The 225th anniversary of Barbara Green’s birth

Barbara Grove Green

Barbara Grove Green was born November 15, 1792, in Rockingham County, Virginia. She was my great-great grandmother and by the time she died, she was regarded as the grandmother of a large area of the county. Here’s what was said about her in the Free Trader on May 22, 1886:

From Dayton
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.

“The, 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.

110 Years ago today this appeared in the Ottawa Free Trader newspaper

OLD PIONEER GONE
Resided in County for Seventy-Eight Years
JESSE GREEN GONE TO HIS REWARD
The End Came Peacefully at Ryburn Hospital Saturday Night – Had Been For Years Actively Identified With Life of County

Jesse Green died at six o’clock Saturday night at Ryburn hospital. To the younger generation, and to the newcomers among us, that may not mean much. But to the old residents of the county, it will come as the notice of the close of a long eventful and useful life. As man and boy he had lived in La Salle county for almost eighty years. The notice of his death will be read with regret by a wide circle of friends.

Jesse Green was born in Newark, Ohio, in 1817. With his father, John Green, he came to Dayton in 1829. Father and son were long identified with the growth of the county in many ways. The elder Green built the first mill at Dayton, the first flour being ground there on July 4th, 1830. A sawmill was also run in connection and it furnished the lumber to build the first frame house in Ottawa in 1831.

In 1840 they built the first woolen mill with power looms in the state. This ran very successfully until the close of the war. In the early 70’s they met with a series of reverses, but Jesse Green bought in the property and ran it until 1882, when it was sold to Williams and Hess. They organized a stock company for the manufacture of pressed brick.

In 1849 Jesse Green was one of an adventurous party of about fifty others who made the overland trip to California. After remaining in the west two years he returned to La Salle county to make it his home until his death.

He was married June 22, 1843, to Isabella Trumbo, daughter of Mathias and Rebecca Trumbo. His first wife died December 1, 1854, leaving five children – John B., Rollin T., Newton M., Clara J., and an infant who died soon after her mother. Mr. Green subsequently married Hannah Rhoades, a native of Brownsville, Pa. From this second marriage, nine children were born – Thomas H., Joseph, James A., Cora R., Sarah (deceased), Frank, Jesse A. (deceased), John K. and Mabel (deceased). In politics Mr. Green was a Democrat. He was a Universalist in religious faith. He has served three years and supervisor, two terms as justice of the peace, and about six years as postmaster at Dayton.

The children now surviving are Newton M., of Serena; Mrs. C. B. Hess, of this city; Thomas H., Frank, and J. Kent, of Chicago; Joseph, of Coffeyville, Kansas; James A., of Grand Junction, Col.

The funeral will be held from the C. B. Hess residence Monday afternoon at 2 o’clock. Interment in the Dayton cemetery.1


  1. The Ottawa [Illinois] Free Trader, 11 October 1907, p 5, col 3

Albert Charlier

S S Kroonland

When Albert Charlier died in Ottawa on June 5th, 1945, his obituary, reporting his burial in the Dayton cemetery, said only that “the deceased, of whom little is known, lived in a cottage near Dayton.” He has no tombstone in the cemetery. He never married. Nonetheless, it is possible to reconstruct the outline of his life and make his history known at last.

Albert was born in Fréconrupt, La Broque, Alsace, on September 26, 1879, the son of Jean Baptiste and Marie Claire (Charlier) Charlier. The Catholic Charlier family had lived in Fréconrupt for hundreds of years.

When Albert was about 15, an older friend, Josef Beller, decided to go to America. He must have written home with good news about his prospects, because at age 25 Albert also decided to emigrate.

He left Antwerp on March 18, 1905, on the S S Kroonland [photo above] where he traveled in steerage. He arrived in New York City on March 28. He was 25 years, six months old, single, a laborer, and able to read and write. He paid his own passage and had $44 with him. He had been living in Rothau, in Alsace, which had recently changed from being part of France to belonging to Germany, so he was listed on the manifest as German, although actually Albert was French. He said his final destination was Dayton, Ill, where he was going to join his friend Josef Beller.

Apparently he found work in Dayton, as in 1908 he was able to buy lots 6 and 7 in block 13 of the original town of Dayton from Elizabeth Benoit for $175.

In 1910 he was living in Dayton working at odd jobs. He owned his house and had filed his first papers for naturalization.

In 1918, when he registered for the draft, he was a mine worker for the Dayton Clay works. He was of medium height and weight, with brown hair and eyes.

In 1920, he was living in his own home in Dayton and working as a railroad section laborer. He had not yet become a citizen.

In 1921 he sold his house and lots in Dayton to John Garcia for $450. He went back to France, probably to see how his family had fared during the war.

