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A Brief History

When this town was laid out in April 1849, by O.H.P. Macy and Willis Elliot, it was given the name Xenia. The first house was erected by Henry Overman the following summer. It was a log structure fifteen by eighteen feet and stood on the Delphi Road. Later, an addition was made to the building in which the first stock of goods ever brought to Converse was offered for sale. In order to reach the "store", customers were compelled to pass through the living rooms of Mr. Overman's family. James Mote, a carpenter, and Joseph Brazington, a cabinet-maker, were among the early settlers. In 1852 Mr. Macy, one of the proprieters, erected a building for mercantile purposes and opened the first general store of consequence in the town. This building was afterward occupied for several years by Daniel Mendenhall.

The original plat of Converse embraced a small tract in the northern part of section thirty-two and showed thirty-two lots and four streets; Jefferson, runs north and south and is crossed by Wabash, Marion and Sycamore. About a year after the town was laid out all these lots had been sold. In March, 1856, O.H.P. Macy and Thomas Addington platted an addition of forty lots. F.M. Davis Addition to the town, consisting of twenty-nine lots, was made in 1867, and two years later J.W. Eward and J.N. Converse each platted additions, the aggregate of which was thirty-two lots. Several additions have been made since that time as the growth of the town demanded more room.

Converse, or Xenia, as it was then called, experienced a boom soon after the close of the Civil War when the Pan Handle Railroad was built through the town. Then a number of saw-mills were established in the immediate vicinity and large quantities of lumber were shipped from Converse, scarcely a day passing without one or more carloads going out to some of the factories in the large cities of the east.

A second boom came to the town upon the discovery of natural gas at Converse. Among them were the Xenia Hoop Works, the Woolen Mills, the Hoosier Canning Company, the Pearless Glass Company, the Chandelier Works, a carriage factory, and the Malleable Steel Works. When the supply of gas failed some of these factories were discontinued or moved elsewhere.

Around the turn of the century Converse was the principle shipping point on the Pan Handle Railroad between Marion and Logansport. At that time Converse had a bank with a capital stock of $25,000, a Home Telephone Company, some manufacturing enterprises, a large grain elevator, more than a few mercantile establishments, along with a number of attractive residences. The United States census of 1900 gave Converse a population of one thousand four hundred and fifteen. Just following that report the supply of natural gas gave out and in 1910 the population was officially reported as one thousand one hundred and sixty-four. Converse held second place in Miami county only to the city of Peru in population and wealth.

All through the early 1900's the Miami County Agricultural Association held its annual fair and races at Converse every autumn. This was the mecca for the people of Miami County and the citizens of Peru usually turned out in large numbers to see this, at that time, the only fair in the county.

Today "The Fair Community" of Converse has a rich past of determination and tradition that provides oppurtunity for all those who share in building its future.*

*information obtained from a book titled "History of Miami County"

Member Of
Indiana Association of Cities and Towns
Contact Info
210 N Jefferson St
Converse, IN 46919

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