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

Dayton in the 1850 census

On November 8, 1850, the census taker enumerated the village of Dayton. Here’s what he found.

There were 85 residents, 17 female 0-16; 25 females 19-71; 19 male 0-17; 24 males 18-72

The breakdown by last name:
Stadden 15
Turner 10
Green 9
Johnson 8
Dunavan 7
Gibson 4
Carter 3
Crossley 3
Ford 3
Makinson 3
Stickley 3
Wheatland 3
Goodrich 2
Jacobson 2
Beamen, Davis, Dyson, George, Hite, Jacob, Jacobs, Lockard, McCoy, and Samson were represented by one each.

By birthplace:
US 58
—-Ohio 18
—-Pennsylvania 5
—-Virginia 4
—-New York 3
—-Vermont 3
—-Maine 2
—-New Hampshire 1
—-no state specified 22
Norway 13
England 9
Ireland 4
Wales 1

by occupation:
farmer 2
gunsmith 1
laborer 1
woolen manufacture 6
Methodist clergy 1
miller 7
shoemaker 1
wagon maker 1

2 couples were married in the pastyear
16 attended school

D. Green & Son in 1880

Flour mill and tile factory

This description of the flour mill at Dayton comes from the1880 Manufacturing Schedule for Dayton, La Salle County, Illinois

The Manufacturing census schedules in 1820, 1850, and 1860 provided the following information for each farm:

  • Name of the manufacturer
  • Type of business or product
  • Amount of capital invested
  • Quantities, kinds, and value of raw materials used
  • Quantities and value of product produced annually
  • Kind of power or machinery used
  • Number of men and women employed
  • Average monthly cost of male and female labor

The amount of detail reported in these schedules increased in 1870 and again in 1880. In 1880, supplemental schedules were also used for specific industries, such as boot and shoemaking, lumber and saw mills, and flour and grist mills.

Exclusions: Small manufacturing operations that produced less than $500 worth of goods were not included on any of the schedules.

D. Green & Son

Flour Mill

Capital invested in business         $10,000

2 employees, both males over 16

Greatest number of hands employed at any one time in the year – 2

Number of hours in the ordinary day of labor May-Nov – 10, Nov-May – 10

daily wage for skilled mechanic – $2.50

daily wage for ordinary laborer – $1.00

Total wages paid for the year – $110

In operation ½ time only – 6 months

Idle – 6 Months

Number of runs of stone – 4

Estimated maximum capacity per day in bushels – 550

Do you do custom work or make only for a market? If the former, what proportion of your product is custom grinding? 4/5

Is there an elevator connected with your establishment? No.

If water power is used:

On what river or stream? Fox River, flows to Illinois

Height of fall in feet – 18

——–Wheels———————

Number – 5

Breadth in feet – 4

Revolutions / minute [Blank]

Horsepower – 150

—————-Materials————————-

Number of bushels of wheat – 400

Value – $480

Number of bushels of other grain – 1500

Value – $600

Value of mill supplies – $20

Total value of all materials – $1100.

———————Products—————————-

Number of barrels of wheat flour – 80

Number of barrels of rye flour – None

Number of Barrels of buckwheat flour – 500

Number of pounds of barley meal – None

Number of pounds of corn meal – 1000

Number of pounds of feed – 6000

Number of pounds of hominy – None

Value of all other products – [Blank]

Total value of all products – $1500

Tavern Stand to Let

The Subscriber offers to let that well known TAVERN STAND, 7 miles from Ottawa, on the road leading from Ottawa to Chicago. Attached to the tavern, is a tract of land, containing 10 acres, on which are erected a large barn, and other convenient out-houses, together with a fine Young Orchard of apple, peach, and cherry trees, which yield annually an abundance of fruit.

Possession will be given by the first of March. Persons wishing to examine the property, and ascertain the terms, can do so by applying to the subscriber at Dayton, Ill’s.

W. L. DUNAVAN

January 8, 1841

Local News From Dayton

For a brief period of time, Dayton had its own newspaper, the Dayton Enterprise. It was produced by Charles Green, son of David. With his own small printing press, Charlie was reporter, editor, printer, and publisher. He was also a musician, giving lessons and conducting a singing school at the schoolhouse

The front page of the October 18, 1878, edition contains local and area news, humor, and advertising. It is a great loss that only this one issue has survived.

Page 2 of the 4 page issue provides more area news, a census of Dayton, and the premiums offered to subscribers. Coincidentally, the visiting and floral cards were printed by Charles as a sideline.

