Muncie, Past, Present, & Future; Hemingray listed


Publication: The Muncie Daily Times

Muncie, IN, United States


Delaware County -- Past, Present and Future –



Muncie’s Growth – What Contributed Thereto.




Nature’s Gift Unstinted. With United Effort, Well Director, The Natural Advantages have been Improved.



The Times has said much about Delaware county and the city of Muncie of a complimentary character – has made predictions about the city that were pronounced wild and visionary, and yet there has been nothing said as to what Muncie was and is but what was true – nothing predicted about what Muncie would be in three or five years past but what has been realized and it is not our purpose now to make a statement that is not grounded upon facts and which can be fully verified by the figures if necessary.

For twenty years past the county of Delaware has been considered one of the best agricultural counties in the state. The soil is fertile, timber and stone abundant. The two rivers – the Mississinewa and White rivers – traverse the county its entire lengthy, furnishing fine surface drainage, while the bottom and table lands are rich with grain, and the fat cattle, horses and swine bring the farmer a handsome revenue. The remark was frequent from the outside world, “Delaware county is a good county, good land and has a wide-awake, progressive, intelligent class of farmers.” Of Muncie ten years ago it was said, “Muncie people seem to have snap, are wide-awake, and the town is growing.” This was true then, for the cit in point of population had doubled other county seats around us. Winchester to the east and New Castle to the south remained almost stationary while Muncie was quietly but substantially growing. The towns named were just as well situated for growth then as was Muncie, were older towns, and there was no reason why the should not have grown as rapidly. Marion, to the northwest, had more life than New Castle and Winchester, but still never came quite up to Muncie in . . . [illegible text] . . . and importance.

The county and the city were then …. . . . [illegible text] . . .

…this; they want to know whether they are going forward or backward in a literal and material sense. If but one man was interested in a business he would want to know how much he had made or lost in a given time, and if he had made money what had done with it. Now, the citizens of Delaware county and of the city of Muncie are mutually interested, and are personally interested in the growth and prosperity of the county and city. It is a firm business and should be so considered – an invoice taken to see whether we are going up or down, backwards or forwards. For this purpose we will make some comparisons.

In 1880 the taxable property in the county amounted to $9,376,810. In 1891 the taxable property for the county as returned by the assessors reached $17,369,790, a net increase in valuation of $7,993,480. These returns are sworn to each year, and it is not probably that the assessors were more vigilant in 1891 than they were in 1880, or that the taxpayers would return property upon which they are required to pay taxes in excess of what they actually have.

These figures are for the county, showing a healthy growth for the entire county but the phenomenal increase is show in the city of Muncie.

In 1880 the taxables for the city amounted to $1,794,565. In 1891 the returns showed $5,094,975, an increase of $3,800,410.

The returns for Center township in which Muncie is situated show a proportionate increase, as a number of large manufacturing establishments were at the time the returns were made outside of the city limits, and returned with township assessments. In 1880 the capital employed in baking amounted to $250,000, with $421,510 reported as loans and discounts. On July 12, 1892, the capital of the three banks in Muncie amounted to $400,000, with loans and discounts of . . . [illegible text] . . .. In addition to this the Building and Loan Association of the cit have now something over $450,000 loaned and being used in erecting residences for those who are unable to make cash payments. Hundreds of houses have been built and are being paid for in this way – by weekly savings from the wages of the laboring man and skilled mechanic an by those who prefer building in this way in preference to taking the means out of their business and yet the applications for loans from these associations are to-day more numerous than

insert image JOSEPH A. GODDARD, President. ever. One good index to prosperity is the business of the postoffices and here we have a remarkable snowing. For the year 1880 the receipts of the postoffice were . . . [illegible text] . . .. For the six months ending June 30, 1891, the receipts of the Muncie postoffice amounted to $11,824,45.

The number of children of school age (between the ages of six and twenty-one years) in Muncie in . . . [illegible text] . . . was 1,743; in 1892 the number is something over 4,000.

