La Salle County Old Settlers

During one of the La Salle County Old Settlers picnics, pictures were taken in groups, depending on when they arrived in the county. This picture shows the settlers who arrived in 1832 and 1833. The gentleman on the left of the back row is Isaac Green. He did indeed arrive in 1833, being born in Dayton on August 8th. His parents, John and Barbara Green, and his older siblings had been in La Salle County since 1829.

Isaac was the youngest child in the family. While his older brothers and sisters married and were given land by their father, Isaac remained at home and took over the home farm, supporting his parents in their old age.

He had a well-known grain and stock farm, where he made a specialty of raising Norman and Clydesdale horses and thoroughbred cattle. He was well known at mid-west stock shows, where he showed some of the finest in either class to be found in the state.

He Wasn’t the One

Joseph Green

Joseph Green (pictured above) is the youth mentioned in the following article from the Ottawa Free Trader. However, he was NOT the young man who was the subject of the horrible revenge.

Important Correction1

The following horrible relation, which we believe first appeared in print in the Lacon Herald in a letter from the plains, is going the rounds of the papers:

Revenge — Horrible. —Among the overland emigration for California, last spring, was Mr. Green, of “Green’s Wollen [sic] Factory,” Fox river, and two of his sons, the youngest a youth. — It is reported that while passing through a tribe of Indians, this youth who was naturally full of mischief, killed a squaw.  The tribe having been well advised of the fact, hastened after and overtook the company, and demanded the murderer. — At first the demand was resisted; but after the Indians had informed them that they would destroy the company if their request was not granted, the youth was surrendered into their hands.  They then stripped him, and in the presence of his father and the whole company, they skinned him from head to foot!  He lived four hours after he was thus flayed.  This should be a warning to all interested not to trifle with the unfortunate sons of the forest.

We have made considerable inquiry since we first saw this account in print, and find that it is true in its essential particulars, with one very important exception, and that is the name.  Instead of a son of Mr. Green, it was a young man by the name of Wasson, of Perkins’ Grove, Bureau county, who went with a company from Knox’s Grove, Lee county.  He is said to have been very fool hardy and reckless in character.  He made a threat, on leaving Independence, that he would shoot the first Indian he saw, but had not carried his threat into effect, until he had nearly reached California.  Then one of the company reminding him of it, he said he had forgotten it, but would carry it out yet.  He shortly after saw a squaw sitting on a log, and raising his piece, he murdered her in cold blood.  The Indians almost instantly thereupon surrounded the company and visited upon the murderer the terrible retribution above indicated.

This account is confirmed by four or five letters from members of the company, all of which agree in the essential particulars.  How the correspondent of the Lacon paper got the name of Mr. Green mixed up in the affair is more than we can tell.  Certain it is, however, that no letter from any of Mr. Green’s party, and there have been dozens received, ever hinted at any such occurrence, and, indeed, the very son himself said to have been killed, has written since his arrival in the mines, and the letters in his own familiar hand writing are in the hand of his friends.


  1. Ottawa (Illinois] Free Trader, February 23, 1850, p. 2, col. 2

Charles and Emily Ballou

Charles Ballou tombstone

BALLOU, CHARLES WESLEY
Charles Wesley Ballou, formerly a resident of Dayton, who died at the Masonic Home, at Sullivan, Ill., of pneumonia, November 28th, was buried yesterday afternoon in the Dayton cemetery. Freedom Lodge, No. 194, A. F. & A. M., had charge of the services at the grave.
The deceased man was 84 years and 11 months of age at the time of his death, and prior to his entering the Masonic home had been a resident of Dayton, where he was well known.1

BALLOU, EMILY HENDERSON
Mrs. Emily Henderson Ballou was born at Richmond. Vermont, November 3, 1839. She was married twenty years later, 1869, to Charles W. Ballou and the same year she and her husband came to Walton township, La Salle County, Illinois, to set up a home in what was then the West; and ever since have been residents of this county; since 1866 this township has been their home. Nine years ago, Mr. and Mrs. Ballou took up their residence in Dayton village and here, as in the earlier years spent in this community, have endeared themselves to associates, have been and have enjoyed good neighbors and friends. Mrs. Ballou died Feb. 3, 1912, aged 73 years, 3 months, and she leaves to mourn her loss, her devoted husband and two nieces, Mrs. Georgiana Howe of Richmond, Vt., and Mrs. Jessie Hazelton of Waterbury, Vt., Mrs. Ballou being the last of her generation. She was a queen in her home, never wearied of the duties of hostess to friends or relatives, and many pleasurable days were spent by those who loved her at the home over which she reigned. Besides the sorrowing relatives hosts of friends will miss the life gone.2

