News from Dayton – May 1879

Dayton, May 15, 1879. – The rain of yesterday was a blessing to the land. The earth had become very dry, vegetation was beginning to wither, and all nature called for rain. The river is as low as it usually is in July and August, scarcely any water running over the dam. Nearly all the game fish that were up have been caught or seined out, so that fishing as a success is over with this season unless perhaps we have a good heavy rain.

A three year old colt was stolen last Monday night from Mrs. Furr, a widow lady living a mile west of Dayton. A reward of forty dollars is offered for the return of the horse and the capture of the thief.

We are glad to see D. L. Grove up and around again.

Mr. James Green has gone into the bee business quite extensively this summer. He has over fifty swarms.

Mr. L. Jackson and friend of Millington were down fishing last week.

A new organ was purchased last week for the school house.

Last Sunday a number of parties amused themselves at the river by fishing – a little, drinking beer – a good deal, and having a big time generally. Then more beer. Good people of Dayton, here is a chance for home missionary work.

A good joke is going the rounds this week. A certain married man in town, whose wife wished to go to Ottawa to procure some household necessities, gave her what he supposed was a check for fifty dollars. Having arrived in Ottawa, she thought she would take a look at the paper and see what bank to go to. Taking it from her pocket, she found her husband, by mistake, of course, had given her a meat bill! Rumor says she borrowed fifteen cents to pay her car fare home, and then gave her man a ——- talking to.

On account of the sickness of Mrs. Gibb, Rev. S. F. Gibb filled the appointment at this place last Sunday evening.


  1. The Ottawa (Illinois) Free Trader, May 17, 1879, p. 8, col. 1

144 Years Ago Today in The Free Trader


from The Ottawa Free Trader, April 12, 1879, P. 8, col. 1

Dayton, April 10. – The concert given by Prof. Newberry and class last Wednesday evening, was quite well attended notwithstanding the inclemency of the weather. Solos, duets, quartets and choruses were given in most acceptable manner. The “Hunter’s Chorus” and the “Bugle Horn” choruses by the class were quite good. In fact in all the choruses there was plain evidence of careful and efficient drill although only a few days were employed in preparation. Mrs. Newberry, who has been holding a convention at Serena, came down and took part in the concert. Her alto is very fine. The class may well be proud of their first concert.

The Musical Union will hold regular meetings every Wednesday evening. In our report last week of the officers of the Union, we omitted to give the name of Miss Jennie Dunavan, organist.

Mr. O. Black of Ottawa visited our Sunday School last Sabbath.

Last Saturday we were shown a large swan shot by Mr. Jos. Green near Sulphur Spring. It measured 6 ½ feet from tip to tip of the wings; 4 feet from head to tail; 2 ¼ feet length of neck. Joe will have the bird stuffed and mounted and placed on exhibition as the “luck” of his latest hunting expedition.

At the school election held at the school house last Saturday, T. A. Metcalf was chosen director for the short term, and Jesse Green for the long term.

Last Monday evening a school exhibition was held at the Buck Creek school house by Miss Eva Angevine. Miss A. had spent considerable time in making arrangements and deserved a complete success, which we have no doubt she had.

A few game fish are being caught, but not enough to call it “good” fishing yet.

Kirby Todd and Folk Valley

In 1947 Kirby Todd became the music teacher for the rural schools of La Salle County. I was attending the Dayton school when he first took up his post, succeeding Miss Ida Chamberlain. He taught us folk songs and square dancing and was immediately very popular.

He was the founding president of Folk Valley, a non-profit corporation dedicated to the preservation of the art of square dancing and other folk arts. Folk Valley was situated on land near the Illinois river east of Marseilles. The idea of Folk Valley came to him when he was teaching the school children in Grand Ridge. The principal and several adults asked him to teach adult square dancing. He began teaching square dance classes every fall and winter.

He was an assistant professor of health and physical education at Illinois State University from 1964 to 1972 and served as sponsor and director of two groups that provided recreational activities for students –  Shufflin’ Shoes and the Lloyd Shaw Dancers. He retired in 1989 and died September 21, 1998, at the age of 88.

