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.

Another Dayton inventor

Dunavan, A F - patent In 1870 Albert F. Dunavan purchased the Dayton horse-collar factory, a thriving business. The collars were sold throughout Illinois and adjoining states, and in New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and California. In 1886 they even received an order from Sidney, Australia, enthusiastically described in the Free Trader as the most distant sales ever made from La Salle county. The Dunavans did a good business for many years, but in 1892 the business failed and was sold to pay the debts. Albert Dunavan then moved to Harvey, Illinois, where he worked in insurance and real estate, but he also applied for a patent on an apparatus for shaping horse collars, based on his many years of experience.

Holiday Happenings for students at the Dayton School

The following appeared in the January 24,1955 issue of the Dayton News Reel, a publication of the Dayton school. Editor, Richard Jackson; Assistant Editor, Richard Charlier; Circulation, Allan Holm. Reporters for Class and Social Activities for this six-week period were —
Grade 8 – Sheila Gash
Grade 7 – Larry Polen
Grade 6 – Bob Mossbarger
Visual Aids – Charles Ohme
Social – Patsy Hughes
Art and Music – Shirley Harmon
Sports and Safety – Terry Hiland
General News – Patsy Hughes

HOLIDAY HAPPENINGS

Dick went skating during the holidays and spent Christmas at home where his parents entertained Mr. and Mrs. M. Hall of Ottawa.

Allan spent Christmas at home. All the Holm relatives were there. He received a microscope and chemistry set and enjoyed trying many experiments as well as skating. Staff Sgt. Morris Fosse was a visitor at the Holm home during the holidays and Allan anticipates a vacation at Fort Knox, Ky. this summer, where Sgt. Fosse is located.

Sheila spent Christmas Day at the home of her grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Caffee in Marseilles. Sledding was her chief fun during the vacation.

Richard spent his Christmas at home. During the vacation he went hunting – (no luck.)

Carol vacationed at home.

Connie spent her Christmas Day at the home of her grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. J. Krug near Harding.

Larry stayed home for Christmas but spent a good part of his vacation enjoying ice skating and hockey.

Vernon Dale was home for Christmas. Guests at his and Deryle’s home were grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Lum McKinney. Vernon Dale enjoyed sliding.

Shirley spent Christmas at home. During the holidays guests at the Harmon home included, Mrs. Lillie Burchal of Kentucky, Mr. and Mrs. Andy Dankowich of Streator, Mr. and Mrs. Walter Thomas of Peoria, Mrs. Naomi Swiggen and family of Morris. Shirley spent a great deal of time sliding.

Eddie stayed home for Christmas and helped entertain Mr. and Mrs. W. Tisler, and Mr. and Mrs. Ward Stebbins. He went hunting during the vacation and tried out his new 20 Gauge shotgun. Result – three rabbits.

Sandra went roller skating then sliding at night during her vacation. Guests at her home during teh holidays were Mr. and Mrs. George Stewart.

Patsy spent Christmas at home but went roller skating and night sliding during the vacation.

Charles spent Christmas at home. He enjoyed a visit with his father, Tech. Sgt. Heber Whyte and tried out his new rifle by going hunting. He bagged [unfortunately the last line is unreadable, but he was undoubtedly successful.]

John went sledding and made a model car which he had received as a gift.

Bob stayed home for Christmas. He has a new flash camera nd printing press. One day when he was sledding, Leslie jumped on the sled causing him to lose control of the sled. Result – Bobe went into the ditch at the side of the road which was filled with water, found it much too cool for swimming.

Sally stayed home for Christmas and enjoyed visiting with Mr. and Mrs. William Eichenberger of LaGrange and Mrs. Ruth Green. Sally received a wrist watch for Christmas. (No excuse now for being late.) She also tried out ice skates.

Terry received a parakeet and is trying to teach it to talk. He and Vernon Dale went sledding.

Deryl received a light and a basket for his bike. He spent four days in Naplate with his sister and husband, Mr. and Mrs. Carl Olson.

