Births Recorded in the Isaac Green Bible

Isaac Green was born
in Licking County Ohio
January 10th 1804

Elizabeth Brown was born
in Matison County Kentucky
July 20th 1803

 

George M. Dunnavan was
born in Licking County Ohio
March 9th 1815

Catherine Green was born
in Licking County Ohio
March 8th 1822.

 

David S. Green was born
in Licking County Ohio
November 23d 1838.

Louisa J. Dunnavan was
born in LaSalle County Illinois
November 19th 1841.

 

Frank B. Son of
D. S. & L. J. Green, was born
Sept. 6th 1867, in Denver
City Colorado Territory

Arthur S. Son of D. S.
and L. J. Green was born
January 3d A.D. 1870 in
Terre Haute Indiana.

Carl J. Green Son
of D. S. and L. J. Green
was born May 7th
A. D. 1872 in Green
City Colorado Territory

Walter Lee Son of D. S. and
L. J. Green was born January
28th A. D. 1875 in Nevada,
Colorado Territory.

 

David and Louisa were first cousins once removed, as her grandfather, John Green, and his father, Isaac Green, were brothers, sons of Benjamin Green.

News From Dayton – January 1901

 

Image by igrishkoff from Pixabay

Dayton

An average of 15 loads of tile have been hauled from the tile mill every day for the past ten days for Wallace and Rutland.

Effie and Willie Timmons, who have been down with the grippe, are now able to be about again.

Otis Hager and John Bogerd, have finished shelling their corn.

Mrs. E. Luce and Mrs. Leroy Luce, have recovered from their attack of the grippe.

John Carpenter, Jr., has been home the past few days, laid up with a severe sore throat.

Some of the State Fish Commissioners have made several trips here of late, and it is surmised that the holes in the ice used for spearing fish will soon be allowed to freeze up again.

Roy Luce was on the street Monday morning, doubled up like a jack knife. Cause, the grippe.

The tile mill is busy shipping fire clay this week.

Thomas McGrogan has been very poorly of late, and has not as yet recovered from his recent illness.

On Monday last Emory Waller moved his furniture to Rutland, where he and his family intend making their future home.

The graveling on the plank road is finished for the present.

Lucile Maud, only child of Mr. and Mrs. John Bogerd, aged 1 year and 4 days, died on Monday morning, at 5 o’clock, of pneumonia. Funeral will be held at 1 o’clock on Wednesday afternoon. Interment in Ottawa avenue cemetery.

It was the intention of Mr. Sanderson to commence filling his ice house here on Wednesday morning. The outlook for doing so is not very favorable at present.

A. W. Ladd has been summoned as a grand juryman, and will commence his duties as such on next Monday, Jan. 14th.

Owing to the unfavorable weather for the past few days, every one you meet seems to be ailing from a cold or some other trouble, and “how are you feeling today” is about all you hear at greeting one another.

Dockey Tanner, the last one in our burg whom you would suppose could get sick, is suffering with a severe cold.

A. W. Shaw has trouble enough of his own just at present. A lame back.

Miss Mary Campbell, of Dayton, and Dr. F. Gustlow, of Prophetstown, Ill., were married on Wednesday afternoon at the residence of the bride’s brother, P. M. Campbell, Rev. David Gustlow, father of the groom, officiating.

The ice in the Fox river, at this point, will soon travel south if the weather continues as it has for the past few days.

Lyle A. Green is spending to-day (Wednesday) at Aurora.1


  1. The Ottawa Republican-Times, January 10, 1901, p. 4, col. 4

A Double Wedding

Andrew Jackson Brown

Hannah Loretta Brown

             

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Andrew Jackson and Hannah Loretta were the children of Sylvester Brown and Catherine Altenburg. They grew up on a farm in Dayton township. Andrew was one of the thousands of young men who were drawn to California by the lure of gold. While there he became friends with a young man about his age named William Martin.

The two spent several years in panning for gold, but after several years of roughing it, they decided they had enough gold and would like to go home. There was no way of transporting their gold in those days except carrying it on their persons, so they had money belts made, with pockets for the gold dust and nuggets. They each carried what was then considered a small fortune with them.

Andrew pursuaded his friend to come home with him to Illinois and there William met Andrew’s sister, Loretta. The two young men made quite a splash with their money and Andrew was as interested in Emma Dunavan as William was in Loretta. They married in a double wedding ceremony on March 2, 1865, and all went to Niagara Falls for their honeymoon.

Highly Recommended

blanket from the Dayton woolen factory

This blanket may be more elaborate than the ones described in this clipping, but it comes from the same woolen factory in Dayton.

DAYTON GOODS. – We have now in daily use, and have had so for twenty-five years, several pairs of blankets made by the Greens at Dayton, and they are apparently good for a dozen years more. This accords with a recent incident at the mill. An old friend of the Greens ordered six pairs of blankets, saying that the four pairs he had bought thirty years ago began to show wear, and as the present would probably last him the rest of his days, he took enough to go ‘round. We have never seen “store” blankets that equaled those made by Jesse Green & Sons at Dayton, in point of either finish or durability, at so low a price.1


  1. The Free Trader, 22 Sep 1877, p1, col 2

Dayton on the Fox

The following unidentified clipping comes from a family scrapbook.

DAYTON ON THE FOX
Mrs. John W. Fogle
Grand Ridge, Ill., R. F. D. 1

They will build a dam at Dayton,
At Dayton on the Fox,
Where the water twists and tumbles
As it flows between the rocks.

They will undertake this enterprise
If they can overcome their fears,
And bring new life to this village
Which has been asleep for years.

‘Twas a town of thrift and action
As it nestled between the hills,
For the water furnished power
For the flour and woolen mills.

‘Twas a thriving little village
As I look back o’er the years,
And the breaking up of home ties
Caused many bitter tears.

There’s a quiet little graveyard
Along the river’s brink,
Where the leaves in golden autumn
Are all colors you can think.

