Memorial Day in Dayton – 1958

1958 cemetery work party


Sixty years ago this weekend members of the Dayton Cemetery Association and their families got together to work in the cemetery on Memorial Day weekend. The board members elected at that annual meeting were:

President: R. W. Eichenberger
Vice-President: David Holmes
Secretary: Mabel Greene Myers
Treasurer: Ruth Brown Baker
Care Fund Officer: Alice O. Green

The morning work of clearing away around the gravestones and general cleanup was followed by a potluck dinner at the home of Grace and Charles Clifford in Dayton.

In the lower picture, some of the people have been identified: Ruth Green, ?, ?, Lavonne Gilman, Grace Clifford, Dorothy Masters, Helen McLoraine, ?, ?, Ruth Eichenberger, Charles Clifford

The upper picture is of members of the Holmes, Pottenger, and Baker families. Leave a comment if you can identify any of them.

A Little Bit of Dayton’s History

OTTAWA WOMAN SOLE SURVIVOR OF THOSE WHO SOUGHT REFUGE FROM INDIANS AT FORT HERE

Ottawa, Republican-Times, January 10, 1922

Of all the people who made the trip down the Fox river from Dayton to seek refuge in Fort Johnson, at Ottawa, from the murderous Indians under the leadership of Black Hawk, on a May day ninety years ago, there is now but one living – Mrs. Barbara Jackson, of this city. Mrs. Jackson, 92 years of age, resides at No. 2 [error, hand corrected to 4] Gridley place, in East Ottawa. She was but two years of age when her parents received word of the impending danger and made the trip to safety.

This is one of the interesting features developed in some very valuable accounts of the events of early days in this vicinity, brought out as a result of a paper written by Dr. E. W. Weis and read at a recent meeting of Illini chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, fixing the exact location of Fort Johnson. The Republican-Times has secured permission to publish the story of the exciting experiences of these pioneers in 1832, from notes gathered by Mrs. Frances Strawn and Miss Maude Green, of Ottawa, Samuel Grove, of Utica, and other descendants of the history makers. Publication is here given for the first time to some of the incidents.

It was on the second day of November, 1829, that “Green’s Company,” consisting of twenty-four people, started westward from Newark, Licking county, Ohio, for the place in La Salle county now called Dayton, but formerly known as Green’s Mills. This “company” consisted of John Green, his wife, Barbara Grove Green, and their eight children; David Grove and family; Rezin Debolt and family; Henry Brumbach and family; Samuel, Joseph and Jacob Grove, Harvey Shaver, Jacob Hite and Alexander McKee.

In August of the same year John Green had visited this county and selected a site for a mill on the rapids of the Fox river. This site was situated on land subject to entry at that time so he traveled to the seat of government at Vandalia and entered the land on which the water power at Dayton is located. Mr. Green then engaged William A. Clark, the first settler in Rutland township, to put in forty acres of fall wheat and to build another larger log cabin, eighteen by twenty-four feet in size (all in one room) to be finished by the time he should return from Ohio with his family.

At Ottawa Mr. Green found two cabins – one occupied by James Walker, near where the present Boat club building stands, and the other on the south bluff, belonging to Dr. David Walker.

On December 17, 1829, the party reached its destination and early in the spring of 1830 the improvement of the water power was commenced. It was necessary to build a dam, which intersected a small island, this dam being designed to furnish all the power that was necessary at that time. The men worked in their shirt sleeves, making enough rails to fence a quarter section of land that winter. The cabin built be Mr. Clark for the settlers had to accommodate the entire company of twenty-four people for the first winter. In the spring they built a sawmill.

One of the problems they had to solve when spring came and they were ready to start work on the mill was finding stones or boulders of sufficient size and proper shape to make into grind stones. These were found close together on the east side of the river nearly opposite the mill site. They served a good purpose for a number of years, being used at Dayton in three different mills and finally given to Thomas J. Davis, who placed them in a mill along Indian creek.

They were later removed to the cemetery where those unfortunate settlers were buried who were massacred by the Indians along Indian creek. The stones now repose among other relics of early days in the museum at Shabbona park.

Having plenty of lumber the next season, 1831, a frame building to serve as a grist mill was built, separate from the saw mill, to accommodate the increasing immigration, which began when, in the fall of 1830, the following families came from Licking county, Ohio: David Letts and family, William L. George M. and Joseph A. Dunavan, brothers; widow Anna Pitzer, sister of John Green, and her family; Mathias Trumbo and family; David Shaver and family; William Parr and family; Jonathan and Aaron Daniels and family; Edward Sanders and family; Joseph Kleiber and family and Benjamin Fleming and family. All settled in Rutland township, which at that time included most of Dayton township. Many of these names are still represented among the leading citizens of this portion of La Salle county.

The same fall other families from Ohio settled on the south side of the river. Mrs. Elsie Strawn Armstrong was among these, and her brother, Jeremiah Strawn, the father of Mrs. Zilpha Osman, who has lived for many years at 532 Congress street, settled in Putnam county. Col. John Strawn and John Armstrong came in the fall of 1829 and settled near Lacon.

The first intimation of danger from hostile Indians during the Black Hawk war, in 1832, was conveyed to the settlers by Shabbona, who warned them to seek safety, but, instead, they fortified the house of John Green, which stood on the bluff overlooking the woolen mills by digging a trench around the house and inserting slats from the saw mill, doubling them so as to be proof against the bullets from Indian rifles.

This enclosure was made large, enough to care for all the neighbors who came in from the surrounding country – about sixty, all told. Several settlers who were delayed seeking this protection were massacred along the banks of Indian creek, about ten miles distant, during the afternoon of May 20, 1832. The Dayton settlers received news of this slaughter about midnight of that night. The informant, Wilburn F. Walker, advised them to leave the fort at once and go to Ottawa, crossing to the south side of the Illinois river, where there had assembled a number of families. He thought they would be safer there and better enabled to defend themselves against an attack.

Some of the Daytonites owned a large perogue – a long canoe-shaped boat hollowed out from the trunk of a tree – which was bought of Gurdon S. Hubbard, on the Iroquois river, when the first settlers came through. Samuel Grove, of Utica, states that his father said that, after buying the perogue, three men brought it down the river loaded with three and one-half tons of mill iron. These three men were Jacob Hite, Joseph Grove and Samuel Grove.

After deciding to heed Mt. Walker’s warning, this perogue was filled with women and children, with two men – William Stadden and Aaron Daniels – the latter two to navigate the unwieldy craft. Nearly thirty humans were crowded into the boat, and the balance of the party walked down the bank of the river.

