173 Years Ago Today

 

William Reddick

Democratic District Convention

The convention was organized by the appointment of Rees Morgan as chairman, and George Kiersted of Grundy and D. Green of La Salle, secretaries. The following delegates presented their credentials and took seats in the convention.

La Salle county – Dayton – William Stadden, David Green, John Russell1

[David Green was elected to the post of secretary. The convention proceeded to nominate William Reddick for senator and J. O. Glover, Ambrose O’Connor, and William Barber for representatives.]


  1. The Ottawa Free Trader, May 22, 1846, p. 3, col. 1

The Charter Members of the Dayton Homemakers

 

The Dayton Homemakers in 1912

In the summer of 1910, a number of women of Dayton township met at the home of Mary Strait to discuss the possibility of an organization of some kind whereby they might become better acquainted with their neighbors and create an interest in homemaking. On September 15th the first meeting of the Dayton Homemakers was held at the home of Nellie Beach, with twenty-three charter members, eleven of whom were still members seventeen years later.

The charter members, arranged from oldest to youngest, according to their ages in 1910:

Frances Beach, 71 – Frances Brower married A. E. Beach September 23, 1862. She is the mother of Flora Eells

Matilda Strait, 62 – Matilda Ruger married Emra H. Strait March 17, 1867. She is the mother of Mary Strait.

Lena Krug, 57 – Magdalena Berthel was born in Germany December 24, 1852 and came to America in 1873. She married Joseph Krug December 15 of that year. She is the mother of Lena and Mena Krug and Anna Kain.

Eunice Hunt, 57 – wife of George W. Hunt (This is the only Mrs Hunt in Dayton township in 1910.)

Elizabeth Clark, 48 – Elizabeth Rawlings, daughter of William and Ann (Rowe) Rawlings, married Willis Clark January 7, 1886

Jennie Barnes, 47 – unmarried, daughter of Joseph and Hanora (Hogan) Barends (name Americanized to Barnes)

Hattie Mathieson, 46 – Hattie Julia Thompson, daughter of Barto and Torbor (Bakke) Thompson, married Fred W. Mathieson March 5, 1890. She is the sister of Sarah Chally.

Sarah Chally, 43 – Sarah Thompson, daughter of Barto and Torbor (Bakke) Thompson, married Louis Chally October 11, 1899. She is the sister of Hattie Mathieson.

Nellie Beach, 41 – Nellie Jacobs, daughter of Peter W. and Nancy (Conard) Jacobs, married Frank S. Beach September 21, 1892. She is the daughter-in-law of Frances Beach and the sister-in-law of Flora Eells.

Flora Eells, 39 – Flora Beach, daughter of A. E. and Frances (Brower) Beach, married Charles S. Eells March 1, 1905

Emma McClary, 37 – Emma Barnes married Edward C. McClary July 5, 1899

Kate Barrett, 37 – Kate Woodlock married Edward Barrett June 17, 1897

Mary Strait, 37 – unmarried, daughter of Emra and Matilda Strait

Bertha Tufte, 34 – Bertha Andersen, daughter of Anders and Britta (Hansen) Andersen, was born in Norway about 1876. She came to America in 1893 and married Oliver Tufte May 30, 1895.

Anna Kain, 33 – Anna Krug, daughter of Joseph and Lena (Berthel) Krug, married Silas Kain April 8, 1908.

Mary Boe, 30 – unmarried, worked for Nellie Beach

Myrtle Bounds, 28 – married Arthur Bounds about 1904

Edna Belrose, 27 – Edna May Shute married Louis Belrose May 25, 1905

Mildred Funk, 27 – Mildred McEvoy, daughter of J. D. and Libbie (Watson) McEvoy, married Frank Funk September 29, 1909.

Lena Krug, 25 – unmarried, daughter of Joseph and Lena (Berthel) Krug

Maude Farrell, 25 wife of Roy W. Farrell (This is the only Mrs. Farrell in Dayton township in 1910.)

Florence Baker, 20 unmarried, daughter of Hiram E. Baker

Mena Krug, 14 unmarried, daughter of Joseph and Lena (Berthel) Krug

Mesmerism

mesmerist at work

In 1894 Jesse Green wrote this article for the Ottawa Free Trader on his interest in Mesmerism:

“An Amateur Mesmerist”
“How I became interested in the investigation of Mesmerisn”

In the fall of 1848 one Doctor Underhill visited Dayton where I then resided, with a Mesmeric subject and claimed that through him he could among other things find lost property.  He undertook to find a pair of buggy wheels lost in fording the River during a high stage of water a short time previous.  The buggy wheels were lost by Dr. Ward of Marseilles.

