APRIL FOOL!!

april-fools-day

Ottawans at play on April Fool’s Day:

They tell us a good one on Al, a south-side-of-the-square druggist, who got up a brilliant April fool speculation. He took his best business coat, and vest, and hat, down to the bank of the river on April 1st. He enclosed a note in one of the vest pockets, which read pensively to the effect that “whiskey has caused this fatal act,” and invoking the blessings of Heaven on the praying women. Giving directions on how to dispose of his body when dragged from the river bed, he then retired behind a bunch of willows and watched for a victim — someone to come along and find the clothes and give an alarm. He saw in the distance the jury, and anxious citizens, much excitement, drag robe, &c. But no one came. He waited all forenoon and rubbed his hands and kicked the ground with his feet to keep them warm, but still no one came. Then he went up town and threw out vague hints about “some one being found drowned — clothes on the willows at the river bank,” &c., but still the old thing didn’t work! At dusk he lonesomely repaired to the river and brought away his “duds” and meandered home through the back alleys. If you want to worry him just allude to his cute April fool speculation.1

If a proper observance of Fourth of July is going out of style and Christmas, New Year and Saint Valentine days are not as popular as they once were with Ottawa people, April Fool’s Day is, as the other days lessen in public esteem, receiving more attention. On Thursday all the practical jokers were on the lookout for victims. Lon Piergue furnished nicely frosted cotton cakes, and stood back and laughed while George Taylor, Gib Strawn and editor Zwanzig vied with one another in their attempts to masticate them. At the Clifton Hotel half the boarders swallowed salt in their coffee and made wry faces over bran pancakes. At the suggestion of Pat Carey, Judge Weeks spent fully five minutes at the telephone trying to talk to an imaginary somebody at the other end of the line. The day in short, was very much of an “All Fool’s Day.”2


  1. The Ottawa Free Trader, April 4, 1874, p. 4, col. 6
  2. The Ottawa Free Trader, April 3, 1886, p. 1, col. 4

Dam Across Fox River at Dayton

Dam across Fox River at Dayton

The back of this stereoscopic view of the Dayton dam lists a number of other views taken by William E. Bowman, Ottawa photographer. Although (as seen below) he dealt with historic scenes and famous people, he also took many photos of local people and places.

Ottawa’s old time photographer, W. E. Bowman, is now leading a retired life near Los Angeles, Cal. His gallery became famous for his historic faces and scenes. Thousands of eminent men and women have been before his camera, including Abraham Lincoln, William McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt, and other Presidents of the United States. He served as postmaster of Ottawa from 1882 to 1886. He was alderman in 1875-6, was the first secretary of the Riverside Driving Park Association, was trustee of the Academy of Natural Sciences, president of the District Union, which was composed of fifty temperance reform clubs, vice-president of the National Photographers’ association, president of the Memorial association, and generally active in all public affairs. Mr. Bowman was born April 28, 1834, at Huntington, Pa., coming to Illinois in 1837, and locating in Boone county. He came to Ottawa in 1865 and resided here until 1910.1

Back of stereo card


1. Ottawa: Old and New (Ottawa, The Republican Times, 1914), 129

Death of Nancy Green Dunavan

Mrs. Nancy Dunavan

Mrs. Nancy Dunavan died on the 27th of February, 1905, at the home of her son, David Dunavan, near Hamilton, Mo. She was born on April 26, 1816, in Licking county, Ohio, coming to this state with her parents, John and Barbara Green, in 1829. They were pioneers of Dayton precinct. She was married to J. Albert Dunavan in 1834, and settled on a farm in Rutland township, which was at that time a part of Dayton precinct. They lived there for 55 years, until 1889, when they left there a few years later to live with their children at Hamilton, Mo. Her husband died in February, 1892. She leaves one sister, Mrs. O. W. Trumbo, of Dayton, and one brother, Jessie [sic] Green, of Ottawa. The only surviving members of a large family are two daughters, Mrs. Kate Brandon and Mrs. Jennie Howe, of Missouri, and five sons, Samuel Dunavan, of Adam, Ill., Isaac, of Minnesota, David, George and Lewis, of Missouri.1


  1. Ottawa Free Trader, March 10, 1905, p. 7, col. 6

Dam Being Built at Dayton in 1924

building the dam

A Million Dollar Dam Being Built at Dayton

 About forty men are now at work on the new dam across the Fox river at Dayton, a few miles southeast of Earlville. The project will cost in the neighborhood of a million dollars and it is planned to have power ready by next April.

The power house will occupy a site on the west bank of the Fox, formerly occupied by an old stone structure, built almost a century ago and known then as the Green woolen mills, which has been razed to make room for the new plant.

The site of the dam is about 1,000 feet north of the highway bridge. The dam will be 625 feet in length, and will be of a type known as a multiple arch. Engineers in charge of the work say they know of but one other dam of this type. It is in Italy. The dam will be arched upstream in moderate crescent shape. Attached to this arch on the upstream side will be other arches in 25-foot units, extending from the top of the dam to the bottom. The dam will slope gradually up stream so that the body of water will rest upon the dam as well as against it.

The old feeder canal will be used to convey the water from the dam to the powerhouse. It will be dug deeper and rip-rapped with material taken from the old Green building, which was of Joliet stone.

Plans call for a 30-foot head of water, with water standing at a depth of about 25 feet at the dam. The backwater, it is said, will be only one foot at Sulphur Lick Springs, and the overflow will cover but little more than 80 acres of farm property.