Where the squirrels frisk and chatter
As they hunt their winter’s store,
From trees that shade the silent homes
Of our loved ones gone before.

Broad and fertile farm lands
Surround this little place,
Where years ago the timberlands
Furnished ground for hunters’ chase.

‘Twas the stopping place of Shabbona,
And many Indian braves
Who gave their time to hunt and fish,
And the fun their spirit craves.

And now it comes to life again,
In this age of power and gold,
When even running waters
Are being bought and sold.

They will build this dam at Dayton
For the wealth of coming trade,
And harness up the waters,
Changing scenes that nature made.

When we visit scenes of childhood
In the sunset of our years,
We will praise the work of science
With everlasting cheers.

How we wish the running waters
Could talk as they go by,
They would preach a lasting sermon
Of our blessings from on high.

As the waves go splashing by you,
Listen now – they seem to say,
“Dayton takes her place in history
In the grand old U. S. A.”

Why do I love this river
As it zigzags ‘round the rocks?
Why, I was born at Dayton,
At Dayton on the Fox.

Mrs. John W. Fogle was Mary Bunna Rhoads, daughter of Thomas and Katherine Rhoads. She was born February 17, 1864 in Dayton. She married John W. Fogel August 22, 1888 in La Salle county, Illinois, and lived in Grand Ridge. She died April 11, 1926, in Ottawa.

 

 

 

 

Holiday Memories – Christmas 1953

The following column is reprinted from volume 3 of the 1953-54 publication, Our School News, produced by the students of the Dayton School.

Holiday Memories

Mrs. Genevieve Hall of Ottawa called at the John Jackson home on Christmas eve.

Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Hiland, Terry, Janelle and Laurel visited Mr. and Mrs. Vernon Hiland and family of Moline.

Mr. and Mrs. Charles Clifford, Candace, Sally and Mrs. Ralph Green spent New Year’s Day with Mr. and Mrs. Eichelberger of LaGrange.

On Christmas Day, the Clifford family called on Mr. Clifford’s mother. Mr. and Mrs. Sears, their children, Mr. and Mrs. Roberts and their two girls also were there.

On Christmas Day Mr. and Mrs. Floyd McMichel, Mrs. Mossbarger and Bobby called at the home of George McMichel of Wedron.

Mr. and Mrs. Cruit and their children, Mr. and Mrs. Lloyd Ray and their three children, Mr. and Mrs. Cecil Barr and child came to spend a day at the home of Oran Mathias in honor of Mrs. Mathias’s birthday.

On New Year’s Day, Mr. and Mrs. Wayne Thompson and their three children came from Florida and spent the day at the Chester Thompson home.

Mr. and Mrs. Bernard Hackler, Bryan and Gary were vacation guests of Mr. and Mrs. Howell of LaGrange.

Holiday visitors at the Mathias home included Mr. and Mrs. Cecil Barr of Decatur, Mr. and Mrs. Lloyd Ray of Bethany, Mr. and Mrs. Wayne Cruit and Mr. and Mrs. Henry Heiland of Findlay, Ilinois.

Mr. and Mrs. Charles Poole, Robert, David, Nancy and Patty spent Christmas Day with Mr. and Mrs. George Poole.

Mrs. Oran Mathias, Jimmy, Linda, and Gary spent Christmas in the home of Mr. and Mrs. Chester Mathias in Shelby County. They also visited Mr. and Mrs. Ray of Bethany.

Mr. and Mrs. Jesse Leonard spent Christmas Day with the Don Leonard Family.

Mr. and Mrs. Jason Hughes spent New Year’s in Pontiac at the Ramsey home.

Dixie Slover spent Christmas in Chicago with her father. She had an enjoyable time shopping, going to the big stores and visiting relatives. Mr. Slover brought her home New Year’s.

Mrs. Kossow’s parents from Peru were New Year’s guests at the Kossow home.

Marty reports a vacation in Florida during the holidays where he went swimming, sight seeing and fishing. To go fishing Marty and his Dad went out in a boat.

The George Pinske family visited relatives in Freedom township during the holidays.

Mr. and Mrs. Joe Frig, Lounetta, Clarence and Mary Jo spent Christmas at the home of their grandmother, Mrs. McConnahay in Ottawa. Lounetta enjoys using her flash bulb camera which she received as a gift.

The traditional gathering at the home of Fred Eichelkraut in Ottawa was attended by the Robert Ohme family, it is held on Christmas eve.
Robert and Charles are busy with the gas model airplanes which they received at Christmas.

Carol Dezso accompanied her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Frank VanDorn, and brother, Jimmie, to South Bend, Indiana, during the holidays where they visited friends and relatives.

Sally Ann Peters enjoyed riding her mule during the holidays. Her grandmother, Mrs. Pearl Peters entertained relatives at Christmas time.

Mr. and Mrs. Leslie Carrier, Jack Traeger of Chicago were holiday visitors at the home of Mr. and Mrs. A. Walleck.
During the holidays, Bob skated to Wedron.

Mr. and Mrs. Harold Fosse entertained the Melvin Holm family on Christmas Day. On December 27, Mr. and Mrs. Melvin Holm and family attended the Fosse family reunion held at the Masonic Temple in Ottawa.

Larry Mettille is the possessor of a new gun and enjoyed hunting during the holidays. The Jess Mettile family visited Mr. and Mrs. L. Halterman of Ottawa on Christmas Day. An interesting specimen, that of a heart, was viewed by Larry Mettile while at this aunt’s home,

Dick Jackson visited friends at Earlville at Christmas time, later during the vacation he entertained these Earlville friends at his home. Dick has a new electric train which he enjoys greatly.

On Christmas eve, a gift exchange was held at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Theodore Wilson. Guests present included Mr. and Mrs. Eugene Davis and son of Maywood and Mr. and Mrs. Lum McKinney.

