Lucy Mabel and Alice May Olds

Lucy (left) and Alice Olds

Alice May Olds was born May 7, 1871, in Mendota, the daughter of Jeremiah E. Olds and his wife, Sarah Jane Zimmerman. On November 6, 1895, she married James Arthur Green of Dayton (she was 24, he was 35). Their son, Rollin Olds Green was born a year later, on September 2. Unfortunately, Alice died 2 weeks later, on September 16, 1896. To further add to this sad situation, baby Rollin died in August 1897.

A year and a half later, in March 1898, James married Alice May’s sister, Lucy Mabel. They went on to have 5 children: Raymond, born May 19, 1900; Arthur, born April 26, 1902; Katherine, born October 15, 1905; Alice, born November 30, 1907 and David, born February 12, 1910.

James and Lucy moved to Grand Junction, Colorado, in 1902, and remained there for the rest of their lives. James died there in 1934 and Lucy in 1943.

He Had Seen Connors

HE HAD SEEN CONNORS
How a Dayton Man Was Licked Despite a Peace Warrant

            William Brown and John Conners, of Dayton, had a difference of opinion over some matters yesterday, and, this morning William came to Ottawa and swore out a peace warrant before Justice Weeks. Dick Norris was chosen to serve the paper, and, accompanied by Brown, at once proceeded to Dayton to do so. When they came within the town lines, Brown stepped out of the buggy and walked along the towpath of the canal, while Dick whipped up his horse and trotted to the factory where Conners is employed. He did not know Conners, and, when a man passed him on a brisk walk, did not consider it his business to question his freedom.

            Arrived at the factory he was informed that Conners was not present, and, turning, drove back along the towpath to find Brown. Presently Brown came in sight holding his nose and mouth, while his face and clothing showed signs of trouble.

            “Conners wasn’t at the factory,” said Dick, “have you seen him?”

            “Yes!” exclaimed Brown, from a battered face, “I’ve seen him.”1


  1. Ottawa Free Trader, 13 May 1893, p1, col 4

River Rampages

It’s winter again and the Fox River at Dayton has a history of ice jams and floods. In 1960, the river again was jammed with ice, causing flooding, as seen here in the powerhouse.

In addition, the houses along both sides of the river were engulfed by ice,

and the bridge was under pressure.

Here are some of the predecessor events for comparison. 1875, 1943, and 1952

Dayton Had Plenty of Water Power

January 27, 1855, 166 years ago today, the following notice appeared on page 4 of the Ottawa Free Trader.

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 railroad, and the head of steamboat navigation. For further information, address Dayton Jny 31.

                                                                                                            John Green & Sons

When John Green bought the west side of the Fox river at the rapids, he became the owner of one half of the water power the river provided. (The other half belonged to the owner of the east bank of the river.) Green deeded one fourth of the power he owned to William Stadden. Green and Stadden then deeded one half of their water right to the Canal Commissioners for the Illinois-Michigan canal. Therefore, John Green’s share was 1/2 of 3/4 of 1/2 or 3/16 of the power of the river. He then deeded to Jesse and David Green one half of the power owned by him or 3/32 of the whole river. A government survey of the river in 1869 calculated the volume of the river was 40,000 cubic feet per minute at or near the mouth of Indian Creek. 3/32 of 40,000 equals 3750 cubic feet per minute and this is equal to 142 horse power. The use of the best wheels and machinery at the Green mills would equal 114 horse power, so John Green & Sons had excess power to lease.

Mrs. Barbara Jackson

JACKSON RITES AT GREEN HOME AT 1 TOMORROW

Funeral services for Mrs. Barbara T. Jackson will be held at the home of L. A. Green in Dayton at 1 o’clock tomorrow afternoon, conducted by Rev. Hugh MacKenzie, pastor of the Congregational church. Interment will be in the family burying lot in Millington cemetery.

The death of Mrs. Jackson marks the passing of another of the county’s pioneers. She came to La Salle county with her parents from Ohio, where she was born almost a century ago. She knew La Salle county when Ottawa was only a settlement in a wilderness, long before the day of the railroads or the canal.

Mrs. Jackson was a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Mathias Trumbo, who came to La Salle county when there were less than a dozen houses in Ottawa, and who shortly afterwards went to Dayton, four miles northeast of Ottawa to reside.

The pall bearers at tomorrow’s funeral will be L. A. Green, Roy Grove, Frank Brown, Elias Trumbo, Glenn Matlock and Benton Harris.

Mrs. Jackson died at 11:15 yesterday morning.

[Barbara Jackson died February 21, 1927. Her obituary appeared the following day in one of the Ottawa newspapers.]