Leslie went ice skating, fell in once. Participated in a snow-ball fight and in sledding. Mr. and Mrs. Les Carrier, LaVonne Carrier and Mr. and Mrs. Russell Carrier were guests at the Walleck’s.

Making Christmas

Santa

hat stand

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thinking of December in the Dayton school always brings to mind making things – Christmas decorations, gifts for our parents, painting pictures on the windows. One year we made plaster Santas and painted them with great care. Another year, it was angels with wings which were covered with gold glitter. All this work was done in Ma Mathews’ room in the basement and half the fun was in doing something in a different place, one we never saw at any other time. We also made gifts for our parents. I have no recollection of what I made for my mother, but the hat stand I made for my father served loyally for many years, holding up his best hat, even when he stopped wearing hats.

I wasn’t involved much with painting the windows, as there were many who were much more talented in that line than I was. However, I was sometimes entrusted with filling in a large area of solid color. The finished windows glowed like stained glass and were greatly admired. Even 70 years later, every Christmas season when I unpack the decorations I am reminded of my days in the Dayton school.

Louis P. Morel (1855-1897)

coal miner

Louis P. Morel married Marie Fritsch in Chicago on December 16, 1884. According to their marriage application both were born in Chicago, but Marie, at least, was born in France. She probably came from the Alsace region that was the home of many French people in the Somonauk-Serena area, close to Dayton. It’s also possible that Louis was related to some of the Morels living in the area.

In 1885 they moved to Dayton and bought a small three-room, one-story, frame house on lots 1 and 2 in block 7 of the original town of Dayton. [See the map on the home page of this site for location of house.] The lot also included a coal house and a well, and a board fence surrounding it all.

Louis and Marie had three children, all born in Dayton:
Louise, born March 15, 1886
George, born September 10, 1888
Emma Berthe, born December 12, 1889
Emma died October 20, 1896, and is buried in the Dayton cemetery.

On November 17, 1897, Louis was taking coal from a small surface mine near Dayton, when a mass of earth caved in on him, crushing him to death. He was buried in the Dayton cemetery, with his daughter Emma. [See his cemetery page on this site for more information.]

Marie, the widow, inherited the personal property – beds, bedding, kitchen equipment, furniture, and the only explicitly named item – the sewing machine. She sold the house for $300 and moved to Goble, Columbia County, Oregon with the children. She may have chosen this place because there were other Morel families there, perhaps related to her husband, although no such connection has yet been found.

In May of 1908, Louise, now aged 22, married Frederick “Fritz” Aniker. Marie died in Goble on October 19, 1914 and is buried in the Kobel Cemetery there. Son George died March 28, 1917 and Louise on June 27, 1930. They are also buried in the Kobel Cemetery.

