A Father’s Consent

Dunavan, G - Green, K - marriage consent

Dayton Ill June 14th 1837
J. Cloud Esqr
            Sir I have given my Consent For you to Lisen [license] George M. Dunavan & my Daughter Katharine to be joind in motrimony
John Green

Since Katharine Green was only 15 when she married George Dunavan, her father sent this note of consent to Joseph Cloud, county clerk. The following day Katharine and George were married.

Dunavan, G - Green, K - marriage certificate

State of Illinois
La Salle County
This may certify that the rites of matrimony were this day solemnized between Geo. M. Dunavan and Katharine Green, both of said county, by me the Subscriber, One of the acting Justices of the Peace in and for the county aforesaid.
Witness my hand & Seal this 15th day of June A D 1837.
Geo W Howe, JP

WOOL! WOOL!

ad for Dayton Woolen mill

This ad for the Dayton Woolen Factory appeared in the Ottawa Free Trader on April 26, 1844. Jesse and David Green, the proprietors, advertised for people to bring their wool to be processed.

Customers could trade their wool on the spot for finished product, thereby not having to make a second trip to pick up their cloth when finished, or they could have their wool worked on shares, where the merchant took a share of the wool as his charge for making the cloth.

The customer also had a larger choice when choosing the finished material. He could also choose to only have the wool carded and/or spun, so that it could be spun or woven at home.

For cloth woven at home, it could be finished at the factory. Fulling (the scouring and thickening of the cloth), shrink-proofing, dyeing, and pressing — all would be done in a workman-like manner.

A Spring Day in 1881

 

house under construction

Rural Happenings

Dayton, April 21. – Good bye, old snow, good bye. Fox river has been and is at present on the “boom.” It commenced rising last Saturday and was so high by Monday morning the mills were unable to run on account of the back water. They are still unable to run. Sunday afternoon the water was up to the top of the old pier and towards evening it was carried off.

Martin Wilkie is putting an addition to his dwelling house on Canal street, at present occupied by Geo. W. Green. Mr. Wilkie is one of our most enterprising citizens and is assisting materially in improving the town.

H. B. Williams has the foundations commenced for two new tenant houses. He received three car loads of lumber from Chicago this week for his tenant houses. Mr. W. is another of our best citizens and a believer in progression.

Miss Sadie Holton, of Braidwood, Ill., is visiting at Geo W. Green’s.

Mr. John Channel and family, of St. Louis, are visiting at Geo. W. Makinson’s. John was formerly one of the boys of Dayton and it seems like old times to have him with us again.

Jackson Channel, of Marseilles, who had his arm badly injured at that place a few weeks ago, made Dayton a short visit last Wednesday.

H. B. George, Esq., of Leland, gave Dayton a short call one day this week.

The Literary Society and Musical Union have adjourned until next fall.

The Musical Union are preparing an interesting drama entitled, “The Lost Children,” which will be given at the school house Saturday evening, April 30. Admission 10 cts. This drama is full of interest and excitement and the minstrel scene is quite funny. The play opens with a fine prelude followed by an interesting chorus. Then the plot of the play commences. A small company of soldiers have been well drilled by Capt. Howard and will form a scene with their military maneuvres, army songs, &c. A band of minstrels is also introduced in the play with their instruments, darky songs, jokes and scenes, the whole forming a pleasant evening’s entertainment. You should not miss hearing it; besides this is the closing entertainment for the season of the Musical Union, and it should be well attended.

The tile factory are about ready to commence operations for the summer. They will have tile for sale again in a few weeks.

OCCASIONAL1


  1. The Ottawa Free Trader, April 23, 1881, p. 10, col. 1

100 Years Ago Today

Grade-School-Graduate

ANNOUNCE DATES FOR GRADUATIONS OF COUNTRY SCHOOLS
Rural Schools of the Entire County are to Unite for Exercises
Each Grade to be Represented in Programs

Dates for holding graduation exercises thruout the county has been set by County Superintendent of Schools W. R. Foster. It has been arranged this year to have several of the schools unite in holding their commencements. Each grade of each school is to furnish at least one number for the programs which will precede the presentation of diplomas.

