A Rough Spot in a Marriage – and an Unexpected Ending

On September 29, 1881, Alice Virginia Furr married Edward Joseph Ward in Dayton. She was the daughter of Squire and Mary (Bruner) Furr. He was the son of Fenton and Mary (?) Ward. Although he lists his mother’s name as Mary Clemens in this marriage application, the 1842 La Salle County marriage of Fenting [sic] Ward lists his wife’s name as Mary Cofield. Further investigation is needed on this.

The marriage was performed in Ottawa by Charles F. W. O’Neill, Catholic Priest.

They had three children:

Mary Elizabeth, born April 28, 1883, in Dayton township; married Robert J. W. Briggs September 12, 1905, in Ottawa, Illinois; died September 24, 1948.

William Albert Ward, born April 25, 1885, in Dayton township; died August 4th, 1967, in Warm Springs, Montana. He never married.

Carrie E., born 6 May 1887, in Dayton township; married Oakley Wright Esmond December 23, 1908, in Dayton; died February 1981 in Ottawa.

After 12 years and four children, the marriage was in trouble, and in January 1893 Alice sued for divorce, as reported by the Free Trader –

Mrs. Alice V. Ward’s Case to be Tried Tomorrow Morning

The somewhat sensational divorce case of Mrs. Alice V. Ward, of Dayton, four miles northeast of Ottawa, against her husband, Edward J. Ward, will be placed on trial before Judge Blanchard and a jury at 9 o’clock tomorrow morning.

Mrs. Ward, who is the daughter of the late Justice Furr, alleges that she has been a true and dutiful wife to her husband, but that she is no longer able to bear his name because of his drunkenness and general worthlessness.1

But the next day we find the following:

CIRCUIT CIVIL CASES
The Ward divorce case, from Dayton, was not placed on trial this morning, as the defendant, Ward, withdrew his contest and allowed his wife to secure her divorce by default. Mayo & Widmer, attys.2

In 1893, divorce was available only for a very limited number of causes. Many divorces that told of cruelty or bad behavior could have been an agreement between two people who wanted to end the marriage, but had no legal grounds for divorce. The fact that Mr. Ward did not contest the action suggests that he was a willing partner to the divorce.

The divorce does appear to be amicable, as Edward and three of the children – Mary, William, and Carrie – are found in 1900, living with Alice’s mother and brothers. Alice has not been located in 1900. In 1910 both Alice and Edward are listed as divorced. In 1920 Edward claims to be a widower.

But that is not the end of the story. In 1921 the following appeared in The Free Trader:

DAYTON COUPLE ARE QUIETLY MARRIED

Miss Alice Ward and E. J. Ward, both of Dayton, were quietly married Saturday at high noon at the home of Rev. and Mrs. J. L. Vonckx at his home in this city.3

I don’t know if this time was happier. I hope so.

Note that this time they were married by a Protestant minister.

Edward died in Dayton on December 26, 1931. Alice died in Ottawa on June 24, 1935, at her daughter’s home. Both are buried in the Dayton Cemetery.


  1. The Ottawa Free Trader, 28 Jan 1893, p7, col 1
  2. ibid, 28 Jan 1893, p5, col 2
  3. ibid, 10 Oct 1921, p. 3, col. 4

Report from the adventurers

One of the best parts of having a public website is hearing from strangers who have landed here via Google. Recently, I got an email from someone who had found two documents in her deceased father’s estate that meant nothing to her or her family. She did not know why he had them, but she read them, got interested, and Googled the people mentioned. She sent me copies of the items – they are typed transcriptions of 2 letters from Jesse Green, on the trail to California in 1849, to his brother David at home in Dayton. These are not the original letters and why and where the transcripts were made is unknown. It is possible neither letter ever reached Dayton, as the family treasured the letters from Jesse and preserved them carefully, but neither of these two new letters appear in the family collection. Here is the first, written on the way to California. (The map is one I made for a program for the Dayton Cemetery Association.)

SELF ENVELOPE

Ham Iowa
Sept 6 1849                                  10 [cents postage]
Mr. David Green
Dayton
La Salle County
Illinois

25 Miles East of South Pass
June 28th 1849

Dear Brother – Wife & All
Here we are within 25 miles of the S. P. and have met with an express for the States and write a few lines whilst our train is going on. We have reached this point without any difficulty. All well with the exception of diarhea. I have had it badly but am perfectly over it. Wm. (or Mr.) Goodrich & Wiley are complaining some at this time of the same complaint.