Kenneth Newtson received a 16 gauge shotgun for Christmas. He skated to Wedron during the vacation period. Guests at the Newtson home for Christmas included Mr. and Mrs. LaVerne Jamieson and daughters, and Fred Newtson.

Larry Polen tried out his new skates during the holidays.

Eddy Peters visited relatives in Marseilles during the holidays. Eddy enjoyed decorating, then later taking the tree down.

Mrs. Eva Charlier, Miss Emma Fraine, Mrs. Mathias and Linda were guests at the home of Mrs. J. Trent during the holidays.

The Great Flood of 1855

The Fox River has seen ice jams many times over the years.

The last of January, 1855, witnessed a great storm and flood, extending over several States and doing vast damage everywhere, this county not excepted. At Ottawa the principal loss was the destruction of the Illinois River bridge, then but about two years old. Up to the evening of Saturday, Jan. 31, and as long as the ice from the Illinois River came square upon the piers, they bore the pressure without sign of giving way; but on that evening, when the ice came out of Fox River, borne on a drifting current of six or seven miles an hour, and striking the piers from a quartering direction, they could resist the shock no longer, and before midnight an ominous crashing heard in that direction above the roar of the ice showed that the noble bridge had shared the fate of so many others and gone down before the flood.

Daylight on Sunday morning revealed the extent of the ruin. The trestle-work and the second pier from the north shore had entirely disappeared, taking down with them the entire bridge to the third pier, leaving the two south spans still resting on the piers so shattered as to be barely able to carry their weight. The woodwork of the bridge lodged on an island near Utica, and a portion of it was recovered.

The cost, however, of repairing the damage exceeded half the original coat of the bridge. At the time of this disaster the water rose a foot above the highest point touched since the county was settled, the point mentioned being reached in 1849.

Some damage was done to the Fox River bridge. Considerable property was injured and carried off from the low ground on the east side of Fox River. Messrs. Fredenburgh, Smeaton and Van Gaebeck, living next to the bridge, were obliged to emigrate, and lost in fences, hay, wagons, etc., seriously. Persons living on the south side of Main street, east of Fox River, who had their stables on low ground, all lost something. Below the hydraulic basin, south of the main part of the city, some damage was done. On the low ground in Ottawa Center about a dozen houses, generally small and occupied by poor people, were submerged to the roof and the contents ruined where not carried off.

The chief disaster at Dayton was the destruction of the fine bridge erected by the people four or five years before at an expense of some $4,000, It was taken off bodily, leaving nothing but the naked abutment The feeder was so injured that mills could not run for a month or so. Some sixty or seventy rods of the bank were swept away and the lock was seriously damaged.

At Peru and La Salle the damage was pretty heavy. At the latter place all the lower stories of the buildings on the canal basin were submerged, and much fear was entertained with reference to the fleet of loaded canal boats in the basin, but they appear not to have suffered much. At Peru the fine stone freight house of the Rock Island Railroad had its whole east side knocked out Several loaded canal-boats were sunk, and some warehouses and other buildings damaged in various ways.1


  1. History of La Salle County, Illinois, 2 vols. (Chicago: Inter-State Publishing Co., 1886), 1, 451-452.

Saved From Amputation

Having a good doctor in the early days was essential, as this excerpt from Jesse Green’s memoir shows:

Our first physician in Dayton, was a German, whose name I have forgotten, next was Allen H. Howland, Harmon Hurlbut and Peter Schemerhorn, Dr. Howland was also an excellent surgeon whom father employed, when he had his arm smashed from the hand to above his elbow, in cutting the ice from a water wheel, other Physicians wanted to amputate his arm, above the elbow but father would not consent to this, and sent for Dr. Howland, notwithstanding they had just passed through a very bitter campaign, in which Wm. Stadden was the regularly nominated candidate for the state Senate and Dr. Howland ran against him as an independent candidate and was defeated. When he called to see father and examined his wound, father made this proposition to him, “if he would save his life and his arm, he would give him five hundred dollars,” and the Dr. said he could do it, and took the case and did do it, and got his five hundred dollars.

 

A little information about the good doctor:

Dr. Allen H. Howland was born in 1796 in Saratoga County, New York. In 1823 he was one of the organizing physicians of the Wayne County, NY, Medical Society. In 1826 he married Catherine Reed in Canandaigua, New York. By 1838 he had moved to La Salle County , living in Ottawa.

In 1838 Allen H. Howland ran as an independent against William Stadden (who was running for re-election) in the race for state senator for the counties of La Salle, Kane, Iroquois & Livingston. Stadden, a long-time friend and family connection of John Green’s,  won with a sizeable margin.

In 1848, Howland was elected president of the Ottawa Medico Chirurgical Society. A prominent physician in Ottawa for nearly a third of a century, he died in 1866.

The First Mills

An example of a water-driven mill. The ones described below may have looked similar.

From Jesse Green’s Memoir

Early in the spring of l830 development of the water power was commenced by using the stumps from the timber from which the mill was being constructed. Economy was sought to a greater extent than it is at the present time. The saw mill was built with sufficient room to put a pair of stones in one end of it to do our grinding until a better mill could be erected, having brought with us the necessary mill irons, black-smith tools etc. Whilst the men were getting out the timber for the mill and dam, which had to be built to intersect a small island, brother David and myself took the contract of scraping out the race or waterway for a distance of about a half mile (he being ten, and I twelve years old). We each had a pair of oxen and an old fashioned scraper. I sometimes had to help him load and dump his scraper and vice versa. We had the race completed by the time the mills were ready to draw their gates.

On the morning of the 4th day of July 1830 the first wheat was ground by water power in the northern portion of Illinois. We did not at this time have a bolt for separating the flour from the bran but we thought that graham flour was good enough to celebrate that Natal day with a double purpose that will never be forgotten by the latest survivor of the memorable event. It marked the first and greatest step in the alleviation of the hardships and suffering of the early settlers, and they soon all had plenty of graham flour and corn dodgers. Up to this time we were obliged to grind our grain in a coffee mill, or pound it in a mortar improvised by burning out a hole in the top of a stump, and attaching an iron wedge to a handle to use as a pestle which was operated in a manner similar to the old fashioned well sweep.

