Death of Nancy Green Dunavan

Mrs. Nancy Dunavan

Mrs. Nancy Dunavan died on the 27th of February, 1905, at the home of her son, David Dunavan, near Hamilton, Mo. She was born on April 26, 1816, in Licking county, Ohio, coming to this state with her parents, John and Barbara Green, in 1829. They were pioneers of Dayton precinct. She was married to J. Albert Dunavan in 1834, and settled on a farm in Rutland township, which was at that time a part of Dayton precinct. They lived there for 55 years, until 1889, when they left there a few years later to live with their children at Hamilton, Mo. Her husband died in February, 1892. She leaves one sister, Mrs. O. W. Trumbo, of Dayton, and one brother, Jessie [sic] Green, of Ottawa. The only surviving members of a large family are two daughters, Mrs. Kate Brandon and Mrs. Jennie Howe, of Missouri, and five sons, Samuel Dunavan, of Adam, Ill., Isaac, of Minnesota, David, George and Lewis, of Missouri.1


  1. Ottawa Free Trader, March 10, 1905, p. 7, col. 6

Dam Being Built at Dayton in 1924

building the dam

A Million Dollar Dam Being Built at Dayton

 About forty men are now at work on the new dam across the Fox river at Dayton, a few miles southeast of Earlville. The project will cost in the neighborhood of a million dollars and it is planned to have power ready by next April.

The power house will occupy a site on the west bank of the Fox, formerly occupied by an old stone structure, built almost a century ago and known then as the Green woolen mills, which has been razed to make room for the new plant.

The site of the dam is about 1,000 feet north of the highway bridge. The dam will be 625 feet in length, and will be of a type known as a multiple arch. Engineers in charge of the work say they know of but one other dam of this type. It is in Italy. The dam will be arched upstream in moderate crescent shape. Attached to this arch on the upstream side will be other arches in 25-foot units, extending from the top of the dam to the bottom. The dam will slope gradually up stream so that the body of water will rest upon the dam as well as against it.

The old feeder canal will be used to convey the water from the dam to the powerhouse. It will be dug deeper and rip-rapped with material taken from the old Green building, which was of Joliet stone.

Plans call for a 30-foot head of water, with water standing at a depth of about 25 feet at the dam. The backwater, it is said, will be only one foot at Sulphur Lick Springs, and the overflow will cover but little more than 80 acres of farm property.

Heyworth plans to carry material to the site of the dam from the Burlington railroad by electric power. A power house for the development of electricity will be constructed on the west bank of the river and an oil engine installed. Material will be taken from the cars on the Burlington switch and transported directly to the dam, dump cars being used to eliminate cost of handling.

When this dam is completed it will form one of the most beautiful spots In LaSalle county. The lake will be from a few feet in depth at Wedron to 25 feet in depth at Dayton, a length of four or five miles by a breadth of more than 600 feet.1


  1. The Earlville Leader, 12 Jun 1924, p. 9

Dayton Centennial – Part 7

Trunk with old clothes

from the Ottawa Republican-Times, September 16, 1929

RELICS OF FORMER DAYS

            Mementoes, relics and curios on exhibition at the celebration includes:

Display of arrow heads, owned by Elmer R. C. Eick, 420 Christie street, Ottawa, many of which were found in Dayton and Rutland townships; quilt made by the great, great  grandmother of Mrs. Verne Wilson; coverlet made in Virginia more than 75 years ago, the property of Mrs. Van Etten; shawl owned by Mrs. John Thompson, made by her mother, Mrs. Elizabeth Brumbach, 80 years ago; quilt made by the wife and daughters of Matthias Trumbo in 1850; straw plug hat and woman’s straw hat of the vintage of about 1800; picture of old school house on the site of the present elevator in Dayton; corn planter used by David Strawn in Livingston county, loaned by Mrs. Walter Strawn; trunk carried in a covered wagon across the plains to California by Joseph Green in 1849 and again in 1852; another trunk brought from Rockingham county, Virginia, by Matthias Trumbo; steelyards which belonged to the Hayes ancestors, sewing box, which belonged to Mary A. Boston, grandmother of G. R. Hayes of Wedron; English tea caddy loaned by Mrs. Wilcox; bedspread made by the mother of C. H. Tuttles, 65 years ago; old candle molds used by Mrs. David Strawn, loaned by Mrs. Walter Strawn; 17 year locusts gathered in 1933 by Mrs. John W. Reynolds of Dayton; piece of fancy work made by Mrs. Mary D. Bennett, 81 years ago; reproduction of Jeremiah Strawn’s lantern 100 years old, loaned by Mrs. Walter Strawn; pictures of John and Barbara Grove Green; vest worn by Mr. Hall when killed by the Indians in the Indian creek massacre in 1832; old cow bell used by David Strawn’s farm in Livingston county, loaned by Mrs. Walter Strawn; flint lock guns which belonged to Peter W. Ainsly and Tim Thompson, lantern and fork found in Wedron under C. E. Thompson’s house; mammoth tooth found near Norway in a gravel bed 30 feet underground; copper toed boots; charcoal iron belonging to Mrs. Sarah Thompson; horse pistol brought from Nebraska by Edman Thompson, half brother of George R. Hayes of Wedron; handcuffs plowed out on the old Ed. Brundage place by G. R. Hayes at Wedron; silk stovepipe hat made by Roussel in Paris and worn to the inaugural ball of President James Buchanan in 1856 by one of Rhoades family; a large map of La Salle county drawn in 1870 by M. H. Thompson and C. L. F. Thompson, showing Dayton as one of the towns of the county; pictures of the old Dayton woolen mills, collar factory and Green’s mill were shown on the map; coverlet brought from Virginia by Mrs. Frank DeBolt’s mother and one brought from Ohio by Mr. DeBolt’s mother; a black net and lace shawl owned by Mrs. Charles Hayward Reed; brown blanket made in the old mills and owned by Mrs. Cornelius Bogerd’s mother; hoop-skirts, dress, blouse and hat about 100 years old; linen, black silk and satin capes eighty years old belonging to Miss Catherine Rhoades; a spinet, 85 years old, and having twenty-nine keys and 30 inches in height; coverlet, more than 100 years old owned by David and Anna Grove and brought from Ohio; a dollman, made of English broadcloth, lined with figured silk and worn by Sidney Lowry; two woven baskets each more than 75 years of age; spiral hall tree 75 years old; sugar, and coffee scoops made of wood; spatula of wood used to remove pie plates from the old ovens; earthen bowls, pottery jugs and ladles used more than 75 years ago; a tardy bell and a call bell used at the old Waite school. which was taught at that time by Miss Susan Bailey of Ottawa. Miss Bailey taught the school when she was sixteen years of age. She is 91 years old now. There were two chairs on display, which were brought down the Ohio river to Memphis, Tenn., thence to Alton, to La Salle on the Illinois and then overland by a four-yoke ox team to the Old Fox River house at Ottawa. The chairs were the property of Miss Rhoade’s grandmother, Mrs. Sarah Collins Rhoades and were brought to Ottawa in 1843; bed quilts made in 1860; two Paisley shawls which had been in the Collins family for 75 years;  mourning shawls and hats which were loaned out at the time of funerals which were at least 65 years of age; a table of mahogany and a tidy which were wedding presents of Mrs. Catherine Rhoades in 1860.

