A Joint Birthday Celebration

 

Taken September 6, 1910, at the residence of Basil Green, Dayton, Illinois, celebrating the eightieth birthday of Basil Green (born Sep 17) and Rebecca Green Trumbo (born Sep 8).

Front row: Alice Masters, Mildred Masters, John Gilman, Margaret Allison Barnes, Gladys Green

2nd row: Harry Hess, Nettie Masters & Pearl, Callie Hess, Kate Brown, ?, Basil Green, Rev. Jesse Green, C. B. Hess, Charles Olmstead, Rebecca Trumbo

3rd row: Jane (Jennie) Barnes, Edward Dallam, Harriet Olmstead Poole, Maud Green, Dora Trumbo, Del Terry Hess, Sadie Olmstead Green, Carrie Barnes Green, Rush Green, Ora Del Green, Aunt Barbara Jackson, Miss Etta Barnes, Mr. Ed McClary

4th row: Mrs. Emma Barnes McClary, Annie Robinson, Mrs. Winnie Dallam, Fred Green, Mrs. Josie Gibson, Mrs. Ralph Green, Win Green Sr, Mrs. Isaac Green, Mrs. Charles Olmstead

Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Dunavan

CELEBRATED THEIR GOLDEN WEDDING1
Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Dunavan Entertain One Hundred Friends at Dinner at Clifton.

            Fifty years ago today Miss A. Miranda Munson, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. William Munson, of Freedom township, became the bride of Samuel Dunavan, son of Mr. and Mrs. J. Albert Dunavan, living seven miles northeast of Ottawa, and today, after spending half a century together, they celebrated the event by entertaining one hundred of their friends and relatives at a dinner, served at the Clifton hotel.

The children of the couple were present and guests gathered from many cities and states. The gathering was a most pleasant one, and the sounds of laughter echoed through the rooms and corridors of the old Clifton as it never did before.

Judge Henry W. Johnson presided as toast-master, and Rev. Elfreda L. Newport offered up prayer. Dr. J. Webster Bailey responded to the toast “Our Host and Hostess.”

Mr. Dunavan spoke entertainingly of “The Pioneer,” and Mrs. Ida Cove responded to “The Golden Wedding.”

Mr. and Mrs. Dunavan were married at the home of Mr. and Mrs. William Munson, parents of the bride, after a courtship of almost four years. J. Albert Dunavan, father of the groom of fifty years, resided on a farm seven miles northwest of Ottawa. He later purchased a tract of land on Indian creek, in Freedom township, and sent Samuel Dunavan, then 18 years old, to the new farm to herd cattle.

The country was not so thickly settled in those days as now and Samuel, the boy, became lonesome with nobody to talk to but the cows and his dog, and one day he wandered away to the Munson home, where he met Miranda Munson, then 17 years old.

Many a trip was made to the Munson home by Samuel Dunavan during the long months that followed, and he and Miss Miranda became pretty warm friends.

Then came a separation. The parents of the young woman decided to send her to college, and she was hustled away to Rockford to attend the Rockford Female Seminary, and Samuel Dunavan was sent to Bryant & Stratton College, where he graduated in 1859.

The young people kept up a regular chain of correspondence, and a short itme after his graduation and return form college Mr. Dunavan and Miss Munson were married. It was to be a quiet affair, with only a few of the near relatives present, and Jesse Green, uncle of the groom, was on hand to perform the ceremony.

After the wedding Mr. and Mrs. Munson took up their residence on the farm they now occupy near Baker Station, and where they have made their home ever since. Mr. and Mrs. Dunavan were born in La Salle county and have always made this county their home.

They raised a family of five children. Douglas L. Dunavan is an attorney of this city. Clarence V. Dunavan is a druggist in Millington. Mrs. Nettie L. Rogers lives in Kansas City, Mo. Mrs. May Hum is a resident of Adams township and Mrs. Cora Belle Watts is a resident of Earl township.

