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

Col. William L. Dunavan

OBITUARY

Col. Wm. L. Dunavan, who was well known to all the old settlers of this county, died at Denton, Texas, on Friday last, of Bright’s disease. His last hours were painless and peaceful.

Col. Dunavan was born in Licking Co., Ohio, November 9, 1808, and in 1831 came to La Salle county, settling on Sec. 22, in what is now Rutland tp., where he lived until 1881, when he went to Texas. In 1832* he married Eliza Green, daughter of John Green, their marriage being the first held in that township. He was for over 20 years a justice of the peace for his town and served one term of four years as postmaster. He was also one of the heaviest contractors in the construction of the I. & M. canal; served in the Black Hawk war; made the overland trip to California in 1849, remaining two years, when he returned and lived in Rutland until his removal to Texas. His wife bore him six children, two sons living in Texas, two sons and a daughter in this county and a daughter in Iowa.

Wm. L. Dunavan was a type of the best class of Illinois pioneers: a man of sterling integrity, industrious, a good neighbor, a firm friend, genial, courteous, considerate. His departure for Texas in 1881 was a source of sincere regret to his old friends here, who will now so much more keenly regret his death even at the ripe age of 80 years, in that those last years were not spent here in the old home of his early manhood.

A friend in Rutland hands us the following:

In Memoriam
Col. W. L. Dunavan, Denton, Texas

Death came in with silent footsteps
At the early dawn of day,
And beckoned to our father gently,
And bore him from our midst away.

“The Savior’s arm sustains me,
I am not afraid to go;”
Oh! words of cheering comfort,
To those dear ones, on earth below.

A father dear, is taken from us;
A husband’s chair will vacant be;
Oh, faithful wife, bowed down with sorrow,
May God’s love, support and comfort thee.

For he promised us a home in heaven
Where tears and sorrow come no more,
But joy and peace will reign forever
And your loved ones meet on that golden shore.

Mrs. Eva Barkley, Rutland.1


  1. The Ottawa [Illinois] Free Trader, May 11, 1889, p. 4, col. 5
  2. *Obituaries are to be taken with a grain of salt. They were actually married November 6, 1831.

The Marriage of David Green and Mary Stadden

    Green,-Stadden marriage license

On December 24, 1847, David Green, son of John and Barbara (Grove) Green, married his cousin, Mary Stadden, daughter of William and Judah (Daniels) Stadden. They lived in Dayton, in this house.

They had ten children, five girls and five boys.

Alice Cary Green was born October 20, 1848 in Dayton. She married Jesse Clark Allen in Dayton on June 20, 1867. She died in Des Moines, Iowa, January 7, 1933.

George W. Green was born September 3, 1850 in Dayton. On September 16, 1878, he married Emma Holton. They moved to Aurora, where she died October 14, 1931.

Ella Green, born July 8, 1852, married Dr. George H. Riley. They lived in Ottawa, where she died August 25, 1945. She is buried in the Dayton Cemetery.

John William Green was born about March 25, 1854 and died May 8 of that same year. He is buried in the Dayton Cemetery.

John Green was born October 28, 1855 in Dayton. He married Clara Moore October 2, 1889, in Appleton, Wisconsin. He died June 21, 1932.

Charles Green was born August 4, 1858 in Dayton. He was married on November 25, 1885, to Etta M. Skinner. He died in California on July 24, 1936.

Ada Green, born January 17, 1859, in Dayton, married William McMillen.

William Stadden Green, born in Dayton on March 12, 1861, married Lalla Brown.

Mary (Minnie) Green was born in Dayton on April 24, 1866. She died October 4, 1882 and is buried in the Dayton Cemetery.

Carrie B. Green, born in Dayton March 25, 1868, died October 5, 1883. She is buried next to her sister in the Dayton Cemetery.

David died of consumption at the age of 60 on September 2, 1880.  His wife, Mary lived to age 91, dying in Wheaton, Illinois, on December 10, 1918. They are also buried in the Dayton Cemetery.