In 1923 he returned from Europe on the S S La Lorraine, sailing from Le Havre on April 16. His nearest relative in France was his father, Mr. Charlier in Schirmeck, Alsace. He was bound for Dayton, Illinois. He was going to join a friend, Mrs. Klari Hess Green in Dayton, Illinois. This is most likely Clara Green Hess, daughter of Jesse Green and wife of C. B. Hess.

On January 14, 1938 he went to the circuit court in Ottawa and became a naturalized citizen.

In April 1940 he had been out of work for 6 months . He had worked for 6 weeks in 1939 at the power plant in Dayton for a total of $100.

By 1942, when he registered for the WWII draft, he was again employed at the Dayton power plant. He listed Lindo Corso of Dayton as someone who would always know his address.

He died of stomach cancer June 5th, 1945, in the hospital in Ottawa, and was buried in the Dayton cemetery on June 7th.

Unknown at his death, he is unknown no longer.

Another Dayton Schoolteacher

Naomi Trent

Naomi Trent
March 2, 1902 – January 15, 1974

 Mrs. Trent was born March 2, 1902, in Norcatur, Kansas, to Charles and Mary Patanoe Pool. On Jan. 21, 1921, she married James Trent, who preceded her in death in 1963.

She was a retired school teacher and former principal of the Dayton School. She also taught at Central School. She was a member of the Ottawa and Dayton Women’s Club, the Retired Teacher’s Association, and World War I Woman’s Auxiliary.

Survivors include two daughters, Mrs. George (Dorothy) Haas of Morris and Mrs. George (Maxine) Heide of Lagos, Nig.; one son, James of Melrose Park; a brother, Clifford Pool of Clearlake Highland, Calif.; nine grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her parents and her husband.1

Mrs. Trent and Santa

Mrs. Trent ruled over the upstairs room of the Dayton school, which held grades five through eight. In addition to her teaching duties, she was involved in many school activities, not the least of which was presiding at the annual Christmas pageant at the clubhouse.

When I was in Mrs. Trent’s room, there were around twenty students in the four grades. After listening to the other classes recite their lessons, by the time we reached eighth grade, we had heard them all several times over. Luckily Mrs. Trent realized this and the eighth graders, once their lessons were prepared, could work on a large jigsaw puzzle spread out on a table at the back of the room. We never did manage to complete it, as I recall.


  1. From her obituary in The Daily Times [Ottawa, Illinois] Jan 16, 1974, p. 10

Hezekiah Bacon – Weaver

         Bacon, Hezekiah Hezekiah and Sarah (Davey) Bacon

The Dayton woolen mill had a number of employees from England. Some worked there for many years; others for only a few. One such was Hezekiah Bacon, who was only in Dayton for a few years. He appears in the 1870 census of Dayton, living with the William Lancaster family. No other record has been found of him in La Salle county. However, a good bit is known of his life both before and after his stop in Dayton.

Hezekiah was born in 1833 in Halstead, a silkweaving town in Essex, England. His father and mother, older brother, and younger sisters were all silkweavers, as was Hezekiah. The town was dominated by the silkweaving trade and when, in 1860, the tariff on imported silks was removed, competition from the French caused the trade to collapse in England.

Hezekiah had married Sarah Ann Davey in 1852 and they had four children, so the poor opportunities for him in England decided him to emigrate to America. He came by himself, to test the possibilities before bringing the rest of his family. He arrived in New York City in December of 1867. How he came to Dayton is unknown, but one plausible explanation is that he went from New York to the mill town of Lowell, Massachusetts, and found work in the mills there. Hezekiah may very well have met William Lancaster, who was also working there, and come with him when he headed west. Both William and Hezekiah were working in the Dayton woolen mill in 1870.

In 1872 he sent for his wife. Sarah Ann arrived in New York in October of 1872, accompanied by their youngest child, Emily, aged 4. Two older children, Sarah Ann and Hezekiah Charles, immigrated later, while one daughter remained in England.

In 1873 the Dayton factory went out of business and Hezekiah had to find another workplace. J. Capps & Sons’ woolen mill was a major manufacturer in Jacksonville, Illinois, and both Hezekiah and William Lancaster were soon working there.

Hezekiah died September 17, 1887, in Jacksonville and was buried in Diamond Grove Cemetery. After his death, Sarah Ann lived for a time with her daughter Emily Nichols. Sarah died in 1915 and is also buried in Diamond Grove Cemetery.

Additional information about Hezekiah Bacon may be found here.

