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.

News of Dayton – September 1900

 

DAYTON

The dance given by the Woodmen on Friday evening last for the benefit of one of their members, was well attended, and about $26 was realized.

Nelson Plumb, of Streator, was a visitor here on Tuesday.

The youngest child of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Clodt is very sick at this writing.

The older mill is doing a good business, and everything is lively around there.

A farewell party was given Mr. and Mrs. Miles Masters on Saturday night last, about fifty guests being present from Dayton, Wedron and Ottawa. Refreshments were served after which the host and hostess were presented with a very fine oil painting.

Mrs. H. S. Ladd, who has been visiting Mr. and Mrs. A. W. Ladd returned to her home on Wednesday at Rising City, Neb.

Miss Brennan, who has been a guest of Mr. and Mrs. McBrearty for some time, returned to Chicago Wednesday.

Miss Carrie Ward, while visiting Luther Furr and wife, of Brookfield, met with a painful, but not serious, accident on Friday last. While riding a horse a plank in the bridge broke throwing both horse and rider. Miss Ward at first thought nothing serious of the accident, and did not complain for a day or two, but finally called on Dr. Pettit, who informed her that her shoulder was dislocated, and advised her to go to the hospital at once, where she was given chloroform and the injury reset. She is resting easy at this writing.

Two new members were initiated in the Woodmen lodge last evening.

The brick mill is shut down for a few days undergoing repairs.

Mrs. James O’Meara is quite sick. Dr. Butterfield is in attendance.

Mrs. Jackson Channel is ill at her home.

Lyle Green has just finished putting up 100 tons of silo for winter use.

The grave yard is being mowed and put in shape.

We are so busy making cider it is hard for me to do justice to our Dayton items.

Daytonian.1


  1. The (Ottawa) Republican-Times, September 20, 1900, p. 4, cols. 4-5

An Early Dayton Wedding, but just WHEN did it take place?

MARRIED – On the 4th of March last, at Dayton, Illinois, by W. L. Dunavan, Esq. Mr. William Lewis to Miss Eliza Ann D. Holdman, all of this county.

The above announcement appeared in the Free Trader on April 24, 1841. The date given for the marriage is more than a month previous, but perhaps the word didn’t reach the newspaper in a timely fashion.

However, the actual request for a marriage license was filed on April 3rd, 1841 in the county clerk’s office, as shown below. The newspaper, apparently, was off by a month.

To make matters worse, Wm. L. Dunavan, Justice of the Peace who performed the ceremony, says that he married them on May 4th. However, he recorded the said marriage on April 17th, 1841.

Both documents agree that the marriage was performed on the 4th day of the month. They just can’t agree on which month – the newspaper says March and the JP says May. In fact, based on the date of application (April 3) and the date of registration of the JP’s return (April 17), the marriage must have been performed on April 4.

MORAL: Be careful: any record can have errors. 


  1. The Illinois Free Trader, April 24, 1841, p 3, col 3

Another Dayton Wedding

 

Society’s Doings

Miss May Trumbo, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. M. P. Trumbo, of Dayton, and Mr. Edgar B. Bradford, second son of Mr. and Mrs. Wm. Bradford, of Ottawa, were married at the elegant home of the bride’s parents in the town of Dayton, at eight o’clock on Wednesday evening, Rev. Gilbert Frederick officiating.

The spacious parlors were tastefully and handsomely decorated with cut flowers, festoons and banks of flowers. At eight o’clock the guests ceased conversation, and the bridal party proceeded down the staircase and assumed positions facing the doors. Mr. Chas, E. Hook acted as best man and Miss Susie Rhoades as bridesmaid. The bride wore white faille silk, demi-train, with drapings of Duchess lace, and pearl ornaments, and Miss Rhoades wore cream surah silk and diamonds. The ushers were Messrs. W. J. Graham, Geo. M. Trimble, A. S. Hook, and Dr. Butterfield.

When the ceremony was concluded, congratulations were followed by an elegant wedding supper, followed by music and more congratulations, Mr. and Mrs. Bradford leaving on the three o’clock train for Chicago.