If sufficient interest is shown, pages 3 and 4 may be forthcoming at a later date.

135 Years Ago Today – Death of Barbara Green

Barbara Grove Green

Barbara Grove Green

            Died May 5th, 1886, at the age of ninety three years, five and a half months. She had been confined to bed for about two months, and gradually and gladly passed away like an infant going to sleep. It was her desire to cast off this earthly tabernacle and be present with her Lord.

She retained her faculties to the last, with the exception of her sight, of which she had been deprived for the past seven or eight years. She was never heard to murmur or complain of her misfortune, but on the contrary seemed cheerful and happy.

She was born in Shenandoah county, Virginia, November 15th, 1792. At the age of thirteen she, with her parents, removed to Licking county, Ohio, being in the year 1805, and lived there until the fall of 1829, when she and her companion, John Green and family, removed to this county. A few incidents of their journey will show the hardships and privations of those early pioneer days. We quote her own words from statements made by her to one of her grand daughters, who has recorded them:

“We started from Licking county, Ohio, on the first of November, 1829, for the state of Illinois. There were 24 in the company. Father had gone to Illinois the September before we started and bought land. He and three other men rode on horseback around by Cleveland and along the lakes. When they reached Chicago, where there were only two families besides the garrison, father bought some provisions and in paying for them pulled out quite a roll of bills. That night his brother, Wm. Green, dreamed there were robbers coming and woke the others up, but they refused to start out in the night just for a dream, and he went to sleep again only to dream the same thing again, and when he had dreamed it three times he told them they could stay there if they wanted to, he was going to leave; so they all started and soon after they saw three men following for the purpose of stealing they [sic] money.

“When we reached the ‘Wilderness,’ in Indiana, a man who lived on the edge of the woods told us it was impossible to go on, as the mud was so deep, unless we could travel on the wagons already stuck in the mud; but if we were foolish enough to try it, we must leave ‘those two smart little boys’ (Jesse and David), for we would surely freeze to death. But we did go on and the men cut a new road through the woods for sixty miles, about ten miles a day.

“Then, when we got to Cicero river, we had to take the wagons over with bed cords. One wagon, loaded with mill irons and blacksmith tools, was so heavy it tipped over, and we lost a good many things.

“Then the next place we came to was Sugar creek, and it was so high we had to pull the wagons over with ropes again and cut trees for us to walk on. Then there was a swamp next to the creek that the men had to carry the women over on their backs. Between Iroquois and Nettle creek there were five days the horses had nothing to eat, as the prairie was burnt, and they became so weak they got stuck in a ravine and could hardly pull the empty carriage out.

“One evening we had only bread and tea for supper, but that night father came back with corn and beef that he had obtained at Holderman’s Grove, and we were the happiest people you ever saw. We spent the next night at the Grove and the next day home, at what is known as William Dunavan’s farm.”

She lived in the town of Rutland something over a year when she removed to Dayton, being at this place at the time of the Black Hawk war in 1832. Of this war she says: “On the 16th of May, 1832, the girls and I were at the spring, near where the feeder bridge now stands, when Eliza came down on horseback and told us that the Indians were coming, and we would have to go to Ottawa immediately. Then we went to a place a couple of miles below Ottawa and stayed there all night, and the third day returned home again. This was Sunday, and the next day the men made a stockade around the house out of plank. After it was finished they tried it to see if a bullet would go through it, and as it did, they hung feather beds all around. There were about sixty people here at the time, and we were so crowded that they had to sleep on tables, under the beds and all over the house.”

Mr. Green had intended to remain in his improvised fort during the war, but at about twelve o’clock at night, hearing of the massacre on Indian creek, and fearing there might be too many Indians, all those in the fort went to Ottawa. “When we got to Ottawa, there was no fort there, only a log cabin on the south side of the river, but they soon built a fort on top of the hill. We went to the fort, but there was so much confusion there that we had the log house moved up on the hill and lived in it. The next day a company of soldiers from the southern part of the state passed through Ottawa on the way up the river.”