Our second flouring mill was built in 1831. Having plenty of lumber at this time, a good frame building was erected but before we had got fully acquainted with the pranks of old “Fox”, we found that we had encroached too closely on her banks, and by way of admonition a gorge of ice shoved the mill back a little, sufficient for a warning, the damage not being so great but that it was soon repaired so as to do our grinding until a third mill could be built.

The third mill was built in 1834 of much greater dimensions containing five pairs of “flint ridge burrs” gotten in Ohio together with the old Pioneer [grindstones], which were used for grinding corn and buck-wheat. This mill did a very extensive business in the manufacture of flour which found a ready market in St. Louis at that time, and a little later Chicago became our market.

The Missing Marker

It has long been known, from memories and newspaper accounts, that a marker was erected on the east side of the river at Dayton during the centennial celebration in 1929, commemorating the arrival of the Green party. However, the brass marker disappeared years ago and no one remembered exactly what it said.

I was looking through some old family stuff recently and I came across this snapshot. If blown up, it’s possible to read the text, which says:

1829        1929
ERECTED BY THE DESCENDANTS OF
JOHN GREEN
WHO ARRIVED HERE
WITH THE FOLLOWING PARTY ON
DECEMBER 6, 1829
JOHN GREEN AND FAMILY
REZIN DEBOLT AND FAMILY
DAVID GROVE AND FAMILY
HENRY BRUMBACH AND FAMILY
JACOB KITE      ALEXANDER MCKAY
HARVEY SHAVER   SAMUEL, JOSEPH
AND JACOB GROVE
THEY IMMEDIATELY BEGAN THE
CONSTRUCTION OF A DAM, SAW AND
FLOURING MILL WHICH WERE THE
FIRST IN NORTHERN ILLINOIS
THE GREENS ERECTED THE FIRST
WOOLEN MILL IN ILLINOIS ON THE
OPPOSITE BANK OF THE RIVER IN
1840

This picture was taken at the 1929 dedication.  From information on the back , these people are-
Back row: Harold Dunavan, Herberta Schabes holding her daughter Dolores, Harold’s wife Marie, Clara “Coe” Dunavan, Herbert L. Dunavan
Front: Muriel, Marion and Buddie

Thanksgiving In and Around Dayton – 1901

 

turkey

CORRESPONDENCE
DAYTON

The Fox river at this point is frozen over.

Len Hubbell is spending this week in Chicago.

A. W. Ladd made a business trip to Aurora last week.

Charles Sheppler has been laid up for a few days with a lame back.

John Marshall of Serena made a business call here on Saturday.

George Galloway enjoyed his duck at his own fireside on Thanksgiving day.

Mr. and Mrs. Moore spent a couple of days last week with friends at Earlville.

The Mutual Protective League meets on Wednesday night at Woodman hall.

Miss Mary Coleman and Miss Mary Cloat spent Wednesday and Thursday at Streator.

John Hippard has joined the T., P., & C. W. brigade and is now one of their teamsters.

Miss Mary Dunn of Ottawa spent Sunday with the Misses Mary and Maggie Coleman.

Mrs. Edwards and daughter, Mamie, of Ottawa spent Monday at Mr. and Mrs. James Timmons.

Mr. Isaac Green and family were guests of Mr. and Mrs. O. W. Trumbo on Thanksgiving day.

Mrs. John Lannel [Channel] and A. W. Ladd were visiting Mr. and Mrs. Beik’s at Ottawa on the 28th.

Corn husking is nearly over in the corn fields, but has just commenced at the fireside in the store.

Miss Jennie Barnes starts for Joliet in a few days to spend the winter with her sister, Mrs. Winn Green.

Mrs. Marguerite Mills and Mrs. Brown of South Ottawa spent Friday with Mrs. George Galloway.

One hundred and fifty bushels of corn were sold here on Monday for sixty cents per bushel, cash.

John Green and son, Percival, former residents here for many years, spent Sunday with friends here.

Mrs. John Gibson and son, Fred, left for Chicago on Tuesday, where they will make their home for the present.

Roy McBrearty, operator for the Q. at Denrock, spent Thanksgiving with his parents, Mr. and Mrs. J. McBrearty.

Mr. and Mrs. George La Pere dined with Mrs. La Pere’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. William Lohr, on Thanksgiving day.

Mr. and Mrs. Ed McClary spent Thanksgiving with Mr. E. H. Pederson and wife, deputy U. S. marshal at Yorkville.

Miss Blanche McGrath and Miss Kate Hogan of Streator were guests of the Misses Colman on Thanksgiving day.

The ticket winning the watch at the raffle on Saturday night was No. 31, and was held by Joseph Futterer of Ottawa.

William and Walter Breese and Lowell Hoxie and wife of Aurora spent Thanksgiving with Mr. and Mrs. John Breese.

John Campbell, feeder watchman at Dayton, has tendered his resignation, the same going into effect December 1st, 1901.

The Woodman Lodge will elect their officers on Tuesday night, December 10th, at 7:30, at their hall. A large attendance is expected.

On account of the scarcity of water in the feeder the electric plant was compelled to shut down on several occasions the last few days.

Bert Edwards, who has been employed as teamster for George Green, has gone to Streator, which city he expects to make his future home.

William Collamore, Jr., of Ottawa and Miss Olson of near Morris, gave Thanksgiving at the home of William Collamore, Sr., and wife, on the 28th.

Mrs. Ed Vernon and two children left for Somonauk on Saturday morning, where she will be the guest of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Colb for a few days.

John Cisco of Ottawa is now acting as feeder watchman until the successor of John Campbell, resigned, is appointed.

W. Wheeler and R. Doran left here for Chicago on Wednesday morning where they will visit the fat stock show and will remain until Saturday.

