The Winter of the Deep Snow

snowdrifts

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

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

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

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

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

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

The second and third winters we were here we had about two feet of snow, which lay on the ground most of the winter, and drifted badly and crusted over so that we could ride over fences without difficulty, and prairie chickens were so plentiful and tame that on a frosty morning, they would sit on trees so near our cabin that Father stood in the door and shot them, until some of the men said he must stop before he shot away all of our ammunition, and leave none to shoot deer and turkeys.  Our first winter here Brother David and myself trapped rising three hundred chickens, besides a large quantity of quail.  After eating all we could, Mother merely saved their breasts salted and smoked them.

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

A far-traveled Dayton girl

 

Emma May Rhoads

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

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

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

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

Kathrine, Emma, and Edward Nickoley

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1952: The Fox River Was Acting Up Again

 

Ice up to the floor of the bridge

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

BULLETIN!

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

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

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

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

Move Furniture

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

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

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

Auto Submerged

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

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

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

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

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

Damaged in 1943

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

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

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

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


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

David Green

David Green (1819-1880)

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thoughts About Trains

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

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

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

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

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

Joel F. Warner – fisherman

large mouth bass

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mail to California

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mr. and Mrs. C. B. Hess

Charles Benton Hess was born November 13, 1839, in Forrestville, Virginia, the son of Henry H. Hess and Mahala Hammond. He came to La Salle county in 1854. He took up farming as a career but later decided to complete his education. He attended and graduated from Lombard University at Galesburg and later studied law in Chicago, but never asked admission to the bar. After finishing his studies he returned to La Salle County and again took up farming.

In 1877 he owned 220 acres of land, valued at $11,000; and 4 houses and lots in Dayton, valued at $3,000. Later he gave up the agricultural field to enter Green’s Woolen Mills at Dayton. Later he came to Ottawa and entered the real estate business, with offices over the post office, and from there branched out into the clay and tile industry. He served as a Justice of the Peace and as town clerk of Dayton.

In 1880, with his brother-in-law H. B. Williams, they erected a plant, known as the Standard Brick Company’s works, at Brickton, about one mile east of Ottawa, along the north bank of the canal, and commenced the manufacture of brick. This appears to have been the first clay manufacturing concern of Ottawa. In 1882, finding traveling to Dayton every day after the close of business tiresome, he removed his residence to Ottawa.

Clara Isabella “Callie” Green was the daughter of Jesse Green and Isabella Trumbo. She was born in Dayton December 12, 1849, while her father was away at the gold fields of California. She married C. B. Hess May 12, 1869. in Dayton.

They had 5 children:
Edwin Jesse was born in Dayton, June 28, 1871. He married Edith Powell of Coffeeville, Kansas, in Coffeeville in January of 1905.

Gertrude Noel was born in 1874 and died the following year.

Glenn Raymond was born in 1876 in Dayton. At the age of five he slipped from the rocks just above the Fox river bridge in Ottawa and drowned.

Edith May was born in October 1880 in Dayton. She married Albert E. Gilman, assistant superintendent of the King & Hamilton Co., factory in Jan 1905.

Harry Charles was born after the move to Ottawa, on August 16, 1883. He married Dell M. Terry at the bride’s home in Harding in October 1910.

C. B. died September 23, 1918, in Ottawa and Callie died July 25, 1930, also in Ottawa.

Will of Hannah Rebecca (Rhoads) Green

Hannah Rebecca Rhoads, the second wife of Jesse Green

On May 3rd, 1894, Hannah Rebecca (Rhoads) Green signed her will, only a few days before her death on May 23rd. She named her son J. Kent Green as executor and trustee of her estate. He was directed to use the income from the property for her husband, Jesse Green, during his lifetime. If not all the income was needed by Jesse, the trustee was directed to pay off the debt owing on the estate. At the death of her husband, the property was to be divided among her sons, Thomas Henry Green, Joseph Green, James A. Green, Frank Green and J. Kent Green and her grandchildren Ethel May Williams and Frank Roger Williams, children of her deceased daughter, Cora, wife of H. B. Williams.

You can see the full text of the will here.

Marriage of Charles Brown and Minnie Furr

Charles Brown and Minnie Furr on their wedding day
Marriage application

On December 29th, 1890, Charles Brown and Minnie Furr, both of Dayton township, applied for a marriage license. Charles was 24 years old, a butcher, born in Freedom township, son of George R. Brown and Isabella W. Hosford. It was his first marriage.