Wedding Gifts – 1881 Variety







When Ada Green married William McMillen in Dayton on March 10, 1881, the Free Trader’s account of the ceremony included something that was common for that day, but unusual today. In addition to a description of the ceremony, the remarks made by the pastor, and the wedding dinner, the next paragraph gave a list of the wedding gifts and their donors.















Here are some examples of the types of wedding gifts of the time:

a sugar spoon




a cake basket







The First Step

Family Cares






a salt and pepper castor





napkin rings





a pickle castor





a spoon holder










This was very definitely a family wedding – of all the donors listed only a half-dozen are not members of the Green family.


144 Years Ago This Week in Dayton Social Life

Rural Happenings

            Dayton, March 13. – We derive considerable enjoyment here from reading the correspondence from neighboring towns, and have always thought it an interesting part of the county newspaper; and such items as may in our humble judgment be of interest to your readers, we will try to send from here from time to time.

The ice has moved out of the river. Boating will soon be all the “rage.” The river is slowly falling and will soon be fordable. This beautiful spring weather seems such a relief from the cold, cold winter. Roads are getting quite dry.

The Literary is in good running order and having good success. The exercises show care in their preparation and talent in their delivery. The library of the society, containing over a hundred volumes of choice reading, is a great benefit to the town. Much interest is taken in it and beneficial results we have no doubt will proceed from its use.

Harry, Jos., and James Green arrived home on the 1st from Aurora, where they have been attending school during the winter. The boys look fine. “Hash” seems to agree with them.

Rev. Sophie Gibb preaches in this place every two weeks. Her next appointment is Sunday evening, March 16.

Rev. G. Barnes, Congregational minister at Ottawa, delivered a discourse here last Thursday evening. He has a regular appointment once in four weeks.

Our school ma’am, Miss Frank Mott, will give an exhibition Saturday evening, March 22. Miss M. we understand, closes her labors here with the winter term. She has taught our school quite successfully during her sojourn here of about three years, and now feels she needs a rest from her labors. Mr. Chas. K. Howard will teach the summer school.

A number of our young folks visited your city Tuesday evening to witness the performance of “Fanchon.” They all seemed well pleased, and especially spoke highly of Miss Kate Smith’s acting.

The social party at the hall week before last was quite an enjoyable affair. The young folks seem to have gone with the intention of having a good time, and we think they were not disappointed. Another in the near future is talked of. Prof. Sweet, who furnishes the music, says he is the happiest man in Plano. (N. B. It’s a boy.)

The Literary at their last meeting appointed a committee to make arrangements for an entertainment the proceeds of which will be devoted to the purchase of an organ. The temperance and moral drama “Three Glasses a Day, or The Broken Home,” is in rehearsal.

Mr. Basil Green has the contract of filling in the deep ravine south of town.

By the great firing of guns and general confusion taking place at the time of writing, we should judge a battle was taking place at Wedron. A “chivaree,” we suppose.

“Fishing” days are not far off.                                                Oc.1

  1. The Ottawa Free Trader, March 15, 1879, p. 8, col. 2

News From Dayton – January 1901


Image by igrishkoff from Pixabay


An average of 15 loads of tile have been hauled from the tile mill every day for the past ten days for Wallace and Rutland.

Effie and Willie Timmons, who have been down with the grippe, are now able to be about again.

Otis Hager and John Bogerd, have finished shelling their corn.

Mrs. E. Luce and Mrs. Leroy Luce, have recovered from their attack of the grippe.

John Carpenter, Jr., has been home the past few days, laid up with a severe sore throat.

Some of the State Fish Commissioners have made several trips here of late, and it is surmised that the holes in the ice used for spearing fish will soon be allowed to freeze up again.

Roy Luce was on the street Monday morning, doubled up like a jack knife. Cause, the grippe.

The tile mill is busy shipping fire clay this week.

