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.

David Green

David Green (1819-1880)

 

David Green was ten years old when he came to Illinois in 1829 with his family. His father, John Green, had organized a party of settlers to move from Ohio to Illinois. David and his older brother, Jesse, were doing men’s work from the very start. Jesse later described some of their efforts in the initial building of a dam to drive the mill:

Whilst the men were getting out the timber for the mill and dam, which had to be built to intersect a small island, brother David and myself took the contract of scraping out the race or waterway for a distance of about a half mile (he being ten, and I twelve years old). We each had a pair of oxen and an old fashioned scraper. I sometimes had to help him load and dump his scraper and vice versa. We had the race completed by the time the mills were ready to draw their gates.

The winter of 1838-9 David and Jesse went back to Ohio, intending to go to school but their uncle Isaac Green persuaded them to take a room in his house where the school teacher boarded. They both claimed that the boys would make better progress than by attending school, as the teacher would give them his entire attention when not in school. This one term of school in Ohio and one other back home under Reuben Miller was the extent of their formal education.

David and brother Jesse, under the name of J. & D. Green, ran the first woolen mill, built in 1840. It was a building 32 by 60 feet, three stories high.  It at first contained but one set of machinery consisting of three separate carding machines, a jack of 126 spindles, and four power looms, and two broad, and one narrow hand loom. Later, when the large stone mill was built, they took into partnership their brother-in-law, Oliver W. Trumbo. In 1844, David took over the additional position of manager of the Green grist mill from his father.

On Christmas Eve 1847 David married Mary Stadden, the daughter of William and Judah (Daniels) Stadden. William and his family arrived in the Dayton area in 1830. He built a flour mill at Dayton and became a prominent figure in La Salle County, serving as sheriff for two terms and elected twice to the State Senate.

When William Stadden died in November, 1848, David was named the executor of his will. The estate had many uncollected receipts and outstanding debts, which required many court appearances to resolve. It was at this time that word of the discovery of gold in California arrived and brother Jesse resolved to go West himself, with a party of Dayton men.

I’ve always felt sorry for David being left at home while his brothers went off to California, but someone had to stay home and manage the farm and the mills. Since David was deeply involved in settling his father-in-law’s estate, he also dealt with the necessary changes at home. The farm was rented to the Hite family, who moved into the Green house. Barbara Green and the younger children, Rachel, Rebecca, and Isaac, moved to the hotel, where they were joined by daughter Katherine Dunavan, whose husband, George, was one of the gold-seekers.

David was therefore left in charge of the woolen mill, the grist mill, and the store, as well as the “Golden Widows”. As the only man of the family his responsibilities were large. His sisters, Nancy and Katherine, were also golden widows.

In 1852 David was proud to advertise that the mills had just undergone thorough repairs and were now so arranged that six run of burrs could be turned on custom work or merchant either, which made the “Old Pioneer” one of the best custom mills in the state; as the four run of merchant burrs, bolts, &c., could be used for custom work whenever required.   

By the 1870s, David had taken one of his sons in business with him. The Ottawa Free Trader reported:
The mill at Dayton, rebuilt a few years ago and lately put in thorough repair is well known as one of the best in Northern Illinois. It has always been popular and famous for the excellence of its work, and with its present management, in the hands of D. Green & Son, it will more than sustain its old reputation.

In 1879 David repaired the old shop south of the flouring mill in order to use it to manufacture drain tile. A tile machine with brick attachment was ordered and installed and the firm of D. Green & Son announced that they would be making brick in short order. The clay around Dayton was of an excellent quality and made good substantial brick and tile.

By then, David had retired from active participation in the day to day business of D. Green & Sons. He may have suffered from depression, as the 1880 census listed him as “melancholy”. That census was taken in June and on September 2, David died.

Joel F. Warner – fisherman

large mouth bass

Joel Foster “Faut” Warner was a noted Dayton fisherman and his prowess received notice in the Ottawa newspaper.

May 8, 1886, p. 8, col. 3
Dayton, May 6th. – Fishing is fine here this season, and the game fish are being caught in large quantities. Our old fisherman, F. A. Warner, a short time ago caught one hundred and forty-one bass in one day, and Mr. Lewis Makinson caught seventy-five. Yesterday was a big day and scores of the finny tribe were removed from their watery homes.

May 12, 1888, p. 8, col. 2
J. F. Warner, our fisherman, caught fifty fine bass last Tuesday morning.

He is called Peg in this next item because, in 1877, he lost his left leg. He tried to get on a moving railway train, slipped and had a car wheel run over it. It had to be amputated 4 inches below the knee. He must have had a peg fitted to the stump.

8 Aug 1902, p12, col 4
                          STOLE HIS BOAT AND FISH
          “Peg” Warner of Dayton Comes To Town With a Sorrowful Tale
“Peg” Warner, an old-time fisherman at Dayton, is in the city today and with Chief of Police Westcott is making a search for his boat, fishing tackle and about fifty pounds of catfish stolen from him last night. During the summer months Peg devotes his whole time to fishing, and is kind to campers and people who visit Dayton. The boat which was stolen is a new one, especially designed and built by Peg for his own conveniences in the river. It contained a life box and also a chamber for minnows, and anybody that visited Dayton was always welcome to the use of the boat. He also had some fine reels and fishing tackle, but all were taken. It is hoped that the thief will be captured and if he is, Peg will make him suffer.