Jesse Green, who married Mr. and Mrs. Dunavan, died in Ryburn hospital last summer. Had he lived it was planned to have him again perform the ceremony, but since his death the old folks have decided that the ceremony performed half a century ago will hold good until the end comes.

There are but few people living today who attended the Dunavan-Munson wedding fifty years ago, and none was able to attend the celebration. One of the interesting features of the celebration today was the presence of the slippers and gloves worn by the bride and the gloves worn by the groom at the time of the wedding.


  1. Probably from the Ottawa Daily Republican-Times of March 22, 1909.

Another Dayton inventor

Dunavan, A F - patent In 1870 Albert F. Dunavan purchased the Dayton horse-collar factory, a thriving business. The collars were sold throughout Illinois and adjoining states, and in New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and California. In 1886 they even received an order from Sidney, Australia, enthusiastically described in the Free Trader as the most distant sales ever made from La Salle county. The Dunavans did a good business for many years, but in 1892 the business failed and was sold to pay the debts. Albert Dunavan then moved to Harvey, Illinois, where he worked in insurance and real estate, but he also applied for a patent on an apparatus for shaping horse collars, based on his many years of experience.

Holiday Happenings for students at the Dayton School

The following appeared in the January 24,1955 issue of the Dayton News Reel, a publication of the Dayton school. Editor, Richard Jackson; Assistant Editor, Richard Charlier; Circulation, Allan Holm. Reporters for Class and Social Activities for this six-week period were —
Grade 8 – Sheila Gash
Grade 7 – Larry Polen
Grade 6 – Bob Mossbarger
Visual Aids – Charles Ohme
Social – Patsy Hughes
Art and Music – Shirley Harmon
Sports and Safety – Terry Hiland
General News – Patsy Hughes

HOLIDAY HAPPENINGS

Dick went skating during the holidays and spent Christmas at home where his parents entertained Mr. and Mrs. M. Hall of Ottawa.

Allan spent Christmas at home. All the Holm relatives were there. He received a microscope and chemistry set and enjoyed trying many experiments as well as skating. Staff Sgt. Morris Fosse was a visitor at the Holm home during the holidays and Allan anticipates a vacation at Fort Knox, Ky. this summer, where Sgt. Fosse is located.

Sheila spent Christmas Day at the home of her grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Caffee in Marseilles. Sledding was her chief fun during the vacation.

Richard spent his Christmas at home. During the vacation he went hunting – (no luck.)

Carol vacationed at home.

Connie spent her Christmas Day at the home of her grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. J. Krug near Harding.

Larry stayed home for Christmas but spent a good part of his vacation enjoying ice skating and hockey.

Vernon Dale was home for Christmas. Guests at his and Deryle’s home were grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Lum McKinney. Vernon Dale enjoyed sliding.

Shirley spent Christmas at home. During the holidays guests at the Harmon home included, Mrs. Lillie Burchal of Kentucky, Mr. and Mrs. Andy Dankowich of Streator, Mr. and Mrs. Walter Thomas of Peoria, Mrs. Naomi Swiggen and family of Morris. Shirley spent a great deal of time sliding.

Eddie stayed home for Christmas and helped entertain Mr. and Mrs. W. Tisler, and Mr. and Mrs. Ward Stebbins. He went hunting during the vacation and tried out his new 20 Gauge shotgun. Result – three rabbits.

Sandra went roller skating then sliding at night during her vacation. Guests at her home during teh holidays were Mr. and Mrs. George Stewart.

Patsy spent Christmas at home but went roller skating and night sliding during the vacation.

Charles spent Christmas at home. He enjoyed a visit with his father, Tech. Sgt. Heber Whyte and tried out his new rifle by going hunting. He bagged [unfortunately the last line is unreadable, but he was undoubtedly successful.]

John went sledding and made a model car which he had received as a gift.

Bob stayed home for Christmas. He has a new flash camera nd printing press. One day when he was sledding, Leslie jumped on the sled causing him to lose control of the sled. Result – Bobe went into the ditch at the side of the road which was filled with water, found it much too cool for swimming.