Wilmot Van Etten, agent for the Q. at Batavia, with his wife and three sons, Clare, Walcott and Frank, dined with Mr. and Mrs. O. W. Trumbo on Thanksgiving day, returning on the afternoon train for Batavia.

The commissioners of the Illinois and Michigan canal met at Lockport on Tuesday to appoint a feeder watchman to take the place of John Campbell, resigned. Mr. George Galloway of our little burg was also present in the interest of one of our citizens, who has resided in our midst for the past nine years. Mr. G. with his credentials made an interesting effort in behalf of Mr. William Collamore and returned home on Tuesday night with the pleasing news that Mr. Collamore had been appointed. Mr. Collamore, the new appointee, is well deserving the place he is about to fill. He has always been a staunch Republican, served three and one-half years in the war of the rebellion in the Fifty-eighth regiment, Company G., Illinois Volunteers. Mr. Collamore and his family will shortly move into his new quarters on the banks of the feeder. Well, William, that your journey along the tow path, from Dayton to Ottawa, for the next four years may be one of pleasure and no thorns to mar your path is the wish of your many friends of Dayton.


  1. Free Trader, December 6, 1901, p. 12, cols. 1-2

News From Dayton – November 1879

 

C. B. Hess

Barbara Grove Green

Grandma Green

Rural Happenings

Dayton, Nov. 20 – Winter, cold winter has come. No more we’ll hear the robin sing.

Birth-day parties are all the go. C. B. Hess, Esq. was surprised last week by a lot of young folks who came in honor of his 39th birth-day. A good time was had.

Another good time was the one in honor of Grandma Green’s 87th birthday. About 50 were present.

Miss Mamie Davis of Newark, Ohio, is visiting friends and relatives in town.

Messrs. Geo. W. Green and Joseph Green took in the Grant “boom” at Chicago last week.

Mr. A. Spencer departed for Texas last week. We understand he will take charge of a restaurant.

  1. L. Grove, Esq., started Wednesday morning on a trip to Nebraska, to be gone about ten days.

Mr. David Grove has fallen heir to a small fortune, and departed Monday for Pennsylvania where it is held for the heirs.

Miss Estella Bagley returned on Monday from Wenona where she has been engaged in the milliner business.

Messrs. Richard Walker of Earl and his brother John Walker of Ohio, spent a few days in Dayton last week. Mr. John Walker was a resident of this place thirty-two years ago, and this is his first visit since that time.

Mr. Geo. W. Gibson returned last week from his trip to Nebraska.

Rev. G. Barnes of Ottawa will give his views on the “Future Life” at the school house this evening.

Rev. Mrs. Gibb will preach at the school house next Sabbath evening.

The tile works have quit work for the winter. They have a fine lot of tile on hand for sale.

The late rains have raised the river somewhat, though it still continues fordable, notwithstanding the “raise.”

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

Messrs. T. MacKinley and John Gibson, of Rutland, departed last Friday for Newark, Ohio, on a short visit.

Our schools are progressing finely under the management of Mr. Chas. K. Howard and Miss Ada Green.

Occasional1


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

A Goodbye Party

 

 

 

 

 

[The customs of the time tended toward formality on occasions such as this. We would find Barbara’s response for the family a little unusual. Luckily, the formalities were followed by bountiful refreshments.]

On Saturday evening last, the old friends and neighbors of Mr. and Mrs. J. A. Dunavan, of Dayton, gathered in and treated them to a handsome good-bye surprise, it being on the eve of their departure to their new home in Colorado. Some valued presents were given them as memorials, on the offering of which, Mr. Frank Trumbo, as spokesman for the visitors said:

“Mr. and Mrs. J. A. Dunavan: – Your friends and neighbors, learning with sincere regret that you have determined to remove from our midst, and make your future home in another State, take this opportunity to bid you good-bye. For more than half a century you have been with us, even one of us, sharing without complaint the hardships of a pioneer life, and at last rejoicing with us in the reclamation and progress of this marvelous country; with your mental abilities yet undimmed, and possessing an amount of your former vigor and strength that is seldom retained by persons of your advanced age, you have decided to build for yourselves a home in another locality. In far off Sunny Colorado, protected by the giant Rockies, we trust you will be permitted to enjoy many years of a life that, from the activity of your minds, must be spent in deeds of usefulness.

“Language forms an inadequate channel in which to express our sorrow at your departure from among us, and only through the silent clasping of our hands can we show our regret. In remembrance of your many sterling qualities, of your unimpeachable hospitality, and your much prized friendship, we present you, Mr. Dunavan, with this cane, and you, Mrs. Dunavan, with this album; and also, with these, the knowledge that deep in the recesses of our hearts the names of Mr. and Mrs. J. A. Dunavan will be revered as among the founders of our beautiful Prairie State.

“To you, Miss Alice Dunavan, to whom an indulgent nature has given the attributes of a true and perfect woman, your devotion to your parents in the declining years of their lives deserves a recognition at the hands of your friends. We, therefore, tender you this album, with the wish that it will soon be filled with the pictures of your Illinois friends.”

To which Miss Barbara Green responded:

“I will in behalf of the family, as this is all a surprise, and they are not prepared to respond (if their feelings would permit) to the presentation of these gifts, that, aside from their value, will be cherished as coming from life long friends, as purely disinterested tokens of respect – may I not say affection? – I will in a few words express their gratification in seeing you here to make them a farewell visit at the old homestead where in young wedded life they began the battles incident to a new country at a time when, with the exception of two, who crossed the river to commence the family circle in that happier home, all the others of the large family that grew to manhood and womanhood in this same home nest and have made homes for families, are now taking their place in the busy world, that has been transformed from a wilderness to the rank of the highest civilization, almost under the notice of a generation. I know that all will be glad to see this family that through misfortune and causes that are constantly taking place in this seeming hard world, starting anew with the ambition and vigor of youth to begin life again in a new country, but very different from pioneer life in Illinois when they began their home first they now leave with many heartaches, and the greatest is caused in leaving the old life, long associations and friends, never to be forgotten. And they hope to retain a place in the memory and hearts of all who have proved friends in adversity as well as in prosperity.