Other comparisons might be made to show the growth in business which has been increased and extended proportionately in every line, but it is unnecessary. While ten years ago four or five car loads of manufactured goods were sent out insert image ORLANDO J. LOTT, Vice President. of the city in a month, now one firm alone sent out of their goods one hundred and twenty car loads in a month. Muncie is well situated as a commercial and shipping center, the state being the center of population and Muncie being well located for shipping facilities and for reaching the great distributing points. At a distance of from fifty-four miles to Indianapolis and two hundred miles to Chicago, we have encircling Muncie, Toledo, Detroit, Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati and Louisville with as cheap freight rates here as can be had at any other point.

It might be well to say that this publication is not made as a boom article, or for pay, but as a kind of a review or invoice as previously stated – to give some facts that the insert image GEORGE F. McCULLOCH, Secretary. people of our city, who are walking about the streets every day attending to their own business duties, do not know and should know to let them know something about the city they live in and . . . [illegible text] . . .to inform capitalist and others who live outside, what kind of a city Muncie is and ask them to visit us, see for themselves, investigate for themselves and determine whether or not every statement is not as represented.

The census of 1880 gave Muncie a population of 5,219 – that of 1890, 11,839. At a very low estimate we now have a population of 16,000. This is a remarkable growth and something more than ordinary business reasons must be assigned for it.

Having spoken of the enterprise of the citizens of the town and county, and none are more enterprising, yet Natural Gas is the great town builder.

insert image

Now, what more, or what that is now can be said of the beauties and benefits of natural gas? The great trouble is that all the eulogies and all the benefits that can be described only half tell the story. A fire with ready-made fuel, a perpetual and unchanging heat to the old, the sick and the infirm, just as they may want it, for the parlor, the bedroom, or the sick room. A turn of the key and comes the thundering like roar and blasé of fire that created the steam that puts hundreds of engines to work, set line and shafts in motion, lights the furnace fires, and turns thousands of spindles. This fuel, this fire that is practically free in and around Muncie saves the manufacturer from five to fifty-thousand dollars a year in the matter of fuel alone, to say noting of home conveniences and comforts. That this is true and insert image GEORGE L. LENON, Treasurer. That benefits innumerable result from the use of natural gas is apparent here, yet what has been said about it, and what can be truthfully said sounds so much like a fairy tale, that outside of the natural gas belt the truth is not believed. The people who do not believe the statements that are made and those who are unable to sell their property and locate in the gas belt, are the ones who discredit the great advantages to be derived and shake their heads with sorrowful forebodings when they ask – “will it last?” That question is one of your own asking. The . . . [illegible text] . . ., the day laborer and the manufacturer, who have made a scientific and practical investigation of the subject, are no better prepared to answer the question than you are. Either is capable of giving an intelligent opinion, and the most intelligent opinion is that it will last for years to come – probably beyond the life of the present generation. The scientist when consulted said there was neither coal, oil nor gas in eastern Indiana. In October, 1886, at Eaton, in this county, after going down . . . [illegible text] . . . feet, a magnificent gas well was developed – the first in Indiana. Oil in abundance has been found in Jay and Blackford counties. Both have been put to practical, every-day use, showing the difference between scientific theory and practice. It was then claimed that gas would soon fall. The pressure at the Eaton well developed in October 1886, is a strong to-day as when it first came in, and has been in continuous but moderate use ever since. The first well developed in Muncie was on Nov. 11, 1886, and it is as good to-day as when first anchored and has furnished fuel for factories every since. Over one hundred wells have been sunk in Delaware county and there has not been a single failure to find gas in good paying quantities in every one. Not a town, village, or cross roads, but where natural gas is used to furnish heat for factories stores and all other purposes where heat is required. The farmers use it for light and fuel in their houses, and wood and coal among the farmers are now number as things of the past.

Whether it is to last forever is one of the questions of the future. Delaware county, however, is well and favorably situated should the gas supply in any way become reduced in other portions of the field. Not a foreign pipe line penetrates the county. Not an acre of land is leased or sold for gas purposes but with the lease or deed provides that the gas is not to be piped out of the county. All of the counties around us have pipe lines put in by corporations to pipe gas to Chicago, Logansport, LaFayette, Frankfort, Lebanon, Crawfordsville, Indianapolis, Shelbyville and Richmond. While Delaware county, alone with wells as strong as the best has pro- insert image JAMES BOYCE, Executive Com. vided for the use of her gas to build up the county and the towns of the county.