Heyworth plans to carry material to the site of the dam from the Burlington railroad by electric power. A power house for the development of electricity will be constructed on the west bank of the river and an oil engine installed. Material will be taken from the cars on the Burlington switch and transported directly to the dam, dump cars being used to eliminate cost of handling.

When this dam is completed it will form one of the most beautiful spots In LaSalle county. The lake will be from a few feet in depth at Wedron to 25 feet in depth at Dayton, a length of four or five miles by a breadth of more than 600 feet.1


  1. The Earlville Leader, 12 Jun 1924, p. 9

Dayton Centennial – Part 7

Trunk with old clothes

from the Ottawa Republican-Times, September 16, 1929

RELICS OF FORMER DAYS

            Mementoes, relics and curios on exhibition at the celebration includes:

Display of arrow heads, owned by Elmer R. C. Eick, 420 Christie street, Ottawa, many of which were found in Dayton and Rutland townships; quilt made by the great, great  grandmother of Mrs. Verne Wilson; coverlet made in Virginia more than 75 years ago, the property of Mrs. Van Etten; shawl owned by Mrs. John Thompson, made by her mother, Mrs. Elizabeth Brumbach, 80 years ago; quilt made by the wife and daughters of Matthias Trumbo in 1850; straw plug hat and woman’s straw hat of the vintage of about 1800; picture of old school house on the site of the present elevator in Dayton; corn planter used by David Strawn in Livingston county, loaned by Mrs. Walter Strawn; trunk carried in a covered wagon across the plains to California by Joseph Green in 1849 and again in 1852; another trunk brought from Rockingham county, Virginia, by Matthias Trumbo; steelyards which belonged to the Hayes ancestors, sewing box, which belonged to Mary A. Boston, grandmother of G. R. Hayes of Wedron; English tea caddy loaned by Mrs. Wilcox; bedspread made by the mother of C. H. Tuttles, 65 years ago; old candle molds used by Mrs. David Strawn, loaned by Mrs. Walter Strawn; 17 year locusts gathered in 1933 by Mrs. John W. Reynolds of Dayton; piece of fancy work made by Mrs. Mary D. Bennett, 81 years ago; reproduction of Jeremiah Strawn’s lantern 100 years old, loaned by Mrs. Walter Strawn; pictures of John and Barbara Grove Green; vest worn by Mr. Hall when killed by the Indians in the Indian creek massacre in 1832; old cow bell used by David Strawn’s farm in Livingston county, loaned by Mrs. Walter Strawn; flint lock guns which belonged to Peter W. Ainsly and Tim Thompson, lantern and fork found in Wedron under C. E. Thompson’s house; mammoth tooth found near Norway in a gravel bed 30 feet underground; copper toed boots; charcoal iron belonging to Mrs. Sarah Thompson; horse pistol brought from Nebraska by Edman Thompson, half brother of George R. Hayes of Wedron; handcuffs plowed out on the old Ed. Brundage place by G. R. Hayes at Wedron; silk stovepipe hat made by Roussel in Paris and worn to the inaugural ball of President James Buchanan in 1856 by one of Rhoades family; a large map of La Salle county drawn in 1870 by M. H. Thompson and C. L. F. Thompson, showing Dayton as one of the towns of the county; pictures of the old Dayton woolen mills, collar factory and Green’s mill were shown on the map; coverlet brought from Virginia by Mrs. Frank DeBolt’s mother and one brought from Ohio by Mr. DeBolt’s mother; a black net and lace shawl owned by Mrs. Charles Hayward Reed; brown blanket made in the old mills and owned by Mrs. Cornelius Bogerd’s mother; hoop-skirts, dress, blouse and hat about 100 years old; linen, black silk and satin capes eighty years old belonging to Miss Catherine Rhoades; a spinet, 85 years old, and having twenty-nine keys and 30 inches in height; coverlet, more than 100 years old owned by David and Anna Grove and brought from Ohio; a dollman, made of English broadcloth, lined with figured silk and worn by Sidney Lowry; two woven baskets each more than 75 years of age; spiral hall tree 75 years old; sugar, and coffee scoops made of wood; spatula of wood used to remove pie plates from the old ovens; earthen bowls, pottery jugs and ladles used more than 75 years ago; a tardy bell and a call bell used at the old Waite school. which was taught at that time by Miss Susan Bailey of Ottawa. Miss Bailey taught the school when she was sixteen years of age. She is 91 years old now. There were two chairs on display, which were brought down the Ohio river to Memphis, Tenn., thence to Alton, to La Salle on the Illinois and then overland by a four-yoke ox team to the Old Fox River house at Ottawa. The chairs were the property of Miss Rhoade’s grandmother, Mrs. Sarah Collins Rhoades and were brought to Ottawa in 1843; bed quilts made in 1860; two Paisley shawls which had been in the Collins family for 75 years;  mourning shawls and hats which were loaned out at the time of funerals which were at least 65 years of age; a table of mahogany and a tidy which were wedding presents of Mrs. Catherine Rhoades in 1860.

PLACE OF HONOR

            Mrs. Frances Beach, who resides north of Ottawa, and is ninety years of age, was given a place of honor on the official Centennial register of visitors, her name being placed first on the list.

[concluded]

A Serious Accident

building the Dayton dam

building the Dayton dam – 1924

Eleven men were hurt, three fatally it is thought, and fifty more escaped injury when a forty-foot trestle, used in the construction of the Dayton Dam on the Fox River four miles from Ottawa collapsed at one o’clock today under the weight of four cars of cement and an electric locomotive.