He started in at the ford, and when in the River opposite my house, the subject said “he saw no buggy wheels, but there lay an old saddle under a ledge of rocks in deep water”.  There had not been a word said about a saddle being lost.

But I had lost my saddle during the same rise in the River, and he described it as well as if lying before him, which was an easy matter as I had started hastily to cross the River, and found one of my stirrups gone, and took an odd one in its place.  We then went under his directions, in a boat with a lantern, and persons on the bluff overlooking the River, and in communication with the subject (Jockey Smith) who directed us to the spot.  We did not find the saddle but found the ledge of rocks in about ten feet of water.

This so impressed me that I together with a number of others got the Doctor to deliver us a course of lectures on Mesmerism, and the night of the third lecture he had us all take a subject and see what success we might have.  I selected my sister and succeeded in getting her Mesmerised, before the Doctor got his, and gave her up to him, not yet knowing how to proceed farther, but soon became familiar with all the Doctor knew on the subject.  During that winter I Mesmerised eight or ten different persons.  My first experience worthy of note was with my first subject.  Father requested me to send her to Newark, Ohio, and from there up the Ohio Canal, and see if she could name the Towns she would pass through (he being familiar with the whole length of the canal, having built fifteen miles of it).  She would name places in their regular order (apparently by reading some sign giving the name) and when she reached Cleveland she exclaimed “Oh! what a great body of water”.  Father was fully satisfied that she either read the signs correctly or read his mind.  This much I know they can do.  My best subject being the best clairvoyant I had outstripped this all hollow.  He would personate anyone, in speech, actions, and in every way.  I had him sing by exciting the organ of tune, and have thrown it off, at the highest pitch in the tune, with the word half uttered, and in a half minute or so would excite the organ again when he would start in again where he left off with the same pitch of tune, and the other half of the word as perfect as if there had been no intermission.

During one evening some one suggested that I “have him look ten years into the future and see what he would say about Dayton”.  Of course I had no faith that he could tell anything reliable, but did so.  He looked around a little and said it had not improved much “but they have a new mill down there and Uncle Johnny is up in the third story”.  Uncle Johnny was my Father and lived a number of years after that mill was built, and I believe that this clairvoyant saw it seven years previous to its being built.  It may be said that he guessed it.

I will relate another experience that will show too much complication to admit of guess work.  This all occurred during the winter of 1848 and ’49, and we were calculating to go to California in the Spring (and in the clairvoyant state) I sent him there to see what he would say about it.  We did not get much information only that there seemed to be a great rush to that country, and they were getting plenty of gold”.  It seemed to him in returning that he met our train going in the spring and his first exclamation on meeting it was “See that wagon, how they have fixed it up”.  I inquired about the wagon and he said it was “George Dunavans wagon and that they had broken the coupling pole, and had it wound with ropes and chains, and Uncle Johnny is behind carrying some birds”.  When he told this Father had no idea of going to California with us.  The Company employed him to go to Missouri and buy oxen for the outfit and return home, but there being so much cholera on the River he preferred crossing the Plains, rather than risk getting the cholera on his return.  Our company consisting of forty nine men with twenty wagons, left Ottawa April 2, 1849.  Myself being elected captain of the Company, one day on the route a short distance East of Fort Kearney, my clairvoyant (Daniel Stadden) borrowed a horse from one of the company and rode ahead with me, when we were a mile ahead of the train we saw that they had stopped, and by the time we rode back to see what was the matter, here was George Dunavans wagon reach broken and wound with both ropes and chains and Father was behind carrying a sage hen he had shot.  Stadden said to me “that is just how I saw it when I was mesmerised”.

Had it been any other wagon we probably should not have thought anything further about his prophecy, but every circumstance connected with it, being literally fulfilled brought it vividly to the minds of both of us.