Thomas McGrogan has been very poorly of late, and has not as yet recovered from his recent illness.

On Monday last Emory Waller moved his furniture to Rutland, where he and his family intend making their future home.

The graveling on the plank road is finished for the present.

Lucile Maud, only child of Mr. and Mrs. John Bogerd, aged 1 year and 4 days, died on Monday morning, at 5 o’clock, of pneumonia. Funeral will be held at 1 o’clock on Wednesday afternoon. Interment in Ottawa avenue cemetery.

It was the intention of Mr. Sanderson to commence filling his ice house here on Wednesday morning. The outlook for doing so is not very favorable at present.

A. W. Ladd has been summoned as a grand juryman, and will commence his duties as such on next Monday, Jan. 14th.

Owing to the unfavorable weather for the past few days, every one you meet seems to be ailing from a cold or some other trouble, and “how are you feeling today” is about all you hear at greeting one another.

Dockey Tanner, the last one in our burg whom you would suppose could get sick, is suffering with a severe cold.

A. W. Shaw has trouble enough of his own just at present. A lame back.

Miss Mary Campbell, of Dayton, and Dr. F. Gustlow, of Prophetstown, Ill., were married on Wednesday afternoon at the residence of the bride’s brother, P. M. Campbell, Rev. David Gustlow, father of the groom, officiating.

The ice in the Fox river, at this point, will soon travel south if the weather continues as it has for the past few days.

Lyle A. Green is spending to-day (Wednesday) at Aurora.1

  1. The Ottawa Republican-Times, January 10, 1901, p. 4, col. 4

Holiday Memories – Christmas 1953

The following column is reprinted from volume 3 of the 1953-54 publication, Our School News, produced by the students of the Dayton School.

Holiday Memories

Mrs. Genevieve Hall of Ottawa called at the John Jackson home on Christmas eve.

Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Hiland, Terry, Janelle and Laurel visited Mr. and Mrs. Vernon Hiland and family of Moline.

Mr. and Mrs. Charles Clifford, Candace, Sally and Mrs. Ralph Green spent New Year’s Day with Mr. and Mrs. Eichelberger of LaGrange.

On Christmas Day, the Clifford family called on Mr. Clifford’s mother. Mr. and Mrs. Sears, their children, Mr. and Mrs. Roberts and their two girls also were there.

On Christmas Day Mr. and Mrs. Floyd McMichel, Mrs. Mossbarger and Bobby called at the home of George McMichel of Wedron.

Mr. and Mrs. Cruit and their children, Mr. and Mrs. Lloyd Ray and their three children, Mr. and Mrs. Cecil Barr and child came to spend a day at the home of Oran Mathias in honor of Mrs. Mathias’s birthday.

On New Year’s Day, Mr. and Mrs. Wayne Thompson and their three children came from Florida and spent the day at the Chester Thompson home.

Mr. and Mrs. Bernard Hackler, Bryan and Gary were vacation guests of Mr. and Mrs. Howell of LaGrange.

Holiday visitors at the Mathias home included Mr. and Mrs. Cecil Barr of Decatur, Mr. and Mrs. Lloyd Ray of Bethany, Mr. and Mrs. Wayne Cruit and Mr. and Mrs. Henry Heiland of Findlay, Ilinois.

Mr. and Mrs. Charles Poole, Robert, David, Nancy and Patty spent Christmas Day with Mr. and Mrs. George Poole.

Mrs. Oran Mathias, Jimmy, Linda, and Gary spent Christmas in the home of Mr. and Mrs. Chester Mathias in Shelby County. They also visited Mr. and Mrs. Ray of Bethany.

Mr. and Mrs. Jesse Leonard spent Christmas Day with the Don Leonard Family.

Mr. and Mrs. Jason Hughes spent New Year’s in Pontiac at the Ramsey home.

Dixie Slover spent Christmas in Chicago with her father. She had an enjoyable time shopping, going to the big stores and visiting relatives. Mr. Slover brought her home New Year’s.