Thomas Henry “Harry” Green

 

                            Cora Childs                                  Harry Green                                Harry  and Cora

Thomas Henry “Harry” Green was born January 9, 1857 in Dayton, the oldest son of Jesse Green and his second wife, Hannah Rhodes. Harry went to grade school in Dayton. He then attended Jennings Seminary in Aurora, one of the finest private high schools in the middle west. Jesse Green, Harry’s father, was himself largely self-educated, as he had only a few terms of formal schooling. He clearly recognized the value of education for his children and sent them to Jennings.

Like his younger brothers, Harry began by working for their father in the woolen mill, but on the first of February, 1880, at the age of 23, Harry took over the store in Dayton, where he sold dry goods, groceries, boots and shoes, notions, medicines and almost anything else you could think of. A notice in the Ottawa paper announcing the change in management said that he was doing a cash business. In earlier times on the frontier, a storekeeper would offer credit to the farmers, or would take farm products in trade for goods, but by the 1880s, cash was more readily available, so Harry could operate on that basis. He traveled to Chicago and St. Louis periodically on buying trips, where he would replenish his supplies and see what was new and interesting.

The Dayton store would have been one of the centers of village life. In addition to the many items for sale, there were other attractions. In February of 1881, the Dayton Library Association was founded, with Isaac Green as President, Charles Green as Secretary and Harry Green as Librarian. Harry was the librarian because the library, all one hundred volumes of it, was housed at the store. You paid fifty cents a year to join and then you could borrow any book. The store was also a central point for spreading the news, so much so that the correspondent to the Ottawa newspaper requested that news items for the column be left at the store.

Some time in the mid-1880s a young lady named Cora Childs came to teach in the Dayton school. She had been born in 1860 in Marshall County. In 1864, her parents moved to Ottawa to take advantage of the better educational opportunities for their daughters. She graduated from Ottawa Township High School in 1879 and then completed the two year program at Wesleyan college in Cincinnati in one year, graduating in June 1880. She taught at several other La Salle County schools before coming to Dayton. When her parents moved to Morris she taught in the Junior High School there, but Harry had obviously made an impression on her and they were married on February 22, 1888.

After their marriage, they lived near Morris, where Harry ran a bakery and restaurant. He was also a jobber, or wholesaler, in fruits, confectionery, oysters, tobacco and cigars. An ad for Green’s Bakery and European Restaurant in the Morris Herald touted their wedding cakes, which could be furnished on short notice, and described the business as a place “Where you can get anything you want, from a cup of coffee and sandwich up to a big square meal.” Unfortunately, this establishment burned and they then returned to Ottawa. Harry went to work for the Standard Brick Company, where his brother-in-law, C. B. Hess, was a partner.

In 1892 Harry and Cora moved to Chicago where he later worked as an electrical engineer. Cora was very active in various patriotic organizations. She held a number of offices with the DAR, including many years as regent. She was the first regent of the Chicago chapter of the DAC, the Daughters of the American Colonists; was a member of the Daughters of 1812 and many other similar organizations. She and Harry, who was now T. Henry,  were listed in the 1913 Chicago Blue Book of prominent residents. At that time they lived at 55 W. North Avenue and had a summer residence in Morris. Cora was active in the social life of Chicago, announcing her daughter Mabel’s engagement at a reception and musical at the Plaza hotel.

Somewhere around 1910, Harry’s last name acquired an extra “e”, Greene. Cora, who was very interested in family history, had learned much of the Green history from Harry’s cousin, Maud, who was the Green family historian. Maud had attempted to trace the Green family’s origin, and had identified John Greene the Surgeon, of Rhode Island as a possible progenitor. Cora evidently convinced Harry that the extra “e” should be added. In Harry’s obituary, which Cora surely wrote, the “e” was even added retroactively to his father, Jesse, and his grandfather, John, neither of whom ever spelled their name that way. Incidentally, it is almost certain that John Greene the Surgeon was NOT an ancestor of the Dayton Green family.

Harry died September 24, 1939 in Chicago. The funeral was held in Chicago and the body was taken by train to Ottawa, where he was buried in the family plot in the Ottawa Avenue cemetery on Sep. 27th.

The widow is entitled to the following . . .

Appraisal of property for widow

Christian Stickley died in Dayton on April 19, 1854, and is buried in the Dayton cemetery. His widow was entitled by law to certain items from the estate for the support of herself and her children. The inventory (shown above) lists the following items:

Necessary beds, bedsteads and bedding for the family of the deceased
Necessary household and kitchen furniture
One spinning wheel
One loom and its appendages
One pair of cards [for carding the wool before spinning]
One stove and the necessary pipe therefore
The wearing apparel of the family
milk cow with calf, one for every four persons in the family
One horse, at the value of forty dollars
One woman’s saddle and bridle, of the value of fifteen dollars
Provisions for the family for one year
sheep, two for each member of the family
Fleeces taken from the same
Food for the stock above described for six months
Fuel for the family for three months
Sixty dollars worth of other property

Left with small children, the widow, Esther (Morgan) Stickley remarried, to Aaron Daniels, on February 22, 1855, and he became the guardian for her children. Watch for a future post on the guardianship releases for sons Edward and Henry Stickley.

