The Little Red Hen

In June 1957 the graduation ceremonies at the Dayton school included a number of songs and plays.
Grades 6, 7, and 8 presented the operetta “All About Spring”.
The 5th grade girls gave a reading, “O Wide Wide World”.
Grade 3 sang the English hiking song, “Heave Ho”.
Grades 1 and 2 sang “The Robin in My Cherry Tree”.
The boys of grades 3, 4, and 5 sang “Take Me Out to the Ball Game”.

But surely the highlight of the festivities must have been grades 1 and 2’s presentation of “The Little Red Hen”. Here’s the cast:

Narrators: Danny Kossow and Susan Krug
The Little Red Hen: Nancy Sensiba
The Miller: Stephen Robertson
The Cat: Georgia Clark
The Pig: Robert Wilson
The Frog: Tim Gage
and last, but not least, the Little Chickens: Gerald Abell, Patsy Arwood, Shirley Arwood, Darlene Clark, Ronald Grieves, David Harmon, Janel Hiland, Judith Mathews, Susan Mathews, and Pamela Spence.

If only cell phone cameras had existed then!!

Dayton School Has Reunion at Community House

picture of school

Opened in 1891, this school replaced the one which burned in 1890

From the Ottawa Republican-Times, June 14, 1937, p6

Graduates of the Dayton school from towns and cities in various parts of Illinois gathered Saturday night in the Dayton Community House for a reunion, planned by the Dayton School Alumni association.

There was a banquet and dancing. Mrs. George Pool, who later was elected president of the association, presided as toastmistress.

Mrs. Fred Sapp of Ottawa told of the coronation in England, which she viewed.

Short talks were given by Ralph Green, who offered a toast to members of the 1937 graduating class of the school; Miss Blanche Reynolds and Miss Emma Fraine. Miss Maud Green told of the history of the Dayton school and how it was established over 100 years ago.

Miss Beulah Canfield, who arranged this year’s reunion, presided at a business session at which Mr. Pool was elected president; Rush Green, vice president; Miss Loretta Gleason, secretary and Herbert Mac Grogan, treasurer. Retiring officers are Miss Canfield, president; Ralph Green, vice president; Miss Helen Hallowell, secretary and Herbert Mac Grogan, treasurer. A social time and dancing followed.

Blush pink and gold were used in the appointments of the banquet. There were yellow tapers and pink peonies and roses in crystal services on the tables. At the place of each guest were miniature girl graduates in pink and tiny tulip nut cups.

The basement of the house, where there was dancing, was decorated with honeysuckle.

Miss Canfield was in general change of the reunion. Mrs. Gilbert Masters and Miss Hallowell arranged the program and Miss Jennie Fraine had charge of the table decorations.

Agreement to Adventure

In February of 1849, the Greens had decided to go to the California gold fields. Young Torkel Erickson was drawn by the idea of adventure and wanted to join the westward rush. The problem  was how to afford the trip and how to travel with others for protection.

This was solved when the Greens offered to include him in their party, providing he would work his way. The result was an agreement signed by both parties wherein the Greens agreed to furnish provisions and ammunition to get to the Sacramento valley of California, furnish provision, tools, and ammunition for one year after commencing work at gathering gold, and pay all necessary expenses on the trip.

In return Torkel Erickson, in the document above, agrees to assist in driving the teams going to California, and to give the Greens one half of the proceeds of his earnings or labor for one year after they commence work, at gathering gold or any other business in California.

He additionally agrees to compensate the Greens if he is unable to work for any considerable length of time due to sickness or any other cause; the compensation to be based on the price for labor in the immediate area. The agreement was written up and signed in the presence of two witnesses.

The Greens proceeded with their arrangements for the trip and were ready to set out for California leaving Ottawa on April 2 on the Timoleon which they chartered to take them through to St. Joseph, on the Missouri river. No other men had yet offered to work for their passage, but three men must have decided at the last minute to go along. The agreements with Jackson Beem, Erick Erickson, and Alanson Pope were written and signed on April 3, presumably on the boat.

Don’t Believe Everything You Read in the Journal

man reading newspaper

From Dayton1
     December 28, 1893

            We do not take the Ottawa Journal, but a friend seeing an account of our Christmas entertainment and knowing it to be untrue, sent us the paper, and, being an eye witness, we will take the trouble to give a true account, as there is great injustice done in naming those that were no more to blame than other boys that began the disturbance by throwing paper wads at Shauner, who was under the influence of liquor but probably would have made no disturbance, as he was sitting quietly, instead of calling names, as the Journal says. The whole commotion lasted but a few minutes and, aside from a rush to rid the house before there was danger of anything insulting or disgraceful, the exercises were not delayed at all and nothing further was heard in the house.

We were very sorry to have had anything unpleasant occur, but as every one leaving and the entertainment broken up is a falsehood, fabricated by some malicious person or want of a sensational article for a paper like the Journal.

Our school is taught by W. S. Moore, principal, and Miss Carrie Barnes, assistant, with an attendance of over eighty.

Our principal was called home today to attend the funeral of a cousin in Troy Grove.

Mr. B. Green is getting ready for spring work by putting in a new Brewer tile machine which will increase his capacity for manufacturing one half.

Mr. Hoxie, from Nebraska, carried off one of our young ladies, Miss Nora Breese, on Xmas day. She will be missed by all and all wish them happiness.

No sickness in our town.

OCCASIONAL


  1. The Free Trader, December 30, 1893, p. 4, col. 5

Christmas Programs in Dayton – 1931 and 1955

School Christmas program

I have no pictures of the 1931 celebration described below, but here is a picture from the 1955 school pageant. It, too, was held in the Dayton clubhouse.

Program Given at Community Party at Dayton1

Decorated Christmas trees and red and green streamers formed an attractive setting in the Dayton Community hall, Saturday evening for the annual Christmas party sponsored by the Dayton Woman’s club.

One hundred and seventy-five guests were served cafeteria style at the community supper at 7:30 o’clock.

