The Will of Margaret Wagy Pitzer

In 1870, Margaret Pitzer, widow of Anthony Pitzer, died at the home of Oliver Trumbo. This is truly a death bed will, as she died on the following day.

I, Margaret Pitzer of the town of Dayton in the County of La Salle and State of Illinois, make this my last Will. My property consists of Notes of hand, which I wish to give and bequeath as follows, that is to say,

1st It is my will and desire that all legal and Equitable demands against my Estate Shall first be paid, which will consist in part, My Doctor Bill, Funeral Expenses, and my board bill and Expenses incurred while at the house of Oliver W. Trumbo of Dayton La Salle County Illinois. I particularly desire that a liberal compensation be paid to the said Oliver W. Trumbo as my disease has been one of no ordinary Character.

2nd I give and bequesth unto my sister Mrs. Elizabeth Davis, of Crawford County Illinois Two Hundred (200.00) Dollars.

3rd I give and bequeath unto my brother John Wagy of Kirkusville Licking County Ohio Three Hundred (300.00) Dollars.

4th I give and bequeath  unto my sister Martha Harris of Quincy Illinois Two Hundred (200.00) Dollars.

5th I give and bequeath unto my nephew William Wagy of Stones Prairie Illinois his Note and Interest, which is in my hands, and amounts to about THree Hundred (300.00) Dollars.

6th I give and bequeath unto Miss Eliza Gross my Neices Daughter, now about seven years old, and lives with Henry Wagy of Adams County Illinois, Eighty (80.00) Dollars in Gold, with interest, when she shall arrive at Eighteen years of age.

7th I hold a Note of hand against Jacob Pitzer of about Three (300.00) Hundred Dollars, which I wish to have divided Equally between the said Jacob Pitzer of Grundy County Illinois, and William Pitzer of Rutland La Salle County Illinois.

8th I give and bequeath unto my nephew Joshua Wagy of Springfield Illinois, Three Hundred (300.00) Dollars.

9th Should there be anything remaining after paying Expenses of settling up my Estate, I desire that one half of the Balance shall be given towards the Erection of a Methodist Church now in contemplation and to be located near the residence of William L. Dunavan in the Town of Rutland in the county of La Salle and State of Illinois, And the remaining one half to be given towards the Erection of a House of Public Worship, to be located in the Village of Dayton La Salle County Illinois.

I appoint Jesse Green of the Town of Dayton La Salle County Illinois as the Executor of this my Will.

In witness whereof I have signed and sealed and published and declared this instrument as my will, at Dayton on this sixth day of April A. D. 1870.

her
Margaret X Pitzer     {{Seal}}
mark

Eliza Gross, seven years old in 1870, was to receive her inheritance in 1881, when she turned 18. In 1879 she married John W. Lanier, but unfortunately she died on the 20th of January 1880. Her husband made a claim on the estate and was awarded his wife’s share anyway.

February 1880 Rural Happenings

Jesse Green

Harry Green

Charles Benton Hess

Charles Benton Hess

 

 

 

 

 

 

from the [Ottawa] Free Trader, February 28, 1880

Dayton, Feb. 24. – Friday evening, Feb. 13, the Musical Union gave a concert and entertainment, which was well attended and quite a pleasant occasion. The class are making good progress in music and it is to be hoped the Union will continue its existence for a long period. The choruses “Great is the Lord,” “Lift your glad voices,” “Zion’s children, ” “O, Lord of Heaven,” “Crown them as Martyrs” and “We all are happy rovers” were given in a very fine manner. Marks of power were carefully observed, thereby giving considerable expression and life to the choruses. The male quartette and glee club, consisting of Messrs. Green, Rhoads, Howard and Grove, sang a few selections in an admirable manner. Their quartette “I love the path of the tree” and chorus “Barnyard Serenade” are especially worthy of mention.

Mr. William Dunavan is attending Bryant and Stratton’s commercial school at Chicago.

Mr. James Green and Miss Cora Green are still attending school in Aurora.

A large force of men are employed on the railroad south of the dam, filling in a large ravine.

Mrs. S. F. Gibb, our Universalist pastor last year, had taken charge of the church at Waverly, Iowa.

Mr. and Mrs. Chas. Ballou pleasurably entertained a leap year party last Friday evening. The boys say it’s lots of fun to be “toted around.”

The store has changed hands, Mr. T. H. Green (Harry) having taken possession of it the 1st of February. He is doing a cash business.

Mr. Jesse Green and Mr. C. B. Hess went to Chicago on business this week.

Miss Ellen Trumbo is visiting at Mr. Isaac Green’s.

Major Whittle and Mr. McGrannahan and wife, the evangelists, will hold a meeting in this place Saturday evening, Feb. 28.

Monday evening a number of our citizens attended the celebration of the tin wedding of Mr. and Mrs. Thos. McKinley of Rutland. We hear it was a very enjoyable affair.

Occasional

Dayton Centennial – Part 5

Levi Fahler

Levi Fahler

Herbert L. Dunavan

Herbert L. Dunavan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

from the Ottawa Republican-Times, September 16, 1929

MANY OLD TIMERS

Levi Fahler, 87, of Mendota and his wife, Mrs. Katherine Gephard Fahler, 85, were two of the interesting visitors at the celebration. Fahler made his first visit to Dayton with a load of grain which he took to the grist mill when he was but sixteen years of age. Both he and Mrs. Fahler were members of a colony of 27 persons who came from Pennsylvania by boat in 1849 and settled on a farm near Troy Grove. Fahler hauled grain to the Dayton grist mill for many seasons after making his first trip at the age of sixteen. They were accompanied to the centennial by their son, Martin Fahler, of Mendota and his son Forest.