On Memorial Day We Honor Another Veteran

US flag

On this Memorial Day weekend, the veterans buried in the Dayton Cemetery take the spotlight. One of them is John W. Channel. He was born March 10, 1849 in Licking County, Ohio and came to Illinois with his parents in 1851.

In April, 1865, at the age of 16, he lied about his age to enroll in Company E, 3rd Illinois Cavalry. In May, the Regiment went to Minnesota where he participated in an Indian expedition through Minnesota and Dakota Territory. They arrived back at Fort Snelling in October, where he was discharged.

He returned to Dayton where he married Josephine Makinson on June 27, 1868. They had two children who lived to adulthood, Eva M., born in Dayton July 31, 1869, and Clyde W., born July 5, 1887.

In 1870, he was working in the Green Woolen Mill as a cloth finisher. In 1881 he moved to St. Louis where he was engaged in the manufacturing of horse collars, with J. W. Denning & Co. He sold his interest to his partner on account of poor health, and returned to Dayton  to assume the management of the Basil Green tile works. When the firm of Hess, Crotty and Williams was organized, Mr. Channel became the superintendent of the works. He remained in this position until the Standard Fire Brick Co. was organized, when he left the employ of Hess, Crotty and Williams, to become president and general manager of the new company. In 1898 he disposed of his interest in the Standard Fire Brick Co. and purchased the tile factory of Basil Green of Dayton, in company with his son-in-law, Arthur T. Ladd, operating under the firm name of J. W. Channel & Co. He died November 22, 1900 and is buried in the cemetery, as is his wife.

John W and Josephine Channel, tombtone

English Workers at the Dayton Woolen Mill

power looms

Many of the employees at the Dayton Woolen factory were from England, bringing their previous experience of factory work to the Dayton mill. One of these, William Lancaster, was working in Dayton as a wool sorter in 1870.

William was born in Addingham, Yorkshire on May 31, 1835, the son of Thomas and Ann (Wildman) Lancaster. Thomas and all his family were deeply involved in the wool trade.  Thomas worked in the West Yorkshire mills as a wool top finisher;  at least five of his sons and three of his daughters also worked in the factory. The children would start by the age of ten, on the spinning machines. As they got older, they moved on to more responsible jobs – wool combing overseer, power loom weaver, or wool top finisher. William, at the age of fifteen, was a power loom weaver of worsted cloth.

In 1859 William married Elizabeth Muff, the daughter of William and Patience (Elsworth) Muff. They had a daughter, Frances Elsworth Ann, born the following year, and in 1862, a son, Seth Elsworth. For whatever reason, William seems to have left the wool trade and moved to Pudsey, Yorkshire, where he was a milk dealer in 1861. Whether this was because of a slowdown in the wool trade or merely a desire for a change, in 1866 William left Yorkshire altogether and with his wife and son (Frances having died in 1865) took ship for America on the City of New York leaving from Liverpool and arriving in New York on July 30, 1866.

Apparently wool was in William’s blood though, as he found recruiters were encouraging workers to go to Lowell, Massachusetts, to work in the mills there. He found work there as a wool sorter, and while living in Lowell, a daughter, Martha Ellen was born. More research will be needed to explain how he heard of Dayton and why he decided to go there, but by 1870 he was at work in Dayton as a wool sorter. He inspected all incoming wool and was skilled in sorting it into lots by color and quality, as length and fineness of fiber. A successful wool sorter would have had a perception of color shades greater than that of an artist.

By 1880, William had moved his family to Jacksonville, Illinois, where he and his son, Seth, were working in the Jacksonville Woolen Mills. Apparently unable to settle in one place, by 1900 he was working and living in Chester, Pennsylvania, another mill town not far from Philadelphia. Here his wife, Elizabeth died in 1893, and a few years later he remarried, to Margaretta, widow of John Blithe. In 1910, at the age of 74, he was still working as a wool sorter. He died on March 9, 1917, bringing to a close a life dedicated to the wool trade.

A Network of Groves and Greens

The group of 24 settlers from Licking County, Ohio, that John Green led to La Salle County, Illinois in 1829 were primarily two family groups, Green and Groves. On the Green side were John, his wife Barbara Grove, and their seven children; and Henry Brumbach, with his wife Elizabeth Pitzer, who was John Green’s niece, and their son, David.

The Groves were David (Barbara’s brother) and his wife, Anna Houser, and their daughter Elizabeth; Rezin DeBolt and his wife, Emma Grove (Barbara’s sister), and their daughter Barbara; Joseph and Samuel Grove (Barbara’s brothers).