An interesting program of vocal, piano and dance numbers was presented by a group from the vicinity of Dayton. The program consisted of the following numbers: piano solo, Dorothy Mitchell; song, Mrs. T. J. Cruise, Miss Anna Cruise and Will Breese; solo, Will Breese; duet, Mrs. T. J. Cruise and Miss Cruise; reading, Zelda Garrow; solo, Billy Gardner; solo dance, Dorothy Mitchell; acrobatic dance, Della Tohella; Christmas song, Mrs. Benson Chamberlin; cornet solo, Walter Anderson; solo, Alden Garrow; solo, Earl Gardner; solo, Nicholas Parr.

An orchestra furnished tunes for old time and modern dances at the conclusion of the program.

The committee in charge was comprised of Mrs. Arthur Retz, Mrs. Thomas Waldron, Mrs. Alvin Hepner and Miss Emma Fraine.


  1. Ottawa Republican-Rimes, December 28, 1931

News From February 1888

 

sleigh

THE COUNTY
Dayton Dottings

Dayton, Ill., Feb. 7 – Another fine snow storm has commenced this morning which will make the sleighing still better. It has been excellent this winter, and during the past few weeks the weather has been warm enough to make sleighing thoroughly enjoyable. We have a very fine drive from here to Ottawa on the feeder, and as the ice is about 18 inches thick it is perfectly safe. The young people have been improving the times with sleighing parties in the surrounding neighborhood. They had a very enjoyable party a week or two ago at the large and commodious residence of Lew Robinson, Esq., in Rutland township, and last week they were entertained by Mr. and Mrs. H. B. Williams, of Ottawa.

A. W. Ladd is operator now for the “Q.”

The paper mill expects to get started this week or next. The state’s men have been busy during the past two weeks stopping a leak in the bank near the flume.

The tile works are having a good many tile hauled out of their yard this winter, and their stock is beginning to get low. They are getting ready to do a good business the coming season.

Recent letters from Dayton boys in Kansas say that they are having warm weather at Kinsley, and at Fort Scott the frost is out and farmers are getting ready for spring work. Kansas winters, it seems, are quite severe, but not so long as those of Illinois.

We recently learned of the good fortune of Mr. Woolsey, formerly an old resident of the northwest portion of our township, but making his home during the past four years near San Diego, Cal. He bought about 20 acres of land at $70 per acre, and commenced putting it in fruit trees. Within a short time he got discouraged and wrote to his friend, Irenus Brower, Esq., (everybody knows that whole souled man) offering to sell out to him for cost. Mr. Brower let the opportunity pass by, and now he is ready to kick himself all over the county, for Mr. Woolsey was offered $1,000 per acre for that identical land this winter.

The roller mill is doing a booming business this winter grinding for farmers. They ground over two thousand bushels of custom work last month.

Geo. M. Dunavan, Esq., and family, old residents of this township, are now living near Wellington, Kas. His sons are scattered. Ed. is at home, Frank is in the Indian Territory, Charlie is in Central City, Col., and Silas is in South America. Belle and Cora are at home. We hope they will get together some time and revisit their old friends and acquaintances in Dayton.

Mrs. M. D. Skinner and Miss Della, and Mr. Chas. Snydam, of north of Somonauk, were visiting at Mr. Chas. Green’s last week.

Mrs. Stowell, of Bloomington, is visiting her sister, Mrs. John F. Wright.

Mrs. and Miss Davis, of Maine, mother and sister of Ira W. Davis, Esq., are keeping house for him since the death of his wife.

Mrs. Jennie Martell, of Chicago, is visiting her parents and friends in Dayton. We understand her and her husband will soon make their future home in Saratoga, N. Y.

Mr. J. A. Dunavan, of Rutland township, will hold a public sale on Thursday of this week, and about March 1st he and his family will remove to Colorado, near Sterling, where they will make their future home.

Our schools are prospering under the instruction of Mr. A. E. Butters and Miss Etta M. Barnes.

Occasional1


  1. The (Ottawa, IL) Free Trader, February 11, 1888, p. 2, col. 4

The Last Will and Testament of Mary Daniels

 

In the name of God, Amen,
I Mary Daniels of Rutland in the County of La Salle & State of Illinois, being of sound mind & mindful of my mortality, do, on this nineteenth day of September in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred & fifty three, hereby make & declare this my last will & testament in manner & form, to wit:

First –
It is my desire that my funeral expenses & just debts, be fully paid.

Second –
After the payment of such funeral expenses & debts, I give & devise & bequeath unto my son, Aaron Daniels, all the live stock, horses, cattle, sheep, hogs, &c, by me now owned, & also, all the household furniture & other articles of personal property not herein disposed of or enumerated in this will to have and to hold, by him, the said Aaron Daniels, his heirs & assigns forever, —, I also give & bequeath to the said Aaron Daniels his heirs & assigns, all money or monies now in my possession, or now due & owing to me, by any & all persons, And also, all my share in the crops now growed, or such as shall hereafter grow, upon the land, now occupied by me, the said Mary Daniels.

Third –
I give & bequeath to my nephew Elmer E. Daniels, all the packing casks & barrels by me now owned. Als, one bedstead. & also bed & beding necessarily belonging therto & als one Clock.

Fourth –
I give & bequeath to my daughter Juda Stadden, one comforter, two table cloths, & one sheet.

Fifth –
I give & bequeath to my daughter Elizabeth Kleiber, one comforter, two table cloths, & one sheet.

And, lastly,
I hereby constitute & appoint Aaron Daniels Executor of this my last will & testament, & hereby declaring, ratifying & confirming this & no other to be my last will & testament.

In witness whereof I the said Mary Daniels have hereunto set my hand & seal, the day & year first above mentioned.

Signed, sealed, published, & declared by the said Mary Daniels, as for her last will & testament, in presence of us, who in her presence, & in the presence of each other & at her request, have subscribed our names, thereto.