Josiah Fahler, 89, also of Mendota and his son Forest at the celebration. He is a brother of Levi Fahler and although he was reared near Troy Grove he frequently went to the mill at Dayton.

H. L. Dunavan, manager of the People’s Gas stores in Chicago with Mrs. Dunavan, his son, daughter and four grandchildren came to Dayton for the celebration. Dunavan was born and reared in Dayton, as was Mrs. Dunavan who was Cora Moore, daughter of the late Daniel Moore.

Dunavan left Dayton 37 years ago. He spent the greater part of the day hunting up friends of his boyhood days.

“Nothing looks natural,” he complained, “Not even my old home. It does not seem as though I ever had lived here. The old Fox river bridge is the only thing that looks the same. I proposed to my wife on that bridge and I still like it.”

James A. Green, a grandson of John Green, one of the original settlers brought Mrs. Green and their daughter driving from Grand Junction, Colo. to attend the celebration.

[to be continued]

Dayton Centennial – Part 4

Chief Shabbona

Chief Shabbona

from the Ottawa Republican-Times, September 16, 1929

G. W. GREEN RETURNS

G. W. Green, 79 of Aurora, whose boyhood at Dayton was marked by a friendship with the great Indian chief Shabbona, was disappointed Saturday to find that the village had changed since his boyhood days.

The Aurora man was the grandson of John Green, and the son of David Green who accompanied John Green to the Fox river town site in 1829. His mother was Mary Stadden Green who moved to Dayton in 1832.

“Why if I should drop in here at night I would never know where I was at,” he exclaimed as he looked up and down the streets. Green left Dayton in 1884 to move west and later returned to Illinois settling in Aurora.

His boyhood was marked by many interesting experiences with Chief Shabbona and the Indians. Once Green and a group of Indian boys who accompanied Chief Shabbona to Dayton were shooting pennies with arrows. The Indians won all the pennies, stirring up the anger of the Dayton boy who grabbed the bow one Indian boy was using and broke it. The Indians started after him, and Green related Saturday how he fled to the front porch of the home of his grandfather, when John Green and Chief Shabbona were sitting talking. Shabbona saw the child’s fear and stroking him on the head said kindly: “No be afraid.”

Green also told of the visits Chief Shabbona would make to Dayton twice a year, to receive the blankets, meat and flour from John Green and would then go on to Ottawa where George Walker and William Hickling would give him groceries. These men gave Shabbona his supplies for his friendship with the white people and because he warned them of attacks which were to be made by unfriendly tribes.

OLD FRIENDS MEET

“This town was almost at a standstill when I left here in 1884,” said Green. “In my boyhood, it had been a brisk little business community. The old Trumbo home is about the only thing around here that looks the same to me.”

Mrs. Alice Allen of Des Moines, Iowa, the eldest sister of G. W. Green, was also in attendance at the centennial.

Green was born in the old Dayton Tavern in 1850 and grew to manhood in the village. The principal recreation in his youth, he said were old fashioned country dances held at the various homes.

Frank DeBolt stood in front of a stranger until a September breeze blew the man’s identification tag disclosing the name Harry Green.

“Why, are you Harry Green?” gasped DeBolt.

“Yes,” replied the other, who failed to recognize DeBolt.

Why I haven’t seen you for forty years,” continued DeBolt. “Don’t you remember me, why when you ran the store here, I furnished you meat for several years.”

This was only one of the hundreds of revivals of old friendships that occurred during the day. Green is now living in Chicago.

Terry Simmons, Marseilles editor, was one of the most enthusiastic visitors at the centennial. Simmons’ father used to take grist to the mill when Dayton was the state’s most thriving village.

[to be continued]

Death of an Old Settler

William Pitzer tombstone

photo credit: Everett Ross, La Salle County Genealogy Guild

Wm. Pitzer, one of the earliest settlers of the county, died at his home in the town of Rutland on Friday of last week. We are not advised as to his age, but it must have been in the vicinity of the eighties. He was one of those sturdy, staunch, big and pure hearted men that make one think sometimes the early pioneers of this region belonged to a superior race. He had been a subscriber to the Free Trader from its first issue, in May 1840, and never failed to pay for it annually in advance – a fact which illustrates his scrupulously correct habits not only in business matters, but in all relations of life. His funeral took place on Sunday, the services being held at the Barnes school house, the Rev. A. White, of Sheridan, officiating, and notwithstanding the severe weather, was very largely attended.1

RUTLAND TOWNSHIP
PITZER WM. Farmer; Sec. 14; P.O. Ottawa; born in Licking Co., Ohio, Sept. 23, 1809; came to this Co. in 1831; Democrat; Methodist; owns 200 acres land, val. $15,000; married May 26, 1831, to Sarah Kite, of Licking Co., Ohio; she was born April 16, 1810; seven children, four sons and three daughters; was Justice of Peace for ten years, and has held various offices of trust in the place.2

William (Billy) Pitzer was the son of Richard Pitzer and Anna Green, a sister of John Green. Richard Pitzer died in 1819 and Anna, with her large family, came to La Salle County in 1831.


  1. The Free Trader, January 26, 1884
  2. Past and Present of La Salle County, Illinois (Chicago: H. F. Kett & Co., 1877), 508.

A Meteor in the January Skies

meteor

from the Ottawa Free Trader, January 8, 1881

Dayton, Jan. 5. – The river is now being crossed at this place on the ice.

