guess I haven't been misinformed on this point.

Then, you ought to see "our fine court house." The building and grounds occupy in a central part of the town, and cost, I am told, all of $250,000. You can judge of the style and character of the handsome from its cost. I was just wondering how some of Mason County's big tax-payers would "kick" if your Court of Claims should appropriate money for a $250,000 court house at Maysville.

Muncie has excellent schools. The High School building is a handsome four-story brick with beautiful surroundings. In addition to this there are three district schools in the place, all under a competent corps of teachers.

The "syndicate" of Maysville boys in Muncie "syndicate" is a much-used word here are all doing well. Arthur Campbell has done better than the rest of us. He has married one of Muncie's "winsome little lassies," and, in addition to this, is at the head of the Kinnear Manufacturing Company. He is one of the principle men in this company, and has full charge of the works, at a handsome salary. His brother and a cousin hold good positions under him. As for me, fourth member of the "syndicate," I have bright prospects before me, and, if I don't get "blown up" with natural gas, will eventually succeed. I have been kindly received by the people here and they all seem to take pleasure in trying to make a fellow have a good time. I might add that I have never found a more hospitable and more sociable set of people anywhere.

About the only objection I have to Muncie if objection it might be termed is that the people keep their houses too warm even during the coldest weather. You find the temperature in most of the houses ranging from eighty to ninety degrees. That could be easily regulated, but there is so little trouble in starting and keeping up the fires that the people get lazy (I guess) or neglect to regulate the heat, and consequently the houses are always too warm. However, that is beneficial to us doctors and I presume I ought to be the last one to object. Yet, the most important duty of a true physician I hold is to try and prevent, as well as cure disease.

I am well satisfied here and would like to see the Maysville "syndicate" increased. There will be plenty of work here in the spring for all who come. I can't innumerate the buildings that are under contract to go up next season. In any of you Maysville folks intend emigrating my advice is come West and grow up with Muncie. Don't take my word for anything, but as soon as spring opens and the weather gets pleasant, come out and see for yourself.    H. M. MARSH.


Researcher notes: 
Supplemental information: 
Researcher:Bob Stahr / Roger Lucas
Date completed:June 5, 2010 by: Glenn Drummond;