Minnie was 20 years old, born in Seneca, daughter of Squire Furr and Mary Bruner. It was her first marriage, also.

Marriage Affidavit

Charles Brown filled out the affadavit swearing that they were of age, unmarried, and could legally make a marriage contract.

Marriage License

Patrick Finlen, the county clerk of La Salle County from 1882-1894, filled out the license on the 29th of December, granting permission for the marriage to be celebrated.

N. O. Freeman, minister of the First Methodist Church of Ottawa, performed the ceremony in Dayton on December 31st.

Marriage Certificate

John Samuel Hippard

 

John S. Hippard, who is buried in the Dayton Cemetery, died August 25, 1905, in Dayton Township. He was 29, unmarried and left no will, so his estate went to his siblings. The proof of heirship in the probate papers1 attests to the following relationships:

John Samuel Hippard’s parents, Stephen William and Frances Rebecca Hippard, had 5 children: Charles William, John Samuel, Mary Elizabeth, Jacob Henry, and Frances May.
    Mary Elizabeth died about 1891. She was about 13 years old and unmarried.
    Jacob Henry is unmarried and living with his parents in Dayton township .
    Frances May (Fannie) is married to Newton Conner, living in Wedron in Dayton Township.
    Charles William lives in Dayton township and is the administrator of the estate.

John Samuel, Jacob Henry, and Frances (Conner) Ackerman are all buried in the Dayton Cemetery. See the index on this site.

At his death, John owned no land, and no tangible personal property. His only asset was a health insurance policy which provided that in case of ill health he would be paid $35/month. He had been sick for a little over seven months and was entitled to $223. However, the policy had a clause that in the case of tuberculosis they would pay only one fifth of the amount. John did suffer from tuberculosis, so was not entitled to the full amount The estate negotiated with the insurance company and the claim was settled for $100.

The cost of administration of the estate was $37 and other claims (doctor and funeral costs) came to $125. Thus there was a balance due the administrator of $62 and no funds to pay it, so Charles Hippard petitioned the court to accept the report and declare the estate settled.


  1. John Samuel Hippard probate file, 1905, box 464, file 12, La Salle County Genealogy Guild, 115 W. Glover, Ottawa, IL 61350

It Was Hot 140 Years Ago Today, Too

Rural Happenings1

Dayton, Aug. 3. – Hot, hotter, hottest, 100 in the shade.

The tile works shipped three car loads of tile to Serena this week. They are building up a fine reputation for first class hard drain tile, and have an ever-increasing demand for them.

The vote at the school house last Saturday evening on the question of authorizing the directors to issue bonds for the construction of a new school building, was lost by a small majority. Goodbye, new school house.

Misses Hattie and Belle Brown of Newark, Ill., were visiting Miss Cora Green last week.

A frenchman working on the section had his finger badly mashed while coming home on a late train last Saturday evening. The car door was closed on his finger, and the noise of the train prevented him from being heard until the bone was broken and the finger badly crushed.

Mr. H. B. Williams started last Tuesday on a trip to northern Iowa.

Miss Hattie Edwards, of Mendota, is visiting Miss Cora Green.

Mr. and Mrs. C. B. Hess departed yesterday for Macomb, to attend the golden wedding of a cousin.

Miss Dessie Root closed her school at Wedron last Saturday with a pleasant little picnic in the grove.

The young folks picnicked at Deer Park last week. Notwithstanding the dust and heat they claim to have had a very enjoyable time.

The woolen mill runs a few hours in the evening besides their day’s work.

The river falls quite slowly. A few nice fish are being caught.


  1.  Ottawa Free Trader, August 6, 1881, p. 8, col. 2

That’s Some Bull!

Glenwood Farm Gets Fine Bull

            Straight Island bred bulls, out of 800-lb. cows with over forty daughters rapidly going under test are not picked up evey day. Mrs. Katherine E. Letchworth of Buffalo has, however, secured just such a bull for her “Glenwood Farm” at Ensenore, N. Y. She has bought of Dr. H. J. Reynolds of Chicago the great bull, Viola’s Golden Prince 111180.