These two families account for 20 of the 24 settlers. The other four were young unmarried men: Jacob DeBolt, Jacob Kite, Alexander McKey, and Harvey Shaver.

Marriage of Jacob Trumbo and Elizabeth Snyder

Trumbo, Jacob & Eliz Snyder - marriage bond

This marriage bond was drawn up in Rockingham County, Virginia, on December 6, 1816 between Jacob Trumbo and the father of his bride-to-be, Elizabeth Snyder. The bond was to certify that there was no impediment to the marriage, which took place on December 12, 1816. Jacob and Elizabeth continued to live in Rockingham County, where they raised a family of eleven children, eight boys and three girls. In 1853, Jacob, with five of his sons and at least one of his daughters, moved to Illinois, and purchased 160 acres in Dayton Township. He was not to enjoy his new home for long, however, dying shortly after their arrival, on November 10th, 1853. Elizabeth continued to live on the farm until she retired to a house in Dayton, leaving the farm in the hands of her son, Moab. Elizabeth died May 1, 1873 and was buried beside her husband in Buck Creek Cemetery, in Dayton Township. In 1911 their bodies were moved to the Ottawa Avenue Cemetery in Ottawa and the cemetery is now a cornfield.

The Marriage of Noah Brunk and Amanda Parr

State of Illinois
La Salle County

Noah Brunk Being duly Sworn, Deposes and says, he is engaged to be married to Miss Elizabeth Amanda Parr that the said Amanda Elizabeth is under the age of Eighteen Years, and that he is over 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.
Noah Brunk
Subscribed and sworn before me
this 19th day of September 1857
S W Raymond   Clerk

In a somewhat unusual procedure, the consent for the marriage of this under-age bride was not given by her parents, but by the prospective bridegroom, who assured the authorities that he did indeed have the consent of her parents. The marriage was solemnized on the 24th of September, as shown by the marriage license.

Amanda would have been about 16 at this time. In the 1850 census, she appears with her parents and siblings as Elizabeth A. Parr, age 9.

Noah and Amanda had three children, Thomas L., Ida Bell, and Cora B. Ida Bell died as a child and is buried in the Dayton cemetery.

Eliza Ann, wife of two Civil War soldiers

At the 2008 meeting of the Dayton Cemetery Association the program was about Eliza Ann Shaw, who was married to two Civil War soldiers and is buried in an unmarked grave in the cemetery. This is the transcript of the program.

            Eliza Ann Shaw was born in London, England, in 1841. Her father, James Shaw, was a greengrocer; her mother, Catherine Henessey, was born in Ireland. The family lived on Carnaby Street, less than a mile from Buckingham Palace. It is possible, even likely, that ten-year-old Eliza and her brothers and sister were among the crowds that watched Queen Victoria on her way to open the Great Exhibition at the Crystal Palace in 1851.

            James Shaw brought his family to the United States in 1854. I don’t know why he came to Dayton, but there were a number of English families in Dayton then. Perhaps there was some connection that brought the Shaws to La Salle County. In December of 1856, shortly before her 16th birthday, Eliza married a young man from Dayton named Michael Klingston. Michael came to the US from Bavaria and became a US citizen in 1863. By 1864, they had three small children.

In September of that year, Michael was drafted in the 1st Illinois Light Artillery, at a time when Sherman was fighting the battles around Atlanta. Sherman had been fighting since May and needed replacements for his army. Michael Klingston probably arrived at Atlanta just after the city surrendered on Sept. 2. He then took part in the march to the sea and arrived in Savannah, GA in December. Savannah surrendered on the 22 and Michael was probably taken ill around this time, since he did not take any further part in Sherman’s march north through the Carolinas. Instead he was transferred to David’s Island in New York suffering from chronic diarrhea. From there he was sent to Quincy, IL, where he died on April 15, 1865. His cause of death is given as consumption.

Michael appears to have been buried at Quincy; he is not buried in the Dayton Cemetery. Eliza and the children continued to live in Dayton. In December 1865 Eliza remarried. Her second husband, John Jaka, a farm hand from the St. Louis area, had also served in the Civil War.