I have often regretted that on my return home I had not further investigated it, I did very little in California but on our return home via Mexico one of our Company had a horse stolen and having faith in Mesmerism he wanted me to Mesmerize Mr. A.B.Goodrich (one of my former subjects) and one of our Company to see if he could find his horse.  I was a little afraid to do so there knowing the superstition of that people, but we had an interpretor who went and saw the Alcalde of the place and found that he had seen it before, and was anxious that I should Mesmerize Goodrich, he being present with our interpretor.  He soon described the thief and pointed out the direction he had taken, describing minutely every crook and turn in the road, and where the thief had stopped for the night.  The Alcalde had such confidence in everything that he said he would send next morning to recover the horse and thief if possible.  We were driving five hundred horses, and did not wait to see the result.

I think the possibilities of Mesmerism are very imperfectly understood even at the present time.  I have frequently seen accounts published of what seemed a little strange, but nothing equal to my experience with it.

I should have taken up the further investigation of it, but my second wife thought she could see the cloven foot of his Satanic Majesty in it, and on her account I gave it up, but my experience was entirely the reverse, and with evil intentions I was taught and believed it would prove a deserved failure.

It may be asked by some, why did you not have your clairvoyant find gold for you in California.  I do not pretend to say whether he could have done so or not.  The poor fellow died of scurvy soon after reaching California.

Should this seem a little too fishy, I would say that there are still living witnesses to corroborate the facts stated.

Ottawa October 17th 1894,
Jesse Green.

The Dayton news from 1934

card party

From the Ottawa Republican-Times, September 21, 1934, p. 2, cols. 4-8

Dayton
by Mrs. Grace MacGrogan

Californians Guests of Dayton Family

            Miss Catharine Rhoades and Mr. and Mrs. Frank Rhoades entertained guests from California last week at their home in Dayton. They were Mr. and Mrs. Frank Leighty of Burbank and Mr. and Mrs. M. E. Demary, of South Pasadena, the parents and grandparents of Mrs. Frank Rhoades. They arrived Thursday. Mr. and Mrs. Frank Rhoades accompanied them to Chicago Saturday where they spent the day at A Century of Progress exposition, returning here Saturday evening. Monday, Mr. and Mrs. Leighty and Mr. and Mrs. Demary left for their homes in California. They visited relatives in South Dakota and Waterloo, Ia., en route here.

Have Pep Meeting

            A pep meeting was held at the Dayton school Tuesday afternoon for the seventh and eighth grade students and teachers. The following schools were represented: Vincent school, Miss. E. Tompkins, teacher; Maple Hill school, Mrs. Edith Miller, teacher; district 207. Miss Simmons, teacher; Kleiber school, Mrs. W. S. Green, teacher; and the Dayton school, Miss Mildred Masters, teacher. R. J. Spickerman, assistant county superintendent of schools, was present and instructed the students and teachers in the year’s work. Miss J. L. Fraine was a visitor at the meeting.

Card, Dancing Party Held by Woman’s Club

The members of the Dayton Woman’s club held a card and dancing party Friday evening at the Dayton community hall. Games of bridge, five hundred and euchre were played the early part of the evening. Favors were awarded to Miss Pearl Masters and Mr. Ahrens of Ottawa in bridge; Mrs. Florence Esmond and Alvin Hepner won the five hundred favors and Mrs. Addie Thompson and Edward Hill the euchre favors. Orchestra music was furnished for dancing at the conclusion of the card games.

To Sponsor Party

Members of the Dayton Woman’s club will sponsor a card and dancing party Friday evening, Sept. 21, at the Dayton clubhouse.

Dayton Briefs

Mr. and Mrs. William Krug of north of Ottawa motored to Webster City, Ia., Friday and spent the week end with friends. They also visited in Rock Island and Moline on their return home Monday.

Mr. and Mrs. C. F. Brusingham and Miss Margaret Brusingham of Peoria, Mr. and Mrs. William Halpin of Mazon, Mr. and Mrs. Edward Halpin and son James of Reddick and Mrs. Ellen Scott of Ottawa were guests Sunday of Mr. and Mrs. L. Corso.

Miss Margaret Pillion of Chicago, Miss Julia Pillion of Ottawa and Mrs. Thomas Pillion and son Raymond of Wallace township were dinner guests Monday of Mr. and Mrs. Herbert MacGrogan.

Miss Katherine Pitts and Mrs. L. Corso attended the wedding in Grand Rapids township of Miss Eileen Fenton and Clarence McCormick Tuesday morning.