Arrangements have also been made for charging 15 cents admission for the exercises this year instead of the ten cent charge of previous years. Five cents of this money will be turned into a fund to purchase stereographs for the rooms and the remaining ten cent fee for a book fund.

The complete list of dates for the holding of exercises and the committee of teachers in charge of each community unit follow:
. . .
Dayton, June 10. – Jennie Fraine, Margaret Durkee, Bessie Eaton1

Final exams for the seventh and eighth grades of the rural schools were held on May 7th and 8th. About 800 students participated. The first commencement was held at Harding on May 18th, and graduation exercises were held almost  every night until June 15th, including those in Dayton on June 10.


  1. The Ottawa Free Trader, May 6, 1920, p. 4, cols 2-3

May Baskets

May Basket (cone)        VirginiaBluebells

 

 

When I was a child, it was a tradition for Dayton children to hang May baskets. We made the baskets out of construction paper. There were two styles – one rolled into a cone, and one of heart-shaped basketweave. We picked wildflowers – bluebells and violets – for the baskets and put a handful of candy corn or popcorn in the bottom of the basket. The baskets were delivered  on May 1st by hanging a basket on the doorknob of a house, ringing the doorbell, and then running away. After all baskets had been delivered, we went home to see all the baskets that had been hung on our door. Long after I should have outgrown making and hanging May baskets I made enough for everyone in my office and hung them on the doorknobs of their offices before they came to work.

violetsMay basket (woven)

Basket Picnics

Vicinity Items

A mammoth pleasure excursion and basket picnic has been arranged to run from Streator to Dayton on Tuesday, Aug. 18th. For three years similar excursions have left there, and this promises to be the most enjoyable of all. Dayton’s beautiful scenery, fine shade, and unequaled reputation as a pleasure resort is unsurpassed, and Streator people, having no such beautiful or romantic camping out places near their city, have to come this way for such beneficial pleasures.1

A basket picnic was a popular event to raise money for charity. The women prepared picnic lunches in beautifully decorated baskets, filling them with their own personal culinary specialties. At the auction, all the baskets were anonymous, although it is possible that some husbands or beaux may have received a hint as to the identity of a desirable one. As the auction proceeded the men and boys competed to bid on baskets, and the winner would not only get the basket, but would share the lunch with the lady who created it.


  1. The Ottawa Free Trader, August 1, 1885, p. 8, col. 4

Mr. & Mrs. Moab Trumbo

Moab Trumbo

Moab Trumbo

Rebecca Kagy Trumbo

Rebecca Kagy Trumbo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Society Notes

Mr. and Mrs. Moab Trumbo, two of Ottawa’s most venerable and highly respected old people, celebrated their golden wedding anniversary last Tuesday in a most inconspicuous manner. The day was passed without any celebration to mark the event. This was due to the recent bereavement visited upon the aged celebrants in the death of their son, the late Sheriff Frank Trumbo. Despite their desire to pass the day quietly, many neighbors called informally to pay their respects and many beautiful bouquets were sent Mr. and Mrs. Trumbo. Mr. Trumbo is eighty-two years of age and his wife is seventy-six. Both enjoy the best of health and chances are bright for them to add several more years to their long and happy marital career. Moab P. Trumbo and Rebecca Kagy were united in marriage in Rutland township, February 27, 1862. Shortly after their marriage they moved to Dayton, where they resided up to the time of their coming to Ottawa to live, a few years ago. Mrs. E. F. Bradford, wife of the present mayor, is the only surviving child.


  1. The Ottawa Free Trader, 8 Mar 1912, p8, col 2

Mathias Trumbo – 1812 Veteran

 

Mathias Trumbo was the husband of Rebecca Grove, sister of Barbara Grove Green. He came to La Salle county in the second wave of immigrants from Licking county, Ohio, in 1830.