Derailment in Dayton

These pictures of a train derailment in Dayton were taken about 1958-59. I need to get back to reading the newspaper to see if I can find the exact date. Maybe someone seeing this will know exactly when it happened. If so, please leave the date in the comments.

In any case, you may recognize some of the bystanders, even if you can only see their backs. Click on the picture to see the full size version.

Baldwin Didn’t Get Everything Right

The bible of early Dayton history is Elmer Baldwin’s History of La Salle County, which attempted to give a sketch of the pioneer settlers of each town up to 1840. In a comprehensive work of this nature, it is no surprise that occasional errors crept in. I have my great-aunt’s copy of Baldwin’s book where she handwrote corrections into the Dayton-Rutland sections. She was writing about her family and neighbors, correcting errors that she saw.

Here are two paragraphs from the account of Dayton, with her additions and corrections in italics:

William Stadden* and wife, Elizabeth Hoadley [Judith Daniels], from Licking County, Ohio, in May 1830, settled on S. 33, T. 34, R. 4; sold to Jonathan Daniels, and moved to Dayton in 1831; built a flouring mill; was twice elected Sheriff of La Salle County, and twice to the State Senate. He was a prominent and useful citizen, and died in 1848. Children: Jonathan, married Elizabeth Long, in Rutland; Mary, married David Green; William; Elizabeth, married Horace B. George; Richard, married Sally Sevant [Swank].
[*His son William Stadden Jr. married Elizabeth Hoadley.]

Nathan Proctor bought the store and goods of David* Letts, [David Letts bought this store from Jas. McFadden who was shot through the ankle by Indians on Indian Creek when Robert Beresford was killed]. in the spring of 1836; he had a very interesting family, and was himself a genial, able and popular man, and did a prosperous business for about one year and was noted for his honorable and upright business habits. On his way to St. Louis to purchase goods, he was detected in passing counterfeit money. He avoided arrest, but never returned. He was found to be a member of the notorious band that then infested the country from the Illinois to Wisconsin, called the Bandits of the Prairies, who were horse thieves, counterfeiters, robbers, burglars, and murderers. Dies, and plates for counterfeiting, were found in his store, and years after, when the building was torn down, a copperplate engraving was found behind the plastering. If his former or subsequent history should be written, it is probable the name of Nathan Procter would not appear.
[*David Letts had one child – Rhoda Ann Miller – (went to Utah). 2nd wife’s children: Madison, Noah, Amanda & James.]

George Dunnavan – A Family History

There is no known picture of George Dunnavan

Dayton Cemetery Association holds its annual meeting on Memorial Day weekend and there is always a historical program following the meeting. On May 27, 1973, Ruth Brown Baker presented the following information on the Dunnavan family.

            As broad as the United States is wide, so the Family Tree of Samuel Dunnavan spreads its branches from the Atlantic to the Pacific, covering the quick and the dead, the old and the young who have struggled or are striving to survive in an ever changing world.

            Colonel (or Captain, there seems to be some discrepancy in the records) Samuel Dunnavan was born in the year 1780, probably in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. No definite information has yet been found regarding his parents.

            On December 22, 1807, he was married to Elizabeth Lair, daughter of Persis and Joseph Lair. This marriage was solemnized in the Parish and County of Rockingham, Virginia. It is supposed that they moved to Licking County, Ohio, the following year and there they resided on a farm which they owned in Newton Township. Elizabeth and Samuel were parents of three sons, – Joseph Albert, William, and George Milton.

            Samuel served in Williamson’s Ohio Militia during the Was of 1812 and returned home in a poor state of health. He died on June 22, 1816 at the age of 36 and is buried in the Evans Cemetery near St Louisville, Ohio. In the research notes of the late David Dunnavan he remarked that “To have attained a Colonelcy at such an early age bespeaks unusual qualities of leadership which might have carried him far had he been permitted to live.”

            Some time later Elizabeth Dunnavan married David Letts, a widower with one daughter, Rhoda Ann. In 1830 they and their family joined the westward trek of pioneers to Illinois. Theirs may have been a rather sizable group by that time since it included some of all of the five children born to their marriage as well as her three sons and his daughter.

            Their first years in La Salle County were spent in Eden Township near Cedar Point. Living conditions were primitive in those days with furniture consisting of three and four legged stools and tables all made of split timber. Records tell us the winter of 1830-31 was “remarkable for its severity, snow fell to a depth of three feet, drifting to stop all travel. Potatoes, hominy and wild honey were the rations of the settlers.”

