Center Township in
Delaware County is a 36 square mile area located in east-central Indiana
with the following
-- Riggin Road
-- Country Club Road
-- Fuson Road
-- Morrison Road
of city of Muncie within Center township are represented by green
portions of the township are represented by
for the Delaware Indian Tribe
About Our County
Delaware County was
organized January 18, 1827 and became effective April 1 of that
Muncie is the County
Muncie was originally
and is said to be named after the old Indian
chief who lived in Delaware County.
The world's largest
orchid species collection is found at Ball State University.
According to the
Society of Indiana Pioneers, an individual was a pioneer of our
county if they resided here on or before December 31, 1830.
License Plates issued in Delaware County start with the prefix 18
because it is the eighteenth county in alphabetical listing.
Department of Historic Preservation
Landmark Foundation of Indiana
County is located approximately sixty miles northeast of Indianapolis
and is bounded by Grant and Blackford Counties on the north, Jay and
Randolph Counties on the east, Henry County on the south and Madison
county on the west. Since its organization in 1827, Delaware County has
grown from a small Indian village to an important manufacturing center.
The County was named for
the Delaware Indians, an Eastern tribe which was slowly pushed into Ohio
and finally settled in east central Indiana during the 1770's. The
Delaware Indians established several towns along the White River, among
these Munseetown , near present day Muncie. In 1818, under the Treaty of
St. Mary's Ohio the Delaware ceded their holdings in Indiana to the
United States government and moved westward. In 1820, Delaware County
was opened for settlement.
The first permanent white
settler was Goldsmith Gilbert, born in New York in 1795. He moved to
Delaware County in 1823 and established a trading post in the northern
part of the County. The post was burned and with the money he was
awarded in compensation by the United States government, in 1926 he
bought 672 acres from an Indian widow named Rebecca Hackley. The Hackley
Reserve, as it was called, became the center of present day Muncie.
Gilbert built two log cabins and the village began to attract other
On January 26, 1827,
Delaware County was organized; at that time it had about 1,000
residents. Shortly after, the village of Munseetown was established as
the County seat. Because of poor transportation, the county grew slowly.
Roads were built beginning in the 1830's and 1840's, and the first
turnpike linking Muncie with Cambridge City opened in the early 1850's.
However, the coming of the Indianapolis and Bellefontaine Railroad in
1852 opened up new agricultural markets to the South so that between
1850 and 1870, the population of Delaware County nearly doubled. Most of
the County's small towns were laid out along railroad lines. These
included Desoto, Cowan, Oakville, and Royerton.
The coming of the
railroad had an important effect on the village of Munseetown. Before
the line was extended from Indianapolis to Muncie, the town simply
consisted of a cluster of houses and businesses around the village
square. The Muncie Seminary, the first private school in Delaware County
located at West Jackson and Gharkey Streets, was considered "out in
the country" in 1846. The 1850 population was 666.
The railroad made Muncie
a trading center for the county. Farmers brought their produce,
livestock, and grain to ship to outside markets. By 1854, Munseetown was
incorporated as a town and became Muncie. In 1865 it was incorporated as
a city with John Brady elected as Muncie's first mayor.
The Civil War brought
increased prosperity not only to Muncie but to the county. Delaware
County's population almost doubled to 23,000 between the years
1860-1880. During these years, Muncie began to evolve into an industrial
city. By 1880, Muncie had forty factories, manufacturing products
ranging from washing machines to roller skates. During the next few
years, more than a dozen new industries opened.
One of the industries
which located in Muncie would shape the town's future and is a strong
force in the city even today. In 1888, five brothers from Buffalo, New
York moved to Muncie after their glass factory had burned. Ball Brothers
became one of the largest employers in Muncie and their Ball jars and
other glass products were shipped throughout the country.
During the 1890's,
additional businesses located in Muncie including Midland Steel, Indiana
Iron Works, and the Muncie Wheel Company. Many of these firms were
brought to Muncie as a result of the Citizens Enterprise Association, a
group which raised over $200,000 to encourage and finance new industry.