CHARLES W. BALLOU – BIOGRAPHY

C. W. Ballou came to this county in 1856 from Addison County, Vt., where he rented a farm four miles north of Utica, remaining there one year. He then returned to Vermont and was married Aug. 25, 1857, to Emily Henderson, and remained there a year, visiting and farming, and in 1858 settled in Waltham Township La Salle Co., Ill., and farmed there until the spring of 1866. He has since resided in Dayton Township, first living on a farm on section 6 for one year. He then moved to Dayton Village, remaining there until December 1838 [sic], engaged in manufacturing horse collars. He then moved with his family to the place of A. S. Henderson, which he has since rented. He is a Master Mason. He has served as School Trustee for six years. His parents were P. C. and Hannah (Bird) Ballou, natives of New Haven, Conn., his father of French ancestry. His father died Oct. 1, 1884, aged seventy-eight years, and his mother died Feb. 22, 1882, aged seventy-five years. Mrs. Ballou was born Nov. 3, 1838, and was the fifth child in a family of seven children of John and Martha (Noble) Henderson, both of whom were natives of Massachusetts and of Scotch descent. Her father died in Richmond, Vt., in 1853, aged seventy-one years, and her mother died at the age of fifty-two years in 1850. Politically Mr. Ballou affiliates with the Democratic party.3


  1. Ottawa, Illinois, Daily Republican-Times, December 1, 1919
  2. Ottawa, Illinois, Fair Dealer, February 16, 1912
  3. History of La Salle County, Illinois, 2 vols. (Chicago: Inter-State Publishing Co.,1886), 2: 85.

My Family, by Cora Watts

Joseph Albert & Nancy Green Dunavan

[The following was written by Cora Watts for presentation to the Dayton Cemetery Association]

On envelope:   This contains some information about my paternal grandparents, Albert Dunavan and his wife Nancy Green Dunavan. Also my great grand parents Colonel Samuel Dunavan and Elizabeth Lair Dunavan

March 1964                                                     Cora Belle Dunavan Watts

My father, son of a pioneer farmer of the “middle west” was born and grew up east of Wedron; his father was Albert Dunavan and his mother was Nancy Green Dunavan, a daughter of John Green and Barbara Grove who came from Licking County Ohio in 1829. They (Albert & Nancy) lived in Rutland before my father was born. It is surprising how little I know about my grandparents.

I was a little girl when they left this part of the country, and moved to a farm in Missouri near Hamilton, with their son, uncle Dave, and daughter, aunt Alice, who never married. Aunt Alice lived only a few years after they moved there.

They wrote that their neighbors were very friendly and always came to celebrate their birthdays. I remember a gold headed cane that my father had after his father Albert’s death, and he said it was presented to his father by his neighbors on a birthday and he was very proud of it. Other members of the Dunavan family moved to Hamilton Mo., too; Aunt Jane Dunavan married Aaron Howe and they moved to Hamilton, and uncle Lewis and aunt Jennie Dunavan moved to a farm near there, I don’t know who went first, or why, but suppose farm land was cheaper out there.

My grandparents’ home near Wedron was a large square white house, with green blinds or shutters, and it had a fireplace with andirons. Some stranger came one evening years ago, and claimed to be a relative, and the tenant farmer let him take the old andirons he asked for.

I remember hearing that my grandfather Albert Dunavan was a forty niner, but can not tell any thing about the trip to California at that time. Lately I have received from Hope Dunavan some information from a first cousin D_____ Dunavan in Clemson S. Carolina whom I have not seen since we both were little children, as his family, the Isaac Dunavans, left this part of the country then.  I don’t know where uncle Isaac went at that time, but his son writes that he died in 1914 in Crichton Saak, Canada.

The following is from his son’s research work –
“Joseph Albert Dunavan 1812 – 1892  Born Mar. 31 – 1812 about 8 miles from Newark, Licking County Ohio. His father Col. Samuel Dunavan and his wife (my great grandparents) Elizabeth Lair were natives of the famous and beautiful Shenandoah Valley Virginia. Joseph or Albert and his brothers William and George and their mother Elizabeth Lair were left when their father died in 1816 from effects of the war of 1812. The mother later married David Letts and in 1830 moved with him to Cedar Point Ill, a mile south of Peru, where Mr. Letts set up a saw mill. Joseph Albert is believed to have learned the cooper’s trade before he went to Illinois. He spent some time in volunteer militia, fighting indians at Fort Welburn. Went to Dayton Ill. where he met Nancy Green and married her January 26, 1834. His two brothers married sisters of Nancy Green. George married Katherine and William married Eliza.