We divided our Company about two weeks since on account of the scarcity of grass for so large a train. We have ten of the wagons of the original Company together now. We find grass our only hindrance but have kept our cattle in good condition thus far and hope we have passed over the greatest scarcity. We have gained some on the crowd ahead of us – the first Ox teams are from 3 to 4 days ahead of us and number about 500 and probably 1000 mule teams but what the large number behind us are to do for feed the lord only knows, for 3 or 4 days past we have seen large numbers of oxen dead, that was killed by the sabulous or alkaline water. We have been very cautious about keeping our cattle from those places and have not lost any since we started. Our wagons are standing it well and nothing to complain of, but we are getting along much better that could possible be expected. We had been calculating to celebrate the 4th on South Pass but will pass by before that time and of course will not stop in this crowd. There is frequently 200 wagons in sight of the same encampment. Health generally on the route good – no cholera nor any fatal sickness. We have not heard from home since we left. If you have not already written us at San Francisco do so immediately as it is the only place we can get them. I hope you have escaped the cholera and all are well. I have not time to write more, be not uneasy if you hear of great suffering on the route as I think we are safe. O that I could hear from you all and especially Byron.
As ever in haste
Jesse Green1

Note that, although the letter was written when the company was within 25 miles of South Pass, the letter was actually mailed from Iowa. The emigrants would take every opportunity to give a letter to someone headed east, for them to mail when they reached a post office.


  1. From a typed transcription of the letter, found in the estate of G. Stanley Smith.

An Early Dayton Wedding, but just WHEN did it take place?

MARRIED – On the 4th of March last, at Dayton, Illinois, by W. L. Dunavan, Esq. Mr. William Lewis to Miss Eliza Ann D. Holdman, all of this county.

The above announcement appeared in the Free Trader on April 24, 1841. The date given for the marriage is more than a month previous, but perhaps the word didn’t reach the newspaper in a timely fashion.

However, the actual request for a marriage license was filed on April 3rd, 1841 in the county clerk’s office, as shown below. The newspaper, apparently, was off by a month.

To make matters worse, Wm. L. Dunavan, Justice of the Peace who performed the ceremony, says that he married them on May 4th. However, he recorded the said marriage on April 17th, 1841.

Both documents agree that the marriage was performed on the 4th day of the month. They just can’t agree on which month – the newspaper says March and the JP says May. In fact, based on the date of application (April 3) and the date of registration of the JP’s return (April 17), the marriage must have been performed on April 4.

MORAL: Be careful: any record can have errors. 


  1. The Illinois Free Trader, April 24, 1841, p 3, col 3

Another Dayton Wedding

 

Society’s Doings

Miss May Trumbo, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. M. P. Trumbo, of Dayton, and Mr. Edgar B. Bradford, second son of Mr. and Mrs. Wm. Bradford, of Ottawa, were married at the elegant home of the bride’s parents in the town of Dayton, at eight o’clock on Wednesday evening, Rev. Gilbert Frederick officiating.

The spacious parlors were tastefully and handsomely decorated with cut flowers, festoons and banks of flowers. At eight o’clock the guests ceased conversation, and the bridal party proceeded down the staircase and assumed positions facing the doors. Mr. Chas, E. Hook acted as best man and Miss Susie Rhoades as bridesmaid. The bride wore white faille silk, demi-train, with drapings of Duchess lace, and pearl ornaments, and Miss Rhoades wore cream surah silk and diamonds. The ushers were Messrs. W. J. Graham, Geo. M. Trimble, A. S. Hook, and Dr. Butterfield.

When the ceremony was concluded, congratulations were followed by an elegant wedding supper, followed by music and more congratulations, Mr. and Mrs. Bradford leaving on the three o’clock train for Chicago.

Among those present were Wm. Bradford and wife, F. Trumbo and wife, Chas. Angevine and wife, W. C. Riale and wife, C. K. Smith and wife (N. Y.), D. M. Hall and wife, A. E. Beach and wife, J. R. Shaver and wife, Charles Cracraft and wife, Judge and Mrs. Blanchard, Charles Neubert and wife (Kansas City), W. W. Nash and wife, L. M. Hess and wife, James Milligan, jr., and wife, C. B. Hess and wife, L. E. Porter and wife, T. E. Mackinlay and wife, I. N. Beem and wife, Gibson Strawn and wife, George W. Yentzer and wife, Capt. and Mrs. Blanchard, L. Leland and wife, George Debolt and wife and W. Van Etten and wife; Mesdames Hook, Fuller (Chicago), and Davidson (Connelsville, Penn.), and Mitchell; Misses Mayo, Finley, Brady (Chicago), Mitchell, Blanchard, Clara and Bertha Angevine, Griffith, Trimble, Rhoades, Porter, Nellie and Kate Bradford, and Kagy (Chicago); and Messrs. Hook, Hamilton, Trimble, Hess, Cary, hall (Chicago), Angevine and Sam, Tom and C. B. Bradford.1


  1. The Ottawa [Ill] Free Trader, September 21, 1889, p. 4, col. 5

Oliver H. and Martha Ellen (Hite) Thompson

On the 31st of May, 1898, Oliver Thompson and Martha Hite appeared at the La Salle County Clerk’s office in Ottawa to apply for a marriage license. Oliver signed an affidavit that both of them were of legal age to marry.