Thanksgiving day in Dayton – 1901

cornucopia

CORRESPONDENCE
Dayton

The Fox river at this point is frozen over.
Len Hubbell is spending this week in Chicago.
A. W. Ladd made a business trip to Aurora last week.
Charles Sheppler has been laid up for a few days with a lame back.
John Marshall of Serena made a business call here on Saturday.
George Galloway enjoyed his duck at his own fireside on Thanksgiving day.
Mr. and Mrs. Moore spent a couple of days last week with friends at Earlville.
The Mutual Protective League meets on Wednesday night at Woodman hall.
Miss Mary Coleman and Miss Mary Cloat spent Wednesday and Thursday at Streator.
John Hippard has joined the T., P., & C. W. brigade and is now one of their teamsters.
Miss Mary Dunn of Ottawa spent Sunday with the Misses Mary and Maggie Coleman.
Mrs. Edwards and daughter, Mamie, of Ottawa spent Monday at Mr. and Mrs. James Timmons.
Mr. Isaac Green and family were guests of Mr. and Mrs. O. W. Trumbo on Thanksgiving day.
Mrs. John Channel and A. W. Ladd were visiting Mr. and Mrs. Beik’s at Ottawa on the 28th.
Corn husking is nearly over in the corn fields, but has just commenced at the fireside in the store.
Miss Jennie Barnes starts for Joliet in a few days to spend the winter with her sister, Mrs. Winn Green.
Mrs. Marguerite Mills and Mrs. Brown of South Ottawa spent Friday with Mrs. George Galloway.
One hundred and fifty bushels of corn were sold here on Monday for sixty cents per bushel, cash.
John Green and son, Percival, former residents here for many years, spent Sunday with friends here.
Mrs. John Gibson and son, Fred, left for Chicago on Tuesday, where they will make their home for the present.
Roy McBrearty, operator for the Q. at Denrock, spent Thanksgiving with his parents, Mr. and Mrs. J. McBrearty.
Mr. and Mrs. George La Pere dined with Mrs. La Pere’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. William Lohr, on Thanksgiving day.
Mr. and Mrs. Ed McClary spent Thanksgiving with Mr. E. H. Pederson and wife, deputy U. S. marshal at Yorkville.
Miss Blanche McGrath and Miss Kate Hogan of Streator were guests of the Misses Colman on Thanksgiving day.
The ticket winning the watch at the raffle on Saturday night was No. 31, and was held by Joseph Futterer of Ottawa.
William and Walter Breese and Lowell Hoxie and wife of Aurora spent Thanksgiving with Mr. and Mrs. John Breese.
John Campbell, feeder watchman at Dayton, has tendered his resignation, the same going into effect December 1st, 1901.
The Woodman Lodge will elect their officers on Tuesday night, December 10th, at 7:30, at their hall. A large attendance is expected.
On account of the scarcity of water in the feeder the electric plant was compelled to shut down on several occasions the last few days.
Bert Edwards, who has been employed as teamster for George Green, has gone to Streator, which city he expects to make his future home.
William Collamore, Jr., of Ottawa and Miss Olson of near Morris, gave Thanksgiving at the home of William Collamore, Sr., and wife, on the 28th.
Mrs. Ed Vernon and two children left for Somonauk on Saturday morning, where she will be the guest of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Colb for a few days.
John Cisco of Ottawa is now acting as feeder watchman until the successor of John Campbell, resigned, is appointed.
W. Wheeler and R. Doran left here for Chicago on Wednesday morning where they will visit the fat stock show and will remain until Saturday.
Wilmot Van Etten, agent for the Q. at Batavia, with his wife and three sons, Clare, Walcott and Frank, dined with Mr. and Mrs. O. W. Trumbo on Thanksgiving day, returning on the afternoon train for Batavia.1


  1. The Ottawa [Illinois] Free Trader, December 6, 1901, p. 12, cols. 1-2

Old Settlers Reunion – Part 5

               scythe sickle

concluding the Hon. P. A. Armstrong’s remarks to the 1877 La Salle County Old Settlers Reunion:

Our modes of farming and the implements we used would of itself constitute a theme for hours of description. I will pass them briefly as I have already taken up too much time. Seven yoke of cattle strung out in front of a bar-share plow with long raking wooden mould board with one man to govern the plow and another to drive the team did well in turning over two acres per day.

In crop plowing the second year we used what was termed the Carey plow. It was similar in construction to the prairie plow with wooden mould board and coulter, but instead of cutting the sod and turning it topsy turvy as that manufactures by our friend T. D. Brewster does, it simply pushed it aside and left the soil in splendid condition for the growth of weeds. Our stirring and corn plows were of similar construction, fine implements for the cultivation of weeds. He who would have told us that a plow could be made that would scour in loose soil would have been deemed “soft in the head.”

A paddle to remove the dirt from the mould board was deemed as essential as the plow itself. These plows gave way to cast iron mould boards for stirring plows, and the shovel plow for tilling the corn. These in turn have given place to the more modern improvements until these of the present day, when gang plows for cultivating have reduced the labor almost into a pastime.

Our hoes were of monstrous size and ponderous weight, with the handle thrust  into a massive eye. They bore about the same relation to the steel-shanked and polished hoe of today that the stone ax of the Indians bears to that made by the Perkins Brothers or Underhill.

