Another Maypole – This One Really is in May

A Maypole at graduation

Graduation Day at the Dayton School, May 1955

The Maypole was a big deal in Dayton School celebrations (see here for a Christmas version). The girl in pink in the front is Sally Clifford. If anyone knows any of the others, please leave a comment identifying them. There were four graduates that year, and only two of them are identified, so please – let’s rescue them all from oblivion.

Graduating class 1954-55

Graduating class 1954-55

The two in the center are Richard Charlier and Sheila Gash. Who are the other two? Leave your answers in the comments.

If you don’t know any of them, ask your parents or grandparents!

Dayton School Reunion – 1937

Dayton School Has Reunion at Community House

Graduates of the Dayton school from towns and cities in various parts of Illinois gathered Saturday night in the Dayton Community House for a reunion, planned by the Dayton School Alumni association.

There was a banquet and dancing. Mrs. George Pool, who later was elected president of the association, presided as toastmistress.

Mrs. Fred Sapp of Ottawa told of the coronation in England, which she viewed.

Miss Fraine

Emma Fraine

Short talks were given by Ralph Green, who offered a toast to members of the 1937 graduating class of the school; Miss Blanche Reynolds and Miss Emma Fraine. Miss Maud Green told of the history of the Dayton school and how it was established over 100 years ago.

Maud Green

Miss Beulah Canfield, who arranged this year’s reunion, presided at a business session at which Mr. Pool was elected president; Rush Green, vice president; Miss Loretta Gleason, secretary and Herbert Mac Grogan, treasurer. Retiring officers are Miss Canfield, president; Ralph Green, vice president; Miss Helen Hallowell, secretary and Herbert Mac Grogan, treasurer. A social time and dancing followed.

Ralph Green

Ralph Green

Blush pink and gold were used in the appointments of the banquet. There were yellow tapers and pink peonies and roses in crystal services on the tables. At the place of each guest were miniature girl graduates in pink and tiny tulip nut cups.

The basement of the house, where there was dancing, was decorated with honeysuckle.

Miss Canfield was in general change of the reunion. Mrs. Gilbert Masters and Miss Hallowell arranged the program and Miss Jennie Fraine had charge of the table decorations.1

  1. Ottawa Daily Republican-Times, June 14, 1937, p6

100 Gather for Annual Picnic at Dayton School – 1944


the picnic table

Another school picnic – around 1950

100 Gather for Annual Picnic at Dayton School

One hundred attended the annual picnic of the Dayton school yesterday at the school grounds.

Dinner at noon was followed by races and other sports. Later ice cream and cake were served.

Winners in races were Carl Schmidt, preschool age; Shirley Patterson, 1st grade; Sylvia Ralrick, second grade; Rosemary Patterson, third; Bobbie Buckley, fourth; Ardelle Taylor, fifth and sixth; Elaine Thomas, seventh; Edward Patterson, eighth; Teddy Mathews, high school; Mrs. Homer Matthews and Mrs. Naomi Trent, married women’s.

Mr. and Mrs. Tony Summons, Mrs. Morris Ponton, Mrs. Mayme Ryan and Miss Elizabeth Ryan of Chicago, and Mrs. Fred Ritzius of Ottawa were out of town guests.1

  1. The [Ottawa, IL] Republican-Times, May 29, 1944, p. 8, col. 6

Holiday Happenings for students at the Dayton School

The following appeared in the January 24,1955 issue of the Dayton News Reel, a publication of the Dayton school. Editor, Richard Jackson; Assistant Editor, Richard Charlier; Circulation, Allan Holm. Reporters for Class and Social Activities for this six-week period were —
Grade 8 – Sheila Gash
Grade 7 – Larry Polen
Grade 6 – Bob Mossbarger
Visual Aids – Charles Ohme
Social – Patsy Hughes
Art and Music – Shirley Harmon
Sports and Safety – Terry Hiland
General News – Patsy Hughes


Dick went skating during the holidays and spent Christmas at home where his parents entertained Mr. and Mrs. M. Hall of Ottawa.

Allan spent Christmas at home. All the Holm relatives were there. He received a microscope and chemistry set and enjoyed trying many experiments as well as skating. Staff Sgt. Morris Fosse was a visitor at the Holm home during the holidays and Allan anticipates a vacation at Fort Knox, Ky. this summer, where Sgt. Fosse is located.

