In 1870 Albert F. Dunavan purchased the Dayton horse-collar factory, a thriving business. The collars were sold throughout Illinois and adjoining states, and in New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and California. In 1886 they even received an order from Sidney, Australia, enthusiastically described in the Free Trader as the most distant sales ever made from La Salle county. The Dunavans did a good business for many years, but in 1892 the business failed and was sold to pay the debts. Albert Dunavan then moved to Harvey, Illinois, where he worked in insurance and real estate, but he also applied for a patent on an apparatus for shaping horse collars, based on his many years of experience.
DAYTON GOODS. – We have now in daily use, and have had so for twenty-five years, several pairs of blankets made by the Greens at Dayton, and they are apparently good for a dozen years more. This accords with a recent incident at the mill. An old friend of the Greens ordered six pairs of blankets, saying that the four pairs he had bought thirty years ago began to show wear, and as the present would probably last him the rest of his days, he took enough to go ‘round. We have never seen “store” blankets that equaled those made by Jesse Green & Sons at Dayton, in point of either finish or durability, at so low a price.1
The Ottawa [Illinois] Free Trader, 22 Sep 1877, p1, col 2
A Land Mark Gone
Dayton, Ill., Nov. 15. – Last Sunday evening about twelve o’clock the old woolen mill property was discovered to be on fire, flames leaping out at the roof and the whole building was soon engulfed in flames. Most of the people in town were soon aroused by the bright light and by the noise of the falling timbers, but the fire had gained too much headway to warrant any attempt at checking or extinguishing it. The floor being saturated with oil it burned very rapidly and soon the roof fell in, flames shot out of every door and window, floor after floor tumbled in, and the magnificent stone building was reduced to ashes in a few hours, nothing remaining but the empty walls. A flue runs from one of the brick kilns to the large chimney in the corner of the building, and it is supposed the fire originated in some way from this chimney which was built originally for a boiler. This fine building was constructed of Joliet or Lemont stone, was 50×100 feet square, five stories in height, the roof being surmounted by a cupola, &c. It was built in 1864 by the firm of J. Green & Co. at a cost of $32,000 and filled with woolen machinery worth $33,000. This firm run it as a woolen mill until 1878 when they failed in business and the building remained idle for a number of years. Mr. Jesse Green then purchased it and ran it for a few years but finally sold off the woolen machinery to various parties, and the building and water power to his son-in-laws Messrs Williams and Hess who in 1884 organized a brick company. This firm put in brick machinery, built kilns, &c. and manufactured brick for a number of years, but this season sold the whole property to Messrs Soule & Williams who have been continuing the manufacture of brick. The total loss by fire to the last named firm is about $10,000 and we understand there is no insurance. They will probably put a roof over the walls erect two floors, and continue business.1
- Ottawa [Illinois] Free Trader, November 17, 1888, p. 8, col. 2
The above survey was made for F. D. Sweetser in November of 1892, preparatory to his selling the paper mill to the Columbia Paper Company. The paper mill lay between the feeder and the west side of the Fox river, south of the bridge. The main body of the factory consisted of the machine room, the beater room, and the bleach room, with the boiler room at the back. The plat shows the water diverted from the feeder to power the machinery and then returned to the river. The lime house appears just north of the main building.
The paper was made from straw and made a low-grade wrapping paper. In 1886 the paper mill was turning out about six tons of this paper per 24 hours. Although the river provided the power the mill needed, it could also bring trouble. In February 1887 the river flooded and the mill was closed for several weeks until repairs could be made. The flood also washed away all the straw that was stockpiled to last out the winter.
At the time of its sale in 1893 to the Columbia Paper Company, the mill was Dayton’s chief industry. Unfortunately, the new owner closed the mill and the heyday of industrial Dayton was nearly at an end.
From The Sunday Times-Herald, Chicago, March 27, 1898
OLDEST FLOUR MILL IN NORTH ILLINOIS
Famous Old Structure at Dayton Built in 1830 Is to Be Torn Down
Was Erected by John Green
Within a short time one of the landmarks of northern Illinois will have disappeared under the march of “improvement” and a most interesting relic of the pioneer settlements will have passed away forever.
