Middlebury, a pioneer town in the central part of Harrison township, eighteen miles directly south of Brazil,
founded by John Cooprider in 1836, so named simply from selection, the founder having committed to his son, Elias
Cooprider, the choosing of the name, which was taken from a list of geographical terms in an old time spelling
book. The name means, literally, the burg that is in the middle, or half way between points. What points, if any,
were in mind at the time of the naming does not now appear. The original town site comprised 64 lots - 8 blocks
of 8 lots each - of which Main and Jackson are the principal streets, Kossuth Road and Jackson street being the
same thoroughfare. To this site additions were made from time to time, but not by survey and plat, additional lots
and strips, as sold by the proprietor, having been defined by metes and bounds. However, the Weaver addition of
1872, on the southeast, was regularly surveyed and platted. This town stands upon what is known as the "Sand
Hill," an elevation of peculiar formation - a mound of several hundred acres of sand of irregular outline,
on a base and margin of clay, the summit a hundred feet above the surrounding level. Prior to the building of the
macadamized roads, the town could not be approached from any point of the compass without a heavy pull through
For the first eighteen years of its history Middlebury was without a postoffice. In 1854, within the time of Clinton
M. Thompson's service as postmaster at Bowling Green, four postoffices were granted on his recommendation - Center
Point and Mart; in Clay county, and Patricksburg and Alligator, in Owen county, of which details are given under
the head of "Reminiscences."
The postmasters at Martz (Middlebury) have been George Jett, Absalom Briley, James Moody, Jacob J. Baker, Melancthon
Stull, John W. Sutton, Frank Brothers, J. B. Collins, and James F. Lankford. On the first of May, 1907, after a
period of fifty three years, the office was discontinued, supplanted by rural delivery, routes number 2 and 5 out
from Clay City. During the extended length of time for which James Moody held the office, about twenty years, the
mails were handled by a number of deputies, of whom may be named Jacob J. Baker, Eli Cooprider, William H. Long,
John Fair, Smith Auld, O. P. Strother, G. W. Ellenberger.
An enumeration in full of all who engaged in business at this place would be an extended list, of whom are named
from recollection the following: John Brush, Jacob J. Baker, Jacob Cofer, Joel H. Buckallew, Vinyard Church, Kress
& Cooprider, William H. Long, Long & White, Smith & Harris, Watts Brothers, Philip Farris, Long &
Son, Daniel Reed, H. O. Duncan & Son, James H. Witty, Kress & Horton, Henry Clymer, J. W. Danhour, Hale
& Williams, Givens & Dial, Storm & Cook, George Markle, Storm & Steuernagel, White & Storm,
S. F. Duncan, Everhart & Caton, John Fair, Smith Auld, N. A. Harris, John W. Sutton, Everhart & Strother,
Thomas Winters, Frank and William Brothers, Charles Rogerson, M. Stull, F. M. Hale, James F. Lankford, Greenville
Owens, S. G. Brandenburg.
The practicing physicians have been: William Hill, W. B. Brown, Dr. Hoyt, Absalom Briley, M. L. Jett, Dr. Foster,
Dr. Eason, W. H. Smith, James Watts, L. A. Hale, Frank Woodruff, W. H. Butler, Joshua Phipps, Lee Woodruff, William
Young, Dr. Hiatt, Dr. Dowell.
The attorneys at law: - Van Camp, George A. Byrd, George W. Wiltse, William V. Burns, John T. Gardner, Frank A.
Horner, John W. Homer, A. R. Julian, Esau Preston, Walter C. Elkin, George P. Stone, W. T. Puckett.
The two story brick schoolhouse here was originally, built by Trustee Frank A. Horner, in the year 1889, and the
addition by Trustee William Malsom, in the year 1903.
Good Hope Baptist church, which was four years in process of building, was completed in the latter part of the
year 1873, and dedicated on the 21st day of December, which was, at that time, the largest auditorium in the county.
The Forty ninth anniversary of the organization of this church was celebrated here, August 28, 1889. The United
Brethren church was built in the years 1872-73 and dedicated on the first day of June of the latter year. The Christian
church was built in 1890, the cornerstone laid with appropriate exercises on Thursday, August 28th, the dedication
taking place on the 21st day of December following, sermon by Elder L. L. Carpenter.
Aside from the mechanical shops usually maintained at centers of population, the only industry at Middlebury was
the lumber and planing mill operated by John W. White from 1876 to 1879, when it was removed to Clay City. But
there were several industries for a time immediately round about the town, including saw mills, a flouring mill,
and coal mines. The principal one was that maintained by Modrell & Johns, a half mile south of the town, who
did an extensive business in timber and lumber, employing a number of men and teams, shipping their products from
Clay City - lumber, shingles, lath, turned work, etc. This firm continued operations at this point for the period
of four years, when they located at Clay City.
Middlebury was at one time a municipality under the name of "Martz." At the March term of Commissioners'
Court, 1877, a petition was filed praying for an election to be called to vote on the proposition to incorporate
the town. Such election was ordered and subsequently held on the 28th day of the same month, the majority of the
90 votes favoring the incorporation, the area of the same comprising 280 acres and a total population of 373. The
Board of Commissioners at their June term following approved of the procedure and ordered an election of officers,
which was held on the 21st day of June. At the expiration of three years, the people of the town having tired of
maintaining the incorporation, voted it out in 1880. Population 350.