Support for an Elderly Mother

support clause from deed

In May of 1833, widow Barbara Lionberger Grove, mother of Barbara Grove Green, came from Licking County, Ohio, to La Salle County, Illinois, with her son Elias. They joined her four daughters and two sons, who were already living in Rutland township, across the river from Dayton. She undoubtedly lived with one or more of her children, but which one is not clear until 1838. On December 12th of that year a deed was recorded from Joseph Grove to Barbara Grove, selling 40 acres of land to her for $1. The deed includes the following proviso:

now the condition of this obligation is such that If the said Joseph Grove shall maintain and support the above named Barbara Grove in a good and Decent like manner Both in victual and clothing during her the said Barbara Grove’s life then this obligation to be void and of no effect otherwise to be and Remain in full force and virtue in Law

So if Joseph did not support her “in a good and decent manner” she would own 40 acres of land she could use or sell for her support.

Why was this deed made?

Just six months before, on June 28, 1838, Joseph married Elma Jackson. By December of that year, it would have been apparent that she was pregnant. Perhaps the deed was made to reassure Barbara that the forthcoming child would not affect her status in the household.

Barbara Grove Green

Barbara Grove Green

Barbara Grove Green

Much of the information about Barbara Grove Green comes from notes written down by her granddaughter, Maud Green, which I now have. 

Barbara Grove was born near Woodstock, in Shenandoah County, Virginia, on the 15th of November, 1792, the daughter of John Grove and Barbara Lionberger. Both of her grandfathers, Christian Grove and John Lionberger, served in the Revolutionary War from Virginia.  The Lionbergers were Swiss immigrants who arrived in America in 1735. John Grove, her father, of Swiss and German ancestry, was “a large and powerful man who could pick up a barrel of flour under each arm and toss them on a wagon”.  Maud notes that Barbara had a vest which had belonged to her father, and that it was much too large for any other member of the family.

In 1805, when Barbara was thirteen, John Grove sold the land he had inherited from his father in Virginia and moved to Fairfield County, Ohio, where German and Swiss pioneers from Pennsylvania had already started a settlement.  Barbara never attended an English-speaking school until arriving in Ohio. Among the settlers already established in that part of Ohio was Benjamin Green, with his large family.

Barbara Grove and John Green were married on March 28, 1813. Sixteen years later, after the birth of nine children, and the death of two of them, they moved from Ohio to Illinois. Barbara was then 37 and her youngest child was 14 months old. The party consisted of 10 men, ten children, and four women. The other three women were Barbara’s 19 year old sister, Emma DeBolt, who had a 3 month old baby; her 24 year old sister-in-law Annie, wife of her brother David, who had a 2 year old child; and her husband’s 24-year old niece, Elizabeth Brumbach, who was 6 months pregnant with her second child. As the oldest woman in the group, Barbara was surely called upon to provide support to the entire party.

The trip from Ohio to Illinois was full of adventure. One of the county histories tells the story of how the  group was spending the night in a heavy rain (this is in November) and Barbara lay down in the wagon, trying to sleep and was frozen fast  and unable to get up in the morning.

Once they arrived in Illinois, there was also plenty of work to do to feed the family. As Jesse Green told the story:

The second and third winters we were here we had about two feet of snow, which lay on the ground most of the winter, and drifted badly and crusted over so that we could ride over fences without difficulty, and prairie chickens were so plentiful and tame that on a frosty morning, they would sit on trees so near our cabin that Father stood in the door and shot them, until some of the men said he must stop before he shot away all of our ammunition, and leave none to shoot deer and turkeys.  Our first winter here Brother David and myself trapped rising three hundred chickens, besides a large quantity of quail.  After eating all we could, Mother merely saved their breasts salted and smoked them.

“Merely” is not the word I would use for salting and smoking three hundred prairie chicken breasts, but that was “women’s work” and Jesse didn’t seem to think too much of it.

The first year must have been a lonely one for the women of that small party, but the next year more settlers  arrived from Ohio, many of them relatives. Then in 1833 Barbara’s mother and brother Elias came to Rutland,as well, so she was surrounded by family.

The Black Hawk War affected much of La Salle County. The Indian Creek Massacre may be the most well-known of the local occurances, but here is how Barbara Green related her part of the action to her granddaughter, many years later.