Washington Bushnell
E. S. Hallowell


Last will and testament image by Nick Youngson CC BY-SA 3.0 Pix4free

An Unexplained Explosion

SHACK NEAR DAYTON IS DESTROYED
Charge of Dynamite Resulted in Injury to Two

Two men were injured, and the lives of two others endangered when the three room shack of William Hibbard located along the banks of the old feeder and just outside of Dayton, was dynamited by an unknown assailant early Tuesday morning. The injured, William Hibbard and Albert Charlery are now confined to the Hibbard home and are being attended by an Ottawa physician. Neither of the other two men, Frank Davis and Arthur Gosney, were badly injured and they did not need medical attention.

The matter has not been reported to the authorities, but it was learned that Hibbard and his three friends who are employed at the James Funk coal beds near Dayton had entered the house, a little three room shack, located on the trestle road from Dayton and the north bank of the feeder late in the evening. According to their own story, it is said they became engaged in a card game and did not hear or see anyone about the place.

Shortly after midnight there came a deafening crash that could be heard for some distance from the house. Every one of the quartet was knocked from his chair and onto the floor, Hibbard being rendered unconscious while his three companions were dazed.

So great was the force of the explosion that every bit of glass in the house was shattered. The stove was blown clear across the room, pictures were knocked from the wall and all of the furniture damaged as well as the exterior of the house.

The alleged charge of dynamite from all appearances was dropped along the side of the house where Albert Charlery was sitting. When the explosion came he was hurled clear across the room.

While the explosion occurred between midnight Sunday and 1 o’clock Monday authorities have not received any notification of the mysterious occurrence. Residents of Dayton are unable to throw any light on the affair and all they can tell is of the mute evidence of the happenings of the night and the roar of the explosion.

The Hibbard shack was built by Hibbard after his other house had been destroyed by fire and was used as a kind of hang-out by men working in the coal beds and clay pits near Dayton. Why anyone would attempt to blow up the house and murder or injure the occupants is a question that the residents of Dayton are asking one another.

from the Streator Times, 22 November 1923

[It’s frustrating that there is never a follow-up to stories like these. Who blew up William Hibbard’s shack? and why?]

A President’s Visit to Dayton

Martin Van Buren

From the Streator Free Press, 24 May 1884:

Speaking of the fine fishing at Dayton, Judge Dickey this morning told an interesting reminiscence of President Martin Van Buren’s visit to Ottawa in 1841. It was just after his defeat by Harrison, and he came here to spend a few days for relaxation. He stopped at the Fox River House and stayed ten days. With him was Spaulding, his secretary of the navy, and a celebrated novelist. Van Buren was the most polished of politicians, an uncle of J. V. A. Hoes, while Spaulding was a blunt, plain spoken man who wanted no nonsense. It was arranged for the party to go fishing at Dayton, and a procession of about 150 men on horseback piloted the distinguished party. At Dayton Col. John Green, a big democrat and friend of the party, had a big crowd assembled, and a little cannon was posted on the hill and fired a rattling salute, so much so that it nearly scared the horses to death. This made Spaulding mad, and he got madder and madder as the boss idiot at the gun kept it booming until Spaulding’s horse careered wildly. Finally the distinguished visitor could contain himself no longer and cried out that if somebody didn’t stop that infernal idiot he would go down and lick him himself. Of course the party caught no fish, and they attributed it to the fact that the secretary of the navy swore so at the gunner.

The One Left Behind

photo of Brunk, Ida Bell - tombstone

The Dayton cemetery is full of family groups. Among the graves are more than seventy members of the Green family, eleven Hippards, nine Hites and seven Makinsons. There are only a few instances of a burial that appears to be a solitary one. Perhaps the youngest of these is little Ida Bell Brunk, who died in 1868, at the age of five years, four months and ten days. There are no other Brunk monuments in the Dayton cemetery

Ida’s father, Noah Brunk, was born December 14, 1828 in Rockingham County, Virginia. He moved to La Salle county, Illinois, in 1855, where, on September 24, 1857, he married Amanda Elizabeth Parr, daughter of Thomas J. and Sarah Ann (Pitzer) Parr. 

In 1860 Noah and Amanda had a one-year old son, Thomas. Also in their household was Jesse Parr, Amanda’s 21 year old brother, who helped Noah with the farm work.

Between 1860 and 1870, little Ida was born in 1863 and died in 1869, so that in 1870 the household still consisted of Noah, Amanda, and Thomas, now age 11. They were living in Dayton township, where Noah was a Director of the Fox River Horse Collar Manufacturing Company, in partnership with J. A. Dunavan. He also served several terms as road commissioner and township treasurer. 

In 1880, the household had expanded to include an eight year old daughter, Cora, and Amanda’s parents.

In 1899, Cora married William D. Hedrick and they moved to Kansas. Thomas had graduated from Cornell University and was a professor at Texas A. & M. None of Ida’s family remained in the area, as Noah and Amanda went to Austell, Georgia for a few years, before moving to Kansas to be near Cora.

It is very possible that Ida is not the only member of her family buried in the Dayton cemetery. Her parents lost three children who died in infancy in the 1860s, when the Brunks were living in Dayton township. The probability is high that they, too, were buried in Dayton, but there are no stones and no other evidence has been found to verify this.

The following epitaph appeared on Ida’s tombstone. It is no longer readable, but luckily it was copied in 1967, when the stone was less worn:
          Dearest Ida, thou hast left us.
          Here thy loss we deeply feel.
          But ’tis God that hath bereft us.
          He can all our sorrow heal.
If other Brunk children were buried here too, surely this sentiment also applies to them.

The Standard Fire Brick Company

After the 1888 fire the remaining building was bought for the fire brick factory.

In August, 1892, the Ottawa Paving Brick Company, under the management of John W. Channel, who, for several years prior to this date, had been superintendent of Hess, Crotty & Williams brick factory, leased the brick works at Dayton, Ill. For three years this plant was run successfully, when, in November, 1895, the Standard Fire Brick Company, of Ottawa, Ill., was organized by Thomas D. Catlin, John W. Channel, M. W. Bach and E. W. Bach, with $25,000 capital stock. The company bought the Dayton property, consisting of the large, substantial, four-story stone building, formerly used as a woolen mill, and also the three-story frame building, used for many years as a horse collar factory, together with all the clay lands, water-power and machinery. John W. Channel was made president and general manager, Thomas D. Catlin, vice-president and treasurer, and E. W. Bach, secretary.