Among these “hikers” were William Parr and his wife, Sarah Trumbo Parr, whose one and one-half year old son, Henry K. Parr, was one of the first white male children born in La Salle county (he was carried in the perogue); David Grove and wife, Anna Houser Grove; John Green and wife, Barbara Trumbo [hand corrected to Grove] Green; David Letts; Mathias Trumbo and wife, Rebecca Grove Trumbo; Rezin Debolt and wife; William Stadden and wife, Elizabeth Hoadley Stadden; Nancy Green, who later married Albert Dunavan; Jesse Green, who married Isabel Trumbo; David Green, who married Mary Stadden; Cyrus Shaver, who married Elizabeth Hackett, and John Trumbo.

Among the children in the perogue were Katherine Green, who later became the bride of George Dunavan; Joseph Green, Rachel Green, later married to George Gibson; Rebecca Green, who married Oliver Trumbo; Rebecca Shaver, who married Robert Snelling; Josiah Shaver, who married Janet Neff; Harver Shaver, who married Sarah Johnson; Nancy Shaver, who married Sheldon Allen; Kate Shaver, who married John Spencer; Barbara Shaver, who married Joseph Miller; Barbara Debolt, married to David Conard; Henry K. Parr, married to Elsie Armstrong; Lavina Debolt, married to Mr. Bounds; Lavina Trumbo, married to West Matlock; Isabel Trumbo, married to Jesse Green; Eliza Trumbo, married to William Gibson, and her twin brother, Elias, who married Catherine Long; Elizabeth and Katherine Grove and Barbara Trumbo, who later became Mrs. Joseph Jackson.

So far as can be learned, Mrs. Jackson, of this city, now ninety-two years of age, is the sole survivor of this party which fled along the dangerous trail from the blood-hunting braves led by Black Hawk. After reaching Ottawa the party was ferried across the river without mishap and given quarters on the south bluff, where they remained in camp until the following August, when it became safe to return to their homes, Black Hawk, in the meantime, having been captured in Wisconsin, whither he had been pursued by troops.

While in camp on the south bluff the pioneers erected a small fort under the direction of Col. James Johnston, of Macon county. It was built just east of where the east road leads up to the bluff and was named Fort Johnston. The site of that old fort is on the property now owned by Dr. and Mrs. E. W. Weis. False alarms drove the settlers into the fort a few times, but most of the nights they slept undisturbed in their tents.

In 1834 the third mill was built at Dayton, equipped with five pairs of “flint ridge burrs,” obtained in Ohio and used for grinding buckwheat. In 1840 the Greens built the first woolen mill in the state, a building three stories high, thirty-two by sixty feet in dimension, the ruins of which still stand. Samuel Grove, of Utica, now 85 years of age, relates that his father used to tell how the Indians, as well as the whites, used to come to the Dayton grinding mill to buy meals, and they would bring furs to trade for the meal. A certain number of handsful of corn meal were given for a certain number of furs, and he said that after the measuring was done the Indian squaws always grabbed an extra handful of meal for good measure.

The incidents here related are but a very few of the many hardships and dangers with which the pioneers of La Salle county were forced to contend, but they took it all as part of the day’s duties and laid the foundation for the sturdy American citizenship which developed the county into  one of the most prosperous and substantial zones in the great Middle West.

What could you buy at the Dayton store in 1873?

mill, store & feeder bridge

If you shopped at the Dayton store in 1873, here’s what you might have found on the shelves:

crochet needles, penholders, castile soap, smoking tobacco, boys’ suspenders, linen shirts, lamp wick, woolen hoods, buttons, lace, handkerchiefs, buckles, ginger, mustard, raisins, allspice, castor oil, buckram, sugar, rice, brooms, vinegar, clothes pins, corn starch, matches, canned fruit, stove polish, liquorice, sugar, cinnamon, Japanese tea, calico, muslin, ticking, parasols, neckties, ribbon, ladys’ hose, silk thread, corsets, knitting needles, pants buttons, summer hats, and last, but not least, there were 43 boxes of collars.

The David Green House

David Green house in 1907

The David Green house in 1907

This house is one of the three built in 185?? by John Green and his sons, Jesse and David. It is the only one of the three still standing. It was given to Grace Green as a wedding present when she married Charles Clifford in 1937.

The house in 1937

 

 

 

 

 

 

1937 floor plan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

They remodeled the house, moving the stairs from the center of the house to one side in order to open up a large living room that took up half of the ground floor, adding closets to the upstairs bedrooms, and replacing the kitchen.

post-1937 floor plan

 

 

 

A Celebration Banquet

Mr. and Mrs, Samuel Dunavan

When Samuel Dunavan and Miranda Munson celebrated their fiftieth anniversary, March 22, 1909, they celebrated in high style by inviting 100 relatives and friends to a dinner at the Clifton hotel in Ottawa. The menu was printed in the newspaper account of the festivities, and although it was quite elaborate, the Clifton hotel seems to have taken it in its stride. Ottawa was not going to be thought at all backward in the amenities.

The menu was as follows:

Blue Points
Iced Celery Hearts
Consomme in Cup
Olives              Radishes
Individual Planked Fresh Shad
Sliced Cucumbers                   Potato Croquettes
Tenderloin of Beef, Larded
Sliced Tomatoes                      Latticed Potatoes
Orange Ice
Braised Guinea Squabs, Current Jelly
Tips of Asparagus
Candied Sweets
Fruit Salad
Neapolitan Cream                   Assorted Cake
Roquefort                    Salted Wafers
Café Noir

Oliver Trumbo and his brothers

Trumbo brothers

In the 1850 census of Dayton township, there were 23 residents born in Virginia. In 1860 that number had grown to 44. A large part of the increase can be put down to the arrival of Jacob Trumbo and his family. Jacob and his wife, Elizabeth (Snyder) Trumbo, were natives of the Brock’s Gap area of Rockingham County, Virginia. Their children were educated in the common schools there and worked on the family farm. In 1853 Jacob and Elizabeth moved to the Dayton area, where his half-brother Mathias had settled in 1830. They brought seven of their eight living children with them. Only the oldest son, Benjamin, remained behind in Brock’s Gap where he lived out his life. Jacob bought a quarter section of farm land near Dayton and settled the family there. Unfortunately, he died within six months of their arrival, leaving his sons to work the land for their mother.

Oliver, the next oldest son after Benjamin, spent the next few years in farming. In 1854 he married Rebecca, daughter of John Green. In 1857 he joined with his father-in-law and two brothers-in-law in the firm of J. Green and Sons, which operated the woolen mill in Dayton.