This survival of the old regime is the famous flour mill at Dayton, a small village on the Fox River, seventy-eight miles southwest of Chicago. It was known in early days from Fort Dearborn to Springfield as “Green’s mill.” Erected in 1830, while the smoke of Indian teepees yet curled from the opposite bank of the narrow river, it was a rendezvous for settlers within a radius of a hundred miles, and from that day to this, until a few months since, its millstones have ground the wheat of the Illinois prairies.
Its passing is due to the crushing competition of the great roller mills of Minnesota and the country still farther to the west. This spring it will be torn down and a brick building erected on its site, using its present water power to send electricity to Ottawa four miles south.
Settlement of Dayton
The mill was built by John Green, an Ohio pioneer, who in 1829 with a few of his kinsmen, made the long and dangerous journey to the Fox River and at its rapids, four miles above the mouth, he located the site of the present mill. They were thirty-four days on the road, a distance which can now be accomplished in less than twenty hours. The company numbered twenty-four, nine men, four women and eleven children, ranging from infants up to 16 years of age. Of the men John Green, David Grove, Henry Brumback, Reason Debalt and Samuel and Joseph Grove became ancestors of several of the most influential and respected county families of the present day.
John Green, the leader, was a man of action, and his wife, Barbara Grove, was no less decided. With vigor they set to work on the gristmill, and it was opened on July 4, 1830. That forenoon the flour was ground from which the holiday bread for dinner was baked, and the fifty-fourth anniversary of the nation celebrated with sincerity and patriotism.
Difficult to Erect
It was not an easy task in those days to build a gristmill hundreds of miles from the nearest settlement. For the millstones the hardest bowlders or “hardheads,” relics of the glacial period from Lake Superior, were selected, worked into proper form, and made to do the work. Later the mill had work for four pairs of “burrs,” and ground all the flour and meal for a wide extent of country. At one time in the early ’30s all the grain of the Fox River settlement had to be brought by flatboat from Springfield via the Sangamon, Illinois and Fox rivers, Ottawa, Hennepin and Peoria being the only settlements between the two places. Some of the Greens conducted this expedition. In 1832 the Indians drove the settlers into Fort Johnson at Ottawa, but did not harm the Dayton mill, although they massacred eighteen whites within twelve miles, the upright dealings of John Green with them undoubtedly saving his property from the torch.
Mr. Green and his sons later built a woolen mill at Dayton, and until 1874 the family ran the flour mill. Then Daniel Green and his sons conducted it until a few years since, when it was bought by M. Masters, who has just disposed of it to an Ottawa man for the power. In 1855 it was enlarged, but is substantially the same as on that July day of 1830 when its first grist was ground.
Drain Tile. – We have been shown specimens of Drain Tile manufactured by the Green Brothers at the Dayton Tile Works, and if all are like these, and we are assured they are, there are no better tile made in the country. They are made in all sizes from 2 to 8 inches. Sold at Ottawa prices, with 10 per cent. off for cash. For sale at the works in Dayton or at Freeman Wheeler’s on the Chicago road, east of Dayton.
Ottawa Free Trader, September 20, 1879, p. 1, col. 2
The winter of 1829-1830, when the Green party had just arrived in Illinois, was a difficult one. Even though John Green had arranged with William Clark to plant a crop of winter wheat, they had no mill to grind it into flour. Small amounts could be ground by hand, in a coffee grinder, but this was tedious and time consuming. Jesse Green recounted in his memoir one way they tried to deal with the problem.
Soon after our arrival here father sent a team down to a mill in Tazewell County for flour and got what was supposed to be sufficient to last until we could grind some of our own wheat, but he did not take into consideration our increased appetites, which we thought had nearly doubled. Then Uncle Samuel Grove and I took a grist of frostbitten corn to Mr. Covil’s ox-mill below Ottawa on the south side of the river. We were ferried across the Illinois River just above the mouth of the Fox, by two daughters of Dr. David Walker who ran the ferry in the absence of their father. We followed an Indian trail, not a wagon track was visible. Probably owing to the fact that our corn had been caught by an early frost before reaching maturity, we did not succeed very well in grinding it in the Ox-mill, and we returned home with a good portion of our grist unground. Some time later we took another grist up to Mission Point where Rev. Jesse Walker had a similar mill in connection with his mission and school for the civilization and education of the rising generation of our Indian friends and neighbors, but his mill did not prove to be any more successful in grinding our soft corn than Mr. Covil’s mill.