On the 16th of May 1832, about ten o’clock in the morning, myself and the girls were washing at the spring near where the feeder bridge now is when Eliza came down on horseback and told us that the Indians were coming & that we would have to go to Ottawa right away.  Then we went to a place a couple of miles below Ottawa (to Penbrook) and stayed there all night the next day come up to Ottawa and next day home again.  This was Sunday and the next day the men made a stockade around the house out of plank.  After it was finished they tried it to see if a bullet would go through it, and it did, so they hung up feather beds all around.  There were about sixty people here at the time, we were so crowded that they had to sleep on tables, under the beds and all over the house.

The same night George Walker came and told us that we must go to Ottawa again, so we left right away and went down to the river to get in the pirougue, but when we got there we found that Daniels’ had taken the boat and gone before we got there, so we had to walk.  As I had forgot some of Rachel’s clothes and, coming back to the house, I found Jesse and David yet in bed.  They had been waked before we started so I supposed they were with us.  We followed the river bank all the way down and I had to carry Becky all the way because she would cry when anyone else took her.

Aunt Becky Trumbo was sick so that she could not walk and she rode on the horse behind old Mr. Letts.  Eliza Trumbo was left standing on the river bank and we went off and forgot her.  Wm Dunavan came back and got her.  When we got to Ottawa there was no fort there, only a log cabin on the south side of the river, but they soon built a fort on top of the hill.  We went to the fort but there was so much confusion there that we had the log house moved up on the hill and lived in it.  We women didn’t know what the trouble was til we reached Ottawa and then they told us about the “Indian Creek Massacre” where there were sixteen people killed.  Two boys who ran away and two girls who were taken prisoners, were the only ones that escaped.

The next day (?) a company of soldiers from the southern part of the state passed through Ottawa on the way up the river and two men Hazleton and Schemerhorn who lived at Mission Settlement intended to go with them to their farms but failed to get ready in time and so were an hour or two behind the soldiers.

The duties of a housewife on the frontier must have been endless. Maud writes that she remembers her grandmother making candles for them to carry upstairs. She also wrote “Grandma spent her time knitting socks and long stockings for all of us, out of factory yarn, and we had woolen underwear, skirts and dresses made of factory flannel”. The factory referred to is the Green’s woolen mill, which made both yarn and cloth.

John and Barbara Green had 70 grandchildren and they all came frequently to visit Barbara at her home in Dayton until she died in 1886, at the age of 93. Barbara also had over 200 great-nephews and great-nieces; the grandchildren of her 3 brothers and 3 sisters who lived across the river in Rutland. She had come a long way, from the little group of 24 pioneers to the senior member of a large family.

Family Record of Joseph & Nancy (Green) Dunavan

Dunavan family register

Joseph A Dunavan was
Born march 30 1812

Nancy Dunavan his wife was Born
April 26 1816

Joseph A Dunavan and Nancy his
wife was married January 26 1834

Cathrine Dunavan was Born
May first 1835

Samuel Dunavan was Born Aprile
9th 1837

Isaac Dunavan was Born october
30th 1838

David Dunavan was Born September
10th 1840

Amanda Dunavan was Born october
19th 1843 and Died January
15 1846

Joseph Dunavan was Born January
30th 1845

George Dunavan was Born July
26th 1847

John A. Dunavan
was born Dec 14 1849

Cynthia Jane Dunavan
was born Feb 3rd 1851

Col. John Stadden

Stadden cabin

The original Stadden cabin, now in the Dawes Arboretum, Newark, Ohio

From a history of Licking County, Ohio:

In the spring of 1800 two brothers, John and Isaac Stadden, came up the Licking Valley and entered upon some bottom land, partially cleared, a mile below Newark, now on the Jones farm, and built a hut or cabin. In September, 1800, Mr. Isaac Stadden removed his family from Pennsylvania into the cabin erected for them in the spring. He drove the first wagon that passed up the Licking Valley from Zanesville to Newark. The trip occupied two days, although his brother John and another man were along to assist in clearing a path for the wagon.

During the summer, John Stadden, having made the acquaintance of Betsey Green, daughter of Benjamin, became enamored of the fair maid of Shawnee Run, and after an honest courtship of reasonable length for pioneer times, she, nothing loth, having fallen into his notions on the subject, they resolved upon matrimony, and matrimony they committed, and it was the first offense of the kind in civilized life within the limits of Licking County.

