Maria Stadden Hollenbeck

Maria was the fifth child and third daughter of William Stadden and Judah Daniels. There is some uncertainty as to the year of her birth. Her tombstone says that she died November 2, 1874, at age 32 years, 7 months and 10 days, which implies a calculated birth date of March 23, 1842. 

From the censuses, we get the following implied birth years:
1850 census: born about 1839
1860 census: born about 1841
1870 census: born about 1845
(She appears to have aged more slowly the older she got.)

However, when her father died in 1848 his younger children had to have a guardian appointed for them as they inherited from their father. In the guardianship file the ages of all the children are given. “Mariah Stadden age 10 on 22nd March 1849”, therefore she was born March 22, 1839.

She lived with her widowed mother until, at age 32, she married Chauncey Hollenbeck, November 6, 1871.

Chauncey was born in New York in December of 1840 and grew up on a farm in Will county, near Naperville, Illinois. In August 1861 he enlisted in Company I of the 15th Illinois Cavalry in Aurora, Illinois. He was mustered out in August 1864, Company A, 36th Illinois Infantry. He probably returned to the northern Illinois area, although he has not been located in the 1870 census. However, he was certainly in the area in November 1871, when he and Maria were married

Unfortunately their married life was cut short when Maria died on November 2, 1874 at age 35. She is buried in the Dayton cemetery, near her parents and other members of the Stadden family.

Chauncey moved west to a farm in Franklin County, Nebraska. He married again, September 4, 1878, to Katie Perrine.  They had four children. By 1920 they had moved from the farm into town in Franklin, Nebraska, where Chauncey died April 12, 1925.


Another Immigrant from England to Dayton

Peter W. Ainsley was born November 11, 1839, in England. He arrived in the United States in October of 1857, at the age of 17. In 1870 he appears in East Liverpool, Columbiana County, Ohio, working in a pottery. The pottery industry was well established in West Liverpool and had attracted many English workers. It is possible that Peter went there because he knew someone working there.

In 1869 he met and married Mary Graften. She was born in England in March 1850, the daughter of James and Mary Graften. Peter and Mary’s first child, James, was born in 1870.

By 1874 the family had moved to Jefferson County, Ohio, where Peter applied for citizenship at the probate court. He was accompanied by Joseph Robertson, who attested to his character and his  residence in Ohio. Peter then renounced his allegiance to Queen Victoria and became a citizen of the United States.













The family moved to Illinois by 1884 and Peter was employed in Dayton as a brick burner in 1900. He probably worked for the Chicago and Dayton Brick Company, newly established in the old woolen  mill building.

Peter and Mary had four children –

  1. James Henry Ainsley was born July 7, 1870, in East Liverpool, Ohio; he died September 16, 1946, in Ottawa, Illinois. He was married June 24, 1896, in La Salle County, to Jane “Jennie” Doyle. She was born in March 1872 in Pennsylvania and died May 26, 1953 in Ottawa.

2. Alice Ainsley was born about 1873 in Ohio; she died March 18, 1895, in Dayton and is buried in the Millington-Newark Cemetery in Millington, Illinois.

3. William Ainsley was born about 1876 in Ohio; he died July 26, 1894, in Dayton and is also buried in Millington.

4. Albert Joseph Ainsley was born February 7, 1884, in Illinois; he died September 19, 1937. On April 19, 1911, in La Salle County,  he was married to Helen Caroline Jacobs. She was born February 7, 1887, in Jerauld County, South Dakota and died August 31, 1976, in Ottawa.

Peter’s wife, Mary, died in 1908 and was buried in St. Columba Cemetery in Ottawa. Peter died in Dayton October 12, 1913 and was also buried in St. Columba Cemetery. On his death certificate, his occupation was listed as kiln-burner and janitor, as he had been janitor for the local school in his later years.

News from Dayton – May 1879

Dayton, May 15, 1879. – The rain of yesterday was a blessing to the land. The earth had become very dry, vegetation was beginning to wither, and all nature called for rain. The river is as low as it usually is in July and August, scarcely any water running over the dam. Nearly all the game fish that were up have been caught or seined out, so that fishing as a success is over with this season unless perhaps we have a good heavy rain.

A three year old colt was stolen last Monday night from Mrs. Furr, a widow lady living a mile west of Dayton. A reward of forty dollars is offered for the return of the horse and the capture of the thief.

We are glad to see D. L. Grove up and around again.

Mr. James Green has gone into the bee business quite extensively this summer. He has over fifty swarms.

Mr. L. Jackson and friend of Millington were down fishing last week.

A new organ was purchased last week for the school house.

Last Sunday a number of parties amused themselves at the river by fishing – a little, drinking beer – a good deal, and having a big time generally. Then more beer. Good people of Dayton, here is a chance for home missionary work.

A good joke is going the rounds this week. A certain married man in town, whose wife wished to go to Ottawa to procure some household necessities, gave her what he supposed was a check for fifty dollars. Having arrived in Ottawa, she thought she would take a look at the paper and see what bank to go to. Taking it from her pocket, she found her husband, by mistake, of course, had given her a meat bill! Rumor says she borrowed fifteen cents to pay her car fare home, and then gave her man a ——- talking to.

On account of the sickness of Mrs. Gibb, Rev. S. F. Gibb filled the appointment at this place last Sunday evening.