In addition to the gas
booms, several other major events changed the character of Delaware
County and increased the importance of Muncie as a major city. By 1900
the Union Traction Company had opened an interurban line between Muncie
and Anderson. The interurban passed through many of the country's
smaller towns and cities. The opportunity to easily and inexpensively
travel to a larger city to make purchases and conduct business decreased
the economic importance of smaller towns. This became more evident when
the interurban extended its service to Indianapolis early in the
Another factor in the
centralization of Delaware County was the consolidation of schools in
1899. Up until 1890, almost one-half of the county's school population
went to one room schools. Each township was responsible for maintaining
its own schools, usually numbering about ten. However, when the school
districts began to consolidate, these one room schools began to be
abandoned for more centralized, larger schools. Six room schools opened
in many of the outlying towns such as Royerton and Selma and many
students began traveling further from their rural homes to the
In 1917, the Ball
Brothers bought what had previously been the Eastern Indiana Normal
University and offered the property to the State. The school opened as a
teachers college in 1918. The college is now known as Ball State
During the 1920's,
Muncie became the subject of an in-depth study conducted by two
sociologists, Robert and Helen Lynd. Their book, "Middletown,"
used Muncie as a typical midwestern town and studied the city's past,
values and lifestyles. In 1937, the Lynds published a second book
entitled, "Middletown in Transition."
The following is based on
Published in 1938 by the State
County was the home of the largest division of the Delaware Indians,
a tribe from which the county takes its name. The chief, Munsee,
made his home in what is now the county seat. Originally, Muncie was
This was also the
home of the Prophet, brother of the Indian Chief Tecumseh, and until
it fell by decay, here stood the post at which he caused his
enemies, pioneers and Indians, to be tortured. It was through the
influence of David Conner, an Indian trader who was the first
settler in Delaware County, that the tribe ceased to use this post.
Although its soil is
well adapted to agriculture, Delaware County is chiefly known
because of its commercial and industrial activities, and as now
constituted has twelve townships with an area of 392 square miles.
It is one of the central eastern group of Indiana counties.
towns are: Albany, 1,413; Eaton, 1,273; Gaston, 654; Selma, 344, and
Yorktown, 909. The population of Delaware County in 1890 was 30,131;
1900, 49,624; 1910, 51,414; 1920, 66,377; 1930, 67,270.
The city of Muncie,
with a population of 46,548, is one of Indiana's outstanding centers
of trade and manufacture. It is on White River, fifty-four miles
northeast of Indianapolis. Five railroads provide transportation for
its numerous products. The eighty-nine manufacturing establishments
employed 8,553 workers on pay rolls totaling $9,387,179, according
to 1935 federal census figures. The value of the products was
manufactured products include malleable iron, steel, silverware,
novelties, window glass, carriages, buggies, iron fencing, fence
machinery, engines, lawn mowers, and machinery. It is the center of
the glass jar industry of the world. There are numerous other
industries, notably a large bending works.
Muncie is the home of
Ball State Teachers' College. Old Town Hill and other sites about
the city add to its cultural and historic background. The city's
present-day attractions include eight leading parks, Tuhey Swimming
Pool, fairgrounds, White River development, and the golf courses.
Some of the parks are McCullough, Heekin, Rose, Tuhey, and Thomas.
among the notables is the Ball Family, famed as industrial leaders
and as philanthropists and leaders in the cause of education. Others
whose names are important include Perry Heath, former Assistant
Secretary in the U. S. Department of Labor, and Charles Murray, the
film comedian, who was a native. Notable names from out of the past
include Thomas Marshall, once a member of the Appellate Court.
There were 2,874
farms in this county, according to the 1935 federal census. These
farms, with a total value of $15,116,311, average 80.6 acres each.
There was a total of 86,427 head of livestock reported.
One of the more
important industrial counties, it listed 106 manufacturing
establishments in 1935. The concerns employed 9,040 wage earners on
pay rolls totaling $9,872,043. The industrial produce value was
The county's tax
valuation for 1936 was $67,596,720.
memorial statue, sculpted by the distinguished artist, Cyrus Dallin, was
first seen by my Mother in the Center Park of the City of Boston. It was
named "The Appeal to the Great Spirit." It seemed to her to be
most fitting for my father's memory because it expressed so many
attributes and interests of her husband.
When my mother
saw this statue, she was determined that this was the memorial for her
husband she wanted, and this would be its location, on the banks of the
river. And, as my mother was a very determined lady, the statue came to
There are two full size "Appeal to the Great Spirit" statues.
One, as I mentioned, is in the Center of the City of Boston and the
other is here in the City of Muncie. Cyrus Dallin, the sculptor, came to
Muncie to approve the statue's location, its surrounding landscaping and
the stone-masonry work on which it stands and is surrounded. I can state
positively that he approved, because I was there and I heard him.
I'm sure my
Mother and Father both would be pleased with the respect and honor which
our citizens here respect and refer to this statue. It has become the
community's emblem, symbol, signature-for lack of better words."