            David Letts became a very prominent citizen of La Salle County. He was the School Commissioner, a Judge, the first Road Commissioner authorizing the building of the first road from Ottawa east to the State line and the first Precinct election was held at his house. He kept store in Dayton and Ottawa. His fine character, no doubt, had a lasting influence on the lives of his family. He died in Lettsville, Louisa County, Iowa, in 1852.

            Since I am mainly interested in George Milton Dunnavan, my great grandfather, I will leave the stories of the rest of the family for someone else to write.

            George’s mother died in 1835 and is buried in the Dayton cemetery. In that year he settled on a farm which eventually encompassed over five hundred acres on Buck Creek Timber in Dayton Township. Following his brothers’ examples, George, too, married a daughter of John and Barbara Grove Green. He and Katherine Green were married on June 15, 1837. Their first child, Milton, was born June 24, 1838 but he lived less than three years. The mortality rate for small children was so high it is probably remarkable that they raised ten of their fourteen children.

            Early in the year 1849, when Lucien, their sixth child, was about a year old, the “Gold Fever” hit George. This quotation I read recently in a Reader’s Digest book seems to describe it best. “The most important contribution to the opening up of the West was the discovery of gold in California. The rumor and the fact of gold had the effect of almost literally lifting men up out of their chairs, out of their homes, to leave their farms, their jobs, and families behind for the dangers and hardships of the Gold Rush.”

            We are fortunate to have some of the letters written by George Dunnavan to his wife Katherine while enroute and after arriving in California. While we do not know exactly when the trip took place or with whom he traveled, one La Salle County History book describes the trip of A. F. Dunnavan, a nephew, as “being of six months on the road, going with eight teams and six yoke of oxen and cows and working in the gold mine in a place called Volcano.” They must have left home in the spring of 1849 since they arrived there before Christmas.

            Although George left when the excitement caught him up along with the rest, he may have had second thoughts about it after he was on the road. With sickness, death, rainy weather and drought to contend with, the glamour of the adventure wore off quickly. He was concerned about his wife and family and good to write to them. His second letter written enroute ended with the admonition to “write to the boy.” Do you suppose he was getting a little homesick even before he crossed the Missouri?

            In December of that year, news, written on July 6th, reached George in California. He was about to become a father again. In reply he wrote “I shall now wait with no little anxiety for the letter that will bring me the happy news of your good health after December. I shall be glad to see the little prize. I am sorry I can not be with you in such times but we are a great distance apart I hope the kind providence will protect you. Had I known the situation you were in the gold fever mite have raged for all me I should not have left.” He had the desire to send her some money but there was no way. Since George had heard from Esp. Pitzer that the baby had red hair he wrote “If the baby had red hair don’t name him George.” I guess she did anyway. He only lived about two years but I think that was long enough for his father to get home to see him.

            George planned to return home in September of 1850because he was getting tired of the hard way of living and provisions were so high that he had to make money fast to save any. In October he still had not started because the cholera was so bad en route and he thought it advisable to stay in the mountains a few months more. He had opened a little store i Volcano and was hauling goods up there from Sacramento City. His Feb. 1851 letter set a departure date of the first of March. They had been making too much money lately to leave any sooner and he was hoping to hear how the Greens got along on their way home before he started. This might determine the route they would take.

            We really don’t know whether he came back a wealthy man or not. He did have some of the gold he mined made into plain gold bands for his daughters and he is known to have sported a gold headed cane. Any wealth he may have had was later lost in the grain market, I have heard. However he did leave a heritage in his family of children.

            Silas, born in 1840, was the oldest one left behind when his father went west. He must have inherited some of his father’s pioneering spirit. He is known to have traveled to Alaska and South America as well as mined in Butte, Montana. Frank, Charles, Silas, Ella Belle and Cora all went to the Butte-Walkerville area where they are listed in the city directories of the 1890’s. The men worked in the Alice copper mine and Cora taught school. She was married at one time to James Mc Fadyen and had one daughter who married and moved to Ashland, Oregon. Frank and Belle later moved out there to live with her. Katherine Dunnavan, after she was widowed, also lived in Butte during part of that decade.

            Daughter Louisa married David, son of Isaac, and they had four sons. Their home was in Colorado.

            Daughter Emma, my grandmother, married Andrew J. Brown. They had two daughter and three sons of which my father was the youngest. He (Walter Dunnavan Brown) now has 27 descendants as represented by my family and those of my sisters, Ethel Holmes and Helen Pottenger.

            Mary E. Dunnavan married Rev. John Edmonson. They had four daughters, two of them married and each had four daughters. The Davenport girls are from one of these families.