Sheila spent Christmas Day at the home of her grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Caffee in Marseilles. Sledding was her chief fun during the vacation.

Richard spent his Christmas at home. During the vacation he went hunting – (no luck.)

Carol vacationed at home.

Connie spent her Christmas Day at the home of her grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. J. Krug near Harding.

Larry stayed home for Christmas but spent a good part of his vacation enjoying ice skating and hockey.

Vernon Dale was home for Christmas. Guests at his and Deryle’s home were grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Lum McKinney. Vernon Dale enjoyed sliding.

Shirley spent Christmas at home. During the holidays guests at the Harmon home included, Mrs. Lillie Burchal of Kentucky, Mr. and Mrs. Andy Dankowich of Streator, Mr. and Mrs. Walter Thomas of Peoria, Mrs. Naomi Swiggen and family of Morris. Shirley spent a great deal of time sliding.

Eddie stayed home for Christmas and helped entertain Mr. and Mrs. W. Tisler, and Mr. and Mrs. Ward Stebbins. He went hunting during the vacation and tried out his new 20 Gauge shotgun. Result – three rabbits.

Sandra went roller skating then sliding at night during her vacation. Guests at her home during teh holidays were Mr. and Mrs. George Stewart.

Patsy spent Christmas at home but went roller skating and night sliding during the vacation.

Charles spent Christmas at home. He enjoyed a visit with his father, Tech. Sgt. Heber Whyte and tried out his new rifle by going hunting. He bagged [unfortunately the last line is unreadable, but he was undoubtedly successful.]

John went sledding and made a model car which he had received as a gift.

Bob stayed home for Christmas. He has a new flash camera nd printing press. One day when he was sledding, Leslie jumped on the sled causing him to lose control of the sled. Result – Bobe went into the ditch at the side of the road which was filled with water, found it much too cool for swimming.

Sally stayed home for Christmas and enjoyed visiting with Mr. and Mrs. William Eichenberger of LaGrange and Mrs. Ruth Green. Sally received a wrist watch for Christmas. (No excuse now for being late.) She also tried out ice skates.

Terry received a parakeet and is trying to teach it to talk. He and Vernon Dale went sledding.

Deryl received a light and a basket for his bike. He spent four days in Naplate with his sister and husband, Mr. and Mrs. Carl Olson.

Leslie went ice skating, fell in once. Participated in a snow-ball fight and in sledding. Mr. and Mrs. Les Carrier, LaVonne Carrier and Mr. and Mrs. Russell Carrier were guests at the Walleck’s.

Making Christmas


hat stand








Thinking of December in the Dayton school always brings to mind making things – Christmas decorations, gifts for our parents, painting pictures on the windows. One year we made plaster Santas and painted them with great care. Another year, it was angels with wings which were covered with gold glitter. All this work was done in Ma Mathews’ room in the basement and half the fun was in doing something in a different place, one we never saw at any other time. We also made gifts for our parents. I have no recollection of what I made for my mother, but the hat stand I made for my father served loyally for many years, holding up his best hat, even when he stopped wearing hats.

I wasn’t involved much with painting the windows, as there were many who were much more talented in that line than I was. However, I was sometimes entrusted with filling in a large area of solid color. The finished windows glowed like stained glass and were greatly admired. Even 70 years later, every Christmas season when I unpack the decorations I am reminded of my days in the Dayton school.

Old Settlers Reunion – Part 3

bible Pilgrim's Progress

continuing the Hon. P. A. Armstrong’s remarks to the 1877 La Salle County Old Settlers Reunion:

Our population was too much scattered for schools. Four Miles was not considered too far for the children to travel in attending school. Books, except the book of books, the Bible, were very scarce. There were no newspapers then published in the state and if there had been, we had no means of obtaining them, as we had no mails. There was one copy of that noble work of Bunyan, “Pilgrim’s Progress,” in our neighborhood. It was read by all who could read, and constituted a kind of circulating library. I doubt not but my pious friend Col. Hitt perused the history of poor Prospect, filled with hopes and doubts, especially the doubts. The condition of society at that date was such as to render this locality very unhealthy for the Mrs. Grundys and the Paul Prys.

Even visiting was not popular, not because our people were unsocial, but because our neighbors were too far distant.

