A Celebration Banquet

Mr. and Mrs, Samuel Dunavan

When Samuel Dunavan and Miranda Munson celebrated their fiftieth anniversary, March 22, 1909, they celebrated in high style by inviting 100 relatives and friends to a dinner at the Clifton hotel in Ottawa. The menu was printed in the newspaper account of the festivities, and although it was quite elaborate, the Clifton hotel seems to have taken it in its stride. Ottawa was not going to be thought at all backward in the amenities.

The menu was as follows:

Blue Points
Iced Celery Hearts
Consomme in Cup
Olives              Radishes
Individual Planked Fresh Shad
Sliced Cucumbers                   Potato Croquettes
Tenderloin of Beef, Larded
Sliced Tomatoes                      Latticed Potatoes
Orange Ice
Braised Guinea Squabs, Current Jelly
Tips of Asparagus
Candied Sweets
Fruit Salad
Neapolitan Cream                   Assorted Cake
Roquefort                    Salted Wafers
Café Noir

Oliver Trumbo and his brothers

Trumbo brothers

In the 1850 census of Dayton township, there were 23 residents born in Virginia. In 1860 that number had grown to 44. A large part of the increase can be put down to the arrival of Jacob Trumbo and his family. Jacob and his wife, Elizabeth (Snyder) Trumbo, were natives of the Brock’s Gap area of Rockingham County, Virginia. Their children were educated in the common schools there and worked on the family farm. In 1853 Jacob and Elizabeth moved to the Dayton area, where his half-brother Mathias had settled in 1830. They brought seven of their eight living children with them. Only the oldest son, Benjamin, remained behind in Brock’s Gap where he lived out his life. Jacob bought a quarter section of farm land near Dayton and settled the family there. Unfortunately, he died within six months of their arrival, leaving his sons to work the land for their mother.

Oliver, the next oldest son after Benjamin, spent the next few years in farming. In 1854 he married Rebecca, daughter of John Green. In 1857 he joined with his father-in-law and two brothers-in-law in the firm of J. Green and Sons, which operated the woolen mill in Dayton.

Oliver was active in local community affairs, serving as constable, township collector, assessor and road commissioner. He was appointed postmaster of Dayton, serving  from 1857 to 1866. After the failure of the woolen mill in 1873, Oliver returned to farming. He and Rebecca had two daughters; Jessie, born in 1867, and Frankie Rae, born in 1876.. Jessie lived to adulthood, married, and had many descendants, while Frankie died of malarial fever at the age of 7. Oliver and Rebecca made their home in Dayton, until Oliver died in 1905. Rebecca continued to live in their home, but spent winters with her daughter Jessie, who lived in Mendota.

Moab bought land for himself in 1859 and also continued to work his mother’s land.. He lived there with his mother and two younger brothers, Matthias and Christopher, who also worked on the farm. In 1860, Moab’s land was worth $5000 and his mother’s, $17,000. In 1873, Moab bought the family farm from his mother, who had moved into a house in Dayton by that time.

Benjamin, the son who remained in Virginia, made regular trips to Illinois to visit and one of them provided the opportunity to have this picture taken. It must have been taken between 1859, when son John died, and 1869, when both Matthias and Christopher died of consumption. Matthias had been in ill health and went back to Virginia in the hopes it would improve, but it did not, and he died there. Less than a month later, Christopher also died, leaving Oliver and Moab the only remaining brothers in Illinois.

La Salle County Centennial

La Salle County centennial

In 1931 La Salle county celebrated the centennial of the founding of the county. The La Salle County Centennial Association was organized to put on a suitable celebration. The president of the centennial association was Mrs. Ralph A. (Ruth) Green, of Dayton. Other members of the committee were Al Schoch, former mayor of Ottawa, Etta Dunaway, and A. M Corbus, owner of Corbus Drug Store in Ottawa.

comm coin front


As part of the celebration a commemorative coin was issued. The front had a picture of Starved Rock and the back a plow and wheat sheaf. There were a number of committees created, each with supporters from each of the townships. Those from Dayton were Mrs. L. A. Green, Mrs. Nettie Masters, Miss Maude Green, Mrs. Hattie Poole, Mrs. [sic] Emma Fraine. The largest committees were those responsible for the pageant, a mammoth endeavor which was held at the La Salle County Fairgrounds the evening of June 5, 1931. It consisted of a series of episodes retelling incidents in the history of the county. The second episode reenacted the arrival of the Green party in 1829 and their subsequent settlement in Dayton. Each pioneer in the episode was represented by a direct descendant.

The Membership Roll found at the back of the souvenir program listed everyone who had purchased a membership certificate, as shown above. The list includes Mrs. Clara Fish Heath, though she apparently did not make use of her certificate, as it was found among Ruth Green’s papers, long after the centennial was a distant memory.

Early Days of Dayton and Ottawa

John Green played a role in the early history of La Salle County. This excerpt from Jesse Green’s memoir tells of that time.

“The first election in this part of the country was held in the home of John Green on August 2, 1830, Pierce Hawley, John Green and Samuel Grove were judges of election, John Green certifying to the qualifications of his associates and Pierce Hawley to the qualifications of Mr. Green. Following is the list of voters:

“John Green, Hugh Walker, Wm. Purcell, Pierce Hawley, Edmond Weed, Joseph Grove, John Dilsaver, Alexander McKee, Reason Debolt, Peter Lamsett, Joseph Grove, Samuel Grove, Robert Beresford, and Henry Brumbach.

1831 IL counties

“We were then a part of Fox River Precinct of Peoria [sic; actually Putnam] County. The following winter the legislature organized the county of LaSalle extending from Groveland to the northern boundry of the state, making it over a hundred miles long and about thirty six miles wide.

“The following spring an election was held at Ottawa (March 7, 1831) and George E. Walker was elected Sheriff; John Green, Abraham Trumbo and James B. Campbell, County Commissioners; and David Walker county clerk. At the same time LaSalle County was designated, Cook County was laid out to the east and Putnam County to the west, all being taken from the northern part of Peoria County. Governor Reynolds signed the bill on the 15th day of January 1831.

“At the first meeting of the LaSalle County Commissioners March 21st, the county was divided into three election precincts. The first which included ranges one and two east of the 3rd P. M. was called Vermillion with the polls at the house of David Letts who lived in Township 32, Range one, Wm. Seely, Martin Reynolds, and David Letts being judges of election. The second which included ranges 3 and 4 east of the 3rd P. M., was called Ottawa with the polls at David Walker’s; John Brown, Edward Keys and Samuel Allen, judges of election. The third included ranges 5, 6, 7, and 8 east of the 3rd P. M. was called Eastern, the polls being at the home of Vetal Vermett, Holderman’s Grove and the judges of election were John Dougherty, Edward Weed and Wm. Schermmerhorn.

“The first marriage after the organization of the county was that of Sheldon Bartholomew to Charlotte Hugabone. It took place according to the records June 22 , 1831, and that fall my sister Eliza and Wm. L. Dunavan were married which I believe was the second marriage in this county both parties having since passed the boundry line between life and death, my sister having but recently died at the age of eighty-four.”