They must have been very relieved when their own mill was built the following spring.
The mill illustrated above is the type of the Dayton mill, but in Illinois the mill was built of wood, not of stone.
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.
This picture, taken about 1864, shows the tile works on the west bank of the Fox river, below the bridge at Dayton. The paper mill was later constructed in the open area to the left of the existing buildings, about 500 feet south of the tile factory. As one of the major industries in Dayton, the paper mill received its fair share of mention in the Ottawa Free Trader.
July 12, 1879, p. 8, col. 1
The paper mill of Williams & Co., situated at the lower end of the manufacturing portion of the town, is one of the best in the state. Their products are so favorably known that running night and day the year round they are unable to supply the demand.
February 19, 1881, p. 8, col. 1
Williams & Co. shipped a car load of paper to Vermont a couple of weeks ago.
May 7, 1881, p. 8, col. 1
Mr. L. Eels, fireman at the paper mill, is lying dangerously ill with the erysipelas.
June 11, 1881, p. 8, col. 1
Mr. Brown, a paper mill hand, shipped his wife last Wednesday on account of her immorality.
March 8, 1884, p. 8, col. 1
The paper mill after being shut down for three months, will start up this week.
January 17, 1885, p. 5, cols. 1-2
The paper mill owned by H. B. Williams is closed for the winter, having at this time a large surplus stock on hand. It gives employment to 15 men.
January 9, 1886, p. 8, cols. 1-2
The tile works and paper mill have shut down for the winter, the latter mill putting in another machine. The tile works have had a very successful trade during the season and have sold off all their stock on hand.
February 20, 1886, p. 2, col. 4
We notice that Mr. Burks has invested in a new team and wagon. He will haul straw for the paper mill this summer.
May 8, 1886, p. 8, col. 3
The paper mill is to be started up this week, and has been rented by Mr. H. B. Williams to Messrs. David, Moore, and Hewitt. It has been overhauled, new water wheels put in, and will be in good shape for doing a good business.
July 10, 1886, p. 8, col. 4
The Paper Co. are turning out about six tons of straw wrapping paper per 24 hours.
H. B. Williams, Esq. has been painting and repairing his tenant houses in Dayton this spring, and greatly improved their appearances. The paper mill also received a coat of paint which makes it look quite respectable.
August 28, 1886, p. 8, col. 1
The paper company are putting in a new pulp engine and a new bleach tub.
September 18, 1886, p. 5, col. 3
The paper mill is receiving large quantities of straw every day. They are stocking up for winter.
November 13, 1886, p. 8, col. 1
H. B. Williams, Esq., has traded his interest in the paper mill here to F. D. Sweetzer for the latter’s interest in the agricultural store at Ottawa.
February 5, 1887, p. 8, col. 2
The paper mill has been shut down for a week or ten days to make some repairs.
February 12, 1887, p. 4, col. 6
Dayton, Ill., Feb. 11th, 1887. – The little Fox became the raging Ohio during the flood of last Tuesday. The paper mill lost six hundred dollars worth of straw, which is quite a loss to them, as it is difficult to replace it at this time of year, on account of the bad roads.
The paper mill has been fitted up with new calenders, and expected to start up this week, but cannot do so on account of high water.
February 11, 1888, p. 2, col. 4
The paper mill expects to get started this week or next. The state’s men have been busy during the past two weeks stopping a leak in the bank near the flume.
March 3, 1888, p. 8, col. 4
The paper mill men discovered another leak in their bank last week and put in a coffer dam so as to repair the damage. The holes in the bank were no doubt made by muskrats.
May 12, 1888, p. 8, col. 2
The paper mill was compelled to close down about ten days ago for want of straw. We understand they have now made arrangements for bailed straw to be shipped in and will soon be started up again. We hope they may find plenty of stock and not be obliged to stop their mill again during the year.
June 2, 1888, p. 8, cols. 2-3
The paper mill has started up again, and is getting a number of car loads of baled straw.
June 30, 1888, p. 8, col. 1
The Paper Co. are getting to plenty of baled straw and are running right along. The prospects at present are that there will be plenty of straw in the country for them after harvest.