In 1849 or about then, he went to California in the “gold rush”. While he was gone, it has come down to us that one of his children was born and another died. These I surmise were Cynthia Jane and John A. respectively.

He left Dayton Ill. in 1889 where he had owned a large farm and went to Sterling Colorado to farm, with his sons Dave and Lewis; returned from Colorado to Hamilton Missouri to live with son Dave, where both Joseph Albert and Nancy died and were buried.

[Typed on a card in the same envelope:]

Cora Dunavan Watts (Mrs. Harry), b June 20, 1879, d May 22, 1964
Lived in Leland and Ottawa, Illinois
Buried Earlville Precinct Cemetery

May Dunavan Humm (Mrs. Herbert, b December 22, 1877,  d Nov. 21, 1964
Lived in Glendale, Calif.

Both daughters of Samuel and Amanda Munson Dunavan, born near Baker, La Salle County, Ill.

 

Edward C. McClary

The McClary house as it looks today

The McClary house in Dayton, as it looks today

[the following was written in 1906]

Edward C. McClary is proprietor of a grocery store in the village of Dayton, which he has conducted for ten years, and is also grain buyer for the Neola Elevator Company of Chicago, which has an elevator in this village situated on the Aurora and Streator branch of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy railroad. He was born in the village of Norway, La Salle county, on the 18th of August, 1874, and is therefore yet a young man, but has achieved a success which many an elder business man might well envy.

His father, Thomas McClary, a native of Ohio, was married to Miss Susan Ingals, who was born in Indiana. A carpenter by trade, he also engaged in connection  with building operations in the repair of wagons and farm tools. He came to this county about fifty years ago and was married after his arrival here. He first lived in the village of Norway until about thirty-one years ago, when he removed to Sheridan, his remaining days being passed there. He never sought to figure prominently in politics and for a number of years gave his political allegiance to the prohibition party, but became an advocate of the republican party at the time that James G. Blaine was its presidential candidate. Although he belonged to no church he lived an upright, honorable life, doing by others as he would have them do to him, was a strict temperate man and displayed in his daily conduct those sterling traits of character which everywhere command respect and confidence. He passed away in June, 1904, at the age of seventy-three years and his widow is still living in Sheridan at the age of sixty-five years.

In their family were six children, five of whom yet survive: Lizzie, the wife of H. M. Powers, a resident of Sheridan; Ella, who is a nurse in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania; Frank W., who married Rose Marco and is a stock buyer living in Sheridan; Rose, the wife of E. H. Peterson, of Sheridan, who has twice represented the district in the state legislature and is one of the prominent and influential residents of La Salle county; Edward C., of this review; and James, who died at the age of five years.

In his parents’ home Edward C. McClary spent his boyhood days and acquired his education in the public schools.Ten years ago he purchased the grocery store of C. W. Fredenburg and has since conducted the business, meeting with well merited success. He carries a carefully selected line of staple and fancy groceries and his neat and attractive store secures a liberal patronage.

In July, 1899, Mr. McClary was married to Miss Emma F. Barnes, who was born in this county, December 11, 1872, and is a daughter of Joseph Barnes, who is living in Dayton township. Mr. McClary has been influential in community affairs and has co-operated actively as well as effectively in many measures that have had direct bearing upon the welfare of the town. Since 1897 he has been postmaster of Dayton and is now serving his third term as township treasurer. His political allegiance is given to the republican party and he is a member of the Modern Woodmen camp at Wedron. Investigation into his life record shows his fidelity to honorable, manly principles, and he is an intelligent, energetic young man, spoken of in favorable terms throughout the community.1


  1. U. J. Hoffman, Past and Present of La Salle County (Chicago, The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co, 1906), 485-486

To the East by Steamer

Cleveland Daily Herald (Cleveland, Ohio), Tuesday, October 12, 1841

Among the passengers on the Steamer De Witt Clinton in October 1941 was Jesse Green, of Dayton, Illinois. It is very likely that he was traveling east to acquire machinery or supplies for their new woolen mill. He was traveling in style, as you may see by the description below.