            This bull has until recently been in the herd of Mr. L. A. Green of Dayton, Ill. where his many daughters are already distinguishing themselves. Seven are making a fine showing on Register of Merit test, one not yet in milk sold to Ravine Farm, Highland Park, Ill. For $600, and $500 apiece could be had for nine others if they were for sale. This will greatly add to the present popularity of this fine bull and lend increased value to every daughter he will have from now on. He is a son of Bright Prince, out of the well known cow, Cowslip’s Fawn Beauty, 806 lbs. 8 oz butter in one year, and has a good show record to his credit.

from The Jersey Bulletin and Dairy World, v. 39, no. 37, 1920 p. 2446

The Heirs of Alcinda Hite

When Alcinda Hite died in 1924, she had outlived 7 of her brothers and sisters. She never married and therefore her deceased siblings’ children were among her heirs. In order to prove Alcinda’s will, testimony was given to identify all the heirs. The following is true as of Feb. 2, 1926

Children of David Hite and Elizabeth Stickley:

Alex (died in infancy)

Isaac (died in Infancy)

Kittie Ann (died in infancy)

Benjamin married Emma Dunavan (both died before Alcinda)
2 children:
William, widower, 117 S. Monroe St., Streator
Dora, married Gillispie, Reinbeck, Iowa

James married Martha Jones (both died before Alcinda)
10 children:
baby boy (died in infancy
Martha E., married O. H. Thompson, 6 Gridley Place, Ottawa
Alcinda, married John McGrath, 432 E. Main St., Ottawa
Elsie, married John Whisler, Hutchinson, Minnesota
Elnora, married Thomas Collins, Wedron
Minerva, married William D. Whisler, Hinckley
Fidelia, married William Rabe, Belmond, Iowa
Rae, married William Osborn, McVeytown, Pennsylvania
Edward, married Gertrude Elwood, Mildred, Kansas
Elmer, married Lucy Trimble, Bayard, Kansas

David, widower, O’Neill, Nebraska

Albert (died before Alcinda)
3 children:
Calvin, married Etta Belrose (died before Alcinda)
—-1 child, Albert C., age 15-16, lives with uncle, William Temple
Vina Maude, married William Temple, Serena, Illinois
James Edward, married Jeans _____, Dayton Township““`

Fidelia (died before Alcinda), married Benjamin Babcock
6 children:
Albert, married, Schuyler, Nebraska
Jennie, married ___ Smith, Council Bliffs, Iowa
Elizabeth, married ___ Schwartz, Councill Bluffs, Iowa
Maude, married ___ Clatterbuck, Council Bluffs, Iowa
Cora, married ___ Hill, 202 Ninth Ave, Council Bluffs, Iowa
Olive, married ___ Messner, Council Bluffs, Iowa

Alcinda (the deceased)

Library Books, Oyster Suppers, and More

From the Ottawa Free Trader, December 7, 1878

                                                            Dayton, Nov. 27, 1878

            Since “Sleesel” has stopped writing, Dayton has been without representation in your valuable paper, and we think it is time for an article from our quiet town.

            Perhaps it is generally known that the woolen mill has been sold, and that Mr. Jesse Green was the buyer, so it is needless to say anything about that. Mr. Green is taking out the lower floor, and will fill in with dirt and stones.

            The public school, under the management of Miss F. A. Mott, is progressing finely. Our people consider her a No. 1 teacher.

            Although our town has no churches, yet for the past two months we have had religious services averaging once a week, and for the past year Universalist services every two weeks. Last week we were treated to an excellent discourse by Rev. M. Barnes, Congregationalist minister at Ottawa. An effort is being made to have him preach in this place next year as often as he can come.

            Last Saturday evening an oyster supper was held at the commodious residence of Mr. Geo. Dunavan, northwest of town, for the benefit of Mrs. Gibb. A large number were in attendance, about eighty-four taking supper. A notable feature of the evening’s entertainment was Prof. (ess) Mott’s Art Gallery, which, through the pluck and perseverance of the Prof., netted eight dollars for the church. It is seldom so many people get together and have such a good time as all seemed to have on that occasion. The Universalist people were well satisfied with their entertainment, as it netted them thirty-seven dollars.

            Harry, Joseph and James Green leave next week for Aurora, where they are to attend school.