PLACE OF HONOR

            Mrs. Frances Beach, who resides north of Ottawa, and is ninety years of age, was given a place of honor on the official Centennial register of visitors, her name being placed first on the list.

[concluded]

A Serious Accident

building the Dayton dam

building the Dayton dam – 1924

Eleven men were hurt, three fatally it is thought, and fifty more escaped injury when a forty-foot trestle, used in the construction of the Dayton Dam on the Fox River four miles from Ottawa collapsed at one o’clock today under the weight of four cars of cement and an electric locomotive.

All of the men were removed as soon as they could be extricated from the tangled framework of the wrecked trestle, to Ottawa hospitals.

The three not expected to live are:
Al Muhebauer, 19, Little Falls, Minnesota, fractured skull.
Elmer Starks, 37, Marseilles, internal injuries.
Andrew Poka, 20, back, head and legs hurt.
Other workmen were uninjured when they escaped the falling timbers by miraculous good fortune.

It was the first time the trestle had been used, and the cement was being poured into the dam wall from it when the supporting timbers gave way.

The construction camp was thrown into consternation, but work of removing the injured was begun immediately. Ottawa ambulances were rushed to the scene, carrying the workmen back to the county seat.1


  1. The (Streator) Times, 5 Nov 1924, p. 7

Dayton Centennial – Part 6

 

from the Ottawa Republican-Times, September 16, 1929

THE DAYTON SONG

            A song composed especially for the centennial by Edith Dunavan Hamilton, a great granddaughter of John Green was sung by Miss Isobel Brown at the afternoon program. The song follows:

“Sound of the axe-man’s stroke, creaking of ox-teams yoke, bravely the young wives smile ‘though danger lurks the while. Planting the cornfields, plowing for bounteous yields, braving the winter’s cold, we honor you, dear pioneers of old.

By the river gently flowing – Dayton, mellowed by the year’s swift going – Dayton. Through days of storm and strife, through years of peaceful life for those gone these many years, we pause to shed a tear, today we gather to honor your 100 years.”

SOME OLD DRESSES

            During the afternoon, Miss Maude Green, Mrs. John Bowers, Miss Helen Hallowell and Miss Edith Reynolds donned garments of several decades ago and promenaded the streets, reviving an interesting bit of history in regard to modes and fashions. Only the marcelled hair of Miss Hallowell and Miss Reynolds which peeked from underneath their quaint old bonnets showed that they were maids of the twentieth century rather than of the days when Dayton was in its infancy.

[to be continued]

Dayton Centennial – Part 5

Levi Fahler

Levi Fahler

Herbert L. Dunavan

Herbert L. Dunavan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

from the Ottawa Republican-Times, September 16, 1929

MANY OLD TIMERS

Levi Fahler, 87, of Mendota and his wife, Mrs. Katherine Gephard Fahler, 85, were two of the interesting visitors at the celebration. Fahler made his first visit to Dayton with a load of grain which he took to the grist mill when he was but sixteen years of age. Both he and Mrs. Fahler were members of a colony of 27 persons who came from Pennsylvania by boat in 1849 and settled on a farm near Troy Grove. Fahler hauled grain to the Dayton grist mill for many seasons after making his first trip at the age of sixteen. They were accompanied to the centennial by their son, Martin Fahler, of Mendota and his son Forest.

Josiah Fahler, 89, also of Mendota and his son Forest at the celebration. He is a brother of Levi Fahler and although he was reared near Troy Grove he frequently went to the mill at Dayton.

H. L. Dunavan, manager of the People’s Gas stores in Chicago with Mrs. Dunavan, his son, daughter and four grandchildren came to Dayton for the celebration. Dunavan was born and reared in Dayton, as was Mrs. Dunavan who was Cora Moore, daughter of the late Daniel Moore.

Dunavan left Dayton 37 years ago. He spent the greater part of the day hunting up friends of his boyhood days.

“Nothing looks natural,” he complained, “Not even my old home. It does not seem as though I ever had lived here. The old Fox river bridge is the only thing that looks the same. I proposed to my wife on that bridge and I still like it.”

James A. Green, a grandson of John Green, one of the original settlers brought Mrs. Green and their daughter driving from Grand Junction, Colo. to attend the celebration.

[to be continued]

Dayton Centennial – Part 4

Chief Shabbona

Chief Shabbona

from the Ottawa Republican-Times, September 16, 1929

G. W. GREEN RETURNS

G. W. Green, 79 of Aurora, whose boyhood at Dayton was marked by a friendship with the great Indian chief Shabbona, was disappointed Saturday to find that the village had changed since his boyhood days.

The Aurora man was the grandson of John Green, and the son of David Green who accompanied John Green to the Fox river town site in 1829. His mother was Mary Stadden Green who moved to Dayton in 1832.

“Why if I should drop in here at night I would never know where I was at,” he exclaimed as he looked up and down the streets. Green left Dayton in 1884 to move west and later returned to Illinois settling in Aurora.

His boyhood was marked by many interesting experiences with Chief Shabbona and the Indians. Once Green and a group of Indian boys who accompanied Chief Shabbona to Dayton were shooting pennies with arrows. The Indians won all the pennies, stirring up the anger of the Dayton boy who grabbed the bow one Indian boy was using and broke it. The Indians started after him, and Green related Saturday how he fled to the front porch of the home of his grandfather, when John Green and Chief Shabbona were sitting talking. Shabbona saw the child’s fear and stroking him on the head said kindly: “No be afraid.”

Green also told of the visits Chief Shabbona would make to Dayton twice a year, to receive the blankets, meat and flour from John Green and would then go on to Ottawa where George Walker and William Hickling would give him groceries. These men gave Shabbona his supplies for his friendship with the white people and because he warned them of attacks which were to be made by unfriendly tribes.

OLD FRIENDS MEET

“This town was almost at a standstill when I left here in 1884,” said Green. “In my boyhood, it had been a brisk little business community. The old Trumbo home is about the only thing around here that looks the same to me.”

Mrs. Alice Allen of Des Moines, Iowa, the eldest sister of G. W. Green, was also in attendance at the centennial.

Green was born in the old Dayton Tavern in 1850 and grew to manhood in the village. The principal recreation in his youth, he said were old fashioned country dances held at the various homes.

Frank DeBolt stood in front of a stranger until a September breeze blew the man’s identification tag disclosing the name Harry Green.

“Why, are you Harry Green?” gasped DeBolt.

“Yes,” replied the other, who failed to recognize DeBolt.