A child born to them in the latter half of the year 1801, was the second birth in what is now Licking County, and its decease before the close of said year was the first death.

John Stadden moved to “Hog Run” in 1802, and in 1808 was elected Sheriff (the first one) of Licking County, in which office he served two years. He was also for some years Collector of Taxes, and held other positions of honor and trust in military and civil life.  His son, Richard was Sheriff of this County from 1834 to 1838, and was, in the last-named year, elected a member of the Senate of Ohio.

Colonel John Stadden was a man of integrity, uprightness, and a fair degree of intelligence. Late in life he removed with his wife to Illinois, where they died. They were honored and highly esteemed while living, and died leaving a reputation untarnished. He and his wife were original members of the first Methodist society formed in this County, which was in 1804, by Rev. Asa Shinn.1

By 1840, they were living in Dayton, Illinois, where Betsey Green Stadden’s brother, John, had established a thriving settlement. John Stadden died there on January 26, 1855, at the age of 77 years, 4 months, and 2 days (as recorded on his tombstone) and was buried in the Dayton Cemetery. 


  1. L. H. Everts, 1875 History of Licking County, Ohio / Plus New Indexes / Adapted from the 1875 Atlas of Licking County (Knightstown, Indiana: The Bookmark, 1975), 48.

The Green Houses

map of Dayton showing location of Dayton Green houses

Location of Green family houses

The Green Houses
Maud V. Green
1946

The first house in Dayton was on the site of our present home [1] and was probably not a log cabin as Grandfather [John Green] had put a saw-mill in one end of the flour-mill in the spring of 1830, leaving his family on the farm four miles up the river until the next Fall, in the cabin 18 x 24 where they had spent the first winter.  They were still in the first house in 1832 at the time of the Blackhawk War as they made a fort of it that summer and had sixty people there just after the Indian Creek Massacre.  Then they all went to Ottawa where Ft. Johnston was built on the south bluff.

I never heard how long it was until the second house was built in the hillside, facing the river.  It had three stories with a spring in the basement floor running into a stone trough, parts of which are still in existence.  The spring dried up long ago but I can remember it.  The upper floor was even with the top of the hill.  It had a porch on the east side of at least one floor.  While the men were away at the California Gold Rush in 1849 the Hite family lived in this house and rented the farm, the only time any but the Green family ever lived here (in 117 years).

In the summer of 1853 John Green & his sons David and Jesse built three square frame houses in a row [1, 2, 3],  John’s where the first house stood.  In these three houses, the Jesse, David & Isaac Green families grew up.  The Jesse Green house was destroyed by fire within the last twenty years and our father’s house was torn down (in 1924) and replaced by the present structure, which is the fourth house on the original building spot.  The David Green house, owned by Charles and Grace Clifford, is the only one still standing of the three built in 1853.

[See pictures of all of these houses here.]

It Reads Like a Romance

little girl

First, a little background:

Marriages
In Dayton, Ill., Dec. 29th, 1880, by Rev. John Ustick, Mr. Alexander M. Alcorn, of Earl, and Miss Ella Courter, of Dayton, LaSalle Co., Illinois.
This marriage took place on the coldest day of the winter, the mercury that morning indicating from 20 to 24 degrees below zero according to exposure, and Elder Ustick rode 32 miles that day to keep his engagement. Irv. Smith drove out and back with him, and didn’t mind the cold until he found he’d gone two miles out of the way and to the wrong house; then he sputtered a swear or two and hurried on.1

[Son Harvey A. Alcorn, from 1900 census of Earl twp, was born Dec. 1881.]