            The Literary meets Friday evening to re-organize and adopt a new constitution. A committee has been appointed to procure more books for the library.

                                                                        Occasional

The Dayton Woolen Mill in 1877

Large stone building

The Dayton Woolen Mills

            One day last week we took a look through the extensive woolen mills of J. Green & Co., at Dayton. It will be remembered that this is the pioneer establishment of this kind in the state. In 1853 the old wooden structure, near the location of the present mills, ran but one set of machinery; and even in its infant state, and limited capacity, it supplied the farmers for many miles around with excellent cloth and good stocking yarn, and furnished them with a good market for wool. Mr. John Green, the senior member of the present firm, wisely concluded to add to and extend the mills in capacity, – so as to keep pace with the rapid growth of the country around.

            In 1864 the new building was erected. It is built of Joliet stone, is one hundred feet by fifty, and six stories high, and not only solid and durable in its construction, but elegant in architectural design externally, and handsomely furnished internally, and is, altogether, a most splendid building.

            The firm now constantly run eleven broad and three narrow looms; six spinning jacks, of 240 spindles each; three fulling mills, besides proper apparatus for all other purposes, in proportion, and give constant and remunerative employment to a large number of people, male and female.

            The Dayton mill’s doeskins and beavers took the premiums at the fair of the North-western States, in 1868, besides the silver medals and diplomas at the state fair last year. Their goods are all of a superior grade, and find a ready market all over the country. As an instance, we may mention, that an agent of this firm sold five thousand dollars worth of the Dayton goods in Iowa in a single month’s trip, where the goods had never been introduced before.

            The Dayton cloths, blankets, yarn, &c., are the best and cheapest any one can purchase, and are made in good faith and always warranted to be made of the best material and in the best manner.

The Ottawa [IL] Free Trader, July 6, 1870

On this day in 1888 in Dayton

Image by Noël BEGUERIE from Pixabay

Dayton Doings

            The river is about dried up, there being no water running over the dam for two days. We do not recollect of its ever being so low during the month of June, and hope that some timely rains may come and put more water into the stream.

            Conductor Williams of “Billy’s” train on the main line of the “Q,” Crooker of Mendo, and others are camping out near the dam.

            Mr. William Dunavan, of Kinsley, Kansas, came home last week for a week’s visit. He has become a full fledged Westerner and swears by Kansas, which State he says, is bound to have a big boom this fall. Now is the time to invest in cheap lands.

            Mrs. John Gibson, of Eldorado, Kansas, daughter of Basil Green, Esq., is visiting relatives and friends in Dayton and vicinity.

            Mr. and Mrs. Chas. Green attended the commencement exercises of the Leland high school last Friday evening.

            Our public schools closed last Friday, and the pupils are now enjoying their summer vacation.

            Prof. Butters started with the Ottawa military company (of which he is a member) to Springfield to spend a week camping out under military discipline. He has given excellent satisfaction as a teacher, but we learn that he will not return next year as he has other plans in view.

            The Paper Co. are getting to plenty of baled straw and are running right along. The prospects at present are that there will be plenty of straw in the country for them after harvest.

            A few of our citizens and their ladies attended the excursion and picnic at Deer Park last Sunday. They say there were about 5000 people there.

            Joe Green says his strawberry crop was almost a failure this season, as he did not get one-fifth as many berries as last year. The dry season last year killed out a large number of his best plants. He is not discouraged, however, but says he will erect pumping works and irrigate with river water another season.

            Kent Green is studying law with Griggs & Allen in Ottawa.

            D. L. Grove, Esq., of Ottawa, was in town on business last Saturday.

            The new brick company are making arrangements for shipping clay, and will soon be grinding and shipping twenty tons per day. They expect to manufacture brick and other ware also, and we hope the new Co. may prove to be one of our substantial institutions.

            The seventeen year locusts are very numerous in our woods and are beginning to be very noisy. Will Dunavan has pickled a few in alcohol to take to Kansas with him. He will place them on exhibition and see how they compare with the original Kansas “hopper.”

            The news of Harrison’s nomination was received here with no enthusiasm by the members of his party. As one of the Chicago delegates remarked, “they did not want to vote for a pair of dudes like Harrison and Norton, but live men like Gresham, Sherman, &c.” Harrison will do for a clean candidate, but his Chinese records, and his free whisky platform, together with the Cleveland rose and the red bandanna, will “bury him deeply down” in the ides of November, and the Democrats will win by a popular majority of a million votes.