Oliver was twenty-eight and Martha twenty-four. They then completed the application for a marriage license.

Oliver H. Thompson was a clerk, residing in Ottawa. He was Norwegian, born in La Salle County, the son of Bergo and Martha (Johnson) Thompson. It was his first marriage.

Martha E. Hite was the daughter of James M. Hite and his wife, Martha M. Jones. She also was born in La Salle County. It was her first marriage.

The following day, June 1, 1898, they were married in Wedron.

The witnesses were Burton M. Thompson, Oliver’s brother, and Elsie Hite, Martha’s sister. The ceremony was performed by L. C. Burling, pastor of the Sheridan Methodist Episcopal Church.

And here is a picture of the happy couple!

Oliver and Martha Ellen Thompson

Charlotte Lyman Rogers

Charlotte Rodgers’ [sic: Rogers] entry in 1860 mortality census for Dayton

Charlotte (Lyman) Rogers was born about 1836 in Ohio. She was the daughter of John West Lyman from Charlotte, Vermont, and an unknown first wife,  John came to La Salle county, in 1838, and bought the NW quarter of section 24 in Freedom township. He married his second wife, Jerusha Newcomb, March 18, 1840, in La Salle county.

In the 1850 census, Charlotte Lyman, 14,  is found in the household of John W. Lyman, Freedom township. Also in the 1850 census, Thomas Rogers, 11, appears in the household of Jeremy W. Rogers, farmer in Dayton township.

On February 3, 1857, Charlotte Lyman and Thomas Rogers applied for a marriage license. Charlotte was over 18 and therefore of legal age to marry, but Thomas was only 19 and had to file an affidavit that his parents knew about the engagement and gave their permission for the marriage. They were married two days later, on February 5th. The marriage was performed by John Read, J. P., in La Salle county, Illinois.

Thomas Rogers swears that his parents know of his engagement and consent to his marriage.

Charlotte and Thomas had two children:
• A daughter Charlotte, called Lottie, born November 15, 1857.
• A son, Charles E. born August 14, 1859.
Charlotte died of typhoid fever in March 1860, when Charles was still an infant.

Lottie Rogers married Abner White February 28, 1875 in Kankakee, Illinois.
She died December 24, 1910 in Ames, Story Co, Iowa.

Charles Rogers died 10 July 1935 in San Gabriel, Los Angeles, California.

Rebecca Emma (Headley) (Morrison?) (Wight) McBrearty

Rebecca Emma Headley was born June 15, 1849, in Bureau county, Illinois, the daughter of John and Anna (Johnson) Headley. John died about 1854. In 1860 Rebecca is living with her mother in Ohio township, Bureau county, where they are also found in 1865.

Rebecca was married at age 21, to Francis Marion Wight, on the 18th of April 1870, in Red Oak, Montgomery County, Iowa. She was listed on the marriage documents as Rebecca Morrison, implying that she was married previously. Also, in the 1870 census of Francis and Rebecca’s household, there is a baby girl named Minnie Morrison, born Feb 1870. No evidence has been found of a marriage to Morrison, nor any trace of Minnie after 1870.

Rebecca and Francis had a daughter, Mary, born in October 1875, and a son, Roy, born about 1881. She was divorced from Wight March 12, 1885 in Lee County, Illinois.

Rebecca was married to James McBrearty, 11 July 1885 in Dixon, Lee County, Illinois. James worked for the C. B. & Q. railroad. His job took them to La Grange and Western Springs before moving to Dayton in May 1899.

Note that her name, “Wight”, is mistakenly written as White.

Mary was 10 and Roy 4 when their mother married James. Both children then used their stepfather’s surname.

In the 1900 census, Rebecca and James are living with her daughter Mary, now Mrs. Edward Emmons, in Dayton. In 1910 she and James are in their own household. Grandson Edward Emmmons lives with them.

Rebecca died January 18, 1917 in Joliet and was buried January 21 in the Dayton cemetery.

Her obituary may be seen here.

