tombstones in Ottawa Avenue cemetery
MOVE BODIES LONG INTERRED
The remains of Jacob Trumbo, who came to La Salle county from Virginia in 1853 and died the same year, his mother [sic: should be his wife], who died forty-two years ago, and one brother, [sic: son] were transferred last Monday from Buck Creek cemetery, north of Ottawa, to Ottawa Avenue cemetery. The bones of each body were in a remarkable state of preservation, even to being intact to the tips of the fingers and every bone preserved. There were even parts of the casket intact. The plates on the tops of the caskets were found with the letters plainly legible and also the screw nails of the coffins. In the mother’s grave were found pieces of green silk in which she had been clothed before burial. Some of those strips were a yard in length and when torn gave the same rustle as new silk. The coil of her hair was also found in the grave. Another brother was buried in Buck Creek cemetery, but there being no tomb stone to mark the spot of his burial, the parties were unable to find the remains, although they dug down six feet, and thereby failing to find the body.1
- The Utica [Illinois] Gazette, 27 October 1911
In the Green family archives, which I was lucky enough to inherit, this is one of the more unusual items. The locks of hair here came from Elizabeth Snyder Trumbo (top left); her husband, Jacob Trumbo (top right); Barbara Jessica Green, center left; Grace E. Green, center right; Mary Jane Trumbo Green, lower left; and Amanda Trumbo Riddle, lower right.
Elizabeth and Jacob Trumbo were the parents of Mary Jane Green and grandparents of Barbara and Grace Green, Mary Jane’s children. Amanda Riddle was Mary Jane’s older sister.
The keeping of locks of hair was a common practice in the 19th century. Read more about it at this fascinating web site.
Henry Schmidt of Dayton township has the credit of raising the largest turkey reported in this section. The gobbler weighed, dressed, 28 pounds. Mr. Schmidt sent it to an aunt in Chicago, who in turn sent it to the German consul of that city. This is a heavier gobbler than that sent to the President by an easterner Thanksgiving.1
- Ottawa [llinois] Free Trader, December 25, 1908
In 2014 and 2015 a major restoration project worked on cleaning and resetting about 70 stones in the Dayton cemetery, with the result shown above. It seems that 140 years ago the cemetery also received a face-lift, as described below —
Dayton, Ills., June 20. –
Passing through the cemetery north of town a few days ago, we were struck by the clean and white appearance of the tombstones. Many stones that had been lying on the ground were reset and were in their proper positions, many that had become dirty were now as white and clean as when first erected. Upon due inquiry we found that the work had been done by Mr. L. A. Smith of Marseilles, a gentleman who makes tomb-stone cleaning and resetting a business, who has many years experience, and judging by his work, gives good satisfaction. We are glad to see our citizens have made a move in this direction, and with the community would move a vote of thanks to Mr. Smith for his excellent work.
- The Ottawa Free Trader, June 28, 1879, p. 8, col. 2