Muncie, Indiana, gas wells bring many factories, Hemingray listed


Publication: The Muncie Daily Times

Muncie, IN, United States


Maysville (Ky.) Daily Bulletin.

Dr. H.M. Marsh is one of the few Maysville boys who picked up their trape within the last year and turning their backs on their old Kentucky home hled [sic] held themselves away to Muncie, Ind. The doctor left here about the first of last September and was soon fitted up in his new home 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 know 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 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 to 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.”

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 the “Ball Bros’s 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 great of all, an immense flour mill from Brooklyn, N.Y. – the second largest in this country, with a capacity of ten thousand barrels per diem. These are “straws” which show the way 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 around 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 draining, but that is not needed, as the soil is underlaid with a gravel deposit. I understand Delaware county, of which Muncie is the capital seat, is one of the best and richest sections of the State. I guess I haven’t been misinformed on this point.

Muncie has excellent schools. The High School building is a handsome four-story brick with beautiful surroundings. In addition to this there are five 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 had married one of the Muncie’s “winsome little lassies,” and, in addition to this, has an important position with the Kinnear Manufacturing Company. He is one of the principal men in this company, with 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 “blownup” 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 the Maysville “syndicate” increased. There will be plenty of work here in the spring for all who come. I can’t enumerate the buildings that are under contract to go up next season. If 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.



Researcher notes: 
Supplemental information: 
Researcher:Roger Lucas / Bob Stahr
Date completed:October 16, 2011 by: Deb Reed Fowler;