A Flying Visit – Dayton, Ohio to Dayton, Illinois

AIRPLANE IS USED TO PAY VISIT TO DAYTON

Richard Whitehouse, a former Dayton resident, and Russell A. Moore, owner of Moore’s Flying Service of Dayton, Ohio, visited friends in the village of Dayton for an hour this morning. They flew here in one of Moore’s planes, landing at 8 o’clock near the Lyle Green residence, and then took off an hour later, expecting to be home by noon.
Whitehouse was formerly herdsman of Green’s Jersey herd, and is now a student flyer with 25 hours of solo flying to his credit.


The clipping above comes from the family scrapbook kept by Maud Green, Dayton historian. The item appeared on June 27, 1933, most likely in the Ottawa newspaper. She noted how it compared with the 35 day trip the Green party made from Ohio in 1829. 


Richard Francis Whitehouse was born March 31, 1895 in Auburn, Maine. In 1917 he was living in the Dayton, Ohio, area, working for the Foreman Dairy Farm. He was employed at various places in the dairy business and it may be around this time that he worked for Lyle Green.  On June 24, 1919, he married Nellie (Skinner) Hurless in Van Wert County, Ohio. By 1930 he was manager of a dairy farm and in 1942, when he registered for the draft, he was a manager at the Borden Finch Jersey Farms in Dayton, Ohio. He died August 25, 1957, in Athens, Texas.

Invented in Dayton

To all whom it may concern:
Be it known that I, Isom L. Thompson, a citizen of the United States, residing at Dayton, in the county of LaSalle and State of Illinois, have invented certain new and useful Improvements in Wagon-Jacks; and I do hereby declare the following to be a full, clear, and exact description of the invention, such as will enable others skilled in the art to which it appertains to make and use the same.

This is how Isom Thompson began his application for a patent on his invention, an improved wagon-jack. His application was witnessed by his brother, Foster V. Thompson and by Freeman Wheeler. The improvement came from his experience with farming, but Isom had not always been a farmer.

He was born in November, 1840, in Adams, Jefferson County, New York, one of five children of Isom Thompson and Elzina Foster. He left the farm sometime between 1875 and 1880, and took up the trade of carriage maker.

About 1894 his older brother, Foster, decided to move his family to Illinois. Isom made the journey with them and settled on a farm in Rutland township. After Foster died in 1897, Isom, who never married, continued to make his home with his sister-in-law and her 2 sons, his nephews, Oscar and Lamotte Thompson. Isom died there on Saturday, December 2, 1905, of apoplexy. 

A Shower for a New Bride

MRS. HERBERT M’GROGAN HONORED PARTY GUEST

Misses Emma C. Fraine, Jennie L. Fraine and Addie Thompson were hostesses at a miscellaneous shower given Saturday afternoon in the Dayton Community house in honor of Mrs. Herbert McGrogan, a recent bride, who was formerly Miss Ceal Pillion.

The program consisted of a heart relay contest, participated in by all the guests. Mrs. Hans Vogel accompanied by her daughter, Miss Virginia, gave three vocal solos, “To You,” by Speaks, “A Brown Bird Singing,” by Barrie, and “Smilin’ Through,” by Penn. Miss Zelda Garrow interpreted two readings entitled “Like Calls to Like,” by Edgar A. Guest and “Before and After.” Miss Ida Chamberlain, accompanied by Mrs. Arnold Wilson, rendered two vocal solos, “And [sic] Old Fashioned Town,” by Squires, “Try Smilin’” by Penn. Nicholas Parr, accompanied at the piano by Miss Katherine Pitts, favored the guests with two vocal solos addressed especially to the bride, “I Love You Truly,” by Carrie Jacobs Bond and “Just A-Wearyin’ For You,” by the same composer.

After the program the honored guest, seated at a table over which was suspended a parasol of pink petals under a white bell, received the many beautiful and varied gifts presented to her by the other guests.

The guests were then seated at a long table arranged in the form of a large T. The color plan was pink and white with yellow chrysanthemums in many crystal bud bases [sic] and in a large crystal vase and also, tall pink and white tapers were used. The three main center pieces consisted of a bride and groom in a Cinderella coach drawn by a large white swan. The individual favors were “Ships of Love on a Sea of Matrimony,” and the place cards were cupids bearing two hearts united as one. Various baskets of flowers and large white bells were arranged throughout the room. Dainty refreshments in pink and white were served.