25 Aug 1888, p1, col 4
Bart Ford, who hauls straw for the Dayton paper mill, was the victim of an unfortunate mishap on Monday evening. He was driving by the mill with a heavy load of straw, when the wagon wheels struck an obstruction and the load tipped over, throwing him to the opposite side of the wagon. He struck his face upon the tire of one of the wheels and was knocked senseless. He is terribly bruised and his nose is broken.
December 29, 1888, p. 5, col. 2
The Tile Works, Paper Mill and Collar Factory are running right along and doing a good business.
March 11, 1893, p. 7, col. 1
F. D. Sweetser has sold the Dayton paper mill to the Columbia Paper Company, a member of the trust, for $20,000. The mill was Dayton’s chief industry, and as the trust has closed it indefinitely, another nail has been driven in the coffin of village ambitions.
November 15, 1901, p. 12, col. 1
The young Indians were out in full force of Sunday morning, the event being the moving of the boiler from the old paper mill to the saw mill, at the organ and piano factory at Ottawa. It proved to be quite a task, but Bert Holmes and his little Eugene proved equal to the emergency. Mr. Lou Merrifield was in charge.
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.
The Standard Fire Brick Company1
Fire Brick and Fire Clay Articles
In August, 1892, the Ottawa Paving Brick Company, under the management of John W. Channel, who, for several years prior to this date, had been superintendent of Hess, Crotty & Williams’ brick factory, leased the brick works at Dayton, Ill. For three years this plant was run successfully, when, in November 1895, the Standard Fire Brick Company, of Ottawa, Ill., was organized by Thomas D. Catlin, John W. Channel, M. W. Bach and E. W. Bach, with $25,000 capital stock. The company bought the Dayton property, consisting of the large, substantial four-story stone building, formerly used as a woolen mill, and also the three-story frame building used for many years as a horse collar factory, together with all the clay-lands, waterpower and machinery. John W. Channel was made president and general manager, Thomas D. Catlin, vice-president and treasurer, and E. W. Bach, secretary.
Shortly after the Standard Fire Brick Company had been legally organized and had commenced business, negotiations were entered into with the firm of Hess, Crotty & Williams for the purchase of their brick factory, located about a mile east of Ottawa, at a location called “Brickton.” The capital stock of the Standard Fire Brick Company was increased to $50,000 and the purchase of the plant of Hess, Crotty & Williams effected, and the company assumed control in May, 1896, with the same set of officers that the original Standard Fire Brick Company had, each private individual of the old firm of Hess, Crotty & Williams taking an interest in the company which purchased their plant.
On May 1, 1900, the Standard Fire Brick Company assumed control of the plant of the Ottawa Fire Clay & Brick company, whose interests are now merged in the Standard’s. The plant, an immense one, is located east of Ottawa, and east of the Standard Fire Brick Company’s original Brickton plant, and is on the line of the C., R. I., & P. Ry.
With these three factories the capacity of the Standard Fire Brick Company, as regards fire brick and fire clay, is practically unlimited. It is the largest fire brick plant in the United States, and will produce 100,000 fire brick per day. The officers are T. D. Catlin, president and treasurer; M. W. Bach, vice-president; E. W. Bach, secretary. The Dayton plant is situated four miles north of Ottawa, on the Fox River branch of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy railroad system, and has its own side-track along the yards, and the Ottawa factory is located on the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific mainline, with a side-track at the factory also. Thus the company has double the shipping facilities that any concern located on a single system would have, saving, of course, a great deal of annoyance and the expense caused by transferring from one road to the other. The company is a member of the Western Railway Weighing Association, from which a great benefit is derived.
At the Dayton factory the company has abundant water-power, and at Ottawa steam-power is used. Both places are heated thoroughly by a complete system of steam pipes, and they are also amply equipped with the usual dry pans, pug mills, clay crushers, conveyors, hand and power presses, clay bins and auger machines, no steam presses being used in the manufacture of their wares.
The company has 65 acres of clay land, all underlaid with a vein of fire clay, most of it within 8 to 16 feet of the surface. At Ottawa, on top of this fire clay, there is a vein of coal about 22 inches in thickness, and above this coal a vein of common clay, varying from common yellow clay to one having the nature of soapstone. This yellow clay, properly mixed with a proportion of fireclay, is used in making their sidewalk tile. At Dayton, on the west side of the river, there is, above the fire clay, besides a vein of coal, an extensive bed of valuable shale about 30 feet in depth. This makes good common ware, and mixed with a little fire clay, makes as fine a sidewalk tile as one will find anywhere in the country. On the east side of the river, where the main supply of the company’s fire clay is obtained, there is nothing above the fire clay except a bed of excellent gravel about five to eight feet in thickness. This gravel makes it possible to maintain the roads to the factory in excellent condition.