Unfortunately, there is no follow up article. I can only hope that Peg was able to get his boat back.

Mr. and Mrs. C. B. Hess

Charles Benton Hess was born November 13, 1839, in Forrestville, Virginia, the son of Henry H. Hess and Mahala Hammond. He came to La Salle county in 1854. He took up farming as a career but later decided to complete his education. He attended and graduated from Lombard University at Galesburg and later studied law in Chicago, but never asked admission to the bar. After finishing his studies he returned to La Salle County and again took up farming.

In 1877 he owned 220 acres of land, valued at $11,000; and 4 houses and lots in Dayton, valued at $3,000. Later he gave up the agricultural field to enter Green’s Woolen Mills at Dayton. Later he came to Ottawa and entered the real estate business, with offices over the post office, and from there branched out into the clay and tile industry. He served as a Justice of the Peace and as town clerk of Dayton.

In 1880, with his brother-in-law H. B. Williams, they erected a plant, known as the Standard Brick Company’s works, at Brickton, about one mile east of Ottawa, along the north bank of the canal, and commenced the manufacture of brick. This appears to have been the first clay manufacturing concern of Ottawa. In 1882, finding traveling to Dayton every day after the close of business tiresome, he removed his residence to Ottawa.

Clara Isabella “Callie” Green was the daughter of Jesse Green and Isabella Trumbo. She was born in Dayton December 12, 1849, while her father was away at the gold fields of California. She married C. B. Hess May 12, 1869. in Dayton.

They had 5 children:
Edwin Jesse was born in Dayton, June 28, 1871. He married Edith Powell of Coffeeville, Kansas, in Coffeeville in January of 1905.

Gertrude Noel was born in 1874 and died the following year.

Glenn Raymond was born in 1876 in Dayton. At the age of five he slipped from the rocks just above the Fox river bridge in Ottawa and drowned.

Edith May was born in October 1880 in Dayton. She married Albert E. Gilman, assistant superintendent of the King & Hamilton Co., factory in Jan 1905.

Harry Charles was born after the move to Ottawa, on August 16, 1883. He married Dell M. Terry at the bride’s home in Harding in October 1910.

C. B. died September 23, 1918, in Ottawa and Callie died July 25, 1930, also in Ottawa.

Marriage of Charles Brown and Minnie Furr

Charles Brown and Minnie Furr on their wedding day
Marriage application

On December 29th, 1890, Charles Brown and Minnie Furr, both of Dayton township, applied for a marriage license. Charles was 24 years old, a butcher, born in Freedom township, son of George R. Brown and Isabella W. Hosford. It was his first marriage.

Minnie was 20 years old, born in Seneca, daughter of Squire Furr and Mary Bruner. It was her first marriage, also.

Marriage Affidavit

Charles Brown filled out the affadavit swearing that they were of age, unmarried, and could legally make a marriage contract.

Marriage License

Patrick Finlen, the county clerk of La Salle County from 1882-1894, filled out the license on the 29th of December, granting permission for the marriage to be celebrated.

N. O. Freeman, minister of the First Methodist Church of Ottawa, performed the ceremony in Dayton on December 31st.

Marriage Certificate

John Samuel Hippard

 

John S. Hippard, who is buried in the Dayton Cemetery, died August 25, 1905, in Dayton Township. He was 29, unmarried and left no will, so his estate went to his siblings. The proof of heirship in the probate papers1 attests to the following relationships:

John Samuel Hippard’s parents, Stephen William and Frances Rebecca Hippard, had 5 children: Charles William, John Samuel, Mary Elizabeth, Jacob Henry, and Frances May.
    Mary Elizabeth died about 1891. She was about 13 years old and unmarried.
    Jacob Henry is unmarried and living with his parents in Dayton township .
    Frances May (Fannie) is married to Newton Conner, living in Wedron in Dayton Township.
    Charles William lives in Dayton township and is the administrator of the estate.

John Samuel, Jacob Henry, and Frances (Conner) Ackerman are all buried in the Dayton Cemetery. See the index on this site.

At his death, John owned no land, and no tangible personal property. His only asset was a health insurance policy which provided that in case of ill health he would be paid $35/month. He had been sick for a little over seven months and was entitled to $223. However, the policy had a clause that in the case of tuberculosis they would pay only one fifth of the amount. John did suffer from tuberculosis, so was not entitled to the full amount The estate negotiated with the insurance company and the claim was settled for $100.

The cost of administration of the estate was $37 and other claims (doctor and funeral costs) came to $125. Thus there was a balance due the administrator of $62 and no funds to pay it, so Charles Hippard petitioned the court to accept the report and declare the estate settled.