Among the 60 guests present were people from Ottawa, Marseilles, Wedron, Wallace, Waltham, Rutland, Dayton and vicinity.1


  1. Ottawa Republican-Times, October 23, 1933, p. 2, col. 1

Joseph E. Skinner

Joseph Ellsworth Skinner

In the 1840 census, Dayton is not identified by name, but is not hard to locate. At the bottom of the last page of the La Salle County section, John Green’s name appears third from the end. The names surrounding his are mostly familiar names that appear frequently in the village’s history. But the name immediately above John Green’s is Joseph E. Skinner, who does not appear in the later history of the village. A newspaper search found this:

The [Streator, Illinois] Times, 19 Jan 1894, p2

This explains why he appears next to John Green in the 1840 census, but where did he go later? Upon investigation, it appears he spent only that one year of 1840 working in Greens Mill.

Here is another case of someone with a Dayton connection who went on to greater things in the larger world. The short notice above hinted at later adventures which were written up in one of the county histories. That information has been added to the biography page, which you can read here.

Charles Hayward – Dayton Landowner

Charles Hayward was born April 8, 1808 and grew up in Lebanon, Connecticut. He moved to Cleveland, Ohio, in 1818, and in 1835 or 36 he moved to La Salle County, one of its oldest settlers. He bought farmland, some of which was in Dayton township (highlighted above). In addition to farmland he also owned lots in Ottawa, Peru, Marseilles, and La Salle.

He served as School Commissioner of the county. He also built the Fox River House in Ottawa, which he kept for a few years being also interested in merchandising. His business affairs met with well deserved success. In 1847, Charles sold his business interests in Ottawa and moved to the Dayton farm. He had carried on farming the whole time they lived in Ottawa. By the time of his death, July 20, 1849, he was a wealthy landowner, his land being valued at more than $17,000.

His wife was Miss Julia Ann Mason, who was born in Cortland County, New York, on July 22, 1819, the daughter of Oliver and Sarah (Thayer) Mason. Charles and Julia were married in Ottawa on October 8, 1838. They had three children:

Estelle J, born December 11, 1839 on the farm in Dayton township, died October 1,1918 in Ottawa. She never married. When she died her estate was valued at $113,000, with $94,000 in real estate.

George, born April 18, 1843, died March 1, 1906 in Ottawa. He married Nettie Strickland on June 17, 1875. They had 3 children: Edith, married George Gleim; Mabel; De Alton

Emma/Emily Julia, born Nov. 5, 1846, died August 4,1920, married David Lafayette Grove [d 1897] on October 21, 1880. They had two children: Louise; Chester

After Charles’ death, Julia married Henry J. Reed on December 18, 1851. They had one son, Charles.

The interesting thing about all this for me is that some of Charles Hayward’s land, the land later owned by Emma Grove, is right next to our family farm, the original John Green property, which my sister and I still own. Also, David Grove is my 1st cousin 3 times removed.

Which just goes to prove my contention that everyone connected with early Dayton is related to everyone else.

An Effective Toothache Cure

Zada Dunavan Lyons was the granddaughter of Joseph Albert and Nancy (Green) Dunavan. In 1931 her cousin David Dunavan called on her and took notes on their conversation. He sent his handwritten notes to Mabel Greene Myers, who was collecting Green family information. When I inherited Mabel’s files from her daughter, Helen, I found the notes, which included the following story –

While grandfather J. A. D. was gone to Calif. in the gold rush the folks at home did not hear from [him] and thought he had been killed. They had heard his party had started home through Mexico and that they had been killed there.

The night he got home grandma (Nancy) had a headache as a result of a toothache cure she had applied. She had run a hot darning or knitting needle into the cavity of her tooth to stop the pain. When he got home she entirely forgot the tooth and headache and they sat up about all night talking and visiting.

 

Early Adventurers

historical marker

John Green was following in his father’s footsteps when he brought a group of 24 settlers from Licking County, Ohio to be the first residents of Dayton and Rutland townships. John’s father, Benjamin, and his family were the first settlers in Licking County. Benjamin and his wife, Catharine, are both buried in the Beard-Green Cemetery in the Dawes Arboretum at Newark, Ohio, along with many other family members. Benjamin Green is one of the six Revolutionary War veterans mentioned on the marker.

tombstone of Benjamin Green

tombstone of Benjamin Green

tombstone of Catharine Green

The Last Will and Testament of Mary Daniels

 

In the name of God, Amen,
I Mary Daniels of Rutland in the County of La Salle & State of Illinois, being of sound mind & mindful of my mortality, do, on this nineteenth day of September in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred & fifty three, hereby make & declare this my last will & testament in manner & form, to wit:

First –
It is my desire that my funeral expenses & just debts, be fully paid.