Why I haven’t seen you for forty years,” continued DeBolt. “Don’t you remember me, why when you ran the store here, I furnished you meat for several years.”

This was only one of the hundreds of revivals of old friendships that occurred during the day. Green is now living in Chicago.

Terry Simmons, Marseilles editor, was one of the most enthusiastic visitors at the centennial. Simmons’ father used to take grist to the mill when Dayton was the state’s most thriving village.

[to be continued]

Dayton Centennial – Part 3

crowd

Were some of your family members in the crowd?

from the Ottawa Republican-Times, September 16, 1929

SOME OF THE VISITORS

            Among the visitors who came from a distance for the celebration were:

Mr. and Mrs. James A. Green and daughter Alice of Grand Junction, Colo.; Mr. and Mrs. James Nagle of Webster Park, Mo.; Mrs. Hattie Lewis, Stuartsville, Mo.; Robert Fleming, Palkerton, Wyo.; Miss Isabella Grove, Washington, D. C.; Edward E. Rooney, St. Albans, Vt.; Mrs. Kate Fleming McAllister, Laramie, Wyo.; Mrs. Ben E. Lawrence, River Forest, Ill.; Carl Rossitor, South Bend, Ind.; Mr. and Mrs. Clarence Green, Aurora; Mr. and Mrs. J. L. Knight, Aurora – Mrs. Knight was formerly Miss Ethel Green; Harry Green, Chicago; Mrs. Alice Green Allen, Des Moines, Ia.; Emma A. Wallwork, Los Angeles, Calif.; Mrs. Lena Masters, East Chicago, Ind.; Mr. and Mrs. Henry Richmond, Taylorville, Ill.; Mrs. Richmond was Miss Maude Shaver, daughter of Frank Shaver prior to her marriage; Mr. and Mrs. LeVoy Richmond and family; Miller Wier, Jacksonville, Ill.; Al Fisher, Gatzki, Minn.

Mr. and Mrs. Fred Green and Winfield Green, Peoria; Roy McBrearty, Aurora; Mrs. Myra E Lawry, St. Louis, Mo.; Mrs. Barbara DeBolt Webster, Pontiac; Harriet Bruner, Los Angeles, Calif.; William Holmes, Mrs. Nettie Holmes and William B. Holmes, Chicago; Lewis E. Myers, Valparaiso, Ind.; Mrs. John Champlain, South Bend, Ind.; William Breese, Chicago; Ruth Brown, Oak Park; Walter D. Brown, Oak Park; Mr. and Mrs. Allen Fleming, Aurora; Mrs. Walter Brown, Helen Brown and Ethel Brown, Oak Park; Mrs. John Westermeier, Warren Westermeier and Donald Westermeier, Chicago; Mrs. J. Neises and Gladys Neises, Chicago; Charles Nash, Hennepin; Mrs. Russell P. Childs, Ohio; Mrs. Nellie DeBolt Snow, Chicago; J. N. Ferguson, Woodlawn; William Mettebarger, Woodlawn; Mrs. Charles N. Nash, Mr. and Mrs. Roland Hamm, Hennepin; Mr. and Mrs. Roy Green, Aurora.

George W. Green, Aurora; Miss Miriam Green, Aurora; F. S. Wallwork, Los Angeles, Calif.; Mr. and Mrs. H. L. Dunavan, Chicago; Dorothy Elains Richmond and Floy Arlene Richmond, Taylorville; Herberta Dunavan Schabes, Chicago; Harold Dunavan, Chicago; Frank Schabes, Chicago; Eva Channel Ladd, Shabbona; Lottie Makinson Pederson, Chicago; Mrs. C. A. Palmer, Chicago; Mrs. Frances Hendrix, Chicago; Martha Howard White, Joliet; Walter Howard White, Joliet; Maud Ferguson White, Joliet; J. Kent Greene, Chicago; Mabel Greene Myers, Valparaiso, Ind.; R. E. Breaty, Aurora; Robert Lee DeBolt, Evanston; Mrs. W. Miller, Aurora; Mr. and Mrs. Vernon Miller, Millington; Ludwig Lazar, Joliet; Elmer Freine, Somonauk; Mrs. Mannie Freine, Somonauk; John Champaign, South Bend, Ind.; Walter Rositer, South Bend, Ind.; Mr. and Mrs. Floyd Fleming, Aurora.

Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Reid, Springfield, Mo.; Mamie DeBolt Terry, Highland Park, Ill.; Mr. and Mrs. Ray Doran, Aurora; Mrs. Carrie Green, Joliet; Mr. and Mrs. Jule Pitts, Joliet; Mrs. S. A. Armagast, Joliet; Mrs. J. E. Cutting, Joliet; Mrs. Evelyn Lawrence, River Forest; Mrs. Lana Masters, Chicago; Mr. and Mrs. Frank Green, Joliet; Mrs. Hattie Lewis, Stuartsville, Mo.; Mrs. Josephine Gibson, Chicago; Mrs. Pauline Blunt, Mo.; E. W. Jackson, Toledo, O.; Charles W. Eisenhuth, Mrs. Lena Eisenhuth, Marian Eisenhuth, Aurora; Mrs. Mable Hayward Rothgeb, East Orange, New Jersey; Harriet Pellouchoud, Odell, Ill.; Mr. and Mrs. R. A. Swindler, Chicago; Mr. and Mrs. Charles Leafe, Villa Park, Ill.; Mrs. M. Raymond, Blue Island; Ira Hanson, Iowa; Pearl Masters, Chicago; Philip Deegan, Chicago; John W. Whalen, Graymont, Ill.

Dr. H. G. Logan, Mrs. Rae Parr Logan, Mobile, Ala.; Mrs. John Watnew, Santa Monica, Calif.; E. M. DeBolt, Mildred DeBolt, Barbara DeBolt, Catherine DeBolt, Roy DeBolt, Gilbert, DeBolt, Robert DeBolt of Pontiac; Mrs. Harry Hinkson, Waterman; Mr. and Mrs. Chris Junken, Chicago; Loretto E. Dockendorf, Joliet; Mrs. Nauman, Joliet; Mrs. underline, Joliet; Dwight, Lillian and Jack Ladd, Chicago; Mrs. E. Weber, Chicago; Mr. and Mrs. Paul C. Lange, Chicago.

Cora Tanner, Aurora, Ernest Weber, Chicago; Sam Hall, New York; Arthur G. Wunderlick, Joliet; William Carter, Joliet; Reuben Burch, Arlington; E. Rachael Davenport, Chicago; Dorothy Masters, Chicago; John E. Davenport, River Forest; Cora Childs Greene, Chicago; Mrs. Anna Manges, Chicago; Mrs. Ruth Atkinson, Champaign; Ed W. Jackson, South Bend, Ind.; Mrs. Sara Ferguson, Grand Haven, Mich.; Alvin Green, Mr. and Mrs. Dwight Ladd, Joe Ozark, George Ozark and Nicholas Dummitt, Chicago.