  1. John Samuel Hippard probate file, 1905, box 464, file 12, La Salle County Genealogy Guild, 115 W. Glover, Ottawa, IL 61350

The Heirs of Alcinda Hite

When Alcinda Hite died in 1924, she had outlived 7 of her brothers and sisters. She never married and therefore her deceased siblings’ children were among her heirs. In order to prove Alcinda’s will, testimony was given to identify all the heirs. The following is true as of Feb. 2, 1926

Children of David Hite and Elizabeth Stickley:

Alex (died in infancy)

Isaac (died in Infancy)

Kittie Ann (died in infancy)

Benjamin married Emma Dunavan (both died before Alcinda)
2 children:
William, widower, 117 S. Monroe St., Streator
Dora, married Gillispie, Reinbeck, Iowa

James married Martha Jones (both died before Alcinda)
10 children:
baby boy (died in infancy
Martha E., married O. H. Thompson, 6 Gridley Place, Ottawa
Alcinda, married John McGrath, 432 E. Main St., Ottawa
Elsie, married John Whisler, Hutchinson, Minnesota
Elnora, married Thomas Collins, Wedron
Minerva, married William D. Whisler, Hinckley
Fidelia, married William Rabe, Belmond, Iowa
Rae, married William Osborn, McVeytown, Pennsylvania
Edward, married Gertrude Elwood, Mildred, Kansas
Elmer, married Lucy Trimble, Bayard, Kansas

David, widower, O’Neill, Nebraska

Albert (died before Alcinda)
3 children:
Calvin, married Etta Belrose (died before Alcinda)
—-1 child, Albert C., age 15-16, lives with uncle, William Temple
Vina Maude, married William Temple, Serena, Illinois
James Edward, married Jeans _____, Dayton Township““`

Fidelia (died before Alcinda), married Benjamin Babcock
6 children:
Albert, married, Schuyler, Nebraska
Jennie, married ___ Smith, Council Bliffs, Iowa
Elizabeth, married ___ Schwartz, Councill Bluffs, Iowa
Maude, married ___ Clatterbuck, Council Bluffs, Iowa
Cora, married ___ Hill, 202 Ninth Ave, Council Bluffs, Iowa
Olive, married ___ Messner, Council Bluffs, Iowa

Alcinda (the deceased)

My Dear Isabella,

On April 2, 1850, Jesse Green, hard at work in the gold mines of California, wrote home to his wife, Isabella:

            It is one year today since I parted with you and my friends, at home, and although a distance of near two thousand miles intervene, I presume our hearts are probably beating in unison together at this moment in anticipation of meeting again before the same period rolls around again, the past year has no doubt been one of long to be remembered, not only by you and I, but thousands of others, and by many it is remembered no more. I speak more particularly of those at home who were taken off by cholera, and many too, on the same route with us last season are denied the pleasure of meeting their wives, their parents and friends at home. — Fortunately for us two only of our company are denied that pleasure yet. Levi Zeluff and Daniel Stadden are the two.

            Your care and anxiety, I am aware had been great both for them dear little Babes and for us but try and not borrow trouble. make yourself as content as possible and at all times when sorrow would come, endeavor to banish it by the bright rays of hope, and in anticipation of happier days to come. 1

  1. extract from original in possession of Candace Wilmot

135 Years Ago Today – Death of Barbara Green

Barbara Grove Green

Barbara Grove Green

            Died May 5th, 1886, at the age of ninety three years, five and a half months. She had been confined to bed for about two months, and gradually and gladly passed away like an infant going to sleep. It was her desire to cast off this earthly tabernacle and be present with her Lord.

She retained her faculties to the last, with the exception of her sight, of which she had been deprived for the past seven or eight years. She was never heard to murmur or complain of her misfortune, but on the contrary seemed cheerful and happy.

She was born in Shenandoah county, Virginia, November 15th, 1792. At the age of thirteen she, with her parents, removed to Licking county, Ohio, being in the year 1805, and lived there until the fall of 1829, when she and her companion, John Green and family, removed to this county. A few incidents of their journey will show the hardships and privations of those early pioneer days. We quote her own words from statements made by her to one of her grand daughters, who has recorded them:

“We started from Licking county, Ohio, on the first of November, 1829, for the state of Illinois. There were 24 in the company. Father had gone to Illinois the September before we started and bought land. He and three other men rode on horseback around by Cleveland and along the lakes. When they reached Chicago, where there were only two families besides the garrison, father bought some provisions and in paying for them pulled out quite a roll of bills. That night his brother, Wm. Green, dreamed there were robbers coming and woke the others up, but they refused to start out in the night just for a dream, and he went to sleep again only to dream the same thing again, and when he had dreamed it three times he told them they could stay there if they wanted to, he was going to leave; so they all started and soon after they saw three men following for the purpose of stealing they [sic] money.

“When we reached the ‘Wilderness,’ in Indiana, a man who lived on the edge of the woods told us it was impossible to go on, as the mud was so deep, unless we could travel on the wagons already stuck in the mud; but if we were foolish enough to try it, we must leave ‘those two smart little boys’ (Jesse and David), for we would surely freeze to death. But we did go on and the men cut a new road through the woods for sixty miles, about ten miles a day.

“Then, when we got to Cicero river, we had to take the wagons over with bed cords. One wagon, loaded with mill irons and blacksmith tools, was so heavy it tipped over, and we lost a good many things.

“Then the next place we came to was Sugar creek, and it was so high we had to pull the wagons over with ropes again and cut trees for us to walk on. Then there was a swamp next to the creek that the men had to carry the women over on their backs. Between Iroquois and Nettle creek there were five days the horses had nothing to eat, as the prairie was burnt, and they became so weak they got stuck in a ravine and could hardly pull the empty carriage out.

