Dayton in 1850 – Where we came from

In 1850, the first year for which we have places of birth from the census,  there were 85 people living in the village of Dayton. Of these:

22 were born in Illinois
18 were born in Ohio
5 were born in Pennsylvania
4 were born in Virginia
3 were born in New York
3 were born in Vermont
2 were born in Maine
1 was born in New Hampshire
13 were born in Norway
9 were born in England
4 were born in Ireland
1 was born in Wales

The oldest of the children born in Illinois was 16, reflecting the settlement of the area in the early 1830s. The first party of settlers came from Ohio; thus, the second largest group were born there.

Except for William Wheatland, a Methodist minister, all the people who  were born in England were connected with the wool trade and came to Dayton because of Green’s woolen mill.

The other large group, the 13 born in Norway, are a result of the work of Cleng Peerson. Cleng Peerson was a Norwegian-American pioneer who led the first group of Norwegians to emigrate to the United States. In 1834 he led a group to La Salle County, who settled on the Fox river 5 or 6 miles above Dayton. More information on Peerson can be found here.