Shortly after the Standard Fire Brick Company had been legally organized and had commenced business, negotiations were entered into with the firm of Hess, Crotty & Williams for the purchase of their brick factory, located about a mile east of Ottawa, at a station called “Brickton.” The capital stock of the Standard Fire Brick Company was increased to $50,000, and the purchase of the plant of Hess, Crotty & Williams effected, and the company assumed control in May, 1896, with the same set of officers that the original Standard Fire Brick Company had, each private individual of the old firm of Hess, Crotty & Williams taking an interest in the company which purchased their plant.

The Dayton plant is situated four miles north of Ottawa, on the Fox river branch of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy railroad system, and has its own sidetrack along the yards, and the Ottawa factory is located on the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific main line, with a side track at the factory also. Thus the company has double the shipping facilities that any concern located on a single system would have, saving, of course, a great deal of annoyance and the expense caused by transferring from one road to the other. The company is a member of the Western Railway Weighing Association, from which a great benefit is derived.

At the Dayton factory the company has abundant water-power, and at Ottawa steam-power is used. Both places are heated thoroughly by a complete system of steam pipes, and they are also amply equipped with the usual dry pans, pug mills, clay crushers, conveyors, hand and power presses, clay bins and auger machines; no steam process being used in the manufacture of their wares.

The company has 65 acres of clay land, all underlaid with a vein of fire clay, most of it within 8 to 16 feet of the surface. At Ottawa, on top of this fire clay, there is a vein of coal about 22 inches in thickness, and above this coal a vein of common clay, varying from common yellow clay to one having the nature of soapstone. This yellow clay, properly mixed with a proportion of fire clay, is used in making their sidewalk tiles. At Dayton, on the west side of the river, there is, above the fire clay, besides a vein of coal, an extensive bed of valuable shale about 30 feet in depth. This makes good common ware, and mixed with a little fire clay, makes as fine a sidewalk tile as one will find anywhere in the country. On the east side of the river, where the main supply of the company’s fire clay is obtained, there is nothing above the fire clay except a bed of excellent gravel about five to eight feet in thickness. This gravel makes is possible to maintain the roads to the factory in excellent condition.

Fire brick and fire clay articles are the company’s main product. The market for this material is, besides Chicago, the great trade center of the West, all of the northern part of this State, Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan, all of them great manufacturing states. Their competitors in the fire clay materials are very few, while the competitors in the common clay products are many, nearly every location of any size at all having its own common brick yard.

Many of our people do not realize the vast diversity of clay deposits in the close proximity to Ottawa, and their immense wealth that would result from their proper development, and in order to show the great variety of clay we have at Ottawa, as well as at Dayton and Brickton, it is well to take note of the principal kinds of clay, and their divisions. The term clay, as ordinarily used, means any earthy substance which, when worked up with water into a plastic mass, will retain whatever shape it is made into. Varying and ever changing proportions of iron oxide, lime and organic matter are found in conjunction with different beds of clay material, and the term, clay, is used to denote them all, including shale. Strictly speaking, however, “clay” means silicate of alumina, or kaolin, said to be derived from two Chinese words (Kau-ling), meaning high ridge, reference being made probably to some location where vast quantities of clay material were found. The greater per cent of silica and alumina (forming kaolin) there is in a clayey substance the more valuable it is, and the nearer it comes to being pure kaolin or true clay. All clays are the result of decomposition, mostly of feldspar, which was a large proportion of the ancient granite rocks, combined with quartz and other minerals, and in the course of decomposition the deposits have been washed and transported for long distances, together with particles of sand and deposited in vast beds, thus forming clay deposits; particularly is this true of fire clay.

At Dayton they have an extensive bed of excellent shale, which is a term also applied to certain clays, not so much because it is composed of different substances or different proportions than other clays, but because it has a thinly laminated structure, the stratification in its formation being well marked. Of this deposit there are none at Ottawa.

There are two classes of clays, viz., high grade and low grade clays. Of the low grade clays they have five of the six subdivisions present upon their properties. 1. Argillaceous shale (present in Dayton only). 2. Silicous clays. 3. Tile Clays. 4. Brick clay. 5. Calcereous clay, and all of the last four at both places. Each kind has its particular adaptability. For instance, the first mentioned is not to be excelled in making paving blocks, the second is adapted to sewer pipes, the third and fourth for roofing and drain tile, and the fifth for common brick. All these varieties exist, and to one accustomed to clay it is not difficult to distinguish the various kinds.

Of the high grade clays, of which there are also six subdivisions, they have two at both places, viz.: 1. Hard fire clay. 2. Plastic fire clay, used for the manufacture of refractory material. These fire clays are a composition of about 59 parts silica, 27 parts alumina, 11 parts water, and 3 parts of iron and other fixing properties. The term, fire clay, is applied without restriction to all clays found immediately underlying coal beds, although the extremely low grade of composition of many of these deposits of so-called fire clays do not warrant their being called fire clays at all. They have the true fire clay, viz., a refractory clay which becomes white upon calcination, i. e., burning the crude clay as it comes direct from the bed.

This fire clay is the material out of which they manufacture their most important products. The upper stratum of common clay and coal is removed and the beds of fire clay exposed, they being from six to ten feet in depth. The clay is then blasted out in large quantities, and conveyed to the dry pan and ground very fine and run over screens, and often shipped in this state to be used as mortar in laying up brick used for refractory purposes. In making brick, after being ground fine it is run through pug mills and then auger machines, and here it comes forth in streams of varying size, depending on the dies used, and cut off by wires into the size and shape desired, except very large or special shapes which have to be hand-moulded or hand-pressed.