Muncie has never encouraged what is frequently termed a boom since this great gift of nature was discovered. The city has increased in population somewhat rapidly but upon a solid basis. Real estate has of course increased in value, and business has been steady and prosperous. Business blocks and private residences have gone up and the factories have increased their capacities, enlarged their fields of operation and given employment to many additional hands. In this way the development of the Delaware county gas field and the growth of Muncie continued from November 1886 until August 12, 1891, when companies were organized insert image WILLIAM M. MARSH, Executive Com. and purchased lands adjoining the city; individuals and firms made investments, . . . [illegible text] . . . were brought in from adjoining States and counties, some coming from Maine, New York and New Jersey; but the location of factories to make the lands valuable for building lots was not satisfactory, although some very good factories were located – notable, Over’s Maring & Hart’s, Hemingray’s and the Muncie glass factories, the Nail mill, Pulp mill and a few others of more or less importance. The trouble appeared to be that each company or individual wanted the prospector to locate on his particular land, buy his particu- insert image ABBOTT L. JOHNS, Executive Com. lar lot, or not come to Muncie. This was not satisfactory to the people and the dealers in real estate who after two years’ work along this line became satisfied that it was not to their interest nor that of the city to continue this state of affairs, and by common consent a change was made. A meeting was called to determine what was best to do. On the evening above stated, August 12, 1891, a number of the leading business men, real estate dealers and capitalists attended the meeting and it was finally agreed that the scheme to raise a fund of $200,000 to be used in building up the city should be undertaken. A committee insert image GEORGE KIRBY. was appointed to draft articles of incorporation and to name the association which was called THE CITIZENS’ ENTERPRISE COMPANY. The object of the association as set forth was to promote and aid the growth and prosperity of the city of Muncie and Delaware county; to locate, establish and assist in carrying on all kinds of manufacturing business &c. The capital stock was fixed at $200,000, divided into shares of $25.00 each non-assessable and no liabilities to accrue insert image FRANK LEON. beyond the face value of the stock. The term of existence of the company was fixed at five years and when the “capital stock has been fully invested in and for the purpose as mentioned the Board of Directors, who are named in the article of the association for the first year, shall proceed to the liquidation and winding up of the affairs of the company.” A public meeting was held in the opera house. The plan or organization was explained, fully discussed and universally approved. A soliciting committee composed of twenty-one men was appointed, and the plan adopted was to ask each and every property holder for a subscription that had been estimated as necessary to raise the fund and others for such amounts as prospective business, benefits would indicate as reasonable. Every citizen of Muncie, and ever person owning property in or adjacent to the city was to be asked for a specific amount.

Here was a well directed effort that it was acknowledged by every one if successful would result in building up the city and in making it one of the greatest manufacturing towns in Indiana. No one objected to the plan of management or to the managers. The great obstacle was the continued expression of doubt as to success in raising the required insert image CHARLES H. CHURCH. amount, as it was provided on the subscription papers that the full amount in good and valid subscriptions must be obtained before an portion of it was valid or collectable.   The committee worked almost continuously through the day, met and reported progress in the evening, and started out again the next day. Some became discouraged but no one abandoned the field. Men and women of all professions, politics and creeds were united in the work of accomplishing something that no other town in Indians had ever undertaken, and if successful Muncie’s future was assured.