[to be continued]


Image: Ghozt Tramp [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D

Dayton Centennial – Part 2

continued from the Ottawa Republican-Times, September 16, 1929

FOSTER BLAMES TARIFF

“Long ago though they lived, riff raff of Europe though they have been proved to be, the first pioneers of America are worthy of our emulation,” was the message brought by W. R. Foster, county superintendent of schools to the big crowd gathered about the speakers stand.

“I doubt whether we of the present day posses that fearless determination which inspired the Shavers, the Greens, the Brumbachs, the McKees and their followers to their long travail across country, under the most adverse conditions, from Licking county, Ohio, to Dayton and Rutland in the fall of 1829,” Foster stated.

Family and wagon

“They were the first settlers of this rich section of Northern Illinois, descendants of those outcasts of European nations who were driven to the shores of this country a hundred years before.

“They taught me the ‘three r’s’ when I went to school as a boy. Think how infinitely more important than those pedagogic classifications of simple knowledge was the mastery over the three r’s of resolution, resource and reverence possessed by those early pioneers.”

Explanation for the failure of rich woolen mills which at one time bade fair to make Dayton one of the most important communities of the state was given by Foster who decried in emphatic terms the manipulation of the wool tariff by politicians at Washington which led to the crash of Dayton industry.

“The first flour mill in Northern Illinois had been constructed by the Dayton and Rutland pioneers in 1830,” he stated, “and on July 4, 1830, the first wheat was ground and made into flour for bread eaten at their independence day dinner. By 1840 their woolen mill was well established and in 1860 a 100,000 project was doing business down here on the banks of the Fox river.

“I have always regretted one of the old-time Dayton settlers could not have come to life at that time, could not have taken his ancient shotgun to Washington and have laid down the law to those scheming politicians. Because with $65,000 worth of wool on their hands, purchased at $1 per pound, owners of the Dayton woolen mill saw their dreams snatched from them and the bottom knocked out from under them when manipulation of the tariff sent the price of wool tumbling to 40 cents a pound.

“That forever shattered Dayton’s golden opportunity, forever doomed this little town to relative unimportance in the scheme of industry. All that is left now is the memory of what was and what might have been.”

[to be continued]

Dayton Centennial – Part 1

from the Ottawa Republican-Times, September 16, 1929

Dayton and Rutland Townships Dedicate Marker and Celebrate Centennial of Settlers Arrival

            Old-time residents of Dayton and Rutland who have gone out to find a niche elsewhere, practically the entire present population and representatives of most La Salle county towns were at Dayton Saturday afternoon and night for a celebration commemorating the one hundredth anniversary of the founding of these communities.

A program of platform speaking, songs by the assembled school children of both communities, dedication of a marker on the spot where the mill-stones were found which were used in grinding the first wheat flour made in northern Illinois, and addresses by W. R. Foster, county superintendent of schools, and Kent Greene, former Daytonite and now a Chicago legal light, featured the day’s festivities.

Thomas O’Meara, Ottawa attorney, who was reared in Dayton, was master of ceremonies in the afternoon, when crowds gathered to hear addresses dealing with the significance of the origin of Dayton and Rutland. He was introduced by a member of the committee which evolved the celebration.

Relics which accumulated through the years provided a point of interest for visitors. All former and present residents were tagged with their names and addresses, facilitating renewal of old acquaintanceships.

Of particular interest in the celebration was the unveiling of a stone marker commemorating the vicinity where John Green, one of the village founders, and his party built their flour mill. A boulder set in a cement base, identified by a bronze plate inscribed with the story of the discovery, was veiled by a historical blanket woven in Dayton’s own woolen mill in 1860.

The blanket, now in the possession of Miss Catherine E. Rhoads of Ottawa, was bought by Thomas Rhoads, her father, at the mill and has been in the possession of the Rhoads family ever since. It is one of the few remaining tokens of the woolen mill which once apparently had Dayton headed on the road to industrial importance.

Blanket from Dayton Woolen Factory

Another example of the Dayton Woolen Mill blankets – this one from the Green family.

The dedication address was by J. Kent Greene of Chicago, a descendant of the John Green whose industry resulted in the flour mill.

He traced the events leading up to the founding of the mill, beginning with the first trip to the then new state of Illinois in 1829, when four pioneers, led by John Green, came to Dayton from Licking county, Ohio, on September 14, 1829.

They returned with their families on the 6th of December, 1829, and, despite the impending rigors of winter, established their colony by erecting shelters and clearing 240 acres of land before spring. Their saw and grist mill was put in operation on July 4, 1830, and the village of Dayton had been officially founded.

A vigorous folk, they with stood the menace of the Blackhawk Indian war, and not only stood their ground themselves but attracted other Ohio pioneers who populated Dayton and Rutland.

[to be continued]

RELICS OF 100 YEARS AGO AT DAYTON FETE

parade

from the Ottawa Free Trader, September 13, 1929

Historic relics, vestiges of the civilization now a century old, which wrested the present commonwealth from the naked prairie, are to be on exhibition, and will occupy a prominent place in the celebration at Dayton, commencing tomorrow noon, and lasting until midnight, which will mark the hundredth anniversary of the founding of Dayton and Rutland townships.

Music, choral, orchestral, and band, will all share in shattering the peace and quiet of this once-important village, which now drowses, sleeping on the left bank of the murmuring Fox. Oratory, with the pulpit, in the Rev. J. J. Dunlap, and education, in W. H. Foster, represented, will mark a memorable passage of time at the light of a civilization and pioneer descendants will commemorate, with praises graven in stone, the industry of their sturdy forefathers, when Kent Green dedicates the marker to be placed on the spot where the first flour mill in what was then the wilderness of Northern Illinois, was built by the hands of his ancestor, John Green.

Games, dancing, amateur entertainers and sports will wake this quiet village from its revery, and feasting and a giant tug of war are among amusements by which Dayton will celebrate, in the lighter mood, its birthday party.

Rush Green is the chairman of the celebration committee and Nicholas Parr is chairman of the program committee.

A Difficult and Dangerous Journey

Covered Wagon

In Elmer Baldwin’s History of La Salle County, the sketch of Dayton’s settlers includes an account, on pages 268-270 , of the Green party’s journey from Licking County, Ohio, to La Salle County.

NARRATIVE BY JESSE AND DAVID GREEN.