“I will now thank you all in their name for the testimonials of affection that your kind hearts have prompted you to tender them tonight.”

The formal part of the occasion over, bountiful refreshments were served and the evening was spent in social amusements.1


  1. The Ottawa Free Trader, March 3, 1888, p. 4, col. 5

The Rest of the Story

This is the follow-up to last week’s story, which may be seen here[Note that George Benoit’s name was spelled Bennett in the initial articles on this event.]

INDICTMENTS RETURNED
Against Mary McWilliams and George Bennett for Attempted Murder

From Wednesday’s Daily
The special grand jury summoned to investigate the McWilliams affair began their labors on the case at 9 o’clock this morning and by noon were done and returned indictments against Mary McWilliams and Geo. Bennett, charging them with an assault with intent to commit murder by poisoning. The charges were conclusive and the jury completed its work in short order. Neither of the defendants was able to give bail and they now occupy quarters in the county jail. It is thought that they will enter a plea to the charges and in less than a week they will be doing time in Joliet.1

GIVEN THEIR REWARD
Bennett and Mrs. McWilliams Sent to Joliet Prison Yesterday

George Bennett and Mrs. Mary McWilliams were given a long season by Judge Blanchard yesterday afternoon in which to meditate upon the consequences of a double crime, that of unfaithfulness and attempted murder. They were brought before the court by the sheriff’s officials to plead to the indictments found against them on the previous day, and, as both had made confessions, she that she had placed the poison in her husband’s tea at Bennett’s suggestion, and Bennett that he had purchased the poison and given it to her for the purpose of putting McWilliams out of the way, they expressed no desire to stand trial, but threw themselves upon the mercy of the court by pleading guilty.

Judge Blanchard said that he considered Bennett the plotter and real culprit, as he had alienated the affections of the wife, while having a family of his own, and then sought to wholly possess the woman by making her the executioner of her husband. On this account he gave Bennett the full limit of the law, fourteen years in Joliet, but gave Mrs. McWilliams seven years because of the fact that she had been more a dupe and a tool than a willing criminal. Both took their sentences hard, especially the woman. Their intended victim, the husband, John McWilliams, has fully recovered, and is now as well as ever.2

MRS McWILLIAMS CONFESSES
She Admits That She Placed the Poison in the Tea

From Sunday’s Daily
Mrs. John McWilliams, wife of the man who all but expired from Strychnine poisoning Friday noon, confessed at the county jail last evening that she placed the deadly drug in her husband’s tea for the purpose of putting him out of the way. Rumors to the effect that McWilliams had poisoned himself with “Rough on Rats” are without foundation, for, though he may have made such a statement in his delirium, the fact is that the poison was strychnine. Mrs. McWilliams is closely confined in jail, while her husband, who is still very weak, is in the county asylum, on account of the lack of a city hospital.3

TELLS THE STORY
George Benoit Admits That He Figured in the Poisoning

HE IS CAPTURED AT LA SALLE
He Says That the Whole Affair Was Arranged Weeks Ago by Mrs. McWilliams and Himself and She Administered the Dose

From Monday’s Daily
But little has been said of the McWilliams affair, which occurred on Friday last, up to the present time, owing to the fact that George Benoit, one of the accessories to the crime, was not captured until last night. As soon as he heard that he was wanted he made his escape from Dayton and went to La Salle, where he remained with his sister-in-law. As stated in yesterday’s paper, Mrs. McWilliams made a confession of the whole affair on Saturday, and Sheriff Taylor lost no time in hunting up the abode of Benoit. He was captured at La Salle and brought to Ottawa this morning and placed in the county jail. This afternoon he was brought before State’s Attorney Blake and told the whole story. He said that Mrs. McWilliams made the proposition to him to do away with her husband so that they might get married, and on Saturday, Oct. 22, he purchased the strychnine in this city. Benoit took the matter very cooly. He is a man of family, and according to his own statement intended to get a divorce from his present wife after McWilliams was out of the way and marry his wife.

McWilliams has fully recovered from the effects of the poison and on Saturday did not seem desirous of prosecuting the matter. But the authorities told him it was no longer in his hands and that there would be a rigid prosecution. The case will come up at the January term of the court.4


  1. The Ottawa Free trader, November 5, 1892, p. 1, col. 2
  2. The Ottawa Free trader, November 5, 1892, p. 1, col. 3
  3. The Ottawa Free trader, November 5, 1892, p. 3, col. 2
  4. The Ottawa Free trader, November 5, 1892, p. 7, col. 2

A Halloween Horror Story

A DIABOLICAL PLOT
John McWilliams Lying at the Point of Death

POISON IN HIS TEA
He Alleges That His Wife Prepared the Dose in Hopes of Putting Him Out of the Way – He Will Recover and Will Prosecute the Matter

From Friday’s Daily:
One of the most fiendish plots that we have been compelled to chronicle for many a day occurred in this city at noon today. For several days past John McWilliams, a laborer, whose home is in Dayton has been employed on our streets by the Rockford Construction Company. He worked at the Rock Island depot unloading the brick from the cars to the wagons. As stated before, his home is in Dayton, to which place he returned every evening. He carried his dinner with him in the morning and at noon he ate it at the flagman’s house on Columbus street. After quitting work this noon, he went to this little house, as usual, and proceeded to eat his dinner. He carried his tea in a small can, and after drinking probably a half a pint of it, he remarked to some of the men who were with him that the tea had a queer taste and he threw the balance of it away. He soon became sick and was seized with cramps and then became hysterical. Dr. Dyer was sent for and upon examination found that the unfortunate man had drank strychnine in his tea and administered an emetic.