“One evening we had only bread and tea for supper, but that night father came back with corn and beef that he had obtained at Holderman’s Grove, and we were the happiest people you ever saw. We spent the next night at the Grove and the next day home, at what is known as William Dunavan’s farm.”

She lived in the town of Rutland something over a year when she removed to Dayton, being at this place at the time of the Black Hawk war in 1832. Of this war she says: “On the 16th of May, 1832, the girls and I were at the spring, near where the feeder bridge now stands, when Eliza came down on horseback and told us that the Indians were coming, and we would have to go to Ottawa immediately. Then we went to a place a couple of miles below Ottawa and stayed there all night, and the third day returned 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 as it did, they hung feather beds all around. There were about sixty people here at the time, and we were so crowded that they had to sleep on tables, under the beds and all over the house.”

Mr. Green had intended to remain in his improvised fort during the war, but at about twelve o’clock at night, hearing of the massacre on Indian creek, and fearing there might be too many Indians, all those in the fort went to Ottawa. “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. The next day a company of soldiers from the southern part of the state passed through Ottawa on the way up the river.”

Grandma Green bore all the hardships and privations incident to the settlement of two new countries and lived to see the development of this vast prairie country far, very far beyond her anticipations. When she came here she supposed that in time she might see the country settled around the skirts of timber, but never in her early days did she anticipate seeing the prairies settled up.

from the Ottawa Free Trader, May 22, 1886, p. 5, col. 2

Was He Accident Prone?

Charles Benton Hess

Ottawa Free Trader, 13 Jun 1891, p5, col 1

CONCUSSION OF THE BRAIN
C. B. Hess Sustains Some Serious Injuries At Dayton

            Mr. C. B. Hess met with a very serious accident at his works in Dayton Tuesday afternoon. The bricks that are made on the top floor of the building are lowered to the drying room through a chute. Mr. Hess was standing close to the chute, talking to one of the workmen, and a brick fell from the chute and struck him on top of the head. The brick weighed seven pounds and fell a distance of twelve feet and fell with such force that it produced concussion of the brain. Mr. Hess was brought to his home in this city in an unconscious condition, and Dr. Dyer was summoned.

            He examined Mr. Hess’s injuries and found that he was not only suffering from concussion of the brain in serious form, but also neuralgia, which was greatly aggravated by the concussion of the brain. He was very restless and suffered intense pain last night, but today he rested very comfortably and is considered out of danger by his physician.

Ottawa Free Trader, 14 Apr 1905, p7, col 1

C. B. HESS INJURED
Falls Through Skylight to Floor of Porch

            C. B. Hess met with an accident yesterday that at the best must be a severe one to a man of his years. He was upon the porch engaged in fixing some windows. He stepped backwards accidentally upon a skylight. Through this he crashed and fell to the floor of the porch, eighteen feet below.

            He was cut on the back of the head and his back injured. It is also feared that there may be internal injuries. The latter fact is not yet definitely known. His many friends will hope to hear of his speedy and complete recovery from the effects of the fall.

He lived many years after this with no further report of accident. Although his death was not accidental, it was unexpected and therefore newsworthy.

September 23, 1918, p. 1, col. 5

SUDDEN ILLNESS IS FATAL TO C. B. HESS, PIONEER RESIDENT
Taken Suddenly Ill While Working in Field, Mr. Hess Passed Away Few Hours Later – Buried Tuesday

            Followed by an illness of only a few hours duration death Sunday morning claimed Charles Benton Hess, one of Ottawa’s oldest and best known residents. The end came at 4 o’clock at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Albert E. Gilman, 526 Congress street, to where Mr. Hess was removed after having been taken ill while at his farm north of the city.

            The deceased spent the greater part of Saturday helping on the farm. Late in the afternoon he was suddenly taken ill, the symptoms either indicating paralysis or hardening of the arteries. A hurried call to members of his family brought help on the scene and Mr. Hess was rushed to Ottawa. His condition showed rapid decline, and, because of the deceased’s advanced years, it was known the end was not far away.

Meet Mr. and Mrs. Van Etten

TRUMBO – VAN ETTEN

            Married Wednesday, June 13th by the Rev. Gault, of Aurora, Illinois, at the residence of Mr. and Mrs. Oliver W. Trumbo, Dayton, Illinois, their daughter Jessie to Wilmot Van Etten.

            The large and commodious residence of the bride’s parents was neatly and tastefully decorated for the occasion with flowers and evergreens, and a large number of relatives and friends of the bride and groom were present to participate in the wedding ceremonies.

            At one p. m. during the familiar tones of Mendelsohn’s wedding march, rendered on the piano by Miss Davis, the wedding party consisting of the ushers, Messers A. E. Butters and John Green, flower bearers, Barbie Green and George Wright, the bride and groom entered the parlor and presented themselves before the Rev. Gault, who in a short and impressive manner repeated the marriage service.

            The congratulations to the newly wedded pair were many and sincere, and all wished them much joy and a life full of happiness and prosperity.

            The wedding feast was a grand affair, and the tables were loaded with choice and tempting viands. The bride and groom departed on the 3:50 p. m. accommodation for Chicago, from whence they will go east to make a short visit among the groom’s relatives and friends in New York.

            The bride is one of Dayton’s fairest daughters, and we trust will not be obliged to leave our midst.