Oliver was active in local community affairs, serving as constable, township collector, assessor and road commissioner. He was appointed postmaster of Dayton, serving  from 1857 to 1866. After the failure of the woolen mill in 1873, Oliver returned to farming. He and Rebecca had two daughters; Jessie, born in 1867, and Frankie Rae, born in 1876.. Jessie lived to adulthood, married, and had many descendants, while Frankie died of malarial fever at the age of 7. Oliver and Rebecca made their home in Dayton, until Oliver died in 1905. Rebecca continued to live in their home, but spent winters with her daughter Jessie, who lived in Mendota.

Moab bought land for himself in 1859 and also continued to work his mother’s land.. He lived there with his mother and two younger brothers, Matthias and Christopher, who also worked on the farm. In 1860, Moab’s land was worth $5000 and his mother’s, $17,000. In 1873, Moab bought the family farm from his mother, who had moved into a house in Dayton by that time.

Benjamin, the son who remained in Virginia, made regular trips to Illinois to visit and one of them provided the opportunity to have this picture taken. It must have been taken between 1859, when son John died, and 1869, when both Matthias and Christopher died of consumption. Matthias had been in ill health and went back to Virginia in the hopes it would improve, but it did not, and he died there. Less than a month later, Christopher also died, leaving Oliver and Moab the only remaining brothers in Illinois.

La Salle County Centennial

La Salle County centennial

In 1931 La Salle county celebrated the centennial of the founding of the county. The La Salle County Centennial Association was organized to put on a suitable celebration. The president of the centennial association was Mrs. Ralph A. (Ruth) Green, of Dayton. Other members of the committee were Al Schoch, former mayor of Ottawa, Etta Dunaway, and A. M Corbus, owner of Corbus Drug Store in Ottawa.

comm coin front

                    

As part of the celebration a commemorative coin was issued. The front had a picture of Starved Rock and the back a plow and wheat sheaf. There were a number of committees created, each with supporters from each of the townships. Those from Dayton were Mrs. L. A. Green, Mrs. Nettie Masters, Miss Maude Green, Mrs. Hattie Poole, Mrs. [sic] Emma Fraine. The largest committees were those responsible for the pageant, a mammoth endeavor which was held at the La Salle County Fairgrounds the evening of June 5, 1931. It consisted of a series of episodes retelling incidents in the history of the county. The second episode reenacted the arrival of the Green party in 1829 and their subsequent settlement in Dayton. Each pioneer in the episode was represented by a direct descendant.

The Membership Roll found at the back of the souvenir program listed everyone who had purchased a membership certificate, as shown above. The list includes Mrs. Clara Fish Heath, though she apparently did not make use of her certificate, as it was found among Ruth Green’s papers, long after the centennial was a distant memory.

Early Days of Dayton and Ottawa

John Green played a role in the early history of La Salle County. This excerpt from Jesse Green’s memoir tells of that time.

“The first election in this part of the country was held in the home of John Green on August 2, 1830, Pierce Hawley, John Green and Samuel Grove were judges of election, John Green certifying to the qualifications of his associates and Pierce Hawley to the qualifications of Mr. Green. Following is the list of voters:

“John Green, Hugh Walker, Wm. Purcell, Pierce Hawley, Edmond Weed, Joseph Grove, John Dilsaver, Alexander McKee, Reason Debolt, Peter Lamsett, Joseph Grove, Samuel Grove, Robert Beresford, and Henry Brumbach.

1831 IL counties

“We were then a part of Fox River Precinct of Peoria [sic; actually Putnam] County. The following winter the legislature organized the county of LaSalle extending from Groveland to the northern boundry of the state, making it over a hundred miles long and about thirty six miles wide.

“The following spring an election was held at Ottawa (March 7, 1831) and George E. Walker was elected Sheriff; John Green, Abraham Trumbo and James B. Campbell, County Commissioners; and David Walker county clerk. At the same time LaSalle County was designated, Cook County was laid out to the east and Putnam County to the west, all being taken from the northern part of Peoria County. Governor Reynolds signed the bill on the 15th day of January 1831.

“At the first meeting of the LaSalle County Commissioners March 21st, the county was divided into three election precincts. The first which included ranges one and two east of the 3rd P. M. was called Vermillion with the polls at the house of David Letts who lived in Township 32, Range one, Wm. Seely, Martin Reynolds, and David Letts being judges of election. The second which included ranges 3 and 4 east of the 3rd P. M., was called Ottawa with the polls at David Walker’s; John Brown, Edward Keys and Samuel Allen, judges of election. The third included ranges 5, 6, 7, and 8 east of the 3rd P. M. was called Eastern, the polls being at the home of Vetal Vermett, Holderman’s Grove and the judges of election were John Dougherty, Edward Weed and Wm. Schermmerhorn.

“The first marriage after the organization of the county was that of Sheldon Bartholomew to Charlotte Hugabone. It took place according to the records June 22 , 1831, and that fall my sister Eliza and Wm. L. Dunavan were married which I believe was the second marriage in this county both parties having since passed the boundry line between life and death, my sister having but recently died at the age of eighty-four.”

The John Green House


The house built by John Green in 1853 was on the bluff above the mill and dam. It faced south and the wide porch must have been a sunny place to work or relax. Four of John and Barbara’s children were still at home when the new house was built, although not for long. Joseph died two years later; Rachael and Rebecca married, but Isaac stayed in the family home and in 1865 brought his bride, Mary Jane Trumbo, to live there. Isaac worked the farm with his father and cared for his parents in their old age. The farm is still in the possession of Isaac’s descendants. Isaac died in 1904 and his son Lyle took over the running of the farm, with his older sister Maud keeping house for him and their mother. In 1908, Lyle married Eva Duffield and Maud and Mary Jane moved to Ottawa.

In 1926, Lyle decided to tear the house down and replace it. The kitchen was detached from the house and moved across the road, where it became a house for a hired man.

hired man's house (old kitchen)

Old kitchen now a house

The new house occupied the same site as the old and also faced south. Lyle and Eva divorced and Maud moved back to Dayton to keep house for her brother again. When Lyle died in 1935, his brother Ralph took over the house and the running of the farm.

Ralph Green house

The new house

A Letter to California

 

Rachael Green

[John, Jesse, and Joseph Green had been away in the California gold fields since April of 1849. In January 1850, Rachael wrote to tell her brother Joseph all of the local news and to ask him for more frequent letters about their doings. Spelling and punctuation are as in the original. Explanatory comments appear in brackets.]