Mrs. Kossow’s parents from Peru were New Year’s guests at the Kossow home.

Marty reports a vacation in Florida during the holidays where he went swimming, sight seeing and fishing. To go fishing Marty and his Dad went out in a boat.

The George Pinske family visited relatives in Freedom township during the holidays.

Mr. and Mrs. Joe Frig, Lounetta, Clarence and Mary Jo spent Christmas at the home of their grandmother, Mrs. McConnahay in Ottawa. Lounetta enjoys using her flash bulb camera which she received as a gift.

The traditional gathering at the home of Fred Eichelkraut in Ottawa was attended by the Robert Ohme family, it is held on Christmas eve.
Robert and Charles are busy with the gas model airplanes which they received at Christmas.

Carol Dezso accompanied her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Frank VanDorn, and brother, Jimmie, to South Bend, Indiana, during the holidays where they visited friends and relatives.

Sally Ann Peters enjoyed riding her mule during the holidays. Her grandmother, Mrs. Pearl Peters entertained relatives at Christmas time.

Mr. and Mrs. Leslie Carrier, Jack Traeger of Chicago were holiday visitors at the home of Mr. and Mrs. A. Walleck.
During the holidays, Bob skated to Wedron.

Mr. and Mrs. Harold Fosse entertained the Melvin Holm family on Christmas Day. On December 27, Mr. and Mrs. Melvin Holm and family attended the Fosse family reunion held at the Masonic Temple in Ottawa.

Larry Mettille is the possessor of a new gun and enjoyed hunting during the holidays. The Jess Mettile family visited Mr. and Mrs. L. Halterman of Ottawa on Christmas Day. An interesting specimen, that of a heart, was viewed by Larry Mettile while at this aunt’s home,

Dick Jackson visited friends at Earlville at Christmas time, later during the vacation he entertained these Earlville friends at his home. Dick has a new electric train which he enjoys greatly.

On Christmas eve, a gift exchange was held at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Theodore Wilson. Guests present included Mr. and Mrs. Eugene Davis and son of Maywood and Mr. and Mrs. Lum McKinney.

Kenneth Newtson received a 16 gauge shotgun for Christmas. He skated to Wedron during the vacation period. Guests at the Newtson home for Christmas included Mr. and Mrs. LaVerne Jamieson and daughters, and Fred Newtson.

Larry Polen tried out his new skates during the holidays.

Eddy Peters visited relatives in Marseilles during the holidays. Eddy enjoyed decorating, then later taking the tree down.

Mrs. Eva Charlier, Miss Emma Fraine, Mrs. Mathias and Linda were guests at the home of Mrs. J. Trent during the holidays.

Saved From Amputation

Having a good doctor in the early days was essential, as this excerpt from Jesse Green’s memoir shows:

Our first physician in Dayton, was a German, whose name I have forgotten, next was Allen H. Howland, Harmon Hurlbut and Peter Schemerhorn, Dr. Howland was also an excellent surgeon whom father employed, when he had his arm smashed from the hand to above his elbow, in cutting the ice from a water wheel, other Physicians wanted to amputate his arm, above the elbow but father would not consent to this, and sent for Dr. Howland, notwithstanding they had just passed through a very bitter campaign, in which Wm. Stadden was the regularly nominated candidate for the state Senate and Dr. Howland ran against him as an independent candidate and was defeated. When he called to see father and examined his wound, father made this proposition to him, “if he would save his life and his arm, he would give him five hundred dollars,” and the Dr. said he could do it, and took the case and did do it, and got his five hundred dollars.


A little information about the good doctor:

Dr. Allen H. Howland was born in 1796 in Saratoga County, New York. In 1823 he was one of the organizing physicians of the Wayne County, NY, Medical Society. In 1826 he married Catherine Reed in Canandaigua, New York. By 1838 he had moved to La Salle County , living in Ottawa.

In 1838 Allen H. Howland ran as an independent against William Stadden (who was running for re-election) in the race for state senator for the counties of La Salle, Kane, Iroquois & Livingston. Stadden, a long-time friend and family connection of John Green’s,  won with a sizeable margin.