They can well be proud of the reputation their brick have attained in Chicago and the Northwest, which is un-paralleled by any of their competitors. They supply material for stack linings, boiler settings, iron cupolas, furnaces, foundries, lime and brick kilns, retorts, and any purpose requiring refractory brick. The beds of plastic fire clay at Brickton, and also to a limited extent at Dayton, have not been touched in recent years, although they are very valuable deposits, as they are adapted for the manufacture of stone ware and articles of that kind.

As to the sidewalk tile and small pavers they cannot be discounted by anyone. They are made from a mixture of the shale at Dayton, or the top clay at Brickton, with a certain per cent of the clay; then the process of manufacture is the same as fire brick, only having a design of some kind pressed on the surface. In order to obtain an even and smooth surface the sidewalk tiles are treated to a salt glaze, which gives them a very pleasing appearance. Miles of their sidewalk tile can attest their usefulness, in Ottawa alone, to say nothing of the great quantities recently shipped to cities and villages in this state where the idea of using tile for sidewalk has just taken effectual hold upon the people. They are cheaper and more lasting than cement walks, less expensive than stone, better in appearance, more desirable than wood, and when properly laid make the most durable walks that can be had. Although the atmosphere and its destructive agencies decomposed the massive rocks from which comes the clay used to make these tile, yet if it is properly vitrified and placed where it will not be broken or destroyed by abrasion, it will be a tablet that will last forever, absolutely indestructible by the atmospheric agencies or the elements. Making articles from clay was the first manufacturing industry in the world, and it is to-day the second largest industry in the United States; and it can be said that as long as the earth lasts, brick will be made, and the future inhabitants will be able, 4,000 years hence, to find remains and specimens of the products of this age, as we today can and do look upon authentic specimens of brick made over 4,000 years ago.

from the Ottawa Republican-Times, date unknown

Was Mysteriously Shot

WAS MYSTERIOUSLY SHOT

August Morrel, of Dayton, Lying at the Hospital – Revolver Bullet Near His Heart

Was Returning Home from Ottawa When Accident Occurred – May Have Stumbled While Carrying it in His Pocket – May Recover

August Morrel, whose home is in Dayton, was mysteriously wounded while returning home from Ottawa at an early hour this morning. That it was an accident is very probable from the location and direction of the wound. The bullet, evidently discharged from the man’s own revolver, which he claims was in his pocket, entered the left breast and passed through the right chamber of the heart, and finally lodged under the left shoulder blade. This occurred on the railroad about a half mile south of Dayton, from which point the man succeeded in crawling home, when Dr. Herzog, of this city, was notified and went to the assistance of the wounded man.

Morrel was then brought to the Ryburn hospital, where he is in a fair condition but the final results are not known.1


  1. Ottawa Daily Republican-Times, November 20, 1905, p. 8, col. 3

Charles Fraine Funeral

 

Charles Fraine Funeral

            Funeral services were held Saturday morning with a requiem mass for Charles Fraine, aged 83, who died at his home here Thursday, following a short illness. The mass was sung by Rev. Barrett, assistant pastor of the St. Columbus [sic] Catholic church. The pall bearers were James MacGrogan, James Kelly, Rush Green, Wm. Buckley, Sr., Edward Zellers, and James Collison.

            The deceased is survived by three daughters, Misses Emma and Jennie Fraine and Mrs. Addie Thompson of Dayton, one son Jules Fraine and three grandchildren, Roy, Kenneth and Lola of Ottawa.

            Mr. Fraine was preceded in death by his wife. He was a member of the Catholic order of Foresters and interment was made in St. Columba cemetery.

            Those from a distance who attended were: Mr. and Mrs. Ray Doran, Mr. and Mrs. George Graves of Aurora, Mr. Ed. Raspillar and Mrs. Josephine Mansfield, Plano, Mrs. Mamie Fraine and son Elmer, Miss Edna Parrisot, Mrs. John Florent, Joe Colbe, John Colbe and C. Aldrich, all of Somonauk; Mr. and Mrs. Ernest Raspillar and Mrs. G. Marco of Shridan Junction, Chas. Claude, Sr., and Chas. Claude, Jr., and two daughters of Serena, Ill.1

 


  1. Ottawa Republican-Times, November 13, 1928, p. 10, cols 6-8

The Winter of the Deep Snow

snowdrifts

Since there are no pictures of the 1830 deep snow, here is a newer one.

There have been many hard winters in Dayton – plenty of snow, ice in the river, icy long-lasting cold – but none can surpass the Deep Snow of 1830, at least in the memories of the hardy pioneers who lived through it.

The snow blanked Illinois to a depth of three feet, with drifts of four to six feet. Storms with high winds continued for two months.  Many families were snowbound for the duration, and travelers were stuck wherever they happened to be when the heavy snow started. This is before the weather records begin, so there is nothing but anecdotal evidence, but there is plenty of that.

The winter of the Deep Snow became a legendary dating point and those who came to Illinois before that date qualified for membership in the Old Settlers Association. When the Sangamon County Old Settlers Society was formed there was a special designation for all those who were in Illinois before then – they were Snow Birds. Among the list of members of that first group is the name of Abraham Lincoln.

La Salle County was among the first, if not the first, county in Illinois to establish an Old Settlers  Society. They met on February 22, 1859, in La Salle. The meeting was mentioned in the Ottawa Free Trader, with the note that a fuller writeup of the meeting appeared in the Peru Herald. Unfortunately that newspaper does not survive.

Jesse Green, in his memoir, recalls memories of their first few winters in Dayton:

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.  Our first winter here Brother David and myself trapped rising three hundred chickens, besides a large quantity of quail.  After eating all we could, Mother merely saved their breasts salted and smoked them.

For more information, illinoishistory.com has this page devoted to the stories of the Winter of the Deep Snow.

A far-traveled Dayton girl

 

Emma May Rhoads

[When I go trawling the Internet for mention of Dayton people, I sometimes find rather tenuous connections. In this case, she was born in Dayton township, but the family moved to Ottawa almost immediately. However, her story was so interesting I am claiming her as a Dayton person.] 

Emma May Rhoads was born in Dayton township on September 19, 1874, the daughter of Thomas Rhoads and Kathrine Bardouner. The family moved to Ottawa shortly thereafter, where Emma went to school, graduating from Ottawa Township High School in 1893.