Dayton Ills Lasalle January 19th 1850
Dear Brother I am now going to give you all the news about home this winter we are all well we have enjoyed very good health since you left the friends generally are well there has been but two deaths amongst our relations this sumer Aunt Anna Grove [Anna Houser, wife of David Grove, died 8 Aug 1849] and little Byron [John Byron, son of Jesse & Isabella (Trumbo) Green] we reiceved letters from you all about two weeks ago it was a joyful time Christ Stickley is postmaster now he come hollering there is california letters before daylight we was glad to get a specimen of the gold it has to be showed to a great many as all are anxious too see what it was that took you away from your friends Elias Trumbo Jonathan and Tom all got your letter to them with the gold in it. we have had some ferstrate sleighing this winter and have improved it pretty well but we miss you every where but we have some cousins that are very kind to us Martha Green [probably the daughter of William and Sarah (Pitzer) Green] is spending the winter with us Rebecca and I were out to visit them this fall we stayed seven weeks we have cotillion parties at our house every saturday night per formance commences at six oclock and quits at ten we have verry pleasant parties there is some very nice smart folks living over in fords house they attend the parties Hites Boys have got to be good dancers Ben Hite lives with us this winter David [her brother, David Green] says Ben is his right hand man that foolish talk that there was last winter all stoped and every body thinks as much of him as any of the boys i guess i have told you enough about Ben this time when you write again tell us about all the freinds in california David was up to Mr Beams on new years day and read them all of our letters from you Beams have never got bot one letter from Jackson since he left home David sayed he was so glad that he almost jumped up and down tell Jackson he must do better after this when you write again tell us all about Dan Stadden his folks are verry ornary about him as they have not heard from him they are afraid he has left your company tell us whether John size ever got wits or not he was here about two weeks after you left and sayed he was bound to overtake you if he had to get a pack mule we are anxious to hear from all our freinds that have started to california Nancy Dunavan has got a young son [John, son of Joseph Albert & Nancy (Green) Dunavan]  and i want her to call him John Tray because i think he must be a good clever fellow there is a great many men in the world have taken the chance that he had to get gold last spring with you know, tell us whether he still holds out faith full Catharine has a young son and Isabella has a daughter she calls her Clara Olevia [Clara Isabella, daughter of Jesse & Isabella (Trumbo) Green] Joseph we had a party at our house a christ monday and new years day we spent at home verry plesantly Eliza [her sister, Eliza Green, wife of William Lair Dunavan] was here today her family are all and she sends her love to you all Mother send her love to you all and wishes you to return as soon as you feel satisfied Mrs George Turner died last thursday morning she had been sick all winter so she had to keep her bed Robert Turners folks still live here but the old man has gone to Ohio Ben has been on the illinois river hunting he killed fourteen deer in two weeks it is getting late i must stop and let Rebecca write som do write as often as possible Tell Father and Jesse they must write as we are verry anxious to hear from give my love to Father Jesse and my love yourself

Rachael Green

What’s for Dinner?

deer, quail, prairie chickens

When the Green party arrived in La Salle county in 1829, they had to be self-sufficient as far as food went. There was no McDonalds down the road, nor any grocery stores in the neighborhood. So what did they do for food? How did they provide for themselves?

To begin with, there was plenty of game: deer, turkey, prairie chicken (grouse), quail, squirrel, goose, duck, and fish. One highly specialized form of hunting was bee-hunting. A good bee-hunter could find and harvest 30 bee trees a season, yielding 50 gallons of honey and 60 pounds of beeswax.

Chickens were rarely eaten, as they were too valuable as egg producers. Only when they were too old to lay did they end up in the stewpot.

They didn’t bring pigs with them, as there were plenty of feral hogs in the woods, although hunting them was dangerous. Pigs, both wild and (later) domesticated) were the main source of pork, lard (both for shortening and for lamp fuel), and cracklings – those crispy bits that could be baked into bread. They ate mostly pork, usually cured. There was fresh meat in the late fall and early winter; otherwise the meat was salted or smoked to preserve it. Jesse Green tells of how his mother salted and smoked the breasts of hundreds of the prairie chicken which he and David killed.

They had plenty of fruit: mulberries, raspberries, wild strawberries, blackberries, crab apples, pawpaw, persimmons, wild cherries, wild grapes, wild plum, ramps, and may apples were common in Illinois, although probably not all of them were found right here.

There were many varieties of nuts: beech, chestnut, hickory, walnut, hazelnut. Most nuts were fed to hogs, not consumed by people.

There was no white sugar available, so food was sweetened with honey or the sap of the sugar maple, which was collected primarily to make sugar, not syrup.

They made a coffee substitute from parched corn, ground in a coffee mill, and made tea from sage or wild sassafras.

Within a few years of their arrival they would have been growing wheat, buckwheat, corn, sweet corn, pumpkin, beans, soybeans, potatoes, apples, and peaches. They would have planted herbs, both for cooking and for their medicinal uses. Lemon balm was good to relieve feverish colds or headache; thyme tea mixed with honey was good for a sore throat, coughs, or colds; lavender was good for headaches, fainting, and dizziness.

Most kitchens would have had a few large pots, some hand-hewn wooden bowls, a dipper made from a gourd.

Most dishes were either fried in lard or simmered/boiled in water. For slow-cooked dishes of beans, greens, potatoes and other thrifty ingredients, salt pork was used for flavoring. The staples were meat, cornbread, and cornmeal mush.

The time required to start a fire in the morning and get a meal cooked meant that there was one substantial meal a day, eaten at mid-day, with leftovers for supper. Breakfast would be mush or pancakes. Cooking would be done in the fireplace.

The major difficulty was storing up enough food to last through the winter. Cabbages, onion, and turnips could be stored for a time in the root cellar, but large quantities of cucumbers, cabbage, eggs, and pigs feet were pickled to preserve them. Fruit was dried or bottled in a thick syrup. Meat was smoked, dried, or salted.

More Excerpts from the Dayton News Reel

class drawing

More tidbits of information from the school newspaper of January 24, 1955:

The teachers wish to thank all those who helped with the decorating, stage or equipment used in presenting the annual Christmas program. Mr. Debernardi built the fireplace and donated it to the school. Mr. and Mrs. Ohme helped with the decorating and the Directors erected the stage.

Allan Holm is leading in the number of library books read and reported on.

Before Christmas the first grade learned to write words pertaining to Christmas and made drawings to illustrate the words they had written. These were later combined into booklets.

Congratulations! Mr. and Mrs. Trent on your thirty-fourth Wedding Anniversary, January 21st.