Among those present were Wm. Bradford and wife, F. Trumbo and wife, Chas. Angevine and wife, W. C. Riale and wife, C. K. Smith and wife (N. Y.), D. M. Hall and wife, A. E. Beach and wife, J. R. Shaver and wife, Charles Cracraft and wife, Judge and Mrs. Blanchard, Charles Neubert and wife (Kansas City), W. W. Nash and wife, L. M. Hess and wife, James Milligan, jr., and wife, C. B. Hess and wife, L. E. Porter and wife, T. E. Mackinlay and wife, I. N. Beem and wife, Gibson Strawn and wife, George W. Yentzer and wife, Capt. and Mrs. Blanchard, L. Leland and wife, George Debolt and wife and W. Van Etten and wife; Mesdames Hook, Fuller (Chicago), and Davidson (Connelsville, Penn.), and Mitchell; Misses Mayo, Finley, Brady (Chicago), Mitchell, Blanchard, Clara and Bertha Angevine, Griffith, Trimble, Rhoades, Porter, Nellie and Kate Bradford, and Kagy (Chicago); and Messrs. Hook, Hamilton, Trimble, Hess, Cary, hall (Chicago), Angevine and Sam, Tom and C. B. Bradford.1


  1. The Ottawa [Ill] Free Trader, September 21, 1889, p. 4, col. 5

Oliver H. and Martha Ellen (Hite) Thompson

On the 31st of May, 1898, Oliver Thompson and Martha Hite appeared at the La Salle County Clerk’s office in Ottawa to apply for a marriage license. Oliver signed an affidavit that both of them were of legal age to marry.

Oliver was twenty-eight and Martha twenty-four. They then completed the application for a marriage license.

Oliver H. Thompson was a clerk, residing in Ottawa. He was Norwegian, born in La Salle County, the son of Bergo and Martha (Johnson) Thompson. It was his first marriage.

Martha E. Hite was the daughter of James M. Hite and his wife, Martha M. Jones. She also was born in La Salle County. It was her first marriage.

The following day, June 1, 1898, they were married in Wedron.

The witnesses were Burton M. Thompson, Oliver’s brother, and Elsie Hite, Martha’s sister. The ceremony was performed by L. C. Burling, pastor of the Sheridan Methodist Episcopal Church.

And here is a picture of the happy couple!

Oliver and Martha Ellen Thompson

There Seems to be Some Disagreement Here

Not the 1887 event, but the river was never tame in the winter.

The Ottawa [Illinois] Free Trader, February 12, 1887, p. 4, col. 6
From Dayton
Dayton, Ill., Feb. 11th, 1887. – The little Fox became the raging Ohio during the flood of last Tuesday. Never since 1857 have we had such a heavy run of water and ice. The ice commenced running Tuesday morning, and run two hours; just before noon it run two hours, and in the evening it run five hours, making nine hours, run. And contrary to the usual manner, the last ice running, instead of being the lightest, was the heaviest, some of it being two feet thick. The fish chute was carried out, but no damage was done to the dam. One of the gates at the locks was broken, and the feeder bank was washed nearly through for quite a distance. The water was so high it ran over the locks and the surrounding embankment. The trestle work of the second span of the new bridge was carried away Monday night, and during the heavy run of ice Tuesday evening, the stone were all knocked out of the noses of the piers, leaving them in a very battered condition. The water alongside of the piers was nearly twenty feet deep. The paper mill lost six hundred dollars worth of straw, which is quite a loss to them, as it is difficult to replace it at this time of year, on account of the bad roads.

The Ottawa [Illinois] Free Trader, February 19, 1887, p. 1, col. 4
Please Rise and Explain
The managers of canal affairs in this city have provoked the ire of divers and sundry of our manufacturers here, by either gross inattention to their duties or a want of due knowledge thereof, as follows:

On Sunday last an ice gorge occurred in the river and feeder of the canal at Dayton, and soon the waters there were on a level – formed a “pool,” and threatened to do considerable damage. On Sunday evening the ice broke away and the waters subsided. Then the waters in the canal were let out, why, no one knows, as all danger was then over. The canal remained dry four days, during which every manufactory in Ottawa whose power is supplied by water was idle. The canal and feeder banks were all sound and no repairs were needed, and none have been made. This withdrawing of the water and stopping the factories, as figured by the proprietors of the different establishments, resulted in damage as follows:
Victor and City Mills, per day, $70; H. C. Strawn, $10; Tile Works, $250; Weis & Wolf, $10; King, $10; Koeppler, $15; Colwell and Rugg, and the Electric Light Co., not reported. Result, a loss of $865 a day, or $1,460, to the factories that have been heard from.