In 1848, Howland was elected president of the Ottawa Medico Chirurgical Society. A prominent physician in Ottawa for nearly a third of a century, he died in 1866.

Thanksgiving In and Around Dayton – 1901




The Fox river at this point is frozen over.

Len Hubbell is spending this week in Chicago.

A. W. Ladd made a business trip to Aurora last week.

Charles Sheppler has been laid up for a few days with a lame back.

John Marshall of Serena made a business call here on Saturday.

George Galloway enjoyed his duck at his own fireside on Thanksgiving day.

Mr. and Mrs. Moore spent a couple of days last week with friends at Earlville.

The Mutual Protective League meets on Wednesday night at Woodman hall.

Miss Mary Coleman and Miss Mary Cloat spent Wednesday and Thursday at Streator.

John Hippard has joined the T., P., & C. W. brigade and is now one of their teamsters.

Miss Mary Dunn of Ottawa spent Sunday with the Misses Mary and Maggie Coleman.

Mrs. Edwards and daughter, Mamie, of Ottawa spent Monday at Mr. and Mrs. James Timmons.

Mr. Isaac Green and family were guests of Mr. and Mrs. O. W. Trumbo on Thanksgiving day.

Mrs. John Lannel [Channel] and A. W. Ladd were visiting Mr. and Mrs. Beik’s at Ottawa on the 28th.

Corn husking is nearly over in the corn fields, but has just commenced at the fireside in the store.

Miss Jennie Barnes starts for Joliet in a few days to spend the winter with her sister, Mrs. Winn Green.

Mrs. Marguerite Mills and Mrs. Brown of South Ottawa spent Friday with Mrs. George Galloway.

One hundred and fifty bushels of corn were sold here on Monday for sixty cents per bushel, cash.

John Green and son, Percival, former residents here for many years, spent Sunday with friends here.

Mrs. John Gibson and son, Fred, left for Chicago on Tuesday, where they will make their home for the present.

Roy McBrearty, operator for the Q. at Denrock, spent Thanksgiving with his parents, Mr. and Mrs. J. McBrearty.

Mr. and Mrs. George La Pere dined with Mrs. La Pere’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. William Lohr, on Thanksgiving day.

Mr. and Mrs. Ed McClary spent Thanksgiving with Mr. E. H. Pederson and wife, deputy U. S. marshal at Yorkville.

Miss Blanche McGrath and Miss Kate Hogan of Streator were guests of the Misses Colman on Thanksgiving day.

The ticket winning the watch at the raffle on Saturday night was No. 31, and was held by Joseph Futterer of Ottawa.

William and Walter Breese and Lowell Hoxie and wife of Aurora spent Thanksgiving with Mr. and Mrs. John Breese.

John Campbell, feeder watchman at Dayton, has tendered his resignation, the same going into effect December 1st, 1901.

The Woodman Lodge will elect their officers on Tuesday night, December 10th, at 7:30, at their hall. A large attendance is expected.

On account of the scarcity of water in the feeder the electric plant was compelled to shut down on several occasions the last few days.

Bert Edwards, who has been employed as teamster for George Green, has gone to Streator, which city he expects to make his future home.

William Collamore, Jr., of Ottawa and Miss Olson of near Morris, gave Thanksgiving at the home of William Collamore, Sr., and wife, on the 28th.

Mrs. Ed Vernon and two children left for Somonauk on Saturday morning, where she will be the guest of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Colb for a few days.

John Cisco of Ottawa is now acting as feeder watchman until the successor of John Campbell, resigned, is appointed.

W. Wheeler and R. Doran left here for Chicago on Wednesday morning where they will visit the fat stock show and will remain until Saturday.

Wilmot Van Etten, agent for the Q. at Batavia, with his wife and three sons, Clare, Walcott and Frank, dined with Mr. and Mrs. O. W. Trumbo on Thanksgiving day, returning on the afternoon train for Batavia.

