A Hand-drawn Birth Record


This hand-drawn birth record is an example of fraktur,1 a Pensylvania German folk art tradition. In addition to recording that Ahab Christopher Trumbo was born March 13th, 1836, it adds words of advice to a young man in selecting a wife.

Ahab Christopher was the son of Jacob Trumbo III and his wife, Elizabeth Snyder. He was born in Brock’s Gap, Rockingham county, Virginia, and came to Illinois with his family in 1853. The family settled in Dayton township, on Buck Creek. Christopher married Fidelia Kagy January 28, 1869 in Ottawa. They had one child, who died in infancy. Christopher died of consumption in October, 1869, at the age of 33, and is buried in the Ottawa Avenue cemetery in Ottawa, Illinois. Note that his obituary says that he died on October 22nd. However, his mother’s family Bible gives the date of his death as October 10


Christopher Trumbo

In the village of Dayton, October 22d, 1869, A. C. TRUMBO, age 33 years.

The subject of this notice was a native of Rockingham county, Virginia, but for several years a resident of the town of Dayton. He was one of our most exemplary young men, and his loss will long be felt by a large circle of relatives and friends. Behind his modest bearing he concealed sterling qualities of mind and heart, – accurate judgment, inflexible devotion to principle, warm, affectionate, exceeding purity of heart and character. He was at an early age marked by the fell destroyer consumption. He leaves a young wife and an aged mother, who but a few days since was notified of the death of her son W. B. T., who had recently returned to Virginia to recruit his failing health. The funeral services of both of her sons will take place at her house on Sunday, the 24th inst, at 10 o’clock a. m., by the Rev. Mr. Thompson, of Putnam county. Thus, in the short space of five weeks, has this aged mother been bereft of two noble, high minded young men, just in the prime of life. She has a hope both sure and steadfast, that what is her apparent loss is their gain.2

  1. For more information on fraktur, see http://frakturweb.org/
  2. Ottawa Free Trader, October 23, 1869, p. 5, col. 3.

Thanksgiving Day 1900 in Dayton

Thanksgiving dinner

A report of one Thanksgiving feast:

A Thanksgiving dinner given by Mr. and Mrs. O. W. Trumbo was largely attended. Among those present were Mr. and Mrs. W. Van Etten and three children, Batavia, Mr. Eugene Appleton, Miss Ella Green, Aurora, Wm. Miller, wife and three children, Rutland, Mr. and Mrs. Isaac Green, Miss Carrie Green and Lyle A. Green, Dayton.1

The hosts were Oliver W. Trumbo and his wife, Rebecca Green. Their daughter Jessie was the wife of Wilmot Van Etten and the mother of Clare Trumbo Van Etten, Walcott Gumaer Van Etten, and Frank Campbell Van Etten.

Ella Green, whose name appears coupled with Eugene Appleton was the daughter of David and Mary (Stadden) Green. Eugene appears to have been an unsuccessful wooer, as Ella later married Dr. George H. Riley.

William Miller’s wife was Alta Barbara Gibson, daughter of George W. and Rachael (Green) Gibson. Their children were Gertrude Rae Miller, Howard Miller, and Glenn Gibson Miller.

Isaac Green and wife Mary Jane Trumbo attended with their son Lyle. They had no daughter named Carrie, but they did have one daughter at home in 1900. Possibly daughter Maud was misidentified as Carrie.

  1. Ottawa Republican-Times, December 6, 1900, p. 4, col. 4

The Dayton Dam

The Dayton dam

This picture of the dam at Dayton was taken from the hayloft of the old barn on the Green farm, probably about 1955. This is the dam that was built by the state of Illinois in 1924 to replace the dam that was washed out in 1904. The picture below was taken during the construction of the dam and powerhouse. The barn from which the 1955 picture was taken is just out of sight to the left of the new barn in the 1924 picture.


William Stadden, State Senator and Convention Delegate

Springfield, Illinois, Old State Capitol

Springfield, Illinois, Old State Capitol

Dayton resident William Stadden was elected to the Illinois State Senate in 1836 and served for four years, representing La Salle, Iroquois, and Kane counties. He served at the same time that Abraham Lincoln was serving in the Illinois House of Representatives. In the Senate, Stadden was on the committee on canal and canal lands, where his familiarity with the Illinois & Michigan canal, and the feeder from Dayton to Ottawa, might be useful.

In 1847, Illinois needed to revise its first constitution to meet the needs of a growing population and a constitutional convention was convened. William Stadden was one of two delegates from La Salle County to the convention, where he served on the revenue committee. The convention met in June, 1847, and spent nearly three months devising a new instrument; the following March its work was ratified by a large majority of the voters; and on April 1, 1848, it became operative. William Stadden was able to see the new constitution become law before he died the following November.

Additional biographical information on William Stadden may be found here.

Great care has been taken in the burning . . .


            Green Bros. have just finished burning their third kiln of tile, and are now ready to furnish customers with a good quality of tile at the lowest market price. Great care has been taken in the burning, and the tile taken from the kilns are found to be of the same degree of hardness none too soft, but all alike. Some parties have been misrepresenting the tile by saying they are too soft, but to those who would know the truth, we must say, “visit the kilns and see.” Tile will be drawn to the top of the hill by the proprietors for those who will notify them of their desire. In fact, the firm will do everything to please customers, not only in market prices but in a good quality of tile.1

            Drain Tile. – We have been shown specimens of Drain Tile manufactured by the Green Brothers at the Dayton Tile Works, and if all are like these, and we are assured they are, there are no better tile made in the country. They are made in all sizes from 2 to 8 inches. Sold at Ottawa prices, with 10 per cent. off for cash. For sale at the works in Dayton or at Freeman Wheeler’s on the Chicago road, east of Dayton.2

  1. Ottawa Free Trader, September 13, 1879, p.8, cols. 1-2
  2.  Ottawa Free trader, September 20, 1879, p. 1, col. 2