All of the men were removed as soon as they could be extricated from the tangled framework of the wrecked trestle, to Ottawa hospitals.

The three not expected to live are:
Al Muhebauer, 19, Little Falls, Minnesota, fractured skull.
Elmer Starks, 37, Marseilles, internal injuries.
Andrew Poka, 20, back, head and legs hurt.
Other workmen were uninjured when they escaped the falling timbers by miraculous good fortune.

It was the first time the trestle had been used, and the cement was being poured into the dam wall from it when the supporting timbers gave way.

The construction camp was thrown into consternation, but work of removing the injured was begun immediately. Ottawa ambulances were rushed to the scene, carrying the workmen back to the county seat.1


  1. The (Streator) Times, 5 Nov 1924, p. 7

Dayton Centennial – Part 6

 

from the Ottawa Republican-Times, September 16, 1929

THE DAYTON SONG

            A song composed especially for the centennial by Edith Dunavan Hamilton, a great granddaughter of John Green was sung by Miss Isobel Brown at the afternoon program. The song follows:

“Sound of the axe-man’s stroke, creaking of ox-teams yoke, bravely the young wives smile ‘though danger lurks the while. Planting the cornfields, plowing for bounteous yields, braving the winter’s cold, we honor you, dear pioneers of old.

By the river gently flowing – Dayton, mellowed by the year’s swift going – Dayton. Through days of storm and strife, through years of peaceful life for those gone these many years, we pause to shed a tear, today we gather to honor your 100 years.”

SOME OLD DRESSES

            During the afternoon, Miss Maude Green, Mrs. John Bowers, Miss Helen Hallowell and Miss Edith Reynolds donned garments of several decades ago and promenaded the streets, reviving an interesting bit of history in regard to modes and fashions. Only the marcelled hair of Miss Hallowell and Miss Reynolds which peeked from underneath their quaint old bonnets showed that they were maids of the twentieth century rather than of the days when Dayton was in its infancy.

[to be continued]

The Will of Margaret Wagy Pitzer

In 1870, Margaret Pitzer, widow of Anthony Pitzer, died at the home of Oliver Trumbo. This is truly a death bed will, as she died on the following day.

I, Margaret Pitzer of the town of Dayton in the County of La Salle and State of Illinois, make this my last Will. My property consists of Notes of hand, which I wish to give and bequeath as follows, that is to say,

1st It is my will and desire that all legal and Equitable demands against my Estate Shall first be paid, which will consist in part, My Doctor Bill, Funeral Expenses, and my board bill and Expenses incurred while at the house of Oliver W. Trumbo of Dayton La Salle County Illinois. I particularly desire that a liberal compensation be paid to the said Oliver W. Trumbo as my disease has been one of no ordinary Character.

2nd I give and bequesth unto my sister Mrs. Elizabeth Davis, of Crawford County Illinois Two Hundred (200.00) Dollars.

3rd I give and bequeath unto my brother John Wagy of Kirkusville Licking County Ohio Three Hundred (300.00) Dollars.

4th I give and bequeath  unto my sister Martha Harris of Quincy Illinois Two Hundred (200.00) Dollars.

5th I give and bequeath unto my nephew William Wagy of Stones Prairie Illinois his Note and Interest, which is in my hands, and amounts to about THree Hundred (300.00) Dollars.

6th I give and bequeath unto Miss Eliza Gross my Neices Daughter, now about seven years old, and lives with Henry Wagy of Adams County Illinois, Eighty (80.00) Dollars in Gold, with interest, when she shall arrive at Eighteen years of age.

7th I hold a Note of hand against Jacob Pitzer of about Three (300.00) Hundred Dollars, which I wish to have divided Equally between the said Jacob Pitzer of Grundy County Illinois, and William Pitzer of Rutland La Salle County Illinois.

8th I give and bequeath unto my nephew Joshua Wagy of Springfield Illinois, Three Hundred (300.00) Dollars.

9th Should there be anything remaining after paying Expenses of settling up my Estate, I desire that one half of the Balance shall be given towards the Erection of a Methodist Church now in contemplation and to be located near the residence of William L. Dunavan in the Town of Rutland in the county of La Salle and State of Illinois, And the remaining one half to be given towards the Erection of a House of Public Worship, to be located in the Village of Dayton La Salle County Illinois.

I appoint Jesse Green of the Town of Dayton La Salle County Illinois as the Executor of this my Will.

In witness whereof I have signed and sealed and published and declared this instrument as my will, at Dayton on this sixth day of April A. D. 1870.

her
Margaret X Pitzer     {{Seal}}
mark

Eliza Gross, seven years old in 1870, was to receive her inheritance in 1881, when she turned 18. In 1879 she married John W. Lanier, but unfortunately she died on the 20th of January 1880. Her husband made a claim on the estate and was awarded his wife’s share anyway.

February 1880 Rural Happenings

Jesse Green

Harry Green

Charles Benton Hess

Charles Benton Hess

 

 

 

 

 

 

from the [Ottawa] Free Trader, February 28, 1880

Dayton, Feb. 24. – Friday evening, Feb. 13, the Musical Union gave a concert and entertainment, which was well attended and quite a pleasant occasion. The class are making good progress in music and it is to be hoped the Union will continue its existence for a long period. The choruses “Great is the Lord,” “Lift your glad voices,” “Zion’s children, ” “O, Lord of Heaven,” “Crown them as Martyrs” and “We all are happy rovers” were given in a very fine manner. Marks of power were carefully observed, thereby giving considerable expression and life to the choruses. The male quartette and glee club, consisting of Messrs. Green, Rhoads, Howard and Grove, sang a few selections in an admirable manner. Their quartette “I love the path of the tree” and chorus “Barnyard Serenade” are especially worthy of mention.