Mr. and Mrs. Charles Mathieison and Mr. and Mrs. J. Baker of north of Ottawa, went to Chicago Monday and attended A Century of Progress exposition.

Mrs. Michael Kelly, Sr., and Mrs. Marguerite McGill of Ottawa and Mrs. Thomas Corcoran of Rutland township were guests of Mesdames John Bowers, W. B. Chamberlain and M. Kelly, Jr., at the Dayton club party Wednesday.

Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Nash and son, Dick, of Hennepin, were visitors in Dayton, Tuesday.

Mr. and Mrs. Earl Luck of Harding were visitors at the Pitts family Sunday.

Dayton School Reunion – 1937

Dayton School Has Reunion at Community House

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

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

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

Miss Fraine

Emma Fraine

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

Maud Green

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

Ralph Green

Ralph Green

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

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

Miss Canfield was in general change of the reunion. Mrs. Gilbert Masters and Miss Hallowell arranged the program and Miss Jennie Fraine had charge of the table decorations.1


  1. Ottawa Daily Republican-Times, June 14, 1937, p6

Married Amid Flowers

bride-and-groom

From the Ottawa Republican-Times, August 19, 1897, p3

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.

Jacoba Verloo Baker

Zeeland,_Oosterland

Jacoba Verloo was born July 7, 1829 in Oosterland, Zeeland, Netherlands, the daughter of Cornelis Verloo and Pieternella de Vos. At the age of 22 she married Jan Bakker on October 10, 1851 in Oosterland. He was the son of Roeland Bakker and Janna van Sluijs. They had one known child, Roeland Jan Bakker, born December 30, 1851 in Oosterland, who died February 1, 1862 in Ouwerkerk, Zeeland.

Jan and Jacoba emigrated to the United States sometime after their son’s death and ended up in Dayton by 1870. In 1880 they were living next door to Lena Bogerd, another emigrant from Zeeland. They had anglicized their names to John and Jacoba Baker. John was a farmer, though it does not appear that he ever owned any land.

John died August 2, 1887 and was buried in the Dayton Cemetery.  Jacoba apparently moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan, where in December of 1888 she made a will, leaving everything to Jennie Lewis, described as her adopted daughter. She is listed in the Grand Rapids city directory in 1889 as living with Miss Jennie Baker. Jacoba came back to Ottawa, where she purchased the house at  537 E. Joliet St. in March of 1890. The Ottawa city directory lists Jacoba Baker and Jennie Baker as residing at 537 Joliet street. Jacoba died May 12, 1893 and is buried next to her husband in Dayton. Jennie Lewis filed for probate of Jacoba’s will in June 1893 and inherited the Joliet street house, which she rented to John Smith. No Jennie Baker or Jennie Lewis appears in the Ottawa city directories after that.

Are Jennie Lewis and Jennie Baker the same person? It would appear so, but further research is needed to identify Jennie Lewis of Grand Rapids.

100 Gather for Annual Picnic at Dayton School – 1944

 

the picnic table

Another school picnic – around 1950

100 Gather for Annual Picnic at Dayton School

One hundred attended the annual picnic of the Dayton school yesterday at the school grounds.

Dinner at noon was followed by races and other sports. Later ice cream and cake were served.

Winners in races were Carl Schmidt, preschool age; Shirley Patterson, 1st grade; Sylvia Ralrick, second grade; Rosemary Patterson, third; Bobbie Buckley, fourth; Ardelle Taylor, fifth and sixth; Elaine Thomas, seventh; Edward Patterson, eighth; Teddy Mathews, high school; Mrs. Homer Matthews and Mrs. Naomi Trent, married women’s.

Mr. and Mrs. Tony Summons, Mrs. Morris Ponton, Mrs. Mayme Ryan and Miss Elizabeth Ryan of Chicago, and Mrs. Fred Ritzius of Ottawa were out of town guests.1


  1. The [Ottawa, IL] Republican-Times, May 29, 1944, p. 8, col. 6

Did You Help Pick Milkweed Floss?

milkweed pods

From the Ottawa Republican-Times, July 20, 1944, p. 4

SCHOOL BOYS AND GIRLS SET TO PICK FLOSS

Don’t cut your milkweeds in fields and along roadsides. Let them grow to maturity so the pods can be picked for war purposes.