She attended the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana, working on the Daily Illini, the student newspaper, and graduating in 1899. She was a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma, the Aletheni Literary Society, and was president of the Y.W.C.A. in 1898/99. It was here that she became acquainted with her future husband, Edward Nickoley.

After graduating from the U of I in 1898, Edward departed for missionary work in Beirut, Syria, at the Syrian Protestant College, later the American University of Beirut. Emma taught in New York for several years after she graduated, and on August 12, 1903, they were married in Champaign, Illinois. She returned with him to Beirut, Syria, where he was a teacher in the Commerce department. For several years she was the general secretary of the Y.W.C.A. for Syria and Palestine.

Kathrine, Emma, and Edward Nickoley

In 1914 Edward had a furlough year and Emma and their daughter, Kathrine, returned to spend the time in Urbana while he was occupied elsewhere. Emma enrolled in the University of Illinois, in the graduate school of literature, making a special study of Journalism.

The situation in Europe was becoming increasingly dangerous, and in August, Edward landed at New York in the last ship to leave Hamburg, Germany. The ship was chased by French cruisers, but escaped capture and landed safely in New York. Edward joined his wife and daughter in Urbana and enrolled at the University. In June 1915, both received master’s degrees: Edward in economics and Emma in English.

They had planned to return to Beirut in September, 1915, but owing to the war conditions existing in the East, they were unable to. They stayed in Urbana and registered in the Graduate School again, pending the bettering of war conditions and the assurance of reasonable safety on the seas in the return trip to the college at Beirut.

By January, it appeared possible to make the attempt to return to Syria. They left New York on January 24 on the Greek liner Vasilef Constantinos. French, English and German ambassadors gave every assurance that the passage of the neutral liner would be safe. They planned to remain in Athens for a week for the purpose of visiting the ruins and the other points of interest about the city. From Athens , they would go on the U. S. man-of-war Des Moines to Beirut in Syria.

They had plenty of time to sightsee, as they were still in Athens in April, awaiting special passports from the French to allow them to pass the blockade into Syria. By fall they still had not been able to get to their destination. In October, Emma and Kathrine returned to Urbana, where she gave the following interview:

We left for Athens last January, where we expected to go on board the U. S. gunboat Des Moines for Beirut, but the Turkish government absolutely forbade our landing at any ports on the Mediterranean. So we spent the next nine months in Greece in the hopes of finding some means by which we might get into Beirut. Finally, my husband was ordered to make the trip overland, which he is now attempting to do. Although it is only a two days trip by water, the journey overland involves going through France, Switzerland, Austria, Constantinople and lastly a long trip across country to Beirut, which will take at least three weeks. According to newspaper accounts, however, it will be impossible to get into Austria at all, in which case he will return home at once. I do not think that my daughter and I will be able to return to Syria until the war is over.

Edward did succeed in his overland trip, but Emma was correct that it would be some time before she and Kathrine could return. She again enrolled in the university, studying library science. It was not until February 1919 that Emma and Kathrine sailed from New York for Beirut, with a unit of missionaries and relief workers. They arrived in April, after being held at Port Said several weeks awaiting the arrival of a coastwise steamer.

At this time, Edward was dean of the School of Commerce and professor of economics at the American University at Beirut. From 1920 to 1923 he served as acting president, in the absence of the president. Emma did relief work in Beirut and assisted in reorganizing the University library, and daughter Kathrine taught in the home economics department.  In 1923 Edward had another sabbatical leave and they returned to Illinois, to study library science (Emma) and economics (Edward). They planned that after his retirement they would return to Urbana to live.

Sadly, this was not to happen, as Edward died in 1937 in Beirut. Emma, who was then dean of women at the university, and her daughter, who taught at the school,  returned to Urbana and were much in demand as speakers, telling of their experiences in Syria. As reported in the Belvidere, Illinois, Daily Republican, Emma gave a lecture to schoolchildren in Belvidere in which she told of archeologists she met while in Syria:

History students of Belvidere high school heard interesting anecdotes about archeology from Mrs. Edward Nickoley, former resident of Beirut, Syria, who gave a classroom lecture at 2 p.m yesterday in the high school.

Mrs. Nickoley explained the work of noted archeologists who she had met in Syria during her 34-year-residence at the Beirut college where her husband was professor. She described the work of James Henry Breasted of Rockford, who is considered one of the most outstanding men in his field.

Other archeologists included in Mrs. Nickoley’s talk included Lord and Lady Petrie, famous British scientists; Gertrude Bell, T. E. Lawrence, who is the author of “The Seven Pillars of Wisdom,” and Leonard Wooley.

Mrs. Nickoley knew these scientists personally. Lady Petrie gave her a priceless vase that is 2,000 years old. Mrs. Nickoley displayed the vase and other archeological specimens.

Sometime between 1958 and 1966, Emma moved from Urbana to Minnesota. She died in Rochester, Minnesota, in January, 1972, at the age of 97.

1952: The Fox River Was Acting Up Again

 

Ice up to the floor of the bridge

ARMY ASKED TO USE DYNAMITE ON ICE GORGE AT DAYTON DAM1
Bridge Endangered as River Continues Rise
Families Flee as Water Enters Homes
Power Plant is Shut Down

BULLETIN!

Kenneth Short, superintendent of construction of the Illinois Division of Waterways, arrived at Dayton today to make a survey of the flood situation. He informed State Rep. J. Ward Smith this afternoon he would confer immediately with other engineers on the advisability of using dynamite or some other method to break the ice gorge.

The flood situation at Dayton, caused by a huge ice gorge in the Fox River, was described as very serious today, and the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers was asked to consider the matter of dynamiting the jammed slush ice.

The ice gorge went down slightly last night at 8, then rose again today, and water flowed over the road at the east side of the bridge below the dam. Ice reached the floor of the bridge, which is in danger of being washed out or badly damaged due to the intense pressure against it. At 9:30 today the water had risen to the top of the dam, above the floor of the bridge and the power plant of the North Counties Hydro-Electric Company was put out of commission.