The State of Illinois or its servants ought to make good this loss, in the absence of a satisfactory explanation.

The Ottawa [Illinois] Free Trader, February 26, 1887, p. 8, cols. 2-3
From Dayton
Dayton, Feb. 24. – The slush ice is slowly cutting away out of the river, but large banks of it twelve feet thick remain upon the shores. The mills all got started up again this week.

Your valuable paper last week, in an article under the heading of “Please Rise and Explain,” publishes some things in regard to the shutting out of water from the feeder and canal, which your reporter obtained from a very unreliable source, for there is hardly a word of truth in the whole article. Our manufacturers and citizens who witnessed the flood of the 18th all agree in saying that the canal authorities acted wisely in closing down the gates and thus preventing much greater damage than was actually done; and it is but just to those in authority to state the true facts. Your article stated that “on Sunday evening the ice broke away and the waters subsided.” Now, this is not true, for although the waters subsided a few feet, yet the ice did not break away, but, on the contrary, the ice remained in the same dangerous condition as it was on Sunday, and a fall of temperature, bringing down more slush ice on Monday, would have made the situation more dangerous than on Sunday. Your article further states, “Then the waters in the canal were let out, why, no one knows, as all danger was then over.” As a matter of fact, the water in the feeder and canal was let out about nine o’clock Sunday morning, and a messenger on horseback was dispatched to the canal authorities warning them of the danger to the banks. A gang of the state’s men watched the feeder banks all night Sunday ready to cut it and let the water back into the river again should the danger increase. Again we quote “The canal remained dry four days, during which every manufactory in Ottawa whose power is supplied by water was idle.” Sunday, when the current of the river was forced by the slush ice into the feeder, an ice jam was formed which completely shut off all the water and forced it over the banks into the river again. Tuesday morning, when it was thought the danger was over for the present, the lock gates were raised, and as much water was let in as could be forced through the ice jam. It required two or three days to cut out the ice, and the feeder and canal were being filled as rapidly as possible. If the gates had been left up during the flood there is no question but that a large amount of the bank would have been washed out, which would have taken at least two weeks to repair. Then, let us figure what the damage would have been to the Ottawa manufacturers had the canal authorities not taken the precautions they did: Victor and City Mills, $70 per day, 12 days, $840; H. C. Strawn, $10 per day, for two weeks, $120; Tile Works, $250 per day, for two weeks, $3,000; Weiss & Wolf, $10 per day, for two weeks, $120; King, $10 per day, for 12 days, $120; Koeppler, $15 per day, for 12 days, $180. Result, an actual loss of $1,460 – a probable loss of $4,380, leaving to the credit of the canal authorities $2,920 by reason of their taking such precautions as they did.
Occasional

The Ottawa [Illinois] Free Trader, March 5, 1887, p. 4, cols. 5-6
The Freshet and the Canal
Ottawa, Ill., March 3, 1887
Messrs. Editors: – As “Occasional” has charged in your issue of Feb 26th that the statements made in your issue of Feb. 19th were nearly every word false; and as those statements were obtained from me, in an interview with your reporter, I feel that I ought to reply briefly to the wholesale charge of falsehood.

I visited Dayton Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday following the overflow of the canal bank at Dayton, on Sunday, the 13th of February last. I examined and inspected the canal banks, lock and floodgates each day; and I hereby declare and affirm that not a cent’s worth of damage was done to the canal banks or canal property at Dayton at that overflow, either Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday, the day they finally let in the water. Nor was there one cent’s worth of work done nor material furnished or used for any repairs to the canal during that time at that place for any damage done the canal by the overflow of the Fox river into the canal.
The canal authorities declared to me Tuesday morning, standing on the bridge at Dayton, that there was no damage done to the canal.
Now, will Mr. “Occasional” inform me, or the public, why the water could not have been let into the canal as soon, at least, as its authorities were informed that no damage was done, and that no repairs were needed.

“Occasional” says that some water was let in on Tuesday. That may be true; but I measured the water in the lock at the head of the feeder every day, – Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, – and the water was twenty inches lower Thursday morning than Wednesday morning; so that if the gates were opened Tuesday, they must have been closed again.