Mr. William Dunavan is attending Bryant and Stratton’s commercial school at Chicago.

Mr. James Green and Miss Cora Green are still attending school in Aurora.

A large force of men are employed on the railroad south of the dam, filling in a large ravine.

Mrs. S. F. Gibb, our Universalist pastor last year, had taken charge of the church at Waverly, Iowa.

Mr. and Mrs. Chas. Ballou pleasurably entertained a leap year party last Friday evening. The boys say it’s lots of fun to be “toted around.”

The store has changed hands, Mr. T. H. Green (Harry) having taken possession of it the 1st of February. He is doing a cash business.

Mr. Jesse Green and Mr. C. B. Hess went to Chicago on business this week.

Miss Ellen Trumbo is visiting at Mr. Isaac Green’s.

Major Whittle and Mr. McGrannahan and wife, the evangelists, will hold a meeting in this place Saturday evening, Feb. 28.

Monday evening a number of our citizens attended the celebration of the tin wedding of Mr. and Mrs. Thos. McKinley of Rutland. We hear it was a very enjoyable affair.

Occasional

Dayton Centennial – Part 5

Levi Fahler

Levi Fahler

Herbert L. Dunavan

Herbert L. Dunavan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

from the Ottawa Republican-Times, September 16, 1929

MANY OLD TIMERS

Levi Fahler, 87, of Mendota and his wife, Mrs. Katherine Gephard Fahler, 85, were two of the interesting visitors at the celebration. Fahler made his first visit to Dayton with a load of grain which he took to the grist mill when he was but sixteen years of age. Both he and Mrs. Fahler were members of a colony of 27 persons who came from Pennsylvania by boat in 1849 and settled on a farm near Troy Grove. Fahler hauled grain to the Dayton grist mill for many seasons after making his first trip at the age of sixteen. They were accompanied to the centennial by their son, Martin Fahler, of Mendota and his son Forest.

Josiah Fahler, 89, also of Mendota and his son Forest at the celebration. He is a brother of Levi Fahler and although he was reared near Troy Grove he frequently went to the mill at Dayton.

H. L. Dunavan, manager of the People’s Gas stores in Chicago with Mrs. Dunavan, his son, daughter and four grandchildren came to Dayton for the celebration. Dunavan was born and reared in Dayton, as was Mrs. Dunavan who was Cora Moore, daughter of the late Daniel Moore.

Dunavan left Dayton 37 years ago. He spent the greater part of the day hunting up friends of his boyhood days.

“Nothing looks natural,” he complained, “Not even my old home. It does not seem as though I ever had lived here. The old Fox river bridge is the only thing that looks the same. I proposed to my wife on that bridge and I still like it.”

James A. Green, a grandson of John Green, one of the original settlers brought Mrs. Green and their daughter driving from Grand Junction, Colo. to attend the celebration.

[to be continued]

Dayton Centennial – Part 4

Chief Shabbona

Chief Shabbona

from the Ottawa Republican-Times, September 16, 1929

G. W. GREEN RETURNS

G. W. Green, 79 of Aurora, whose boyhood at Dayton was marked by a friendship with the great Indian chief Shabbona, was disappointed Saturday to find that the village had changed since his boyhood days.

The Aurora man was the grandson of John Green, and the son of David Green who accompanied John Green to the Fox river town site in 1829. His mother was Mary Stadden Green who moved to Dayton in 1832.

“Why if I should drop in here at night I would never know where I was at,” he exclaimed as he looked up and down the streets. Green left Dayton in 1884 to move west and later returned to Illinois settling in Aurora.

His boyhood was marked by many interesting experiences with Chief Shabbona and the Indians. Once Green and a group of Indian boys who accompanied Chief Shabbona to Dayton were shooting pennies with arrows. The Indians won all the pennies, stirring up the anger of the Dayton boy who grabbed the bow one Indian boy was using and broke it. The Indians started after him, and Green related Saturday how he fled to the front porch of the home of his grandfather, when John Green and Chief Shabbona were sitting talking. Shabbona saw the child’s fear and stroking him on the head said kindly: “No be afraid.”

Green also told of the visits Chief Shabbona would make to Dayton twice a year, to receive the blankets, meat and flour from John Green and would then go on to Ottawa where George Walker and William Hickling would give him groceries. These men gave Shabbona his supplies for his friendship with the white people and because he warned them of attacks which were to be made by unfriendly tribes.

OLD FRIENDS MEET

“This town was almost at a standstill when I left here in 1884,” said Green. “In my boyhood, it had been a brisk little business community. The old Trumbo home is about the only thing around here that looks the same to me.”

Mrs. Alice Allen of Des Moines, Iowa, the eldest sister of G. W. Green, was also in attendance at the centennial.

Green was born in the old Dayton Tavern in 1850 and grew to manhood in the village. The principal recreation in his youth, he said were old fashioned country dances held at the various homes.

Frank DeBolt stood in front of a stranger until a September breeze blew the man’s identification tag disclosing the name Harry Green.

“Why, are you Harry Green?” gasped DeBolt.

“Yes,” replied the other, who failed to recognize DeBolt.

Why I haven’t seen you for forty years,” continued DeBolt. “Don’t you remember me, why when you ran the store here, I furnished you meat for several years.”

This was only one of the hundreds of revivals of old friendships that occurred during the day. Green is now living in Chicago.