In the fifty-word test the following grades were made:
Sally Clifford  100
Terry Hiland 100
Robert Poole 92
Sandra Leonard 98
John Polen 90
Bob Mossbarger 98
Leslie Walleck 88
Charles Whyte 98
Deryl Wilson 96

On December 10, the Grammar room did square dancing. There were two sets of couples. A new dance was learned, a second worked on and an old favorite Pop Goes the Weasel enjoyed.

Patrols for December were Vernon Dale, Larry, Shirley and Sheila, and for January are Patty, Carol, Richard and Allan. The job of a patrol is a responsible one, helping in the prevention of accidents, training in good citizenship and sharing in the responsibility of a well-run school.

Gary Hackler suffered an injury at a recent P. T. C. meeting from falling on the stairs because of running on the stairs. He was taken to the doctor.

Every child in the [grammar] room had part in the annual painting of scenes upon the windows for the Christmas season. Sketching is done free-hand then color filled in. This has become traditional in the school. This year the primary and intermediate rooms also painted their windows in keeping with the holiday spirit.

The Dayton Grade School presented the annual program at the Club House on December 22. All the pupils took part. The sacred pageant was given by the grammar room assisted by the other rooms in chorus numbers. The pageant was “No Room in the Inn.” Santa Claus was there. Santa and the eighth grade pupils passed out candy and gifts.

On the 21st. of December parties were held in each room at the school. Films were shown, a student gift exchange was held and refreshments were served. The gift table was centered with a miniature Christmas tree and red candles. Each child received a gift. Cookies were brought for the grammar room refreshments by Eddie Peters, Sandra Leonard, Terrance Hiland and Shirley Harmon. The teachers presented Mrs. Mathews with a poinsetta plant at the party.

General News

Mrs. Dean Ramsey and daughter, Norma, are staying at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Garrett Arwood. Norma is in the first grade, she formerly attended school in Pontiac.

Visitors in Dayton on January 16 included the Eugene Davis family of Maywood.

Mr. and Mrs. Robert McQuattee visited at the Harmon home recently.

The home recently vacated by the Eirhart family is now occupied by the Grieves family. Larry and Marjorie are enrolled in the school.

Mr. and Mrs. Eugene Davis and family visited the Ted Wilson’s early in December.

Mr. Peters and son, Eddie, went to Aurora early in December to get Christmas shopping done early.

The Pinske family have a new 21 inch Westinghouse television set.

December 18 –Red Letter Day! All pupils in the grammar room got 100 in spelling on the work of the 14th unit.

Early Customs

latchstring

The latchstring is out.

The following excerpt from Jesse Green’s memoir shows the changes that appear in a frontier society as the population increases:

“I think it may truthfully be said, that in no sphere, or stage of progressive civilization and advancement is the Scriptural Injunction obeyed with a fuller realization of its import and importance, than in the early settlement of a New Country. Namely, “do unto others as you would that they should do unto you.”

Circumstances all combine to make each and every one feel his dependence upon others and consequently this injunction is obeyed not merely as a duty but as a pleasure, as this dependence is felt in so many different ways. A cabin has to be built requiring the assistance at the entire neighborhood, harvesting will not admit of delay and a neighborhood joins teams in order to do it to better advantage, and a hundred and one little acts of kindness are rendered and gladly reciprocated through a higher and more exalted motive than we usually see in older settled countries, but with increased prosperity or wealth men become more selfish, and selfishness begets strife, and strife puts the big man on top with the little one whineing at his heels. Such seems to me, to be the tendency of the age in which we live. It is fast coming, and now is to an alarming extent, that man’s worth is measured by his dollars and cents. No man of ordinary means can think of filling any high office of honor and trust, the moneyed man has got on top, and the others qualifications of honor, honesty and fitness in every respect avail not against dollars and cents.

It used to be the custom of the country that no matter who chanced to reach your home at night, the stranger was made perfectly welcome to share your scanty fare “without money and without price”.  In the morning the guest offering to settle his bill for entertainment, usually the only charge was “go and do likewise.”

This generous and hospitable spirit prevailed for a number of years in the infancy of this new, great and prosperous country. We had no pennies, nothing less than six and a fourth cent pieces (five and ten cent pieces came later) and sixpence then was more readily given in making change than a penny is today. With greater immigration from all parts this generous and hospitable disposition began gradually to die out and we begin to see the big sign swinging high in the air announcing entertainment  the latch string now pulled in, free entertainment was no longer expected and from this time on a more selfish and acquisitive disposition began to take root and grow among all classes of society.

And here commenced the race for money making gradually all seemed to enter vs with each other first to see who could get the most land, and then to see who could raise the most wheat, the most corn, the most cattle and the most hogs. It required great production of everything raised, or grown in those days, to bring a little money, pork was sold at $l.50 per hundred, wheat when hauled to Chicago our only market except in a small way at the mill, would not bring over 40 to 50 cents requiring a week to make the trip with ox teams, and in order to raise their tax money, the settlers could not afford to put up at Hotels, but were obliged to carry their own grub, which the hardy women knew well how to prepare for such a trip and they were obliged to camp out. Tax money bothered the pioneers for a number of years. They did not require much of either gold or silver for anything else as all seemed to understand the rule of barter, and it supplied most of their wants or needs.”

Excerpts from the Dayton News Reel school paper

drawing of skin

From the third edition of the Dayton News Reel, January 24, 1955

Editor: Richard Jackson
Ass’t Editor: Richard Charlier

Five new pupils have enrolled in the school during this six-week period. Two in the Primary room, two in the Intermediate room and one in the Grammar room. Our enrollment is now seventy-one.

Although the Christmas season has both come and gone, we trust that the spirit of “peace and good-will toward men” will continue throughout the new year. What excitement there was before Christmas! Painting windows, decorating, making posters, learning songs, parties, and practicing for our program. It meant lots of work, but we enjoyed it. We were especially happy over the fine appreciative audience which turned out for our program. And wasn’t it thoughtful of Mr. Clifford to take pictures? We wish to take this opportunity to express our sincerest thanks to everyone who helped in making our program a success.

The Third and Fourth Grades made a picture book of Ways to Travel. Linda Harmon had the most pictures in the third grade and Rita Krug had the most in the fourth grade.

Gerald Pinske drew a picture of deep sea diving showing the reasons for the struggles in their work.

In sixth grade health each drew the lungs and the cross section of skin. They look nice in the room. [see above]

Jimmy Mathias brought a muskrat pelt for us to see. He has caught several fur bearing animals this winter and is selling the pelts to Sears Store.