“Occasional” says that the State men watched the banks all night Sunday night, and at the same time admits that the ice gorge broke below the dam, in the river, Sunday night and that the water went down. But he neglects to inform us that on Monday (notwithstanding, as he says, the danger was over) they did cut the feeder bank more than one mile below where the overflow was and when there was no water in the canal and no prospect of any. And this large hole was cut in the narrowest part of the bank and where, if a washout could have been furnished to the invitation thus made and kept open three full days (for it was not refilled until Thursday, I think it would have been later than the next planting time before the bank would have been rebuilt. “occasional,” especially in the Ottawa Republican, is very full in his charge of falsehood, but still follows each charge with an admission of facts stated in the Free Trader of the 19th of February. He says, if the weather should change, &c., &c.; as well he might say, if we should have a June freshet, or if some other awful thing should happen, it was safe to wait and see.
The canal authority that would shut the water out of the canal and keep it out for four days and cut a large hole in the canal bank and keep it open three days as a precaution against what may happen in the future, is no doubt a very prudent authority.

And now, if “Occasional” will point out, over his own signature, where one cent’s worth of damage was done to the canal on account of the overflow, or where, during the time between Sunday and Thursday, one cent’s worth of repairs was made by the canal authorities on account of the damage done by the overflow, that shall be the truth, then I will confess that I am wrong. Until that is done, no matter how many times you charge me with falsehood, the facts as stated must stand for the truth.

No, Mr. “Occasional,” the conduct up there at that time is consistent with the conduct here daily. There is hardly a day but the water in the main canal is anywhere from ten to twenty inches below navigation stage. That, Mr. Authority knows full well, taken from a six-foot head, well nigh destroys the power on that head. And all, as Mr. Authority says, because he will take no chances.
Once more, if, as “Occasional” says, it was true that an ice bar was formed across the feeder below the gates so that no water could pass if the gates were open, then, in the name of common sense, why were the State men set at work Monday cutting the canal bank one mile down the feeder, where there was no water and none could be got if his statement was true? There is an adage, that “of all men, liars ought to have good memories,” – or ought to have reason enough to see where their statements convict themselves.
Respectfully, Wm. Thomas

The Ottawa [Illinois] Free Trader, March 12 [printed; actually 19], 1887, p. 2, col. 5
The Dayton Flood Again
Dayton, March 3, 1887 – On your last issue Mr. William Thomas, an old citizen of Ottawa, came out in a lengthy article admitting that he is the author of the unjust criticisms on the action of the canal authorities, and charging your correspondent with telling falsehoods. Our citizens and manufacturers feel that Mr. Thomas has very much misrepresented the facts in this matter and desire that we should answer his article and place the facts again correctly before the public.
Why should we write anything but the truth when we are a user of the water at this place and a loser by the shutting out of the water? We are also your reporter for this vicinity and always try to give your paper nothing but the facts, and we know that we are supported by the citizens here who were eye-witnesses of the overflow, in saying that we have given the facts correctly in the matter.

In Mr. Thomas’ whole article he does not (and cannot) deny the points we made, viz.: of the danger during Sunday and Monday, Feb. 13th and 14th of a wholesale destruction of the banks, and of the fact that the canal was filled as rapidly as the water could force its way through the ice jam. There can be no denial of these facts.

Mr. Thomas charges that we admitted that the ice gorge broke below the dam Sunday night. Why does he say this, when in our last correspondence dated Feb. 24th, this was one of the points which we most emphatically denied. We claimed that the ice remained in the same dangerous condition on Monday as on Sunday.

Mr. Thomas claims that on Tuesday morning the canal authorities declared to him, standing on the bridge at Dayton, that no damage was done to the canal. We were present during that conversation, as were also three or four more responsible witnesses who testify to the same thing, and heard the canal supt. say that he did not know what damage was done to the banks. How could he tell when the ice was piled up all over the banks? Mr. Thomas acknowledged during the conversation on the bridge, that he had been up trying to examine the banks but as he had no shovel to clear away the ice, he could not tell the condition of the banks.