STEAMBOAT LAUNCH. – The fine new steamboat DE WITT CLINTON, was to be launched from the ship yard of Captain F. Church, at Huron, on Saturday last. She is a first class boat, 500 tons burthen, built for the Troy & Erie Line, and will be commanded by by Capt. Byram H. Squires. This is the second steamboat built in this yard this season.
Buffalo Commercial Advertiser
Monday, July 25, 1836 p.2, c.4

The DE WITT CLINTON, which left this port yesterday afternoon for Buffalo, is a new and handsome steam freight boat. She is 147 feet in length, 27 feet beam about 48 feet on the guards, and 11 feet depth of hold. Tonnage registered at 415, but by carpenter’s measure nearer 490. Although built for a freight boat, she is so constructed as to accommodate a goodly number of passengers; there being in the main and forward cabins 72 berths, in the ladies’ cabin 30, and on the promenade deck 8 state-rooms, with 3 berths in each, beside 6 others near the steering wheel, and perhaps 20 more on the main deck, for the hands, &c., being in all about 150. The arrangement of the ladies’ cabin is very convenient being across the deck, with a broad and spacious hall between the ranges of berths. The workmanship of the whole is plain but neat and substantial. The machinery (high pressure) is very powerful.
Cleveland Weekly Advertiser
Thursday, September 15, 1836 p.2 c.6

Steam paddle DeWITT CLINTON. Of 413 tons gross. Built Huron, Ohio, 1836. First home port, Buffalo, N.Y. DISPOSITION. — Lost by stranding 1851.
Merchant Steam Vessels of the United States
The Lytle – Holdcamper List, 1790 to 1868

 

Dayton Woman’s Club Observes Anniversary of Its Founding

Dayton Women's Club meeting

 

Dayton Woman’s Club Observes Anniversary of Its Founding

The Dayton Woman’s club today had started the 26th year of its organization, with memories of the fitting observance yesterday of the silver anniversary of its founding.

The present members of the club, who include many of the 13 charter members, received 100 friends from 3 to 5 p. m. yesterday in the Dayton clubhouses, to mark the anniversary.

Silver and white appointments were used on the tea table from which the guests were served. Daises, calla lilies and white delphinimum [sic] formed a centerpiece. Mesdames Ralph Green and Gilbert Masters poured.

Baskets of flowers were used about the room to create a background for the lovely event.

Piano solos were played by Miss Betty Rensch, a piano duet was played by Mary Louise Varland and Betty Follett, a vocal solo, “June Morning,” was sung by Miss Ida Chamberlain and a violin solo was played by Marjorie Williamson, accompanied by her mother, Mrs. Ernest Williamson.

Painting Given

A painting of Wallace Nutting’s was presented to the club by Mrs. Bert Tuttle in memory of Mrs. Fanie [sic] Osbourne. A tribute was given Mrs. Osbourne by Mrs. E. C. Cleary. The presentation was made to Mrs. Arthur Retz, president of the club.

Of interest to the guests was a picture on exhibit of the home of Mrs. Rush Green, now destroyed by fire, in which the club was organized 25 years ago.

Honored yesterday were the following past presidents of the club: Mesdames Gilbert Masters, Dan Hallowell, Ben Chamberlain, Will Fleming and Miss Maud Green. They were given special badges and also were in the receiving line, as was Miss Jennie Fraine.

Charter Members

Among the 13 charter members of the club present were: Mesdames Masters, Hallowell and Misses Jennie and Emma Fraine.

The guests included Mrs. B. O. Benson of Tampa, Fla., a guest of Mrs. John Smith of Wedron; Mrs. Annie Barnes of Boston, a guest of Miss Jennie Barnes and Mrs. Carrie Green; Mrs. Barbara Masters of Chicago, a guest of Miss Maud Green; Mrs. Emily Brown and daughter Ethel of Oak Park; and others from Ottawa, Grand Ridge, Harding, Wedron and Marseilles.

The celebration was in general charge of Mesdames Charles Clifford, Arthur Retz, Ralph Green, Will Ryan and Misses Jennie and Emma Fraine and Maud Green.

The first meeting of the group in its 26th year will take place Wednesday, June 29, in the club house, which the organization constructed in 1923 and 1924.

The club was founded June 13, 1913, to promote sociability, discuss subjects relating to a betterment of the community and provide amusement and recreation.1


  1. The Ottawa Free Trader, June 15, 1938, p6

Another Maypole – This One Really is in May

A Maypole at graduation

Graduation Day at the Dayton School, May 1955

The Maypole was a big deal in Dayton School celebrations (see here for a Christmas version). The girl in pink in the front is Sally Clifford. If anyone knows any of the others, please leave a comment identifying them. There were four graduates that year, and only two of them are identified, so please – let’s rescue them all from oblivion.

Graduating class 1954-55

Graduating class 1954-55

The two in the center are Richard Charlier and Sheila Gash. Who are the other two? Leave your answers in the comments.

If you don’t know any of them, ask your parents or grandparents!

An Exceptionally Large Gathering of Elderly People

Matthias Trumbo Trumbo, Rebecca Grove

 

 

 

From the Free Trader, 13 Dec 1901, p8, col 2

BIRTHDAY PARTY
Exceptionally Large Gathering of Elderly People

(From Friday’s Daily)
On the return of the sixty-eighth anniversary of Mrs. Elizabeth Trumbo Strawn yesterday, December 5th, there were present, besides her four sisters, Mr. O. W. Trumbo and wife, Mrs. C. B. Hess and Jesse Green, whose united ages including an absent brother of Mrs. Strawn, amounts to seven hundred and twenty years.

