Dayton Homemakers

Dayton Homemakers 1912

In 1911, a group of farm women in Dayton township got together and organized a club, shown above, with the object of social gatherings where they could get to know their neighbors and exchange ideas on home management. They began with twenty-three members who met monthly. They always had a speaker, discussion, and, of course, refreshments and visiting. They are still meeting in 2016, and are not so different from the meeting described below, which took place in 1922. Wouldn’t you have liked to hear the responses to their roll call? and not just for the recipes!


The members of the Dayton Homemakers’ club held a meeting yesterday at the home of Mrs. Louis Bellrose in Dayton township. Practically all members of the club and a large number of guests were in attendance.

An interesting program was given. Mrs. Hans Vogel sang two solos, Mrs. Charles Long of the Rutland club told of the work her organization is doing, and Miss Houston of St. Joseph, Mo., who is visiting her aunt, Mrs. Charles Bellrose, told of her recent travels through Mexico.

A clever feature of the program was a roll call, when every member responded, giving her most embarrassing moment and her favorite recipe. Late in the afternoon refreshments were served by the hostess.

The September meeting will be held at the home of Mrs. John Eustis. This session was postponed one week on account of the county fair and will be held on Sept. 21.1

More information on the Dayton Homemakers can be found here.

  1. Ottawa Free Trader-Journal, August 11, 1922

Miss Fraine Retires

Retiring After 50 Years, Teacher Will Be Honored     Miss Fraine

Miss Emma C. Fraine of Dayton, a teacher for 50 continuous years in the rural schools of La Salle County, will terminate her teaching career at the end of the current school year.

To commemorate the occasion, residents of Dayton and the surrounding communities, her numerous friends and former students will honor her at a tea to be held Sunday from 2 to 5 in the Dayton Clubhouse. Miss Fraine is now a teacher at the Dayton school.

This well known teacher has spent her entire lifetime in the Dayton community and was born in the house in which she is residing. Her parents were early settlers, coming here from the village of Alsace, France, about the year 1875. She attended the elementary schools and the high school which was then taught in Dayton.

In 1902 Miss Fraine embarked on her teaching career which was to carry her over the span of a half century and many changes in the educational field. She first taught in a rural school north of Earlville, later going to Waltham Township to teach. She then taught in the Kleiber School northeast of Ottawa and in Grand Ridge. During the years she was busy furthering her own education and taking summer courses at DeKalb.

In the year 1907 she was assigned to teach the primary grades in the two-room Dayton school and has continued in that capacity ever since – a total of 45 years.

During those 45 years there have been nine teachers in the other room of the school. Miss Fraine’s co-workers included Ethel Wright, her sister, Jennie Fraine (now deceased), Francis Stangeland, Clark Raber, Verne Thompson, Mildred Masters Summins, Mrs. Geneva Beard, Delores Gretencord and the present teacher, Mrs. Naomi Trent.

Sunday’s tea is being planned by a large committee headed by Mrs. R. P. Schmidt and including all persons of the community which Miss Fraine has served so long. Her hundreds of friends, acquaintances, former pupils and their families will attend.

The chief entertainment of the afternoon for the one-time pupils of the Dayton School will be trying to identify themselves in the scores of pictures Miss Fraine has taken through the years and which will be on display in the clubhouse. The school house, too, will be open for those who wish to show their children or grandchildren where they were taught to read and learned the Golden Rule.1

  1. from an unidentified newspaper clipping, probably the Ottawa Republican-Times, in the spring of 1952

The Meat Cleaver Bandits

Dayton store

The Dayton store/post office/gas station

from the January 26, 1922 Free-Trader Journal


Thieves Use Butcher’s “Weapon” to Break Open Strong Box Containing
Funds Belonging to Uncle Sam and Store Keeper

Running a risk of facing a term in the federal prison to secure a few dollars of government money, thieves last night robbed the Dayton postoffice, making way with $5.25 in postal funds and $2 in pennies from the W. B. Fleming grocery store. The robbery is believed to have been pulled by the rankest kind of amateurs, so kiddish did the traces left behind by the robbers seem.

The postoffice which is located in one corner of the Fleming grocery store, was closed shortly before 9 o’clock last night. This morning at 7 o’clock Mr. Fleming opened his place of business and built a fire before he discovered that the place had been burglarized.

A small safe, which is more in the nature of a strong box, twelve by twenty-four inches in dimensions, which held the postoffice funds, had been smashed open by a meat cleaver, which was taken from the butcher shop. The supply of stamps was passed over, the robbers evidently searching only for cash. The money from the store was taken from a cash drawer and from a dish in the candy counter.

The meat cleaver was found where it had been hidden by the robbers, after the theft in the coal pile, in the basement.

Entrance to the building was gained by breaking out a basement window. The robbers then went upstairs by an inside stairway. They worked with the door, until they succeeded in getting the wooden bar lock that fastened it from the arm that held it.

A trail of burnt matches which were strewn on the floor around the room, showed that the burglars had taken their time in making the search. The robbers were evidently of a hungry frame of mind, for they stopped long enough to have a lunch, opening a can of peaches, and scattering crackers all around the cracker box, Some bars of candy are also believed to have been devoured by the hungry boys or men.

The candy and cigarette case was evidently overlooked for it is not believed to have been touched.

The thieves left the building by a side door which they unlocked from the inside of the building. The door was carefully closed after the robbers and it was not until a careful investigation was made that it was learned that the exit had been made that way.

Deputy Sheriff Fred E. Stedman went to Dayton this morning to make an investigation.1

  1. Ottawa Free Trader-Journal, January 26, 1922, p 1, col 2

Bridging the Fox

wooden bridge

In 1837, John Green and William Stadden, who owned the land on either side of the Fox river at Dayton, were granted permission from the state to build a toll bridge. They had to complete the bridge within 5 years and could place a toll gate at either end to collect a toll, the amount of which was set by the county commissioners’ court.

By 1854, the bridge needed replacement and a subscription was taken up to build a free bridge. The toll was dropped to encourage those living on the east side of the river to patronize the businesses in Dayton.

In 1857, there was a severe ice jam in the Fox River between Dayton and Ottawa and the free bridge at Dayton was carried away. Jesse and David Green took on the job of rebuilding and in December of that year, the following announcement appeared in the Ottawa paper:

Free Bridge

The free bridge across Fox River at Dayton is now completed, and persons living on the east side will again have the privilege of patronizing our new Grist and Flouring Mill, which is capable of grinding from 50 to 60 bushels per hour. As the undersigned have expended their means very liberally in erecting such a Mill and Bridge as the growing wants of the country require, they hope to receive a liberal share of public patronage. Persons coming from a distance will find good warm stabling in connection with the above Mill, free of charge, and their public house has passed into other hands, and bids fair to do justice to the inner man at reasonable rates. Please give us a call.                                                              J. & D. Green1

In 1875, the bridge washed out again and for the next ten years, there was only a precarious ford to cross the river. The county agreed to pay one-half of the cost of a new bridge, leaving Dayton and Rutland to pay one-fourth each. In 1885, although Dayton was ready to pay their share, Rutland opposed the bridge, because they had recently been taxed for a bridge at Marseilles. Dayton offered to pay part of Rutland’s share, but it was some time before the bridge proposal was passed by the Rutland voters. The bridge was not finished until April 1887, and lasted until it collapsed in 1940.

  1. The Ottawa [Illinois] Free Trader, December 12, 1857, p. 3, col. 6