In regard to the big hole in the bank, he states was cut on Monday. These are the facts: the canal authorities thought the danger so great that they employed the bridgemen who were idle that day to cut the frost out of the bank below the paper mill, so that in case the river raised again and overflowed the banks, the bank could be quickly and easily cut and the water turned into the river again, and the canal would not be given more water than it could dispose of. It was not safe to cut the bank any nearer the locks as the river was too high.

We have never said or claimed that any damage was done to the banks at this time, but these are the facts: during the heavy run of ice of Feb. 8th the banks near the dam were cut about one-half through for a distance of nearly 100 feet, and the states’ men were two or three days repairing them, but the banks were still weak, however, when the flood of the 13th came on and it was only by a narrow escape that they were preserved. Instead of finding fault, Mr. Thomas should feel thankful that his electric light was not dimmed for three months instead of three days.

In regard to the measurements which he states he made at the lock, we have responsible witnesses who testify that at no time was the water more than fourteen inches low at the locks and that more water was being let in every day than could force its way through the ice jam.
We have interviewed a few of our prominent citizens and give you their opinions: A. F. Dunavan, Esq., of the Horse Collar Works, says he feels confident that the authorities did the proper thing in shutting out the water on that Sunday, and that there was great danger to the banks by the overflow. His factory was laid idle for a few days, but he feels confident that his loss would have been much greater had not the canal authorities shut out the water. J. W. Channel, of the Tile Works, says he is positive the authorities did perfectly right in shutting out the water, and that any one who would have seen the condition of the river at the dam at that time could not have a different opinion. He was an eye witness of the overflow. He had lived in Dayton a good many years, and never saw the water in as dangerous a condition to the banks as on that Sunday and Monday.
O. W. Trumbo who has lived here 30 years says he never saw the water so high. Mr. D. Moore of the paper mill thinks the authorities did the proper thing, as do Mr. Davis and Green Bros.
Occasional

————————————- AND THAT’S THAT, SO THERE!!

Charlotte Lyman Rogers

Charlotte Rodgers’ [sic: Rogers] entry in 1860 mortality census for Dayton

Charlotte (Lyman) Rogers was born about 1836 in Ohio. She was the daughter of John West Lyman from Charlotte, Vermont, and an unknown first wife,  John came to La Salle county, in 1838, and bought the NW quarter of section 24 in Freedom township. He married his second wife, Jerusha Newcomb, March 18, 1840, in La Salle county.

In the 1850 census, Charlotte Lyman, 14,  is found in the household of John W. Lyman, Freedom township. Also in the 1850 census, Thomas Rogers, 11, appears in the household of Jeremy W. Rogers, farmer in Dayton township.

On February 3, 1857, Charlotte Lyman and Thomas Rogers applied for a marriage license. Charlotte was over 18 and therefore of legal age to marry, but Thomas was only 19 and had to file an affidavit that his parents knew about the engagement and gave their permission for the marriage. They were married two days later, on February 5th. The marriage was performed by John Read, J. P., in La Salle county, Illinois.

Thomas Rogers swears that his parents know of his engagement and consent to his marriage.

Charlotte and Thomas had two children:
• A daughter Charlotte, called Lottie, born November 15, 1857.
• A son, Charles E. born August 14, 1859.
Charlotte died of typhoid fever in March 1860, when Charles was still an infant.

Lottie Rogers married Abner White February 28, 1875 in Kankakee, Illinois.
She died December 24, 1910 in Ames, Story Co, Iowa.

Charles Rogers died 10 July 1935 in San Gabriel, Los Angeles, California.

Rebecca Emma (Headley) (Morrison?) (Wight) McBrearty

Rebecca Emma Headley was born June 15, 1849, in Bureau county, Illinois, the daughter of John and Anna (Johnson) Headley. John died about 1854. In 1860 Rebecca is living with her mother in Ohio township, Bureau county, where they are also found in 1865.

Rebecca was married at age 21, to Francis Marion Wight, on the 18th of April 1870, in Red Oak, Montgomery County, Iowa. She was listed on the marriage documents as Rebecca Morrison, implying that she was married previously. Also, in the 1870 census of Francis and Rebecca’s household, there is a baby girl named Minnie Morrison, born Feb 1870. No evidence has been found of a marriage to Morrison, nor any trace of Minnie after 1870.

Rebecca and Francis had a daughter, Mary, born in October 1875, and a son, Roy, born about 1881. She was divorced from Wight March 12, 1885 in Lee County, Illinois.