Sally stayed home for Christmas and enjoyed visiting with Mr. and Mrs. William Eichenberger of LaGrange and Mrs. Ruth Green. Sally received a wrist watch for Christmas. (No excuse now for being late.) She also tried out ice skates.

Terry received a parakeet and is trying to teach it to talk. He and Vernon Dale went sledding.

Deryl received a light and a basket for his bike. He spent four days in Naplate with his sister and husband, Mr. and Mrs. Carl Olson.

Leslie went ice skating, fell in once. Participated in a snow-ball fight and in sledding. Mr. and Mrs. Les Carrier, LaVonne Carrier and Mr. and Mrs. Russell Carrier were guests at the Walleck’s.

Making Christmas

Santa

hat stand

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thinking of December in the Dayton school always brings to mind making things – Christmas decorations, gifts for our parents, painting pictures on the windows. One year we made plaster Santas and painted them with great care. Another year, it was angels with wings which were covered with gold glitter. All this work was done in Ma Mathews’ room in the basement and half the fun was in doing something in a different place, one we never saw at any other time. We also made gifts for our parents. I have no recollection of what I made for my mother, but the hat stand I made for my father served loyally for many years, holding up his best hat, even when he stopped wearing hats.

I wasn’t involved much with painting the windows, as there were many who were much more talented in that line than I was. However, I was sometimes entrusted with filling in a large area of solid color. The finished windows glowed like stained glass and were greatly admired. Even 70 years later, every Christmas season when I unpack the decorations I am reminded of my days in the Dayton school.

Louis P. Morel (1855-1897)

coal miner

Louis P. Morel married Marie Fritsch in Chicago on December 16, 1884. According to their marriage application both were born in Chicago, but Marie, at least, was born in France. She probably came from the Alsace region that was the home of many French people in the Somonauk-Serena area, close to Dayton. It’s also possible that Louis was related to some of the Morels living in the area.

In 1885 they moved to Dayton and bought a small three-room, one-story, frame house on lots 1 and 2 in block 7 of the original town of Dayton. [See the map on the home page of this site for location of house.] The lot also included a coal house and a well, and a board fence surrounding it all.

Louis and Marie had three children, all born in Dayton:
Louise, born March 15, 1886
George, born September 10, 1888
Emma Berthe, born December 12, 1889
Emma died October 20, 1896, and is buried in the Dayton cemetery.

On November 17, 1897, Louis was taking coal from a small surface mine near Dayton, when a mass of earth caved in on him, crushing him to death. He was buried in the Dayton cemetery, with his daughter Emma. [See his cemetery page on this site for more information.]

Marie, the widow, inherited the personal property – beds, bedding, kitchen equipment, furniture, and the only explicitly named item – the sewing machine. She sold the house for $300 and moved to Goble, Columbia County, Oregon with the children. She may have chosen this place because there were other Morel families there, perhaps related to her husband, although no such connection has yet been found.

In May of 1908, Louise, now aged 22, married Frederick “Fritz” Aniker. Marie died in Goble on October 19, 1914 and is buried in the Kobel Cemetery there. Son George died March 28, 1917 and Louise on June 27, 1930. They are also buried in the Kobel Cemetery.

Thanksgiving day in Dayton – 1901

cornucopia

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 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.1


  1. The Ottawa [Illinois] Free Trader, December 6, 1901, p. 12, cols. 1-2

Old Settlers Reunion – Part 5

               scythe sickle

concluding the Hon. P. A. Armstrong’s remarks to the 1877 La Salle County Old Settlers Reunion:

Our modes of farming and the implements we used would of itself constitute a theme for hours of description. I will pass them briefly as I have already taken up too much time. Seven yoke of cattle strung out in front of a bar-share plow with long raking wooden mould board with one man to govern the plow and another to drive the team did well in turning over two acres per day.