Terry Simmons, Marseilles editor, was one of the most enthusiastic visitors at the centennial. Simmons’ father used to take grist to the mill when Dayton was the state’s most thriving village.

[to be continued]

Death of an Old Settler

William Pitzer tombstone

photo credit: Everett Ross, La Salle County Genealogy Guild

Wm. Pitzer, one of the earliest settlers of the county, died at his home in the town of Rutland on Friday of last week. We are not advised as to his age, but it must have been in the vicinity of the eighties. He was one of those sturdy, staunch, big and pure hearted men that make one think sometimes the early pioneers of this region belonged to a superior race. He had been a subscriber to the Free Trader from its first issue, in May 1840, and never failed to pay for it annually in advance – a fact which illustrates his scrupulously correct habits not only in business matters, but in all relations of life. His funeral took place on Sunday, the services being held at the Barnes school house, the Rev. A. White, of Sheridan, officiating, and notwithstanding the severe weather, was very largely attended.1

RUTLAND TOWNSHIP
PITZER WM. Farmer; Sec. 14; P.O. Ottawa; born in Licking Co., Ohio, Sept. 23, 1809; came to this Co. in 1831; Democrat; Methodist; owns 200 acres land, val. $15,000; married May 26, 1831, to Sarah Kite, of Licking Co., Ohio; she was born April 16, 1810; seven children, four sons and three daughters; was Justice of Peace for ten years, and has held various offices of trust in the place.2

William (Billy) Pitzer was the son of Richard Pitzer and Anna Green, a sister of John Green. Richard Pitzer died in 1819 and Anna, with her large family, came to La Salle County in 1831.


  1. The Free Trader, January 26, 1884
  2. Past and Present of La Salle County, Illinois (Chicago: H. F. Kett & Co., 1877), 508.

A Meteor in the January Skies

meteor

from the Ottawa Free Trader, January 8, 1881

Dayton, Jan. 5. – The river is now being crossed at this place on the ice.

Prof. H. L. Boltwood, of Ottawa, delivered an excellent New Year’s discourse at the school house last Sunday. Preaching every two weeks at 4 P. M.

School commenced last Monday after a holiday vacation of one week.

Mr. Frank Dunavan made his New Year’s calls in Dayton.

A watch meeting was held by the young folks at the residence of C. B. Hess, Esq., last Friday evening. A goodly number were present, and report a very enjoyable time.

Last Saturday evening about 8 o’clock a large and brilliant meteor was seen by a few fortunate ones who chanced to be “‘neath the starry heavens.” It started nearly overhead and “struck a bee line” for the northeast, leaving a tail of fire after it resembling a comet. Just before it reached the horizon it exploded, throwing out particles in all directions. The sight was magnificent. By the Chicago Times of Monday, we notice it was seen in Chicago and in Battle Creek, Michigan. At the latter place the light from the meteor was so brilliant as to dim the gaslight.1

A grand concert will be given by the Musical Union at the school house Friday evening, Jan. 14. They will be assisted by the Harmony Quartette of Ottawa, and the chorus of 25 voices will be accompanied by 1st and 2d violins, bass and organ. Everybody invited to attend.

Mr. Newton Hess and lady last week celebrated in a becoming manner their tin wedding.

The woolen mill has been running all winter on a large order for cavalry blankets for the government.

Last Saturday evening a large reception was given by Mr. and Mrs. Geo. W. Gibson, of Rutland, in honor of the return of their son Lewis with his bride from Nebraska. The party was the finest of the season and a most enjoyable affair. The large residence was completely filled with guests, who were pleasantly received by the host and hostess. Dancing continued through the evening; and refreshments were served during an intermission. The hour was “wee sma'” before the guests departed. The reception was a joyous one and quite complimentary to the host and hostess.

The Literary meets at the residence of Mr. David Grove next Saturday evening.

Occasional


  1. In the Chicago Tribune of January 3, the meteor was described as “about the size of a full moon, and was enveloped in a beautiful flame of lightish blue tint, while following in its wake were several bright red fragments. Time of transit, fifteen minutes.”

Dayton Centennial – Part 3

crowd

Were some of your family members in the crowd?

from the Ottawa Republican-Times, September 16, 1929

SOME OF THE VISITORS

            Among the visitors who came from a distance for the celebration were:

Mr. and Mrs. James A. Green and daughter Alice of Grand Junction, Colo.; Mr. and Mrs. James Nagle of Webster Park, Mo.; Mrs. Hattie Lewis, Stuartsville, Mo.; Robert Fleming, Palkerton, Wyo.; Miss Isabella Grove, Washington, D. C.; Edward E. Rooney, St. Albans, Vt.; Mrs. Kate Fleming McAllister, Laramie, Wyo.; Mrs. Ben E. Lawrence, River Forest, Ill.; Carl Rossitor, South Bend, Ind.; Mr. and Mrs. Clarence Green, Aurora; Mr. and Mrs. J. L. Knight, Aurora – Mrs. Knight was formerly Miss Ethel Green; Harry Green, Chicago; Mrs. Alice Green Allen, Des Moines, Ia.; Emma A. Wallwork, Los Angeles, Calif.; Mrs. Lena Masters, East Chicago, Ind.; Mr. and Mrs. Henry Richmond, Taylorville, Ill.; Mrs. Richmond was Miss Maude Shaver, daughter of Frank Shaver prior to her marriage; Mr. and Mrs. LeVoy Richmond and family; Miller Wier, Jacksonville, Ill.; Al Fisher, Gatzki, Minn.