Keith Kossow brought kumquats to school. This is a small fruit about the size of a pecan. The entire fruit is edible, coloring is like an orange and the rind is sweeter than the pulp. Florida is the only place in the United States where they are grown. Keith received them from relatives in Florida.

As a measure of safety, snowballing is not permitted on the school grounds, or in the roads immediately adjoining.

A huge creature was developed during the noon hour recently when the snow was ideal for packing. It constantly changed shape, we never knew what “IT” was but a good time was had by all.

The grammar room is again practicing regularly on symphonette band work. Three part harmony is being used using chimes and xylophone.

P. T. C. meeting
The P. T. Club met at the school house on January 4 for the regular meeting. Business meeting was conducted by Mrs. Eltrevoog, president. The new film strip machine was demonstrated by Allan Holm. Mr. Clifford showed the colored slides of the programs given by the school [some of which can be seen here] and Mrs. Hadley showed beautiful colored slides of a trip made to the western part of our country. Refreshments were served by Mrs. Holm, Mrs. McGrogan and Mrs. Hackler.

General News

Mr. King Gash has a 1950 Chevrolet.

The Reynolds family is occupying the flat recently occupied by the Charlier family. There are five in the family. The two boys are new pupils in the Dayton School.

Mr. and Mrs. Don Ocean visited at the Garrett Arwood home on Januray 16.

The past week was semester examination week at Ottawa High School. Several of the former Dayton pupils took this opportunity to visit the school. We were happy to see Robert Ohme, Richard Pinske, Robert Walleck and Candace Clifford.

Attendance at school has been very regular in spite of colds and other sickness in the community. There were 13 in Mrs. Swanson’s room, 10 in Mrs. Bless’s room and 14 in Mrs. Trent’s room who were neither absent nor tardy during the third six-week period which ended January 14.

Mr. Dominic DeBernardi was host at a party given for the community on December 23 at the Club House. A large group of children and adults was present. Films were shown and refreshments served. Mrs. Mathews and Mrs. Gash assisted with the party.

The Anatomy of a Paper Mill

The above survey was made for F. D. Sweetser in November of 1892, preparatory to his selling the paper mill to the Columbia Paper Company. The paper mill lay between the feeder and the west side of the Fox river, south of the bridge. The main body of the factory consisted of the machine room, the beater room, and the bleach room, with the boiler room at the back. The plat shows the water diverted from the feeder to power the machinery and then returned to the river. The lime house appears just north of the main building.

The paper was made from straw and made a low-grade wrapping paper. In 1886 the paper mill was turning out about six tons of this paper per 24 hours. Although the river provided the power the mill needed, it could also bring trouble. In February 1887 the river flooded and the mill was closed for several weeks until repairs could be made. The flood also washed away all the straw that was stockpiled to last out the winter.

At the time of its sale in 1893 to the Columbia Paper Company, the mill was Dayton’s chief industry. Unfortunately, the new owner closed the mill and the heyday of industrial Dayton was nearly at an end.

Dayton Was Once an Industrial Center

RAMBLIN’ ‘ROUND1
by C. C. Tisler

DAYTON ONCE WAS INDUSTRIAL CENTER

Off the beaten path of the paved road, the hamlet of Dayton at one time was one of the thriving industrial centers of the county in an age when water-power operated mills produced flour, lumber and other products. Steam power then had not penetrated Illinois, and electric power was still a century away.

The electric power was there in the foaming water which poured through the mill races, but it had not been harnessed to bring light and power to any one either at the site where it was developed or many miles away.

So when the pioneers came into La Salle county 115 years ago, or even before, one of the first things they sought was waterpower where a grist mill could be operated. That was the case at Dayton, where the mill on the swift Fox river at one time ground the grist for settlers for 100 miles away. It was the only water power operated mill at one time in all northern Illinois.

The trade of mill wright was then an important one and the construction of dams was a necessary item of business in pioneer life.

State Built Dam

Eventually, the state of Illinois, as part of the construction of the Illinois-Michigan canal, built a dam in the Fox river at Dayton to supply water for the canal at Ottawa. The water was carried through a feeder, parts of which are still in existence in Ottawa and south of Dayton on the west bank of the Fox river. It is still state property and is in the state park system.

Three-quarters of a century ago, Dayton was still a thriving town

One of the flourishing industries of the hamlet was the Fox River Horse Collar Manufacturing company. The officers were John Read, president; A. F. Dunavan secretary and treasurer; John Read, A. F. Dunavan, H. B. Irey, David L. Grove and N. Brunk, directors. They were wholesale manufacturers, their advertisements sais, of the celebrated Pennypacker Horse Collar; also very good grade of horse collars and leather team nets.

Woolen mills also were operating in the village, and an old county directory lists Peter Coleman as one of their spinners.

The horse collar manufacturing business was first conducted by the firm of George Pennypacker and Brunk, then Dunavan became a partner and eventually sole owner with his son.

An average of 12 men a day were employed in the plant which made annually 1,500 horse collars and 50 dozen fly nets besides other articles along the same line.

Incidentally, if the business was still in existence, it probably would not now be turning out horse collars, but products for the army to keep men afloat after they had been shipwrecked, besides other similar items for the armed forces.

Tile Factory Flourished

The Dayton Tile Works also was a flourishing business in the hamlet along the Fox river many years ago. It was established 65 years ago by David Green for this [sic] sons, John and George Green. Eventually Charles bought the interest in his brother George.

But the most important business ever set up in the village was the woolen mills.

John Green in September, 1829, looked over the site of the future village and entered claim to 80 acres of land including that of the future mill site. He also purchased 160 acres in Rutland township. Two months later he was back in Dayton from his home in Ohio with his family to spend the winter.

His flour mill was put into service on July 4, 1830, and Mrs. Green baked bread from the flour for their dinner the same day.

His saw mill furnished the lumber to build the first frame house in Ottawa. A grist mill of one run of burrs was built in 1932 [sic] and one with four run of burrs in 1834. For the next two years his trade came from a distance of 100 miles. The mill was rebuilt in 1857 and stood for many years.

John Green and his sons in 1840 built the first woolen mill to run power looms in the state of Illinois. Its business flourished for a quarter of a century and supplied wool goods in Civil War days. A new mill was built in 1864.

War Time Troubles

War time financial reverses struck the firm when they bought 60,000 pounds of wool in 1864 at $1 a pound and a year later were unable to get more that 50 cents a pound for the same wool. Part of their goods in storage was destroyed in the Chicago fire of 1871 with a $15,000 loss.