This is the message to Illinois and Indiana farmers from Dr. W. I. DeWees of Illinois State Normal university, Normal, Ill., and O. C. Lee, Purdue University, Lafayette, Ind., newly appointed directors of the project in their respective states.

“We expect to work this program in Illinois through the schools of the state, especially the rural schools,” said Dr. DeWees.

“This will mean that the superintendent of schools of each county will head up the local program,” DeWees continued, “and he will be assisted by the county farm advisor, soil conservationist, Future Farmers of America, Junior Red Cross, Boy Scouts, 4-H clubs and various other organizations. All such administrators will be contacted in the near future as to the working of the state program.”

Considered a nuisance and a pest by many stockmen and farmers because it infests fields and pastures DeWees pointed out, the milkweed is now supplying a vital war need so important that the War Food Administration and the U. S. Department of Agriculture, with the cooperation of other government agencies, are organizing to collect the seed pod of this weed in 26 states during the coming late summer and fall.

Kapok Replaced

The silky seed fibers of the milkweed have been found to be highly waterproof and buoyant. Department of Agriculture officials point out that with supplies of kapok cut off by the war, milkweed floss is now the best material available for use in life jackets, and that floss collected this summer may save many lives in naval operations on seas through the world. Minimum needs for this year have been estimated at 1,500,000 pounds.

Collection campaign for milkweed floss will be directed from Petosky, Mich., where a plant had been built to process the floss. In the various states which are to collect floss, WFA will have cooperation of 4-H club leaders and members, state experiment station directors and staffs, state educational organizations and state and county war boards. Bags for shipping the pods will be furnished to 4-H club members, Boy Scouts and other children who will assist in making the collections. Twenty cents per bag will be paid for picking the pods.

Collection of the milkweed pods will not begin until late summer. Preliminary organization work has already been completed, however, since many of the children could best be reached through the schools before the start of summer vacation. The children are being asked to be on the alert during the summer to locate areas with heavy stands of milkweed, so that every pod possible may be harvested in the fall for its war important fiber.

Pods Picked in September

The boys and girls who will help are being instructed to begin picking any time after the milkweed seeds begin to turn brown. This will be sometime in early September in most states. The pods will be picked into 50-pound open-mesh onion bags holding about 800 pods or roughly one bushel when properly filled. Officials in charge of the campaign advise that filled bags be hung to dry over a well-exposed fence where there is plenty of sun and wind. Milkweed pods thus handled will be ready for shipping in from two to five weeks. Dew, rain, or snow will not harm the pods of floss if the bags are hung on the fence at least a foot off the ground. They will mold and spoil within a few hours if in contact with the ground or a damp floor, or if they are contained in a tight box or sack.

PHOTO CAPTION: [Pictures did not reproduce well.] Boy Scouts, above, show method of picking milkweed pods. The pod is picked entire, it is pointed out, and no effort should be made to remove floss from the pod at this time. Standard open mesh onion bags will be provided free to those who wish to pick milkweed when the project gets under way in Illinois about Sept. 1. Lower photo, milkweed floss is baled in the factory established at Petosky, Mich., last year. For many years the United States has used kapok fiber in life jackets but capture of the East Indies by the Japanese suddenly cut off this supply. Milkweed floss has been shown to be a satisfactory substitute for the imported kapok.

Gossip From a Youthful Correspondent

 

The_Three_Gossips

[A few events of 129 years ago]

North Dayton
Quite a number attended church Sunday.

Frank Roberts spent Sunday at home.

D. Lawrence, now of Manlius, made his friends a call Saturday and Sunday.

Mr. P. Jacobs and family were visiting in Freedom the earlier part of the week.

Daniel Arentson has bought out the heirs and will own the Arentson homestead in the future.

A. G. Tucker is getting to be an expert with the engine. Last week he moved it to Mr. Hurlburt’s  when it was impossible to get along the roads with a loaded wagon. But he got there just the same; and none but an expert could manage the iron horse so skillfully. I tell you A. G. is a hustler.

F. Flory and P. Woodlock were the guests of Wm. Parr Sunday last.

C. H. Pool and J. Scott think that catching turkeys is good exercise.

Mr. G. Gookins, of Indiana, will work for A. H. Whitmore this season.

Gideon Ruger, of Ottawa, made H. E. Ruger a call the fore part of the week.

Wm. Greenlees sold a valuable horse last week.

