A Shower for a New Bride

MRS. HERBERT M’GROGAN HONORED PARTY GUEST

Misses Emma C. Fraine, Jennie L. Fraine and Addie Thompson were hostesses at a miscellaneous shower given Saturday afternoon in the Dayton Community house in honor of Mrs. Herbert McGrogan, a recent bride, who was formerly Miss Ceal Pillion.

The program consisted of a heart relay contest, participated in by all the guests. Mrs. Hans Vogel accompanied by her daughter, Miss Virginia, gave three vocal solos, “To You,” by Speaks, “A Brown Bird Singing,” by Barrie, and “Smilin’ Through,” by Penn. Miss Zelda Garrow interpreted two readings entitled “Like Calls to Like,” by Edgar A. Guest and “Before and After.” Miss Ida Chamberlain, accompanied by Mrs. Arnold Wilson, rendered two vocal solos, “And [sic] Old Fashioned Town,” by Squires, “Try Smilin’” by Penn. Nicholas Parr, accompanied at the piano by Miss Katherine Pitts, favored the guests with two vocal solos addressed especially to the bride, “I Love You Truly,” by Carrie Jacobs Bond and “Just A-Wearyin’ For You,” by the same composer.

After the program the honored guest, seated at a table over which was suspended a parasol of pink petals under a white bell, received the many beautiful and varied gifts presented to her by the other guests.

The guests were then seated at a long table arranged in the form of a large T. The color plan was pink and white with yellow chrysanthemums in many crystal bud bases [sic] and in a large crystal vase and also, tall pink and white tapers were used. The three main center pieces consisted of a bride and groom in a Cinderella coach drawn by a large white swan. The individual favors were “Ships of Love on a Sea of Matrimony,” and the place cards were cupids bearing two hearts united as one. Various baskets of flowers and large white bells were arranged throughout the room. Dainty refreshments in pink and white were served.

Among the 60 guests present were people from Ottawa, Marseilles, Wedron, Wallace, Waltham, Rutland, Dayton and vicinity.1


  1. Ottawa Republican-Times, October 23, 1933, p. 2, col. 1

Drama in Dayton

An evening of entertainment at the Dayton school house

A large audience assembled at the school house last Saturday evening to witness the presentation of the drama, “The Lost Children,” by the Musical Union, assisted by others of the home talent. Considerable pains had been taken to make this closing entertainment a complete success and the members of the company exerted themselves to their utmost to secure that end and acquit themselves creditably. The words of the play were all well memorized and the parts were finely sustained.

The characters of Jamie and Lily, “the lost children,” were performed in an excellent manner by little Eddie Hess and Gertie Howard, who entered into the spirit of the play and were highly encored by their appreciative listeners.

The prologue and epilogue by Eddie and the tableaux in which Gertie figured beautifully as the Goddess of Liberty, capped the climax of their success.

William Dunavan as Mr. Manly, Cora Green as Mrs. Manly, and Dessie Root as Bridget sustained their parts admirably. The other characters of the play, Jennie Dunavan as Miss Fitzallen, William Davis as Mr. Bonville, James Green as Town Crier, Chas. Green as Watchman, and William Holton as Dick, played their parts well.

The squad of soldiers under the command of Thomas Howard was a novel feature in our home theatricals, and the drill and the military tableaux were considered very fine.

The minstrels deserve a word of praise for their funny efforts.

The singing between the scenes by the chorus of young girls was quite good and their selections appropriate.

All in all the drama was quite a success and is highly satisfactory to the management. The members of the Union desire to return thanks to Capt. S. R. Blanchard, of Ottawa, for his kindness in fitting out the military scene, which made the drama quite effective, to Mr. Thos. Howard and others for their kind assistance in presenting the drama, and to Wright’s orchestra for their excellent music.1

For those of us unlucky enough to have missed this outstanding production, this newspaper description of another presentation of the play gives an idea of the action:

The opening scene takes place in the parlor of Manly Hall. Mrs. Manly tells Bridget (who has an endless story about “my father”) to dress the children and let them out to play. The children dressed, the lady with matronly solicitude tells them above all things not to run after the soldiers.

The next scene opens with a most imposing array of soldiers, neatly dressed in dark blue cloth with white facings. The men were put through the manual exercise and company drill and then marched and counter-marched followed alas! by Lillie and Jamie, now as the reader will see, two lost children. Fortunately a sailor boy on his way to his vessel stumbles across the lost ones in the street and finding that they only know that their names were Lillie and Jamie, and that “pa’s name is pa”, and “ma’s name is ma”, he takes them to his home and leaves them with his mother.

Meanwhile the frantic father has enlisted a watchman and the town crier into his service but no signs of the children can be found. A report however comes that a sailor was seen carrying two children off to sea. The upshot is that the sailor is found, brought before Mr, Manly who seizes him by the throat. Fortunately the sailor’s mother enters with the two children and all is explained. The sailor refuses to take any reward; Bridget tries to tell a wonderful tale about “my father’’ and all ends well.2


  1. Ottawa Free Trader, May 7, 1881, p. 8, col. 1
  2. Passaic (New Jersey) Daily Times, December 20, 1884. p. 2, col. 2

Definition of an Old Settler

early settler

There were many Old Settlers Reunions in La Salle County in the 1870s and 1880s and many arguments as to what constituted an old settler, but there was little argument as to the three major events one had to have experienced to be a true Old Settler. Those were the deep snow of 1830-31, the cholera epidemic of 1832-1834, and the sudden freeze of 1836.

Jesse Green wrote about these in his memoir, although he was a year off in his recollection of the sudden freeze. But he wrote his memoir in 1895, at the age of 78, so he was close enough. None of the Green family died from cholera in the 1832 epidemic and consequently it does not play a large role in Jesse’s memoir.

The second and third winters we were here we had about two feet of snow, which lay on the ground most of the winter, and drifted badly and crusted over so that we could ride over fences without difficulty, and prairie chickens were so plentiful and tame that on a frosty morning, they would sit on trees so near our cabin that Father stood in the door and shot them, until some of the men said he must stop before he shot away all of our ammunition, and leave none to shoot deer and turkeys. 

I will give an account of the most sudden, and greatest change in temperature, in my recollection, which occurred in the early winter of 1837 & ’38.  I left home about noon when it was drizzling rain sufficient to wet my clothing, and when I reached a point a little below Starved Rock, it commenced turning cold so fast that I ran my horse as fast as he could go to Utica, and by the time I reached the hospitable home of Simon Crasiar, it had frozen the ground hard enough to bear up my horse, and my clothing as stiff as it would freeze from being wet.  I had to be helped from my horse, and saddle and all together my clothing being frozen to the saddle, and I do not think I could have gone a quarter of a mile farther. The next day returning home it was a terrible cold day, my left side against the wind was nearly frozen by the time I reached Ottawa, where I went into a store to warm myself, and all I could do to prevent it, fell asleep in a short time, I heard a number say that during that blizzard, they saw chickens frozen in their tracks.

For more information, illinoishistory.com has this page devoted to the stories of the Winter of the Deep Snow. And see here for information on the Sudden Freeze of 1836, and here for more on the cholera epidemic.