            Lucien and Edwin Dunnavan were the only sons to marry and have sons to carry on the family name. Lucien lived in Central City, Colorado.

            Edwin Dunnavan had two daughters and one son and raised his family in Seattle, Washington.

            George and Katherine Dunnavan were buried in un-marked graves in the Dayton Cemetery, he at the age of 79 and she at the age of 77. They were from sturdy American stock and while their way of living seemed rugged and full of danger, they lived in an era of many changes. One Judge, speaking at an Old Settler’s Picnic in 1869 remarked that “these past thirty or forty years will forever remain more memorable in the history of the whole world than will any equal period that has ever preceded it. Our progress during these forty years which would have been an incredible miracle a hundred years ago is only an illustrious and magnificent fact today.” Strangely enough, we can make the same remark today, a hundred years later, with just as much feeling.

More From Rachael & Rebecca

As a follow-up to last weeks post, here is another letter the sisters sent to their brother in California. This one, written May 28, 1850, shows how badly they missed the adventurers.

My dear Brother

We received Father’s and Jesse’s letters. Father’s was written the 13th of March and Jesse’s the 4th. The first that we have heard from you since the last of December. We got them day before yesterday, It was the happiest day that we have had since you are gone. We have heard so many reports this spring so did not think we could have such good news. It was all good but one thing. Oh, Joseph, do give that up. Father wrote that you talked of staying and going round the oceans but if you do think of any such thing do come home first and then there will be time enough to travel all round the world and when you go I want to go with you. It would kill us to hear you have gone so much farther before you would come home. Do all come home together. Next fall we are going to look for you the last of October. Father wrote you would start the first of September he thought. We all feel happy now but Eliza she did not get a letter from William and not one of them mentioned him. When you write again be sure and tell us where he is. Uncle trumbo got a letter from Elisha how he said he had seen Dunavan in San Francisco but did not say when. David, Isabella, Nancy, Catherine and Mrs. Goodrich all got letters the 15th of this month. We all rejoiced with Mrs. Goodrich. We had heard that he was dead. She never expected to hear from him again. Now she says she is perfectly happy. We had a letter from Martha a few days ago. She said they had heard that Uncle William was going to appoint an agent to go in his place and he would come home but nothing certain.

We are all well. The friends are all [well]. There has been a good many deaths around this winter but none amongst our relatives. I think we are among the favored few. We have all enjoyed good health since you left. I will close and [give] Rebecca a chance. Give my love to all enquiring friends. Father, Jesse and yourself in particular. Your loving sister,

                                                                                                                        Rachael Green

Dear Bro Joseph

I write you again feeling much better than when I wrote last Sunday from having such good news. For it was certainly much better than we had reason to hope for from the fact of our not hearing from you for 4 months and a half and the hearing of deaths in all letters received in Ottawa. Since you must know that our minds were ill at ease until we heard from you again but we now feel much relieved. Mrs. Goodrich in particular. She had no hope of ever seeing him from what Jesse had written to Richard Stadden. He told them not to let her hear of it but such things will leak out you know. We have a very good news carrier – Stickly stoped to hear our letters read and then reports accordingly.

Joseph you don’t know how we feel that you don’t get letters from us. We write once in 2 weeks without fail and very often once a week. If you don’t get them I beg of you not to lay the blame on us. David writes to you all and Rachel, Isaac and me write to you particularly every few weeks at farthest. It appears strange what the cause can be of your not receiving when the others do. But we will be particular and send them together hereafter. See if that will make any difference. We write so often that we many times send one at a time. We receive yours very irregular. Mrs. Snelling got hers of the same date some two or three days before we did and sometimes we receive one from one of you the middle of the month and another by the same steamer the middle of the next month so you see they are very uncertain but Joseph, do write often. You certainly know how much more good it would do us when we receive letters to get from you all. Elias Trumbo, Jonathan Stadden and Tom Jenkins write to you regularly, besides many others.

I do hope you will abandon the idea of going the journey Father speaks of till you come home first. Then we will give our consent for you to go see China and all the curiosities of the world if you promise not to be gone more than a year at a time.

We stood it pretty well till the first year you were gone but now time goes slowly. Folks told us after you started that our anxiety would soon wear off – it would get to be an old thing but, believe me instead of wearing off it increases daily. I know if you want to see us as bad as we want to see you you will not think of anything but coming home the quickest possible way. I hope you will find all the gold you want in the stream that you were turning till you are ready to start for home. Don’t too much. For we have considerable here – none of it wasted since you left. David does very good business both in the factory and mill and the farm is all let to good tenants. Daddy Hite still lives here. He is now hunting a farm but is rather hard to please. He has been around considerable but has now concluded to buy near here as he can find nothing to please him better. His money troubles him more, I expect, than your gold does among theives. He wants to get rid of it as soon as possible which I think is a good plan as I should hate to be in hot water as he is all the time.