Prof. H. L. Boltwood, of Ottawa, delivered an excellent New Year’s discourse at the school house last Sunday. Preaching every two weeks at 4 P. M.

School commenced last Monday after a holiday vacation of one week.

Mr. Frank Dunavan made his New Year’s calls in Dayton.

A watch meeting was held by the young folks at the residence of C. B. Hess, Esq., last Friday evening. A goodly number were present, and report a very enjoyable time.

Last Saturday evening about 8 o’clock a large and brilliant meteor was seen by a few fortunate ones who chanced to be “‘neath the starry heavens.” It started nearly overhead and “struck a bee line” for the northeast, leaving a tail of fire after it resembling a comet. Just before it reached the horizon it exploded, throwing out particles in all directions. The sight was magnificent. By the Chicago Times of Monday, we notice it was seen in Chicago and in Battle Creek, Michigan. At the latter place the light from the meteor was so brilliant as to dim the gaslight.1

A grand concert will be given by the Musical Union at the school house Friday evening, Jan. 14. They will be assisted by the Harmony Quartette of Ottawa, and the chorus of 25 voices will be accompanied by 1st and 2d violins, bass and organ. Everybody invited to attend.

Mr. Newton Hess and lady last week celebrated in a becoming manner their tin wedding.

The woolen mill has been running all winter on a large order for cavalry blankets for the government.

Last Saturday evening a large reception was given by Mr. and Mrs. Geo. W. Gibson, of Rutland, in honor of the return of their son Lewis with his bride from Nebraska. The party was the finest of the season and a most enjoyable affair. The large residence was completely filled with guests, who were pleasantly received by the host and hostess. Dancing continued through the evening; and refreshments were served during an intermission. The hour was “wee sma'” before the guests departed. The reception was a joyous one and quite complimentary to the host and hostess.

The Literary meets at the residence of Mr. David Grove next Saturday evening.

Occasional


  1. In the Chicago Tribune of January 3, the meteor was described as “about the size of a full moon, and was enveloped in a beautiful flame of lightish blue tint, while following in its wake were several bright red fragments. Time of transit, fifteen minutes.”

Dayton Centennial – Part 3

crowd

Were some of your family members in the crowd?

from the Ottawa Republican-Times, September 16, 1929

SOME OF THE VISITORS

            Among the visitors who came from a distance for the celebration were:

Mr. and Mrs. James A. Green and daughter Alice of Grand Junction, Colo.; Mr. and Mrs. James Nagle of Webster Park, Mo.; Mrs. Hattie Lewis, Stuartsville, Mo.; Robert Fleming, Palkerton, Wyo.; Miss Isabella Grove, Washington, D. C.; Edward E. Rooney, St. Albans, Vt.; Mrs. Kate Fleming McAllister, Laramie, Wyo.; Mrs. Ben E. Lawrence, River Forest, Ill.; Carl Rossitor, South Bend, Ind.; Mr. and Mrs. Clarence Green, Aurora; Mr. and Mrs. J. L. Knight, Aurora – Mrs. Knight was formerly Miss Ethel Green; Harry Green, Chicago; Mrs. Alice Green Allen, Des Moines, Ia.; Emma A. Wallwork, Los Angeles, Calif.; Mrs. Lena Masters, East Chicago, Ind.; Mr. and Mrs. Henry Richmond, Taylorville, Ill.; Mrs. Richmond was Miss Maude Shaver, daughter of Frank Shaver prior to her marriage; Mr. and Mrs. LeVoy Richmond and family; Miller Wier, Jacksonville, Ill.; Al Fisher, Gatzki, Minn.

Mr. and Mrs. Fred Green and Winfield Green, Peoria; Roy McBrearty, Aurora; Mrs. Myra E Lawry, St. Louis, Mo.; Mrs. Barbara DeBolt Webster, Pontiac; Harriet Bruner, Los Angeles, Calif.; William Holmes, Mrs. Nettie Holmes and William B. Holmes, Chicago; Lewis E. Myers, Valparaiso, Ind.; Mrs. John Champlain, South Bend, Ind.; William Breese, Chicago; Ruth Brown, Oak Park; Walter D. Brown, Oak Park; Mr. and Mrs. Allen Fleming, Aurora; Mrs. Walter Brown, Helen Brown and Ethel Brown, Oak Park; Mrs. John Westermeier, Warren Westermeier and Donald Westermeier, Chicago; Mrs. J. Neises and Gladys Neises, Chicago; Charles Nash, Hennepin; Mrs. Russell P. Childs, Ohio; Mrs. Nellie DeBolt Snow, Chicago; J. N. Ferguson, Woodlawn; William Mettebarger, Woodlawn; Mrs. Charles N. Nash, Mr. and Mrs. Roland Hamm, Hennepin; Mr. and Mrs. Roy Green, Aurora.

George W. Green, Aurora; Miss Miriam Green, Aurora; F. S. Wallwork, Los Angeles, Calif.; Mr. and Mrs. H. L. Dunavan, Chicago; Dorothy Elains Richmond and Floy Arlene Richmond, Taylorville; Herberta Dunavan Schabes, Chicago; Harold Dunavan, Chicago; Frank Schabes, Chicago; Eva Channel Ladd, Shabbona; Lottie Makinson Pederson, Chicago; Mrs. C. A. Palmer, Chicago; Mrs. Frances Hendrix, Chicago; Martha Howard White, Joliet; Walter Howard White, Joliet; Maud Ferguson White, Joliet; J. Kent Greene, Chicago; Mabel Greene Myers, Valparaiso, Ind.; R. E. Breaty, Aurora; Robert Lee DeBolt, Evanston; Mrs. W. Miller, Aurora; Mr. and Mrs. Vernon Miller, Millington; Ludwig Lazar, Joliet; Elmer Freine, Somonauk; Mrs. Mannie Freine, Somonauk; John Champaign, South Bend, Ind.; Walter Rositer, South Bend, Ind.; Mr. and Mrs. Floyd Fleming, Aurora.

Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Reid, Springfield, Mo.; Mamie DeBolt Terry, Highland Park, Ill.; Mr. and Mrs. Ray Doran, Aurora; Mrs. Carrie Green, Joliet; Mr. and Mrs. Jule Pitts, Joliet; Mrs. S. A. Armagast, Joliet; Mrs. J. E. Cutting, Joliet; Mrs. Evelyn Lawrence, River Forest; Mrs. Lana Masters, Chicago; Mr. and Mrs. Frank Green, Joliet; Mrs. Hattie Lewis, Stuartsville, Mo.; Mrs. Josephine Gibson, Chicago; Mrs. Pauline Blunt, Mo.; E. W. Jackson, Toledo, O.; Charles W. Eisenhuth, Mrs. Lena Eisenhuth, Marian Eisenhuth, Aurora; Mrs. Mable Hayward Rothgeb, East Orange, New Jersey; Harriet Pellouchoud, Odell, Ill.; Mr. and Mrs. R. A. Swindler, Chicago; Mr. and Mrs. Charles Leafe, Villa Park, Ill.; Mrs. M. Raymond, Blue Island; Ira Hanson, Iowa; Pearl Masters, Chicago; Philip Deegan, Chicago; John W. Whalen, Graymont, Ill.

Dr. H. G. Logan, Mrs. Rae Parr Logan, Mobile, Ala.; Mrs. John Watnew, Santa Monica, Calif.; E. M. DeBolt, Mildred DeBolt, Barbara DeBolt, Catherine DeBolt, Roy DeBolt, Gilbert, DeBolt, Robert DeBolt of Pontiac; Mrs. Harry Hinkson, Waterman; Mr. and Mrs. Chris Junken, Chicago; Loretto E. Dockendorf, Joliet; Mrs. Nauman, Joliet; Mrs. underline, Joliet; Dwight, Lillian and Jack Ladd, Chicago; Mrs. E. Weber, Chicago; Mr. and Mrs. Paul C. Lange, Chicago.

Cora Tanner, Aurora, Ernest Weber, Chicago; Sam Hall, New York; Arthur G. Wunderlick, Joliet; William Carter, Joliet; Reuben Burch, Arlington; E. Rachael Davenport, Chicago; Dorothy Masters, Chicago; John E. Davenport, River Forest; Cora Childs Greene, Chicago; Mrs. Anna Manges, Chicago; Mrs. Ruth Atkinson, Champaign; Ed W. Jackson, South Bend, Ind.; Mrs. Sara Ferguson, Grand Haven, Mich.; Alvin Green, Mr. and Mrs. Dwight Ladd, Joe Ozark, George Ozark and Nicholas Dummitt, Chicago.

[to be continued]


Image: Ghozt Tramp [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D

Christmas in Dayton – 1881

Christmas greetings

Rural Happenings
From Dayton

Dayton, Dec. 28, 1881. – Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all your readers!

Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Brown, of Chicago, spent Christmas in Ottawa, and on Monday visited relatives in Dayton.

Mr. McGrew closed his school last week. Mr. N. Clawson took charge yesterday.

Mr. James Green is “teaching young ideas how to shoot” at the McMichael school, east of Wedron, this winter.

Every one is going around these days with a sore arm, the result of vaccination. “Ouch, don’t you touch my arm.”

Mr. and Mrs. John Gibson, of Rutland, attended the Christmas exercises and spent Christmas in Dayton.

Mr. Will Davis’s Santa Claus costume was the finest ever in Dayton. It was from Mrs. Hentrich, Ottawa’s popular costumer. It made Will appear like the old Nick in the story books.

Mr. O. W. Trumbo and Miss Jessie are visiting friends in Iowa.

A private Christmas tree was held at Mr. Chas. Burch’s Saturday evening.

Rev. E. C. Arnold, of Ottawa, delivered a sermon at the school house last Tuesday evening.

Mr. T. R. Brunk, of Ransom, will deliver a lecture in Dayton next Saturday evening. All are invited to attend.

Mr. David Dunavan, of Newark, and the Misses Dunavan, of Rutland, were visiting in town this week.

Miss Jennie Dunavan, of the Ottawa High School, is spending her vacation at home.