Rebecca was married to James McBrearty, 11 July 1885 in Dixon, Lee County, Illinois. James worked for the C. B. & Q. railroad. His job took them to La Grange and Western Springs before moving to Dayton in May 1899.

Note that her name, “Wight”, is mistakenly written as White.

Mary was 10 and Roy 4 when their mother married James. Both children then used their stepfather’s surname.

In the 1900 census, Rebecca and James are living with her daughter Mary, now Mrs. Edward Emmons, in Dayton. In 1910 she and James are in their own household. Grandson Edward Emmmons lives with them.

Rebecca died January 18, 1917 in Joliet and was buried January 21 in the Dayton cemetery.

Her obituary may be seen here.

A Flying Visit – Dayton, Ohio to Dayton, Illinois

AIRPLANE IS USED TO PAY VISIT TO DAYTON

Richard Whitehouse, a former Dayton resident, and Russell A. Moore, owner of Moore’s Flying Service of Dayton, Ohio, visited friends in the village of Dayton for an hour this morning. They flew here in one of Moore’s planes, landing at 8 o’clock near the Lyle Green residence, and then took off an hour later, expecting to be home by noon.
Whitehouse was formerly herdsman of Green’s Jersey herd, and is now a student flyer with 25 hours of solo flying to his credit.


The clipping above comes from the family scrapbook kept by Maud Green, Dayton historian. The item appeared on June 27, 1933, most likely in the Ottawa newspaper. She noted how it compared with the 35 day trip the Green party made from Ohio in 1829. 


Richard Francis Whitehouse was born March 31, 1895 in Auburn, Maine. In 1917 he was living in the Dayton, Ohio, area, working for the Foreman Dairy Farm. He was employed at various places in the dairy business and it may be around this time that he worked for Lyle Green.  On June 24, 1919, he married Nellie (Skinner) Hurless in Van Wert County, Ohio. By 1930 he was manager of a dairy farm and in 1942, when he registered for the draft, he was a manager at the Borden Finch Jersey Farms in Dayton, Ohio. He died August 25, 1957, in Athens, Texas.

The Valuable Water Power at Dayton

A view of the west bank of the river in the area occupied by businesses that were powered by the water from the feeder.

The Ottawa [Illinois] Free Trader, February 14, 1852, p. 4, col. 4

Water Power to Lease

The undersigned offer great inducements to capitalists and manufacturers, as they have decidedly the best water power in the state, having over 25 feet head and fall, and situated in Dayton, 4 miles above Ottawa, and drawn from the Fox river Feeder, which is kept in repair by the state, without any cost to the undersigned. They have water to lease for a term of years sufficient to drive 20 run of 4 ½ feet burrs, and will lease on very liberal terms to any good responsible company.

This is a rare chance for men of capital who may wish to go into the manufacturing business. The location is very healthy and admirably situated, as it is on a navigable feeder, within 4 miles of the contemplated Rock Island rail road, and the head of steamboat navigation. For further information, address John Green & Sons.

Dayton, may 31.

July 4th, 1849 – News from Dayton

In July 1849, Eliza Green Dunavan and Nancy Green Dunavan took the opportunity to add to a letter David Green was writing to his father and brothers. Eliza’s husband, William, and Nancy’s husband, Albert, were with the Greens in the gold fields of California and were surely glad to get news of home.

Dear Husband haveing an opportunity of writing a few lines in Davids letter i embrace it we are spending the 4th with our friends in Dayton we are all well and have been ever since you left my health is better than it has been for two years we are getting along better than i expected we could alone[.] our crops look promising thus far I can not say enough in praise of our boys they work like men and get a long with out any trouble i send Emma Elizabeth and James to school and keep Rachel for company i must close and give room for others i will write when you get settled and give you the particulars      Eliza your affectionate wife

         Dear Husband I embrace this opportunity of writing you a few lines. David was writing and left room for us to say a few words we have all enjoyed very good health since you left and do much better than I thought we possibly could although we are very lonely. I have received four letters from you since you left and am very happy to hear that you are getting along well I hope you will continue to write whenever you have an opportunity. I am sending our four oldest children to school and the crops look well       from your affectionate wife Nancy Dunnavan                               

Invented in Dayton

To all whom it may concern:
Be it known that I, Isom L. Thompson, a citizen of the United States, residing at Dayton, in the county of LaSalle and State of Illinois, have invented certain new and useful Improvements in Wagon-Jacks; and I do hereby 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 is how Isom Thompson began his application for a patent on his invention, an improved wagon-jack. His application was witnessed by his brother, Foster V. Thompson and by Freeman Wheeler. The improvement came from his experience with farming, but Isom had not always been a farmer.

