Charles Benton Hess was born November 13, 1839, in Forrestville, Virginia, the son of Henry H. Hess and Mahala Hammond. He came to La Salle county in 1854. He took up farming as a career but later decided to complete his education. He attended and graduated from Lombard University at Galesburg and later studied law in Chicago, but never asked admission to the bar. After finishing his studies he returned to La Salle County and again took up farming.
In 1877 he owned 220 acres of land, valued at $11,000; and 4 houses and lots in Dayton, valued at $3,000. Later he gave up the agricultural field to enter Green’s Woolen Mills at Dayton. Later he came to Ottawa and entered the real estate business, with offices over the post office, and from there branched out into the clay and tile industry. He served as a Justice of the Peace and as town clerk of Dayton.
In 1880, with his brother-in-law H. B. Williams, they erected a plant, known as the Standard Brick Company’s works, at Brickton, about one mile east of Ottawa, along the north bank of the canal, and commenced the manufacture of brick. This appears to have been the first clay manufacturing concern of Ottawa. In 1882, finding traveling to Dayton every day after the close of business tiresome, he removed his residence to Ottawa.
Clara Isabella “Callie” Green was the daughter of Jesse Green and Isabella Trumbo. She was born in Dayton December 12, 1849, while her father was away at the gold fields of California. She married C. B. Hess May 12, 1869. in Dayton.
They had 5 children:
Edwin Jesse was born in Dayton, June 28, 1871. He married Edith Powell of Coffeeville, Kansas, in Coffeeville in January of 1905.
Gertrude Noel was born in 1874 and died the following year.
Glenn Raymond was born in 1876 in Dayton. At the age of five he slipped from the rocks just above the Fox river bridge in Ottawa and drowned.
Edith May was born in October 1880 in Dayton. She married Albert E. Gilman, assistant superintendent of the King & Hamilton Co., factory in Jan 1905.
Harry Charles was born after the move to Ottawa, on August 16, 1883. He married Dell M. Terry at the bride’s home in Harding in October 1910.
C. B. died September 23, 1918, in Ottawa and Callie died July 25, 1930, also in Ottawa.