            The groom has been station agent here for a couple of years, and has formed a large circle of friends and acquaintances who hope he and his fair bride may make their future home among them.

            The wedding presents were many and elegant, and showed the respect and esteem in which Mr. and Mrs. Van Etten are held by their many friends and acquaintances. About eighty guests were present.

from the Ottawa Free Trader, June 16, 1888

Albert F. Dunavan

A. F. Dunavan, eldest of seven children of William L. and Eliza G. (Green) Dunavan, was born Oct. 29, 1832, in Rutland Township, La Salle County, Ill., where he was reared on a farm. He went to California, being six months on the road, going with eight teams and six yoke of oxen and cows, and worked in the gold mines in a place called Volcano for three years. He then, in 1855, returned to his home in Rutland and bought a farm of 160 acres of land, where he followed agricultural pursuits till 1870, when he engaged in his present business. This business was first conducted under the firm name of George H. Pennypacker & Brunk until 1870 when Mr. Dunavan was admitted to the firm. In 1873 it was made a joint stock company, but was bought out in 1877 by A. F. Dunavan & Son, who are carrying on a successful business. They employ on an average twelve men and manufacture annually 1,500 dozen horse collars and fifty dozen fly nets, beside other articles pertaining to their business. Their business is exclusively wholesale. He was married July 4, 1860, to Emma R. Cooper, of Kalamazoo, Mich. They have three children – W. J., in business with his father; Jennie C., attending school at Ottawa, Ill.; and Herbert L., attending high school at Ottawa. Politically Mr. Dunavan is a Democrat. In his religion he is liberal. He has held the office of School Director. His father is a native of Licking County, Ohio. He left Ohio in 1829 and lived a year and a half near Peru, Ill., where he was married. His wife is also a native of Licking County. They are now living on a ranch in Texas engaged in the cattle business. His father was a Colonel in the was of 1812.1


  1. History of La Salle County, Illinois, 2 vols. Chicago: Inter-State Publishing Co., 1886, 2: 92.

Lucy Mabel and Alice May Olds

Lucy (left) and Alice Olds

Alice May Olds was born May 7, 1871, in Mendota, the daughter of Jeremiah E. Olds and his wife, Sarah Jane Zimmerman. On November 6, 1895, she married James Arthur Green of Dayton (she was 24, he was 35). Their son, Rollin Olds Green was born a year later, on September 2. Unfortunately, Alice died 2 weeks later, on September 16, 1896. To further add to this sad situation, baby Rollin died in August 1897.

A year and a half later, in March 1898, James married Alice May’s sister, Lucy Mabel. They went on to have 5 children: Raymond, born May 19, 1900; Arthur, born April 26, 1902; Katherine, born October 15, 1905; Alice, born November 30, 1907 and David, born February 12, 1910.

James and Lucy moved to Grand Junction, Colorado, in 1902, and remained there for the rest of their lives. James died there in 1934 and Lucy in 1943.

Mrs. Barbara Jackson

JACKSON RITES AT GREEN HOME AT 1 TOMORROW

Funeral services for Mrs. Barbara T. Jackson will be held at the home of L. A. Green in Dayton at 1 o’clock tomorrow afternoon, conducted by Rev. Hugh MacKenzie, pastor of the Congregational church. Interment will be in the family burying lot in Millington cemetery.

The death of Mrs. Jackson marks the passing of another of the county’s pioneers. She came to La Salle county with her parents from Ohio, where she was born almost a century ago. She knew La Salle county when Ottawa was only a settlement in a wilderness, long before the day of the railroads or the canal.

Mrs. Jackson was a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Mathias Trumbo, who came to La Salle county when there were less than a dozen houses in Ottawa, and who shortly afterwards went to Dayton, four miles northeast of Ottawa to reside.

The pall bearers at tomorrow’s funeral will be L. A. Green, Roy Grove, Frank Brown, Elias Trumbo, Glenn Matlock and Benton Harris.

Mrs. Jackson died at 11:15 yesterday morning.

[Barbara Jackson died February 21, 1927. Her obituary appeared the following day in one of the Ottawa newspapers.]

George Dunnavan – A Family History

There is no known picture of George Dunnavan

Dayton Cemetery Association holds its annual meeting on Memorial Day weekend and there is always a historical program following the meeting. On May 27, 1973, Ruth Brown Baker presented the following information on the Dunnavan family.

            As broad as the United States is wide, so the Family Tree of Samuel Dunnavan spreads its branches from the Atlantic to the Pacific, covering the quick and the dead, the old and the young who have struggled or are striving to survive in an ever changing world.

            Colonel (or Captain, there seems to be some discrepancy in the records) Samuel Dunnavan was born in the year 1780, probably in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. No definite information has yet been found regarding his parents.

            On December 22, 1807, he was married to Elizabeth Lair, daughter of Persis and Joseph Lair. This marriage was solemnized in the Parish and County of Rockingham, Virginia. It is supposed that they moved to Licking County, Ohio, the following year and there they resided on a farm which they owned in Newton Township. Elizabeth and Samuel were parents of three sons, – Joseph Albert, William, and George Milton.