Mathias Trumbo, father of Mrs. Strawn, came to this country in the year 1830, and all shared the hardships of pioneer life, and of this entire family of eight children only two have died, one son in 1840 and one daughter, Isabella, in 1854.

Those surviving are Mrs. Lovina Matlock, aged 82 years; Eliza Gibson, 75; Elias Trumbo, 75; Barbara Jackson, 72; Elizabeth Trumbo Strawn, 68; Anna Robison, 63. All the sisters are widowed, except the latter Mrs. Robison; with very few exceptions it is rare to see so many aged persons in one family.

Jacob Trumbo’s Will

last will and testament

from La Salle County, Illinois, will book A., pp. 147-148

I Jacob Trumbo of Dayton in the county of LaSalle and State of Illinois being of sound and disposing mind memory and understanding, do make publish and declare this to be my last will and testament hereby revoking and making void all former wills and writings in the nature of last wills and testaments by me heretofore made.

My will is, first – that my funeral charges and debts shall be paid by my executor hereinafter named.

The residue of my estate and property which shall not be required for the payment of my just debts, funeral charges and that expense attending the execution of this my will and the administration of my estate I give devise and dispose of as follows

I give and bequeath to my grand-son Charles Riddle of Rockingham County Virginia twelve dollars per year from my decease, until he shall become twenty one years of age, or if he shall not live to the age of twenty one years, during his life; and if he lives to the age of twenty one years, I then will him two hundred to be paid to his guardian during his minority, or to him when he shall arrive at the age of twenty one years, by my executor hereinafter mentioned.

All the rest of my property both personal and real, I give to my beloved wife Elisabeth Trumbo by her to be disposed of according to her wishes.  And I do nominate and appoint my son Oliver Trumbo to be the sole executor of this my last will and testament.

In testimony whereof, I the said Jacob Trumbo have hereunto subscribed my name and affixed my seal this seventh day of November AD Eighteen hundres and fifty three.

Jacob Trumbo        (seal)

Signed Sealed and declared by the said Jacob Trumbo to be his last will and testament in presence of us, who, at his request and in his presence have subscribed our manes as witnesses hereto in the presence of each other.
Abram P. Hosford
Edward Bagley
Samuel Connick


I do solemnly swear that this writing contains the true last will and testament of the above named Jacob Trumbo deceased so far as I know or believe, and that I will well and truly execute the same by paying first the debts and then the legacies therein mentioned,  and that I will make a true and perfect inventory of all such goods and chattels, rights and credit as may come to my hands or knowledge belonging to the Estate of the said deceased and render a fair and just account of my executorship when thereunto required by Law
So help me God!                                                            Oliver Trumbo

Subscribed & sworn to in open Court
this 31st [sic] day of November 1853

W. Raymond Clerk

County Court, La Salle County November Term 1853
State of Illinois
La Salle County

Be it remembered that on this 30th day of November 1853 At the November Term of the County Court of said County the annexed Last will and Testament of Jacob Trumbo late of said County deceased was presented for probate and to be recorded by Oliver Trumbo who is therein named as sole executor thereof.

Whereupon the testimony of Abram P. Hosford, Edward Bagley, Samuel Connick taken before said Court on this 30th day of November 1853 the three subscribing witnesses to said will was produced and the said Witnesses separately testified that they were acquainted with Jacob Trumbo late of the said County the Testator in the attached his last will & Testament when in Court produced, and who is now deceased, that they were present and saw the said Jacob Trumbo the said Testator sign his name to the said will in their presence and in the presence of the said Testator and in the presence of each other, and that they believe the said testator at the time he signed tho said will was of sound mind and memory and not under any restraint to their knowledge or belief and the said Executor on this 30th day of November 1853 appeared and took and subscribed the oath required by the statute which is ? said will annexed

Whereupon the said last will and testament having been proved to the satisfaction of the Court, It is ordered and decreed that the same be admitted to probate and be recorded.

In testimony whereof the subscriber Clerk of the County Court of said County has hereunto set his hand and affixed the seal of said Court at Ottawa this 30th day of November 1853.

W. Raymond Clerk

 

The First Old Settlers’ Picnic – La Salle County 1869

THE OLD SETTLERS’ PICNIC.