Fire brick and fire clay articles are the company’s main product. The market for this material is, besides Chicago, the great trade center of the West, all of the northern part of this state, Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan, all of them great manufacturing states. Their competitors in the fire clay materials are very few, while the competitors in the common clay products are many, nearly every location of any size at all having its own common brick yard.
This fire clay is the material out of which they manufacture their most important products. The upper stratum of common clay and coal is removed and the beds of fire clay exposed, they being from six to ten feet in depth.
They can well be proud of the reputation their brick have attained in Chicago and the Northwest, which is unparalleled by any of their competitors. They supply material for stack linings, boiler settings, iron cupolas, furnaces, foundries, lime and brick kilns, retorts, and any purpose requiring refractory brick. The beds of plastic fire clay at Brickton, and also to a limited extent at Dayton, have not been touched in recent years, although they are very valuable deposits, as they are adapted for the manufacture of stone ware and articles of that kind.
- Ottawa in Nineteen Hundred (1900; reprint, Ottawa, Illinois: La Salle County Genealogy Guild), 20. viewed on Google Books
Green Bros. have just finished burning their third kiln of tile, and are now ready to furnish customers with a good quality of tile at the lowest market price. Great care has been taken in the burning, and the tile taken from the kilns are found to be of the same degree of hardness none too soft, but all alike. Some parties have been misrepresenting the tile by saying they are too soft, but to those who would know the truth, we must say, “visit the kilns and see.” Tile will be drawn to the top of the hill by the proprietors for those who will notify them of their desire. In fact, the firm will do everything to please customers, not only in market prices but in a good quality of tile.1
Drain Tile. – We have been shown specimens of Drain Tile manufactured by the Green Brothers at the Dayton Tile Works, and if all are like these, and we are assured they are, there are no better tile made in the country. They are made in all sizes from 2 to 8 inches. Sold at Ottawa prices, with 10 per cent. off for cash. For sale at the works in Dayton or at Freeman Wheeler’s on the Chicago road, east of Dayton.2
- Ottawa Free Trader, September 13, 1879, p.8, cols. 1-2
- Ottawa Free trader, September 20, 1879, p. 1, col. 2
The reason the Green party settled at what became Dayton was the presence of the rapids of the Fox river. They were looking for a mill site and liked the look of this spot. They had brought the mill irons and the millwright with them from Ohio, but the mill stones were a local product, created from boulders found along the river bank. The mill was the first order of business upon arriving, and Jesse Green remembered its first day of operation:
On the morning of the 4th day of July 1830 the first wheat was ground by water power in the northern portion of Illinois. We did not at this time have a bolt for separating the flour from the bran but we thought that graham flour was good enough to celebrate that Natal day with a double purpose that will never be forgotten by the latest survivor of the memorable event. It marked the first and greatest step in the alleviation of the hardships and suffering of the early settlers, and they soon all had plenty of graham flour and corn dodgers. Up to this time we were obliged to grind our grain in a coffee mill, or pound it in a mortar improvised by burning out a hole in the top of a stump, and attaching an iron wedge to a handle to use as a pestle which was operated in a manner similar to the old fashioned well sweep.
In one of the many upgrades and improvements to the mill, the original millstones were removed, but not discarded. They are today to be found in Shabbona park, near Earlville.
The Dayton woolen factory’s products came in a range of colors. In order to produce the various shades, a large number of vegetable dyes had to be kept on hand. From an inventory of the factory in 1873, they had a variety of dyes and other products used in making woolen cloth.
Before dyeing, the raw wool had to be washed and cleaned with something that would remove the oils that occur naturally. The oxalic acid listed in the inventory would have been used on the wool as a first step.
Alum, chrome, and soda ash were used as dye fixatives, or mordants.
Extract of logwood, a purplish-red natural dye obtained from the logwood tree, could produce black, grey, navy blue, purple, violet or lavender, depending on the mordant used.
Sicily sumac could produce dyes of red, yellow, black, or brown.