Settlement of financial difficulties was made through purchase of the mill by Jesse Green, who ran it from 1878 to 1882. The property then was sold to Williams and Hess, who organized a stock company to make pressed brick.

John Green also had the experience of helping to build canals in two states. In Ohio he hired 200 men to build 15 miles of the Ohio canal. In Illinois he constructed two miles of the old lateral canal or feeder between Ottawa and Dayton.

Hamlet though it is the village of Dayton like other small towns throughout the county is platted and the plat is on file with county officials.

The platting was unique in one respect. The central section of the village in Green’s addition has First, Second, and Third Prairie streets. Other streets in the village are Jackson, Lafayette, Pendelton, O’Connell, Main, Canal, Washington and Franklin. Canal street, as one might expect, is the one closest to the lateral canal east of the village and west of the Fox river.

Stones Now in Park

The mill stones with which John Green produced the first grist in all of northern Illinois on July 4, 1830, have not been lost to posterity.

They were hauled overland, probably in an ox cart, to Indian creek north of Harding, where they were used in a mill at a settlement which was wiped out by an Indian raid on May 20, 1832. The historic stones are now in front of the small buildings in county owned Shabbona park, which houses a museum of pioneer relics. An old history of Illinois, published 80 years ago, said of Dayton, “The village of Dayton, in the township of the same name and central part of the La Salle county, situated on the west bank of the Fox river four miles above Ottawa.

“It was settled in 1829 by John Green who carried on farming on an extensive scale. He also paid considerable attention to raising improved stock and some very superior Durham and Spanish breeds were brought here by him.

“The immense and unfailing water privileges on the river at Dayton bespeak for it at no distant period a place among the leading manufacturing towns in the great west.

“The water is drawn from the Fox river feeder under a 20 foot lead. It has two large flouring mills, one saw mill, one wool carding and cloth dressing establishment, and a machine shop already in operation and there is still ample power to drive 50 runs of burrs. There are two schools and two churches within a mile and a half of this place. Distance from Chicago, via Chicago and Rock Island railroad 88 miles.”


  1. From the Ottawa Republican-Times, date unknown

John Green’s Last Will and Testament

John Green

John Green

Last   Will & Testament of John Green deceased
Filed June 3rd 1874

Know all men by these presents that I, John Green of the Town of Dayton in the County of LaSalle and State of Illinois considering the uncertainty of life, and being of sound mind and memory, do make declare, and publish this my last will and testament, hereby revoking all former wills, I give bequeath and devise my real Estate and personal property, as follows that is to say,

First I desire that all my debts be paid of whatever name or nature, to be made out of my Personal property, first, and balance if any from my real estate hereinafter devised and bequeathed unto my three sons Jesse Green, David Green, Isaac Green and my daughter Rebecca Trumbo.

Second I desire that my beloved wife Barbara Green shall have three hundred dollars per annum during her natural life (if she requires it) to be paid equally by my three sons above named, who are required to pay for her use quarterly the sum of twenty five dollars each, and it is hereby expressly understood that the said Barbara Green is to have her bed and bedding, and to make her home with my son Isaac Green.

Third I give, bequeath and devise unto my son Jesse Green and to his heirs and assigns, the following real estate Viz:- the South half of the East half of the North West quarter of Section twenty nine (29) and the North half of the East half of the South West quarter of section twenty nine (29) and the East fraction of the West half of the North East quarter of section thirty two (32) containing Sixty five and Sixty five (65 65/100) one hundredths acres lying and being in the North part of the West half of the North East quarter of section sixteen (16) also village lots one (1) two (2) and three (3) in Block numbered nine (9) and lots No one (1) two(2) three (3) four (4) and five (5) in Block No Eight (8) all in the original Town plat of Dayton, all the above and foregoing lands and lots lying and being in Township No thirty four (34) North of Range four (4) East of the third Principal Meridian in LaSalle County and State of Illinois, to have and to hold the same together all the rights priveleges and appurtenances thereunto belonging.

Fourth I give, bequeath, and devise unto my son David Green and to his heirs and assigns that portion of the West part of the South East quarter of section twenty nine (29) Town 34 North of Range four (4) East of the third P.M. and bounded as follows Viz: on the North by lands heretofore deeded to Jesse Green and David Green, (and since by them to John F. Nash assignee of J. Green & Co) on the East by Fox River, on the South by the section line dividing Sections twenty nine (29) and thirty two (32) and on the West by the Feeder to the Illinois and Michigan Canal, containing Eight (8) acres be the same more or less together with my entire potion of the water Power Secured and reserved in a certain Deed or release given to the State of Illinois and bearing date June 5th 1838 and not heretofore disposed of, also subject to the restrictions and conditions of said Deed or release to the State aforesaid, also Vilage lots No one (1) two (2) and the North half of lot No Seven (7) and all of lot Eight (8) in Block three (3) and lots three (3) and four (4) in Block No one (1) in the original town Plat of the Vilage of Dayton LaSalle County Illinois: Also eighteen and Seventy-nine (18 79/100) hundredths acres of the North End of the South half of the East half of the South West quarter of section (29) Township thirty-four (34) North of Range four East of the third 3rd principal Meridian in the County of LaSalle and State of Illinois: To have and to hold the same together with all the rights, priveleges and appurtenances thereunto belonging or in any wise pertaining.

Fifth, I give bequeath and devise unto my son Isaac Green and to his heirs and assigns the North half of the East half of the North West quarter of section twenty nine (29) and all of that part of portion of the fractional North East quarter of section twenty nine (29) which lies West of Fox River, except that portion heretofore deeded to Jesse Green and David Green as shown by deed duly recorded in Book Eleven (11) Page four (4) of County Records; also all that portion or part of the West part of the South East fractional quarter of section twenty nine (29) lying West of Fox River and bounded as follows, on the North by the half section line of said section twenty nine (29) on the West by the half section line of said section (29) on the South by Washington Street as Shown by the original Town Plat of the Vilage of Dayton, on the East by the Feeder to the Illinois and Michigan Canal be the same more or less To have and to hold the same together with all the improvements and appurtenances thereunto belonging or in any wise pertaining, all of the above and foregoing lands lying and being in Township thirty four (34) North of Range four (4) East of the third principal Meridian in LaSalle County and State of Illinois.

Sixth: I give devise and bequeath unto my daughter Rebecca Trumbo and to her heirs and assigns Lots one (1) two (2) and three (3) in Block No fourteen (14) also fractional lots two (2) three (3) and four (4) in Block No eleven (11) all in the original Town Plat of the Vilage of Dayton, to have and to hold the same together with all the improvements rights, priveleges and appurtenances thereunto belonging.