Mr. Trumbo came to this county in 1830, locating in Mission township, now known as Rutland township. Much of the land was still in its primitive condition and he took up a claim from the government, being one of the first settlers in this part of the county. Not a furrow had been turned nor an improvement made upon his farm and he at once began its cultivation, his labors resulting in transforming the tract into richly productive fields. His ancestors were of German birth, although the family was founded in America in early colonial days. Mathias Trumbo served his country as a soldier in the war of 1812, enlisting in Rockingham county, Virginia, which was his native country. After coming to La Salle county he gave his attention to general agricultural pursuits in Rutland township for many years and there resided until his death, which occurred November 20, 1875, when he was eighty-eight years of age, his birth having occurred on the 23rd of July, 1787. His wife bore the maiden name of Rebecca Grove and was also a native of Virginia. She removed to Ohio, where she was reared from the age of ten years and there she remained until her marriage. She, too, spent her last days in Rutland township, La Salle county, passing away in 1865, at the age of seventy-one years. In the family of this worthy couple were eight children, of whom five are now living: John, who was born in 1819, died in 1841. Lavina, born in 1820, married West Matlock, and lived near Yorkville, Kendall county, Illinois. Isabella, born in 1822, became the wife of Jesse Green, who resides in Ottawa, but her death occurred in 1854. Eliza, born in 1826, died in 1904. Elias, her twin brother, is still living in La Salle county. Barbara, born in 1829, is Mrs. Jackson. Elizabeth, born in 1833, is now Mrs. Strawn, a widow living in Ottawa. Elma Anna, born in 1838, is the widow of L. C. Robinson and resides with her sister, Mrs. Jackson, in Ottawa.1


  1. U. J. Hoffman, History of LaSalle County, Illinois (Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1906), 295-6.

APRIL FOOL!!

april-fools-day

Ottawans at play on April Fool’s Day:

They tell us a good one on Al, a south-side-of-the-square druggist, who got up a brilliant April fool speculation. He took his best business coat, and vest, and hat, down to the bank of the river on April 1st. He enclosed a note in one of the vest pockets, which read pensively to the effect that “whiskey has caused this fatal act,” and invoking the blessings of Heaven on the praying women. Giving directions on how to dispose of his body when dragged from the river bed, he then retired behind a bunch of willows and watched for a victim — someone to come along and find the clothes and give an alarm. He saw in the distance the jury, and anxious citizens, much excitement, drag robe, &c. But no one came. He waited all forenoon and rubbed his hands and kicked the ground with his feet to keep them warm, but still no one came. Then he went up town and threw out vague hints about “some one being found drowned — clothes on the willows at the river bank,” &c., but still the old thing didn’t work! At dusk he lonesomely repaired to the river and brought away his “duds” and meandered home through the back alleys. If you want to worry him just allude to his cute April fool speculation.1

If a proper observance of Fourth of July is going out of style and Christmas, New Year and Saint Valentine days are not as popular as they once were with Ottawa people, April Fool’s Day is, as the other days lessen in public esteem, receiving more attention. On Thursday all the practical jokers were on the lookout for victims. Lon Piergue furnished nicely frosted cotton cakes, and stood back and laughed while George Taylor, Gib Strawn and editor Zwanzig vied with one another in their attempts to masticate them. At the Clifton Hotel half the boarders swallowed salt in their coffee and made wry faces over bran pancakes. At the suggestion of Pat Carey, Judge Weeks spent fully five minutes at the telephone trying to talk to an imaginary somebody at the other end of the line. The day in short, was very much of an “All Fool’s Day.”2


  1. The Ottawa Free Trader, April 4, 1874, p. 4, col. 6
  2. The Ottawa Free Trader, April 3, 1886, p. 1, col. 4

Dam Across Fox River at Dayton

Dam across Fox River at Dayton

The back of this stereoscopic view of the Dayton dam lists a number of other views taken by William E. Bowman, Ottawa photographer. Although (as seen below) he dealt with historic scenes and famous people, he also took many photos of local people and places.

Ottawa’s old time photographer, W. E. Bowman, is now leading a retired life near Los Angeles, Cal. His gallery became famous for his historic faces and scenes. Thousands of eminent men and women have been before his camera, including Abraham Lincoln, William McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt, and other Presidents of the United States. He served as postmaster of Ottawa from 1882 to 1886. He was alderman in 1875-6, was the first secretary of the Riverside Driving Park Association, was trustee of the Academy of Natural Sciences, president of the District Union, which was composed of fifty temperance reform clubs, vice-president of the National Photographers’ association, president of the Memorial association, and generally active in all public affairs. Mr. Bowman was born April 28, 1834, at Huntington, Pa., coming to Illinois in 1837, and locating in Boone county. He came to Ottawa in 1865 and resided here until 1910.1

