Dayton’s Centennial – Part 1

Greene, J. Kent

The following account of the dedication of a brass plaque marking the location of the first grist mill in the Green settlement appeared in the Ottawa Republican-Times, September 16, 1929. The boulder on which the plaque was mounted can still be seen, but the plaque was stolen long ago.

Kent Greene, assistant state’s attorney of Cook county, and a grandson of John Green, who selected the ground on which Dayton was built, dedicated the impressive looking monument that was erected at the east of the Fox river to mark the spot an which the first grist mill was founded in the spring of 1830.

In an extemporaneous address that was one of the most beautiful bits of oratory Greene depicted the trials and tribulations of his grandfather and the others who were associated with him as they journeyed from Licking county, Ohio, to found the little settlement on the Fox river bank in December, 1829.

He told how they had come through Chicago1, passing Fort Dearborn and getting stuck in the mud on what is now Lake street and Wacker drive as they journeyed on to the place John Green had selected as a better site for a town when he had visited this part of the country in September, 1928 [sic: 1828].

He told how the monument had been erected to mark the site on which the first grist mill, the first saw mill and the first woolen mill in this part of the country had been established. These rugged pioneers, the speaker said, dealt in the first woolen manufacturing in Illinois and for a long time their was the only woolen mill in the state.

He paid tribute in beautifully chosen words to his grandfather and the others who were associated with him, and expressed the hope that the remembrance of their deeds would be an inspiration to those living in the community in the future.


  1. He is romancing a bit here. The trip through Chicago was made by John Green on his  September exploratory trip; the full party never got north of Kankakee. They certainly did get stuck in the mud, just not at Lake and Wacker.

One thought on “Dayton’s Centennial – Part 1

  1. I have photos of this site where the monument was located (the giant boulder is still there)!! I lived in the house that is built on that site from 1947-1962!! My grandfather (Frank Kossow, Sr., built that house in 1945!! He was the founder/owner of Kossow Roofing Company in Ottawa)! The boulder on which the plaque was mounted is in the back yard, right next to the house!! The holes that fastened the plaque to the boulder are still there!! I can post photos of the house, if anyone is interested!! I don’t have any photos of the boulder itself, but will take some this fall when I am in Dayton (for the first time since 2009)!!

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