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.

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