BORN
Earl, May 29th, [1883] to Alex. Alcorn and Wife, a son. [This is Asa, died 1885.]2

BORN
On May 2nd, [1887] to Mr. and Mrs. Alex Alcorn a little daughter. Mother and child doing well.3

And now to the 1889 story from the Chicago Tribune:

IT READS LIKE ROMANCE
The Story Behind a Petition for the Possession of a Child
A. M. Alcorn, a La Salle County Farmer Appeals to the Courts to Recover his 2-year-old Daughter

A petition for habeas corpus was filed in the Circuit Court yesterday by Alexander M. Alcorn, a La Salle County farmer, to recover the custody of his little daughter May, 2 years old. Alcorn’s story read like a romance. Ten years ago he wedded a pretty young girl, who lived in Dayton, La Salle County. Their wedded life was happy for several years, until a young man named Samuel Mitchner engaged to work for Alcorn as a farm hand. The wife, Ella F. Alcorn, who had borne her husband two children, became infatuated, it is charged, with the brawny young tiller of the soil. Last Christmas Alcorn, who had business at the village near by, returned home to find that his wife had eloped with Mitchner. She had left their 7-year-old boy but took little May with her. For some time the heart-broken farmer plodded on at home, but he was not idle. Engaging the services of a detective he located the guilty pair in Chicago. Before they could be arrested they fled, leaving little May in the care of two women – Mrs. Lizzie Frazer and Mrs. Button. The women refused to surrender the child to her father, claiming that she was Mitchner’s child, so the father invoked the aid of the courts. Judge Tuley will hear the case this morning, and has ordered the production of the child in court.4

He Secured Possession of His Daughter

Alexander M. Alcorn, the La Salle County farmer who began a legal fight Wednesday to secure the possession of his 2-year-old daughter May, triumphed yesterday in the fight and bore his little one back to her country home. Alcorn’s wife eloped last Christmas with a farmhand in his employ and carried the little girl away. The father traced the guilty couple to this city [Chicago]. When they were discovered they again fled, abandoning the baby, leaving her with a woman named Mrs. Hutton, where the father found her. Mrs. Hutton refused to surrender the child, as she was not certain Alcorn was its father, but willingly gave her up when the court so ordered. The little one, so heartlessly abandoned by her mother, nestled confidingly in her papa’s arms and was seemingly quite content.5

and the Earlville Leader:

About the beginning of the present year the wife of Alexander M. Alcorn went to Chicago giving as a reason that she could make some money. She took with her their youngest child, a little girl in her second year. Their other child, a boy of about seven, was left at home with his father. About two weeks ago she returned. She claimed she was making $20 per week in the hair dressing business and that she could make more if she had more capital. Her husband let her have $200. Suspecting that all was not right she was followed into the city and found to be living with a man named Samuel Mitchner, who formerly worked for Mr. Alcorn on his farm. When the guilty couple found they were detected, they left before they could be arrested. The little girl, May, was left with two women, Mrs. Lizzie Frazer and Mrs. Button, who refused to give the girl to its father. Mr. Alcorn filed a petition of habeas corpus in the circuit court of Cook County. The writ was issued. Thursday Judge Tuly heard the case. After listening to the evidence, the Judge gave the child into his keeping. Mr. A. arrived home with her the same evening. It is not known where the guilty couple have fled.6

Another chapter in the Alcorn elopement affair occurred last Saturday when Mrs. Alcorn returned from Chicago and again installed herself as mistress of the home which she some months ago deserted. Upon her appearance, it was suspected that she returned for the little girl, therefore a warrant was sworn out for her arrest and placed in the hands of Constable Boozel to be served. When he reached there an understanding had been arrived at between husband and wife, the wife forgiven for her escapade, and henceforth in all probabilities their relations will be the same as before.  Mitchner, the hired man, made his appearance, and caused a dark blot in the history of a happy home. Mrs. Alcorn threatens the existence of young Wood, the amateur detective, who shadowed her to Chicago and then lost her, as she claims it was he who caused her acts to be made so prominent.7

with a happy ending in 1910:

Married This Afternoon
Just as we go to press we learn of the marriage of Charles Louis Wold and Miss May Alcorn, two of the well-known and highly respected young people of this vicinity, the wedding ceremony taking place at the home of the bride’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Alex Alcorn, at 1:30 this afternoon. Rev. D. R. VonderLippe of the Presbyterian church officiated.8


  1. Earlville Gazette, January 7, 1881, p 8, col 2
  2. Earlville Gazette, June 2, 1883, p 1, col 3
  3. Earlville Leader, May 6, 1887, p 5, col 4
  4. Chicago Tribune, May 2, 1889, p. 12, col 1
  5. Chicago Tribune, May 3, 1889, p. 8, cols. 2-3
  6. Earlville Leader, May 3, 1889, p 5, col 4
  7. Earlville Leader, May 24, 1889, p 7, col 3
  8. Earlville Leader, May 19, 1910, p 4, col 3

The Old Barn

Green farm - old barn on left

Green farm – old barn on left

When I was a child, all of Dayton was our playground, but no place saw more action than the old barn on the Green farm. It was no longer in use, having been damaged by fire, and had been replaced by the new barn, where the cows were housed.