            John Jaka volunteered at the beginning of the war in July of 1861 and joined the 9th Illinois Infantry, which became known as the “Bloody Ninth”. The 9th earned its reputation by being involved in the fighting at Forts Henry and Donelson in Feb. 1862, then being sent to Pittsburg Landing, which was the site of the battle of Shiloh. At Shiloh, the 9th was in some of the worst of the fighting, and of the 520 enlisted men that went into the battle, 324 of them were either killed or wounded. John must have had a charmed life if he escaped all this with no injuries. Between spring of 1862 and summer of 1864, the 9th was mounted on mules and so scouted and raided through Alabama and Mississippi. It was during this time that John was injured the first time. Quoting from his application for invalid pension, he states “He was on picket-duty mounted on his mule when said mule was shot from under him by a shot from the enemy. He thought he could get the mule on his feet again and while attempting to do so, the mule in his struggles, struck John on the great toe of his left foot dislocating the said toe and otherwise greatly injuring the foot. On account of that he went to the Regimental Hospital near Atlanta, GA where he remained untreated for 24 hours, then returned to his regiment.” The 9th took part in Sherman’s battle for Atlanta, and that was where John was injured for the second time. Quoting again, “At the battle of Atlanta, on or about the 22 day of July, 1864, while in the act of discharging his Spencer rifle at the enemy, his said gun was struck by a gun shot from the enemy which struck the stock of his rifle and threw a splinter therefrom which struck him in or near the right eye seriously injuring the same.” John probably didn’t see any more action in the war, since he was discharged in August of 1864, probably because his 3 years were up. The 9th was one of about 16 regiments across the country that were considered “German” and John Jaka was German by birth.

            Following his discharge in August of 1864, John came to Dayton. Again, it’s not known what brought him to Dayton. He may have known someone during the war who was from this area. He worked as a farm hand for Sylvester Brown, near Wedron. In 1865, he married the young widow, Eliza Klingston. All was well for a time, but a year later Eliza’s mother, Catherine Shaw, was named guardian of the Klingston children, due to their mother’s being adjudged insane. This guardianship was probably to ensure that the pension the children were entitled to for their father’s war service would not be controlled by their mother’s second husband. The insanity appears to have been temporary, however, and Eliza soon returned home, to take up her life with John Jaka. By 1883, Eliza and John had four sons.

            When Eliza was about 46, she again became insane and was in a hospital for a short time, but then appears to have again recovered and returned home. This recovery was not permanent, either, and in 1893, at the age of 52, she was again confined to an insane asylum, first in Kankakee and later in the La Salle County asylum. In 1904, after John’s death. she entered Bartonville Asylum, near Peoria where she spent the rest of her life. Her son Otto was named her guardian. When she died, in July 1907, Otto brought her body back and she was buried in the Dayton cemetery. There is no stone marking her grave.

Last Will and Testament of John Green

1098-john-green-frame

On January 19, 1874, John Green, of Dayton, made out his will. He was 84 years old and was to die in less than four months, on May 17. He laid out his wishes in a series of nine provisions, as follows:

First, he instructed his executors to pay all of his debts

Second, his three sons were each required to pay their mother $25 per quarter, so that she would have an annuity of $300 per year for the rest of her life. Also Barbara was to have her bed and bedding and make her home with her youngest son, Isaac.

Third, his son Jesse was to inherit 95 acres of farm land and 8 lots in the village of Dayton.

Fourth, his son David was to inherit 19 acres of land and 8 acres of riverfront, along with the rights to a certain fraction of the water power of the Fox River and 8 village lots.

Fifth, his son Isaac was to inherit the land where the house stood, along with the farm land (which is now [2017] still in the family).

Sixth, his daughter Rebecca Trumbo was to inherit 5 lots in the village.

Seventh, he noted that his daughters Eliza Dunavan, Nancy Dunavan, Katharine Dunavan, and Rachael Gibson had all been provided for previously.

Eighth, if any personal property remained after settling the debts, it was to be divided equally among his three sons.

Ninth, he appointed sons Jesse and David as executors

The complete transcription of the will may be seen here.

Hardy Pioneer Women

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The women who settled the Illinois frontier in the 1820s had to be hard-working, resourceful, determined, and tough. Barbara Grove Green, who, with her husband John, led a small band of pioneers from Ohio to Illinois in 1829, was surely that. She may have imagined her life to be settled,  living in Licking County, Ohio, with her husband and seven children, but at the age of forty, John decided to move west. He found a suitable place in Illinois, on the Fox river, four miles above the junction with the Illinois river and returned to announce that they would leave immediately, although it was late in the fall. Ignoring advice to wait until spring, a group of twenty-four men, women and children left for the west. John and Barbara were the senior members of the group, at 40 and 37; in addition there were three young couples in their twenties and six young unmarried men.

The first years were difficult ones. The small cabin where the group spent the first winter was replaced as soon as the saw mill was up and running. Two more children were born in Illinois: Rebecca in 1830 and Isaac in 1833. During the Indian Creek massacre scare, Barbara walked the four miles from Dayton to Ottawa with the rest of the family, carrying the baby, Rebecca, who cried if anyone else carried her.