In crop plowing the second year we used what was termed the Carey plow. It was similar in construction to the prairie plow with wooden mould board and coulter, but instead of cutting the sod and turning it topsy turvy as that manufactures by our friend T. D. Brewster does, it simply pushed it aside and left the soil in splendid condition for the growth of weeds. Our stirring and corn plows were of similar construction, fine implements for the cultivation of weeds. He who would have told us that a plow could be made that would scour in loose soil would have been deemed “soft in the head.”

A paddle to remove the dirt from the mould board was deemed as essential as the plow itself. These plows gave way to cast iron mould boards for stirring plows, and the shovel plow for tilling the corn. These in turn have given place to the more modern improvements until these of the present day, when gang plows for cultivating have reduced the labor almost into a pastime.

Our hoes were of monstrous size and ponderous weight, with the handle thrust  into a massive eye. They bore about the same relation to the steel-shanked and polished hoe of today that the stone ax of the Indians bears to that made by the Perkins Brothers or Underhill.

We harvested our grain with the sickle or cradle and our hay with the scythe. Our threshing machines were the flail or the more speedy but less cleanly mode of tramping it out with horses. The latter was the general mode, but for buckwheat it would not work, because the horses’ feet ground it as well as threshed it. The Messrs. McCormick, Manny, Ball, Esterly and other manufacturers of farm implements had not yet put in their appearance. Harvesters, mowers, threshers, shellers, horse-rakes and forks, did not even have a name, much less a habitation, in those days; yet we thought ourselves well advanced in the arts and sciences, and criticized our predecessors for their lack of knowledge. If the same ratio of improvement in the discovery and manufacture of farm implements be made during the coming half century that has been made during the past, who is there here to-day will dare predict the result?

Executor’s Sale of John Green’s Property

shorthorn cattle

shorthorn cattle

 

Executors’ sale: Notice is hereby given, that on Thursday, the 22d day of October next, between the hours of 10 o’clock in the forenoon and 5 o’clock in the afternoon of said day, at the late residence of John Green, deceased, the personal property of said decedent will be sold, consisting of twenty thoroughbred short-horn cows and heifers, five thoroughbred short-horn bulls, and twenty-five high-grade cows, steers and heifers.

Terms of Sale. – Purchases of less than five dollars to be paid in hand; for that amount and over, on a credit of nine months, the purchaser giving note with approved security, without interest if paid at maturity, otherwise, bearing interest at the rate of ten per cent. per annum.

Jesse Green
David Green
Executors1


  1. The Ottawa [Illinois] Free Trader, October 10, 1874, P. 3, Col. 4

    Photo credit: By Sanders, James Harvey, 1832-1899. [from old catalog] [No restrictions], via Wikimedia Commons

Old Settlers Reunion – Part 4

boneset

boneset

continuing the Hon. P. A. Armstrong’s remarks to the 1877 La Salle County Old Settlers Reunion:

Our worst enemy and severest affliction was ague and fever. None escaped it, or if so the exceptions were few indeed.

Nor is it to be wondered at, for no attention was given nor effort made to obtain pure water. Holes were sunk at the edges of the sloughs, which were filled with surface water, covered with a blue scum, and during hot weather teeming with animalculae. We called them wigglers, and since it has been asserted that blue glass is a great invigorator in the growth of vegetable matter we have been inclined to believe that blue scum is equally potent in developing wigglers into mosquitoes and tadpoles into frogs and that as an ague producer the blue scummed water was a perfect success.

We neither had any physicians or medicines except on the botanical principle. Our quinine was boneset or wauhoo, the very thoughts of which make us shudder even now. When the ague came it manifested great staying qualities. Six weeks of daily shakes were not uncommon. Whole families were afflicted with it at the same time, when the question as to which one was best able to carry water from the slough was difficult to solve.

We were frequently compelled to live in tents and sleep upon the ground for weeks and months before we could collect a sufficient force to raise our little cabins. Everybody was sick with the ague and unable to work. Our first buildings were log cabins, [This generality was not true of Dayton, which had a sawmill from the beginning.] generally with but one room, which must serve as kitchen, dining-room, sitting room, parlor and bed room.  In-door sparking was almost impossibility as Pa, Ma and all the mischievous brothers and sisters of your girl persisted in lying awake to listen to what you said and take notes of what you did.