The old barn made a perfectly marvelous playground. We played a game that had some of the aspects of hide-and-seek, some of tag, and some of a game we made up on the fly as we went along. One of the most important skills to have in order to do well at the game was the ability to climb. In order to avoid being caught by a pursuer, you might climb to the hayloft at the north end, scurry along southward, avoiding the area where the fire had burned the floor away, climb down the silo, and seek safety in the lower level. At some point you might turn into the fox rather than the rabbit. The game had no formal stopping point; no one ever won. It just kept going until, all of a sudden, everyone had somewhere else to be.

The old barn had other uses, as well. I had an aunt who was an amateur artist, who sat up in the hayloft and painted a picture of the dam and the river valley from high above it.

One of the fascinating things in the hayloft was an old sleigh. It had belonged to previous generations, who needed it for winter traveling, but it had been stored in the hayloft, unused, for many years. My mother always wanted it brought down and refurbished, but somehow my father never got around to it. My sister and I have the sleigh bells and bring them out every year to add to the Christmas spirit.

I don’t know whether our mothers didn’t know what we were doing, or just held their tongues, but no one ever said “Don’t go up there.” There might have been an occasional “Be careful” but that’s all. It was a different, and magical, time to be a child.

Rev. Jesse C. Green

Jesse C. Green

Rev. Jesse C. Green

One of the Civil War veterans buried in the Dayton Cemetery is Jesse C. Green. He is buried there because he died unexpectedly while visiting his brother Basil, who lived in Dayton, but he lived his life elsewhere. He was born near Newark,  Licking County, Ohio, November 20, 1832, to Isaac and Elizabeth (Brown) Green.

In 1847 he moved to Crawford County, Illinois, with his parents, where he farmed with his father and brothers. On August 25, 1852, he married Isabel Whitmer in Crawford County, Illinois. They had one son, Hamer Herschel Green, born December 21, 1854. Isabel died in 1856 and in February 1857 he married Anne E. Brown, also in Crawford County. They had two daughters, Ida and Lula.

He didn’t remain in Illinois, though, as he was in Mississippi in 1860. He appears to have taken up his calling as a minister at that time. As the war approached, he returned to Licking County, and there enlisted as a private in the 95th Regiment of the Ohio Volunteer Infantry. At that time he was 5 feet, 8 inches tall, with a fair complexion, blue eyes and light colored hair. He was married and a minister.

The Ohio 95th was mustered in for three years service in Columbus, Ohio, on August 19, 1862. The next day they moved to Lexington, Kentucky, and then  made a rapid march to Richmond, arriving there about midnight one week before the battle at that place on August 29th and 30th. The men lay on the pavement or ground the rest of the night and the combination of over-exertion and exposure injured his health. He was sent to the Regimental hospital and was captured in the battle which followed. He was retained as a nurse to wounded men, but overworked and became ill again. After the exchange of prisoners on November 20, 1862, when ambulances arrived, he was sent home to recover his strength. He returned to the Regiment in very feeble condition and was never able to make a single march of any considerable distance afterward without being taken into the ambulance and being sick for days or weeks afterward. (This description was given by the regimental surgeon in testimony to support Jesse’s request for an invalid pension, so may be somewhat exaggerated.) He was discharged for promotion December 14th, 1864, in order to re-enlist as the chaplain. He was mustered out in Louisville, Ky., Aug. 14, 1865, and in later years received a pension for the stomach disability resulting from the forced march.