Lyman H. is seen quite often of late in Freedom with his fiery, untamed mustang.

Look out, M., when you hitch that pony up and get near its head.

L. Hurlburt hulled his clover and got seventeen bushels of seed.

Cal. Christie sports a new top buggy. Look out, girls!

Charley Pool has his tool house very near completed.

Mansil H. visited his uncle in Wallace Sunday.

Ed. Whitmore thinks of getting a wide tired road cart, as the engine cut the road all up at the fish pond gate so the narrow-tired cart is of no use to him.

Jessie Miller returned home last Saturday.

James Hite is a candidate for road commissioner in the town of Dayton. The voters of Dayton will miss it if they do not vote for him, for he is a good man for the place; and the roads in the north part of town need looking after.

C. Simons is getting up his summer’s wood.

Mr. Shuler’s office is almost complete at Wedron and some lumber is on hand for the warehouse. He will also sell coal and lumber. This is good for the farmers as they will all patronize him. The Freedom, Serena, and Dayton farmers will haul their grain to Shuler.

Daisy

(The writer of the above newsy letter is but thirteen years old, and we must say the letter is not only excellent but there were not half a dozen errors of punctuation to correct and not a word mispelled. Let us have some more of the same kind, Daisy. – Eds.)1


  1. The Ottawa [Illinois] Free Trader, March 29, 1890, p. 8, col. 1

Rebecca Green tells of the death of little Byron

picture of John B. Green tombstone

On July 9, 1849, David Green wrote a letter to his father, John, and his brothers Jesse and Joseph who were on their way to California in search of gold. David remained in Dayton to handle the businesses and the farm and his portion of the letter deals mostly with these matters. His sister Rebecca added to the letter and, among other family and local news, she told of the death of Jesse’s son, John Byron Green.

The death of Byron has been written to you before but for fear that you will not receive it I will speak of it here. He died the 6th of May.  He did not appear much worse till a few days before he died and was perfectly sensible till the last.  He looked at his father’s miniature a few minutes before he died.  His mother said to me it was the last he would see of his pa. He said no, pa will come back and handed the miniature to me and told me to put it away and in a little while sunk to rest as if going into a sweet slumber. We feel his loss [very] much as he was a great deal of company for us . . . but he has left us and we must submit to it as cheerfully as possible as this was a life of suffering for him.1


  1. David Green (Dayton, Illinois) to “Dear father and brothers” [John, Jesse, and Joseph Green], letter, 9 July 1849, privately held by Candace Wilmot, Urbana, Illinois.

Early medicine in Dayton

arm

Jesse Green’s memoir, written when he was an elderly man, give us glimpses of life in Dayton in the early days of its settlement. Accidents were always a danger, and not all had as good an outcome at this one:

“Our first physician in Dayton, was a German, whose name I have forgotten, next was Allen H. Howland, Harmon Hurlbut and Peter Schemerhorn, Dr. Howland was also an excellent surgeon whom father [John Green] employed, when he had his arm smashed from the hand to above his elbow, in cutting the ice from a water wheel, other Physicians wanted to amputate his arm, above the elbow but father would not consent to this, and sent for Dr. Howland, notwithstanding they had just passed through a very bitter campaign, in which Wm. Stadden was the regularly nominated candidate for the state Senate and Dr. Howland ran against him as an independent candidate and was defeated. When he called to see father and examined his wound, father made this proposition to him, “if he would save his life and his arm, he would give him five hundred dollars,” and the Dr. said he could do it, and took the case and did do it, and got his five hundred dollars.”1

The second physician in active practice in Ottawa is believed to have been Dr. Allen H. Howland, who came here in 1833 from Saratoga, New York. He had received a good medical education, and for nearly a third of a century enjoyed a large practice. He was something of a politician, and had many enemies as well as numerous friends. He was an able man, and enjoyed the confidence of his fellow citizens. He died in 1866.2


  1. Unpublished memoir of Jesse Green, a transcription of which is in the possession of Candace Wilmot, Urbana, IL
  2. Ottawa: Old and New (Ottawa, Illinois: The Republican-Times,1912-1914), 192

Move Bodies Long Interred

 

Elizabeth Trumbo tombstone

tombstones in Ottawa Avenue cemetery

Jacob Trumbo tombstone

 

 

 

 

 

 