The commissioners of the Illinois and Michigan canal met at Lockport on Tuesday to appoint a feeder watchman to take the place of John Campbell, resigned. Mr. George Galloway of our little burg was also present in the interest of one of our citizens, who has resided in our midst for the past nine years. Mr. G. with his credentials made an interesting effort in behalf of Mr. William Collamore and returned home on Tuesday night with the pleasing news that Mr. Collamore had been appointed. Mr. Collamore, the new appointee, is well deserving the place he is about to fill. He has always been a staunch Republican, served three and one-half years in the war of the rebellion in the Fifty-eighth regiment, Company G., Illinois Volunteers. Mr. Collamore and his family will shortly move into his new quarters on the banks of the feeder. Well, William, that your journey along the tow path, from Dayton to Ottawa, for the next four years may be one of pleasure and no thorns to mar your path is the wish of your many friends of Dayton.

  1. Free Trader, December 6, 1901, p. 12, cols. 1-2

News From Dayton – November 1879


C. B. Hess

Barbara Grove Green

Grandma Green

Rural Happenings

Dayton, Nov. 20 – Winter, cold winter has come. No more we’ll hear the robin sing.

Birth-day parties are all the go. C. B. Hess, Esq. was surprised last week by a lot of young folks who came in honor of his 39th birth-day. A good time was had.

Another good time was the one in honor of Grandma Green’s 87th birthday. About 50 were present.

Miss Mamie Davis of Newark, Ohio, is visiting friends and relatives in town.

Messrs. Geo. W. Green and Joseph Green took in the Grant “boom” at Chicago last week.

Mr. A. Spencer departed for Texas last week. We understand he will take charge of a restaurant.

  1. L. Grove, Esq., started Wednesday morning on a trip to Nebraska, to be gone about ten days.

Mr. David Grove has fallen heir to a small fortune, and departed Monday for Pennsylvania where it is held for the heirs.

Miss Estella Bagley returned on Monday from Wenona where she has been engaged in the milliner business.

Messrs. Richard Walker of Earl and his brother John Walker of Ohio, spent a few days in Dayton last week. Mr. John Walker was a resident of this place thirty-two years ago, and this is his first visit since that time.

Mr. Geo. W. Gibson returned last week from his trip to Nebraska.

Rev. G. Barnes of Ottawa will give his views on the “Future Life” at the school house this evening.

Rev. Mrs. Gibb will preach at the school house next Sabbath evening.

The tile works have quit work for the winter. They have a fine lot of tile on hand for sale.

The late rains have raised the river somewhat, though it still continues fordable, notwithstanding the “raise.”

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

Messrs. T. MacKinley and John Gibson, of Rutland, departed last Friday for Newark, Ohio, on a short visit.

Our schools are progressing finely under the management of Mr. Chas. K. Howard and Miss Ada Green.


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

A Goodbye Party






[The customs of the time tended toward formality on occasions such as this. We would find Barbara’s response for the family a little unusual. Luckily, the formalities were followed by bountiful refreshments.]

On Saturday evening last, the old friends and neighbors of Mr. and Mrs. J. A. Dunavan, of Dayton, gathered in and treated them to a handsome good-bye surprise, it being on the eve of their departure to their new home in Colorado. Some valued presents were given them as memorials, on the offering of which, Mr. Frank Trumbo, as spokesman for the visitors said:

“Mr. and Mrs. J. A. Dunavan: – Your friends and neighbors, learning with sincere regret that you have determined to remove from our midst, and make your future home in another State, take this opportunity to bid you good-bye. For more than half a century you have been with us, even one of us, sharing without complaint the hardships of a pioneer life, and at last rejoicing with us in the reclamation and progress of this marvelous country; with your mental abilities yet undimmed, and possessing an amount of your former vigor and strength that is seldom retained by persons of your advanced age, you have decided to build for yourselves a home in another locality. In far off Sunny Colorado, protected by the giant Rockies, we trust you will be permitted to enjoy many years of a life that, from the activity of your minds, must be spent in deeds of usefulness.

