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Delaware County, Indiana (USA)

Muncie

Local History (1880-1900)

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Histoire du Comté de Delaware, Indiana
Chapter XIV
Muncie et Environs en 1880
(French translation)

Source: Extrait du Livre "History of Delaware County", 1907

En 1880, la ville de Muncie avait une population de 5.219; le township de Center en avait 6.681. Muncie était considérée une ville, mais avait la population d'une petite commune tranquille. Quelques maisons se situaient aussi au sud du chemin de fer. Il n'y avait eu aucune expansion à l'ouest du fleuve, et en fait, la communauté ne s'étendait pas plus à l'ouest que la Council Street.

Il n'y avait aucun plan pour les voisinages additionnels qui bordent actuellement la rive gauche du fleuve. En mettant la maison communale au centre d'un cercle d'un radius d'1/2 mile, cette surface aurait inclus 90% de la population et des resources commerciales et ouvrières de la ville de Muncie, en 1880.

En 1907, il fut le multiplier par 4, donc de presque 2 miles.

En 1890, la population de Muncie est de 11.345, doublée en 10 ans.

Pendant la même période, le township de Center augmente pour arriver à 12.879. Il est intéressant de noter que la population du comté entier, en 1880 est de 22.926, et en 1890, de 30.131.

Une augmentation de 7000 pour le comté, dont 6.000 rien que pour la ville de Muncie.

...

La ville de Muncie fut simplement le centre où se tournèrent les resources du district environnant entier. Pour cette raison, l'histoire du progrès de Muncie contient également l'histoire de ses environs.

...

Avant la découverte du gaz, Muncie avait déjà un bon nombre d'entreprises, mais qui n'employaient pas beaucoup de monde pour vraiment en faire une ville ouvrière.

Ces entreprises principales, énumérées dans le Muncie News, le 23 juillet 1885 étaient:

D'autres industries fabriquaient curry combs, reed organs, furniture, hubs, wringers and scrubbers, cigars, boots and shoes, leather, brooms, barrels.

The list of names just given should be regarded somewhat as an honor roll, since they had located in the city before it was able to offer extraordinary inducements to manufactures. Hardly had the news of the discovery of gas in eastern Indiana reached the east when the movement of manufacturers to this region began. For some kind of manufactories, notably glass making, natural gas was the pre-eminent fuel; but even aside, from this adaptability, the extreme cheapness of gas proved an alluring bait to a host of manufacturers who located in this part of the state about that time. Many towns, through their commercial clubs or boards of trade, increased the inducements by offering sites and a gas well already developped, so that the company might use its ledger space for ground rent and fuel for recording additional profits.

One of the first enterprises to locate in Muncie was Kinnear Manufacturing Co., carved wood being their specialty. The company incorporated in July 1887, with capital stock of $30,000. This was largely a concern, its directors being C.E Tuthill, B.F. Kinnear, A.L Kerwood, George Kirby and T F Rose. They conducted successful business for several years.

In the same month (July) the Ball Brothers, of Buffalo, New York, began their negotiations which resulted in the location of their great glass factories in Muncie. The plans of the enterprise were published July 28, and the building of the plant on Meridian Street in Galliher's addition was begun at once. Their gas well was opened September 9, and in a short time the enterprise was in operation.

...

About the time natural gas was discovered in Indiana, the new Interstate Commerce bill went into effect. Just how much influence on the manufacturing growth of Muncie this may have had cannot be stated accurately, but it was asserted at the time that the new law had paralyzed the nail and glass business in the Virginias, and that this was an additional incentive for such industries to move to the natural gas belt. It is certain that a big rush of glass makers follwed the discovery of gas. After the coming of the Balls, the next important enterprise of this kind was the Hemingray Bros., who in January 1888, announced their decision to move part of their glass factories from Covington, Kentucky. The location chosen by this firm, which has continued as one of the big industries of Muncie, was on Macedonia Avenue, east of the Ball plant.

In January 1888, the Muncie News gave a list of the factories that had been located since the gas discovery. The total number of employees concerned with these enterprises was given as 1,400 mainly skilled workmen, but it is evident these figures were not the result of actual counting, but rather an estimate based on future growth of each factory to its promised capacity. The plants named:

The year 1888 was one of marked activity in Muncie's factory development. Many of the older firms, including the bagging mills, handle factory, bent wood works, and the Indiana bridge works, continued in flourishing condition, while the new plants were rapidly nearing completion. The pulp works, southwest of town, began operation during the summer, and for the first time the farmers of the county had a commercial demand for their straw, the pulp mill paying $3 a ton for it when delivered. In May, largely through the efforts of the Board of Trade, a large nail factory, hitherto located in Greencastle, Indiana, was obtained for Muncie, being renamed Muncie Nail Works.

