The links below cover the 19th century businesses which occupied the west bank of the Fox river, between the river and the feeder, and got their power from the water of the feeder. The arrival of electricity and various floods led to the demise of all of them by the early 20th century.

Grist mill
Woolen Mill
Horse Collar Factory
Paper Mill
Tile Works
Brick Factory

There were other businesses in Dayton, as listed below, as well as farms in the immediate area.


W. L. Dunnavan respectfully informs the citizens of Dayton and vicinity that he is prepared to do all sort of work in the Blacksmithing line at the shortest notice and on the most reasonable terms at his shop in Dayton.1

Coal mining
Coal at Dayton, – Messrs. Grove, Stadden & Co. have opened a 2½ foot vein of splendid coal directly under the village of Dayton. The coal is obtained by drifting, and lying many feet below the surface, is, like all deep coal found in this vicinity, much superior to coal obtained by stripping. Their drift is located a few rods below Green’s Mill, where they are prepared to sell to all customers that may apply, at prices as low as at any other bed in this region.2

Messrs. Zearing & Row, and Basil Green will finish at the culvert this week or next. Two large coal beds have been opened on Mr. Green’s land, enough coal to supply the town for some time.3

Considerable coal is being mined here this winter.4

Mr. James Green says that the honey business is of no account this season. Usually he has between nine and ten thousand pounds of honey for sale, but this season he hasn’t a pound. Thinks perhaps he will be obliged to feed his bees this fall.5

1. Ottawa [Illinois] Free Trader, September 24, 1841, p. 3, col. 2
2. Free Trader, February 2, 1867, p. 3, col. 3
3. Free Trader, Dayton, May 8, 1879.
4. Free Trader, December 10, 1887, p. 3, col. 3
5. Free Trader, July 30, 1887, p. 8, col. 4


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.