Second –
After the payment of such funeral expenses & debts, I give & devise & bequeath unto my son, Aaron Daniels, all the live stock, horses, cattle, sheep, hogs, &c, by me now owned, & also, all the household furniture & other articles of personal property not herein disposed of or enumerated in this will to have and to hold, by him, the said Aaron Daniels, his heirs & assigns forever, —, I also give & bequeath to the said Aaron Daniels his heirs & assigns, all money or monies now in my possession, or now due & owing to me, by any & all persons, And also, all my share in the crops now growed, or such as shall hereafter grow, upon the land, now occupied by me, the said Mary Daniels.

Third –
I give & bequeath to my nephew Elmer E. Daniels, all the packing casks & barrels by me now owned. Als, one bedstead. & also bed & beding necessarily belonging therto & als one Clock.

Fourth –
I give & bequeath to my daughter Juda Stadden, one comforter, two table cloths, & one sheet.

Fifth –
I give & bequeath to my daughter Elizabeth Kleiber, one comforter, two table cloths, & one sheet.

And, lastly,
I hereby constitute & appoint Aaron Daniels Executor of this my last will & testament, & hereby declaring, ratifying & confirming this & no other to be my last will & testament.

In witness whereof I the said Mary Daniels have hereunto set my hand & seal, the day & year first above mentioned.

Signed, sealed, published, & declared by the said Mary Daniels, as for her last will & testament, in presence of us, who in her presence, & in the presence of each other & at her request, have subscribed our names, thereto.

Washington Bushnell
E. S. Hallowell


Last will and testament image by Nick Youngson CC BY-SA 3.0 Pix4free

An Unexplained Explosion

SHACK NEAR DAYTON IS DESTROYED
Charge of Dynamite Resulted in Injury to Two

Two men were injured, and the lives of two others endangered when the three room shack of William Hibbard located along the banks of the old feeder and just outside of Dayton, was dynamited by an unknown assailant early Tuesday morning. The injured, William Hibbard and Albert Charlery are now confined to the Hibbard home and are being attended by an Ottawa physician. Neither of the other two men, Frank Davis and Arthur Gosney, were badly injured and they did not need medical attention.

The matter has not been reported to the authorities, but it was learned that Hibbard and his three friends who are employed at the James Funk coal beds near Dayton had entered the house, a little three room shack, located on the trestle road from Dayton and the north bank of the feeder late in the evening. According to their own story, it is said they became engaged in a card game and did not hear or see anyone about the place.

Shortly after midnight there came a deafening crash that could be heard for some distance from the house. Every one of the quartet was knocked from his chair and onto the floor, Hibbard being rendered unconscious while his three companions were dazed.

So great was the force of the explosion that every bit of glass in the house was shattered. The stove was blown clear across the room, pictures were knocked from the wall and all of the furniture damaged as well as the exterior of the house.

The alleged charge of dynamite from all appearances was dropped along the side of the house where Albert Charlery was sitting. When the explosion came he was hurled clear across the room.

While the explosion occurred between midnight Sunday and 1 o’clock Monday authorities have not received any notification of the mysterious occurrence. Residents of Dayton are unable to throw any light on the affair and all they can tell is of the mute evidence of the happenings of the night and the roar of the explosion.

The Hibbard shack was built by Hibbard after his other house had been destroyed by fire and was used as a kind of hang-out by men working in the coal beds and clay pits near Dayton. Why anyone would attempt to blow up the house and murder or injure the occupants is a question that the residents of Dayton are asking one another.

from the Streator Times, 22 November 1923

[It’s frustrating that there is never a follow-up to stories like these. Who blew up William Hibbard’s shack? and why?]

The One Left Behind

photo of Brunk, Ida Bell - tombstone

The Dayton cemetery is full of family groups. Among the graves are more than seventy members of the Green family, eleven Hippards, nine Hites and seven Makinsons. There are only a few instances of a burial that appears to be a solitary one. Perhaps the youngest of these is little Ida Bell Brunk, who died in 1868, at the age of five years, four months and ten days. There are no other Brunk monuments in the Dayton cemetery

Ida’s father, Noah Brunk, was born December 14, 1828 in Rockingham County, Virginia. He moved to La Salle county, Illinois, in 1855, where, on September 24, 1857, he married Amanda Elizabeth Parr, daughter of Thomas J. and Sarah Ann (Pitzer) Parr. 

In 1860 Noah and Amanda had a one-year old son, Thomas. Also in their household was Jesse Parr, Amanda’s 21 year old brother, who helped Noah with the farm work.