Talking societies and curiosity shops did not flourish. Nor had we any tramps, gipsies, or strolling organ grinders; sewing machine agents would have been shot on the spot. We had no difficulties between neighbors on account of trespass committed by the chickens or pigs of one upon the premises of another. The only trespass with which we were then familiar was that known as jumping of claims upon Uncle Sam’s land. These sometimes occurred and when they did occur a field fight generally followed in which whole families took a hand; but we never went to law to establish our claims, although all sometimes did seek consolation at law for bruised heads and bloody noses received in the struggle to protect our claims. It was a poor country for office and office holders. All our disputes were settled by arbitration, hence lawsuits were but little heard of.

Tea and coffee were luxuries we could not obtain for love or money, for there was none in the country.

——————– to be continued ————————

Graduates from the Dayton School in 1900

graduation cap & books

The following notice appeared in The Ottawa Journal, July 8, 1900
Graduates of Dayton school: Clyde Channell, Emma Fraine, Edith Olmstead, Mary Ward

What happened to these four young people after they left the Dayton school?

Clyde Wamsley Channell was born in Dayton July 5, 1887, the son of John W. Channel and Josephine Makinson. After attending the University of Illinois for 2 years, he became a surveyor for the railroad. He then tried farming in Minnesota, where he married Carrie McGee on April 5, 1911, in Itasca County, Minnesota.  They moved to Florida by 1930, where he worked for the post office in Arcadia. He died there on February 10, 1957.

Emma Clementine Fraine was the daughter of Charles Fraine and Clemence Petitcolin. She was born in Dayton May 22, 1885 and after two years of additional schooling in Dayton she became a schoolteacher herself. She first taught in a rural school north of Earlville, later going to Waltham Township to teach. She then taught in the Kleiber School northeast of Ottawa and in Grand Ridge. During these years she was busy furthering her own education and taking summer courses at DeKalb. In the year 1907 she was assigned to teach the primary grades in the two-room Dayton school and continued in that capacity until her retirement in 1952. She died in 1959 in California, at the home of her sister-in-law.

Edith May Olmstead was the daughter of Charles H. Olmstead and Anna M. Burgess. She was born February 14, 1886 and following graduation from the Dayton school, she went to Ottawa Township High School, graduating in 1904. She then taught school in the rural schools of the county. She married Edwin Miller about 1918, but the marriage did not last, ending in divorce before 1940. She died in October 1968, and is buried in the Ottawa Avenue Cemetery.

Mary Elizabeth Ward was the daughter of Edward Joseph Ward and Alice Virginia Furr. She was born April 28,1883, in Dayton. After graduating from the Dayton school she went on to 2 years of high school. On September 12th, 1905 she married Robert J. W. Briggs, a veterinarian from Ottawa. His job took them to various locations in South Dakota and Nebraska. They returned to Ottawa when he retired and Mary died there September 24, 1948

More Excerpts from the Dayton News Reel

class drawing

More tidbits of information from the school newspaper of January 24, 1955:

The teachers wish to thank all those who helped with the decorating, stage or equipment used in presenting the annual Christmas program. Mr. Debernardi built the fireplace and donated it to the school. Mr. and Mrs. Ohme helped with the decorating and the Directors erected the stage.

Allan Holm is leading in the number of library books read and reported on.

Before Christmas the first grade learned to write words pertaining to Christmas and made drawings to illustrate the words they had written. These were later combined into booklets.

Congratulations! Mr. and Mrs. Trent on your thirty-fourth Wedding Anniversary, January 21st.

In the fifty-word test the following grades were made:
Sally Clifford  100
Terry Hiland 100
Robert Poole 92
Sandra Leonard 98
John Polen 90
Bob Mossbarger 98
Leslie Walleck 88
Charles Whyte 98
Deryl Wilson 96

On December 10, the Grammar room did square dancing. There were two sets of couples. A new dance was learned, a second worked on and an old favorite Pop Goes the Weasel enjoyed.

Patrols for December were Vernon Dale, Larry, Shirley and Sheila, and for January are Patty, Carol, Richard and Allan. The job of a patrol is a responsible one, helping in the prevention of accidents, training in good citizenship and sharing in the responsibility of a well-run school.

Gary Hackler suffered an injury at a recent P. T. C. meeting from falling on the stairs because of running on the stairs. He was taken to the doctor.

Every child in the [grammar] room had part in the annual painting of scenes upon the windows for the Christmas season. Sketching is done free-hand then color filled in. This has become traditional in the school. This year the primary and intermediate rooms also painted their windows in keeping with the holiday spirit.