Following the war, he came back to Illinois and was admitted on trial as a Methodist minister in the  Olney District in 1865,  He was appointed to various Southern Illinois Conference churches in Macon, Richland, Edwards, Wayne & Fayette Counties, Illinois.  In 1878 he moved to Oak Grove, Florida, but stayed only a year. Due to his ill health he moved frequently, always hoping for a better climate.  He spent several years each in Alabama, Colorado, Louisiana, and Georgia, finally settling in Sutherland, Florida in 1902, where he had a thriving real estate business.

On August 20, 1910, the Tampa Tribune noted that Rev. J. C. Green had gone to Illinois to visit a brother and other relatives. The brother was Basil Green, of Dayton, whom he had not seen for thirty years. During the visit a party celebrating the 80th birthdays of Rebecca Green Trumbo (September 8) and Basil (September 17) was held at Basil’s house. A group picture was taken at the party and one of the thirty-eight attendees was identified as Jesse C. Green (see picture above). Not long after, Jesse was taken ill and after several weeks of ill health he died October 9 and was buried in the Dayton Cemetery.

His obituary in the Tampa Tribune highlighted his association with Southern College:
Word has been received here of the death of Rev. J. C. Green in Illinois, where he had been visiting a brother. He was perhaps one of the oldest residents of Sutherland, having moved here just before Southern College was opened. Since he has been one of the most ardent supporters of the college and has likewise been a benefactor of almost every other institution of the church. He has been a liberal contributor to every religious movement and was always foremost in promoting anything tending to the spiritual welfare of the community.

It’s All Grist to the Mill

sliced bread

from Jesse Green’s memoir:

Early in the spring of 1830 development of the water power was commenced by using the stumps from the timber from which the mill was being constructed. Economy was sought to a greater extent than it is at the present time. The saw mill was built with sufficient room to put a pair of stones in one end of it to do our grinding until a better mill could be erected, having brought with us the necessary mill irons, black-smith tools etc. [This mill was called the Old Pioneer.]

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

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

“Dayton, June 10th, 1843”
Received of John Green nine barrels of flour in good condition, which I agree to deliver in like condition to  J. V. Farwell in Chicago without delay.
Signed Gersham Burr.

This mill did all the grinding for the surrounding country for a radius of eighty and in some cases, one hundred miles. I distinctly remember grinding a grist of white winter wheat for “Old Davy Letts” as he was familiarly called, that made him forty pounds to the bushel of the best flour I ever made, this after tolling it, and I think better flour than we get today with all of our boasted improvements in milling. I attended mill for five or six years, and learned the impossibility of making number one flour out of inferior wheat, and I do not think it can be done under present processes. Among my first mill customers after I commenced tending mill, were our Indian friends. In grinding their small grists of from one peck to two bushels of wheat to each family, which is what they had gleaned from wheat fields, after the harvesters had passed over the ground, and it was always a question in our minds whether those having the larger grists, might not have encroached upon some of the sheaves or shocks in passing them. I had thirty different families to grind for at one time, which I did free, until I came to one of those two bushel grist, when I attempted to toll it, (which would be one peck for toll) it seemed to them too much like discrimination, as I had been grinding all of those smaller grists free, so I put the toll back and ground for all free.

Such was the rush to our mill, that frequently there would be too many to be accommodated at my father’s home, and they were obliged to camp out, about the mill, sometimes for near a week, awaiting their turn for grinding and we were unable to store their grain in the mill, until near their turn for grinding. The mill ran day and night to its full capacity (of six pairs of stones.) Soon after this mill was built, the Rock river country commenced settlement, and they had to depend upon our mill for their flour, and would come with ox teams (four pairs) and take two tons to the load, I frequently loaded up one of these teams before breakfast, and probably by noon would have the train all loaded up. They would come with little bags of silver (their only currency then) and I remember at one time, I had a little trunk nearly filled with it.

The demand for flour was so great that it necessarily annoyed those waiting so long to have their grists ground, to see several of those large teams come in the evening, and start off the next day with their loads. But we reserved the right and satisfied them, that we should be entitled to the use of one pair of burhs out of the six, to do our own grinding for those not having wheat of their own, and to keep the toll wheat out of the way which would require the use of one pair, three fourths of the time to do it, and this pair was kept running constantly on what was termed merchant work, or flour for sale.