“Language forms an inadequate channel in which to express our sorrow at your departure from among us, and only through the silent clasping of our hands can we show our regret. In remembrance of your many sterling qualities, of your unimpeachable hospitality, and your much prized friendship, we present you, Mr. Dunavan, with this cane, and you, Mrs. Dunavan, with this album; and also, with these, the knowledge that deep in the recesses of our hearts the names of Mr. and Mrs. J. A. Dunavan will be revered as among the founders of our beautiful Prairie State.

“To you, Miss Alice Dunavan, to whom an indulgent nature has given the attributes of a true and perfect woman, your devotion to your parents in the declining years of their lives deserves a recognition at the hands of your friends. We, therefore, tender you this album, with the wish that it will soon be filled with the pictures of your Illinois friends.”

To which Miss Barbara Green responded:

“I will in behalf of the family, as this is all a surprise, and they are not prepared to respond (if their feelings would permit) to the presentation of these gifts, that, aside from their value, will be cherished as coming from life long friends, as purely disinterested tokens of respect – may I not say affection? – I will in a few words express their gratification in seeing you here to make them a farewell visit at the old homestead where in young wedded life they began the battles incident to a new country at a time when, with the exception of two, who crossed the river to commence the family circle in that happier home, all the others of the large family that grew to manhood and womanhood in this same home nest and have made homes for families, are now taking their place in the busy world, that has been transformed from a wilderness to the rank of the highest civilization, almost under the notice of a generation. I know that all will be glad to see this family that through misfortune and causes that are constantly taking place in this seeming hard world, starting anew with the ambition and vigor of youth to begin life again in a new country, but very different from pioneer life in Illinois when they began their home first they now leave with many heartaches, and the greatest is caused in leaving the old life, long associations and friends, never to be forgotten. And they hope to retain a place in the memory and hearts of all who have proved friends in adversity as well as in prosperity.

“I will now thank you all in their name for the testimonials of affection that your kind hearts have prompted you to tender them tonight.”

The formal part of the occasion over, bountiful refreshments were served and the evening was spent in social amusements.1

  1. The Ottawa Free Trader, March 3, 1888, p. 4, col. 5

Autumn in Dayton 143 Years Ago


Rural Happenings

            Dayton, Oct. 2, 1879. – The past few days have been quite warm, in fact uncomfortably so. But then winter is not far away, for –

“Summer is gone on swallow’s wings,
And Earth has buried all her flowers;
No more the lark, – the linnet – sings,
But Silence sits in faded bowers.

There is a shadow on the plain
Of Winter ere he comes again, –
There is in woods a solemn sound
Of hollow warnings whispered round,

As Echo in her deep recess
For once had turned a prophetess.
Shuddering Autumn stops to list,
And breathes his fear in sudden sighs,
With clouded face, and hazel eyes
That quench themselves, and hide in mist.”

J. B. Jennings has rented the Exchange to Mr. James Timmons and has moved to his farm in Iowa.

Mr. Anson Spencer’s family have gone to Texas to seek health and a new home. Mr. S. will soon follow them.

John G. Dunavan and family of Rutland, have made Dayton their home

O. W. Trumbo and family were visiting friends in Chicago last week.

Mr. Silas Dunavan, son of G. M. Dunavan, Esq., and who has spent the past fifteen years in the west, has returned home for a brief visit.

Mr. John Green departed Tuesday for a few days visit, – with the big pumpkins and squashes, of course, – at the Wenona Union Fair.

Nearly a dozen of our people visited your city last Tuesday evening to hear the wonderful Remenyi. With one exception they returned well pleased with the concert, and voted Remenyi a first class artiste.
[Remenji, a Hungarian violinist, gave a concert in Ottawa on September 30, with over 400 in the audience. I wonder who the lone dissenter was.]

Rev. Sophie Gibb of Sheriden delivered an excellent discourse at the school house last Sabbath evening.