Back of stereo card


1. Ottawa: Old and New (Ottawa, The Republican Times, 1914), 129

Death of Nancy Green Dunavan

Mrs. Nancy Dunavan

Mrs. Nancy Dunavan died on the 27th of February, 1905, at the home of her son, David Dunavan, near Hamilton, Mo. She was born on April 26, 1816, in Licking county, Ohio, coming to this state with her parents, John and Barbara Green, in 1829. They were pioneers of Dayton precinct. She was married to J. Albert Dunavan in 1834, and settled on a farm in Rutland township, which was at that time a part of Dayton precinct. They lived there for 55 years, until 1889, when they left there a few years later to live with their children at Hamilton, Mo. Her husband died in February, 1892. She leaves one sister, Mrs. O. W. Trumbo, of Dayton, and one brother, Jessie [sic] Green, of Ottawa. The only surviving members of a large family are two daughters, Mrs. Kate Brandon and Mrs. Jennie Howe, of Missouri, and five sons, Samuel Dunavan, of Adam, Ill., Isaac, of Minnesota, David, George and Lewis, of Missouri.1


  1. Ottawa Free Trader, March 10, 1905, p. 7, col. 6

Dam Being Built at Dayton in 1924

building the dam

A Million Dollar Dam Being Built at Dayton

 About forty men are now at work on the new dam across the Fox river at Dayton, a few miles southeast of Earlville. The project will cost in the neighborhood of a million dollars and it is planned to have power ready by next April.

The power house will occupy a site on the west bank of the Fox, formerly occupied by an old stone structure, built almost a century ago and known then as the Green woolen mills, which has been razed to make room for the new plant.

The site of the dam is about 1,000 feet north of the highway bridge. The dam will be 625 feet in length, and will be of a type known as a multiple arch. Engineers in charge of the work say they know of but one other dam of this type. It is in Italy. The dam will be arched upstream in moderate crescent shape. Attached to this arch on the upstream side will be other arches in 25-foot units, extending from the top of the dam to the bottom. The dam will slope gradually up stream so that the body of water will rest upon the dam as well as against it.

The old feeder canal will be used to convey the water from the dam to the powerhouse. It will be dug deeper and rip-rapped with material taken from the old Green building, which was of Joliet stone.

Plans call for a 30-foot head of water, with water standing at a depth of about 25 feet at the dam. The backwater, it is said, will be only one foot at Sulphur Lick Springs, and the overflow will cover but little more than 80 acres of farm property.

Heyworth plans to carry material to the site of the dam from the Burlington railroad by electric power. A power house for the development of electricity will be constructed on the west bank of the river and an oil engine installed. Material will be taken from the cars on the Burlington switch and transported directly to the dam, dump cars being used to eliminate cost of handling.

When this dam is completed it will form one of the most beautiful spots In LaSalle county. The lake will be from a few feet in depth at Wedron to 25 feet in depth at Dayton, a length of four or five miles by a breadth of more than 600 feet.1


  1. The Earlville Leader, 12 Jun 1924, p. 9

Dayton Centennial – Part 7

Trunk with old clothes

from the Ottawa Republican-Times, September 16, 1929

RELICS OF FORMER DAYS

            Mementoes, relics and curios on exhibition at the celebration includes:

