Village of Midfield Thrived Before Civil War: in 1860
(by the late Guy Cutler)
Very few people know it, but it is a fact, a village was organized, prospered and died upon a part of the land where Findlay now stands.
In 1860, A.J. Waller purchased ten acres of land from Allen Francisco and laid it off in town lots, with convenient streets and alleys, and in a short time the little town which was known as Midfield, began to assume the appearance of a thrifty little village, with several dwellings and opera hall, but when the war broke out almost every able bodied man in this section of the country answered their country’s call, shouldered their muskets and went out to fight the Johnnies, leaving the women folks to the tender mercies of Dan Dawdy and Uncle Jim Dazey. When they returned they found the village deserted and the charter was annulled by act of the legislature in 1866.
Midfield was located in the southwest quarter of the northwest quarter of the southwest quarter of section 34, township 12, and the main street running east and west just south of the Grandma Dazey house (now owned and occupied by Mrs. Maggie Carson). The first store was built by Matt Auxier for French & Ewing in 1860. It was a two story structure, the lower room being used for public gatherings of all kinds, but more especially for “singings*,” which was a very popular mode of entertainment those days. Religious services were also held there.
Shortly after the French & Ewing store was built a Mr. Smith, from Sanford, Indiana, moved a stock of clothing, boots and shoes, etc. from that place and began business in a nearby building. The store was in charge of a Mr. Davidson, but as the venture was not a successful one financially, Mr. Smith moved his stock of goods back to Sanford. The building occupied by Mr. Smith was moved into what is now the John Rogers farm (west of St. Mary’s Church) where it remained for some time, and later was torn down. Then William and Frederick French came here with a stock of groceries and installed them in a building built by a man named Givens. In those days goods were higher and profits large, but the necessities of the people were meager compared with the present time and these three stores seemed to flourish until the war broke out.
*Singings were a popular form of entertainment, often held in churches, but with an emphasis on singing including popular songs. One informative website on the topic: http://www.his.com/~sabol/SHhistory.html