The Union Christmas tree and entertainment at the school house last Saturday evening were a complete success. The house was filled with children and people of all ages, every one of whom was kindly remembered by the good old Saint Nick. The exercises were opened by the beautiful anthem “The Prince of Peace” by the choir, after which Mr. Basil Green made a very appropriate prayer. “While shepherds watched their flocks by night,” a pretty carol was sung in good time and taste by the children; Mr. Clarence Griggs, of Ottawa, then followed with an appropriate address which was listened to attentively by the audience. Mr. Griggs is a bright and promising young attorney, and has formed many acquaintances here who think he is destined to make his mark in the world. “From our Merry Swiss home,” a duet, was sung in a delightful manner by Misses Myrtle Stadden and Mary Barnes, and was applauded by the audience; “The Legend of St. Fredo,” a recitation by Carrie Green, and “Gathering Sheaves,” by Lizzie Bogard, were spoken with good effect; “Christmas day,” a semi-duet and chorus, was sung with considerable taste by Misses Myrtle Stadden, Carrie Green, Gertie Grow, and Lona Root; “Old Christmas,” a recitation, by Miss Maude Green, and “The Fortune-teller,” by Miss Mary Barnes, assisted by little Grace and Kent Green, were rendered very tastefully; Santa Claus (Mr. Will S. Davis) was then introduced to the children in a neat little speech by Eddie Hess, and was enthusiastically received. Then the distribution of presents began. How the little hearts throbbed with delight as the good Santa called their names and delivered to each a pretty present. Nearly an hour passed before old Nick fulfilled his mission. Then every heart having been made joyous at this celebration of our Saviour’s birth, the exercises drew to a close. Before dispersing the audience gave a vote of thanks to Mr. Griggs for his kindness in delivering the address. The occasion will long be remembered as one of the most pleasant entertainments our little town has ever enjoyed.1

Occasional


  1. The Free Trader, December 31, 1881, p. 8, col. 1

Dayton Centennial – Part 2

continued from the Ottawa Republican-Times, September 16, 1929

FOSTER BLAMES TARIFF

“Long ago though they lived, riff raff of Europe though they have been proved to be, the first pioneers of America are worthy of our emulation,” was the message brought by W. R. Foster, county superintendent of schools to the big crowd gathered about the speakers stand.

“I doubt whether we of the present day posses that fearless determination which inspired the Shavers, the Greens, the Brumbachs, the McKees and their followers to their long travail across country, under the most adverse conditions, from Licking county, Ohio, to Dayton and Rutland in the fall of 1829,” Foster stated.

Family and wagon

“They were the first settlers of this rich section of Northern Illinois, descendants of those outcasts of European nations who were driven to the shores of this country a hundred years before.

“They taught me the ‘three r’s’ when I went to school as a boy. Think how infinitely more important than those pedagogic classifications of simple knowledge was the mastery over the three r’s of resolution, resource and reverence possessed by those early pioneers.”

Explanation for the failure of rich woolen mills which at one time bade fair to make Dayton one of the most important communities of the state was given by Foster who decried in emphatic terms the manipulation of the wool tariff by politicians at Washington which led to the crash of Dayton industry.

“The first flour mill in Northern Illinois had been constructed by the Dayton and Rutland pioneers in 1830,” he stated, “and on July 4, 1830, the first wheat was ground and made into flour for bread eaten at their independence day dinner. By 1840 their woolen mill was well established and in 1860 a 100,000 project was doing business down here on the banks of the Fox river.

“I have always regretted one of the old-time Dayton settlers could not have come to life at that time, could not have taken his ancient shotgun to Washington and have laid down the law to those scheming politicians. Because with $65,000 worth of wool on their hands, purchased at $1 per pound, owners of the Dayton woolen mill saw their dreams snatched from them and the bottom knocked out from under them when manipulation of the tariff sent the price of wool tumbling to 40 cents a pound.

“That forever shattered Dayton’s golden opportunity, forever doomed this little town to relative unimportance in the scheme of industry. All that is left now is the memory of what was and what might have been.”

[to be continued]

Dayton Centennial – Part 1

from the Ottawa Republican-Times, September 16, 1929

Dayton and Rutland Townships Dedicate Marker and Celebrate Centennial of Settlers Arrival

            Old-time residents of Dayton and Rutland who have gone out to find a niche elsewhere, practically the entire present population and representatives of most La Salle county towns were at Dayton Saturday afternoon and night for a celebration commemorating the one hundredth anniversary of the founding of these communities.

A program of platform speaking, songs by the assembled school children of both communities, dedication of a marker on the spot where the mill-stones were found which were used in grinding the first wheat flour made in northern Illinois, and addresses by W. R. Foster, county superintendent of schools, and Kent Greene, former Daytonite and now a Chicago legal light, featured the day’s festivities.

Thomas O’Meara, Ottawa attorney, who was reared in Dayton, was master of ceremonies in the afternoon, when crowds gathered to hear addresses dealing with the significance of the origin of Dayton and Rutland. He was introduced by a member of the committee which evolved the celebration.

Relics which accumulated through the years provided a point of interest for visitors. All former and present residents were tagged with their names and addresses, facilitating renewal of old acquaintanceships.

Of particular interest in the celebration was the unveiling of a stone marker commemorating the vicinity where John Green, one of the village founders, and his party built their flour mill. A boulder set in a cement base, identified by a bronze plate inscribed with the story of the discovery, was veiled by a historical blanket woven in Dayton’s own woolen mill in 1860.

The blanket, now in the possession of Miss Catherine E. Rhoads of Ottawa, was bought by Thomas Rhoads, her father, at the mill and has been in the possession of the Rhoads family ever since. It is one of the few remaining tokens of the woolen mill which once apparently had Dayton headed on the road to industrial importance.

Blanket from Dayton Woolen Factory

Another example of the Dayton Woolen Mill blankets – this one from the Green family.

The dedication address was by J. Kent Greene of Chicago, a descendant of the John Green whose industry resulted in the flour mill.

He traced the events leading up to the founding of the mill, beginning with the first trip to the then new state of Illinois in 1829, when four pioneers, led by John Green, came to Dayton from Licking county, Ohio, on September 14, 1829.