...

Antother enterprise brought in during this year was the C.H. Over Glass Works. All these glass works were to begin operation in the fall, so the outlook was very bright for industrial Muncie.

...

At the close of 1888,in the report of the state geologist, was published a list of the factories at Muncie using gas for fuel. This included practically all the larger enterprises, and as the statistics concerning each may be considered fairly reliable, the report is summarized here:

...

The rapid development of the city was also reflected in the building of churches and schools.

Liberality was naturally a characteristic of city and citizens at a time when a cordial invitation, together with a fat money bonus, was extended to the manufacturing interests of the world, and so Muncie soon came to have the reputation of being a "free and easy town", where the good people were too busy to concern themselves with moral conditions.

So, for a number of years, Muncie's history is marked by social evils and statutory crimes that in the aggregatemake the record from which any city might well wish to be free. It was not "an outbreak of crime", such as occurs in all cities from time to time, but the record forms almost a continuous story from day to day extending over several years. Criminality in Muncie was due to the conditions, as stated, rather than any sudden infection of depravity. For a long while hardly any attempt was made to regulate the saloons, and the "quart shops", low dives and other haunts of vice flourished without check. These conditions were tolerated by the city government and by the better classes largely, it would seem, because such evils were deemed a necessary part of industrial prosperity, and also because the moral forces and organizations had not increased apace with the material expansion of the city. While it seems necessary to call attention to this feature of Muncie's history, a detailed account of the criminal record has no place here.

By the close of 1890, Muncie's factories produced an amazing variety of products, chief among them fine window glass, bottles and miscellaneous glass articles, nails and iron work, wood pulp, architectural iron, brass and novelties, caskets, bent wood, hubs and spokes, handles, coil hoops etc, etc.

...

Some interesting chronological facts about Muncie

Oct 1, 1883:
order to reduce postage from 3c to 2c takes effect
Jul 23, 1885:
cornerstone of present courthouse laid as news arrives of General Grant's death.
Sep 19, 1884:
earthquake shock disturbs Muncie's people.
Feb 12, 1889:
revival of the boom by presence of eastern capitalists to form Muncie's Natural Gas & Land Improvement Co.
Aug 10, 1892:
Barnum & Bailey Circus visits Muncie.
Jun 30, 1893:
Glass factory and iron mills close for summer and anxiety is felt, though not generally expressed as to whether they'll reopen in the Fall.
Aug 1893:
severe drought; smallpox epidemic on the south side of Muncie (cars do not circulate for 6 weeks)
Sep 7, 1893:
smallpox quarantine established.
Sep 18, 1893:
Muncie resolves to borrow $5,000 to fight the smallpox scourge. Trustee of Center Twp. issues 100 relief orders to the poor of Muncie, indicating how the financial panic, the epidemic and the general decline of prosperity affected the city that only a short time previously was flourishing.
Oct 1893:
Over Glass factory resumes work.
Nov 4, 1893:
Smallpox quarantine is lifted after lasting 8 weeks. Totals: 146 cases - 20 deaths.
Sep 5, 1894:
a 22.5% reduction is made in wages of employees of Window Glass Workers Association as a result of the tariff reductions and general business depression at the Maring, Hart & Co.
Nov 1, 1895:
Ely Window Glass Co. - reorganisation of Gilman Window Glass Co., incorporated to operate the plant at Gilman. Directors: Otis E.Duncan, O.S. Jacobs, D.W. Joy of Ohio, Charles Ely of Gilman, J.W. Hamilton of Eaton.
Nov 6, 1898:
elections. Delaware county giving McKinley and Roosevelt a majority,
1900
U.S. Federal Census counts the County population: 49,624, Muncie population: 20,942

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English

This part is not yet reformatted

Muncie and Surroundings in 1880.

taken from "History of Delaware County", 1907

 

In 1880, the city of Muncie had a population of 5,219; all of Center Township had 6,681.

Muncie was a city in civil status, but still had the population of a quiet town. South of the Big Four Railroad track were a few scattering houses. The town had made no growth west of the river, and in fact, hardly extended west of Council Street. None of the half dozen suburbs and additions that now border the north bank of the river had been planned. Taking the courthouse as the center and striking a circle with a radius of 1/2 mile, the area thus limited would have included, in 1880, nine-tenths of the population and commercial and manufacturing resources of Muncie city. At the present time (1907), to include a proportionate amount of the city, it would be necessary to lenghten the redius nearly four times, or nearly two miles.

