[The customs of the time tended toward formality on occasions such as this. We would find Barbara’s response for the family a little unusual. Luckily, the formalities were followed by bountiful refreshments.]
On Saturday evening last, the old friends and neighbors of Mr. and Mrs. J. A. Dunavan, of Dayton, gathered in and treated them to a handsome good-bye surprise, it being on the eve of their departure to their new home in Colorado. Some valued presents were given them as memorials, on the offering of which, Mr. Frank Trumbo, as spokesman for the visitors said:
“Mr. and Mrs. J. A. Dunavan: – Your friends and neighbors, learning with sincere regret that you have determined to remove from our midst, and make your future home in another State, take this opportunity to bid you good-bye. For more than half a century you have been with us, even one of us, sharing without complaint the hardships of a pioneer life, and at last rejoicing with us in the reclamation and progress of this marvelous country; with your mental abilities yet undimmed, and possessing an amount of your former vigor and strength that is seldom retained by persons of your advanced age, you have decided to build for yourselves a home in another locality. In far off Sunny Colorado, protected by the giant Rockies, we trust you will be permitted to enjoy many years of a life that, from the activity of your minds, must be spent in deeds of usefulness.
“Language forms an inadequate channel in which to express our sorrow at your departure from among us, and only through the silent clasping of our hands can we show our regret. In remembrance of your many sterling qualities, of your unimpeachable hospitality, and your much prized friendship, we present you, Mr. Dunavan, with this cane, and you, Mrs. Dunavan, with this album; and also, with these, the knowledge that deep in the recesses of our hearts the names of Mr. and Mrs. J. A. Dunavan will be revered as among the founders of our beautiful Prairie State.
“To you, Miss Alice Dunavan, to whom an indulgent nature has given the attributes of a true and perfect woman, your devotion to your parents in the declining years of their lives deserves a recognition at the hands of your friends. We, therefore, tender you this album, with the wish that it will soon be filled with the pictures of your Illinois friends.”
To which Miss Barbara Green responded:
“I will in behalf of the family, as this is all a surprise, and they are not prepared to respond (if their feelings would permit) to the presentation of these gifts, that, aside from their value, will be cherished as coming from life long friends, as purely disinterested tokens of respect – may I not say affection? – I will in a few words express their gratification in seeing you here to make them a farewell visit at the old homestead where in young wedded life they began the battles incident to a new country at a time when, with the exception of two, who crossed the river to commence the family circle in that happier home, all the others of the large family that grew to manhood and womanhood in this same home nest and have made homes for families, are now taking their place in the busy world, that has been transformed from a wilderness to the rank of the highest civilization, almost under the notice of a generation. I know that all will be glad to see this family that through misfortune and causes that are constantly taking place in this seeming hard world, starting anew with the ambition and vigor of youth to begin life again in a new country, but very different from pioneer life in Illinois when they began their home first they now leave with many heartaches, and the greatest is caused in leaving the old life, long associations and friends, never to be forgotten. And they hope to retain a place in the memory and hearts of all who have proved friends in adversity as well as in prosperity.
“I will now thank you all in their name for the testimonials of affection that your kind hearts have prompted you to tender them tonight.”
The formal part of the occasion over, bountiful refreshments were served and the evening was spent in social amusements.1
- The Ottawa Free Trader, March 3, 1888, p. 4, col. 5