Display of arrow heads, owned by Elmer R. C. Eick, 420 Christie street, Ottawa, many of which were found in Dayton and Rutland townships; quilt made by the great, great  grandmother of Mrs. Verne Wilson; coverlet made in Virginia more than 75 years ago, the property of Mrs. Van Etten; shawl owned by Mrs. John Thompson, made by her mother, Mrs. Elizabeth Brumbach, 80 years ago; quilt made by the wife and daughters of Matthias Trumbo in 1850; straw plug hat and woman’s straw hat of the vintage of about 1800; picture of old school house on the site of the present elevator in Dayton; corn planter used by David Strawn in Livingston county, loaned by Mrs. Walter Strawn; trunk carried in a covered wagon across the plains to California by Joseph Green in 1849 and again in 1852; another trunk brought from Rockingham county, Virginia, by Matthias Trumbo; steelyards which belonged to the Hayes ancestors, sewing box, which belonged to Mary A. Boston, grandmother of G. R. Hayes of Wedron; English tea caddy loaned by Mrs. Wilcox; bedspread made by the mother of C. H. Tuttles, 65 years ago; old candle molds used by Mrs. David Strawn, loaned by Mrs. Walter Strawn; 17 year locusts gathered in 1933 by Mrs. John W. Reynolds of Dayton; piece of fancy work made by Mrs. Mary D. Bennett, 81 years ago; reproduction of Jeremiah Strawn’s lantern 100 years old, loaned by Mrs. Walter Strawn; pictures of John and Barbara Grove Green; vest worn by Mr. Hall when killed by the Indians in the Indian creek massacre in 1832; old cow bell used by David Strawn’s farm in Livingston county, loaned by Mrs. Walter Strawn; flint lock guns which belonged to Peter W. Ainsly and Tim Thompson, lantern and fork found in Wedron under C. E. Thompson’s house; mammoth tooth found near Norway in a gravel bed 30 feet underground; copper toed boots; charcoal iron belonging to Mrs. Sarah Thompson; horse pistol brought from Nebraska by Edman Thompson, half brother of George R. Hayes of Wedron; handcuffs plowed out on the old Ed. Brundage place by G. R. Hayes at Wedron; silk stovepipe hat made by Roussel in Paris and worn to the inaugural ball of President James Buchanan in 1856 by one of Rhoades family; a large map of La Salle county drawn in 1870 by M. H. Thompson and C. L. F. Thompson, showing Dayton as one of the towns of the county; pictures of the old Dayton woolen mills, collar factory and Green’s mill were shown on the map; coverlet brought from Virginia by Mrs. Frank DeBolt’s mother and one brought from Ohio by Mr. DeBolt’s mother; a black net and lace shawl owned by Mrs. Charles Hayward Reed; brown blanket made in the old mills and owned by Mrs. Cornelius Bogerd’s mother; hoop-skirts, dress, blouse and hat about 100 years old; linen, black silk and satin capes eighty years old belonging to Miss Catherine Rhoades; a spinet, 85 years old, and having twenty-nine keys and 30 inches in height; coverlet, more than 100 years old owned by David and Anna Grove and brought from Ohio; a dollman, made of English broadcloth, lined with figured silk and worn by Sidney Lowry; two woven baskets each more than 75 years of age; spiral hall tree 75 years old; sugar, and coffee scoops made of wood; spatula of wood used to remove pie plates from the old ovens; earthen bowls, pottery jugs and ladles used more than 75 years ago; a tardy bell and a call bell used at the old Waite school. which was taught at that time by Miss Susan Bailey of Ottawa. Miss Bailey taught the school when she was sixteen years of age. She is 91 years old now. There were two chairs on display, which were brought down the Ohio river to Memphis, Tenn., thence to Alton, to La Salle on the Illinois and then overland by a four-yoke ox team to the Old Fox River house at Ottawa. The chairs were the property of Miss Rhoade’s grandmother, Mrs. Sarah Collins Rhoades and were brought to Ottawa in 1843; bed quilts made in 1860; two Paisley shawls which had been in the Collins family for 75 years;  mourning shawls and hats which were loaned out at the time of funerals which were at least 65 years of age; a table of mahogany and a tidy which were wedding presents of Mrs. Catherine Rhoades in 1860.

PLACE OF HONOR

            Mrs. Frances Beach, who resides north of Ottawa, and is ninety years of age, was given a place of honor on the official Centennial register of visitors, her name being placed first on the list.

[concluded]

A Serious Accident

building the Dayton dam

building the Dayton dam – 1924

Eleven men were hurt, three fatally it is thought, and fifty more escaped injury when a forty-foot trestle, used in the construction of the Dayton Dam on the Fox River four miles from Ottawa collapsed at one o’clock today under the weight of four cars of cement and an electric locomotive.

All of the men were removed as soon as they could be extricated from the tangled framework of the wrecked trestle, to Ottawa hospitals.

The three not expected to live are:
Al Muhebauer, 19, Little Falls, Minnesota, fractured skull.
Elmer Starks, 37, Marseilles, internal injuries.
Andrew Poka, 20, back, head and legs hurt.
Other workmen were uninjured when they escaped the falling timbers by miraculous good fortune.