———————— to be continued —————————

Halloween in Dayton

Clara Mathews

Halloween in Dayton in the 1940s meant trick-or-treating. of course. Coming home with a bag full of treats or seeing the soap on the store windows, it was a night of excitement. Number one on my personal list was the treat from Ma Mathews. I don’t suppose she made the same thing every year, but in my memory it was always a popcorn ball, the gooey, sticky caramel on the freshly popped popcorn. I always hoped I could get two – one to eat on the spot and one to take home, but she was too wily to fall for that. Since she was the school janitor, she knew exactly how many children there were in town. It was no good telling her that you needed another one to take home to your sister, as she had probably just given one to your sister ten minutes ago.

Old Settlers Reunion – Part 3

bible Pilgrim's Progress

continuing the Hon. P. A. Armstrong’s remarks to the 1877 La Salle County Old Settlers Reunion:

Our population was too much scattered for schools. Four Miles was not considered too far for the children to travel in attending school. Books, except the book of books, the Bible, were very scarce. There were no newspapers then published in the state and if there had been, we had no means of obtaining them, as we had no mails. There was one copy of that noble work of Bunyan, “Pilgrim’s Progress,” in our neighborhood. It was read by all who could read, and constituted a kind of circulating library. I doubt not but my pious friend Col. Hitt perused the history of poor Prospect, filled with hopes and doubts, especially the doubts. The condition of society at that date was such as to render this locality very unhealthy for the Mrs. Grundys and the Paul Prys.

Even visiting was not popular, not because our people were unsocial, but because our neighbors were too far distant.

Talking societies and curiosity shops did not flourish. Nor had we any tramps, gipsies, or strolling organ grinders; sewing machine agents would have been shot on the spot. We had no difficulties between neighbors on account of trespass committed by the chickens or pigs of one upon the premises of another. The only trespass with which we were then familiar was that known as jumping of claims upon Uncle Sam’s land. These sometimes occurred and when they did occur a field fight generally followed in which whole families took a hand; but we never went to law to establish our claims, although all sometimes did seek consolation at law for bruised heads and bloody noses received in the struggle to protect our claims. It was a poor country for office and office holders. All our disputes were settled by arbitration, hence lawsuits were but little heard of.

Tea and coffee were luxuries we could not obtain for love or money, for there was none in the country.

——————– to be continued ————————

Old Settlers Reunion – Part 2

chicken

continuing the Hon. P. A. Armstrong’s remarks to the 1877 La Salle County Old Settlers Reunion:

To have our humble cabin selected as the place to hold divine services was considered a special favor, and the itinerant preacher (for that is the name by which they were hailed) was always a welcome guest to our firesides. Indeed we used to count the days and look forward to the time when the preacher was to come, and had our favorite club in a convenient place to slaughter a chicken for his dinner or supper whenever he came. We were happy in the anticipation of wheat bread and chicken upon his arrival. There was, however, a rumor current in those days that the chickens began to squeal as the preacher came in sight. Be this as it may, I am now under the solemn conviction that the preachers of those days were as fatal to the barnyard fowls as the chicken cholera of the present time, and yet they were a very devout and good kind of men. In many instances they rode on horseback hundreds of miles to fulfill their engagement, and not infrequently sacrificed their lives to their devotion to duty.

The pioneer preacher of all this section of the country was Rev. Jesse Walker, the uncle of David Walker, Esq., of Ottawa. William Royal, now on duty in Oregon, and Stephen Beggs, of Plainfield, Ills., were our pioneer circuit riders. They were Methodists. Elder John Sinclair, than whom God never made a better man or purer Christian, was also among the first and was the first presiding Elder.

These men worked through sunshine and storm, never faltering, never wearying in well-doing. They labored without money and without price, taking no heed of what they should eat or wherewithal they should be clothed. Elijah-like, trusting in God to be fed by the young Ravens, their labors were more than crowned with success.