You may think me particular in writing nonsense but I write so often that I can’t always talk sense. I would be glad to get a little nonsense from you once in a while and think probably you will from me if I have nothing else to write. If you were here a while I would have enough to say no doubt but writing is different. I must close by giving my love to all. Mother sends her love to you and says you must not think of staying longer than the rest. She don’t want to see any till she sees you all. So, Joseph, I again beg of you to come with them and travel after you have made us a long visit.

Rachel and me have our miniatures, very natural, I would like to send them to you but can’t very well. We take a great deal of comfort looking at yours. My love to all from your loving sister,

                                                                                                            Rebecca Green

                                                                                                            Dayton, Ill.

Rachael and Rebecca Green

Rachael and Rebecca were daughters of John and Barbara (Grove) Green. Rachael was born in 1826 in Licking County, Ohio and came to Illinois with her family in 1829. Rebecca was born in 1830 in Rutland township, La Salle County, Illinois.

Their three older sisters were all married by 1837, so Rachael, then age 11, and her sister Rebecca, age 7, helped care for their younger brothers, Joseph, and Isaac, at age 4 the baby of the family. We know some of the events that took place in Dayton during the absence of the men in California in 1849-1850 because Rachael and Rebecca wrote to their father and brothers.

Christ Stickley is postmaster now. he come hollering there is california letters before daylight. we was glad to get a specimen of the gold. it has to be showed to a great many as all are anxious too see what it was that took you away from your friends. Elias Trumbo Jonathan and Tom all got your letter to them with the gold in it.

we have had some ferstrate sleighing this winter and have improved it pretty well but we miss you every where. we have cotillion parties at our house every saturday night performance commences at six oclock and quits at ten we have verry pleasant parties there is some very nice smart folks living over in fords house they attend the parties Hites Boys have got to be good dancers Ben Hite lives with us this winter.
Rachael

Letter to Joseph Green, dated January 1, 1850, transcription in possession of Candace Wilmot

I am going to school this winter to pass time as much as any thing else. we have a very good school. I have not time to write much I have just got home from school and the mail will go out in a few minutes. I see Rachel has been praising Ben Hite up at a great rate. they are very gracious. he is living with us this winter doing chores and working for himself

O Joseph if you could only be here next saturday night we have first rate cotillion parties. last saturday evening we had three musician’s and first rate music (and some pretty good dancing) but o how we miss you at them. do hurry and satisfy yourself and come back to gladden our hearts. dont be too hard to satisfy either for it is to hard for near and dear friends to be seperated for gold or anything else aint it. Joseph I must close by giving my love to all yourself in particular Mother sends her love to you all and says write often and make haste and return so good bye
Rebecca

same letter

In 1854, Rebecca married Oliver Walcott Trumbo, and they had two daughters, Jessie and Frankie Rae. Frankie died of malarial fever at the age of seven. Jessie married Walcott Van Etten and they had three sons, Claire, Walcott, and Frank.

Rachael remained at home caring for her parents until, in 1863, at the age of 37, Rachael married George W. Gibson. He was a widower with 2 small children. He and Rachael had 2 children, John and Alta.

A Family Gathering

From the information on the back of the picture
This picture was taken in the yard of Oliver W. Trumbo’s house in Dayton, Ill. September 3, 1899.
The picture was taken by Burton M. Stadden.

Front row:
Edith Hess Gilman
Jas. McCartney
Sarah Swank Stadden McCartney (mother of Burton W. Stadden)
Clara (Callie) Green Hess
Rebecca Green Trumbo
Isaac Green
Oliver W. Trumbo
Jesse Green

Back row:
Burton W. Stadden
Mr. & Mrs. Ned Richardson (friends)
Julia Taylor Stadden
Benton Hess
Edwin Hess
Arthur Hess
Harry Hess

Noah Brunk and his wife Amanda? Elizabeth?

On September 24, 1857, Noah Brunk married Amanda Elizabeth Parr. Or was it Elizabeth Amanda Parr?