From August 12 to October 31 the work was kept up. Meetings insert image JACOB H. WYSOR. were held that for earnestness and enthusiasm have never been surpassed. Parties who had not subscribed were induced to come to the meetings and in rare instance did they leave until their names appeared on the subscription paper. Others had not subscribed the full estimate and declared that not another dollar would they subscribe. In almost every case they came up to the secretary’s desk and subscribed the full estimate. Citizens who had stated out with enthusiasm when the work began and subscribed the full amount . . . [illegible text] . . . when at a public meeting Mr. Geo. Y. McCulloch, the Secretary, who had been a firm believer in the success of the enterprise and who was the prominent factor in not only managing the work at his offices but the work outside announced that telegrams had been received from parties owning property in and near Muncie authorizing subscriptions that the committee had been quite unsuccessful during the day in securing large subscriptions and that insert image JAMES F. SPRANKLE. the $200,00 fund in GOOD, VALID SUBSCRIPTIONS, WAS RAISED. The effect this announcement had was wonderful. The word spread rapidly, shouts went up from every throat and soon the streets were lined with people with tin horns, drums and bands of music. No political ratification meeting ever seen in Muncie was to be compared with it.

The Board of Directors composed of nine and the advisory committee of six stockholders met on Monday morning, November 2, when the committee turned the management over to them and the articles of incorporation were filed with the Secretary of State, and the work of the Board began and has been con- insert image JULIUS A. HEINSOHN. tinued up to the present time. What they have accomplished speaks for itself and there is certainly no one but that is satisfied with the result.

Soon after the completion of the organization of the Citizens’ Enterprise Company, Col. A. L. Conger of Akron, Ohio, and gentlemen associated with him, purchased 1,200 acres of land adjoining the city on the south and organized the Muncie Land Company with a capital stock of $250,000, Col. Conger being president of the company. The Citizens’ Enterprise Company and the land company have jointly located some of the factories that have been added to Muncie’s industries since the organization. Other real estate companies and firms have assisted the Enterprise Company in their work, and the net result to Muncie since insert image EPHRAIM SMELL. the organization of the Enterprise Company in the way of factories and hands employed is as follows:

Boyer & Kendall Carriage Co.                50

Common Sense Engine Co.                  150

Gill Bros. & Co., (Glass Pots and Furnace slabs.)                                     . . . [illegible text] . . .

Hill, B. E. Manufacturing Co., Fine Underwear                                    . . . [illegible text] . . .

Indiana Iron Co., Nuts, Bolts and

. . . [illegible text] . . .

Midland Steel Co.                                   . . . [illegible text] . . .

Muncie Wheel Co.                                  . . . [illegible text] . . .

Nelson Glass Works                               . . . [illegible text] . . .

Ohio Wagon Works, Ambulances, etc.    75

Tappan Shoe Co., Shoes                      100

White River Steel Mill                              350

Whitely Harv. Mach. Wks.                     2000

Total employed                                   . . . [illegible text] . . .

Without the organization of the Citizens’ Enterprise Company, the Conger company of capitalists would not have invested here, and the great manufacturing plants that are now in operation and others in course of construction would not be here. Muncie unorganized would have grown, but factories employing over 4,000 hands would not have been with us, putting the city away beyond what might be considered competition of growing towns of the natural gas belt.

Muncie was not without factories prior to the discovery of natural gas, and before the organization of the Enterprise Company could be named companies and firms who were doing an immense business, some locating insert image JAMES F. DARNALL. soon after natural gas was discovered. Among them are:


Architectural Iron Works                    55

Ball Bros., Glass works,                   485

Jas. Boyce & Co., handle factory       30

Hemingray Glass Co.,          150

Indiana Bridge Co.,                           170

Maring, Hart & Co, Window Glass    125

Muncie Casket Co.,                            35

Muncie Glass Co.,                             200

Muncie Nail and Iron works,              320

Muncie Pulp Co.,                               110

Muncie Skewer Co.,                            40

C. H. Over & Co. Window glass,        120

Port Glass works,                                 75

J. H. Smith & Co. Bent Wood works   260

Total                                                2,180 (??)

In addition to the above there are a number of factories and industries employing at least 750 hands. Among them may be mentioned the Artificial Ice Co., four brick yards, two carriage factories, five cigar factories, two flouring mills, two hub and spoke works, five planing mills, four washing machine factories, mantel and marble factory, making a total of . . . [illegible text] . . . employes before the Enterprise Company came into existence. There are many skilled workmen in these factories receiving good wages. While we are unable to give the figures of the weekly pay roll of wages an idea can be formed as to the amount paid out to 8,865 persons every week when the factories are all in full operation.