Churches were built, congregations formed and sabbath schools established all over the country.

—————– to be continued ———————


Photo credit: By Lilly M [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or CC BY 2.5 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5)%5D, from Wikimedia Commons

Those Blankets Were Tough

Blanket from Dayton Woolen Mill

A blanket produced by the Dayton Woolen Mill

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


The Ottawa [Illinois] Free Trader, 22 Sep 1877, p1, col 2

Old Settlers Reunion – Part 1

Covered Wagon

At the 1877 La Salle County Old Settlers Reunion the principal speaker was The Honorable Perry A. Armstrong of Morris, a lawyer and member of the state legislature for several terms. His lengthy speech was reported in the Ottawa Free Trader on August 18 and told of the early days of the county. Excerpts from that speech are given below.

“The state of Ohio, though comparatively speaking one of the younger states, contributed largely towards furnishing the first settlers of this county, among whom I will mention the Greens, Shavers, Groves, Debolts, Dunavans, Hupps, Brumbacks, Pitzers, Richeys, Strawns, Milligans, Trumbos, Armstrongs, Parrs, Hitts, Reynolds, Wallaces and Bruners, all of whom have left many descendants. New York also contributed handsomely to the first inhabitants, while Pennsylvania, Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee and many of the eastern states had their representatives here at an early day. As a general rule we could distinguish whether the incoming emigrant were Yankee or from the Middle States.

The Yankee drove but one span of horses to his wagon and rode on the wagon to drive – the other drove from four to six horses to his wagon, riding the left hand wheel-horse to drive. The wagon of the Yankee was coupled longer than the other, had a flexible tongue held up by a neck yoke, and was of several inches narrower gauge and far lighter draft. The box was much lower and longer than the other’s, and of simpler construction and more easily taken apart to put on and oil.

The Buckeye or the Middle State wagon was schooner-shaped and closely coupled together. The rear wheels were some 12 inches greater in diameter than the front ones. It had a still tongue, which was ever busy pounding the legs of the wheel horses. The team was driven by a single line. Three sharp jerks to turn to the right – a steady pull to turn to the left, guided them.

The harness was both a curiosity and a monstrosity – a curiosity, how it ever came into use; a monstrosity by way of punishment to the poor horses who wore them. Great heavy blind bridles, huge collars, massive hames, broad backband and heavy trace-chains for the leaders, immense breeching that literally covered the hind-quarters of the wheel-horses, side-straps full five inches wide for tugs, and large bent-skin housings upon the wethers of each horse, were sufficient to melt anything in the shape of flesh.

The box was much higher at the ends than in the middle and was made of panel work, and so mortised together that the entire weight had to be lifted up in taking it off or putting it on the wagon. Hence it required the united effort of a whole family to handle it. These schooner wagons being about 5 inches wider than the Eastern wagon, they of course never tracked with them, and hence they made a new track, at least on one side. Being very heavy they sank to hard pan in every slough, and when planted they are “solid muldoons.”

These wagons, so dissimilar, each had their advocates for a while, but the superior advantages possessed by the Eastern wagon were so patent that the prairie schooners were abandoned and suffered, like the wonderful one-horse chaise, to tumble to pieces and were never repaired or duplicated.

Carriages and buggies (either open or covered) were unknown to us. Instead of buggy-riding we practiced that far more elegant and invigorating mode of pleasure-riding – horse-back exercise. Our young ladies enjoyed riding on horseback with more genuine pleasure than those of today enjoy the buggy or phaeton. It gave them rosy cheeks and robust constitutions, even though eight yards of calico were sufficient to make a dress for any of them. Our young man deemed it a pleasure to mount his horse of a Sabbath morning and ride 20 miles to escort a young lady 10 miles further to attend meeting. We had no churches or ministers at that time. Divine services were held by our pioneer preachers at private houses all over the country.”