  1. The Ottawa (Illinois) Free Trader, May 17, 1879, p. 8, col. 1

Today is the 137th Anniversary of Barbara Grove Green’s Death – or is it?

This post started out to be a celebration of  Barbara Green’s death on May 3, 137 years ago today. Her death date is clear on her tombstone and has been generally accepted. However, when I came to include the newspaper accounts of her death (see below), I found a different story.  On May 8th, 1886 (which was a Saturday) the Free Trader item said that she died on Wednesday (therefore the  5th of the month).

Also, on May 22, 1886, the Free Trader published a column of Dayton news which stated that she died on May 5th. The writer, known as Occasional, clearly knew her well. I suspect he was her son Jesse.

It just proves that you can’t believe everything you read, even (or especially) when it is carved in stone.

Barbara Grove Green (1792-1886)










Granma Green, the oldest settler in the county, died Wednesday morning, at the age of 84 year. She was of a kind, benevolent disposition and was well beloved by her wide circle of relatives, friends and acquaintances by whom she will be greatly missed.1

From Dayton
Barbara Grove Green

Died May 5th, 1886, at the age of ninety three years, five and a half months. She had been confined to bed for about two months, and gradually and gladly passed away like an infant going to sleep. It was her desire to cast off this earthly tabernacle and be present with her Lord.

She retained her faculties to the last, with the exception of her sight, of which she had been deprived for the past seven or eight years. She was never heard to murmur or complain of her misfortune, but on the contrary seemed cheerful and happy.

She was born in Shenandoah county, Virginia, November 15th, 1792. At the age of thirteen she, with her parents, removed to Licking county, Ohio, being in the year 1805, and lived there until the fall of 1829, when she and her companion, John Green and family, removed to this county. A few incidents of their journey will show the hardships and privations of those early pioneer days. We quote her own words from statements made by her to one of her grand daughters, who has recorded them:

“We started from Licking county, Ohio, on the first of November, 1829, for the state of Illinois. There were 24 in the company. Father had gone to Illinois the September before we started and bought land. He and three other men rode on horseback around by Cleveland and along the lakes. When they reached Chicago, where there were only two families besides the garrison, father bought some provisions and in paying for them pulled out quite a roll of bills. That night his brother, Wm. Green, dreamed there were robbers coming and woke the others up, but they refused to start out in the night just for a dream, and he went to sleep again only to dream the same thing again, and when he had dreamed it three times he told them they could stay there if they wanted to, he was going to leave; so they all started and soon after they saw three men following for the purpose of stealing they [sic] money.

“When we reached the ‘Wilderness,’ in Indiana, a man who lived on the edge of the woods told us it was impossible to go on, as the mud was so deep, unless we could travel on the wagons already stuck in the mud; but if we were foolish enough to try it, we must leave ‘those two smart little boys’ (Jesse and David), for we would surely freeze to death. But we did go on and the men cut a new road through the woods for sixty miles, about ten miles a day.

“Then, when we got to Cicero river, we had to take the wagons over with bed cords. One wagon, loaded with mill irons and blacksmith tools, was so heavy it tipped over, and we lost a good many things.

“Then the next place we came to was Sugar creek, and it was so high we had to pull the wagons over with ropes again and cut trees for us to walk on. Then there was a swamp next to the creek that the men had to carry the women over on their backs. Between Iroquois and Nettle creek there were five days the horses had nothing to eat, as the prairie was burnt, and they became so weak they got stuck in a ravine and could hardly pull the empty carriage out.

“One evening we had only bread and tea for supper, but that night father came back with corn and beef that he had obtained at Holderman’s Grove, and we were the happiest people you ever saw. We spent the next night at the Grove and the next day home, at what is known as William Dunavan’s farm.”

She lived in the town of Rutland something over a year when she removed to Dayton, being at this place at the time of the Black Hawk war in 1832. Of this war she says: “On the 16th of May, 1832, the girls and I were at the spring, near where the feeder bridge now stands, when Eliza came down on horseback and told us that the Indians were coming, and we would have to go to Ottawa immediately. Then we went to a place a couple of miles below Ottawa and stayed there all night, and the third day returned home again. This was Sunday, and the next day the men made a stockade around the house out of plank. After it was finished they tried it to see if a bullet would go through it, and as it did, they hung feather beds all around. There were about sixty people here at the time, and we were so crowded that they had to sleep on tables, under the beds and all over the house.”

Mr. Green had intended to remain in his improvised fort during the war, but at about twelve o’clock at night, hearing of the massacre on Indian creek, and fearing there might be too many Indians, all those in the fort went to Ottawa. “When we got to Ottawa, there was no fort there, only a log cabin on the south side of the river, but they soon built a fort on top of the hill. We went to the fort, but there was so much confusion there that we had the log house moved up on the hill and lived in it. The next day a company of soldiers from the southern part of the state passed through Ottawa on the way up the river.”

Grandma Green bore all the hardships and privations incident to the settlement of two new countries and lived to see the development of this vast prairie country far, very far beyond her anticipations. When she came here she supposed that in time she might see the country settled around the skirts of timber, but never in her early days did she anticipate seeing the prairies settled up.


  1. Ottawa Free Trader, May 8, 1886, p. 8, col. 3.
  2. Ottawa Free Trader, May 22, 1886, p. 5, col. 2