Grandma Green bore all the hardships and privations incident to the settlement of two new countries and lived to see the development of this vast prairie country far, very far beyond her anticipations. When she came here she supposed that in time she might see the country settled around the skirts of timber, but never in her early days did she anticipate seeing the prairies settled up.

from the Ottawa Free Trader, May 22, 1886, p. 5, col. 2

A Day in Dayton – December 1902

Dayton

Harry Tanner is on the sick list.
A dance will be given at the Dayton dancing hall Friday, Dec 19th.
The Dayton school expects to have quite an entertainment Christmas.
John Lookland came to Dayton Sunday and went to work for Jim O’Meara Monday.
Mrs. Newton Connors, accompanied by her aunt and uncle, Mr. and Mrs. Sam Hippard, went to Minonk Monday.
Miss Nettie Couch, of Seneca, is here waiting on her sister, Mrs. John Edwards, who has been on the sick list.

Mrs Pliney Masters, who has been visiting her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Isaac Green, returned to her home in Minnesota Monday. [see photos above]

Mrs. Ed Luce and two sons and daughter-in-law and grandson, of Sears, came Tuesday to spend Christmas with relatives in Dayton.

A very sudden death occurred here Tuesday night, Mrs. Tom Hippard, who has lived here for many a year. She was feeling quite well at supper time and helped do up supper work. She was taken sick and a physician was sent for but before the physician reached her she was dead. She was a kind neighbor and liked by all who knew her. She leaves surviving her besides her husband, two daughters, Sue of this place, and Lue of Chicago, one son John and one brother, George Stover. The funeral took place from the home Thursday at 10 o’clock. Interment in Dayton cemetery.

A precious one from us is gone,
A voice we love is still,
A place is vacant in our home,
Which never can be filled.

To her rest they gently laid her
In the arms of him who gave,
She will sleep but not forever
In the cold and silent grave.

from the Ottawa Fair Dealer, December 19, 1902

Was He Accident Prone?

Charles Benton Hess

Ottawa Free Trader, 13 Jun 1891, p5, col 1

CONCUSSION OF THE BRAIN
C. B. Hess Sustains Some Serious Injuries At Dayton

            Mr. C. B. Hess met with a very serious accident at his works in Dayton Tuesday afternoon. The bricks that are made on the top floor of the building are lowered to the drying room through a chute. Mr. Hess was standing close to the chute, talking to one of the workmen, and a brick fell from the chute and struck him on top of the head. The brick weighed seven pounds and fell a distance of twelve feet and fell with such force that it produced concussion of the brain. Mr. Hess was brought to his home in this city in an unconscious condition, and Dr. Dyer was summoned.

            He examined Mr. Hess’s injuries and found that he was not only suffering from concussion of the brain in serious form, but also neuralgia, which was greatly aggravated by the concussion of the brain. He was very restless and suffered intense pain last night, but today he rested very comfortably and is considered out of danger by his physician.

Ottawa Free Trader, 14 Apr 1905, p7, col 1

C. B. HESS INJURED
Falls Through Skylight to Floor of Porch

            C. B. Hess met with an accident yesterday that at the best must be a severe one to a man of his years. He was upon the porch engaged in fixing some windows. He stepped backwards accidentally upon a skylight. Through this he crashed and fell to the floor of the porch, eighteen feet below.

            He was cut on the back of the head and his back injured. It is also feared that there may be internal injuries. The latter fact is not yet definitely known. His many friends will hope to hear of his speedy and complete recovery from the effects of the fall.

He lived many years after this with no further report of accident. Although his death was not accidental, it was unexpected and therefore newsworthy.

September 23, 1918, p. 1, col. 5

SUDDEN ILLNESS IS FATAL TO C. B. HESS, PIONEER RESIDENT
Taken Suddenly Ill While Working in Field, Mr. Hess Passed Away Few Hours Later – Buried Tuesday

            Followed by an illness of only a few hours duration death Sunday morning claimed Charles Benton Hess, one of Ottawa’s oldest and best known residents. The end came at 4 o’clock at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Albert E. Gilman, 526 Congress street, to where Mr. Hess was removed after having been taken ill while at his farm north of the city.

            The deceased spent the greater part of Saturday helping on the farm. Late in the afternoon he was suddenly taken ill, the symptoms either indicating paralysis or hardening of the arteries. A hurried call to members of his family brought help on the scene and Mr. Hess was rushed to Ottawa. His condition showed rapid decline, and, because of the deceased’s advanced years, it was known the end was not far away.