On the 2d of November, 1829, the following named persons left Newark, Licking County, Ohio, for what is now La Salle County, Illinois: John Green, David Grove, Henry Brumback, and Reason Debolt, with their families, and the following named young men : Samuel Grove, Joseph Grove, Jacob Kite, Alexander McKee, and Harvey Shaver. Their outfit was one four-yoke ox team, three two-horse wagons, and one carriage. Found the roads passable till we got into Indiana, where we lay by three days for bad weather. The streams were high, but we were bound for the West, and pressed forward. Found about forty teams weather-bound at Boxby’s, on the Whitewater, where we were told it would be impossible to proceed unless we traveled on the top of wagons and teams already swamped. From there we cut our way through heavy timber for sixty miles, averaging about ten miles per day. One of the party, with a child in his arms, was thrown from the carriage, breaking three of his ribs, and the carriage wheel passed over the child without injuring it. The wounded man pursued the journey, never complaining ; so readily did those hardy pioneers adapt themselves to circumstances, and heroically face the inevitable. The streams were so high we had to head them, or, as the saying is, go around them.

We traveled five days by the compass, when we arrived at Parish’s Grove, Iroquois County, Illinois. From there we followed an Indian trail to Hubbard’s trading post, on the Iroquois river. Here we bought all the corn we could get—about eight bushels— and a perogue, or canoe. Loading it with about thirty hundred weight of our goods, we put Jacob Kite, Joseph Grove, and Samuel Grove, on for a crew, with directions to work down the Iroquois to the Kankakee, and through that to the Illinois, where they were to meet the teams. This was necessary, as our teams were worn, feed scarce, and roads very bad, or, rather, none at all. On the trip, Joseph Grove became so chilled that he contracted a disease from which he never fully recovered.

Our teams crossed a prairie which had no bottom—at least, we did not find any. The second day, found a stream too deep to cross; felled trees from either side till they formed a temporary bridge, over which we conveyed our goods and people, which was barely accomplished when the accumulated waters swept our bridge away. The teams were made to swim, one horse barely escaping drowning. One of the women became nervous, and could not be induced to walk the bridge. John Green took her on his back, and made his way over on his hands and knees. The exact position in which the lady rode is not recorded.

A heavy rain came on, and we encamped in a small grove, and were obliged to cut up some of our boxes to make a fire. That night we shall never forget; most of us sat up all night. Mother laid down in the wagon, and tried to sleep, and was frozen fast so she could not rise in the morning. It took us over three days to reach the mouth of the Kankakee, a distance of thirty miles, while the perogue had to go seventy miles by water. The crew had about given up in despair of meeting us, when they fortunately heard a well-known voice calling to a favorite horse, by which they were directed to our camp. We ferried most of our goods over the Illinois on the perogue, when a friendly Indian showed us a ford where we took our teams over without difficulty. Our corn being exhausted, our teams had nothing to eat but browse, or dry prairie grass, and very little of that, as the prairie had nearly all been burned over. In the afternoon of the 5th of December, we came in sight of a grove of timber, and John Green, believing it to be Hawley’s (now Holderman’s) Grove, started on horseback to ascertain. His expectations were realized, and he found Messrs. Hawley and Baresford butchering a beef. He harnessed Baresford’s horse, a large gray one, to a light wagon of Baresford’s, and taking a quarter of the beef, and filling the wagon with corn, started for Nettle creek timber, where he supposed the party would stop.

The company had ordered a halt and prepared to encamp, but with the expectation of going supperless to bed as their provisions were exhausted, when Mr. Green drove up, to the great joy of the whole party, both man and beast. From the time the corn gave out and the provisions were running short, one young man refused to eat, contending that as they were bound to starve, the provisions should be reserved for the women and children.

The next day, being the 6th of December, 1829, about four o’clock P. M. we reached our destination—except the three young men in charge of the perogue, whom we expected would reach here before us; and when night came on we were all cast down with fearful forebodings, as we thought they must have met with some serious accident. But our anxiety was soon relieved. On the same day they had made the perogue fast at the grand rapids of the Illinois, now Marseilles, and crossing the prairie without any knowledge of the country, became benighted, but seeing the light from our cabin, joined us about eight o’clock, and we had a great time of rejoicing, the lost having been found. The self-sacrificing brother joined us in a hearty meal, and his appetite never failed him afterward.

Our next object was to secure some provisions, as we had a large family and good appetites. We bought twenty-four hogs of Markly, on the Desplaines; then went south to Tazewell county, bought thirty bushels wheat at four shillings, eighty bushels corn at two shillings, and took it to a horse mill where Washington now is; spent several days in putting the mill in order, having to dress the boulder mill stones, and furnish the motive power. Provisions were scarce before we had produced a crop; we frequently lived on beef, potatoes and pound cake, so called, being made of corn pounded in a mortar.

We went to work improving in the spring, and by July 4th we had 240 acres fenced, and nearly all broken, and had built a saw mill, dam and race, and had a run of boulder mill stones in one corner of the saw mill grinding wheat, the first ground on Fox river. The stones were made from boulders or hard heads, found here, by Christopher Payne, brother of the Dunkard preacher who was killed by Indians on the prairie between Holderman’s Grove and Marseilles, in 1832.

The Sidewalks of Dayton

Concrete sidewalk in front of elevator

Concrete sidewalk in front of elevator

Ottawa Free Trader, November 22, 1879, p. 8, col. 2

Our sidewalks have been repaired to some extent during the past few weeks. They had been in a somewhat dangerous condition.

May 8, 1886, p. 8, col. 3

A new sidewalk has been constructed down the hill under the railroad bridge. It is quite an improvement over the old rickety walk that has been ornamenting the hill for so long.

April 23, 1887, p. 6, col. 1

The young folks will hold an entertainment Friday evening, for the benefit of the sidewalks.

April 7, 1888, p. 8, col. 2

The young folks will give an entertainment at the schoolhouse Friday evening for the benefit of the sidewalks in this village. The temperance play, “On the Brink,” is on the programme.

July 18, 1913, p. 8, col. 3

One hundred and fifty people attended a lawn social given at the home of Mrs. E. A. Dallam in Dayton Friday evening. A program of unusual merit was rendered, and Ottawa people were among the principal participants in the entertainment. The hours were from 8 until 11 o’clock, and ice cream and cake were served. The Ladies’ Aid society of Dayton assisted Mrs. Dallam as hostess, and $25.00 were cleared, which amount will go towards the sidewalk fund.

September 5, 1913, p. 8, col. 2-3

Many Ottawa people attended the dancing party given at the residence of Rush Green in Dayton, Friday evening. The affair was for the benefit of the construction of a cement sidewalk from the elevator to the school in Dayton and is the third of the parties to be given. Like the others, it was a huge success and a neat little sum was netted towards the sidewalk fund. The evening was spent at dancing, Dwyer’s orchestra, of this city, furnishing the music. Refreshments consisting of ice cream and cake were served during the evening. The arrangement committee consists of William Meagher, Frank W. Lansing, William Buckley, Jr., R. A. Carter, James W. Collison and Harry W. Tanner.

November 7, 1913, p. 1, col. 3

Contractor Green, who is building concrete sidewalks in Dayton, has the job nearly completed. This will be a fine improvement for the village to the north.

