Informal Burials in the Dayton Cemetery

champaign-albert-john tombstone

Handmade memorial stone for a child

In the early years of the Dayton Cemetery, many of the burials must have been informal – that is, not handled by an undertaker. The primary source of this information comes from the death certificate, where available. The earliest burial with a death certificate was in 1878, so clearly, for those burials between 1835 and 1878, we have no way of knowing who performed the burial. However, even for those burials after 1878, some were done informally.

William Hoag’s 1879 death certificate leaves the undertaker field blank. Frank Hudson was buried by A Trumbo in 1881. Burials in 1888 and 1902 either specify “unknown” for the undertaker or leave the field blank. Three others specify a single name, with no indication whether they were undertakers or private citizens. As recently as 1922, at least one infant burial was performed without the services of an undertaker.

In an analysis of the 113 death records found for burials in the cemetery, the majority were handles by the Zimmerman/Gladfelter Funeral Home (54 instances). This furniture and undertaking establishment was founded in 1862 by Simon Zimmerman and has been in continuous operation ever since. In 1886, Elmer E. Gladfelter married Zimmerman’s daughter Anna, and in 1889 assumed charge of the business. The business retained the Zimmerman name until his death in 1894, and has operated under the Gladfelter name to the present day.

There are 44 known burials that had no visible stone in 2015, when the most recent restoration was done. There are some pieces of broken stones, too fragmentary to be reassembled, in the woods at the edge of the cemetery, though a few had been recorded before they were damaged.

 

Jesse and David scrape out the millrace

oxen

In this excerpt from Jesse Green’s memoir, he shows that on the frontier, a ten year old and a twelve year old were doing a man’s work.

Early in the spring of 1830 development of the water power was commenced by using the stumps from the timber from which the mill was being constructed. Economy was sought to a greater extent than it is at the present tine. The saw mill was built with sufficient room to put a pair of stones in one end of it to do our grinding until a better mill could be erected, having brought with us the necessary mill irons, black-smith tools etc. Whilst the men were getting out the timber for the mill and dam, which had to be built to intersect a small island, brother David and myself took the contract of scraping out the race or waterway for a distance of about a half mile (he being ten, and I twelve years old). We each had a pair of oxen and an old fashioned scraper. I sometimes had to help him load and dump his scraper and vice versa. We had the race completed by the time the mills were ready to draw their gates.

Shooting Affair at Dayton – 1869

gunslingerShooting Affair at Dayton

About 6 o’clock P. M., on Wednesday evening, Feb 10th, Elijah Martin, a young man about 19 years of age, was quietly passing through the village of Dayton, in this county, driving a cow and having two or three dogs with him, when Charles Lott, aged about 25 years, meeting him, took out a revolver and shot one of Martin’s dogs. There were some words, and Lott fell to beating Martin, Lott being apparently in liquor. The boy, as soon as released, ran home to get his gun. His parents not allowing him to take it, he ran to a neighbor’s and borrowed a gun, and started in pursuit of Lott. He found him between Isaac Green’s house and barn, and at once fired upon him, but without effect. Lott returned the fire with his revolver, also without effect. Martin, after exploding a cap or two upon his second barrel, (his gun being a common fowling piece) fired a second time, the shot taking effect in the lower part of Lott’s abdomen and upper part of his thighs. Lott fell and was conveyed to his house. The gun being loaded with No. 6 shot, and fired from a distance of 30 yards, the wound can only be dangerous from its peculiar location in the abdomen. Martin’s father and mother were close behind him trying to dissuade him from his purpose as he attacked Lott, but without effect. Lott is having good surgical attendance, and is as yet considered in no danger. Martin is still at large.1


  1. Ottawa Free Trader, February 13, 1869, p. 1, col. 1

Miles Masters (1846-1910)

Masters, Miles

Miles Masters was born December 4, 1846, in Berlin township, Bureau county, Illinois, the son of John and Maria (Belknapp) Masters. He grew up on his father’s farm with his four brothers. On January 31, 1865, he enlisted in company A of the 148th Illinois Infantry at Princeton, Ill. He received his discharge at Tullahoma, Tennessee on June 19, 1865 and returned home to Bureau county, Illinois, where he worked as a miller.

In 1891 he came to Dayton and joined with Mary S. Green, John Green, and A. E. Butters to incorporate as The Dayton Milling and Power Company. In 1894 he purchased and refit the Dayton Mills, advertising “Having purchased and refit the Dayton Mills to a full Roller Process on Wheat, we take this method as one of the means of informing farmers, and the public in general, of our now Superior Facilities for Doing FIRST-CLASS WORK in all BRANCHES of CUSTOM GRINDING.”

Around 1890, he began to show symptoms of mental distress. Association with persons afflicted with spiritualist mania caused him to change from Methodism to spiritualism. His mental condition deteriorated until, in 1901, he was committed to the asylum in Kankakee.