Dayton was a Fishing Mecca

A Trip to Dayton

    Dayton still draws fishermen to the banks of the Fox river to angle for game fish, and most any pleasant day from 30 to 50 persons can be seen between the dam and the town waiting for “a bite.” It was the pleasure of the writer in company with Ed Chapman of Freedom to visit Dayton a few days ago. Those who have been there before will be interested in knowing that Mr. Warner,1 or “old peg leg,” as they call him, is still a familiar figure there. Regardless of his 78 years of age he sits in his boat from morning till night and with a skill that only constant practice can acquire he persuades the elusive bass to “strike” his hook and skurry off in a vain endeavor to shake loose, making the water fairly foam when he happens to be landing a big one. Mr. Warner has fished there for 20 years and everybody knows him. He fishes as a business and makes quite a nice living out of it, each morning visiting his “night lines” and picking up the cat fish that fall a victim to the bait he set for them – then spending the day in silent meditation, contentedly smoking his pipe while the water ripples by him, gently stroking the side of the boat as he makes a “cast” far out to lure in a bass, pickerel or carp.

    One incident of the trip was the sight of a drunken father and three little boys, the youngest not over five who had driven there to fish and who slept in the open air with nothing but some old pieces of blanket for a cover. The reckless actions of the father were such before he sobered up that how one or more of the children escaped drowning was a mystery.

    The old four story stone mill where in war times woolen blankets were turned out by the thousands for the soldier still stands on the river bank near town. Surface coal is still mined as in years gone by, enough to supply most of the little town and sometimes the price is as low as $1.75 per ton. The dam at Dayton is each year repaired by workmen employed by the state. As fishermen stand below it they wonder what would become of them if the old dam would suddenly give way. It has stood there 25 years, but is built in sections and is strong. Those who know the river bottom can wade to almost any part of it and “cast” their line into the deep holes where the fish stay. Sun fish can be caught by hundreds and any body can catch them – they are a lovely little fish too. But the other game fish are harder to lure to the hook and not everybody lands a big string unless the “silver hook” is resorted to. Now Ed says the only way to make a sure thing of getting lots of fish is to have “peg leg” put you onto the best holes in the river and then to have him catch them for you. But we believe that as sure a way as any is to string everything that comes in sight from gars with their sword shaped mouths to “dog fish” that nobody will eat except as a last resort – then weigh in your string and tell how many pounds you caught.

    Though the weather was cold a few good sized game fish were caught and many smaller ones. The little trip was a most enjoyable one and the pleasant quarters we had to stay added much to it. Many from Earlville are planning a trip to Dayton. The fishing should be good from now on.2

  1. Joel F. Warner, Civil War veteran, lost the lower part of his leg in an accident.
  2. Earlville Leader, May 19th, 1899, p. 4

Spring in Dayton – 1902

DAYTON

Farmers are about through sowing oats.

O W Trumbo began assessing this week.

School began Monday for the spring term with an enrollment of thirty-five pupils. The 7th and 8th grade pupils received from the county superintendent their record in the central examination. All passed satisfactory grades.

Mrs Chas Temple of Serena, visited Mrs Ed McClary Monday.

Mr Trumbo and Miss Maud Green attended the funeral of Mrs Bradford at Ottawa Monday.

James O’Meara Jr has recovered from a case of the mumps.

Mr Beck is enlarging and improving the appearance of his house.

Reports are that Dayton is to have an elevator.

Newton Connors is working at Wedron.

Dayton school has a base ball nine averaging 13 years of age that would like to arrange some games.

Mr McBrearty is laid up with rheumatism. His son Roy has charge of the depot.

The school trustees met with Treasurer McClary Monday.

Jas O’Meara is preparing to grind clay at the brick mill.

second correspondent

Mr Elsbury has been quite sick the past few days, but is better now.

Mr and Mrs McBrearty returned home from Marseilles Saturday where they have been visiting their daughter, Mrs Ed Emmons.

Steve Koenig returned home Friday from Ottawa where he has been visiting his aunt.

Bessie Davis is quite sick with the la grippe.

Some of the people of this place were very much excited Thursday evening. Old lady Keough started a bonfire. It got into the dry grass and was making a fair way toward her house. While she was putting it out some of her clothes got pretty badly burnt. If it had not been for the neighbors she would have been burnt up alive.

from the Ottawa Fair Dealer, April 11, 1902, p 8, col 3

The Depot at Dayton

The Chicago, Burlington & Quincy branch railroad line through Dayton began in Aurora and went through to Streator. We know the names of a few of the station agents who manned the Dayton depot. See below for mention of Wilmot Van Etten, Thomas Belrose, and Roy McBrearty in the Ottawa newspaper..

