Contention Over Water

old dam

The old dam at Dayton

From Dayton

Dayton, July 26. – Misses Myrtle Stadden and Julia Lyons, of Chicago, are visiting at Mrs. David Green’s.

Miss Amy Dickens, of Amboy, Ill., is spending the summer at  Mr. Charles Green’s.

Miss Lillian Wayland, of Appleton, Wis., is spending the summer at Mr. D. Moore’s.

Mr. Wm. Dunavan, of the horse collar works, returned from a short business trip last week.

Mr. James Green says that the honey business is of no account this season. Usually he has between nine and ten thousand pounds of honey for sale, but this season he hasn’t a pound. Thinks perhaps he will be obliged to feed his bees this fall.

Miss Bangs, of Ottawa, who has been spending a few weeks in Dayton, has returned home.

Canal Supt. Leighton, of Lockport, was in town this week.

The river is lower than it had ever been in the remembrance of the oldest inhabitant. The mills have been able to run most of the time, but with decreased power.

The Free Trader, with the remainder of the Ottawa press, got things badly mixed on the power question, and has given the Dayton mill owners some unnecessary scoring. The Green and Stadden lease with the State provides for one-half of the water flowing in Fox river, of which the State is to have one-fourth of the river, and Green and Stadden one-fourth of the river, (not one-eighth as the Free Trader had it last week.) These two-fourths must be drawn first, even if the other one-half runs down the river.

The Ottawa power is third class, and when only one fourth of the river is drawn through the feeder, as it is during eight or nine months of the year, the Dayton power is entitled to all the water except what is necessary for canal purposes. Green and Stadden were not foolish enough, as the Ottawa press would have the public infer, to give away all their rights when they gave the State a right-of-way and one-half of their power. Any lease or agreement made between the State and the Hydraulic Company cannot affect the original and right of way lease.

In 1870 Mr. Wm. Thomas brought an injunction suit against Messrs. Williams and Sweetzer to prevent them from locating their paper mill on the power at Dayton. The claim was made then, as it is now, that we were using more water than we were entitled to. Judge Leland dismissed the suit, and decided that the Dayton power had preference over the hydraulic power, and in time of low water the side cut should be closed so as to keep a 6-foot head in the canal. If this could not be maintained, the Dayton fourth could be drawn on.

The present condition of affairs is this: The mill owners have agreed with Capt. Leighton to confine themselves strictly to their one-fourth, and to run as long as there is water.

The Hydraulic Co. is entitled to the surplus water of the canal, and, as there is no surplus from Fox river now (all of the water being used by the canal and the Dayton mills), water is being drawn from the other level at Marseilles to supply power for the Ottawa mills.1


  1. Ottawa [Illinois] Free Trader, July 30, 1887, p. 8, col. 4

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