July 24, 1914, p. 8, col. 4

The Woman’s club of Dayton will hold another lawn social Wednesday evening, July 22, at the home of E. A. Dallam. Ice cream and cake will be served, and there will be a Victrola concert. The proceeds to be devoted to cement sidewalks for Dayton.

La Salle County Old Settlers

During one of the La Salle County Old Settlers picnics, pictures were taken in groups, depending on when they arrived in the county. This picture shows the settlers who arrived in 1832 and 1833. The gentleman on the left of the back row is Isaac Green. He did indeed arrive in 1833, being born in Dayton on August 8th. His parents, John and Barbara Green, and his older siblings had been in La Salle County since 1829.

Isaac was the youngest child in the family. While his older brothers and sisters married and were given land by their father, Isaac remained at home and took over the home farm, supporting his parents in their old age.

He had a well-known grain and stock farm, where he made a specialty of raising Norman and Clydesdale horses and thoroughbred cattle. He was well known at mid-west stock shows, where he showed some of the finest in either class to be found in the state.

173 Years Ago Today

 

William Reddick

Democratic District Convention

The convention was organized by the appointment of Rees Morgan as chairman, and George Kiersted of Grundy and D. Green of La Salle, secretaries. The following delegates presented their credentials and took seats in the convention.

La Salle county – Dayton – William Stadden, David Green, John Russell1

[David Green was elected to the post of secretary. The convention proceeded to nominate William Reddick for senator and J. O. Glover, Ambrose O’Connor, and William Barber for representatives.]


  1. The Ottawa Free Trader, May 22, 1846, p. 3, col. 1

Jesse and David scrape out the millrace

oxen

In this excerpt from Jesse Green’s memoir, he shows that on the frontier, a ten year old and a twelve year old were doing a man’s work.

Early in the spring of 1830 development of the water power was commenced by using the stumps from the timber from which the mill was being constructed. Economy was sought to a greater extent than it is at the present tine. The saw mill was built with sufficient room to put a pair of stones in one end of it to do our grinding until a better mill could be erected, having brought with us the necessary mill irons, black-smith tools etc. Whilst the men were getting out the timber for the mill and dam, which had to be built to intersect a small island, brother David and myself took the contract of scraping out the race or waterway for a distance of about a half mile (he being ten, and I twelve years old). We each had a pair of oxen and an old fashioned scraper. I sometimes had to help him load and dump his scraper and vice versa. We had the race completed by the time the mills were ready to draw their gates.

A Little Bit of Dayton’s History

OTTAWA WOMAN SOLE SURVIVOR OF THOSE WHO SOUGHT REFUGE FROM INDIANS AT FORT HERE

Ottawa, Republican-Times, January 10, 1922

Of all the people who made the trip down the Fox river from Dayton to seek refuge in Fort Johnson, at Ottawa, from the murderous Indians under the leadership of Black Hawk, on a May day ninety years ago, there is now but one living – Mrs. Barbara Jackson, of this city. Mrs. Jackson, 92 years of age, resides at No. 2 [error, hand corrected to 4] Gridley place, in East Ottawa. She was but two years of age when her parents received word of the impending danger and made the trip to safety.

This is one of the interesting features developed in some very valuable accounts of the events of early days in this vicinity, brought out as a result of a paper written by Dr. E. W. Weis and read at a recent meeting of Illini chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, fixing the exact location of Fort Johnson. The Republican-Times has secured permission to publish the story of the exciting experiences of these pioneers in 1832, from notes gathered by Mrs. Frances Strawn and Miss Maude Green, of Ottawa, Samuel Grove, of Utica, and other descendants of the history makers. Publication is here given for the first time to some of the incidents.

It was on the second day of November, 1829, that “Green’s Company,” consisting of twenty-four people, started westward from Newark, Licking county, Ohio, for the place in La Salle county now called Dayton, but formerly known as Green’s Mills. This “company” consisted of John Green, his wife, Barbara Grove Green, and their eight children; David Grove and family; Rezin Debolt and family; Henry Brumbach and family; Samuel, Joseph and Jacob Grove, Harvey Shaver, Jacob Hite and Alexander McKee.

In August of the same year John Green had visited this county and selected a site for a mill on the rapids of the Fox river. This site was situated on land subject to entry at that time so he traveled to the seat of government at Vandalia and entered the land on which the water power at Dayton is located. Mr. Green then engaged William A. Clark, the first settler in Rutland township, to put in forty acres of fall wheat and to build another larger log cabin, eighteen by twenty-four feet in size (all in one room) to be finished by the time he should return from Ohio with his family.

At Ottawa Mr. Green found two cabins – one occupied by James Walker, near where the present Boat club building stands, and the other on the south bluff, belonging to Dr. David Walker.

On December 17, 1829, the party reached its destination and early in the spring of 1830 the improvement of the water power was commenced. It was necessary to build a dam, which intersected a small island, this dam being designed to furnish all the power that was necessary at that time. The men worked in their shirt sleeves, making enough rails to fence a quarter section of land that winter. The cabin built be Mr. Clark for the settlers had to accommodate the entire company of twenty-four people for the first winter. In the spring they built a sawmill.

One of the problems they had to solve when spring came and they were ready to start work on the mill was finding stones or boulders of sufficient size and proper shape to make into grind stones. These were found close together on the east side of the river nearly opposite the mill site. They served a good purpose for a number of years, being used at Dayton in three different mills and finally given to Thomas J. Davis, who placed them in a mill along Indian creek.

They were later removed to the cemetery where those unfortunate settlers were buried who were massacred by the Indians along Indian creek. The stones now repose among other relics of early days in the museum at Shabbona park.

Having plenty of lumber the next season, 1831, a frame building to serve as a grist mill was built, separate from the saw mill, to accommodate the increasing immigration, which began when, in the fall of 1830, the following families came from Licking county, Ohio: David Letts and family, William L. George M. and Joseph A. Dunavan, brothers; widow Anna Pitzer, sister of John Green, and her family; Mathias Trumbo and family; David Shaver and family; William Parr and family; Jonathan and Aaron Daniels and family; Edward Sanders and family; Joseph Kleiber and family and Benjamin Fleming and family. All settled in Rutland township, which at that time included most of Dayton township. Many of these names are still represented among the leading citizens of this portion of La Salle county.

The same fall other families from Ohio settled on the south side of the river. Mrs. Elsie Strawn Armstrong was among these, and her brother, Jeremiah Strawn, the father of Mrs. Zilpha Osman, who has lived for many years at 532 Congress street, settled in Putnam county. Col. John Strawn and John Armstrong came in the fall of 1829 and settled near Lacon.

The first intimation of danger from hostile Indians during the Black Hawk war, in 1832, was conveyed to the settlers by Shabbona, who warned them to seek safety, but, instead, they fortified the house of John Green, which stood on the bluff overlooking the woolen mills by digging a trench around the house and inserting slats from the saw mill, doubling them so as to be proof against the bullets from Indian rifles.