He was born in November, 1840, in Adams, Jefferson County, New York, one of five children of Isom Thompson and Elzina Foster. He left the farm sometime between 1875 and 1880, and took up the trade of carriage maker.

About 1894 his older brother, Foster, decided to move his family to Illinois. Isom made the journey with them and settled on a farm in Rutland township. After Foster died in 1897, Isom, who never married, continued to make his home with his sister-in-law and her 2 sons, his nephews, Oscar and Lamotte Thompson. Isom died there on Saturday, December 2, 1905, of apoplexy. 

Opal is a Standout

Jersey cows

Not, unfortunately, a picture of Opal, but a close lookalike.

DAYTON, ILL., COW COMPLETES TEST

Dayton, Ill., July 16. — Opal of Greenacres, 569949, a pure bred Jersey cow in the herd of L. A. Green, at Dayton, Ill., has completed an official production test. Opal was started on this test at the age of 4 years and 11 months and in the following 365 days she yielded 549.86 lbs. of butterfat and 8,109 lbs. of milk. Her milk averaged 6.78 per cent butterfat for the year and for two successive months of this test her production of butterfat was above 63 lbs. per month. With the above record, made on two milkings a day, Opal of Greenacres qualified for the Register of Merit of the American Jersey Cattle Club. Her sire is Master of the Sea 183761, and her dam is Mayfield’s Spotted Maid 351671.1


  1. The [Streator, Illinois] Times, July 16, 1928, p. 2.

84 Years Ago Today in Dayton

Dayton store

On the left, behind the store, is the Dayton clubhouse

Dayton Woman’s Club Observes Anniversary of Its Founding1

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 clubhouse, 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 delphinium 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. Fannie 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. Ottawa Republican-Times, June 15, 1938, p6

Early June in Dayton

Rural Happenings

Dayton, June 5. – The late rains have raised the river somewhat. Fishing is some better than it was before the rain. Lots of people come to enjoy piscatorial sports. A few bring tents and camp out for a few days, but as soon as a tent is pitched, we notice the mercury in the thermometer begins to move toward zero, so camping out has been so far a wretched cold business.

Query: “If Park Reed still continues to seine, what has become of the Ottawa Fish Protective Association?”

Mr. Harry Green departed last Tuesday on a wool-buying trip near Mendota.

J. Green’s horse which was supposed to have been stolen from the stable last Saturday night, was taken up as an estray by Mr. Jos. Hall, four miles north-west of town, and returned to Mr. Green last Wednesday. The horse had broken his halter and walked off.

Mr. W. B. Roberts, with A. Reed & Sons, Chicago, was in town Wednesday.

Mr. Wm. George, Miss Ida George, and Miss Helen Tarket, all of Leland, were visiting at D. Green’s a few days last week.

Miss Carrie Stowell of Bloomington, is visiting her sister Mrs. J. Wright.

Mr. Jos. Green returned last Saturday from a wool buying excursion near Washburne. Mr. Burtie Stadden, formerly of this place but now of Wenona, accompanied him for a few days visit with his little Dayton friends.

The musical Union at their meeting last week chose the following officers for the ensuing term: president, Chas. K. Howard; secretary and treasurer, Miss Reed; Leader, Chas. Green; organist, Jennie Dunavan.

Universalist services next Sunday evening by Rev. Mrs. Gibb.

Rev. G. B. Barnes, of Ottawa, preaches at the school house this evening. Mr. B. delivered an excellent sermon at his last appointment, being a forcible argument in favor of Christianity.1


  1. The Ottawa Free Trader, June 7, 1879, p. 8, col. 1

Another Dayton Business

PLOUGH FACTORY

Jacobs & Co. would inform the Farming Public that they are manufacturing at Dayton several kinds of Ploughs, which have been heretofore approved, to which they invite the attention of those wishing to buy. These ploughshare – made of the best material, and warranted to be perfect in every respect – They are also manufacturing the improved revolving Colter, which is acknowledged to be far superior to the common straight ones. Call and examine for yourselves.