“Mr. Masters has become convinced that reincarnation has taken place – that the spirit of one of the greatest philosophers the world has ever known is now in his body taking the place of his own spirit. He also imagines that he can converse with the dead and living at will – even those in the flesh at a great distance. He also imagines that he has constructed a wonderful invention.”1

He recovered enough to return to his home in Chicago, but in 1906, he was admitted to the Danville Soldiers’ Home. From there, he was transferred in 1907 to the Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Soldiers’ Home. His mania had not abated and an article in the Milwaukee Journal reported that, according to Miles Masters, who called himself “The Creative”, the end of the world was at hand.

“Democracy, Catholicism, Protestantism, Socialism and commercialism and all manner of the first Christian era dispensations are now to be assigned to oblivion.” After relieving himself of this prophecy the Creative volunteered a little information concerning himself and his mission. “I come to you as a man proclaiming the rights of man in fulfilling the creative laws of his being and have spoken as man never spoke before of the oneness and wholeness of God and man. This power has been given me from the higher spiritual spheres and is to last nine years. “2

Miles Masters died January 2, 1910, at the Soldiers’ Home in Milwaukee. He was buried in the Dayton Cemetery on January 5th.


  1. Ottawa Free Trader, 2 Aug 1901, p. 7, cols. 1-2
  2. Milwaukee Journal, 9 Jan 1909, p. 3, cols. 1-2

July 4th, 1840, in Dayton

Fourth of July

                                                                    July 4th, 1840

The birth of American liberty was celebrated in a becoming manner, in the town of Dayton, La Salle county, Illinois. The day was ushered in by a national salute from Capt. Ira Allen, who deserves credit for the manner in which he discharged the duties assigned him. Never perhaps has the day been celebrated with greater patriotic pride than on this occasion. The unity and harmony manifested, is a sure guarantee of the immortality of the day. The Declaration of Independence, prefaced by a few appropriate remarks from C. G. Miller, was then read, after which an oration was delivered on the occasion by Hon. Wm. Stadden, which, notwithstanding the short time allotted to him to prepare the address, was characterized by its forcible and strong appeals to the human heart to perpetuate the liberties purchased by the blood of our fathers; after which we partook of a dinner prepared by Wm. L. Dunavan, who spared no pains to accommodate his guests in a manner so as to render general satisfaction. After which the following toasts were drunk:
[the following lists only the name of the toast and omits the rather long text]
The day we celebrate
1776
George Washington
Gen. Lafayette
Thomas Jefferson
Our country
The constitution
The Heroes of the Revolution
The signers of the Declaration
The American citizens
Our happy Republic
The state of Illinois
The Fair

volunteer toasts

By Charles Hayward. The Independence we now celebrate – It must and shall be defended, supported and sustained, by the blood and sinew which has and will descend from those noble patriots who fought and bled for what freemen now enjoy.

By Lucien Delano. Political and Religious Freedom – While American blood and Freemen’s arms sustains the one, let the Age of Reason and Common Sense protect the other.

By William Hickling – The “Striped Bunting” – wherever unfolded to the breeze it commands respect.

By David Green. The Ladies – the fairest work of the Creator. We admire their charms and appreciate their virtues and intelligence, and will ever be ready to throw our arms of protection around them.

By Wm. Hickling. The day we celebrate – The 64th Anniversary of American Independence is this day recorded, and the fact is shown to the world, that a democratic government thus far has been successful.

By Sam’l. Hayward. Liberty – It can only be maintained by watching Priests, with equal care, that you would a King.

By J. B. Johnson. The Ladies – The binders of our affections, the folders, the gatherers and collectors of our enjoyments.

By a Guest. – The Heroes of the Revolution – There are but five who now survive, but may the innumerable blessings which they obtained, through a long and perilous war, be handed down from posterity to posterity.

By Brice V. Huston. Thomas Jefferson – The Author of the Declaration of Independence. The great Champion of civil and religious freedom.

By Ira Allen. The Abolitionists – May they be lathered with Aqua Fortis and shaved with Lightning.


From the Illinois Free Trader, July 24, 1840, p. 2, cols. 4-5

Married Amid Flowers

                                                             MARRIED AMID FLOWERS

                            A Wedding in Dayton With Many From Ottawa Present

The handsome residence of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Barnes, just across the line into Dayton township, was brilliantly illuminated and beautifully decorated Wednesday eve’g, the event being the marriage ceremony of Miss Carrie L. Barnes and Winfield S. Green, receiving clerk at the Illinois state penitentiary at Joliet. The large parlor, in which the ceremony took place, was decorated with smilax, ferns and sweet peas and carnations, and was crowded with the guests who were present to witness the ceremony. It was performed at 8:30, Rev. T. C. Matlack, of Joliet, chaplain of the penitentiary, officiating at the event. The groom was supported by S. M. Ahern, of Joliet, as best man, and the bridesmaids were Misses Kittie Shaver, Etta Barnes, Maud Pickens and Emma Barnes, with little Lucille Ribbs as flower girl. The bridal couple entered to the music of Mendelssohn’s wedding march, rendered by Miss Addie Warner, and during the ceremony Thomas’ mandolin orchestra rendered a very pretty wedding serenade.