McWilliams was conscious all the time and when questioned by a representative of this paper as to the manner in which the poison was placed in his tea, he had no hesitation in saying that it was the work of his wife and that she was undoubtedly prompted to do so by a married man, who resides in Dayton and with whom she has been very intimate of late. The whole circumstances tended to show that the plot was perpetrated with homicidal intentions and the poisoned man weak as he was stated that it was the work of no one save his wife and her admirer. The matter was reported to State’s Attorney Blake, who immediately issued a warrant for their arrest and the same was placed in the sheriff’s hands for service. At 3 o’clock McWilliams was resting quietly and Sr. Dyer’s opinion is that he will recover. The plot is one that should not go unrecognized by the authorities and the perpetrators should be punished to the fullest extent of the law.1

[Stay tuned. Next week we will see the follow-up to this attempted murder.]


  1. The Ottawa Free Trader, October 29, 1892, p. 5, col. 4

Solomon Channel

Solomon Channel death record

. . . Solomon Channel deceased, left him surviving no widow but left him surviving Joseph R. Channel, whose place of residence if living is unknown, his son and Mary C. Belk, and Sarah Channel, residing in South Ottawa, Illinois, and Melvina P. Mitchell residing at Centralia, Ill, his daughters and Maggie Corsbie only child of Maggie Corsbie a deceased daughter of said Testator residing in Montague, Texas, Jackson Channel a son residing in Dayton Illinois and John W. Channel, this administrator, his only children and heirs at law1

Solomon Channel, and wife, Betsy Wamsley, from Ohio in 1832, settled on N. W. 1/4 S. 12, T. 33, R. 4; sold to A. D. Butterfield, and returned to Ohio, came back to Illinois in 1840 [actually 1850], and died 1875; his wife died before him. He has had seven children. Joseph, now in Iowa; Mary married a Mr. Bell in Adams; Malvina; Alva, is dead; Sarah, John, and Jackson, are single.2

Solomon Channel, b 5 July 1800; d 5 March 18753
Betsy Channel, b 1811, d 27 October 18653
Alva Sea Channel, b 1833, d 15 August 18543
Samuel A. Channel, b 1850, d 28 August 18543

John W. Channel, b 1849, has been covered elsewhere on this site; see his biography and his cemetery record.

See this well-sourced Ancestry tree for more information on the children.


  1. Solomon Channel probate file, 1876, box C, file 173, La Salle County Genealogy Guild, 115 W. Glover St., Ottawa, Illinois
  2. Elmer Baldwin, History of La Salle County, Illinois (Chicago: Rand, McNally & Co., 1877), p. 283.
  3. FindAGrave entries, Daniels Cemetery, Ottawa, LaSalle County, Illinois.

 

Autumn in Dayton 143 Years Ago

 

Rural Happenings

            Dayton, Oct. 2, 1879. – The past few days have been quite warm, in fact uncomfortably so. But then winter is not far away, for –

“Summer is gone on swallow’s wings,
And Earth has buried all her flowers;
No more the lark, – the linnet – sings,
But Silence sits in faded bowers.

There is a shadow on the plain
Of Winter ere he comes again, –
There is in woods a solemn sound
Of hollow warnings whispered round,

As Echo in her deep recess
For once had turned a prophetess.
Shuddering Autumn stops to list,
And breathes his fear in sudden sighs,
With clouded face, and hazel eyes
That quench themselves, and hide in mist.”

J. B. Jennings has rented the Exchange to Mr. James Timmons and has moved to his farm in Iowa.

Mr. Anson Spencer’s family have gone to Texas to seek health and a new home. Mr. S. will soon follow them.

John G. Dunavan and family of Rutland, have made Dayton their home

O. W. Trumbo and family were visiting friends in Chicago last week.

Mr. Silas Dunavan, son of G. M. Dunavan, Esq., and who has spent the past fifteen years in the west, has returned home for a brief visit.

Mr. John Green departed Tuesday for a few days visit, – with the big pumpkins and squashes, of course, – at the Wenona Union Fair.

Nearly a dozen of our people visited your city last Tuesday evening to hear the wonderful Remenyi. With one exception they returned well pleased with the concert, and voted Remenyi a first class artiste.
[Remenji, a Hungarian violinist, gave a concert in Ottawa on September 30, with over 400 in the audience. I wonder who the lone dissenter was.]

Rev. Sophie Gibb of Sheriden delivered an excellent discourse at the school house last Sabbath evening.

Rev. G. B. Barnes of Ottawa preached to the Dayton people last week. Mr. Barnes, we understand, will give his views on “Universalism” at his next appointment.

Mr. Andrew Rhoads left us Wednesday for a visit to Kansas.

Messrs. William Stadden and Walter Trumbo, who have been out west examining the farming lands of Nebraska, returned home last Friday.

Green Bros. have just finished burning another fine lot of tile.

The woolen mills are turning out some fine flannels and blankets. Being the genuine article, made of all wool, they are in good demand.

Occasional1


  1. The Ottawa Free Trader, October 4, 1879, p. 8, col. 1

A Lawn Social and Concert

David Green house in 1907

The home of Mr. and Mrs. E. A. Dallam

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. The following program was rendered:

Selection – Orchestra, composed of Miss Ida C. Chamberlin, of Ottawa, Miss Boyd, of Grand Ridge, and Messrs. Belrose and Chamberlin, of Wedron.

Vocal solo – Miss Anna O’Meara, of Ottawa.

Violin solo – Miss Boyd.

Solo – Miss Buckley.

Violin solo – Miss Boyd.

Vocal solo – Miss Chamberlin.

Vocal solo – Merle Haight, of Ottawa

Selection – Orchestra1

Miss Ida Chamberlin, orchestra member here in 1913, was the music teacher at the Dayton school when I was in Miss Fraine’s room about 1946 or 47. 