We harvested our grain with the sickle or cradle and our hay with the scythe. Our threshing machines were the flail or the more speedy but less cleanly mode of tramping it out with horses. The latter was the general mode, but for buckwheat it would not work, because the horses’ feet ground it as well as threshed it. The Messrs. McCormick, Manny, Ball, Esterly and other manufacturers of farm implements had not yet put in their appearance. Harvesters, mowers, threshers, shellers, horse-rakes and forks, did not even have a name, much less a habitation, in those days; yet we thought ourselves well advanced in the arts and sciences, and criticized our predecessors for their lack of knowledge. If the same ratio of improvement in the discovery and manufacture of farm implements be made during the coming half century that has been made during the past, who is there here to-day will dare predict the result?

Executor’s Sale of John Green’s Property

shorthorn cattle

shorthorn cattle

 

Executors’ sale: Notice is hereby given, that on Thursday, the 22d day of October next, between the hours of 10 o’clock in the forenoon and 5 o’clock in the afternoon of said day, at the late residence of John Green, deceased, the personal property of said decedent will be sold, consisting of twenty thoroughbred short-horn cows and heifers, five thoroughbred short-horn bulls, and twenty-five high-grade cows, steers and heifers.

Terms of Sale. – Purchases of less than five dollars to be paid in hand; for that amount and over, on a credit of nine months, the purchaser giving note with approved security, without interest if paid at maturity, otherwise, bearing interest at the rate of ten per cent. per annum.

Jesse Green
David Green
Executors1


  1. The Ottawa [Illinois] Free Trader, October 10, 1874, P. 3, Col. 4

    Photo credit: By Sanders, James Harvey, 1832-1899. [from old catalog] [No restrictions], via Wikimedia Commons

Old Settlers Reunion – Part 4

boneset

boneset

continuing the Hon. P. A. Armstrong’s remarks to the 1877 La Salle County Old Settlers Reunion:

Our worst enemy and severest affliction was ague and fever. None escaped it, or if so the exceptions were few indeed.

Nor is it to be wondered at, for no attention was given nor effort made to obtain pure water. Holes were sunk at the edges of the sloughs, which were filled with surface water, covered with a blue scum, and during hot weather teeming with animalculae. We called them wigglers, and since it has been asserted that blue glass is a great invigorator in the growth of vegetable matter we have been inclined to believe that blue scum is equally potent in developing wigglers into mosquitoes and tadpoles into frogs and that as an ague producer the blue scummed water was a perfect success.

We neither had any physicians or medicines except on the botanical principle. Our quinine was boneset or wauhoo, the very thoughts of which make us shudder even now. When the ague came it manifested great staying qualities. Six weeks of daily shakes were not uncommon. Whole families were afflicted with it at the same time, when the question as to which one was best able to carry water from the slough was difficult to solve.

We were frequently compelled to live in tents and sleep upon the ground for weeks and months before we could collect a sufficient force to raise our little cabins. Everybody was sick with the ague and unable to work. Our first buildings were log cabins, [This generality was not true of Dayton, which had a sawmill from the beginning.] generally with but one room, which must serve as kitchen, dining-room, sitting room, parlor and bed room.  In-door sparking was almost impossibility as Pa, Ma and all the mischievous brothers and sisters of your girl persisted in lying awake to listen to what you said and take notes of what you did.

———————— to be continued —————————

Halloween in Dayton

Clara Mathews

Halloween in Dayton in the 1940s meant trick-or-treating. of course. Coming home with a bag full of treats or seeing the soap on the store windows, it was a night of excitement. Number one on my personal list was the treat from Ma Mathews. I don’t suppose she made the same thing every year, but in my memory it was always a popcorn ball, the gooey, sticky caramel on the freshly popped popcorn. I always hoped I could get two – one to eat on the spot and one to take home, but she was too wily to fall for that. Since she was the school janitor, she knew exactly how many children there were in town. It was no good telling her that you needed another one to take home to your sister, as she had probably just given one to your sister ten minutes ago.