————- to be continued —————–

Buy Your Fruit Trees Here!

man in orchard

50,000 Grafted Fruit Trees

are now awaiting purchasers at my Farm and Nursery, on the west side of Fox River, near Dayton, and five miles north-east of Ottawa. They consist of nearly

300 Varieties of Apple,

And a great variety of Pears, Plumbs, and Cherries, which have been selected with care and great expense from the most popular and approved Nurseries in the Union, embracing nearly all the standing varieties in the eastern and southern states, the fruit of which it is confidently believed, cannot fail to suit the most delicate and refined palates.

The subscriber assumes with confidence that he has the greatest variety and most splendid assortment to be found in northern Illinois. The trees are from 1 to 3 years of age, and ranging from 3 to 7 feet in height, and well proportioned.

It is believed that the lamentable remissness on the part of farmers, every where observable in planting fruit trees, is mostly attributable to the almost total failure, in most cases, where trees have been transplanted from a distance; and the fibrous roots on which the tree relies for its nutriment have become dead from too long exposure to dry air or severe frosts after taking them up, either of which is fatal to its growth. But these embarrassments no longer exist. The farmer can now be supplied in his own vicinity with the number and variety he wishes, grown in the same soil and climate in which they are to be transplanted.

If the trees are taken up in the spring, it should be done soon after the frost is out of the ground — at all events, before the leaf begins to put forth. If taken up in the fall, they should be buried until spring.

Apple trees at the Nursery 12 ½ cents; all other kinds, 25 cents.       Wells Wait1


  1. The Ottawa [Illinois] Free Trader, March 2, 1849, p. 4, col. 3

Graduates from the Dayton School in 1900

graduation cap & books

The following notice appeared in The Ottawa Journal, July 8, 1900
Graduates of Dayton school: Clyde Channell, Emma Fraine, Edith Olmstead, Mary Ward

What happened to these four young people after they left the Dayton school?

Clyde Wamsley Channell was born in Dayton July 5, 1887, the son of John W. Channel and Josephine Makinson. After attending the University of Illinois for 2 years, he became a surveyor for the railroad. He then tried farming in Minnesota, where he married Carrie McGee on April 5, 1911, in Itasca County, Minnesota.  They moved to Florida by 1930, where he worked for the post office in Arcadia. He died there on February 10, 1957.

Emma Clementine Fraine was the daughter of Charles Fraine and Clemence Petitcolin. She was born in Dayton May 22, 1885 and after two years of additional schooling in Dayton she became a schoolteacher herself. She first taught in a rural school north of Earlville, later going to Waltham Township to teach. She then taught in the Kleiber School northeast of Ottawa and in Grand Ridge. During these years she was busy furthering her own education and taking summer courses at DeKalb. In the year 1907 she was assigned to teach the primary grades in the two-room Dayton school and continued in that capacity until her retirement in 1952. She died in 1959 in California, at the home of her sister-in-law.

Edith May Olmstead was the daughter of Charles H. Olmstead and Anna M. Burgess. She was born February 14, 1886 and following graduation from the Dayton school, she went to Ottawa Township High School, graduating in 1904. She then taught school in the rural schools of the county. She married Edwin Miller about 1918, but the marriage did not last, ending in divorce before 1940. She died in October 1968, and is buried in the Ottawa Avenue Cemetery.

Mary Elizabeth Ward was the daughter of Edward Joseph Ward and Alice Virginia Furr. She was born April 28,1883, in Dayton. After graduating from the Dayton school she went on to 2 years of high school. On September 12th, 1905 she married Robert J. W. Briggs, a veterinarian from Ottawa. His job took them to various locations in South Dakota and Nebraska. They returned to Ottawa when he retired and Mary died there September 24, 1948

Lyle Green’s Purebred Jersey Cattle

Jersey cows

In the early years of the twentieth century, Greenacres, the Green farm in Dayton, was celebrated for its prize-winning herd of Jersey cattle. The farm was run by Lyle A. Green, son of Isaac Green and grandson of John. As can be seen in the information below, Lyle was well known as a breeder and had many cows that were top producers of milk and butterfat. They also had very aristocratic names and pedigrees.