            Boss Blaine had almost entire control of the Convention, and at a word of assent could have received the nomination, but chose to give it to his friend Harrison, as he saw no possibility of electing a Republican President. Harrison controlled the Indiana machine, but has been defeated every time he has asked the suffrage of the people. Query – can he beat his record?

                                                                                                Occasional

Ottawa [IL] Free Trader, June 30, 1888

1829 home of the Green party

When the Green party arrived in Illinois in December 1829, they moved into the cabin that William Clark had built for them. It was 18 feet by 24 feet, and in that single room, fourteen adults and ten children (four of them under two years of age) spent the first winter.  In the picture above, the small extension on the back of the house is the original cabin.

My Dear Isabella,

On April 2, 1850, Jesse Green, hard at work in the gold mines of California, wrote home to his wife, Isabella:

            It is one year today since I parted with you and my friends, at home, and although a distance of near two thousand miles intervene, I presume our hearts are probably beating in unison together at this moment in anticipation of meeting again before the same period rolls around again, the past year has no doubt been one of long to be remembered, not only by you and I, but thousands of others, and by many it is remembered no more. I speak more particularly of those at home who were taken off by cholera, and many too, on the same route with us last season are denied the pleasure of meeting their wives, their parents and friends at home. — Fortunately for us two only of our company are denied that pleasure yet. Levi Zeluff and Daniel Stadden are the two.

            Your care and anxiety, I am aware had been great both for them dear little Babes and for us but try and not borrow trouble. make yourself as content as possible and at all times when sorrow would come, endeavor to banish it by the bright rays of hope, and in anticipation of happier days to come. 1

  1. extract from original in possession of Candace Wilmot

News of Dayton – 1850

Pages 1 and 4 of a letter from Josiah Shaver to Jesse Green

                                                                                                                                                Ottawa, Illinois Feb 6th 1850

Mr. Jesse Green Esqr.

                Dear Cousin

                                I am seated for the first time to address you since you left us. But we were very sorry to see in your last of Nov. 8 ’49 to E. Trumbo stating that up to that time you had not heard a word from home. (which letter came in Ottawa on the 26th of Jan ’50 with many more, one for your wife of an earlier date, and some for the Mrses Dunavans) I hardly know where to commence in giving you the news, for I expect that your folks have written of events as they transpired, and much that I may write will likely be no news to you but thinking that perhaps you will not receive all I will commence back at the time of your departure and come up as near correct as my memory will serve me. The first item of importance is the cholera which scared the folks more than it hurt them. It made its appearance in Ottawa in the fore part of June. Never was there such a cleaning of the St.s and renovating and white-washing of houses & cellars before in that place which fortunately cept it from raging very much about, but 30 or 40 died with it there and many of them caught it on the canal. The Country folks never stoped going in on buissiness. The folks in Dayton were perty badly scared at one time being so many in one house. They feared if it got among them that it would make bad work. But fortunatley they were joyfully disappointed (for they expected it) for there was but one case in Dayton and that was Cousin David thought that he had every symptom of it, but by using the cholera medicine he soon was as well as ever. It did not cramp him. Aunt Anna Groves died with it Aug 8th ’49. She took it and had not been exposed to it in any way, and in a few days Aunt Trumbo took it but was soon relieved. That is all of the connections that suffered any with it. Colman Olmstead’s wife and two oldest daughters died with it, also Jesse Johnson’s wife and oldest girl. (Colman is married again to his wife’s cister, an old maid)