The Board of Directories and Advisory Committee of the Citizens’ Enterprise Company is composed of the following gentlemen, who have managed its affairs since the organization:


Abbott L. Johnson, George Kirby, William M. Marsh, Orland J. Lotz, Charles H. Church, frank Leon, James Boyce, Geo. L. Lenon and Joseph A Goddard.


George W. Spilker, Ephraim Smell, Julius A. Heinsohn, Jacob H. Wysor, James R. Sprankle and J. F. Darnall. Taken collectively no better men, none is whom the citizens of the city have more confidence could have been selected.

They are business men who do not believe in floating with the tide, but have been willing in their own affairs to take hold and row the boat along. When placed in charge of the collection and proper disposition of this large fund subscribed by the citizens, they appreciated the responsibility. They know the citizens would expect much of them and from the statements made, the results accomplished, the most enthusiastic friend of the movement can but feel that all and even more than was expected has been realized. The fist official business of the Board was the election of


As President. Mr. Goddard has been engaged as a whole sale merchant in Muncie for fifteen years. Although quiet and conservative he has the good will and confidence of the community. Mr. Goddard’s standing   . . . [illegible text] . . .

Orlando J. Lotz, Vice President, has been a citizen of the county for twenty years past. He was appointed Circuit Judge by the Governor of the State, was nominated by his party on the State ticket for Judge of the Appellate Court. No other statement of his standing as a man and a . . . [illegible text] . . . need be given.

George F. McCulloch, Secretary, has been the active man in looking after the affairs of the company. Slumber to his eyes and sleep to his eyelids was unknown when the location of a factory was contemplated. Mr. McCulloch has the ability and capacity to make things go, and he has the judgment to make them go right. . . . [illegible text] . . . disparagement of the ability and efforts of any member of the Board or any citizen of the city to say that Mr. McCulloch did more than any other man in bringing about the ideation of a number of the factories. He served two terms as County Clerk, being twice nominated over good and popular men, and elected each time by more than his party majority.

George L. Lenon, Treasurer, was born in Delaware county and until twelve years ago gave his attention to farming. He came to Muncie and engaged in business as a real estate agent and broker. He has had the management and settlement of large estates and enjoys the confident of all with whom he has business transactions. Some of the best farming land in the county belongs to Mr. Lenon and the funds of the company are in a strong box when in his charge.

James Boyce. The factory whistles years ago announced work at his factories. The residences and business blocks speak of his wealth and enterprise. From Belfast, Ireland, and the topath of the Erie Canale, came James Boyce to Muncie after being in business in various other places. June 1870, Mr. Boyce came to Muncie with $10,000, and with energy worth a million. His pride was Muncie and there has been no occasion for a fall in that pride. Earnest in the work of advancing the interests of the city he now enthusiastically predicts a population of 50,000 within five years.

Will M. Marsh is the youngest member of the Board. Mr. Marsh from his teens has been connected with the banking business in different capacities. At present and for several years past, he has been cashier of the Citizens’ National Bank. Mr. Marsh, while quick to act is conservative enough to investigate, and he has been active in looking into the probably benefits of the industries located and seeking a location in Muncie.

Abbott L. Johnson has been engaged in the hard-wood and lumber business for a number of years. Mr. Johnson’s motto is “push-things,” and he has been active in all matters calculated to benefit the city. He has a large amount of property in Muncie and has been interested in many enterprises that have been successful through his efforts.

George Kirby is a member of one of the first families that settled in Muncie. His father directed the clearing of the hazel brush from the ground where the magnificent court house now stands. The name of Kirby was the synonym of hospitality, liberality and integrity among the pioneers of the county. His son partook largely of his father’s disposition. Mr. Kirby was twice nominated for county Treasurer, the second time without opposition and elected each time by more than the party majority.

Frank Leon has been a merchant in Muncie for over thirty years, doubtless the oldest merchant in the same line of business in the city. He can call more of the citizens of the town and county by name than any other man in the county and has always favored every move for advancing the city’s interests.