They returned with their families on the 6th of December, 1829, and, despite the impending rigors of winter, established their colony by erecting shelters and clearing 240 acres of land before spring. Their saw and grist mill was put in operation on July 4, 1830, and the village of Dayton had been officially founded.

A vigorous folk, they with stood the menace of the Blackhawk Indian war, and not only stood their ground themselves but attracted other Ohio pioneers who populated Dayton and Rutland.

[to be continued]

An Ottawa Tombstone in Colorado

The following article appeared in the Ottawa Daily Times. 7 Jun 1978, p.28

Story of Basil Green and his family begins in LaSalle County
By Joan Hustis

Dorothy Masters of suburban Chicago is a distant relative of Basil Green, the man who buried three children in Central City, Colo., in 1869.

Green died in 1911 and is buried in the family cemetery in Dayton. Although he has no direct descendants in this area, there are still several distant cousins who live in and near Ottawa.

Elmer Williams of Ottawa came across the tombstone earlier this spring when visiting near Central City. Elmer could find nothing on the Green family, but he took several photographs of the tombstone and loaned them to this column for reprint. The tombstone was engraved “Johnnie, Kittie and Charlie. 1869. Basil Green, Ottawa, Ill.”

Miss Masters is the Green family historian. She was in Dayton over the Memorial Day weekend, visiting with her cousin, Grace Clifford, and read the article on the Central City tombstone. She has old family diaries and also a narrative written by Basil Green in 1910, a year before he died. She loaned the narrative for reprint.

Basil Green was born in 1830 in Licking County, Ohio, and was married in Crawford County, Ill., in 1859. He may have been a freight hauler or a wagon master for he made several trips to California and back during the days of the gold rush. He lost a leg, something Miss Masters called a traumatic experience, but no mention of the incident is made in his narrative.

On one of his trips west Basil Green lost two of his children, but the narrative says nothing of their ages or why they died. He came back to Dayton later and placed an order with a Central City firm to lay a tombstone on the grave.

Miss Masters said Charles and Catherine, the “Charlie” and “Kittie” on the tombstone were Basil Green’s children. The “Johnnie” was not his child. This child was apparently buried with the Green children, but no mention is made in the narrative as to the reason why nor is the other child identified by any other than the first name on the tombstone.

Basil Green had three children when he was in Colorado. The third one survived. When Green returned to Dayton, he became the father of six more children, according to Miss Masters.

Green’s narrative is eight typewritten pages, all single spaced. Portions of this narrative are as follows through the courtesy of Miss Masters.

[The compete narrative may be found here.]

RELICS OF 100 YEARS AGO AT DAYTON FETE

parade

from the Ottawa Free Trader, September 13, 1929

Historic relics, vestiges of the civilization now a century old, which wrested the present commonwealth from the naked prairie, are to be on exhibition, and will occupy a prominent place in the celebration at Dayton, commencing tomorrow noon, and lasting until midnight, which will mark the hundredth anniversary of the founding of Dayton and Rutland townships.

Music, choral, orchestral, and band, will all share in shattering the peace and quiet of this once-important village, which now drowses, sleeping on the left bank of the murmuring Fox. Oratory, with the pulpit, in the Rev. J. J. Dunlap, and education, in W. H. Foster, represented, will mark a memorable passage of time at the light of a civilization and pioneer descendants will commemorate, with praises graven in stone, the industry of their sturdy forefathers, when Kent Green dedicates the marker to be placed on the spot where the first flour mill in what was then the wilderness of Northern Illinois, was built by the hands of his ancestor, John Green.

Games, dancing, amateur entertainers and sports will wake this quiet village from its revery, and feasting and a giant tug of war are among amusements by which Dayton will celebrate, in the lighter mood, its birthday party.

Rush Green is the chairman of the celebration committee and Nicholas Parr is chairman of the program committee.

Reception and Matinee Musical

Mabel Greene musical reception

Mrs. T. Henry Greene of 55 North avenue will give a reception and matinee musical Monday afternoon, Oct. 26 at the Plaza hotel in honor of her daughter, Miss Mabel Velette Greene. The musical program will be presented by Miss Jessie Armager Power, canteuse, who will give a group of colonial cantiliations in costume, with Walter Brauer, ‘cellist, and Mrs. Perry J. Power at the piano. Miss Power will also present dramatic sketches, and Mr. Brauer will play a group of ‘cello solos representing Chopin, Popper, and Cui. Miss Mabel Velette Greene will offer two groups of songs, and Miss Grace Grove will play a piano solo, also supplying the accompaniments.1

Mabel Greene was the daughter of Harry Green, the granddaughter of Jesse Green, and the great-granddaughter of John Green, all of Dayton.


  1. Chicago Tribune, 22 Oct 1914, p 11, col 1

A Dayton School Reunion – 1937

picture of school

Dayton School Has Reunion at Community House

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Blooded Cattle

 

Durham cattle

Durham cattle

BLOODED CATTLE

La Salle county may well be proud of her splendid stock of cattle. Her enterprising and wealthy farmers have spent thousands and thousands of dollars in improving the breed of stock of all kinds and especially short-horned Durhams.