John Trumbo tombstone

MOVE BODIES LONG INTERRED

The remains of Jacob Trumbo, who came to La Salle county from Virginia in 1853 and died the same year, his mother [sic: should be his wife], who died forty-two years ago, and one brother, [sic: son] were transferred last Monday from Buck Creek cemetery, north of Ottawa, to Ottawa Avenue cemetery. The bones of each body were in a remarkable state of preservation, even to being intact to the tips of the fingers and every bone preserved. There were even parts of the casket intact. The plates on the tops of the caskets were found with the letters plainly legible and also the screw nails of the coffins. In the mother’s grave were found pieces of green silk in which she had been clothed before burial. Some of those strips were a yard in length and when torn gave the same rustle as new silk. The coil of her hair was also found in the grave. Another brother was buried in Buck Creek cemetery, but there being no tomb stone to mark the spot of his burial, the parties were unable to find the remains, although they dug down six feet, and thereby failing to find the body.1


  1. The Utica [Illinois] Gazette, 27 October 1911

An Unusual Memento

In the Green family archives, which I was lucky enough to inherit, this is one of the more unusual items. The locks of hair here came from Elizabeth Snyder Trumbo (top left); her husband, Jacob Trumbo (top right); Barbara Jessica Green, center left; Grace E. Green, center right; Mary Jane Trumbo Green, lower left; and Amanda Trumbo Riddle, lower right.

Elizabeth and Jacob Trumbo were the parents of Mary Jane Green and grandparents of Barbara and Grace Green, Mary Jane’s children. Amanda Riddle was Mary Jane’s older sister.

The keeping of locks of hair was a common practice in the 19th century. Read more about it at this fascinating web site.

A Weighty Matter

Thanksgiving dinner

Henry Schmidt of Dayton township has the credit of raising the largest turkey reported in this section. The gobbler weighed, dressed, 28 pounds. Mr. Schmidt sent it to an aunt in Chicago, who in turn sent it to the German consul of that city. This is a heavier gobbler than that sent to the President by an easterner Thanksgiving.1


  1. Ottawa [llinois] Free Trader, December 25, 1908

Repairs to the cemetery – 140 years ago

The Dayton Cemetery

In 2014 and 2015 a major restoration project worked on cleaning and resetting about 70 stones in the Dayton cemetery, with the result shown above. It seems that 140 years ago the cemetery also received a face-lift, as described below —

Dayton, Ills., June 20. –
Passing through the cemetery north of town a few days ago, we were struck by the clean and white appearance of the tombstones. Many stones that had been lying on the ground were reset and were in their proper positions, many that had become dirty were now as white and clean as when first erected. Upon due inquiry we found that the work had been done by Mr. L. A. Smith of Marseilles, a gentleman who makes tomb-stone cleaning and resetting a business, who has many years experience, and judging by his work, gives good satisfaction. We are glad to see our citizens have made a move in this direction, and with the community would move a vote of thanks to Mr. Smith for his excellent work.

Occasional1


  1. The Ottawa Free Trader, June 28, 1879, p. 8, col. 2

Prosper Hisler

hisler, prosper

In January, 1921, Prosper Hisler, a resident of Dayton, applied for a passport, saying that he wanted to go back to France to see his brother and sisters in Wildersbach. Prosper was born there in 1864 and at the age of 25 he and a number of young men from his neighborhood came to the United States. They landed in New York in February 1889 and many of them came on to the area around Somonauk and Serena, Illinois, where there was a French settlement.

Prosper became a naturalized citizen in 1896 and lived in Dayton, where he found work in the brick yard. He was industrious and in 1902 was able to purchase a house and lot in the village. By 1910 he was a laborer on the C B & Q railroad.

Did he keep in touch with his family back in France? It was perhaps in order to see how they fared after the war that he went back to France in 1921. In order to afford the trip, he sold his house in Dayton and planned to sail from New York on January 15. Although he said on his passport application that he would return within the year, there is no indication that he ever came back to the United States.

This may be explained by an entry in the margin of his birth record in Wildersbach. He was born July 22, 1864, and alongside the birth record a marginal notation tells of his marriage in Wildersbach, November 5, 1921. At the age of 57, he was married to the widow Damoiseaux, nee Marie Elise Hisler.

A Joint Birthday Celebration

 

Taken September 6, 1910, at the residence of Basil Green, Dayton, Illinois, celebrating the eightieth birthday of Basil Green (born Sep 17) and Rebecca Green Trumbo (born Sep 8).