Mr. and Mrs. Fred Green and Winfield Green, Peoria; Roy McBrearty, Aurora; Mrs. Myra E Lawry, St. Louis, Mo.; Mrs. Barbara DeBolt Webster, Pontiac; Harriet Bruner, Los Angeles, Calif.; William Holmes, Mrs. Nettie Holmes and William B. Holmes, Chicago; Lewis E. Myers, Valparaiso, Ind.; Mrs. John Champlain, South Bend, Ind.; William Breese, Chicago; Ruth Brown, Oak Park; Walter D. Brown, Oak Park; Mr. and Mrs. Allen Fleming, Aurora; Mrs. Walter Brown, Helen Brown and Ethel Brown, Oak Park; Mrs. John Westermeier, Warren Westermeier and Donald Westermeier, Chicago; Mrs. J. Neises and Gladys Neises, Chicago; Charles Nash, Hennepin; Mrs. Russell P. Childs, Ohio; Mrs. Nellie DeBolt Snow, Chicago; J. N. Ferguson, Woodlawn; William Mettebarger, Woodlawn; Mrs. Charles N. Nash, Mr. and Mrs. Roland Hamm, Hennepin; Mr. and Mrs. Roy Green, Aurora.

George W. Green, Aurora; Miss Miriam Green, Aurora; F. S. Wallwork, Los Angeles, Calif.; Mr. and Mrs. H. L. Dunavan, Chicago; Dorothy Elains Richmond and Floy Arlene Richmond, Taylorville; Herberta Dunavan Schabes, Chicago; Harold Dunavan, Chicago; Frank Schabes, Chicago; Eva Channel Ladd, Shabbona; Lottie Makinson Pederson, Chicago; Mrs. C. A. Palmer, Chicago; Mrs. Frances Hendrix, Chicago; Martha Howard White, Joliet; Walter Howard White, Joliet; Maud Ferguson White, Joliet; J. Kent Greene, Chicago; Mabel Greene Myers, Valparaiso, Ind.; R. E. Breaty, Aurora; Robert Lee DeBolt, Evanston; Mrs. W. Miller, Aurora; Mr. and Mrs. Vernon Miller, Millington; Ludwig Lazar, Joliet; Elmer Freine, Somonauk; Mrs. Mannie Freine, Somonauk; John Champaign, South Bend, Ind.; Walter Rositer, South Bend, Ind.; Mr. and Mrs. Floyd Fleming, Aurora.

Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Reid, Springfield, Mo.; Mamie DeBolt Terry, Highland Park, Ill.; Mr. and Mrs. Ray Doran, Aurora; Mrs. Carrie Green, Joliet; Mr. and Mrs. Jule Pitts, Joliet; Mrs. S. A. Armagast, Joliet; Mrs. J. E. Cutting, Joliet; Mrs. Evelyn Lawrence, River Forest; Mrs. Lana Masters, Chicago; Mr. and Mrs. Frank Green, Joliet; Mrs. Hattie Lewis, Stuartsville, Mo.; Mrs. Josephine Gibson, Chicago; Mrs. Pauline Blunt, Mo.; E. W. Jackson, Toledo, O.; Charles W. Eisenhuth, Mrs. Lena Eisenhuth, Marian Eisenhuth, Aurora; Mrs. Mable Hayward Rothgeb, East Orange, New Jersey; Harriet Pellouchoud, Odell, Ill.; Mr. and Mrs. R. A. Swindler, Chicago; Mr. and Mrs. Charles Leafe, Villa Park, Ill.; Mrs. M. Raymond, Blue Island; Ira Hanson, Iowa; Pearl Masters, Chicago; Philip Deegan, Chicago; John W. Whalen, Graymont, Ill.

Dr. H. G. Logan, Mrs. Rae Parr Logan, Mobile, Ala.; Mrs. John Watnew, Santa Monica, Calif.; E. M. DeBolt, Mildred DeBolt, Barbara DeBolt, Catherine DeBolt, Roy DeBolt, Gilbert, DeBolt, Robert DeBolt of Pontiac; Mrs. Harry Hinkson, Waterman; Mr. and Mrs. Chris Junken, Chicago; Loretto E. Dockendorf, Joliet; Mrs. Nauman, Joliet; Mrs. underline, Joliet; Dwight, Lillian and Jack Ladd, Chicago; Mrs. E. Weber, Chicago; Mr. and Mrs. Paul C. Lange, Chicago.

Cora Tanner, Aurora, Ernest Weber, Chicago; Sam Hall, New York; Arthur G. Wunderlick, Joliet; William Carter, Joliet; Reuben Burch, Arlington; E. Rachael Davenport, Chicago; Dorothy Masters, Chicago; John E. Davenport, River Forest; Cora Childs Greene, Chicago; Mrs. Anna Manges, Chicago; Mrs. Ruth Atkinson, Champaign; Ed W. Jackson, South Bend, Ind.; Mrs. Sara Ferguson, Grand Haven, Mich.; Alvin Green, Mr. and Mrs. Dwight Ladd, Joe Ozark, George Ozark and Nicholas Dummitt, Chicago.

[to be continued]


Image: Ghozt Tramp [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D

Christmas in Dayton – 1881

Christmas greetings

Rural Happenings
From Dayton

Dayton, Dec. 28, 1881. – Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all your readers!

Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Brown, of Chicago, spent Christmas in Ottawa, and on Monday visited relatives in Dayton.

Mr. McGrew closed his school last week. Mr. N. Clawson took charge yesterday.

Mr. James Green is “teaching young ideas how to shoot” at the McMichael school, east of Wedron, this winter.