Old ploughs will be repaired to order on reasonable terms.1

The revolving colter was an improvement on the previous form, which was a vertical knife edge to cut through roots and vines. A fixed knife collects roots and vines and tends to plug up. The rolling blade greatly reduces the friction through the ground and does not gather rubbish on its edge. 

Another Dayton company in the forefront of technological advancement!


The Ottawa Republican, April 29, 1854, p4, c4

Sibling Dispute Leads to Fratricide

The 1860 mortality schedule for Dayton

I was looking at the 1860 list of deaths in Dayton in the preceding year and was struck by the entry for James Mahar. MURDERED? A little research in the local newspaper produced this story:

FRATRICIDE – On Saturday last, two brothers, named James and Daniel Maher, living in the town of Dayton in this County, came to Ottawa to do some trading, and as is too frequently the case with a certain class of countrymen, drank a great deal too much whiskey before they went home. They got home however, about 8 or 9 o’clock in the evening and both took supper at James’ house. After supper James got to quarreling with his boys, when Daniel interfered and took the boys’ part.

Thereupon the brothers quarreled, and agreed to fight it out, but conceded that both were too drunk then, fixed upon the next morning for the fight, shaking hands upon the agreement. Daniel then started for home, and in passing through the bars, picked up a large club, and dared James to meet him. James picked up a mop or fork handle, and followed Daniel beyond the bars, where the fight commenced.

James struck the first blow which was warded by Daniel so that the mop handle broke in two. Daniel then struck James on the head, felling him instantly, and then passed on. James not rising again, his boys went to him and found him insensible. On closer examination, it was found that his skull was fractured, and that his injury was mortal. He lay insensible until next morning, when he died.

The Coroner was sent for, and an inquest being held, brought to light the above facts. Daniel made an attempt to escape but Deputy Sheriff having gone after him with a competent force arrested him on the prairie in the neighborhood, and brought him back to jail, where he now awaits his trial.1


  1. The Ottawa Free Trader, June 18, 1859, p. 3, col. 2

A Shower for a New Bride

MRS. HERBERT M’GROGAN HONORED PARTY GUEST

Misses Emma C. Fraine, Jennie L. Fraine and Addie Thompson were hostesses at a miscellaneous shower given Saturday afternoon in the Dayton Community house in honor of Mrs. Herbert McGrogan, a recent bride, who was formerly Miss Ceal Pillion.

The program consisted of a heart relay contest, participated in by all the guests. Mrs. Hans Vogel accompanied by her daughter, Miss Virginia, gave three vocal solos, “To You,” by Speaks, “A Brown Bird Singing,” by Barrie, and “Smilin’ Through,” by Penn. Miss Zelda Garrow interpreted two readings entitled “Like Calls to Like,” by Edgar A. Guest and “Before and After.” Miss Ida Chamberlain, accompanied by Mrs. Arnold Wilson, rendered two vocal solos, “And [sic] Old Fashioned Town,” by Squires, “Try Smilin’” by Penn. Nicholas Parr, accompanied at the piano by Miss Katherine Pitts, favored the guests with two vocal solos addressed especially to the bride, “I Love You Truly,” by Carrie Jacobs Bond and “Just A-Wearyin’ For You,” by the same composer.

After the program the honored guest, seated at a table over which was suspended a parasol of pink petals under a white bell, received the many beautiful and varied gifts presented to her by the other guests.

The guests were then seated at a long table arranged in the form of a large T. The color plan was pink and white with yellow chrysanthemums in many crystal bud bases [sic] and in a large crystal vase and also, tall pink and white tapers were used. The three main center pieces consisted of a bride and groom in a Cinderella coach drawn by a large white swan. The individual favors were “Ships of Love on a Sea of Matrimony,” and the place cards were cupids bearing two hearts united as one. Various baskets of flowers and large white bells were arranged throughout the room. Dainty refreshments in pink and white were served.

Among the 60 guests present were people from Ottawa, Marseilles, Wedron, Wallace, Waltham, Rutland, Dayton and vicinity.1


  1. Ottawa Republican-Times, October 23, 1933, p. 2, col. 1