  1. The Ottawa Free Trader, July 18, 1913, p. 8, col. 3

A Rough Spot in a Marriage – and an Unexpected Ending

On September 29, 1881, Alice Virginia Furr married Edward Joseph Ward in Dayton. She was the daughter of Squire and Mary (Bruner) Furr. He was the son of Fenton and Mary (?) Ward. Although he lists his mother’s name as Mary Clemens in this marriage application, the 1842 La Salle County marriage of Fenting [sic] Ward lists his wife’s name as Mary Cofield. Further investigation is needed on this.

The marriage was performed in Ottawa by Charles F. W. O’Neill, Catholic Priest.

They had three children:

Mary Elizabeth, born April 28, 1883, in Dayton township; married Robert J. W. Briggs September 12, 1905, in Ottawa, Illinois; died September 24, 1948.

William Albert Ward, born April 25, 1885, in Dayton township; died August 4th, 1967, in Warm Springs, Montana. He never married.

Carrie E., born 6 May 1887, in Dayton township; married Oakley Wright Esmond December 23, 1908, in Dayton; died February 1981 in Ottawa.

After 12 years and four children, the marriage was in trouble, and in January 1893 Alice sued for divorce, as reported by the Free Trader –

Mrs. Alice V. Ward’s Case to be Tried Tomorrow Morning

The somewhat sensational divorce case of Mrs. Alice V. Ward, of Dayton, four miles northeast of Ottawa, against her husband, Edward J. Ward, will be placed on trial before Judge Blanchard and a jury at 9 o’clock tomorrow morning.

Mrs. Ward, who is the daughter of the late Justice Furr, alleges that she has been a true and dutiful wife to her husband, but that she is no longer able to bear his name because of his drunkenness and general worthlessness.1

But the next day we find the following:

CIRCUIT CIVIL CASES
The Ward divorce case, from Dayton, was not placed on trial this morning, as the defendant, Ward, withdrew his contest and allowed his wife to secure her divorce by default. Mayo & Widmer, attys.2

In 1893, divorce was available only for a very limited number of causes. Many divorces that told of cruelty or bad behavior could have been an agreement between two people who wanted to end the marriage, but had no legal grounds for divorce. The fact that Mr. Ward did not contest the action suggests that he was a willing partner to the divorce.

The divorce does appear to be amicable, as Edward and three of the children – Mary, William, and Carrie – are found in 1900, living with Alice’s mother and brothers. Alice has not been located in 1900. In 1910 both Alice and Edward are listed as divorced. In 1920 Edward claims to be a widower.

But that is not the end of the story. In 1921 the following appeared in The Free Trader:

DAYTON COUPLE ARE QUIETLY MARRIED

Miss Alice Ward and E. J. Ward, both of Dayton, were quietly married Saturday at high noon at the home of Rev. and Mrs. J. L. Vonckx at his home in this city.3

I don’t know if this time was happier. I hope so.

Note that this time they were married by a Protestant minister.

Edward died in Dayton on December 26, 1931. Alice died in Ottawa on June 24, 1935, at her daughter’s home. Both are buried in the Dayton Cemetery.


  1. The Ottawa Free Trader, 28 Jan 1893, p7, col 1
  2. ibid, 28 Jan 1893, p5, col 2
  3. ibid, 10 Oct 1921, p. 3, col. 4

Report from the adventurers

One of the best parts of having a public website is hearing from strangers who have landed here via Google. Recently, I got an email from someone who had found two documents in her deceased father’s estate that meant nothing to her or her family. She did not know why he had them, but she read them, got interested, and Googled the people mentioned. She sent me copies of the items – they are typed transcriptions of 2 letters from Jesse Green, on the trail to California in 1849, to his brother David at home in Dayton. These are not the original letters and why and where the transcripts were made is unknown. It is possible neither letter ever reached Dayton, as the family treasured the letters from Jesse and preserved them carefully, but neither of these two new letters appear in the family collection. Here is the first, written on the way to California. (The map is one I made for a program for the Dayton Cemetery Association.)

SELF ENVELOPE

Ham Iowa
Sept 6 1849                                  10 [cents postage]
Mr. David Green
Dayton
La Salle County
Illinois

25 Miles East of South Pass
June 28th 1849

Dear Brother – Wife & All
Here we are within 25 miles of the S. P. and have met with an express for the States and write a few lines whilst our train is going on. We have reached this point without any difficulty. All well with the exception of diarhea. I have had it badly but am perfectly over it. Wm. (or Mr.) Goodrich & Wiley are complaining some at this time of the same complaint.

We divided our Company about two weeks since on account of the scarcity of grass for so large a train. We have ten of the wagons of the original Company together now. We find grass our only hindrance but have kept our cattle in good condition thus far and hope we have passed over the greatest scarcity. We have gained some on the crowd ahead of us – the first Ox teams are from 3 to 4 days ahead of us and number about 500 and probably 1000 mule teams but what the large number behind us are to do for feed the lord only knows, for 3 or 4 days past we have seen large numbers of oxen dead, that was killed by the sabulous or alkaline water. We have been very cautious about keeping our cattle from those places and have not lost any since we started. Our wagons are standing it well and nothing to complain of, but we are getting along much better that could possible be expected. We had been calculating to celebrate the 4th on South Pass but will pass by before that time and of course will not stop in this crowd. There is frequently 200 wagons in sight of the same encampment. Health generally on the route good – no cholera nor any fatal sickness. We have not heard from home since we left. If you have not already written us at San Francisco do so immediately as it is the only place we can get them. I hope you have escaped the cholera and all are well. I have not time to write more, be not uneasy if you hear of great suffering on the route as I think we are safe. O that I could hear from you all and especially Byron.
As ever in haste
Jesse Green1

Note that, although the letter was written when the company was within 25 miles of South Pass, the letter was actually mailed from Iowa. The emigrants would take every opportunity to give a letter to someone headed east, for them to mail when they reached a post office.


  1. From a typed transcription of the letter, found in the estate of G. Stanley Smith.