Water completely surrounded several of the numerous cottages on the east bank of the river, both above and below the bridge. Basements of some of the homes were flooded and water had risen above the ground level floors of others. Many of the families moved out their furniture as the water continued to rise.

Move Furniture

At the Frank Kossow Jr., home water was over the floor and half way to the windows. Furniture from this house was moved last night to the nearby home of Frank Kossow Sr., which was on higher ground. This morning the water had reached the front steps of the latter’s home and had entered the basement. Mrs. Frank Kossow Jr., and her two sons, 5 and 3 years old, have gone to Peru to reside temporarily with her mother until the flood danger is over. Her husband was called back from Chicago where he was attending a convention. Frank Kossow Sr. is vacationing in Florida.

The H. T. Mossbarger house south of the road leading to the bridge was completely surrounded, and water threatened to enter the house. The Mossbargers, who have an 8-year-old son, piled up their furniture to protect it from damage and moved out last night.

North of the road an unoccupied summer cottage owned by George Farnsworth, county engineer, was moved from its foundation, and was tilted at an angle. The water there was nearly to the windows. The Harlan Kossow home also was surrounded by water, which at 10 today was within a foot of the floor.

Auto Submerged

An automobile owned by Ted Mathews in the yard near his home was almost completely submerged.

Water was up to the front door of the Larry Marta home. Marta is at Ft. Benning, Ga., attending a National Guard training school. His wife and their four-month-old baby moved out last night, and are residing temporarily at the home of her husband’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Dom Marta, Illinois Avenue.

The fire in the furnace at the home of Mrs. John Murphy was extinguished as water entered the basement. The family of Roy Murphy moved out as water entered their home. Another home threatened with flood damage was that of Bernard Hackler, who is employed in Ottawa by Scherer’s.

The Clyde Jeffries family left their home as the river continued to rise, and they were unable to return as the roadway leading to the house became submerged to a depth of four feet. This morning water had risen to within seven inches of the floor of the William Campbell home. The Robert Kennedy home was another which was flooded.

There are approximately 15 homes, with about 35 occupants, in the flooded area on the east side of the river.

Damaged in 1943

Robert Kennedy said today that in a similar flood in 1943, caused by an ice gorge, the river rose to about the same height that prevailed this morning. At that time the bridge was moved a couple of inches and cracks were caused in the foundation. The present bridge replaced a steel structure that collapsed in 1940 under the weight of a truck and automobile which were crossing it.

The drop in the level of the ice gorge last night apparently was due to the closing of the gates at the Starved Rock dam, causing a rise in the level of both the Illinois and Fox Rivers, and the subsequent opening of the gates, resulting in sudden dropping of the level. This action was taken at the request of George Farnsworth, county superintendent of highways. Dropping of the level presumably broke open a channel for the gorged Fox River ice. A new pileup of ice, however, in the river cause the water to rise again.

State Rep. J. Ward Smith was contacted by Dayton area residents at 3 a. m. today after the river resumed its rise. Rep. Smith telephoned to Tom Casey, chief engineer of the division of waterways, Illinois Department of Public Works and Buildings, and urged his cooperation in coping with the critical situation at Dayton. He also notified state police, who promised their assistance. After conferring with Casey, Rep. Smith notified the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers, and asked their assistance. Smith suggested that dynamite be used to open a channel.

H. McGrogan, superintendent of the North Counties Hydro-Electric plant, said this morning that the water was 24-25 feet above normal below the dam, which is 26 feet in height from base to crest. There were two feet of water on the floor of the hydro-electric plant. McGrogan said the water was still slightly below what it was on the occasion of the last gorge, but he predicted it would go higher because of the enormous amount of ice still coming over the dam. He described the bridge situation as serious, due to the tremendous pressure against the structure.


  1. Ottawa Republican-Times, January 30, 1952, p 1

David Green

David Green (1819-1880)

 

David Green was ten years old when he came to Illinois in 1829 with his family. His father, John Green, had organized a party of settlers to move from Ohio to Illinois. David and his older brother, Jesse, were doing men’s work from the very start. Jesse later described some of their efforts in the initial building of a dam to drive the mill:

Whilst the men were getting out the timber for the mill and dam, which had to be built to intersect a small island, brother David and myself took the contract of scraping out the race or waterway for a distance of about a half mile (he being ten, and I twelve years old). We each had a pair of oxen and an old fashioned scraper. I sometimes had to help him load and dump his scraper and vice versa. We had the race completed by the time the mills were ready to draw their gates.

The winter of 1838-9 David and Jesse went back to Ohio, intending to go to school but their uncle Isaac Green persuaded them to take a room in his house where the school teacher boarded. They both claimed that the boys would make better progress than by attending school, as the teacher would give them his entire attention when not in school. This one term of school in Ohio and one other back home under Reuben Miller was the extent of their formal education.

David and brother Jesse, under the name of J. & D. Green, ran the first woolen mill, built in 1840. It was a building 32 by 60 feet, three stories high.  It at first contained but one set of machinery consisting of three separate carding machines, a jack of 126 spindles, and four power looms, and two broad, and one narrow hand loom. Later, when the large stone mill was built, they took into partnership their brother-in-law, Oliver W. Trumbo. In 1844, David took over the additional position of manager of the Green grist mill from his father.

On Christmas Eve 1847 David married Mary Stadden, the daughter of William and Judah (Daniels) Stadden. William and his family arrived in the Dayton area in 1830. He built a flour mill at Dayton and became a prominent figure in La Salle County, serving as sheriff for two terms and elected twice to the State Senate.

When William Stadden died in November, 1848, David was named the executor of his will. The estate had many uncollected receipts and outstanding debts, which required many court appearances to resolve. It was at this time that word of the discovery of gold in California arrived and brother Jesse resolved to go West himself, with a party of Dayton men.