In 1890 Muncie city had a population of 11,345, having doubled in 10 years. In the same period Center township had increased to 12,879. It's interesting to note that the entire county had a population, in 1880 of 22,926, and in 1890, of 30,131.

The increase in the county was, in round numbers, 7,000; in Muncie City it was 6,000 showing that the increase in population during this decade was confined almost entirely to Muncie.

...

The city was merely the center to which were turned the resources of the entire surrounding district, and for that reason the history of the surrounding country is told together with the story of Muncie's progress

...

Muncie had a splendid nucleus of manufacturing enterprises before the gas boom, though it is true that most industries employed only a few persons and therefore did not contribute materially to the making of a "factory city".

The principal factories of Muncie before the boom, as enumerated by the News on July 23, 1885 were as follows:

James Boyce, flax bagging and handles

J.W Little, feather dusters

Wysor, Haynes & Co., machine works

A.L Johnson & Co., hardwood lumber

Johnson & Hitchcock, skewers

Wysor, Kline & Co. and C.N. Wilcoxon, roller flour mills

E.P. Smith, Mock Bros. and Joseph Prutzman, tile and brick

Bandy Planing Mill Co

New York Spoke Works

J.H Smith & Co., bent wook work

Garrard & Patterson, bed springs

T.A. Neely, Bishop & Long, Becktel & Johnson, Coleman, Streetr & Co.,and Victor Skate Co. , roller skates

d'autres industries fabriquaient curry combs, reed organs, furniture, hubs, wringers and scrubbers, cigars, boots and shoes, leather, brooms, barrels.

The list of names just given should be regarded somewhat as an honor roll, since they had located in the city before it was able to offer extraordinary inducements to manufactures. Hardly had the news of the discovery of gas in eastern Indiana reached the east when the movement of manufacturers to this region began. For some kind of manufactories, notably glass making, natural gas was the pre-eminent fuel; but even aside, from this adaptability, the extreme cheapness of gas proved an alluring bait to a host of manufacturers who located in this part of the state about that time. Many towns, through their commercial clubs or boards of trade, increased the inducements by offering sites and a gas well already developped, so that the company might use its ledger space for ground rent and fuel for recording additional profits.

One of the first enterprises to locate in Muncie was Kinnear Manufacturing Co., carved wood being their specialty. The company incorporated in July 1887, with capital stock of $30,000. This was largely a concern, its directors being C.E Tuthill, B.F. Kinnear, A.L Kerwood, George Kirby and T F Rose. They conducted successful business for several years.

In the same month (July) the Ball Brothers, of Buffalo, New York, began their negotiations which resulted in the location of their great glass factories in Muncie. The plans of the enterprise were published July 28, and the building of the plant on Meridian Street in Galliher's addition was begun at once. Their gas well was opened September 9, and in a short time the enterprise was in operation.

...

About the time natural gas was discovered in Indiana, the new Interstate Commerce bill went into effect. Just how much influence on the manufacturing growth of Muncie this may have had cannot be stated accurately, but it was asserted at the time that the new law had paralyzed the nail and glass business in the Virginias, and that this was an additional incentive for such industries to move to the natural gas belt. It is certain that a big rush of glass makers follwed the discovery of gas. After the coming of the Balls, the next important enterprise of this kind was the Hemingray Bros., who in January 1888, announced their decision to move part of their glass factories from Covington, Kentucky. The location chosen by this firm, which has continued as one of the big industries of Muncie, was on Macedonia Avenue, east of the Ball plant.

In January 1888, the Muncie News gave a list of the factories that had been located since the gas discovery. The total number of employees concerned with these enterprises was given as 1,400 mainly skilled workmen, but it is evident these figures were not the result of actual counting, but rather an estimate based on future growth of each factory to its promised capacity. The plants named:

Kinnear Manufacturing Co, 100

Brooks Creamery, 20

Balls Bros Glass Co., 300

G Jaeger Paper Co., 200

Muncie Rubber Co., 100

Hemingray Glass Co., 500

E.P. Smith & Co., 50

Thompson Enameling Co., 125

The year 1888 was one of marked activity in Muncie's factory development. Many of the older firms, including the bagging mills, handle factory, bent wood works, and the Indiana bridge works, continued in flourishing condition, while the new plants were rapidly nearing completion. The pulp works, southwest of town, began operation during the summer, and for the first time the farmers of the county had a commercial demand for their straw, the pulp mill paying $3 a ton for it when delivered. In May, largely through the efforts of the Board of Trade, a large nail factory, hitherto located in Greencastle, Indiana, was obtained for Muncie, being renamed Muncie Nail Works.

...