Charles H. Church though but a few years citizen of Muncie, came here with the spirit of enterprise that was characteristic of the people and became . . . [illegible text] . . . identified with every interest of the city. Mr. Church was for fourteen years Vice-President of the First National Bank of New London, Ohio, and has been cashier of the Delaware County Bank since his residence in Muncie.

Jacob H Wysor might properly be called the patriarch of the city as he certainly is of the advisory committee. Born in Virginia in 1912, as the age of fifteen he settled on a farm within five miles of Muncie and in a short time moved to the village engaging in merchantile pursuits. In 1845 he was engaged in the flouring mill, which business he has since followed, although farms and business blocks, and the Wysor Grand opera house will stand as evidence of his thrift and foresight and . . . [illegible text] . . . beautiful and lasting to his memory.

George W. Spilker, President of . . . [illegible text] . . .

James F. Sprankle, as president of the Delaware County Bank is . . . [illegible text] . . .    Mr. Sprankle came to Muncie from Cleveland, where he was . . . [illegible text] . . . engaged in commercial pursuits, and was one of the strong financial men of that city, holding stock in two of its leading banks. . . . [illegible text] . . . advisor in building up his adopted city, in which he has many interests, Mr. Sprankle was . . . [illegible text] . . ..

J. A.. Heinsohn, proprietor of the Kirby house, looks after his own business . . . [illegible text] . . . and has been equally as much interested in securing the very best results for the city in the selection and location of factories.

Ephraim Snell is a retired business man of the city wit the vigor of the youngest member when anything for the improvement and building up of the city is contemplated. As an evidence of the high esteem in which he is held, he is generally brought out as a candidate when his political party went to make the best showing. As a further evidence of the confident the people have in him he always leads the ticket.

James F. Darnall came to Muncie as a manufacturer. The Muncie Nail works is know the world over and the name of the president J. F. Darnall, is know as well. The high standing of Mr. Darnall among the iron and steel manufacturers and the enthusiasm he has always shown in all matters pertaining to the location of factories in Muncie, wit his broad and liberal views and general good judgment made him a valuable addition to the city and he has been a safe counsellor [sic] counselor for the Board.

The first report of the Board of Directors of the Citizens’ Enterprise Company was made at a public meeting in the opera house last night. All of the . . . [illegible text] . . . subscribers had been notified to be present. If they were not there the inference is they were satisfied that the control of the fund was in the proper hands.

Judge O.J. Lotz , In the absence of President Goddard, presided, and all the member of the Board and the Advisory Committee in the city occupied seats on the stage. There was a good attendance of the stockholders and after the chairman stated the object of the meeting, Geo. F. McCulloch, the Secretary, presented a report of the transactions of the committee, which was so full and clear and showed such prudent and careful management in proportion to the result produced that at the conclusion the audience joined in long and loud applause. The Hon. A. B. Claypool moved that the thanks of the stockholders be extended to the Board, which was unanimously carried. A vote of thanks to the Secretary was proposed and carried with a hearty, unanimous aye.

With the Citizens’ Enterprise Company with over $125,000 at their disposal; the Muncie Land Company with a capital of $250,000; the Whitely Land Company, $250,000; Hathaway Investment Company, $250,000; Rochester & Muncie Land Company, $100,000; Delaware County Land and Improvement Company, $100,000, beside other land associations not organized, all united to one common purpose to locate factories and build up Muncie, who can doubt it but that the prediction of 50,000 inhabitants for Muncie within five years is assured?

We could go on, as our subject is inexhaustible. But all things must have end and we conclude with the statement heretofore made, that for wealth to the manufacturer, luxury to the rich, comfort to the homes of people in all conditions of life there is nothing to equal Natural Gas, and there is no city in the world in which this wealth, those luxuries and comforts, are so . . . [illegible text] . . . and abundantly supplied as in the great gas city of the world – Magic Muncie.


Researcher notes: 
Supplemental information: 
Researcher:Roger Lucas / Bob Stahr
Date completed:October 23, 2011 by: Deb Reed Fowler;