The route ran as follows:
Aurora
Montgomery
Oswego
Yorkville
Fox
Millbrook
Millington
Sheridan
Burgess Junction
Serena
Wedron
Dayton
Ottawa
Grand Ridge
Streator

Ottawa Free Trader, 10 Sep 1881, p5, col 1
An appalling accident took place at the C., B. & Q. railroad crossing on Columbus street in this city on Wednesday last, resulting in the death of Bernard Dougherty
[description of accident omitted]
We believe the time allowed on the card for making the run to Ottawa depot from Dayton is too short. The time for leaving Dayton is 11:16 and Ottawa 11:28 – 12 minutes; distance four miles, one and a half of which is through the city, further the engine takes water and crosses a railroad track and a swing-bridge.

Free Trader, March 3, 1888, p. 8, col. 4
James Ryan, our Cornet Virtuoso, is studying telegraph with [Wilmot] Van Etten at the depot. Jimmie is always on the key and we hope he will become an expert and get big pay.

Free Trader, January 24, 1891, p. 8, cols. 2-3
Thos. Belrose, Jr., has now taken charge of the station at Fox. He has been a student at the depot here for a long time, and we all wish him success in his new quarters.

Free Trader, April 11, 1902, p. 8, col. 3
Mr McBraerty is laid up with rheumatism. His son Roy has charge of the depot.

Meet Mr. and Mrs. Van Etten

TRUMBO – VAN ETTEN

            Married Wednesday, June 13th by the Rev. Gault, of Aurora, Illinois, at the residence of Mr. and Mrs. Oliver W. Trumbo, Dayton, Illinois, their daughter Jessie to Wilmot Van Etten.

            The large and commodious residence of the bride’s parents was neatly and tastefully decorated for the occasion with flowers and evergreens, and a large number of relatives and friends of the bride and groom were present to participate in the wedding ceremonies.

            At one p. m. during the familiar tones of Mendelsohn’s wedding march, rendered on the piano by Miss Davis, the wedding party consisting of the ushers, Messers A. E. Butters and John Green, flower bearers, Barbie Green and George Wright, the bride and groom entered the parlor and presented themselves before the Rev. Gault, who in a short and impressive manner repeated the marriage service.

            The congratulations to the newly wedded pair were many and sincere, and all wished them much joy and a life full of happiness and prosperity.

            The wedding feast was a grand affair, and the tables were loaded with choice and tempting viands. The bride and groom departed on the 3:50 p. m. accommodation for Chicago, from whence they will go east to make a short visit among the groom’s relatives and friends in New York.

            The bride is one of Dayton’s fairest daughters, and we trust will not be obliged to leave our midst.

            The groom has been station agent here for a couple of years, and has formed a large circle of friends and acquaintances who hope he and his fair bride may make their future home among them.

            The wedding presents were many and elegant, and showed the respect and esteem in which Mr. and Mrs. Van Etten are held by their many friends and acquaintances. About eighty guests were present.

from the Ottawa Free Trader, June 16, 1888

Albert F. Dunavan

A. F. Dunavan, eldest of seven children of William L. and Eliza G. (Green) Dunavan, was born Oct. 29, 1832, in Rutland Township, La Salle County, Ill., where he was reared on a farm. He went to California, being six months on the road, going with eight teams and six yoke of oxen and cows, and worked in the gold mines in a place called Volcano for three years. He then, in 1855, returned to his home in Rutland and bought a farm of 160 acres of land, where he followed agricultural pursuits till 1870, when he engaged in his present business. This business was first conducted under the firm name of George H. Pennypacker & Brunk until 1870 when Mr. Dunavan was admitted to the firm. In 1873 it was made a joint stock company, but was bought out in 1877 by A. F. Dunavan & Son, who are carrying on a successful business. They employ on an average twelve men and manufacture annually 1,500 dozen horse collars and fifty dozen fly nets, beside other articles pertaining to their business. Their business is exclusively wholesale. He was married July 4, 1860, to Emma R. Cooper, of Kalamazoo, Mich. They have three children – W. J., in business with his father; Jennie C., attending school at Ottawa, Ill.; and Herbert L., attending high school at Ottawa. Politically Mr. Dunavan is a Democrat. In his religion he is liberal. He has held the office of School Director. His father is a native of Licking County, Ohio. He left Ohio in 1829 and lived a year and a half near Peru, Ill., where he was married. His wife is also a native of Licking County. They are now living on a ranch in Texas engaged in the cattle business. His father was a Colonel in the was of 1812.1


  1. History of La Salle County, Illinois, 2 vols. Chicago: Inter-State Publishing Co., 1886, 2: 92.