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

A Bountiful Supply

slice of cakeHymeneal

Married – At Dayton, in this county, on the 31st inst. (New Year’s Eve) by the Rev. David Newton, Mr. John Stadden to Miss Ann Maria Miller, both of Dayton.

Accompanying the above notice, was that which always gladdens the poor printer’s heart – a bountiful supply of Miller’s workmanship, in the shape of delicious wedding cake. The happy couple have our best wishes for their future happiness, hoping that the evening of their days will be as pleasant as the first dawn of 1841 met them agreeable and happy.1

They stayed in Illinois long enough to have two children, but about 1846 they moved to Texas, where they lived out their lives and had several more children.


  1. Free Trader, January 1, 1841, p. 3, col. 3

The Marriage of David Green and Mary Stadden

    Green,-Stadden marriage license

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

They had ten children, five girls and five boys.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Support for an Elderly Mother

support clause from deed

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

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

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

Why was this deed made?

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

Barbara Grove Green

Barbara Grove Green

Barbara Grove Green

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Family Record of Joseph & Nancy (Green) Dunavan

Dunavan family register

Joseph A Dunavan was
Born march 30 1812

Nancy Dunavan his wife was Born
April 26 1816

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

Cathrine Dunavan was Born
May first 1835

Samuel Dunavan was Born Aprile
9th 1837

Isaac Dunavan was Born october
30th 1838

David Dunavan was Born September
10th 1840

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

Joseph Dunavan was Born January
30th 1845

George Dunavan was Born July
26th 1847

John A. Dunavan
was born Dec 14 1849

Cynthia Jane Dunavan
was born Feb 3rd 1851

Col. John Stadden

Stadden cabin

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

From a history of Licking County, Ohio:

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

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

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

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

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

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


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