Desirous of doing equal and exact justice to all we began at the north end of the cattle stalls, after looking at some fine lots of cattle exhibited by Isaiah Strawn. We found, first: Mr. Isaac Green”s blooded stock. First, his handsome Durham bull “Clifton,” 3 year old, weight 5,000 lbs; is brown and white spotted; “Jenny June,” six months old, weight 500; both having a No. 1 record in the herd books.1


Adjoining the town [of Dayton] is the splendid grain and stock farm of Isaac Green. Mr. Green makes a specialty of raising Norman and Clydesdale horses and thoroughbred cattle, and can show some of the finest in either class to be found in the state. Among the minor attractions are many fine driving teams, single and double.2


  1. Ottawa Free Trader, 10 Sep 1870, p.4, col 3
  2. Ottawa Free Trader, 12 July 1879, p. 8, col. 1

Trumbo – Hosford Agreement

Trumbo-Hosford Agreement

 

Jacob Trumbo arrived in La Salle County in 1853 with his wife Elizabeth and five sons, Oliver, Moab, John, Mathias, and Christopher. He purchased 160 acres of land, complete with house, from Abram Hosford. Because it was the middle of the growing season, arrangements had to be made to share the crops and produce equitably between the buyer and the seller.

Ottawa June 7th 1853
This article of agreement witnesseth that whereas Jacob Trumbo has this day purchased of Abram P Hosford the Northeast Quarter of Section No twelve in Town Thirty four North of Range No Three east of the Third Principal Meridian.  Now the said parties agree to the following conditions Viz  The said Trumbo is to have the entire crops now growing on the premises except a portion of the winter wheat to which Edward Bagley is entitled Viz  2/3 of twenty acres,  also except 1/2 of the garden sauce & roots and also 1/2 of a small piece of beans and sweet corn in orchard  also excepting the whole of a small piece of Osage orange now just planted in the orchard.

The said Trumbo is to furnish the same help at thrashing the wheat which E Bagley raises, as the said Hosford has agreed to  Viz  one hand  The said Trumbo is to have the North half of the division fence between the N East & N West quarter of section above named and the said Hosford the South half including rail fence and Osage Orange hedge

The said Trumbo is to have the possession of the cultivated land forthwith;  of the pasture land and three rooms in the house on the first day of July next and of the horse stable at the same time.  Also of three piles of wood now in wood shed and on or before the first day of August next the said Hosford agrees to give to the said Trumbo the entire possession of the premises except store room for some part of the corn now on the premises the whole of which the said Hosford agrees to have removed before the first of October next  Also the said Trumbo agrees to pay the taxes to become due next winter on the above premises.

Abram P Hosford                                                                                                                                            Jacob Trumbo

Unfortunately, Jacob was not to enjoy his property for long. He died on November 10th, just 5 months later. His widow and sons remained on the farm for many years.

A Difficult and Dangerous Journey

Covered Wagon

In Elmer Baldwin’s History of La Salle County, the sketch of Dayton’s settlers includes an account, on pages 268-270 , of the Green party’s journey from Licking County, Ohio, to La Salle County.

NARRATIVE BY JESSE AND DAVID GREEN.

On the 2d of November, 1829, the following named persons left Newark, Licking County, Ohio, for what is now La Salle County, Illinois: John Green, David Grove, Henry Brumback, and Reason Debolt, with their families, and the following named young men : Samuel Grove, Joseph Grove, Jacob Kite, Alexander McKee, and Harvey Shaver. Their outfit was one four-yoke ox team, three two-horse wagons, and one carriage. Found the roads passable till we got into Indiana, where we lay by three days for bad weather. The streams were high, but we were bound for the West, and pressed forward. Found about forty teams weather-bound at Boxby’s, on the Whitewater, where we were told it would be impossible to proceed unless we traveled on the top of wagons and teams already swamped. From there we cut our way through heavy timber for sixty miles, averaging about ten miles per day. One of the party, with a child in his arms, was thrown from the carriage, breaking three of his ribs, and the carriage wheel passed over the child without injuring it. The wounded man pursued the journey, never complaining ; so readily did those hardy pioneers adapt themselves to circumstances, and heroically face the inevitable. The streams were so high we had to head them, or, as the saying is, go around them.

We traveled five days by the compass, when we arrived at Parish’s Grove, Iroquois County, Illinois. From there we followed an Indian trail to Hubbard’s trading post, on the Iroquois river. Here we bought all the corn we could get—about eight bushels— and a perogue, or canoe. Loading it with about thirty hundred weight of our goods, we put Jacob Kite, Joseph Grove, and Samuel Grove, on for a crew, with directions to work down the Iroquois to the Kankakee, and through that to the Illinois, where they were to meet the teams. This was necessary, as our teams were worn, feed scarce, and roads very bad, or, rather, none at all. On the trip, Joseph Grove became so chilled that he contracted a disease from which he never fully recovered.

Our teams crossed a prairie which had no bottom—at least, we did not find any. The second day, found a stream too deep to cross; felled trees from either side till they formed a temporary bridge, over which we conveyed our goods and people, which was barely accomplished when the accumulated waters swept our bridge away. The teams were made to swim, one horse barely escaping drowning. One of the women became nervous, and could not be induced to walk the bridge. John Green took her on his back, and made his way over on his hands and knees. The exact position in which the lady rode is not recorded.

A heavy rain came on, and we encamped in a small grove, and were obliged to cut up some of our boxes to make a fire. That night we shall never forget; most of us sat up all night. Mother laid down in the wagon, and tried to sleep, and was frozen fast so she could not rise in the morning. It took us over three days to reach the mouth of the Kankakee, a distance of thirty miles, while the perogue had to go seventy miles by water. The crew had about given up in despair of meeting us, when they fortunately heard a well-known voice calling to a favorite horse, by which they were directed to our camp. We ferried most of our goods over the Illinois on the perogue, when a friendly Indian showed us a ford where we took our teams over without difficulty. Our corn being exhausted, our teams had nothing to eat but browse, or dry prairie grass, and very little of that, as the prairie had nearly all been burned over. In the afternoon of the 5th of December, we came in sight of a grove of timber, and John Green, believing it to be Hawley’s (now Holderman’s) Grove, started on horseback to ascertain. His expectations were realized, and he found Messrs. Hawley and Baresford butchering a beef. He harnessed Baresford’s horse, a large gray one, to a light wagon of Baresford’s, and taking a quarter of the beef, and filling the wagon with corn, started for Nettle creek timber, where he supposed the party would stop.