After the ceremony and congratulations the guests were seated at a wedding dinner, which was one of the finest ever served in this vicinity, and afterwards dancing was the order until time for Mr. and Mrs. Green to take the train for their wedding tour, and the entire party went to the train with them, loading them down with rice and best wishes.

The bride’s costume was ivory satin, brocaded, and diamond ornaments. She carried bridal roses. The bridesmaid, Miss Kittie Shaver, wore white silk organdies over blue silk, and the other maids were all attired in white silk and carried pink and La France roses.

The presents were numerous and very beautiful. The Joliet associates of the groom sent down a very handsome one, and the others were all in keeping with it.

Those present were:

Messrs. and Mesdames John Channel, M. Masters, Breese, Dayton; Frank Lansing, Wedron: V. Canfield, Dayton; Dr. and Mrs. Lovejoy, Marseilles; C. G. Werner, Ella Sage, C. J. Metzger and Merrifield, Ottawa; John Bogert, Dayton, and W. Van Etten, Batavia.

Misses Addie Werner, Breese, Grace and Barbara Green, Myrtle, Sadie and Hattie Olmstead, Nettie Furr, Lena Bruner, Florence Pickens, Jennie and Lizzie Bogert, Fannie Bryan, Mary Ward, Della Masters and Nora Barnes.

Mesdames Laura Parr, M. E. Furr, Wm. Ribbs, John Barnes, A. Ladd, O. W. Trumbo, E. Rose, and Pitts, of Marseilles.

Messrs. Basil, Fred, W. R., Lyle, Joseph and Ralph Green, Ed McCleary, Rob Rhoades, Gus Kneusel, Louis Oleson, C. A. Dawell, H. G. Warner, James Green and Ed Rose, of Ottawa, and Captains W. A. Luke and L. P. Hall, Lieut. S. M. Ahern and W. L. Phillips, G. A. Miller and T. F. O’Malley, of Joliet.


  1. Ottawa Republican-Times, August 19, 1897, p3

Dayton News – 1886

                                                                         Dayton Items.

The fishing season has been very good so far, and large numbers of game fish have been caught. Fishermen and sportsmen are here from all parts of the country, also numerous camping and picnic parties.

Quite a number of our citizens “took in” the circus at Ottawa Monday.

Wm. Dunavan started out on the road again Monday to take orders for horse collars, fly nets, &c., for the firm of which he is the senior member.

The tile works have been rented by Green Bros. to Messrs. Channel & Ladd, who are running them with a full force and are having a good trade. They are also running a general merchandise store – the only one in the village.

Miss Springer, of Streator, is visiting at T. S. Bunker’s, our new agent.

The Sunday school appointed a committee last Sunday to select new singing books for the school.

The paper mill is being overhauled and will soon be ready to start up again.

The flour mill is now in good running order and is ready to do all kinds of custom work for the farmers. The mill contains the best of wheat cleaning and milling machinery, and is run by an old and practical miller. As this is the only first class custom mill in the country, farmers will no doubt patronize it from a wide scope of territory.1


  1. The Ottawa Republican, May 14, 1886, p. 4, col. 6

The Charles Hoag family

Helen Hoag tombstone          Charles H Hoag, tombstone                                                                               Helen                         Charles                               Mary
Charles Hoag and his two wives in the Dayton Cemetery

In the following sketch, the names in red are of those buried in the Dayton Cemetery

Charles H. Hoag was born May 18, 1821 in Delft, New York. He spent several years in Michigan, arriving there in 1845. In 1847, in St. Joseph county, Michigan, he married Helen M. Robinson , who was born in 1829 in New York. They came to La Salle county in 1849 and settled on a rented farm in Dayton township. They had five children:
1. infant (never named) – born abt 1848, died in infancy
2. infant (never named) – born abt 1849, died in infancy
3. Mary D., b 30 Jul 1850, d. 25 Jun 1901, m. to  Leonidas “Lee” Fread
4. Clara – b. 28 Jan 1854, d. 27 Aug 1919, m. 22 Mar 1871 to Albert Fread
5. William Walter – b. 28 Aug 1855, d. 12 Jun 1879, m. 18 Sep 1878 to Ida Brumley
Helen Robinson Hoag died September 13, 1856.