This form reads as follows: Noah Brunk Being duly Sworn Deposes and says he is engaged to be married to Miss Elizabeth Amanda F Parr that the said Amanda Elizabeth is under the age of Eighteen Years, and that he is above the age of Twenty-one Years. that he [has] the consent of the parents of said Amanda for her marriage with him at this time.
[signed] Noah Brunk

The form was initially written for Amanda Parr. Perhaps she was always referred to as Amanda, but she pointed out, for the record, that her first name was Elizabeth. In 1850, at age 9, she was listed in the Thomas Parr family in the census as Elizabeth A. It appears that for official records her name was Elizabeth, but that she was always called Amanda. Her obituary listed her as Amanda E. (Parr) Brunk.

Noah Brunk was born in Rockingham County, Virginia on December 14, 1828. He came to La Salle County in 1855, and settled on a farm in the north part of Dayton Township. He married Elizabeth/Amanda Parr in 1857. They had six children: three died in infancy; one, Ida Bell, died at the age of 5 and is buried in the Dayton cemetery; a son, Thomas Lafayette; and a daughter Cora Bell, who married William D. Hedrick.

Noah Brunk served a term as Dayton Road Commissioner and as Dayton Township Treasurer. He was also a Director of the Fox River Horse Collar Manufacturing Company of Dayton. He spent a few years around 1900 in Austell, Georgia, and then they moved to Peabody, Kansas, to be near their daughter, who lived in Wichita. He died there December 31, 1908. His wife continued to live in Peabody until she died there March 14, 1921.

B. Frank Trumbo

SORROW IN WAKE OF FRANK TRUMBO DEATH
COMMUNITY SHOCKED BY DEMISE OF PROMINENT MAN
END CAME TUESDAY NIGHT1

Ex-Sheriff, Leading Politician and One of County’s Best Known Farmers and Citizens’ Goes to Reward

            B. Frank Trumbo, one of La Salle county’s most prominent figures, passed away at 10 o’clock Tuesday night at his home, six miles north of Ottawa. Death was caused by valvular heart trouble, with which Mr. Trumbo had been ailing for a few weeks past.

            When his health began failing him the deceased entered the Presbyterian hospital in Chicago, where he underwent treatment until last Friday. He was removed to his home benefitted only slightly. Sunday and Monday he showed little improvement and Tuesday the change for the worse came. Late in the afternoon it was known that it was only a matter of hours and the relatives gathered at the bedside, where they remained to the end.

            Word of Mr. Trumbo’s death spread throughout the city leaving utterances of sorrow and regret no matter where the sad tidings traveled. Few men attained the success of the deceased ex-sheriff. He was a Democrat in his political views, but at no time did he permit politics or the glory of victory to interfere with friendship. Friends he had by the host and it was his loyalty to those he knew that made him such a popular favorite throughout the county.

            On the farm, in the city, campaigning, in office or wherever business called him he was just Frank Trumbo. For the past few years he had been aware of the condition that would ultimately terminate in death. He maintained the genial and jovial nature that made him such a popular favorite in this vicinity, even against these odds.

            In 1902 he was elected sheriff when large Republican majorities were the vogue. He conducted his office in the same manner he had his private business. Few officials left a record that could even be compared with his. Honesty and integrity were by-words with him and a close adherence to duty and his obligation toward the people, brought him into public favor from the start.

            He was born November 25, 1862, on the Trumbo homestead in Dayton township. His parents are Mr. and Mrs. Moab P. Trumbo, of Jackson street, this city; old pioneer residents of the county. Mr. Trumbo’s ancestry traces back to the seventeenth century when great-grandfathers located in Virginia.

            Educated in the public schools and later taking a course in business college, Mr. Trumbo followed farming as his principal vocation. He placed the land under a high state of cultivation, adding all the modern improvements. In all of his work he had been practical and energetic, displaying perseverance and keen discrimination that won him results, establishing him in a position among the leading agriculturists of the county.

            Surviving he leaves his sorrowing wife and two daughters, Helena and Josephine. He also leaves his aged parents and one sister, Mrs. Ed. F. Bradford, of this city. The deceased was a member of Occidental lodge No. 40, A. F. & A. M., Shabbona Chapter R. A. M., Ottawa Commandery No. 10, Knights Templar and Ottawa Lodge No. 588, Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks.

            The funeral was held from the home Friday morning at 10 o’clock. Interment was in the Ottawa Avenue cemetery, where Ottawa Commandery No, 10, Knights Templar, took charge of the services.

  1. Ottawa Free Trader, November 10, 1911, p7, col 1

A Bountiful Supply

slice of cakeHymeneal

Married – At Dayton, in this county, on the 31st inst. (New Year’s Eve) by the Rev. David Newton, Mr. John Stadden to Miss Ann Maria Miller, both of Dayton.