The company had ordered a halt and prepared to encamp, but with the expectation of going supperless to bed as their provisions were exhausted, when Mr. Green drove up, to the great joy of the whole party, both man and beast. From the time the corn gave out and the provisions were running short, one young man refused to eat, contending that as they were bound to starve, the provisions should be reserved for the women and children.

The next day, being the 6th of December, 1829, about four o’clock P. M. we reached our destination—except the three young men in charge of the perogue, whom we expected would reach here before us; and when night came on we were all cast down with fearful forebodings, as we thought they must have met with some serious accident. But our anxiety was soon relieved. On the same day they had made the perogue fast at the grand rapids of the Illinois, now Marseilles, and crossing the prairie without any knowledge of the country, became benighted, but seeing the light from our cabin, joined us about eight o’clock, and we had a great time of rejoicing, the lost having been found. The self-sacrificing brother joined us in a hearty meal, and his appetite never failed him afterward.

Our next object was to secure some provisions, as we had a large family and good appetites. We bought twenty-four hogs of Markly, on the Desplaines; then went south to Tazewell county, bought thirty bushels wheat at four shillings, eighty bushels corn at two shillings, and took it to a horse mill where Washington now is; spent several days in putting the mill in order, having to dress the boulder mill stones, and furnish the motive power. Provisions were scarce before we had produced a crop; we frequently lived on beef, potatoes and pound cake, so called, being made of corn pounded in a mortar.

We went to work improving in the spring, and by July 4th we had 240 acres fenced, and nearly all broken, and had built a saw mill, dam and race, and had a run of boulder mill stones in one corner of the saw mill grinding wheat, the first ground on Fox river. The stones were made from boulders or hard heads, found here, by Christopher Payne, brother of the Dunkard preacher who was killed by Indians on the prairie between Holderman’s Grove and Marseilles, in 1832.

Pay Your Debts With Wheat

wheat field

In August, 1845, Jesse and David Green, proprietors of the Dayton Woolen Mill made a concerted effort to collect the money due to them. The following appeared in the Ottawa Free trader on
August 15.

Wheat Wanted

The subscribers would say to those indebted to them, either by note or book account, that they will receive wheat in payment for their dues, if delivered soon at John Green’s Mills, Dayton, for which the highest market prices will be given.

They have an assortment of good grey, brown and black fulled cloths; satinette; jeans; tweeds; red, white and pressed flannels, of a superior quality, which they are offering at prices that will make it an object for persons desirous of encouraging domestic manufactures to give us a call, and examine the goods we are now making.

The highest price will be allowed for wheat, in exchange for our cloths.

J. & D. GREEN
Dayton Factory, Aug. 15

The Sidewalks of Dayton

Concrete sidewalk in front of elevator

Concrete sidewalk in front of elevator

Ottawa Free Trader, November 22, 1879, p. 8, col. 2

Our sidewalks have been repaired to some extent during the past few weeks. They had been in a somewhat dangerous condition.

May 8, 1886, p. 8, col. 3

A new sidewalk has been constructed down the hill under the railroad bridge. It is quite an improvement over the old rickety walk that has been ornamenting the hill for so long.

April 23, 1887, p. 6, col. 1

The young folks will hold an entertainment Friday evening, for the benefit of the sidewalks.

April 7, 1888, p. 8, col. 2

The young folks will give an entertainment at the schoolhouse Friday evening for the benefit of the sidewalks in this village. The temperance play, “On the Brink,” is on the programme.

July 18, 1913, p. 8, col. 3

One hundred and fifty people attended a lawn social given at the home of Mrs. E. A. Dallam in Dayton Friday evening. A program of unusual merit was rendered, and Ottawa people were among the principal participants in the entertainment. The hours were from 8 until 11 o’clock, and ice cream and cake were served. The Ladies’ Aid society of Dayton assisted Mrs. Dallam as hostess, and $25.00 were cleared, which amount will go towards the sidewalk fund.

September 5, 1913, p. 8, col. 2-3

Many Ottawa people attended the dancing party given at the residence of Rush Green in Dayton, Friday evening. The affair was for the benefit of the construction of a cement sidewalk from the elevator to the school in Dayton and is the third of the parties to be given. Like the others, it was a huge success and a neat little sum was netted towards the sidewalk fund. The evening was spent at dancing, Dwyer’s orchestra, of this city, furnishing the music. Refreshments consisting of ice cream and cake were served during the evening. The arrangement committee consists of William Meagher, Frank W. Lansing, William Buckley, Jr., R. A. Carter, James W. Collison and Harry W. Tanner.

November 7, 1913, p. 1, col. 3

Contractor Green, who is building concrete sidewalks in Dayton, has the job nearly completed. This will be a fine improvement for the village to the north.

July 24, 1914, p. 8, col. 4

The Woman’s club of Dayton will hold another lawn social Wednesday evening, July 22, at the home of E. A. Dallam. Ice cream and cake will be served, and there will be a Victrola concert. The proceeds to be devoted to cement sidewalks for Dayton.