This picnic, which had been looked forward to with such “great expectations,” was held on Wednesday. In every particular it was a success. The glorious weather was not brighter
than the sunshine of happy faces, and the beautiful scenery of the grove was made still more beautiful by the presence of so much solid worth mingled with so great a degree of enjoyment.
Judge Caton showed himself the fine and hospitable gentleman that we knew him to be in offering the use of his noble park for the purpose; and if he be frequently the entertainer
of the “great and mighty,” he proved yesterday that he was equally at home in entertaining the grand old pioneer, with his rugged nature, his hard hands, his tough muscles and determined will – the elements that have made these western wilds “blossom as the rose,'” and constituted the great west the granary of the world.

Long before noon the wagons, the buggies and the teams from a distance began to arrive at the grove, and the preparations were soon made for enjoying all the good things, and listening to the speeches to be delivered on the occasion; but probably there was nothing finer than to see the meeting, hearty and cordial, that occurred between friends who had not seen each other for years. Some there were of the very first settlers – men and women too who had known what it was to live in daily fear, and nightly dread of the stealthy step and murderous assault of the treacherous Indian. To those it must indeed have been pleasant to meet the friends and acquaintances of the stormy and insecure past, and to reflect how beautiful is the present – how full of promise; and, as they introduce their children and grand children to each other, how full of thankfulness must their hearts be that their hard toil and unremitting labor has been crowned with such glorious results.

The crowd that assembled probably numbered eight hundred to a thousand. It would
have been much larger but for a misapprehension on the part of the public. The picnic
was got up by the Old Settlers’ Society, and the condition of membership in that Society
being 30 years’ residence in La Salle county, most people seemed to think that none but
members were admissible to the grounds. This was a mistake – it was intended to have a general picnic under the auspices of the Society

Arrangements were made for supplying an excellent dinner to Old Settlers from a distance and invited guests, and when we mention that this part of the programme was left entirely in the hands of the popular host of the Clifton, and fully bore out the unsurpassed reputation of that good hostelry, further praise would be ” painting the lily” or doing any other absurd work.

Bowman, the ubiquitous, was of course there,and got every one to sit for photographs. In one group the following were pictured, all of whom were settlers prior to 1829; David Pembrook, Jeremiah Pembrook and J. E. Shaw, who originally hailed from New York; then John Green, Jesse Green, David Green, Barbara Green, Eliza Dunavan, Catherine Dunavan, Nancy Dunavan, David Grove, Burton Ayers, Jeremiah Srawn, J. S. Armstrong, Margaret Armstrong, from Ohio: John S. Mitchell, from Indiana, and A. W. Cavarly, from New England.

The next group was of settlers who arrived between the years 1829 and 1832, and was composed of the following persons; Joseph A. Dunavan, Josiah Shaver, C. Shaver, J. R.
Shaver, W. L. Dunavan, M. Trumbo, Sarah Parr, Mrs. Millikin, Sarah Pitts, R. Debolt, of Rutland; G. W. Armstrong, of Brookfleld; G. M. Dunavan, of Dayton; A. M. Ebersol, C.W. Eels, A. S. Alderney, H. L. Brush, Mrs.Watts, Mrs. Gibson, David Strawn, Charles Brown, N. Beaubien, Mrs. Brown, Mrs. Libby, of Ottawa; Mrs. Munson, of Freedom; J. W.Armstrong, of . Deer Park; Wm. Pitzer, of Rutland; M. Shepherd, L. E. Skeel, Mrs.Dake, Mrs. Smith, Henry K. Parr, of Serena; A. Hogaboom, of Farm Ridge; Mrs. Jackson, of Milford; and Mrs. Ann Fitch, of Clinton,Iowa.

Groups wore also taken of those who had arrived between 1832 and 1835, and between 1835 aud 1841.

After the dinner had been duly disposed of, a stand for speakers was constructed, and Mr. Shaw made chairman. Judge Champlin, in pursuance of previous appointment, made the first speech. It was in the Judge’s happiest vein, and was replete not only with many humorous thrusts, but with reminiscences of the olden times of the deepest interest Thes peech closed with some beautiful lines of theJudge’s own composition. Owing to the lateness of the hour at which we make up this report, we are obliged to omit both in this issue,but shall make room for them in our next. He was succeeded by Arthur Caton, in an original composition, ” The Self-made Man.” Though the subject was old, it was treated with considerable ability and much novelty. The delivery was superb, and we predict for the descendant of our respected ex-Chief Justice a career of great distinction as an orator.

Judge Cavarly was the next speaker. His speech was also quite lengthy, and though we have a full report of it, we are also obliged to defer its publication to our next.
“Auld Lang Syne” was then sung, and it was expected that this would wind up the proceedings, but thw irrepressible and humorous Lucien Delano was called oat to show his paces, and, like the roaring farce’ after the classie drama at a theatre, did all he could,
and was a success, in sending the people home pleased with him, with themselves, with each other and with everybody.