            Samuel served in Williamson’s Ohio Militia during the Was of 1812 and returned home in a poor state of health. He died on June 22, 1816 at the age of 36 and is buried in the Evans Cemetery near St Louisville, Ohio. In the research notes of the late David Dunnavan he remarked that “To have attained a Colonelcy at such an early age bespeaks unusual qualities of leadership which might have carried him far had he been permitted to live.”

            Some time later Elizabeth Dunnavan married David Letts, a widower with one daughter, Rhoda Ann. In 1830 they and their family joined the westward trek of pioneers to Illinois. Theirs may have been a rather sizable group by that time since it included some of all of the five children born to their marriage as well as her three sons and his daughter.

            Their first years in La Salle County were spent in Eden Township near Cedar Point. Living conditions were primitive in those days with furniture consisting of three and four legged stools and tables all made of split timber. Records tell us the winter of 1830-31 was “remarkable for its severity, snow fell to a depth of three feet, drifting to stop all travel. Potatoes, hominy and wild honey were the rations of the settlers.”

            David Letts became a very prominent citizen of La Salle County. He was the School Commissioner, a Judge, the first Road Commissioner authorizing the building of the first road from Ottawa east to the State line and the first Precinct election was held at his house. He kept store in Dayton and Ottawa. His fine character, no doubt, had a lasting influence on the lives of his family. He died in Lettsville, Louisa County, Iowa, in 1852.

            Since I am mainly interested in George Milton Dunnavan, my great grandfather, I will leave the stories of the rest of the family for someone else to write.

            George’s mother died in 1835 and is buried in the Dayton cemetery. In that year he settled on a farm which eventually encompassed over five hundred acres on Buck Creek Timber in Dayton Township. Following his brothers’ examples, George, too, married a daughter of John and Barbara Grove Green. He and Katherine Green were married on June 15, 1837. Their first child, Milton, was born June 24, 1838 but he lived less than three years. The mortality rate for small children was so high it is probably remarkable that they raised ten of their fourteen children.

            Early in the year 1849, when Lucien, their sixth child, was about a year old, the “Gold Fever” hit George. This quotation I read recently in a Reader’s Digest book seems to describe it best. “The most important contribution to the opening up of the West was the discovery of gold in California. The rumor and the fact of gold had the effect of almost literally lifting men up out of their chairs, out of their homes, to leave their farms, their jobs, and families behind for the dangers and hardships of the Gold Rush.”

            We are fortunate to have some of the letters written by George Dunnavan to his wife Katherine while enroute and after arriving in California. While we do not know exactly when the trip took place or with whom he traveled, one La Salle County History book describes the trip of A. F. Dunnavan, a nephew, as “being of six months on the road, going with eight teams and six yoke of oxen and cows and working in the gold mine in a place called Volcano.” They must have left home in the spring of 1849 since they arrived there before Christmas.

            Although George left when the excitement caught him up along with the rest, he may have had second thoughts about it after he was on the road. With sickness, death, rainy weather and drought to contend with, the glamour of the adventure wore off quickly. He was concerned about his wife and family and good to write to them. His second letter written enroute ended with the admonition to “write to the boy.” Do you suppose he was getting a little homesick even before he crossed the Missouri?

            In December of that year, news, written on July 6th, reached George in California. He was about to become a father again. In reply he wrote “I shall now wait with no little anxiety for the letter that will bring me the happy news of your good health after December. I shall be glad to see the little prize. I am sorry I can not be with you in such times but we are a great distance apart I hope the kind providence will protect you. Had I known the situation you were in the gold fever mite have raged for all me I should not have left.” He had the desire to send her some money but there was no way. Since George had heard from Esp. Pitzer that the baby had red hair he wrote “If the baby had red hair don’t name him George.” I guess she did anyway. He only lived about two years but I think that was long enough for his father to get home to see him.

            George planned to return home in September of 1850because he was getting tired of the hard way of living and provisions were so high that he had to make money fast to save any. In October he still had not started because the cholera was so bad en route and he thought it advisable to stay in the mountains a few months more. He had opened a little store i Volcano and was hauling goods up there from Sacramento City. His Feb. 1851 letter set a departure date of the first of March. They had been making too much money lately to leave any sooner and he was hoping to hear how the Greens got along on their way home before he started. This might determine the route they would take.

            We really don’t know whether he came back a wealthy man or not. He did have some of the gold he mined made into plain gold bands for his daughters and he is known to have sported a gold headed cane. Any wealth he may have had was later lost in the grain market, I have heard. However he did leave a heritage in his family of children.

            Silas, born in 1840, was the oldest one left behind when his father went west. He must have inherited some of his father’s pioneering spirit. He is known to have traveled to Alaska and South America as well as mined in Butte, Montana. Frank, Charles, Silas, Ella Belle and Cora all went to the Butte-Walkerville area where they are listed in the city directories of the 1890’s. The men worked in the Alice copper mine and Cora taught school. She was married at one time to James Mc Fadyen and had one daughter who married and moved to Ashland, Oregon. Frank and Belle later moved out there to live with her. Katherine Dunnavan, after she was widowed, also lived in Butte during part of that decade.

            Daughter Louisa married David, son of Isaac, and they had four sons. Their home was in Colorado.

            Daughter Emma, my grandmother, married Andrew J. Brown. They had two daughter and three sons of which my father was the youngest. He (Walter Dunnavan Brown) now has 27 descendants as represented by my family and those of my sisters, Ethel Holmes and Helen Pottenger.