Homemaking chores would have consumed her time. In the early days, these would have included salting and preserving the plentiful prairie chickens and quail that her sons trapped during the winter. Life became a little easier after the grist mill was in operation and she no longer had to grind wheat in a hand grinder. With yarn from the woolen mill, she knit socks and long stockings for everyone. Along with all the necessary sewing and mending, she made candles, rag carpets, and all the many other needs of a self-sufficient household.

Maud Green remembered her grandmother Barbara:
“Then in February it was carpet-rag time and we all sewed & wound carpet-rags & sent them to the weaver.  The new carpet went in the “sitting room” and the others were moved back until at last they reached the kitchen & were worn out there. I can just remember Grandma making candles for us to carry upstairs.  They were afraid to have us carry a lamp, but we had lamps as long ago as I remember. 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.”

Barbara led a long life as the matriarch of the Green clan. When she died in Dayton, May 3, 1886, at the age of 93, she was remembered with affection in her obituary:

Granma Green, the oldest settler in the county, died Wednesday morning, at the age of 84 [sic] years. She was of a kind, benevolent disposition and was well beloved by her wide circle of relatives, friends and acquaintances by whom she will be greatly missed.1


  1. Ottawa (Illinois) Free Trader, 8 May 1886

 

Rev. Laing – Universalism in Dayton

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Rev. Alfred H. Laing

Alfred H. Laing was a Universalist pastor in Earlville, Marseilles, and Joliet, and often preached in Dayton. He was born February 8, 1844, in Kosciusko, Indiana and died in Joliet, Illinois, August 31, 1923. Many members of the Green family, early settlers of Dayton, were Universalists and knew Rev. Laing well.

The Universalist society held their earliest meeting here [Earlville] in Robinson’s Hall, in the winter of 1866-7. The first pastor was Rev. W. S. Ralph, who remained from Jan. 1867 to Jan. 1870. During the year 1869, they built their house of worship, a commodious brick structure, costing nearly $1,500. During the summer of 1870, the pulpit was filled by Miss Mary H. Graves. In October, Rev. Alfred Rains was called, who remained four years, and was succeeded by the present pastor, Rev. A, H. Laing, who came in Nov., 1875. There are now about two hundred attendants at this church.1

Charles Green, son of David and Mary (Stadden) Green, wrote some reminiscenses of early Dayton Universalists, in which he included the following memories of Rev. Laing:

The Rev. A. H. Laing preached at Earlville, fifteen or twenty miles northwest of Dayton, and later on was pastor at Marseilles and at Joliet. He was a comparatively young man when he first preached at Dayton. He was well liked and preached some good sermons full of interest and gospel teachings. He used to come down from Earlville in the spring on fishing trips. Dayton at that time was a fine fishing place, and people used to come there from many miles around, camping out for a few days or a week along the banks of the Fox River. I have seen at least 200 people there at one time. The state maintained a dam across the river about a half mile above the village, and in the spring of the year when the game fish were running up stream to spawn they were very hungry and voracious and were anxious to get hold of the fisherman’s bait. On account of the dam across the river the fish could not go up stream any farther, thus making good sport for the many anglers. So our Izaak Walton lover, the Rev. A. H. Laing, soon learned where the good fishing grounds were, and came down from Earlville quite frequently to indulge in the sport, and incidentally to preach us a good sermon.

More of the early recollections of Charles Green, including other Universalist preachers in and near Dayton, may be seen here.


  1. The Past and Present of La Salle County, Illinois, (Chicago: H.F. Kett & Co., 1877), 341

Emma Dunavan – inventor

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In 1891, Emma S. Dunavan, of Dayton, Illinois, received a patent on a new and useful improvement in the class of mailboxes intended to be placed on the door of a building, including a bell linked to the door of the mailbox which would ring when mail was deposited. The full description of this invention may be seen here.

Emma was the wife of William J. Dunavan, son of Albert F. and Emma (Cooper) Dunavan, and grandson of William Lair and Eliza (Green) Dunavan. He was the junior member of the Fox River Horse Collar Manufacturing Co. in Dayton, in partnership with his father. William traveled a great deal in connection with the factory and in October 1887, he opened a wholesale and retail store of horse collars, harnesses, buggies, etc., at Kinsley, Kansas.

                                                       DUNAVAN-SWANK
On Wednesday, January 9, 1889, W. J. Dunavan, of the firm of Dunavan & Son, this city, reported at the Swank mansion in Fort Scott, Kansas. His credentials being satisfactory, at 9 p. m. he was united in marriage to Miss Emma Swank, in accordance with the solemn but beautiful Episcopal church ritual. A brief wedding tour, embracing Kansas City and Hutchinson in the route, landed the happy couple in Kinsley, the home of the groom, where they received the congratulations of his many friends.1

The news of her invention was well received in Fort Scott:

A WOMAN WHO THINKS
An Illinois Lady, Formerly of Fort Scott, Invents a Useful Contrivance.

