Six members of the Walden family are buried in the Dayton Cemetery. See the cemetery section of this web site for more information on them.
A Land Mark Gone
Dayton, Ill., Nov. 15. – Last Sunday evening about twelve o’clock the old woolen mill property was discovered to be on fire, flames leaping out at the roof and the whole building was soon engulfed in flames. Most of the people in town were soon aroused by the bright light and by the noise of the falling timbers, but the fire had gained too much headway to warrant any attempt at checking or extinguishing it. The floor being saturated with oil it burned very rapidly and soon the roof fell in, flames shot out of every door and window, floor after floor tumbled in, and the magnificent stone building was reduced to ashes in a few hours, nothing remaining but the empty walls. A flue runs from one of the brick kilns to the large chimney in the corner of the building, and it is supposed the fire originated in some way from this chimney which was built originally for a boiler. This fine building was constructed of Joliet or Lemont stone, was 50×100 feet square, five stories in height, the roof being surmounted by a cupola, &c. It was built in 1864 by the firm of J. Green & Co. at a cost of $32,000 and filled with woolen machinery worth $33,000. This firm run it as a woolen mill until 1878 when they failed in business and the building remained idle for a number of years. Mr. Jesse Green then purchased it and ran it for a few years but finally sold off the woolen machinery to various parties, and the building and water power to his son-in-laws Messrs Williams and Hess who in 1884 organized a brick company. This firm put in brick machinery, built kilns, &c. and manufactured brick for a number of years, but this season sold the whole property to Messrs Soule & Williams who have been continuing the manufacture of brick. The total loss by fire to the last named firm is about $10,000 and we understand there is no insurance. They will probably put a roof over the walls erect two floors, and continue business.1
- Ottawa [Illinois] Free Trader, November 17, 1888, p. 8, col. 2
A SAD ACCIDENT. – Last Thursday evening, at about 12 o’clock, Mr. James Timmons, a brick mason who lives at Dayton, met with a fearful accident by which he was deprived of his right arm. He was attempting to get upon a freight train at Grand Ridge to go home, when, owing to the darkness and the difficulty of climbing on the caboose of the train, he fell with one arm under the wheels. The arm was of course completely crushed. He got up and ran a short distance in a state of complete bewilderment, caused by his intense agony, and then fell. Jay Doolittle, being near, picked him up and brought him to Ottawa. Dr. Campfield successfully amputated the mangled arm, the poor sufferer bearing the operation bravely. He was eased as well as could be done with opiates, and left under the care of Jay Doolittle and John Cliff at the Ottawa house, where he now lies. He is a poor man with a large family, and presents rather a pitiable case.1
- The [Ottawa, Illinois] Free Trader, 7 Aug 1875, p5, col 3
In the early years of the Dayton Cemetery, many of the burials must have been informal – that is, not handled by an undertaker. The primary source of this information comes from the death certificate, where available. The earliest burial with a death certificate was in 1878, so clearly, for those burials between 1835 and 1878, we have no way of knowing who performed the burial. However, even for those burials after 1878, some were done informally.
William Hoag’s 1879 death certificate leaves the undertaker field blank. Frank Hudson was buried by A Trumbo in 1881. Burials in 1888 and 1902 either specify “unknown” for the undertaker or leave the field blank. Three others specify a single name, with no indication whether they were undertakers or private citizens. As recently as 1922, at least one infant burial was performed without the services of an undertaker.
In an analysis of the 113 death records found for burials in the cemetery, the majority were handles by the Zimmerman/Gladfelter Funeral Home (54 instances). This furniture and undertaking establishment was founded in 1862 by Simon Zimmerman and has been in continuous operation ever since. In 1886, Elmer E. Gladfelter married Zimmerman’s daughter Anna, and in 1889 assumed charge of the business. The business retained the Zimmerman name until his death in 1894, and has operated under the Gladfelter name to the present day.
There are 44 known burials that had no visible stone in 2015, when the most recent restoration was done. There are some pieces of broken stones, too fragmentary to be reassembled, in the woods at the edge of the cemetery, though a few had been recorded before they were damaged.
In this excerpt from Jesse Green’s memoir, he shows that on the frontier, a ten year old and a twelve year old were doing a man’s work.
Early in the spring of 1830 development of the water power was commenced by using the stumps from the timber from which the mill was being constructed. Economy was sought to a greater extent than it is at the present tine. The saw mill was built with sufficient room to put a pair of stones in one end of it to do our grinding until a better mill could be erected, having brought with us the necessary mill irons, black-smith tools etc. Whilst the men were getting out the timber for the mill and dam, which had to be built to intersect a small island, brother David and myself took the contract of scraping out the race or waterway for a distance of about a half mile (he being ten, and I twelve years old). We each had a pair of oxen and an old fashioned scraper. I sometimes had to help him load and dump his scraper and vice versa. We had the race completed by the time the mills were ready to draw their gates.