            Mary E. Dunnavan married Rev. John Edmonson. They had four daughters, two of them married and each had four daughters. The Davenport girls are from one of these families.

            Lucien and Edwin Dunnavan were the only sons to marry and have sons to carry on the family name. Lucien lived in Central City, Colorado.

            Edwin Dunnavan had two daughters and one son and raised his family in Seattle, Washington.

            George and Katherine Dunnavan were buried in un-marked graves in the Dayton Cemetery, he at the age of 79 and she at the age of 77. They were from sturdy American stock and while their way of living seemed rugged and full of danger, they lived in an era of many changes. One Judge, speaking at an Old Settler’s Picnic in 1869 remarked that “these past thirty or forty years will forever remain more memorable in the history of the whole world than will any equal period that has ever preceded it. Our progress during these forty years which would have been an incredible miracle a hundred years ago is only an illustrious and magnificent fact today.” Strangely enough, we can make the same remark today, a hundred years later, with just as much feeling.

More From Rachael & Rebecca

As a follow-up to last weeks post, here is another letter the sisters sent to their brother in California. This one, written May 28, 1850, shows how badly they missed the adventurers.

My dear Brother

We received Father’s and Jesse’s letters. Father’s was written the 13th of March and Jesse’s the 4th. The first that we have heard from you since the last of December. We got them day before yesterday, It was the happiest day that we have had since you are gone. We have heard so many reports this spring so did not think we could have such good news. It was all good but one thing. Oh, Joseph, do give that up. Father wrote that you talked of staying and going round the oceans but if you do think of any such thing do come home first and then there will be time enough to travel all round the world and when you go I want to go with you. It would kill us to hear you have gone so much farther before you would come home. Do all come home together. Next fall we are going to look for you the last of October. Father wrote you would start the first of September he thought. We all feel happy now but Eliza she did not get a letter from William and not one of them mentioned him. When you write again be sure and tell us where he is. Uncle trumbo got a letter from Elisha how he said he had seen Dunavan in San Francisco but did not say when. David, Isabella, Nancy, Catherine and Mrs. Goodrich all got letters the 15th of this month. We all rejoiced with Mrs. Goodrich. We had heard that he was dead. She never expected to hear from him again. Now she says she is perfectly happy. We had a letter from Martha a few days ago. She said they had heard that Uncle William was going to appoint an agent to go in his place and he would come home but nothing certain.

We are all well. The friends are all [well]. There has been a good many deaths around this winter but none amongst our relatives. I think we are among the favored few. We have all enjoyed good health since you left. I will close and [give] Rebecca a chance. Give my love to all enquiring friends. Father, Jesse and yourself in particular. Your loving sister,

                                                                                                                        Rachael Green

Dear Bro Joseph

I write you again feeling much better than when I wrote last Sunday from having such good news. For it was certainly much better than we had reason to hope for from the fact of our not hearing from you for 4 months and a half and the hearing of deaths in all letters received in Ottawa. Since you must know that our minds were ill at ease until we heard from you again but we now feel much relieved. Mrs. Goodrich in particular. She had no hope of ever seeing him from what Jesse had written to Richard Stadden. He told them not to let her hear of it but such things will leak out you know. We have a very good news carrier – Stickly stoped to hear our letters read and then reports accordingly.

Joseph you don’t know how we feel that you don’t get letters from us. We write once in 2 weeks without fail and very often once a week. If you don’t get them I beg of you not to lay the blame on us. David writes to you all and Rachel, Isaac and me write to you particularly every few weeks at farthest. It appears strange what the cause can be of your not receiving when the others do. But we will be particular and send them together hereafter. See if that will make any difference. We write so often that we many times send one at a time. We receive yours very irregular. Mrs. Snelling got hers of the same date some two or three days before we did and sometimes we receive one from one of you the middle of the month and another by the same steamer the middle of the next month so you see they are very uncertain but Joseph, do write often. You certainly know how much more good it would do us when we receive letters to get from you all. Elias Trumbo, Jonathan Stadden and Tom Jenkins write to you regularly, besides many others.

I do hope you will abandon the idea of going the journey Father speaks of till you come home first. Then we will give our consent for you to go see China and all the curiosities of the world if you promise not to be gone more than a year at a time.

We stood it pretty well till the first year you were gone but now time goes slowly. Folks told us after you started that our anxiety would soon wear off – it would get to be an old thing but, believe me instead of wearing off it increases daily. I know if you want to see us as bad as we want to see you you will not think of anything but coming home the quickest possible way. I hope you will find all the gold you want in the stream that you were turning till you are ready to start for home. Don’t too much. For we have considerable here – none of it wasted since you left. David does very good business both in the factory and mill and the farm is all let to good tenants. Daddy Hite still lives here. He is now hunting a farm but is rather hard to please. He has been around considerable but has now concluded to buy near here as he can find nothing to please him better. His money troubles him more, I expect, than your gold does among theives. He wants to get rid of it as soon as possible which I think is a good plan as I should hate to be in hot water as he is all the time.