The Dayton Grade School presented the annual program at the Club House on December 22. All the pupils took part. The sacred pageant was given by the grammar room assisted by the other rooms in chorus numbers. The pageant was “No Room in the Inn.” Santa Claus was there. Santa and the eighth grade pupils passed out candy and gifts.

On the 21st. of December parties were held in each room at the school. Films were shown, a student gift exchange was held and refreshments were served. The gift table was centered with a miniature Christmas tree and red candles. Each child received a gift. Cookies were brought for the grammar room refreshments by Eddie Peters, Sandra Leonard, Terrance Hiland and Shirley Harmon. The teachers presented Mrs. Mathews with a poinsetta plant at the party.

General News

Mrs. Dean Ramsey and daughter, Norma, are staying at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Garrett Arwood. Norma is in the first grade, she formerly attended school in Pontiac.

Visitors in Dayton on January 16 included the Eugene Davis family of Maywood.

Mr. and Mrs. Robert McQuattee visited at the Harmon home recently.

The home recently vacated by the Eirhart family is now occupied by the Grieves family. Larry and Marjorie are enrolled in the school.

Mr. and Mrs. Eugene Davis and family visited the Ted Wilson’s early in December.

Mr. Peters and son, Eddie, went to Aurora early in December to get Christmas shopping done early.

The Pinske family have a new 21 inch Westinghouse television set.

December 18 –Red Letter Day! All pupils in the grammar room got 100 in spelling on the work of the 14th unit.

Excerpts from the Dayton News Reel school paper

drawing of skin

From the third edition of the Dayton News Reel, January 24, 1955

Editor: Richard Jackson
Ass’t Editor: Richard Charlier

Five new pupils have enrolled in the school during this six-week period. Two in the Primary room, two in the Intermediate room and one in the Grammar room. Our enrollment is now seventy-one.

Although the Christmas season has both come and gone, we trust that the spirit of “peace and good-will toward men” will continue throughout the new year. What excitement there was before Christmas! Painting windows, decorating, making posters, learning songs, parties, and practicing for our program. It meant lots of work, but we enjoyed it. We were especially happy over the fine appreciative audience which turned out for our program. And wasn’t it thoughtful of Mr. Clifford to take pictures? We wish to take this opportunity to express our sincerest thanks to everyone who helped in making our program a success.

The Third and Fourth Grades made a picture book of Ways to Travel. Linda Harmon had the most pictures in the third grade and Rita Krug had the most in the fourth grade.

Gerald Pinske drew a picture of deep sea diving showing the reasons for the struggles in their work.

In sixth grade health each drew the lungs and the cross section of skin. They look nice in the room. [see above]

Jimmy Mathias brought a muskrat pelt for us to see. He has caught several fur bearing animals this winter and is selling the pelts to Sears Store.

Keith Kossow brought kumquats to school. This is a small fruit about the size of a pecan. The entire fruit is edible, coloring is like an orange and the rind is sweeter than the pulp. Florida is the only place in the United States where they are grown. Keith received them from relatives in Florida.

As a measure of safety, snowballing is not permitted on the school grounds, or in the roads immediately adjoining.

A huge creature was developed during the noon hour recently when the snow was ideal for packing. It constantly changed shape, we never knew what “IT” was but a good time was had by all.

The grammar room is again practicing regularly on symphonette band work. Three part harmony is being used using chimes and xylophone.

P. T. C. meeting
The P. T. Club met at the school house on January 4 for the regular meeting. Business meeting was conducted by Mrs. Eltrevoog, president. The new film strip machine was demonstrated by Allan Holm. Mr. Clifford showed the colored slides of the programs given by the school [some of which can be seen here] and Mrs. Hadley showed beautiful colored slides of a trip made to the western part of our country. Refreshments were served by Mrs. Holm, Mrs. McGrogan and Mrs. Hackler.

General News

Mr. King Gash has a 1950 Chevrolet.

The Reynolds family is occupying the flat recently occupied by the Charlier family. There are five in the family. The two boys are new pupils in the Dayton School.

Mr. and Mrs. Don Ocean visited at the Garrett Arwood home on Januray 16.

The past week was semester examination week at Ottawa High School. Several of the former Dayton pupils took this opportunity to visit the school. We were happy to see Robert Ohme, Richard Pinske, Robert Walleck and Candace Clifford.