It was the first time the trestle had been used, and the cement was being poured into the dam wall from it when the supporting timbers gave way.

The construction camp was thrown into consternation, but work of removing the injured was begun immediately. Ottawa ambulances were rushed to the scene, carrying the workmen back to the county seat.1


  1. The (Streator) Times, 5 Nov 1924, p. 7

Dayton Centennial – Part 6

 

from the Ottawa Republican-Times, September 16, 1929

THE DAYTON SONG

            A song composed especially for the centennial by Edith Dunavan Hamilton, a great granddaughter of John Green was sung by Miss Isobel Brown at the afternoon program. The song follows:

“Sound of the axe-man’s stroke, creaking of ox-teams yoke, bravely the young wives smile ‘though danger lurks the while. Planting the cornfields, plowing for bounteous yields, braving the winter’s cold, we honor you, dear pioneers of old.

By the river gently flowing – Dayton, mellowed by the year’s swift going – Dayton. Through days of storm and strife, through years of peaceful life for those gone these many years, we pause to shed a tear, today we gather to honor your 100 years.”

SOME OLD DRESSES

            During the afternoon, Miss Maude Green, Mrs. John Bowers, Miss Helen Hallowell and Miss Edith Reynolds donned garments of several decades ago and promenaded the streets, reviving an interesting bit of history in regard to modes and fashions. Only the marcelled hair of Miss Hallowell and Miss Reynolds which peeked from underneath their quaint old bonnets showed that they were maids of the twentieth century rather than of the days when Dayton was in its infancy.

[to be continued]

The Will of Margaret Wagy Pitzer

In 1870, Margaret Pitzer, widow of Anthony Pitzer, died at the home of Oliver Trumbo. This is truly a death bed will, as she died on the following day.

I, Margaret Pitzer of the town of Dayton in the County of La Salle and State of Illinois, make this my last Will. My property consists of Notes of hand, which I wish to give and bequeath as follows, that is to say,

1st It is my will and desire that all legal and Equitable demands against my Estate Shall first be paid, which will consist in part, My Doctor Bill, Funeral Expenses, and my board bill and Expenses incurred while at the house of Oliver W. Trumbo of Dayton La Salle County Illinois. I particularly desire that a liberal compensation be paid to the said Oliver W. Trumbo as my disease has been one of no ordinary Character.

2nd I give and bequesth unto my sister Mrs. Elizabeth Davis, of Crawford County Illinois Two Hundred (200.00) Dollars.

3rd I give and bequeath unto my brother John Wagy of Kirkusville Licking County Ohio Three Hundred (300.00) Dollars.

4th I give and bequeath  unto my sister Martha Harris of Quincy Illinois Two Hundred (200.00) Dollars.

5th I give and bequeath unto my nephew William Wagy of Stones Prairie Illinois his Note and Interest, which is in my hands, and amounts to about THree Hundred (300.00) Dollars.

6th I give and bequeath unto Miss Eliza Gross my Neices Daughter, now about seven years old, and lives with Henry Wagy of Adams County Illinois, Eighty (80.00) Dollars in Gold, with interest, when she shall arrive at Eighteen years of age.

7th I hold a Note of hand against Jacob Pitzer of about Three (300.00) Hundred Dollars, which I wish to have divided Equally between the said Jacob Pitzer of Grundy County Illinois, and William Pitzer of Rutland La Salle County Illinois.

8th I give and bequeath unto my nephew Joshua Wagy of Springfield Illinois, Three Hundred (300.00) Dollars.

9th Should there be anything remaining after paying Expenses of settling up my Estate, I desire that one half of the Balance shall be given towards the Erection of a Methodist Church now in contemplation and to be located near the residence of William L. Dunavan in the Town of Rutland in the county of La Salle and State of Illinois, And the remaining one half to be given towards the Erection of a House of Public Worship, to be located in the Village of Dayton La Salle County Illinois.

I appoint Jesse Green of the Town of Dayton La Salle County Illinois as the Executor of this my Will.