Another enterprise brought in during this year was the C.H. Over Glass Works. All these glass works were to begin operation in the fall, so the outlook was very bright for industrial Muncie.

...

At the close of 1888,in the report of the state geologist, was published a list of the factories at Muncie using gas for fuel. This included practically all the larger enterprises, and as the statistics concerning each may be considered fairly reliable, the report is summarized here:

- Muncie Pulp Co. : capacity: 20 tons/daily; 80 employees.

- Muncie Combination Manufacturing Co.: capital $25,000; 25 employees.

- Ball Glass Works, fruit jars, green and amber bottles; 2 furnaces, 9 pots; value of daily product:$700; 125 employees; weekly payroll: $1,200; sand from Millington, Illinois; lime from Fostoria, Ohio; and soda ash from England.

- Hemingray Glass Co., bottles; 1 furnace; 14 pots; 100 employees; weekly payroll: $800.

- C.H Over , window glass; 2 furnaces, 16 pots; weekly capacity, 1,400 boxes of glass; 84 employees; weekly payroll: $1,400.

- Maring, Hart & Co, window glass; 2 furnaces, 20 pots; capacity of 7,680 50-feet boxes of glass monthly; 120 employees

- Muncie Nail Co., steel and iron nails; daily capacity, 500 kegs of nails; 200 employees; monthly payroll:

$10,000.

...

The rapid development of the city was also reflected in the building of churches and schools.

Liberality was naturally a characteristic of city and citizens at a time when a cordial invitation, together with a fat money bonus, was extended to the manufacturing interests of the world, and so Muncie soon came to have the reputation of being a "free and easy town", where the good people were too busy to concern themselves with moral conditions.

So, for a number of years, Muncie's history is marked by social evils and statutory crimes that in the aggregate make the record from which any city might well wish to be free. It was not "an outbreak of crime", such as occurs in all cities from time to time, but the record forms almost a continuous story from day to day extending over several years. Criminality in Muncie was due to the conditions, as stated, rather than any sudden infection of depravity. For a long while hardly any attempt was made to regulate the saloons, and the "quart shops", low dives and other haunts of vice flourished without check. These conditions were tolerated by the city government and by the better classes largely, it would seem, because such evils were deemed a necessary part of industrial prosperity, and also because the moral forces and organizations had not increased apace with the material expansion of the city. While it seems necessary to call attention to this feature of Muncie's history, a detailed account of the criminal record has no place here.

By the close of 1890, Muncie's factories produced an amazing variety of products, chief among them fine window glass, bottles and miscellaneous glass articles, nails and iron work, wood pulp, architectural iron, brass and novelties, caskets, bent wood, hubs and spokes, handles, coil hoops etc, etc.

...

 

Some interesting chronological facts about Muncie

 

Oct 1, 1883:

order to reduce postage from 3c to 2c takes effect

Jul 23, 1885:

cornerstone of present courthouse laid as news arrives of General Grant's death.

Sep 19, 1884:

earthquake shock disturbs Muncie's people.

Feb 12, 1889:

revival of the boom by presence of eastern capitalists to form Muncie's Natural Gas & Land Improvement Co.

Aug 10, 1892:

Barnum & Bailey Circus visits Muncie.

Jun 30, 1893:

Glass factory and iron mills close for summer and anxiety is felt, though not generally expressed as to whether they'll reopen in the Fall.

Aug 1893:

severe drought; smallpox epidemic on the south side of Muncie (cars do not circulate for 6 weeks)

Sep 7, 1893:

smallpox quarantine established.

Sep 18, 1893:

Muncie resolves to borrow $5,000 to fight the smallpox scourge. Trustee of Center Twp. issues 100 relief orders to the poor of Muncie, indicating how the financial panic, the epidemic and the general decline of prosperity affected the city that only a short time previously was flourishing.

Oct 1893:

Over Glass factory resumes work.

Nov 4, 1893:

Smallpox quarantine is lifted after lasting 8 weeks. Totals: 146 cases - 20 deaths.

Sep 5, 1894:

a 22.5% reduction is made in wages of employees of Window Glass Workers Association as a result of the tariff reductions and general business depression at the Maring, Hart & Co.

Nov 1, 1895:

Ely Window Glass Co. - reorganisation of Gilman Window Glass Co., incorporated to operate the plant at Gilman. Directors: Otis E.Duncan, O.S. Jacobs, D.W. Joy of Ohio, Charles Ely of Gilman, J.W. Hamilton of Eaton.

Nov 6, 1898:

elections. Delaware county giving McKinley and Roosevelt a majority,

1900

U.S. Federal Census counts the County population: 49,624, Muncie population: 20,942

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