We are hopeful that this, the first such picnic in our locality, will not be the last and are glad to understand that it is intended to make it an annual occurrence. There is a great deal to love, honor and respect, in such gatherings – they do good in many ways, the facts of the past are brought more forcibly to our minds when their living heroes are before us; the memory of those who perished, is more firmly venerated; the impulses which urge onto the future have more nerve power given them, and the contrast of the past with the present gives our hopes new wings on which to float to the grand possibility of the time to come.1


  1. The Ottawa [Illinois] Free Trader, 21 Aug 1869, p. 4, cols. 2-3

Celebrating the 4th of July with the Dayton Home Makers

Fourth of July

SANE 4TH POPULAR WITH LOCAL PEOPLE
PEOPLE OF CITY GO ELSEWHERE TO CELEBRATE
BUT FEW CELEBRATED
Small Gatherings the Popular Idea with Mercury Climbing Skyward and Heat Suffocating

Ottawa’s first real break from the old custom of celebrating July 4th was successfully carried out Thurs. The sound of pistols and fire crackers was hushed and an occasional pop caused slight cases of nervous prostration wherever they were heard. The unusual quiet caused too many favorable comments to revert to the old system of blowing off fingers and following tetanus victims to the cemetery.

Ottawa observed the day, but did it differently than other cities hereabouts. People were priviledged to go and come as they pleased. While many left town for a specimen of the wild and wooly bllows [sic] outs the vast majority remained within a small circle of celebrants and today are thanking their stars for the exhibition of foresight that kept them quiet throughout the day.

La Salle and Streator drew heavily from the rank and file of local citizens. Glen Park and Starved Rock came in for their share. Sulphur Springs also drew well from here. The favored spots, however, were in the country innumerable little gatherings from ten to a hundred and fifty people in numbers were scattered about the country side. The river banks were treated partially and small picnic crowds were scattered up and down the Illinois spending the day in their own manner and following the dictates of their own desires.

That Ottawa will never resume the old fashioned form of celebrating is assured. Thursday night was conspicuous by its silence and at night there were no shattered nerves nor torn and bleeding kids to mark the nation’s birthday.

The Dayton Home Makers

Although the surrounding country a number of family picnics were held, and some of them were very largely attended. None of these was more successful than that given by the Dayton Home Makers’ Circle. It was held at the home of Henry Schmidt, north of the city. The attendance was large, a splendid dinner was served, and a program and sports rounded out a very enjoyable day.1


  1. The [Ottawa, IL] Free Trader, 12 Jul 1912, p5, col 3

A New Dayton Dam

building the dam

The dam under construction

WILL REBUILD DAYTON DAM TO FURNISH POWER FOR ELECTRIC ROAD
Simpson Brothers, of New York, are Behind This New Proposition

            Simpson Bros., who are promoting the new railroad from Yorkville to Mendota through Sandwich, Somonauk and Earlville, have closed a contract for the power rights in Dayton and expect to construct a dam there this summer and utilize the power for lighting the towns through the Fox Rive[r] valley and operating their proposed railroad. Simpson Bros. were in this city on Monday and closed a contract with the Chicago Retort & Fire Brick company for their property interest at Dayton. They also propose negotiating for the Duffy property on the North Bluff. They may decide to move to Ottawa and locate here. This firm has built a dam across the Fox river near Oswego and will supply power to the towns from Yorkville to Ottawa. The contemplated road from Yorkville to Mendota will parallel the La Salle County railway, which is building from Ottawa to Mendota, Earlville to Sandwich and DeKalb. Sandwich, by granting a franchise to the Simpsons may have the La Salle County Railway, which is in active competition.

Simpson Bros. have been negotiating with the commissioners of the Illinois & Michigan canal for several months. The abstracts of the property which it will be necessary for the Simpsons to purchase has been turned over to the canal commissioners and they are now being examined by the attorneys for the canal board. It is expected that the dam will be built by the state, but that the Simpsons will furnish the money. The state will exercise jurisdiction over the dam. The Ottawa Hydraulic company, which had an interest in the Dayton water power, have surrendered their charter and whatever rights they had in the water power at Dayton have lapsed, so they will not have any opposition from this source.1


  1. The [Ottawa, Illinois] Free Trader, 13 Sep 1912, p7, col 2

Cora Dunavan Watts – Artist

Cora Dunavan Watts was born June 20, 1879, in Baker, La Salle County, Illinois. She died May 22, 1964, in Ottawa and is buried in the Precinct Cemetery in Earlville. She was a member of the large Green clan, a great-grandaughter of John Green, through his daughter Nancy, who married Joseph Albert Dunavan.

