Skip to main content

447 records

About this collection

The Marsh and Ryan Family Collection provides online access to photographs and correspondence with accompanying typed transcripts documenting the prominent J. W. Ryan and J. R. Marsh families within Muncie, Indiana from circa 1849-1980, predominately 1890-1920.


John Weller Ryan was born on November 5, 1837 in Butler County, Ohio. Before he became a prominent Muncie attorney, J. W. Ryan was 1st Lieutenant of the 34th Indiana Volunteer Infantry during the Civil War. After being accepted into the Bar Association, he partnered with the law firm of Joseph Buckles, and in 1870 the firm became Buckles and Ryan. Ryan was known for his knowledge in bankruptcy, specifically the practice of corporate and contractual law for industrial development. In 1876, the discovery of natural gas in East Central Indiana heightened Ryan's career.


Ryan married Lida A. Jenkins at an unknown date and location. Lida was a recognized musician and artist regionally. During the late 1860s, the couple moved to Muncie from the Winamac, Indiana area. J. W. and Lida resided at 603 East Jackson Street in Muncie. They had four children, two daughters, Susan D. and Mildred V., and two sons, Thomas L. and Walter S. Ryan. At the age of 52, Lida died on August 24, 1893. In 1902, J. W. Ryan completed a story about his late wife entitled, "A Story of the Life and Character of Lida A. Ryan, 1841-1893." J. W. Ryan passed away on September 23, 1919.


Susan Delaney Ryan Marsh was born in Winamac, Indiana on December 29, 1865. She moved to Muncie with her parents and was raised in the family home on 603 East Jackson Street. Susan was an aspiring artist, inspired by her mother, who gave her art lessons at their family home. She also studied with J. Otto Adams, a famed artist who also lived in Muncie. After attending art school in Cincinnati and New York City, she married John Rollin Marsh on August 5, 1889. John R. and Susan Marsh lived on 616 East Adams Street. The couple's American Four Square home was built after their marriage circa 1904.


J. R. Marsh was the son of a notable banker, John Marsh. After his marriage to Susan, he took up candid photography as a hobby. In Muncie, his photography detailed interiors and exteriors, families, street scenes, and picnics. The Marsh and Ryan family photograph collection is made possible through the work of John Rollin Marsh's photography.


J. R. Marsh and the Kimbrough family became founders of the Indiana Bridge Company in Muncie. J.R. was employed with the company for over 50 years as chief engineer, director, secretary, and treasurer, 1887-1947. He was also active in the community serving on several committees and boards.


Indiana Bridge Company Collection


Susan Marsh was a prominent artist, clubwoman and civic worker for over 50 years within the Muncie community. She was a founder of the Muncie Branch of the National League of American Pen Women, the Muncie Art Association, and the Matinee Musicale. She was also one of the first members of the Art Students League. As past president of the Pegasus Poetry Club, she furthered the work of the organization as well as the membership of the Woman's Club. At the age of 94, Susan died on December 12, 1959. J. R. and Susan Marsh's three children, Mildred, Rodney, and Carleton Marsh are heavily documented within this photograph collection.


Middletown Women's History Collection


Susan's sister, Mildred Veronese Ryan Beatty was born on April 14, 1868. Mildred was an accomplished harpist within the family. She married Ross J. Beatty in mid-September 1894 in Muncie. Ross was born on August 12, 1854 in Beaver County, Pennsylvania. While the couple lived in Muncie, he was president of the Midland Steel Company and Manufactors Gas and Oil Company, and vice president of the Muncie Belt Railway. During the late 1890s, he was also involved in the purchase of Inland Steel Company. The couple had three children, two sons, and one daughter. Ross and Mildred moved to Highland Park, Illinois for career reasons. Mildred passed away on December 29, 1962. She is buried in the Lake Forest Cemetery with her husband, Ross.


Thomas Leicester Ryan was born in 1872 in Muncie. He attended Muncie High School and was later employed as chief draftsman at the Indiana Bridge Company. After finishing his high school education, Ryan completed a course in engineering at the Hoboken Institute of Technology and studied law under his father. He joined his father's firm, which became Ryan and Ryan, in 1898. He worked several years as a consulting engineer and patent attorney. He was also president of the Highlands Manufacturing Company. Thomas married Lenora Highlands of Clinton, Iowa at an unknown date. The couple had three children, a son, and two daughters.


Ryan was heavily involved with civic engagements, including the Muncie Artists Association, Pegasus Poetry Club, Muncie Commercial Club, Delaware Country Club, the Indiana Bar Association, the American Bar Association, and was president of the Muncie Bar Association until 1940. Thomas passed away on December 27, 1962.


Thomas L. Ryan Diaries


Walter Scott Ryan was born in 1875 in Muncie. He married Edna Woodruff of Bridgeton, New Jersey during the 1890s. The couple had two known children that are featured within this photograph collection. Walter was active in the Navy as 1st Assistant Chief Electrician. He practiced electrical engineering in New York and later patented useful improvements for the flashing sign on October 28, 1912. Walter passed away in 1941.


Archives & Special CollectionsMSS.133 Marsh and Ryan Family Papers Finding Aid

Select the collections to add or remove from your search