Attendance at school has been very regular in spite of colds and other sickness in the community. There were 13 in Mrs. Swanson’s room, 10 in Mrs. Bless’s room and 14 in Mrs. Trent’s room who were neither absent nor tardy during the third six-week period which ended January 14.

Mr. Dominic DeBernardi was host at a party given for the community on December 23 at the Club House. A large group of children and adults was present. Films were shown and refreshments served. Mrs. Mathews and Mrs. Gash assisted with the party.

Dayton School 1945-1946

Dayton School 1945-46

The downstairs room (grades 1-4) of the Dayton School in the 1945-1946 school year.

Front row: Sharon Thomas, Cathie Corso, Joan Lane, unknown, Gary Mathias, Kenny Newtson, Philip Patterson
Second row: Carl Schmidt, Ken Thomas, Larry McGrogan, Gary Allen, Billy Krug, unknown, Bertha Davis, Candace Clifford, Herbie Lane
Back row: ____ Smith, Miss Emma C. Fraine, Harold Winchester, Darlene Winchester, Shirley Patterson, ____ Eltrevoog, unknown, Sharon Newtson

A New Dayton School

1 April 1882, p. 8, col. 1
The Schools are having a vacation this week. We understand the two schools are to be continued under the present competent instructors, and we hope the following summer will witness the erection of a new school building. It is something that is much needed, and as the railroad pays over one-half the school tax, the district is abundantly able to build one. Patrons of the school will do well to consider the matter, and if brought to a vote to cast their ballots intelligently.

[The votes were cast intelligently,as it turned out.]

19 Aug 1882, p1, col 3
The school directors of the town of Dayton have this summer built a new school house in the village of Dayton. It is a one story structure, but has two rooms 36 feet square, and a belfry. It is built on one of the prettiest spots in the village, and is a credit to the village and town. Mr. H. C. Furness drew the plans, which were carried out by Mr. Geo. Jekyll, builder. The heating will be done by a Ruby furnace put in by Booth & Kendall of this city.

[Someone apparently noticed that there were in fact two stories.]

30 Aug 1882, p. 4, col. 3
The new school building is rapidly nearing completion and will be one of the prettiest buildings in the country. It is a two-story frame structure, 36 feet square, and a belfry.
A petition was also extensively signed, authorizing the sale of the old school building.

January 17, 1885, p. 5, cols. 1-2
Dayton has a neat, two-story public school, presided over by Ottawa ladies – Miss Jennie Crane in the higher department, with Miss Mary Miller in the primary. About 70 pupils are in attendance.

[The school building was in heavy use for concerts, plays, Sunday school, meetings, lectures, sermons, and school programs, in addition to its educational function.]

[That schoolhouse burned to the ground the day before Thanksgiving in 1890. It was replaced by the schoolhouse shown below. It opened in September 1891, and served the children of Dayton and the area for nearly 75 years. It was closed at the end of the school year in May 1965, a victim of the new fire safety code. The old building was not up to code, so the children were bused to the newer Wallace school.]

picture of school

Opened in 1891, this school replaced the one which burned in 1890

All extracts are from the Ottawa Free Trader newspaper.

Students in the Dayton School – 1938-1942

school-children-at-desks   school-children-at-desks

The following list of students in the upper grades of the Dayton School comes from the La Salle County Genealogy Guild’s notebook on county schools.

8th grade
John Reynolds
Ruth Ralrick
Melvin Davis 
7th grade
Kenneth Buckley
Jack Reiner
Bjarne Eltrevoog
Rosemary Davis
Raymond Mathews
6th grade
John McGrogan
5th grade
Theo Mathews
Billy Buckley
Mary Logsdon
Helen Eltrevoog
Robert Lattimore
Albert Davis
Herbert Davis
8th grade
Bjarne Eltrevoog
Kenneth Buckley
Jack Reiner
Raymond Mathews
7th grade
Rosemary Davis
6th grade
Herbert Davis
Robert Lattimore
Mary Logsdon
Theo Mathews
Helen Eltrevoog
Billy Buckley
Albert Davis
5th grade
Barbara Ralrick
Betty Mathews
Glenn Logsdon
Robert McGrogan
8th grade and beyond
Kenneth Buckley
Jack Reiner
Bjarne Eltrevoog
Rosemary Davis
Raymond Mathews
William Patterson (possibly 7th grade)
7th grade
Theodore Mathews
Billy Buckley
Mary Logsdon
Helen Eltrevoog
Robert Lattimore
Albert Davis
Herbert Davis
8th grade
Billy Buckley
Robert Lattimore
Helen Eltrevoog
Mary Logsdon
Theodore Mathews
Herbert Davis
7th grade
Betty Mathews
Edward Patterson
Albert Davis
Glenn Logsdon
Leo Taylor
Barbara Ralrick
Alice Newtson
6th Grade
Jimmie Lambert
John Edsad (?)
Colline Davis
5th grade
Ruth Schmidt
Imogen Davis
Nora Davis
Donald Patterson
Marshall Claude

