Rebecca Green Trumbo

Rebecca (Green) Trumbo

Rebecca Green Trumbo, or “Aunt Beck” as she was known to her niece, Maud, was the tenth child and sixth daughter of John and Barbara Green. She was born across the river from Dayton, in Rutland township, September 8th, 1830, the first of their children to be born in Illinois. She grew up with a number of Dunavan children near her own age, all of them her aunts and uncles, children of her older sisters, Eliza and Nancy. She was also very close to her brother Joseph, who was two years older. When Joseph went with the Dayton party to the gold fields in 1849, she wrote often, teasing him about some of the local girls who missed him very much.

In return, Joseph said
“(I want you to explain yourself about what letter you had reference to when you spoke of Miss E J B receiving that letter is entirely beyond my comprehension I am in the dark on the subject if it is anything relating to me I would like to understand it –  as to who gets Miss E. J. B. is the least of my concerns But as far as I know she is a very nice girl”

He also added some very sage advice:
“(Becks be carefull here after about whittling allways whittle from you and you will not be apt to cut your fingers — always take it moderate for a few days until you get your hands tuffend to it”

Rebecca and Rachel, her sister, filled their letters with wishes for the men to come home:
“O Joseph if you could only be here next saturday night we have first rate cotillion parties last saturday evening we had three musician’s and first rate music (and some pretty good dancing) but o how we miss you at them. do hurry and satisfy yourself and come back to gladden our hearts dont be too hard to satisfy either for it is to hard for near and dear friends to be seperated for gold or anything else aint it”

On October 15, 1854, Rebecca married Oliver W. Trumbo. As if the three Green-Dunavan marriages had not complicated relationships already, in 1865 her little brother Isaac would add another Green-Trumbo marriage when he married Oliver’s sister, Mary Jane.

Rebecca and Oliver lived on a farm in Dayton township. They had two daughters, Jessie, born  June 1, 1867, and Frankie Rae, born November 30, 1876.

Frankie died at the age of seven of a malarial fever. From her obituary:
“Frankie was the light and joy of her home, and by her death a place is left vacant that cannot be filled until that joyful meeting of families on the other shore. Having attended school but a little over a year she had reached a grade seldom attained by a child of her age, and won the warmest love from teachers and schoolmates.”

Jessie married Wilmot Van Etten June 13, 1888. They lived in Mendota. Rebecca lived with them after Oliver died, and she died there September 25 1916. She is buried in the Dayton Cemetery.

Goodbye to the Dinky


On February 2, 1952, the Burlington passenger train that had linked Dayton with Ottawa and other towns from Streator to Aurora for 82 years carried its last passengers. The service had dwindled to two trains a day, one northbound and one south. Cars and trucks had taken much of the express traffic, as well as the passengers. C. C. Tisler, a local historian who wrote for the Ottawa Republican-Times, wrote two articles about the demise of the dinky, saying:

The puffing switch engine, with its steam and smoke and clank and bang and roar also are vanished and been replaced with the plebian Diesels. The Burlington has gone modern – but old time railroaders are a bit nostalgic about the whole affair.

You can read the complete articles, with photographs, here.

A Dayton School Report Card


In April 1880, when Maud Green received this report card, she was 13 years old. She was an excellent student in all subjects except arithmetic and deportment. She was never absent nor tardy, so what then were her sins? Did she whisper during lessons? Did she daydream while the teacher was speaking? What behavior could have reduced the deportment grade to 70?

When she was older, Maud wrote some memories of her school days:

The desk tops were hinged and when the boys walked on them mischievously they sometimes dropped unexpectedly with disastrous results.  A bench ran around three sides of the room to accommodate more pupils.  The other furniture consisted of the teacher’s desk and a small organ. We all had slates instead of tablets and our slate pencils came covered with gold or silver paper.  Once we girls put boards over the corner of the fence to make a play-house at school & we all took rag-dolls to play with at recess.

The teacher, Ada Green, was a native of Dayton, having been born there in 1859. She was the daughter of David and Mary (Stadden) Green. She taught at the Dayton school only one more year, as she married William C. McMillan on March 10, 1881 and they left the area for Iowa.

The Young Settlers’ Association – Part 2

Two men and wagon

We give a few additional names that have been sent to C. J. Skinner of persons 30 years of age born in La Salle county. He now has between forty and fifty, but there are many others. If a Young Settlers’ Association is to be formed it is desirable that the names be handed in at an early day. Send them on a postal card to that gentleman, together with the date and place of birth. Following is the supplemental list:

Geo. W. Shaver, farmer, born in Rutland Jan. 12, 1842.
A. F. Dunavan, manufacturer, Rutland, Oct. 29, 1832.
Cyrus Debolt, farmer, Rutland, October 28, 1839.
Elizabeth Dunavan, wife of Cyrus Debolt, Aug. 11, 1838.
Geo. W. Lamb, stock dealer, Rutland, April 23, 1850.
O. D. Walbridge, farmer, Rutland, June 15, 1841.
George W. Parr, farmer, Manlius, March 24, 1847.
Jesse Grove, farmer, Rutland, January 29, 1841.
Lucien Grove, farmer, Rutland, January 29, 1842.
Samuel Grove, farmer, Rutland, March 21, 1836.
William Trumbo, farmer, Fall River, June 16, 1848.
Stephen Kleiber, farmer, Rutland, Nov. 12, 1841.
Matt Debolt, farmer, Rutland, November 4, 1841.
George D. Shaver, farmer, Rutland, Jan. 12, 1839.
George Hayward, stock dealer, Ottawa, April 19, 1843.
James Armour, farmer, Ottawa, September 21, 1841.
Louisa Pembrook, wife of Thos. Bartlett, Rutland, Sept. 2, 1832.
James Shaughnessy, farmer, Deer Park, May 1, 1837.1

  1. Ottawa Free Trader, April 21, 1883, p. 8, col. 1