Yesterday the scribe dropped into the office of Dal Burger’s Fort Scott Carriage Works on his rounds and was shown a newly patented mail box that is certainly getting near the acme of achievement in its line.

The box is the invention of Mrs. Emma S. Dunnavan, of Ottawa, Illinois, who was formerly well known here as Miss Emma Swank, and is the daughter of Mrs. Agnes Swank of this city. It consists of an ordinary wooden or metal box of the usual form and size, with a spring door near the top through which the letter or card is put. A push button extends out from an opening above the door, which is used in opening the latter. When the button is thrust in by the postman as he pushed back the door, an electric bell is set ringing which calls attention to the postman’s visit as the whistle commonly used now does, but in a surer and at the same time a more genteel manner. The ring is surer because the bell is rung inside the hall or room.

The intention is to place the box on the outside of the door, the bell being placed inside. This does not disfigure the door as the box can be made as ornamental as may be desired, and the bell is much like an ordinary door bell.

Below the spring door for the insertion of letters is a glass through which the contents may be seen. Below that is an ordinary lock such as is used on postoffice boxes, which when unlocked allows the hinged bottom to be opened and the contents removed. The box with its bell attachment is certainly a convenient and useful contrivance and shows a good degree of practical ingenuity in its inventiveness.2


  1. The Kinsley [Kansas] Graphic, January 18, 1889, p. 3, col. 2
  2. The Fort Scott [Kansas] Daily Monitor, August 26, 1891, p. 4, col. 6

The Hite Family

                          James M. Hite    Hite, Martha (Jones)

James and Martha (Jones) Hite

The Dayton Cemetery Association holds its annual meeting every year on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend. In addition to the pot luck lunch and business meeting, each year a historical program is given on some aspect of the history of the families buried in the cemetery and of the history of Dayton.

In 1964, Maud Hite Temple was the speaker. She told of the preceding generations of her family and of their move from Virginia to Ohio and then to Illinois. The full text of her presentation can be read here.

Happy New Year!

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The beginning of a new year is a good time to start any new enterprise and marriage is one of the best, especially if it comes with cake, as shown in this newspaper article:

HYMENEAL

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

Ann Maria Miller was the daughter of Isaac and Esther (Gleim) Miller. She was born in Pennsylvania about 1818, one of a large family. Her brother Reuben left Pennsylvania for the west in 1836 and came to Dayton. The rest of the family soon followed, including her widowed father, Isaac, and settled in Freedom township. Ann and John did not stay long in Dayton. By 1846 they had moved to Dallas county, Texas where she died November 23, 1872 and was buried in the Stadden cemetery in Wilmer.


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

Happy Birthday, Jesse!

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Yesterday was the seventy-third anniversary of the birthday of Jesse Green of Dayton, and to properly celebrate that event his relations from far and near gathered to wish the old gentleman and his estimable wife a happy New Year and many pleasant returns of the day and consequent similar gatherings. Including the relations in Dayton and from abroad, the residence of Mr. Green was crowded but all present enjoyed themselves to the fullest extent. After all the guests had assembled, Thomas E. MacKinlay in behalf of the company, presented Mr. Green with a very handsome easy chair and Mrs. Green with a table. Mr. Green was taken completely by surprise, but managed to express his thanks. An elegant dinner was served, and a fine time was had by all present.

Those from abroad were Attorney General McCartney and wife of Hutchison, Kan.; Ed. Jackson, Cincinnati; Joseph Jackson, Millington; L. C. Robinson and wife, Rutland; N. M. Green and wife, Serena; Kent Green, Chicago; Mrs. Craig, Jacksonville; Mrs. John Crum, Mrs. Joseph Harris and Mrs. L. Matlock, Misses Ray Harris and Mertie Crum, Yorkville, and T. E. MacKinlay and wife, C. B. Hess and wife, H. B. Williams and wife, T. H. Green and wife, W. N. Bagley and wife, Will and Don MacKinlay, Ed. Hess and Theodore Strawn, of Ottawa.1


  1. The above unidentified clipping, found among other Green papers, can be dated to 22 Dec 1890, as Jesse Green was born 21 Dec 1817. Assuming it came from an Ottawa newspaper, it probably appeared in the Ottawa Free Trader or the Republican-Times, as the Fair Dealer did not begin publication until 1892. The Free Trader microfilm is missing the issues for this period, so the paper cannot be firmly identified. There is no Republican-Times issue for 22 Dec 1890 on the microfilm. The next issue, 25 Dec, was checked, but nothing found.