In witness whereof I have signed and sealed and published and declared this instrument as my will, at Dayton on this sixth day of April A. D. 1870.

her
Margaret X Pitzer     {{Seal}}
mark

Eliza Gross, seven years old in 1870, was to receive her inheritance in 1881, when she turned 18. In 1879 she married John W. Lanier, but unfortunately she died on the 20th of January 1880. Her husband made a claim on the estate and was awarded his wife’s share anyway.

February 1880 Rural Happenings

Jesse Green

Harry Green

Charles Benton Hess

Charles Benton Hess

 

 

 

 

 

 

from the [Ottawa] Free Trader, February 28, 1880

Dayton, Feb. 24. – Friday evening, Feb. 13, the Musical Union gave a concert and entertainment, which was well attended and quite a pleasant occasion. The class are making good progress in music and it is to be hoped the Union will continue its existence for a long period. The choruses “Great is the Lord,” “Lift your glad voices,” “Zion’s children, ” “O, Lord of Heaven,” “Crown them as Martyrs” and “We all are happy rovers” were given in a very fine manner. Marks of power were carefully observed, thereby giving considerable expression and life to the choruses. The male quartette and glee club, consisting of Messrs. Green, Rhoads, Howard and Grove, sang a few selections in an admirable manner. Their quartette “I love the path of the tree” and chorus “Barnyard Serenade” are especially worthy of mention.

Mr. William Dunavan is attending Bryant and Stratton’s commercial school at Chicago.

Mr. James Green and Miss Cora Green are still attending school in Aurora.

A large force of men are employed on the railroad south of the dam, filling in a large ravine.

Mrs. S. F. Gibb, our Universalist pastor last year, had taken charge of the church at Waverly, Iowa.

Mr. and Mrs. Chas. Ballou pleasurably entertained a leap year party last Friday evening. The boys say it’s lots of fun to be “toted around.”

The store has changed hands, Mr. T. H. Green (Harry) having taken possession of it the 1st of February. He is doing a cash business.

Mr. Jesse Green and Mr. C. B. Hess went to Chicago on business this week.

Miss Ellen Trumbo is visiting at Mr. Isaac Green’s.

Major Whittle and Mr. McGrannahan and wife, the evangelists, will hold a meeting in this place Saturday evening, Feb. 28.

Monday evening a number of our citizens attended the celebration of the tin wedding of Mr. and Mrs. Thos. McKinley of Rutland. We hear it was a very enjoyable affair.

Occasional

Dayton Centennial – Part 5

Levi Fahler

Levi Fahler

Herbert L. Dunavan

Herbert L. Dunavan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

from the Ottawa Republican-Times, September 16, 1929

MANY OLD TIMERS

Levi Fahler, 87, of Mendota and his wife, Mrs. Katherine Gephard Fahler, 85, were two of the interesting visitors at the celebration. Fahler made his first visit to Dayton with a load of grain which he took to the grist mill when he was but sixteen years of age. Both he and Mrs. Fahler were members of a colony of 27 persons who came from Pennsylvania by boat in 1849 and settled on a farm near Troy Grove. Fahler hauled grain to the Dayton grist mill for many seasons after making his first trip at the age of sixteen. They were accompanied to the centennial by their son, Martin Fahler, of Mendota and his son Forest.

Josiah Fahler, 89, also of Mendota and his son Forest at the celebration. He is a brother of Levi Fahler and although he was reared near Troy Grove he frequently went to the mill at Dayton.

H. L. Dunavan, manager of the People’s Gas stores in Chicago with Mrs. Dunavan, his son, daughter and four grandchildren came to Dayton for the celebration. Dunavan was born and reared in Dayton, as was Mrs. Dunavan who was Cora Moore, daughter of the late Daniel Moore.

Dunavan left Dayton 37 years ago. He spent the greater part of the day hunting up friends of his boyhood days.

“Nothing looks natural,” he complained, “Not even my old home. It does not seem as though I ever had lived here. The old Fox river bridge is the only thing that looks the same. I proposed to my wife on that bridge and I still like it.”

James A. Green, a grandson of John Green, one of the original settlers brought Mrs. Green and their daughter driving from Grand Junction, Colo. to attend the celebration.