Between 1860 and 1870, little Ida was born in 1863 and died in 1869, so that in 1870 the household still consisted of Noah, Amanda, and Thomas, now age 11. They were living in Dayton township, where Noah was a Director of the Fox River Horse Collar Manufacturing Company, in partnership with J. A. Dunavan. He also served several terms as road commissioner and township treasurer. 

In 1880, the household had expanded to include an eight year old daughter, Cora, and Amanda’s parents.

In 1899, Cora married William D. Hedrick and they moved to Kansas. Thomas had graduated from Cornell University and was a professor at Texas A. & M. None of Ida’s family remained in the area, as Noah and Amanda went to Austell, Georgia for a few years, before moving to Kansas to be near Cora.

It is very possible that Ida is not the only member of her family buried in the Dayton cemetery. Her parents lost three children who died in infancy in the 1860s, when the Brunks were living in Dayton township. The probability is high that they, too, were buried in Dayton, but there are no stones and no other evidence has been found to verify this.

The following epitaph appeared on Ida’s tombstone. It is no longer readable, but luckily it was copied in 1967, when the stone was less worn:
          Dearest Ida, thou hast left us.
          Here thy loss we deeply feel.
          But ’tis God that hath bereft us.
          He can all our sorrow heal.
If other Brunk children were buried here too, surely this sentiment also applies to them.

Was Mysteriously Shot

WAS MYSTERIOUSLY SHOT

August Morrel, of Dayton, Lying at the Hospital – Revolver Bullet Near His Heart

Was Returning Home from Ottawa When Accident Occurred – May Have Stumbled While Carrying it in His Pocket – May Recover

August Morrel, whose home is in Dayton, was mysteriously wounded while returning home from Ottawa at an early hour this morning. That it was an accident is very probable from the location and direction of the wound. The bullet, evidently discharged from the man’s own revolver, which he claims was in his pocket, entered the left breast and passed through the right chamber of the heart, and finally lodged under the left shoulder blade. This occurred on the railroad about a half mile south of Dayton, from which point the man succeeded in crawling home, when Dr. Herzog, of this city, was notified and went to the assistance of the wounded man.

Morrel was then brought to the Ryburn hospital, where he is in a fair condition but the final results are not known.1


  1. Ottawa Daily Republican-Times, November 20, 1905, p. 8, col. 3

Charles Fraine Funeral

 

Charles Fraine Funeral

            Funeral services were held Saturday morning with a requiem mass for Charles Fraine, aged 83, who died at his home here Thursday, following a short illness. The mass was sung by Rev. Barrett, assistant pastor of the St. Columbus [sic] Catholic church. The pall bearers were James MacGrogan, James Kelly, Rush Green, Wm. Buckley, Sr., Edward Zellers, and James Collison.

            The deceased is survived by three daughters, Misses Emma and Jennie Fraine and Mrs. Addie Thompson of Dayton, one son Jules Fraine and three grandchildren, Roy, Kenneth and Lola of Ottawa.

            Mr. Fraine was preceded in death by his wife. He was a member of the Catholic order of Foresters and interment was made in St. Columba cemetery.

            Those from a distance who attended were: Mr. and Mrs. Ray Doran, Mr. and Mrs. George Graves of Aurora, Mr. Ed. Raspillar and Mrs. Josephine Mansfield, Plano, Mrs. Mamie Fraine and son Elmer, Miss Edna Parrisot, Mrs. John Florent, Joe Colbe, John Colbe and C. Aldrich, all of Somonauk; Mr. and Mrs. Ernest Raspillar and Mrs. G. Marco of Shridan Junction, Chas. Claude, Sr., and Chas. Claude, Jr., and two daughters of Serena, Ill.1

 


  1. Ottawa Republican-Times, November 13, 1928, p. 10, cols 6-8

A far-traveled Dayton girl

 

Emma May Rhoads

[When I go trawling the Internet for mention of Dayton people, I sometimes find rather tenuous connections. In this case, she was born in Dayton township, but the family moved to Ottawa almost immediately. However, her story was so interesting I am claiming her as a Dayton person.] 

Emma May Rhoads was born in Dayton township on September 19, 1874, the daughter of Thomas Rhoads and Kathrine Bardouner. The family moved to Ottawa shortly thereafter, where Emma went to school, graduating from Ottawa Township High School in 1893.

She attended the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana, working on the Daily Illini, the student newspaper, and graduating in 1899. She was a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma, the Aletheni Literary Society, and was president of the Y.W.C.A. in 1898/99. It was here that she became acquainted with her future husband, Edward Nickoley.