On 5 Nov 1857, Charles Hoag married Mary A. Wells, who was born in New York November 13, 1841. They had nine children:
6. Charles Lincoln, b. 25 Apr 1859, d. 30 Jul 1928, m. 20 Dec 1884 to Callie I. Brady
7. George R., b. abt 1862, d. 1894
8. Lillie M., b. 25 Dec 1863, d. 20 Mar 1940, m. 11 Jun 1891 to Walter Carter (divorced)
9. Cynthia, b. abt 1865, d. 1868
10. Cyrus W., b. 8 Apr 1867, d. 14 Oct 1889
11. Frank Logan, b. 14 Oct 1869, d. 14 Jul 1936
12. Alvin H., b. 19 Sep 1871, d. 13 Oct 1939
13. Adams W., b. Apr 1874, d. 4 Mar 1943, m. 1 Mar 1898 to Josephine Beckwith
14. Maud C., b. 22 May 1879, d. 29 Jan 1962, m. 22 Dec 1898 to Caplus B. Stockham
Mary Wells Hoag died October 26, 1891.

After four years of steady toil on the rented farm, Charles Hoag purchased a farm adjoining the town plat of Serena, where he spent the rest of his life. Being public-spirited he did his share toward the improvement of his home town. In politics he  was first a Whig and later entered the Republican ranks. He held many local offices of trust, including town and school offices.

Charles died September 2, 1904.

10 year old boy dies in fall

On July 24, 1886, ten year old Leendert Bogerd was herding cattle for Mr. Baker, just west of Dayton, allowing them to graze as they moved along. He climbed a tree and when a dead limb broke off, he fell upon the roots below, which struck him in the stomach. He was found by the members of a Sunday school class who were out on a picnic. He was seriously hurt and said that he wanted to see his mother for he was going to die. He died the next day and was buried in the Dayton Cemetery. He was described in the newspaper as the son of Mr. and Mrs. Austin Simpson, but Simpson was his stepfather, having married his widowed mother.

The boy’s parents, born in Zeeland, Netherlands, had immigrated to the United States in 1872. Pieter Boogerd married Stoffelina van den Houten March 23, 1872, in Ouwerkerk, Netherlands. They left for the United States that same year, coming to Dayton, where Pieter’s brother, Leendert, was already living . In Dayton they anglicized their names to Peter and Lena Bogerd.

Peter and Lena had three children: Cornelius, born in 1874; Leendert, born in 1876; and Peter, born in 1878. Peter, the father, died in 1878 and Lena and the three children were living in Dayton in 1880, next door to John and Jacoba Baker, another Dutch couple from Zeeland.

After Peter’s death Lena remarried, in 1881, to Austin Simpson, a coal miner and farmer from Dayton. When he retired they moved to Ottawa where Lena died in 1924.

Civil War Veterans Buried in the Dayton Cemetery

photo of John H. Breese tombstone

John Heath Breese
born 12 Oct 1830 in New Jersey
enrolled 22 Aug 1862 in Company C, 1st Regiment, Illinois Light Artillery Volunteers
died 30 Sep 1914 in Dayton, Illinois

photo of Jaka, John - tombstone

John Jaka
born Aug 1831 in Germany
enlisted 31 Jul 1861 in Company I, 9th Regiment, Illinois Volunteer Infantry
died 10 Nov 1904 in Quincy, Illinois

Miles and Lana Masters, tombstone

Miles Masters
born 4 Dec 1846 in Dover, Illinois
enlisted 31 Jan 1865 in Company A, 148th Regiment, Illinois Volunteer Infantry
died 2 Jan 1910 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin [note that the tombstone does not agree with the military records]

warner-joel-f - tombstone

Joel F. Warner
born 14 Jun 1831 in Syracuse, New York
enlisted Aug 1862 in Company F, 25th Regiment, Michigan Infantry
died 26 Sep 1911 in Dayton, Illinois

James Timmons
born 9 Apr 1832 in County Armagh, Ireland
enlisted 21 Feb 1865 in Company C, 53rd Regiment, Illinois Infantry
died 15 Apr 1911 in Dayton, Illinois

John W and Josephine Channel, tombtone

John W. Channel
born 10 Mar 1849 in Licking County, Ohio
enlisted Apr 1865 in Company E, 3rd Regiment, Illinois Cavalry
died 22 Nov 1900 in Dayton, Illinois

Margaret Green, tombstone

Rev. Jesse C. Green
born 10 Oct 1833 in Licking County, Ohio
enlisted 10 Aug 1862 in Company F, 95th Regiment, Ohio Infantry 
died 9 Oct 1910 in Dayton, Illinois

James McBrearty tombstone

James McBrearty
born 31 Jan 1850 in Milford, Massachusetts
enlisted 1 Oct 1864 in Company K, 3rd Regiment, Pennsylvania Cavalry
died 16 Apr 1915 in Dayton, Illinois

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