Cudbear was extracted from a lichen and produced dyes in the purple range.
Camwood produced a brilliant but non-permanent red dye.
Brazilwood extract produces bright reds, corals, and pinks.
Fustic , a bright yellow dye, is very colorfast. It is frequently combined with other dyes to produce a range of yellow and green colors.
Lard oil was used to prepare the dyed and dried wool for carding.
Large quantities of these were kept on hand. The inventory listed 533 pounds of logwood; 800 pounds of Sicily sumac; 1260 pounds of Camwood and more than a ton of soda ash.
It was certainly a colorful business!
Did you know they used to mine coal in Dayton? All quotes from the Ottawa Free Trader.
February 2, 1867
Coal at Dayton, – Messrs. Grove, Stadden & Co. have opened a 2½ foot vein of splendid coal directly under the village of Dayton. The coal is obtained by drifting*, and lying many feet below the surface, is, like all deep coal found in this vicinity, much superior to coal obtained by stripping. Their drift is located a few rods below Green’s Mill, where they are prepared to sell to all customers that may apply, at prices as low as at any other bed in this region.
Dayton, May 8, 1879.
Messrs. Zearing & Row, and Basil Green will finish at the culvert this week or next. Two large coal beds have been opened on Mr. Green’s land, enough coal to supply the town for some time.
December 10, 1887
Considerable coal is being mined here this winter.
* A drift mine is an underground mine in which the entry is horizontal into the ore seam, usually on the slope of a hill.
from the January 26, 1922 Free-Trader Journal
DAYTON P. O. ROBBED BY MEAT CLEAVER BANDITS; GET $7.25
Thieves Use Butcher’s “Weapon” to Break Open Strong Box Containing
Funds Belonging to Uncle Sam and Store Keeper
Running a risk of facing a term in the federal prison to secure a few dollars of government money, thieves last night robbed the Dayton postoffice, making way with $5.25 in postal funds and $2 in pennies from the W. B. Fleming grocery store. The robbery is believed to have been pulled by the rankest kind of amateurs, so kiddish did the traces left behind by the robbers seem.
The postoffice which is located in one corner of the Fleming grocery store, was closed shortly before 9 o’clock last night. This morning at 7 o’clock Mr. Fleming opened his place of business and built a fire before he discovered that the place had been burglarized.
A small safe, which is more in the nature of a strong box, twelve by twenty-four inches in dimensions, which held the postoffice funds, had been smashed open by a meat cleaver, which was taken from the butcher shop. The supply of stamps was passed over, the robbers evidently searching only for cash. The money from the store was taken from a cash drawer and from a dish in the candy counter.
The meat cleaver was found where it had been hidden by the robbers, after the theft in the coal pile, in the basement.
Entrance to the building was gained by breaking out a basement window. The robbers then went upstairs by an inside stairway. They worked with the door, until they succeeded in getting the wooden bar lock that fastened it from the arm that held it.
A trail of burnt matches which were strewn on the floor around the room, showed that the burglars had taken their time in making the search. The robbers were evidently of a hungry frame of mind, for they stopped long enough to have a lunch, opening a can of peaches, and scattering crackers all around the cracker box, Some bars of candy are also believed to have been devoured by the hungry boys or men.
The candy and cigarette case was evidently overlooked for it is not believed to have been touched.
The thieves left the building by a side door which they unlocked from the inside of the building. The door was carefully closed after the robbers and it was not until a careful investigation was made that it was learned that the exit had been made that way.
Deputy Sheriff Fred E. Stedman went to Dayton this morning to make an investigation.1
- Ottawa Free Trader-Journal, January 26, 1922, p 1, col 2
In 1837, John Green and William Stadden, who owned the land on either side of the Fox river at Dayton, were granted permission from the state to build a toll bridge. They had to complete the bridge within 5 years and could place a toll gate at either end to collect a toll, the amount of which was set by the county commissioners’ court.
By 1854, the bridge needed replacement and a subscription was taken up to build a free bridge. The toll was dropped to encourage those living on the east side of the river to patronize the businesses in Dayton.