The Dayton School in 1925


The Ottawa Daily Republican-Times published a special school section on March 20, 1925, which included this list of the pupils of the Dayton school.

           District 209 – Dayton school.

Jennie L. Fraine, Emma C. Fraine;
eighth grade: Helen Hallowell, Robert Meagher, Edith Reynolds, Donald Ainsley;
seventh grade: Evelyn Huston, James Gleeson, George Garcia;
sixth grade: Elizabeth Meagher, Howard Tanner, Olive Draper, Donald Blue, Olive Garcia, Emmett                        Gleeson, Paul Ainsley;
fifth grade: Joseph Jacobs, Burrel Draper;
fourth grade: Dorothy Davis, Frank Davis, Billie Gleeson,;
third grade: Esther Meagher, Roy Fraine, Glenn Thorson, Reynold Ainsley;
second grade: Margaret Thorson, Janie Huston, Irene Meigs, Dollie Davis, Vera Draper;
first grade: Zelda Garrow, Kenneth Fraine, Vernon Blue, Loretta Gleeson, Stanley Thorson, Russell                      Metge, Mary Ryan, Billie Prince, Joe Davis.

The teachers, Jennie and Emma Fraine, were sisters, and life-long residents of Dayton. Their parents, Charles and Clementine Fraine, came to the United States from France about 1875 and settled in Dayton. Miss Jennie retired around 1945 and died in 1949. Miss Emma retired in 1952, after 50 years of teaching, most of them in Dayton. She died in 1959.

Christmas at the Dayton School

Christmas play at Dayton School

This Christmas version of the Maypole was part of the annual Christmas program given in the clubhouse in Dayton about 1955. This annual affair was a highlight of the Christmas season. The program was a composite of the Christmas story, the anticipation of Santa Claus’s visit, singing carols, and, of course, plenty of Christmas goodies to reward the actors.

It’s hard to identify anyone because most of the faces are hidden, but if you know anyone, please leave a comment identifying them.

A Dayton School Report Card


In April 1880, when Maud Green received this report card, she was 13 years old. She was an excellent student in all subjects except arithmetic and deportment. She was never absent nor tardy, so what then were her sins? Did she whisper during lessons? Did she daydream while the teacher was speaking? What behavior could have reduced the deportment grade to 70?

When she was older, Maud wrote some memories of her school days:

The desk tops were hinged and when the boys walked on them mischievously they sometimes dropped unexpectedly with disastrous results.  A bench ran around three sides of the room to accommodate more pupils.  The other furniture consisted of the teacher’s desk and a small organ. We all had slates instead of tablets and our slate pencils came covered with gold or silver paper.  Once we girls put boards over the corner of the fence to make a play-house at school & we all took rag-dolls to play with at recess.

The teacher, Ada Green, was a native of Dayton, having been born there in 1859. She was the daughter of David and Mary (Stadden) Green. She taught at the Dayton school only one more year, as she married William C. McMillan on March 10, 1881 and they left the area for Iowa.

Miss Fraine Retires

Retiring After 50 Years, Teacher Will Be Honored     Miss Fraine

Miss Emma C. Fraine of Dayton, a teacher for 50 continuous years in the rural schools of La Salle County, will terminate her teaching career at the end of the current school year.

To commemorate the occasion, residents of Dayton and the surrounding communities, her numerous friends and former students will honor her at a tea to be held Sunday from 2 to 5 in the Dayton Clubhouse. Miss Fraine is now a teacher at the Dayton school.

This well known teacher has spent her entire lifetime in the Dayton community and was born in the house in which she is residing. Her parents were early settlers, coming here from the village of Alsace, France, about the year 1875. She attended the elementary schools and the high school which was then taught in Dayton.