Every one is going around these days with a sore arm, the result of vaccination. “Ouch, don’t you touch my arm.”

Mr. and Mrs. John Gibson, of Rutland, attended the Christmas exercises and spent Christmas in Dayton.

Mr. Will Davis’s Santa Claus costume was the finest ever in Dayton. It was from Mrs. Hentrich, Ottawa’s popular costumer. It made Will appear like the old Nick in the story books.

Mr. O. W. Trumbo and Miss Jessie are visiting friends in Iowa.

A private Christmas tree was held at Mr. Chas. Burch’s Saturday evening.

Rev. E. C. Arnold, of Ottawa, delivered a sermon at the school house last Tuesday evening.

Mr. T. R. Brunk, of Ransom, will deliver a lecture in Dayton next Saturday evening. All are invited to attend.

Mr. David Dunavan, of Newark, and the Misses Dunavan, of Rutland, were visiting in town this week.

Miss Jennie Dunavan, of the Ottawa High School, is spending her vacation at home.

The Union Christmas tree and entertainment at the school house last Saturday evening were a complete success. The house was filled with children and people of all ages, every one of whom was kindly remembered by the good old Saint Nick. The exercises were opened by the beautiful anthem “The Prince of Peace” by the choir, after which Mr. Basil Green made a very appropriate prayer. “While shepherds watched their flocks by night,” a pretty carol was sung in good time and taste by the children; Mr. Clarence Griggs, of Ottawa, then followed with an appropriate address which was listened to attentively by the audience. Mr. Griggs is a bright and promising young attorney, and has formed many acquaintances here who think he is destined to make his mark in the world. “From our Merry Swiss home,” a duet, was sung in a delightful manner by Misses Myrtle Stadden and Mary Barnes, and was applauded by the audience; “The Legend of St. Fredo,” a recitation by Carrie Green, and “Gathering Sheaves,” by Lizzie Bogard, were spoken with good effect; “Christmas day,” a semi-duet and chorus, was sung with considerable taste by Misses Myrtle Stadden, Carrie Green, Gertie Grow, and Lona Root; “Old Christmas,” a recitation, by Miss Maude Green, and “The Fortune-teller,” by Miss Mary Barnes, assisted by little Grace and Kent Green, were rendered very tastefully; Santa Claus (Mr. Will S. Davis) was then introduced to the children in a neat little speech by Eddie Hess, and was enthusiastically received. Then the distribution of presents began. How the little hearts throbbed with delight as the good Santa called their names and delivered to each a pretty present. Nearly an hour passed before old Nick fulfilled his mission. Then every heart having been made joyous at this celebration of our Saviour’s birth, the exercises drew to a close. Before dispersing the audience gave a vote of thanks to Mr. Griggs for his kindness in delivering the address. The occasion will long be remembered as one of the most pleasant entertainments our little town has ever enjoyed.1

Occasional


  1. The Free Trader, December 31, 1881, p. 8, col. 1

Dayton Centennial – Part 2

continued from the Ottawa Republican-Times, September 16, 1929

FOSTER BLAMES TARIFF

“Long ago though they lived, riff raff of Europe though they have been proved to be, the first pioneers of America are worthy of our emulation,” was the message brought by W. R. Foster, county superintendent of schools to the big crowd gathered about the speakers stand.

“I doubt whether we of the present day posses that fearless determination which inspired the Shavers, the Greens, the Brumbachs, the McKees and their followers to their long travail across country, under the most adverse conditions, from Licking county, Ohio, to Dayton and Rutland in the fall of 1829,” Foster stated.

Family and wagon

“They were the first settlers of this rich section of Northern Illinois, descendants of those outcasts of European nations who were driven to the shores of this country a hundred years before.

“They taught me the ‘three r’s’ when I went to school as a boy. Think how infinitely more important than those pedagogic classifications of simple knowledge was the mastery over the three r’s of resolution, resource and reverence possessed by those early pioneers.”

Explanation for the failure of rich woolen mills which at one time bade fair to make Dayton one of the most important communities of the state was given by Foster who decried in emphatic terms the manipulation of the wool tariff by politicians at Washington which led to the crash of Dayton industry.

“The first flour mill in Northern Illinois had been constructed by the Dayton and Rutland pioneers in 1830,” he stated, “and on July 4, 1830, the first wheat was ground and made into flour for bread eaten at their independence day dinner. By 1840 their woolen mill was well established and in 1860 a 100,000 project was doing business down here on the banks of the Fox river.

“I have always regretted one of the old-time Dayton settlers could not have come to life at that time, could not have taken his ancient shotgun to Washington and have laid down the law to those scheming politicians. Because with $65,000 worth of wool on their hands, purchased at $1 per pound, owners of the Dayton woolen mill saw their dreams snatched from them and the bottom knocked out from under them when manipulation of the tariff sent the price of wool tumbling to 40 cents a pound.

“That forever shattered Dayton’s golden opportunity, forever doomed this little town to relative unimportance in the scheme of industry. All that is left now is the memory of what was and what might have been.”

[to be continued]

Dayton Centennial – Part 1

from the Ottawa Republican-Times, September 16, 1929

Dayton and Rutland Townships Dedicate Marker and Celebrate Centennial of Settlers Arrival

            Old-time residents of Dayton and Rutland who have gone out to find a niche elsewhere, practically the entire present population and representatives of most La Salle county towns were at Dayton Saturday afternoon and night for a celebration commemorating the one hundredth anniversary of the founding of these communities.