When she was a young girl she took an art course at the Art Institute in Chicago and later a correspondence course. Then she married and went to reside on a farm near Leland. Her duties as a wife and mother filled her time, but her love of art remained.

She renewed her hobby when, at the age of 78, she became a resident of the Cora J. Pope Home in Ottawa. She began her new career by taking a three-year correspondence course. She believed her early art training helped her to complete the course in only one and a half years.

She did some portrait work, as well as still life and scenes, and exhibited at the Allen Park Art Show and the Town and Country Art Show in Ottawa. She frequently worked from photographs as well as from life. Many of her relatives have pictures she painted from a favorite photograph.

Linderhof Castle

Linderhof Palace, painted by Cora Watts for Candace Wilmot

 

CONCUSSION OF THE BRAIN

Charles Benton Hess

Charles Benton Hess

Jesse Green’s son-in-law, C. B. Hess, was an owner of the Hess, Williams & Hess company, makers of firebrick and drain tile. The business was housed in the old stone mill in Dayton. Despite the injury described here, C. B. lived another twenty-seven years, not dying until the age of seventy-nine.

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 [Ottawa] 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.1


  1. The Ottawa [Illinois} Free Trader, 13 Jun 1891, p 5, col 1

The Guardianship of Edward and Henry Stickley

guardianship request of Esther Stickley Daniels

guardianship request of Esther Stickley Daniels

In June of 1854, Christian Stickley died in Dayton, leaving a widow, Esther, and two sons, Edward, age 7, and Henry, age 3. Esther married again on February 22, 1855, to Aaron Daniels.

Christian Stickley was the heir at law of Samual Stickley of Ohio. In the spring  of 1855, the Samual Stickley estate was ready to distribute the assets. Since Christian was dead, his sons were the heirs. However, the heirs were minors and needed a guardian to act for them. In the May term of the La Salle county court, Esther Daniels appeared and requested that Aaron Daniels, her husband, be named the guardian of her Stickley sons. On May 25, 1853, Aaron Daniels was sworn as guardian to the boys. He (with the assistance of Washington Bushnell) had to swear a guardianship bond of $800; said bond being null and void if he faithfully discharged the office of guardian and submitted yearly reports to the court.

From 1855 to 1862, Aaron fulfilled his duties, including paying the taxes on the Dayton lots the boys had inherited from their father. In 1863, Aaron wanted to move West with his wife and their young children. Edward and Henry apparently wished to stay in Illinois where they owned property, but they were still minors. Since Edward was now 14 years old, he was old enough to choose his own guardian. His choice,  Elias Trumbo, was then sworn as guardian and took out the guardianship bond, with the same caveats as before. Aaron Daniels filed a final report of his stewardship and moved to Kansas.

In 1870, Edward reached the age of twenty-one and Elias Trumbo turned over the assets he had been administering for him. Elias was released by the court from acting as Edward’s guardian. In September 1873, Elias was back to be released as guardian for Henry, who had also reached his majority.

H. B. Furr – Dayton inventor

H B Furr invention

Henry Furr introduced his patent application with the following words:

To all whom it may concern;
Be it known that I, Henry Bruce Furr, a citizen of Dayton, in the county of Lasalle and State of Illinois, have invented certain new and useful Improvements in Rolling-Disk Cultivators; and I do declare the following to be a full, clear and exact description of the invention, such as will enable others skilled in the art to which it appertains to make and use the same.

This Dayton farmer was born in 1860, the oldest son of Squire Newton Furr, a pioneer who came to La Salle county in 1838,  and his wife Mary E. Bruner. There were seven children in the family, Henry B., Alice V., George L., Charles N., Ellery, Minnie B., and Nettie M. Consequently, Henry Bruce had many connection to Dayton. His sister, Alice Virginia, married Edward Joseph Ward, Minnie Furr married Charles Brown, and Nettie Mae Furr married Gilbert Masters, all local people.

Henry’s father died in October, 1875, and his widow, Mary, continued to farm, aided by her sons and sons-in-law. After her death in 1908, Henry and Ellery worked the farm together. Henry died in 1930, never having married, and it does not appear that he became rich due to his improvements to the rolling-disk cultivator.

173 Years Ago Today

 

William Reddick

Democratic District Convention

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

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

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


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

The Charter Members of the Dayton Homemakers

 

The Dayton Homemakers in 1912

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mary Boe, 30 – unmarried, worked for Nellie Beach

Myrtle Bounds, 28 – married Arthur Bounds about 1904

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mesmerism

mesmerist at work

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ottawa October 17th 1894,
Jesse Green.