It was much worse in Peru at one time in July it was nearly deserted all kinds of buissiness stopped for a few days. Here it was but a short time that they feared it. Your son Byron died on the 6th of may ’49. He was sensible until the last he wanted to be carried across the room but a few minutes before he expired. We had great trouble with the seed corn, almost all had to plant over from once to three times, which cept very backward until quite late but we had such an extraordinarily good fall that corn was first rate, wheat on an average both Spring and winter was scarcely a half crop. Potatoes, tolerable good, rot doing but little damage. Corn market last summer ranged at one time from .30 to .37 cts pr. Bush, and came down to 2 shillings at which price it readily sells for now in the ear. Wheat market was up last fall to 5 and 6 shillings pr. Bushl and then fell and was very low until lately. It is worth now best qual .75 cts pr. B. Pork was very dull from $1.75 to 2.50 pr. Hund. Lbs. Ottawa has improved very fast this last summer. We had a delightful warm and dry fall until the 25th of Nov. when winter set in but we have had a pleasant winter this far. Some snow which made good sleighing for two or three weeks. For the last two weeks it has been quite warm and windy, but it is colder today. The ice has started in the river. W. Irwin, Commision merchant of Ottawa (Eaton Goodel’s brother-in-law) went to Chicago last June and there entered his passage on a vessel for the lumber country, as he intended to purchase some lumber to bring home with him, and that was the last track that could be got of him all supposed that he was murdered or fell overboard in the night as the officers of the boat could tell nothing about him, all was mystery until lately when a Mr. Kellog returned from California and said that he saw him in Sanfrancisco, and a few days ago they got a letter from him. It is supposed that he got scared too soon. (he ran from debt.) A. W. Magill of Ottawa failed this fall. His store was sold at auction. The California Fever is raging this winter as bad as last if not worse, although Elias Trumbo and David and I have not got it so bad but I do sincerely wish that I had of went with you. George & Theodore Gibson are going. Aaron Daniels & John Holkan are using every effort to make a raise to go, the Connord boys are going. All intend to go with the oxen. In fact they are going from all over the country. Alison & Ralph Woodruff & Jo. Hall started a month ago, and Ralph died in Peoria in a drunken fit, and the others came back on account they say that they would have to lay too long at the isthmus. George Galloway with a number of them on that side are going to start soon. Our Township Organization caried unaminous. The commissioners are now laying out their boundaries, and in April we elect our officers which is some 14 or 15 in each town. I can’t give you the boundaries of them as they are fractions and will be attached, to some other and the commissioners have not got this far along. The banc of Marseilles has gone the way of all the living. Old L. Kimble died this last fall with an old complaint. Jack Trumbo had been in Cincinatti over a year, studying to be a physician when the cholera broke out there and he started for home, and died with it near the mouth of the Ohio river, and his father went in the fall and took him up and brought him to Ottawa for interment. The connections here have been unusually healthy since you left, your folks have got along very well as far as I know. They all remain in the big brick house. Their greatest anxiety is for your welfare which is often increased by the long space of time between letters, as I will tell you by and by. You will have to try for a large lump or your wife will beat you, as she found over a 7 pounder. The married part of the emigrants have generally left their representatives they range from a month to 8 weeks of age, yours is a fine daughter about 6 weeks old wife and child well. Tell George & Albert that their wives can present them with a Son each

Tell Snelling that his wife has a daughter also. All are well and doing well. Mrs. Zeluff is in the same fix. (Surely the idea of California is quite prolific.) Eliza Gibson had a young daughter. So much for the live stock. Rachel & Rebecca have been on a visit to their Unkle William Greens this winter for 6 or 8 weeks. They were all well and his oldest daughter come home with them and is there now. David is not running the factory this winter and he thinks that it will hardly quit expense in the winter. Old man Hite gets along very well. They all think a great deal of him the girls say he is so good and fatherly that they can’t help but like him. Ben is living with David and talks some of California. Feb 13th river closed up again roads have been excellent for the last 2 weeks neither snow nor rain, excellent, winter weather. Winter wheat looks fine yet. Grain is on the raise wheat 80 cts corn 28 cts They say that the California gold has made quite a visible change on real estate and in the markets in N.Y.

                We but seldom hear from you. We heard tolerably regular from you until you left Fort Hall and then it was over 3 months before we got any more, which you wrote about 300 miles from the diggings, then the next was when you got through which was some 8 weeks after incoming. We were glad to hear of your success in getting through, and in your first adventures in the diggings, and may you continue to be successful until, as the song goes “now I’ve got all I want I cannot lift any more &.c.” Tell Snelling his folks are all well and John gets along as well as well as could be expected. I will write to him soon. Please write soon. Tell Joseph a line from him would be thankfully received. My respects to you all.

                                                                                From your affectionate cousin   J. R. Shaver

Mr. Jesse Green Esqr

Feb 20 This leaves us all well. I have not got a line from any since you left.  J. R. Shaver    write soon