Accompanying the above notice, was that which always gladdens the poor printer’s heart – a bountiful supply of Miller’s workmanship, in the shape of delicious wedding cake. The happy couple have our best wishes for their future happiness, hoping that the evening of their days will be as pleasant as the first dawn of 1841 met them agreeable and happy.1

They stayed in Illinois long enough to have two children, but about 1846 they moved to Texas, where they lived out their lives and had several more children.


  1. Free Trader, January 1, 1841, p. 3, col. 3

Rabbits, a Dance and Thanksgiving

Dayton1

            The coal industry is still thriving in our burg.

G. G. Galloway, our enterprising manager of the electric plant, has just placed a telephone in his residence.

            It was expected that the shutting down of the brick mill so early in the season would cause a number of men and boys to lay idle until spring, but such is not the case. Our men, as well as boys, are all hustlers, and scarcely an idle man can be found on our streets.

            Mrs. E. McClary, who has had the measles for the past week, is now much better and able to be about again.

            A special school election has been called for Dec. 15th to elect a director to fill the place made vacant by J. W. Channel, now deceased.

            Mr. and Mrs. Henry Clodt have had troubles enough of their own for the past two weeks. Their oldest son, Henry, has been sick with scarlet fever for the past two weeks, and the four youngest are laid up with the measles. The house is still under quarantine.

            Mr. and Mrs. E. Hill and Miss Bartlett, of Rutland, attended the dance at Woodman hall on Thanksgiving night.

            A large gathering attended the dance at Woodman hall on Thanksgiving night, and everybody seemed to have enjoyed themselves.

            The crown in one of the kilns at the tile mill fell in one day last week, but fortunately no one was injured. The kiln was full of tile partly burned, and will necessitate the emptying of the kiln and burning the tile over again. It will be repaired at once.

            The river is at a height to harvest a good crop of ice should it freeze up in the near future.

            The old paper mill, at one time one of the greatest industries that Dayton ever had, is a thing of the past and a sight to behold. Hardly anything is left that could be carried away but the foundation, and the trust will be at no expense in clearing away the ruins.

            Joseph Barends has lost his valuable shepherd dog.

            E. Trumbo, of Rutland, is shipping cord wood from Dayton on the cars for the C., B. & Q. R. R.

            Mr. and Mrs. George A. Mills, of South Ottawa, spent Sunday with Mr. and Mrs. G. G. Galloway.

            Mr. and Mrs. Ed Emmons, of Marseilles, have been visiting Mr. and Mrs. McBrearty the past few days.

            A number of rabbits have been killed here the past week.

            Wm. Hanna and family have removed to Morris and will make that city their future home. Mr. Hanna is employed in the tannery.

            Emery Waller is still on the sick list, but was out for a while this morning.

            Mrs. Susan Ellis, of Chicago, an aunt of Mr. Galloway died on Monday. Mr. Galloway left this morning to attend the funeral.

            Mrs. Grace McGrogin [McGrogan], who has been sick for some time past has recovered.

            The tile mill is still busy shipping fire clay.

            A Thanksgiving dinner given by Mr. and Mrs. O. W. Trumbo was largely attended. Among those present were Mr. and Mrs. W. Van Etten and three children, Batavia, Mr. Eugene Appleton, Miss Ella Green, Aurora, Wm. Miller, wife and three children, Rutland, Mr. and Mrs. Isaac Green, Miss Carrie Green and Lyle A. Green, Dayton.

            Gilbert Masters, with the P. R. R. at Chicago, returned home on Sunday, after spending a couple of days among his friends here.

            Mrs. Emma Boyd, of Seneca, is visiting Mrs. John Channel for a few days.


1. Ottawa Republican Times, December 6, 1900, p. 4, cols. 3-4

A Look at the Dayton Flour Mill in 1880

David Green

The 1880 census had a special schedule listing businesses. Among those listed in La Salle county was the flour mill of D. Green and Son. David Green, the second son of the patriarch, John Green, had been associated with a number of the family businesses – the woolen mill, the store, but most particularly the grist mill, as seen in this advertisement.