In 1902 Miss Fraine embarked on her teaching career which was to carry her over the span of a half century and many changes in the educational field. She first taught in a rural school north of Earlville, later going to Waltham Township to teach. She then taught in the Kleiber School northeast of Ottawa and in Grand Ridge. During the years she was busy furthering her own education and taking summer courses at DeKalb.

In the year 1907 she was assigned to teach the primary grades in the two-room Dayton school and has continued in that capacity ever since – a total of 45 years.

During those 45 years there have been nine teachers in the other room of the school. Miss Fraine’s co-workers included Ethel Wright, her sister, Jennie Fraine (now deceased), Francis Stangeland, Clark Raber, Verne Thompson, Mildred Masters Summins, Mrs. Geneva Beard, Delores Gretencord and the present teacher, Mrs. Naomi Trent.

Sunday’s tea is being planned by a large committee headed by Mrs. R. P. Schmidt and including all persons of the community which Miss Fraine has served so long. Her hundreds of friends, acquaintances, former pupils and their families will attend.

The chief entertainment of the afternoon for the one-time pupils of the Dayton School will be trying to identify themselves in the scores of pictures Miss Fraine has taken through the years and which will be on display in the clubhouse. The school house, too, will be open for those who wish to show their children or grandchildren where they were taught to read and learned the Golden Rule.1

  1. from an unidentified newspaper clipping, probably the Ottawa Republican-Times, in the spring of 1952

Cooking in the Schools

               Apple    potatoes    Oyster

School lunch and home ec classes are nothing new. In 1913, the Farmer’s Voice, a farm magazine, reported on the forward thinking of La Salle County schools.

LaSalle county is forging ahead in things educational. This is shown by the splendid county institutes that are being held there. An item in the LaSalle County School bulletin tells of the work being done in the rural and village schools. Cooking in the schools is the newest thing up there. In some cases the teacher had a little oil stove on which soups and various dishes were prepared. In one district during cold weather a warm drink at noon is always provided, and sometimes roasted apples. The families are interested in this new departure and furnish materials. Baked potatoes were prepared at one school, using the ashes and ash pan as an oven. Vegetable soup and oysters have also been prepared and various hot drinks. Some of the girls spend scraps of time at home looking up dishes that might be prepared at school.1

  1. Farmer’s Voice, May 15, 1913, p 15

A School Christmas Program

School Christmas program

This picture of a Dayton school Christmas program dates from about 1955. It was held in the Dayton clubhouse and as you can tell by the picture, told the traditional Christmas story, complete with shepherds and angels. The six angels are (l to r) unknown, Sandra Leonard, Jimmie Mathias, Sally Clifford, Ronnie Thompson, and Betty Jo Hughes If you can identify any of the others, please leave your information in a comment.

Mrs. Trent and Santa

Following the pageant, Mrs. Trent (teacher of grades 5 through 8) welcomed a rather pop-eyed Santa who distributed gifts from the tree. Again, if you can identify anyone in the pictures below, please leave a comment. Click on the picture to see a larger version.

.18       Dayton school Christmas party


The End of the Dayton School

newspaper clipping - end of Dayton school

Bell Silent, Dayton School To Be Sold

School’s out for good at Dayton. The 75-year-old school house is going to be sold.

It stands alone on the hill, with grass and weeds growing a foot high, the playground sets turning to rust. The only form of life around is the pigeons in the bell tower.

The school opened in September, 1891. A two-story frame building with a half dozen large rooms, it sits on the foundation of a former school, occupied from 1882 until it burned down the day before Thanksgiving in 1890.

Dayton’s first school, erected in 1849 where the elevator now stands, doubled as a church and a town hall.

Until about five years ago, no church had been built in Dayton since the school served the purpose, or the people went to church elsewhere.

The first board of school directors consisted of David Greene, Richard Stadden and Rees Morgan, who were elected October 6, 1849.

Among the property and equipment to be auction off at 1 p.m. June 25 are several slate blackboards, antique patio blocks and an old school bell.

The youngsters don’t hear the bell clanging on their way to school. Instead, they are bused to the Wallace school, which whom the Dayton school district has consolidated.

In the 1965 school year book, a poem on the school reads:

In eighteen-hundred eighty three. . .
Our Dayton stood new for all to see. . .
Many a child has come and gone . .
And with knowledge they carry on . . .
After 73 years of golden rule . .
The sun now sets on Dayton School . . .1

  1. Ottawa Republican-Times, May 25, 1966