This enclosure was made large, enough to care for all the neighbors who came in from the surrounding country – about sixty, all told. Several settlers who were delayed seeking this protection were massacred along the banks of Indian creek, about ten miles distant, during the afternoon of May 20, 1832. The Dayton settlers received news of this slaughter about midnight of that night. The informant, Wilburn F. Walker, advised them to leave the fort at once and go to Ottawa, crossing to the south side of the Illinois river, where there had assembled a number of families. He thought they would be safer there and better enabled to defend themselves against an attack.

Some of the Daytonites owned a large perogue – a long canoe-shaped boat hollowed out from the trunk of a tree – which was bought of Gurdon S. Hubbard, on the Iroquois river, when the first settlers came through. Samuel Grove, of Utica, states that his father said that, after buying the perogue, three men brought it down the river loaded with three and one-half tons of mill iron. These three men were Jacob Hite, Joseph Grove and Samuel Grove.

After deciding to heed Mt. Walker’s warning, this perogue was filled with women and children, with two men – William Stadden and Aaron Daniels – the latter two to navigate the unwieldy craft. Nearly thirty humans were crowded into the boat, and the balance of the party walked down the bank of the river.

Among these “hikers” were William Parr and his wife, Sarah Trumbo Parr, whose one and one-half year old son, Henry K. Parr, was one of the first white male children born in La Salle county (he was carried in the perogue); David Grove and wife, Anna Houser Grove; John Green and wife, Barbara Trumbo [hand corrected to Grove] Green; David Letts; Mathias Trumbo and wife, Rebecca Grove Trumbo; Rezin Debolt and wife; William Stadden and wife, Elizabeth Hoadley Stadden; Nancy Green, who later married Albert Dunavan; Jesse Green, who married Isabel Trumbo; David Green, who married Mary Stadden; Cyrus Shaver, who married Elizabeth Hackett, and John Trumbo.

Among the children in the perogue were Katherine Green, who later became the bride of George Dunavan; Joseph Green, Rachel Green, later married to George Gibson; Rebecca Green, who married Oliver Trumbo; Rebecca Shaver, who married Robert Snelling; Josiah Shaver, who married Janet Neff; Harver Shaver, who married Sarah Johnson; Nancy Shaver, who married Sheldon Allen; Kate Shaver, who married John Spencer; Barbara Shaver, who married Joseph Miller; Barbara Debolt, married to David Conard; Henry K. Parr, married to Elsie Armstrong; Lavina Debolt, married to Mr. Bounds; Lavina Trumbo, married to West Matlock; Isabel Trumbo, married to Jesse Green; Eliza Trumbo, married to William Gibson, and her twin brother, Elias, who married Catherine Long; Elizabeth and Katherine Grove and Barbara Trumbo, who later became Mrs. Joseph Jackson.

So far as can be learned, Mrs. Jackson, of this city, now ninety-two years of age, is the sole survivor of this party which fled along the dangerous trail from the blood-hunting braves led by Black Hawk. After reaching Ottawa the party was ferried across the river without mishap and given quarters on the south bluff, where they remained in camp until the following August, when it became safe to return to their homes, Black Hawk, in the meantime, having been captured in Wisconsin, whither he had been pursued by troops.

While in camp on the south bluff the pioneers erected a small fort under the direction of Col. James Johnston, of Macon county. It was built just east of where the east road leads up to the bluff and was named Fort Johnston. The site of that old fort is on the property now owned by Dr. and Mrs. E. W. Weis. False alarms drove the settlers into the fort a few times, but most of the nights they slept undisturbed in their tents.

In 1834 the third mill was built at Dayton, equipped with five pairs of “flint ridge burrs,” obtained in Ohio and used for grinding buckwheat. In 1840 the Greens built the first woolen mill in the state, a building three stories high, thirty-two by sixty feet in dimension, the ruins of which still stand. Samuel Grove, of Utica, now 85 years of age, relates that his father used to tell how the Indians, as well as the whites, used to come to the Dayton grinding mill to buy meals, and they would bring furs to trade for the meal. A certain number of handsful of corn meal were given for a certain number of furs, and he said that after the measuring was done the Indian squaws always grabbed an extra handful of meal for good measure.

The incidents here related are but a very few of the many hardships and dangers with which the pioneers of La Salle county were forced to contend, but they took it all as part of the day’s duties and laid the foundation for the sturdy American citizenship which developed the county into  one of the most prosperous and substantial zones in the great Middle West.

La Salle County Centennial

La Salle County centennial

In 1931 La Salle county celebrated the centennial of the founding of the county. The La Salle County Centennial Association was organized to put on a suitable celebration. The president of the centennial association was Mrs. Ralph A. (Ruth) Green, of Dayton. Other members of the committee were Al Schoch, former mayor of Ottawa, Etta Dunaway, and A. M Corbus, owner of Corbus Drug Store in Ottawa.

comm coin front

                    

As part of the celebration a commemorative coin was issued. The front had a picture of Starved Rock and the back a plow and wheat sheaf. There were a number of committees created, each with supporters from each of the townships. Those from Dayton were Mrs. L. A. Green, Mrs. Nettie Masters, Miss Maude Green, Mrs. Hattie Poole, Mrs. [sic] Emma Fraine. The largest committees were those responsible for the pageant, a mammoth endeavor which was held at the La Salle County Fairgrounds the evening of June 5, 1931. It consisted of a series of episodes retelling incidents in the history of the county. The second episode reenacted the arrival of the Green party in 1829 and their subsequent settlement in Dayton. Each pioneer in the episode was represented by a direct descendant.

The Membership Roll found at the back of the souvenir program listed everyone who had purchased a membership certificate, as shown above. The list includes Mrs. Clara Fish Heath, though she apparently did not make use of her certificate, as it was found among Ruth Green’s papers, long after the centennial was a distant memory.

Early Days of Dayton and Ottawa

John Green played a role in the early history of La Salle County. This excerpt from Jesse Green’s memoir tells of that time.

“The first election in this part of the country was held in the home of John Green on August 2, 1830, Pierce Hawley, John Green and Samuel Grove were judges of election, John Green certifying to the qualifications of his associates and Pierce Hawley to the qualifications of Mr. Green. Following is the list of voters:

“John Green, Hugh Walker, Wm. Purcell, Pierce Hawley, Edmond Weed, Joseph Grove, John Dilsaver, Alexander McKee, Reason Debolt, Peter Lamsett, Joseph Grove, Samuel Grove, Robert Beresford, and Henry Brumbach.

1831 IL counties

“We were then a part of Fox River Precinct of Peoria [sic; actually Putnam] County. The following winter the legislature organized the county of LaSalle extending from Groveland to the northern boundry of the state, making it over a hundred miles long and about thirty six miles wide.