A program of platform speaking, songs by the assembled school children of both communities, dedication of a marker on the spot where the mill-stones were found which were used in grinding the first wheat flour made in northern Illinois, and addresses by W. R. Foster, county superintendent of schools, and Kent Greene, former Daytonite and now a Chicago legal light, featured the day’s festivities.

Thomas O’Meara, Ottawa attorney, who was reared in Dayton, was master of ceremonies in the afternoon, when crowds gathered to hear addresses dealing with the significance of the origin of Dayton and Rutland. He was introduced by a member of the committee which evolved the celebration.

Relics which accumulated through the years provided a point of interest for visitors. All former and present residents were tagged with their names and addresses, facilitating renewal of old acquaintanceships.

Of particular interest in the celebration was the unveiling of a stone marker commemorating the vicinity where John Green, one of the village founders, and his party built their flour mill. A boulder set in a cement base, identified by a bronze plate inscribed with the story of the discovery, was veiled by a historical blanket woven in Dayton’s own woolen mill in 1860.

The blanket, now in the possession of Miss Catherine E. Rhoads of Ottawa, was bought by Thomas Rhoads, her father, at the mill and has been in the possession of the Rhoads family ever since. It is one of the few remaining tokens of the woolen mill which once apparently had Dayton headed on the road to industrial importance.

Blanket from Dayton Woolen Factory

Another example of the Dayton Woolen Mill blankets – this one from the Green family.

The dedication address was by J. Kent Greene of Chicago, a descendant of the John Green whose industry resulted in the flour mill.

He traced the events leading up to the founding of the mill, beginning with the first trip to the then new state of Illinois in 1829, when four pioneers, led by John Green, came to Dayton from Licking county, Ohio, on September 14, 1829.

They returned with their families on the 6th of December, 1829, and, despite the impending rigors of winter, established their colony by erecting shelters and clearing 240 acres of land before spring. Their saw and grist mill was put in operation on July 4, 1830, and the village of Dayton had been officially founded.

A vigorous folk, they with stood the menace of the Blackhawk Indian war, and not only stood their ground themselves but attracted other Ohio pioneers who populated Dayton and Rutland.

[to be continued]

An Ottawa Tombstone in Colorado

The following article appeared in the Ottawa Daily Times. 7 Jun 1978, p.28

Story of Basil Green and his family begins in LaSalle County
By Joan Hustis

Dorothy Masters of suburban Chicago is a distant relative of Basil Green, the man who buried three children in Central City, Colo., in 1869.

Green died in 1911 and is buried in the family cemetery in Dayton. Although he has no direct descendants in this area, there are still several distant cousins who live in and near Ottawa.

Elmer Williams of Ottawa came across the tombstone earlier this spring when visiting near Central City. Elmer could find nothing on the Green family, but he took several photographs of the tombstone and loaned them to this column for reprint. The tombstone was engraved “Johnnie, Kittie and Charlie. 1869. Basil Green, Ottawa, Ill.”

Miss Masters is the Green family historian. She was in Dayton over the Memorial Day weekend, visiting with her cousin, Grace Clifford, and read the article on the Central City tombstone. She has old family diaries and also a narrative written by Basil Green in 1910, a year before he died. She loaned the narrative for reprint.

Basil Green was born in 1830 in Licking County, Ohio, and was married in Crawford County, Ill., in 1859. He may have been a freight hauler or a wagon master for he made several trips to California and back during the days of the gold rush. He lost a leg, something Miss Masters called a traumatic experience, but no mention of the incident is made in his narrative.

On one of his trips west Basil Green lost two of his children, but the narrative says nothing of their ages or why they died. He came back to Dayton later and placed an order with a Central City firm to lay a tombstone on the grave.

Miss Masters said Charles and Catherine, the “Charlie” and “Kittie” on the tombstone were Basil Green’s children. The “Johnnie” was not his child. This child was apparently buried with the Green children, but no mention is made in the narrative as to the reason why nor is the other child identified by any other than the first name on the tombstone.

Basil Green had three children when he was in Colorado. The third one survived. When Green returned to Dayton, he became the father of six more children, according to Miss Masters.

Green’s narrative is eight typewritten pages, all single spaced. Portions of this narrative are as follows through the courtesy of Miss Masters.

[The compete narrative may be found here.]

RELICS OF 100 YEARS AGO AT DAYTON FETE

parade

from the Ottawa Free Trader, September 13, 1929

Historic relics, vestiges of the civilization now a century old, which wrested the present commonwealth from the naked prairie, are to be on exhibition, and will occupy a prominent place in the celebration at Dayton, commencing tomorrow noon, and lasting until midnight, which will mark the hundredth anniversary of the founding of Dayton and Rutland townships.

Music, choral, orchestral, and band, will all share in shattering the peace and quiet of this once-important village, which now drowses, sleeping on the left bank of the murmuring Fox. Oratory, with the pulpit, in the Rev. J. J. Dunlap, and education, in W. H. Foster, represented, will mark a memorable passage of time at the light of a civilization and pioneer descendants will commemorate, with praises graven in stone, the industry of their sturdy forefathers, when Kent Green dedicates the marker to be placed on the spot where the first flour mill in what was then the wilderness of Northern Illinois, was built by the hands of his ancestor, John Green.

Games, dancing, amateur entertainers and sports will wake this quiet village from its revery, and feasting and a giant tug of war are among amusements by which Dayton will celebrate, in the lighter mood, its birthday party.

Rush Green is the chairman of the celebration committee and Nicholas Parr is chairman of the program committee.