1918 Register of Merit of Jersey Cattle

Cows owned by Lyle Green: Prince’s Cynthia, Prince’s Susanne, Fern’s Amy, Morocco’s Grey Princess, Gilderoy’s Vic, Bobby’s Helen

Cows bred and owned by Lyle Green: Raleigh’s Meg, Raleigh’s Penelope, Raleigh’s Ota, Raleigh’s Minnie Fite, Raleigh’s Lady Brookhill, all sired by Raleigh’s Lord Brookhill;
Lodestar’s Gilderoy, Lodestar’s Tuscan Fern, sired by Sultan’s Lodestar;
Raleigh’s Trudie, sired by Le Cotil’s Raleigh.

Register of merit rules: All cows over 5 years must produce at least 360 lbs. of butterfat in a year. 2 year olds start at 250.5 lbs butterfat and the amount required increases until the cow is 5 years old.

Raleigh’s Minnie Fite was the top producer, with 420.35 lbs. of butterfat and 7635.7 Lbs. of milk. She was aged 2 years, 11 months, and was estimated to weigh 790 lbs.

Contention Over Water

old dam

The old dam at Dayton

From Dayton

Dayton, July 26. – Misses Myrtle Stadden and Julia Lyons, of Chicago, are visiting at Mrs. David Green’s.

Miss Amy Dickens, of Amboy, Ill., is spending the summer at  Mr. Charles Green’s.

Miss Lillian Wayland, of Appleton, Wis., is spending the summer at Mr. D. Moore’s.

Mr. Wm. Dunavan, of the horse collar works, returned from a short business trip last week.

Mr. James Green says that the honey business is of no account this season. Usually he has between nine and ten thousand pounds of honey for sale, but this season he hasn’t a pound. Thinks perhaps he will be obliged to feed his bees this fall.

Miss Bangs, of Ottawa, who has been spending a few weeks in Dayton, has returned home.

Canal Supt. Leighton, of Lockport, was in town this week.

The river is lower than it had ever been in the remembrance of the oldest inhabitant. The mills have been able to run most of the time, but with decreased power.

The Free Trader, with the remainder of the Ottawa press, got things badly mixed on the power question, and has given the Dayton mill owners some unnecessary scoring. The Green and Stadden lease with the State provides for one-half of the water flowing in Fox river, of which the State is to have one-fourth of the river, and Green and Stadden one-fourth of the river, (not one-eighth as the Free Trader had it last week.) These two-fourths must be drawn first, even if the other one-half runs down the river.

The Ottawa power is third class, and when only one fourth of the river is drawn through the feeder, as it is during eight or nine months of the year, the Dayton power is entitled to all the water except what is necessary for canal purposes. Green and Stadden were not foolish enough, as the Ottawa press would have the public infer, to give away all their rights when they gave the State a right-of-way and one-half of their power. Any lease or agreement made between the State and the Hydraulic Company cannot affect the original and right of way lease.

In 1870 Mr. Wm. Thomas brought an injunction suit against Messrs. Williams and Sweetzer to prevent them from locating their paper mill on the power at Dayton. The claim was made then, as it is now, that we were using more water than we were entitled to. Judge Leland dismissed the suit, and decided that the Dayton power had preference over the hydraulic power, and in time of low water the side cut should be closed so as to keep a 6-foot head in the canal. If this could not be maintained, the Dayton fourth could be drawn on.

The present condition of affairs is this: The mill owners have agreed with Capt. Leighton to confine themselves strictly to their one-fourth, and to run as long as there is water.

The Hydraulic Co. is entitled to the surplus water of the canal, and, as there is no surplus from Fox river now (all of the water being used by the canal and the Dayton mills), water is being drawn from the other level at Marseilles to supply power for the Ottawa mills.1


  1. Ottawa [Illinois] Free Trader, July 30, 1887, p. 8, col. 4