After graduating from the U of I in 1898, Edward departed for missionary work in Beirut, Syria, at the Syrian Protestant College, later the American University of Beirut. Emma taught in New York for several years after she graduated, and on August 12, 1903, they were married in Champaign, Illinois. She returned with him to Beirut, Syria, where he was a teacher in the Commerce department. For several years she was the general secretary of the Y.W.C.A. for Syria and Palestine.

Kathrine, Emma, and Edward Nickoley

In 1914 Edward had a furlough year and Emma and their daughter, Kathrine, returned to spend the time in Urbana while he was occupied elsewhere. Emma enrolled in the University of Illinois, in the graduate school of literature, making a special study of Journalism.

The situation in Europe was becoming increasingly dangerous, and in August, Edward landed at New York in the last ship to leave Hamburg, Germany. The ship was chased by French cruisers, but escaped capture and landed safely in New York. Edward joined his wife and daughter in Urbana and enrolled at the University. In June 1915, both received master’s degrees: Edward in economics and Emma in English.

They had planned to return to Beirut in September, 1915, but owing to the war conditions existing in the East, they were unable to. They stayed in Urbana and registered in the Graduate School again, pending the bettering of war conditions and the assurance of reasonable safety on the seas in the return trip to the college at Beirut.

By January, it appeared possible to make the attempt to return to Syria. They left New York on January 24 on the Greek liner Vasilef Constantinos. French, English and German ambassadors gave every assurance that the passage of the neutral liner would be safe. They planned to remain in Athens for a week for the purpose of visiting the ruins and the other points of interest about the city. From Athens , they would go on the U. S. man-of-war Des Moines to Beirut in Syria.

They had plenty of time to sightsee, as they were still in Athens in April, awaiting special passports from the French to allow them to pass the blockade into Syria. By fall they still had not been able to get to their destination. In October, Emma and Kathrine returned to Urbana, where she gave the following interview:

We left for Athens last January, where we expected to go on board the U. S. gunboat Des Moines for Beirut, but the Turkish government absolutely forbade our landing at any ports on the Mediterranean. So we spent the next nine months in Greece in the hopes of finding some means by which we might get into Beirut. Finally, my husband was ordered to make the trip overland, which he is now attempting to do. Although it is only a two days trip by water, the journey overland involves going through France, Switzerland, Austria, Constantinople and lastly a long trip across country to Beirut, which will take at least three weeks. According to newspaper accounts, however, it will be impossible to get into Austria at all, in which case he will return home at once. I do not think that my daughter and I will be able to return to Syria until the war is over.

Edward did succeed in his overland trip, but Emma was correct that it would be some time before she and Kathrine could return. She again enrolled in the university, studying library science. It was not until February 1919 that Emma and Kathrine sailed from New York for Beirut, with a unit of missionaries and relief workers. They arrived in April, after being held at Port Said several weeks awaiting the arrival of a coastwise steamer.

At this time, Edward was dean of the School of Commerce and professor of economics at the American University at Beirut. From 1920 to 1923 he served as acting president, in the absence of the president. Emma did relief work in Beirut and assisted in reorganizing the University library, and daughter Kathrine taught in the home economics department.  In 1923 Edward had another sabbatical leave and they returned to Illinois, to study library science (Emma) and economics (Edward). They planned that after his retirement they would return to Urbana to live.

Sadly, this was not to happen, as Edward died in 1937 in Beirut. Emma, who was then dean of women at the university, and her daughter, who taught at the school,  returned to Urbana and were much in demand as speakers, telling of their experiences in Syria. As reported in the Belvidere, Illinois, Daily Republican, Emma gave a lecture to schoolchildren in Belvidere in which she told of archeologists she met while in Syria:

History students of Belvidere high school heard interesting anecdotes about archeology from Mrs. Edward Nickoley, former resident of Beirut, Syria, who gave a classroom lecture at 2 p.m yesterday in the high school.

Mrs. Nickoley explained the work of noted archeologists who she had met in Syria during her 34-year-residence at the Beirut college where her husband was professor. She described the work of James Henry Breasted of Rockford, who is considered one of the most outstanding men in his field.

Other archeologists included in Mrs. Nickoley’s talk included Lord and Lady Petrie, famous British scientists; Gertrude Bell, T. E. Lawrence, who is the author of “The Seven Pillars of Wisdom,” and Leonard Wooley.

Mrs. Nickoley knew these scientists personally. Lady Petrie gave her a priceless vase that is 2,000 years old. Mrs. Nickoley displayed the vase and other archeological specimens.

Sometime between 1958 and 1966, Emma moved from Urbana to Minnesota. She died in Rochester, Minnesota, in January, 1972, at the age of 97.