Ottawa Free Trader, Nov. 22, 1873

Here is the flour mill, as described in the 1880 census of manufacturers:
Owner: D. Green & Son
Capital invested in the business: $10,000
Number of employees: 2, both males over 16
Greatest number employed at any one time: 2
Number of hours in ordinary work day: 10
Daily wage for skilled worker: $2.50
Daily wage for ordinary laborer: $1.00
Total wages paid for the year: $110
In operation 1/2 time only: 6 months
Idle: 6 months
Number of runs of stone: 4
Estimated maximum capacity per day in bushels: 550
Do you do custom work or make only for a market? If the former, what proportion of your product is custom grinding? 4/5
Is there an elevator connected with your establishment? No

If water power is used –
On what river or stream? Fox river, flows to Illinois
Height of fall in feet: 18

Wheels –
Number: 5
Breadth in feet: 4
Horsepower: 150

Materials –
Number of bushels of wheat: 400
Value: $480
Number of bushels of other grain: 1500
Value: $600
Value of mill supplies: $20
Total value of all materials: $1100

Products –
Number of barrels of wheat flour: 80
Number of barrels of rye flour: none
Number of barrels of buckwheat flour: 500
Number of pounds of barley meal: none
Number of pound of corn meal: 1000
Number of pounds of feed: 6000
Number of pounds of hominy: none
Total value of all products: $1500

This is a typical example of a local mill where farmers within a radius of five to ten miles brought their own grain, taking home ground meal or flour minus a percentage called the miller’s toll. This was known as custom grinding, and 80 percent of the Dayton mill’s work fell in that category. For the remaining 20 percent, where grain was purchased, the resulting flour was sold at retail prices in their store.

120 Years Ago in Dayton

Dayton

             Jesse Hudson, of Chicago, is visiting Clyde Channel for a few days.

            Gilbert Masters, of Chicago, with the P., C C & St L. R R, is here visiting Mr. and Mrs. Masters, for a short time.

            Mrs. Miles Masters, who had been visiting her sister in Pennsylvania, and was expected to remain until October, was called suddenly home to the bedside of her husband, who has been confined at his home for the past three weeks. Mr. Masters is much better at this writing.

            Mrs. Robert Wilson, of Stewart, Ill., who has been visiting her parents, Mr. and Mrs. John Brees, returned to her home on Tuesday.

            I understand one of our boys “set ’em up” on Friday evening last, and all the other boys had a good time at his expense. Such is life.

            Martin Welke has a good crop of grapes, and expects to have some fine wine this coming winter.

            The river is fast falling, much to the disgust of our mill-owners.

            G. G. Galloway has started up the hydraulic cider press.

            Miss Etta Barnes, of Chicago, is visiting her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Jos Barnes, and will remain until September.

            Channel and Co., are shipping a quantity of tile and brick.

            Mrs. W. Van Etten, of Batavia, and three children are visiting Mr. and Mrs. O. W. Trumbo.

            Threshing is going on lively in these parts, and help seems to be scarce.

            Wilmot Van Etten, formerly of this burg, but now of Batavia, leaves on August 22nd for Boston to take charge of an excursion train for California.

            Wm. Ribes, of Ottawa, is repairing the kilns for J. W. Channel & Co.

            From present indications Dayton will be well represented at the old settlers’ picnic and Pawnee Bill’s Historic Wild West show on Thursday.

                                                                                                Daytonian1


  1. [Ottawa] Republican-Times, August 23, 1900, p. 4, col. 4

This is a Very Corny Story

corn, corn, corn

CORN PARTY WAS A SUCCESS
IT WAS HELD OUT IN DAYTON TOWNSHIP
And It Demonstrated That Corn is Still King in This Section

Friday evening, Feb. 23, the Dayton Homemakers’ Circle, including all the gentlemen, was entertained at a “Corn Party” at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Beach.

Mr. Beach, being an enthusiast on the subject of corn, had the house decorated with his best selections of seed corn as well as corn on the stalk. And a large pan of pop corn, encircled by ears of corn, formed the center piece of the dining room table. The menu consisted of corned beef, corn bread and butter, coffee, cider, pickles, popcorn and apples.

Mrs. J. J. McGrath, vice-president, announced the following program, which was well rendered:
Piano solo – Irene Barrett
Reading – Mrs. Fannie Tucker
Vocal solo – Mr. Chally
Piano solo – Lucile Bultman
Piano solo – Gertrude Beach
Dialogue – The Misses Erickson
Mandolin and piano selection – Mr. and Mrs. Louis Belrose
Corn conundrums – Frank Beach1

The highlight of the evening appears to have been the “corn conundrums” offered by Mr. Beach. Unfortunately, the newspaper did not list any of them, but a diligent search turned up the following examples:

Why are potatoes and corn like certain sinners of old? Because, having eyes, they see not, and having ears they hear not.
Why should a man never tell his secrets in a corn field? Because so many ears are there, and they would be shocked.
Why is corn like a rose bush? Because both are prized for their flour / flower.
Why is corn like a dunce? Because it is always likely to have its ears pulled.


  1. Ottawa Free Trader, 1 Mar 1912, p12, col 5