Seventh, My other Daughters Eliza Dunavan, Nancy Dunavan, Katherine Dunavan and Rachael Gibson have all been provided for, previous to the making of this distribution of my estate.

Eighth should there be any portion of my personal property left after paying my indebtedness as hereinbefore mentioned, I desire that it be divided equally among my three sons Jesse Green, David Green, and Isaac Green.

Ninth I hereby appoint my sons Jesse Green and David Green Executors of this my last Will and testament, in witness whereof I have signed, sealed published and declared this instrument as my will at Dayton LaSalle County Illinois, this 19th day of January A. D. 1874

John Green {seal}

The said John Green of Dayton LaSalle County Illinois on this 19th day of January A. D. 1874 signed and sealed this instrument and published and declared the same as and for his last Will, and we at his request and in his presence, and in the presence of each other have hereunto written our names as subscribing witnesses.

Chas B. Hess
Geo. W. Green
Newton M. Green

Oldest Flour Mill in Northern Illinois

Green's Mill with house behind

From The Sunday Times-Herald, Chicago, March 27, 1898

OLDEST FLOUR MILL IN NORTH ILLINOIS
Famous Old Structure at Dayton Built in 1830 Is to Be Torn Down
Was Erected by John Green

            Within a short time one of the landmarks of northern Illinois will have disappeared under the march of “improvement” and a most interesting relic of the pioneer settlements will have passed away forever.

This survival of the old regime is the famous flour mill at Dayton, a small village on the Fox River, seventy-eight miles southwest of Chicago. It was known in early days from Fort Dearborn to Springfield as “Green’s mill.” Erected in 1830, while the smoke of Indian teepees yet curled from the opposite bank of the narrow river, it was a rendezvous for settlers within a radius of a hundred miles, and from that day to this, until a few months since, its millstones have ground the wheat of the Illinois prairies.

Its passing is due to the crushing competition of the great roller mills of Minnesota and the country still farther to the west. This spring it will be torn down and a brick building erected on its site, using its present water power to send electricity to Ottawa four miles south.

Settlement of Dayton

            The mill was built by John Green, an Ohio pioneer, who in 1829 with a few of his kinsmen, made the long and dangerous journey to the Fox River and at its rapids, four miles above the mouth, he located the site of the present mill. They were thirty-four days on the road, a distance which can now be accomplished in less than twenty hours. The company numbered twenty-four, nine men, four women and eleven children, ranging from infants up to 16 years of age. Of the men John Green, David Grove, Henry Brumback, Reason Debalt and Samuel and Joseph Grove became ancestors of several of the most influential and respected county families of the present day.

John Green, the leader, was a man of action, and his wife, Barbara Grove, was no less decided. With vigor they set to work on the gristmill, and it was opened on July 4, 1830. That forenoon the flour was ground from which the holiday bread for dinner was baked, and the fifty-fourth anniversary of the nation celebrated with sincerity and patriotism.

Difficult to Erect

            It was not an easy task in those days to build a gristmill hundreds of miles from the nearest settlement. For the millstones the hardest bowlders or “hardheads,” relics of the glacial period from Lake Superior, were selected, worked into proper form, and made to do the work. Later the mill had work for four pairs of “burrs,” and ground all the flour and meal for a wide extent of country. At one time in the early ’30s all the grain of the Fox River settlement had to be brought by flatboat from Springfield via the Sangamon, Illinois and Fox rivers, Ottawa, Hennepin and Peoria being the only settlements between the two places. Some of the Greens conducted this expedition. In 1832 the Indians drove the settlers into Fort Johnson at Ottawa, but did not harm the Dayton mill, although they massacred eighteen whites within twelve miles, the upright dealings of John Green with them undoubtedly saving his property from the torch.

Mr. Green and his sons later built a woolen mill at Dayton, and until 1874 the family ran the flour mill. Then Daniel Green and his sons conducted it until a few years since, when it was bought by M. Masters, who has just disposed of it to an Ottawa man for the power. In 1855 it was enlarged, but is substantially the same as on that July day of 1830 when its first grist was ground.

Dayton School 1945-1946

Dayton School 1945-46

The downstairs room (grades 1-4) of the Dayton School in the 1945-1946 school year.

Front row: Sharon Thomas, Cathie Corso, Joan Lane, unknown, Gary Mathias, Kenny Newtson, Philip Patterson
Second row: Carl Schmidt, Ken Thomas, Larry McGrogan, Gary Allen, Billy Krug, unknown, Bertha Davis, Candace Clifford, Herbie Lane
Back row: ____ Smith, Miss Emma C. Fraine, Harold Winchester, Darlene Winchester, Shirley Patterson, ____ Eltrevoog, unknown, Sharon Newtson

Tourists in the Fox River Ice Gorge

1875 ice gorge picture

If you look closely at the above picture, you can make out several people sitting and standing inside one of the ice caves created by the 1875 ice gorge. The picture was taken by W. E. Bowman, well known Ottawa photographer. The Ottawa Republican on March 26, 1875, had this to say about the event:

Who, during the past week, has not heard of the Fox river ice gorge? What wonderful stories have been told concerning it, what fears excited, what direful properties uttered. Hundreds have visited it, while thousands have listened, with palpitating hearts and trembling limbs, to the Munchausen descriptions of its magnitude, its reserve power and the awful doom awaiting the city should heavy rains fall before the less destructive rays of a spring sun have time to break the barrier and send the massive blocks of congealed crystals, perforated, unsound and brittle over the dam into the Illinois.

The gorge begins about a mile above the aqueduct, in the bend of the river, not far from Lyman’s Mound, and extends a distance of two or three miles up the river, if not up to Dayton. In some places the solid cakes are piled to a height of fifteen or twenty feet, and extend in width over an area of not less than a quarter of a mile, including the bottom lands and side hills. Throughout this expanse the ice is strewn in every conceivable shape and position, forming hills and valleys, yawning caverns and frightful abysses, which add a wild grandeur to the surrounding landscape, the whole constituting a picture of unsurpassed beauty that must be seen to be appreciated. Near the mound alluded to are debris of the Dayton bridge, and scattered here and there among the cakes are huge stones which were carried from their resting places by the irresistible momentum of the torrent.

But the gorge does not excite pleasurable emotions only. One cannot look over this vast ice field without reflecting upon the immense inherent power it possesses for carrying destruction to property should a sudden rise in the river precipitate it upon the territory in its front. Bridges would be swept away, houses submerged and a vast amount of property damaged and possibly lives lost. A few days like yesterday will, however, render it harmless.