In 1857, there was a severe ice jam in the Fox River between Dayton and Ottawa and the free bridge at Dayton was carried away. Jesse and David Green took on the job of rebuilding and in December of that year, the following announcement appeared in the Ottawa paper:
The free bridge across Fox River at Dayton is now completed, and persons living on the east side will again have the privilege of patronizing our new Grist and Flouring Mill, which is capable of grinding from 50 to 60 bushels per hour. As the undersigned have expended their means very liberally in erecting such a Mill and Bridge as the growing wants of the country require, they hope to receive a liberal share of public patronage. Persons coming from a distance will find good warm stabling in connection with the above Mill, free of charge, and their public house has passed into other hands, and bids fair to do justice to the inner man at reasonable rates. Please give us a call. J. & D. Green1
In 1875, the bridge washed out again and for the next ten years, there was only a precarious ford to cross the river. The county agreed to pay one-half of the cost of a new bridge, leaving Dayton and Rutland to pay one-fourth each. In 1885, although Dayton was ready to pay their share, Rutland opposed the bridge, because they had recently been taxed for a bridge at Marseilles. Dayton offered to pay part of Rutland’s share, but it was some time before the bridge proposal was passed by the Rutland voters. The bridge was not finished until April 1887, and lasted until it collapsed in 1940.
- The Ottawa [Illinois] Free Trader, December 12, 1857, p. 3, col. 6
No one could accuse David Green of not being up-to-date. Left in charge of the Green businesses in Dayton while his father and brother went to California to seek gold, he refurbished the grist mill and installed a newly invented piece of machinery. In February of 1849, Frost & Monroe, a Michigan company, got a patent for a machine called a Bran Duster. By November of that year, one of these newfangled machines was installed in the mill at Dayton, as reported to the Prairie Farmer by one of its correspondents:
At Ottawa, on my return, I saw a machine, called a Bran Duster, patented by Messrs. Frost & Monroe, for the purpose of taking the flour out of bran after the latter has passed through the mill. It is said to gather five barrels of flour from the bran of a hundred. One is put up at Dayton, La Salle county. The cost I did not learn.1
- Prairie Farmer, November 1, 1849, p 22
1885 was not a good year for the Dayton Horse Collar Factory. As you will see, there were no less than THREE attempts to rob the safe that summer.
The first try:
A. F. Dunavan, of the Dayton Collar Factory, was in the Free Trader office last Thursday morning and stated that an attempt had been made the night previous to blow open his safe. Powder was placed in the keyhole and fuse was found on the floor, but the burglar or burglars left, finding the attempt unsuccessful. Krouse, the gunsmith, went up and opened the lock of the safe, which had been so damaged that it could not be opened.1
Later in the summer, two more attempts were made:
Wednesday night of last week burglars broke into the safe of A. F. Dunavan & Son, of Dayton, the celebrated horse collar men. The safe was blown open with powder, but the thieves found nothing to reward them for their trouble, the safe being only used for the protection of books and papers in case of fire. This was the second attempt made by burglars, within the last two weeks, to break open this safe. Safe cracking is getting almost too numerous in this vicinity of late. There is work for a good detective in this county.2
However, it doesn’t appear that the thieves made any profit from their labors, reinforcing the notion that crime doesn’t pay.
- Ottawa Free Trader, May 30, 1885, p. 1, col. 5
- Ottawa Free Trader, August 15, 1885, p. 1, col. 5
Dayton had a post office from 1837 to 1954. In that 117 years, there were 17 postmasters, George Makinson and Edward McClary having each held the post at two different times. An example of the appointment procedure in the 1840s is shown above in Jesse Green’s appointment, which lists the steps he must follow in order for his appointment to be approved. He had to post a bond and swear an oath, all of which had to be documented and sent to Washington.
The Dayton postmasters were
William Stadden 1837
Charles Miller 1839
Aaron Ford Jr. 1845
Jesse Green 1847
Christian Stickley 1849
George W. Makinson 1854
Oliver W. Trumbo 1857
George W. Makinson 1866
Maud V. Green 1895
Edward McClary 1897
Charles Hippard 1907
Frank Brown 1914
Mary Fleming 1919
Obert Howe 1923
Grace MacGrogan 1924
Edward McClary 1925
Catherine Corso 1940
Donald Ainsley 1945
Dominic DeBernardi 1946
In 1954 the Postal Service discontinued the Dayton post office, all Dayton addresses changing to RFD Ottawa. The final day of the Dayton post office was April 15, 1954.