You may think me particular in writing nonsense but I write so often that I can’t always talk sense. I would be glad to get a little nonsense from you once in a while and think probably you will from me if I have nothing else to write. If you were here a while I would have enough to say no doubt but writing is different. I must close by giving my love to all. Mother sends her love to you and says you must not think of staying longer than the rest. She don’t want to see any till she sees you all. So, Joseph, I again beg of you to come with them and travel after you have made us a long visit.

Rachel and me have our miniatures, very natural, I would like to send them to you but can’t very well. We take a great deal of comfort looking at yours. My love to all from your loving sister,

                                                                                                            Rebecca Green

                                                                                                            Dayton, Ill.

Rachael and Rebecca Green

Rachael and Rebecca were daughters of John and Barbara (Grove) Green. Rachael was born in 1826 in Licking County, Ohio and came to Illinois with her family in 1829. Rebecca was born in 1830 in Rutland township, La Salle County, Illinois.

Their three older sisters were all married by 1837, so Rachael, then age 11, and her sister Rebecca, age 7, helped care for their younger brothers, Joseph, and Isaac, at age 4 the baby of the family. We know some of the events that took place in Dayton during the absence of the men in California in 1849-1850 because Rachael and Rebecca wrote to their father and brothers.

Christ Stickley is postmaster now. he come hollering there is california letters before daylight. we was glad to get a specimen of the gold. it has to be showed to a great many as all are anxious too see what it was that took you away from your friends. Elias Trumbo Jonathan and Tom all got your letter to them with the gold in it.

we have had some ferstrate sleighing this winter and have improved it pretty well but we miss you every where. we have cotillion parties at our house every saturday night performance commences at six oclock and quits at ten we have verry pleasant parties there is some very nice smart folks living over in fords house they attend the parties Hites Boys have got to be good dancers Ben Hite lives with us this winter.
Rachael

Letter to Joseph Green, dated January 1, 1850, transcription in possession of Candace Wilmot

I am going to school this winter to pass time as much as any thing else. we have a very good school. I have not time to write much I have just got home from school and the mail will go out in a few minutes. I see Rachel has been praising Ben Hite up at a great rate. they are very gracious. he is living with us this winter doing chores and working for himself

O Joseph if you could only be here next saturday night we have first rate cotillion parties. last saturday evening we had three musician’s and first rate music (and some pretty good dancing) but o how we miss you at them. do hurry and satisfy yourself and come back to gladden our hearts. dont be too hard to satisfy either for it is to hard for near and dear friends to be seperated for gold or anything else aint it. Joseph I must close by giving my love to all yourself in particular Mother sends her love to you all and says write often and make haste and return so good bye
Rebecca

same letter

In 1854, Rebecca married Oliver Walcott Trumbo, and they had two daughters, Jessie and Frankie Rae. Frankie died of malarial fever at the age of seven. Jessie married Walcott Van Etten and they had three sons, Claire, Walcott, and Frank.

Rachael remained at home caring for her parents until, in 1863, at the age of 37, Rachael married George W. Gibson. He was a widower with 2 small children. He and Rachael had 2 children, John and Alta.

A Family Gathering

From the information on the back of the picture
This picture was taken in the yard of Oliver W. Trumbo’s house in Dayton, Ill. September 3, 1899.
The picture was taken by Burton M. Stadden.

Front row:
Edith Hess Gilman
Jas. McCartney
Sarah Swank Stadden McCartney (mother of Burton W. Stadden)
Clara (Callie) Green Hess
Rebecca Green Trumbo
Isaac Green
Oliver W. Trumbo
Jesse Green

Back row:
Burton W. Stadden
Mr. & Mrs. Ned Richardson (friends)
Julia Taylor Stadden
Benton Hess
Edwin Hess
Arthur Hess
Harry Hess

Noah Brunk and his wife Amanda? Elizabeth?

On September 24, 1857, Noah Brunk married Amanda Elizabeth Parr. Or was it Elizabeth Amanda Parr?

This form reads as follows: Noah Brunk Being duly Sworn Deposes and says he is engaged to be married to Miss Elizabeth Amanda F Parr that the said Amanda Elizabeth is under the age of Eighteen Years, and that he is above the age of Twenty-one Years. that he [has] the consent of the parents of said Amanda for her marriage with him at this time.
[signed] Noah Brunk

The form was initially written for Amanda Parr. Perhaps she was always referred to as Amanda, but she pointed out, for the record, that her first name was Elizabeth. In 1850, at age 9, she was listed in the Thomas Parr family in the census as Elizabeth A. It appears that for official records her name was Elizabeth, but that she was always called Amanda. Her obituary listed her as Amanda E. (Parr) Brunk.

Noah Brunk was born in Rockingham County, Virginia on December 14, 1828. He came to La Salle County in 1855, and settled on a farm in the north part of Dayton Township. He married Elizabeth/Amanda Parr in 1857. They had six children: three died in infancy; one, Ida Bell, died at the age of 5 and is buried in the Dayton cemetery; a son, Thomas Lafayette; and a daughter Cora Bell, who married William D. Hedrick.

Noah Brunk served a term as Dayton Road Commissioner and as Dayton Township Treasurer. He was also a Director of the Fox River Horse Collar Manufacturing Company of Dayton. He spent a few years around 1900 in Austell, Georgia, and then they moved to Peabody, Kansas, to be near their daughter, who lived in Wichita. He died there December 31, 1908. His wife continued to live in Peabody until she died there March 14, 1921.

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