[to be continued]

Dayton Centennial – Part 4

Chief Shabbona

Chief Shabbona

from the Ottawa Republican-Times, September 16, 1929

G. W. GREEN RETURNS

G. W. Green, 79 of Aurora, whose boyhood at Dayton was marked by a friendship with the great Indian chief Shabbona, was disappointed Saturday to find that the village had changed since his boyhood days.

The Aurora man was the grandson of John Green, and the son of David Green who accompanied John Green to the Fox river town site in 1829. His mother was Mary Stadden Green who moved to Dayton in 1832.

“Why if I should drop in here at night I would never know where I was at,” he exclaimed as he looked up and down the streets. Green left Dayton in 1884 to move west and later returned to Illinois settling in Aurora.

His boyhood was marked by many interesting experiences with Chief Shabbona and the Indians. Once Green and a group of Indian boys who accompanied Chief Shabbona to Dayton were shooting pennies with arrows. The Indians won all the pennies, stirring up the anger of the Dayton boy who grabbed the bow one Indian boy was using and broke it. The Indians started after him, and Green related Saturday how he fled to the front porch of the home of his grandfather, when John Green and Chief Shabbona were sitting talking. Shabbona saw the child’s fear and stroking him on the head said kindly: “No be afraid.”

Green also told of the visits Chief Shabbona would make to Dayton twice a year, to receive the blankets, meat and flour from John Green and would then go on to Ottawa where George Walker and William Hickling would give him groceries. These men gave Shabbona his supplies for his friendship with the white people and because he warned them of attacks which were to be made by unfriendly tribes.

OLD FRIENDS MEET

“This town was almost at a standstill when I left here in 1884,” said Green. “In my boyhood, it had been a brisk little business community. The old Trumbo home is about the only thing around here that looks the same to me.”

Mrs. Alice Allen of Des Moines, Iowa, the eldest sister of G. W. Green, was also in attendance at the centennial.

Green was born in the old Dayton Tavern in 1850 and grew to manhood in the village. The principal recreation in his youth, he said were old fashioned country dances held at the various homes.

Frank DeBolt stood in front of a stranger until a September breeze blew the man’s identification tag disclosing the name Harry Green.

“Why, are you Harry Green?” gasped DeBolt.

“Yes,” replied the other, who failed to recognize DeBolt.

Why I haven’t seen you for forty years,” continued DeBolt. “Don’t you remember me, why when you ran the store here, I furnished you meat for several years.”

This was only one of the hundreds of revivals of old friendships that occurred during the day. Green is now living in Chicago.

Terry Simmons, Marseilles editor, was one of the most enthusiastic visitors at the centennial. Simmons’ father used to take grist to the mill when Dayton was the state’s most thriving village.

[to be continued]

Death of an Old Settler

William Pitzer tombstone

photo credit: Everett Ross, La Salle County Genealogy Guild

Wm. Pitzer, one of the earliest settlers of the county, died at his home in the town of Rutland on Friday of last week. We are not advised as to his age, but it must have been in the vicinity of the eighties. He was one of those sturdy, staunch, big and pure hearted men that make one think sometimes the early pioneers of this region belonged to a superior race. He had been a subscriber to the Free Trader from its first issue, in May 1840, and never failed to pay for it annually in advance – a fact which illustrates his scrupulously correct habits not only in business matters, but in all relations of life. His funeral took place on Sunday, the services being held at the Barnes school house, the Rev. A. White, of Sheridan, officiating, and notwithstanding the severe weather, was very largely attended.1

RUTLAND TOWNSHIP
PITZER WM. Farmer; Sec. 14; P.O. Ottawa; born in Licking Co., Ohio, Sept. 23, 1809; came to this Co. in 1831; Democrat; Methodist; owns 200 acres land, val. $15,000; married May 26, 1831, to Sarah Kite, of Licking Co., Ohio; she was born April 16, 1810; seven children, four sons and three daughters; was Justice of Peace for ten years, and has held various offices of trust in the place.2

William (Billy) Pitzer was the son of Richard Pitzer and Anna Green, a sister of John Green. Richard Pitzer died in 1819 and Anna, with her large family, came to La Salle County in 1831.


  1. The Free Trader, January 26, 1884
  2. Past and Present of La Salle County, Illinois (Chicago: H. F. Kett & Co., 1877), 508.