Front row: Alice Masters, Mildred Masters, John Gilman, Margaret Allison Barnes, Gladys Green

2nd row: Harry Hess, Nettie Masters & Pearl, Callie Hess, Kate Brown, ?, Basil Green, Rev. Jesse Green, C. B. Hess, Charles Olmstead, Rebecca Trumbo

3rd row: Jane (Jennie) Barnes, Edward Dallam, Harriet Olmstead Poole, Maud Green, Dora Trumbo, Del Terry Hess, Sadie Olmstead Green, Carrie Barnes Green, Rush Green, Ora Del Green, Aunt Barbara Jackson, Miss Etta Barnes, Mr. Ed McClary

4th row: Mrs. Emma Barnes McClary, Annie Robinson, Mrs. Winnie Dallam, Fred Green, Mrs. Josie Gibson, Mrs. Ralph Green, Win Green Sr, Mrs. Isaac Green, Mrs. Charles Olmstead

Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Dunavan

CELEBRATED THEIR GOLDEN WEDDING1
Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Dunavan Entertain One Hundred Friends at Dinner at Clifton.

            Fifty years ago today Miss A. Miranda Munson, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. William Munson, of Freedom township, became the bride of Samuel Dunavan, son of Mr. and Mrs. J. Albert Dunavan, living seven miles northeast of Ottawa, and today, after spending half a century together, they celebrated the event by entertaining one hundred of their friends and relatives at a dinner, served at the Clifton hotel.

The children of the couple were present and guests gathered from many cities and states. The gathering was a most pleasant one, and the sounds of laughter echoed through the rooms and corridors of the old Clifton as it never did before.

Judge Henry W. Johnson presided as toast-master, and Rev. Elfreda L. Newport offered up prayer. Dr. J. Webster Bailey responded to the toast “Our Host and Hostess.”

Mr. Dunavan spoke entertainingly of “The Pioneer,” and Mrs. Ida Cove responded to “The Golden Wedding.”

Mr. and Mrs. Dunavan were married at the home of Mr. and Mrs. William Munson, parents of the bride, after a courtship of almost four years. J. Albert Dunavan, father of the groom of fifty years, resided on a farm seven miles northwest of Ottawa. He later purchased a tract of land on Indian creek, in Freedom township, and sent Samuel Dunavan, then 18 years old, to the new farm to herd cattle.

The country was not so thickly settled in those days as now and Samuel, the boy, became lonesome with nobody to talk to but the cows and his dog, and one day he wandered away to the Munson home, where he met Miranda Munson, then 17 years old.

Many a trip was made to the Munson home by Samuel Dunavan during the long months that followed, and he and Miss Miranda became pretty warm friends.

Then came a separation. The parents of the young woman decided to send her to college, and she was hustled away to Rockford to attend the Rockford Female Seminary, and Samuel Dunavan was sent to Bryant & Stratton College, where he graduated in 1859.

The young people kept up a regular chain of correspondence, and a short itme after his graduation and return form college Mr. Dunavan and Miss Munson were married. It was to be a quiet affair, with only a few of the near relatives present, and Jesse Green, uncle of the groom, was on hand to perform the ceremony.

After the wedding Mr. and Mrs. Munson took up their residence on the farm they now occupy near Baker Station, and where they have made their home ever since. Mr. and Mrs. Dunavan were born in La Salle county and have always made this county their home.

They raised a family of five children. Douglas L. Dunavan is an attorney of this city. Clarence V. Dunavan is a druggist in Millington. Mrs. Nettie L. Rogers lives in Kansas City, Mo. Mrs. May Hum is a resident of Adams township and Mrs. Cora Belle Watts is a resident of Earl township.

Jesse Green, who married Mr. and Mrs. Dunavan, died in Ryburn hospital last summer. Had he lived it was planned to have him again perform the ceremony, but since his death the old folks have decided that the ceremony performed half a century ago will hold good until the end comes.

There are but few people living today who attended the Dunavan-Munson wedding fifty years ago, and none was able to attend the celebration. One of the interesting features of the celebration today was the presence of the slippers and gloves worn by the bride and the gloves worn by the groom at the time of the wedding.


  1. Probably from the Ottawa Daily Republican-Times of March 22, 1909.