I’ve always felt sorry for David being left at home while his brothers went off to California, but someone had to stay home and manage the farm and the mills. Since David was deeply involved in settling his father-in-law’s estate, he also dealt with the necessary changes at home. The farm was rented to the Hite family, who moved into the Green house. Barbara Green and the younger children, Rachel, Rebecca, and Isaac, moved to the hotel, where they were joined by daughter Katherine Dunavan, whose husband, George, was one of the gold-seekers.

David was therefore left in charge of the woolen mill, the grist mill, and the store, as well as the “Golden Widows”. As the only man of the family his responsibilities were large. His sisters, Nancy and Katherine, were also golden widows.

In 1852 David was proud to advertise that the mills had just undergone thorough repairs and were now so arranged that six run of burrs could be turned on custom work or merchant either, which made the “Old Pioneer” one of the best custom mills in the state; as the four run of merchant burrs, bolts, &c., could be used for custom work whenever required.   

By the 1870s, David had taken one of his sons in business with him. The Ottawa Free Trader reported:
The mill at Dayton, rebuilt a few years ago and lately put in thorough repair is well known as one of the best in Northern Illinois. It has always been popular and famous for the excellence of its work, and with its present management, in the hands of D. Green & Son, it will more than sustain its old reputation.

In 1879 David repaired the old shop south of the flouring mill in order to use it to manufacture drain tile. A tile machine with brick attachment was ordered and installed and the firm of D. Green & Son announced that they would be making brick in short order. The clay around Dayton was of an excellent quality and made good substantial brick and tile.

By then, David had retired from active participation in the day to day business of D. Green & Sons. He may have suffered from depression, as the 1880 census listed him as “melancholy”. That census was taken in June and on September 2, David died.

Thoughts About Trains

In addition to passenger service, engine 4960 provided freight service on the railroad line through Dayton. We lived right next to the railroad tracks (the bush on the right is in our back yard) so passing freight trains shook everything in the house. Living so close, you became deaf to the noise and it was not unusual for someone to ask if the train had come through yet. My mother had a set of glass shelves which hung on the dining room window. One of the ways to answer the question was to see if any of the trinkets on the shelf had fallen over.

Other people were not quite so complacent about the noise. Once a guest who had spent the night in our guest room, which was on the side next to the tracks, came down to breakfast asking “WHAT was that thing that came through my room in the night?”

As children we left coins on the track or crossed pins, which made scissor shapes when squashed by the wheels. We always waved to the red caboose, regardless of whether anyone was there to wave back..

The track ran uphill going north out of Dayton. In bad weather, when the track was icy, it seemed to take forever for the train to pass our house. It seemed to slip back one foot for every two it gained.

The passenger service ended in 1952, (see here and here for the end of the “Dinky”) but engine 4960 continued a freight run twice a day until newer engines took over in 1966.

Joel F. Warner – fisherman

large mouth bass

Joel Foster “Faut” Warner was a noted Dayton fisherman and his prowess received notice in the Ottawa newspaper.

May 8, 1886, p. 8, col. 3
Dayton, May 6th. – Fishing is fine here this season, and the game fish are being caught in large quantities. Our old fisherman, F. A. Warner, a short time ago caught one hundred and forty-one bass in one day, and Mr. Lewis Makinson caught seventy-five. Yesterday was a big day and scores of the finny tribe were removed from their watery homes.

May 12, 1888, p. 8, col. 2
J. F. Warner, our fisherman, caught fifty fine bass last Tuesday morning.

He is called Peg in this next item because, in 1877, he lost his left leg. He tried to get on a moving railway train, slipped and had a car wheel run over it. It had to be amputated 4 inches below the knee. He must have had a peg fitted to the stump.

8 Aug 1902, p12, col 4
                          STOLE HIS BOAT AND FISH
          “Peg” Warner of Dayton Comes To Town With a Sorrowful Tale
“Peg” Warner, an old-time fisherman at Dayton, is in the city today and with Chief of Police Westcott is making a search for his boat, fishing tackle and about fifty pounds of catfish stolen from him last night. During the summer months Peg devotes his whole time to fishing, and is kind to campers and people who visit Dayton. The boat which was stolen is a new one, especially designed and built by Peg for his own conveniences in the river. It contained a life box and also a chamber for minnows, and anybody that visited Dayton was always welcome to the use of the boat. He also had some fine reels and fishing tackle, but all were taken. It is hoped that the thief will be captured and if he is, Peg will make him suffer.

Unfortunately, there is no follow up article. I can only hope that Peg was able to get his boat back.

Mail to California

In April, 1850, David Green wrote to his father and brothers in the gold fields near Sacramento. The postage to California and Oregon was 40 cents and it was paid by the sender. This letter was folded and sealed to create its own envelope. Note the red blob of sealing wax still adhering to the paper. The postmark reads “Ottawa Ill. APR 28”. How did this letter get to California?

Mail to California began in November, 1848, when Postmaster General Cave Johnson dispatched a special agent to California to establish Post Offices. By Christmas, steamships were carrying mail from New York to California via the Isthmus of Panama. This was before the construction of the canal. When the ships reached Panama, the mail was taken off and transported in canoes or on pack animals – and later by railroad – about 50 miles to the Pacific coast. Another steamship collected the mail on the Pacific side and headed north. The total journey took about three weeks. See here for map.

Since the first overland mail service to California was not until the spring of 1851, this letter likely went by boat from Ottawa to St. Louis and then by steamboat to New Orleans. From there it joined the main mail route from New York, crossing Panama and continuing up the coast to San Francisco.

This second letter came in its own (hand-made) envelope. Note that in this case the sender paid only 10 cents, leaving 30 cents to be collected upon arrival. Was David thinking the miners would have plenty of gold to pay the amount due?

Mail to and from California was eagerly awaited and all the letters stressed the fact that they had not heard from the other in a long time. Then a batch of letters would appear all at once and news was relayed to everyone for miles around, in hopes that their people would be mentioned. Many of the letters from La Salle county people were published in the Ottawa Free Trader.

Mail from home was not only eagerly awaited, it was treasured. These two letters, mailed to California and received there, were put away safely and brought home with them. The fragile originals are now treasured as evidence of how important the mail was to the adventurers.