“The following spring an election was held at Ottawa (March 7, 1831) and George E. Walker was elected Sheriff; John Green, Abraham Trumbo and James B. Campbell, County Commissioners; and David Walker county clerk. At the same time LaSalle County was designated, Cook County was laid out to the east and Putnam County to the west, all being taken from the northern part of Peoria County. Governor Reynolds signed the bill on the 15th day of January 1831.

“At the first meeting of the LaSalle County Commissioners March 21st, the county was divided into three election precincts. The first which included ranges one and two east of the 3rd P. M. was called Vermillion with the polls at the house of David Letts who lived in Township 32, Range one, Wm. Seely, Martin Reynolds, and David Letts being judges of election. The second which included ranges 3 and 4 east of the 3rd P. M., was called Ottawa with the polls at David Walker’s; John Brown, Edward Keys and Samuel Allen, judges of election. The third included ranges 5, 6, 7, and 8 east of the 3rd P. M. was called Eastern, the polls being at the home of Vetal Vermett, Holderman’s Grove and the judges of election were John Dougherty, Edward Weed and Wm. Schermmerhorn.

“The first marriage after the organization of the county was that of Sheldon Bartholomew to Charlotte Hugabone. It took place according to the records June 22 , 1831, and that fall my sister Eliza and Wm. L. Dunavan were married which I believe was the second marriage in this county both parties having since passed the boundry line between life and death, my sister having but recently died at the age of eighty-four.”

Dayton Was Once an Industrial Center

RAMBLIN’ ‘ROUND1
by C. C. Tisler

DAYTON ONCE WAS INDUSTRIAL CENTER

Off the beaten path of the paved road, the hamlet of Dayton at one time was one of the thriving industrial centers of the county in an age when water-power operated mills produced flour, lumber and other products. Steam power then had not penetrated Illinois, and electric power was still a century away.

The electric power was there in the foaming water which poured through the mill races, but it had not been harnessed to bring light and power to any one either at the site where it was developed or many miles away.

So when the pioneers came into La Salle county 115 years ago, or even before, one of the first things they sought was waterpower where a grist mill could be operated. That was the case at Dayton, where the mill on the swift Fox river at one time ground the grist for settlers for 100 miles away. It was the only water power operated mill at one time in all northern Illinois.

The trade of mill wright was then an important one and the construction of dams was a necessary item of business in pioneer life.

State Built Dam

Eventually, the state of Illinois, as part of the construction of the Illinois-Michigan canal, built a dam in the Fox river at Dayton to supply water for the canal at Ottawa. The water was carried through a feeder, parts of which are still in existence in Ottawa and south of Dayton on the west bank of the Fox river. It is still state property and is in the state park system.

Three-quarters of a century ago, Dayton was still a thriving town

One of the flourishing industries of the hamlet was the Fox River Horse Collar Manufacturing company. The officers were John Read, president; A. F. Dunavan secretary and treasurer; John Read, A. F. Dunavan, H. B. Irey, David L. Grove and N. Brunk, directors. They were wholesale manufacturers, their advertisements sais, of the celebrated Pennypacker Horse Collar; also very good grade of horse collars and leather team nets.

Woolen mills also were operating in the village, and an old county directory lists Peter Coleman as one of their spinners.

The horse collar manufacturing business was first conducted by the firm of George Pennypacker and Brunk, then Dunavan became a partner and eventually sole owner with his son.

An average of 12 men a day were employed in the plant which made annually 1,500 horse collars and 50 dozen fly nets besides other articles along the same line.

Incidentally, if the business was still in existence, it probably would not now be turning out horse collars, but products for the army to keep men afloat after they had been shipwrecked, besides other similar items for the armed forces.

Tile Factory Flourished

The Dayton Tile Works also was a flourishing business in the hamlet along the Fox river many years ago. It was established 65 years ago by David Green for this [sic] sons, John and George Green. Eventually Charles bought the interest in his brother George.

But the most important business ever set up in the village was the woolen mills.

John Green in September, 1829, looked over the site of the future village and entered claim to 80 acres of land including that of the future mill site. He also purchased 160 acres in Rutland township. Two months later he was back in Dayton from his home in Ohio with his family to spend the winter.

His flour mill was put into service on July 4, 1830, and Mrs. Green baked bread from the flour for their dinner the same day.

His saw mill furnished the lumber to build the first frame house in Ottawa. A grist mill of one run of burrs was built in 1932 [sic] and one with four run of burrs in 1834. For the next two years his trade came from a distance of 100 miles. The mill was rebuilt in 1857 and stood for many years.

John Green and his sons in 1840 built the first woolen mill to run power looms in the state of Illinois. Its business flourished for a quarter of a century and supplied wool goods in Civil War days. A new mill was built in 1864.

War Time Troubles

War time financial reverses struck the firm when they bought 60,000 pounds of wool in 1864 at $1 a pound and a year later were unable to get more that 50 cents a pound for the same wool. Part of their goods in storage was destroyed in the Chicago fire of 1871 with a $15,000 loss.

Settlement of financial difficulties was made through purchase of the mill by Jesse Green, who ran it from 1878 to 1882. The property then was sold to Williams and Hess, who organized a stock company to make pressed brick.

John Green also had the experience of helping to build canals in two states. In Ohio he hired 200 men to build 15 miles of the Ohio canal. In Illinois he constructed two miles of the old lateral canal or feeder between Ottawa and Dayton.

Hamlet though it is the village of Dayton like other small towns throughout the county is platted and the plat is on file with county officials.

The platting was unique in one respect. The central section of the village in Green’s addition has First, Second, and Third Prairie streets. Other streets in the village are Jackson, Lafayette, Pendelton, O’Connell, Main, Canal, Washington and Franklin. Canal street, as one might expect, is the one closest to the lateral canal east of the village and west of the Fox river.

Stones Now in Park

The mill stones with which John Green produced the first grist in all of northern Illinois on July 4, 1830, have not been lost to posterity.

They were hauled overland, probably in an ox cart, to Indian creek north of Harding, where they were used in a mill at a settlement which was wiped out by an Indian raid on May 20, 1832. The historic stones are now in front of the small buildings in county owned Shabbona park, which houses a museum of pioneer relics. An old history of Illinois, published 80 years ago, said of Dayton, “The village of Dayton, in the township of the same name and central part of the La Salle county, situated on the west bank of the Fox river four miles above Ottawa.

“It was settled in 1829 by John Green who carried on farming on an extensive scale. He also paid considerable attention to raising improved stock and some very superior Durham and Spanish breeds were brought here by him.

“The immense and unfailing water privileges on the river at Dayton bespeak for it at no distant period a place among the leading manufacturing towns in the great west.

“The water is drawn from the Fox river feeder under a 20 foot lead. It has two large flouring mills, one saw mill, one wool carding and cloth dressing establishment, and a machine shop already in operation and there is still ample power to drive 50 runs of burrs. There are two schools and two churches within a mile and a half of this place. Distance from Chicago, via Chicago and Rock Island railroad 88 miles.”


  1. From the Ottawa Republican-Times, date unknown