Rev. G. B. Barnes of Ottawa preached to the Dayton people last week. Mr. Barnes, we understand, will give his views on “Universalism” at his next appointment.

Mr. Andrew Rhoads left us Wednesday for a visit to Kansas.

Messrs. William Stadden and Walter Trumbo, who have been out west examining the farming lands of Nebraska, returned home last Friday.

Green Bros. have just finished burning another fine lot of tile.

The woolen mills are turning out some fine flannels and blankets. Being the genuine article, made of all wool, they are in good demand.


  1. The Ottawa Free Trader, October 4, 1879, p. 8, col. 1

A Lawn Social and Concert

David Green house in 1907

The home of Mr. and Mrs. E. A. Dallam

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. The following program was rendered:

Selection – Orchestra, composed of Miss Ida C. Chamberlin, of Ottawa, Miss Boyd, of Grand Ridge, and Messrs. Belrose and Chamberlin, of Wedron.

Vocal solo – Miss Anna O’Meara, of Ottawa.

Violin solo – Miss Boyd.

Solo – Miss Buckley.

Violin solo – Miss Boyd.

Vocal solo – Miss Chamberlin.

Vocal solo – Merle Haight, of Ottawa

Selection – Orchestra1

Miss Ida Chamberlin, orchestra member here in 1913, was the music teacher at the Dayton school when I was in Miss Fraine’s room about 1946 or 47. 

  1. The Ottawa Free Trader, July 18, 1913, p. 8, col. 3

News of Dayton – September 1900



The dance given by the Woodmen on Friday evening last for the benefit of one of their members, was well attended, and about $26 was realized.

Nelson Plumb, of Streator, was a visitor here on Tuesday.

The youngest child of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Clodt is very sick at this writing.

The older mill is doing a good business, and everything is lively around there.

A farewell party was given Mr. and Mrs. Miles Masters on Saturday night last, about fifty guests being present from Dayton, Wedron and Ottawa. Refreshments were served after which the host and hostess were presented with a very fine oil painting.

Mrs. H. S. Ladd, who has been visiting Mr. and Mrs. A. W. Ladd returned to her home on Wednesday at Rising City, Neb.

Miss Brennan, who has been a guest of Mr. and Mrs. McBrearty for some time, returned to Chicago Wednesday.

Miss Carrie Ward, while visiting Luther Furr and wife, of Brookfield, met with a painful, but not serious, accident on Friday last. While riding a horse a plank in the bridge broke throwing both horse and rider. Miss Ward at first thought nothing serious of the accident, and did not complain for a day or two, but finally called on Dr. Pettit, who informed her that her shoulder was dislocated, and advised her to go to the hospital at once, where she was given chloroform and the injury reset. She is resting easy at this writing.

Two new members were initiated in the Woodmen lodge last evening.

The brick mill is shut down for a few days undergoing repairs.

Mrs. James O’Meara is quite sick. Dr. Butterfield is in attendance.

Mrs. Jackson Channel is ill at her home.

Lyle Green has just finished putting up 100 tons of silo for winter use.

The grave yard is being mowed and put in shape.

We are so busy making cider it is hard for me to do justice to our Dayton items.


  1. The (Ottawa) Republican-Times, September 20, 1900, p. 4, cols. 4-5

July 4th, 1849 – News from Dayton

In July 1849, Eliza Green Dunavan and Nancy Green Dunavan took the opportunity to add to a letter David Green was writing to his father and brothers. Eliza’s husband, William, and Nancy’s husband, Albert, were with the Greens in the gold fields of California and were surely glad to get news of home.

Dear Husband haveing an opportunity of writing a few lines in Davids letter i embrace it we are spending the 4th with our friends in Dayton we are all well and have been ever since you left my health is better than it has been for two years we are getting along better than i expected we could alone[.] our crops look promising thus far I can not say enough in praise of our boys they work like men and get a long with out any trouble i send Emma Elizabeth and James to school and keep Rachel for company i must close and give room for others i will write when you get settled and give you the particulars      Eliza your affectionate wife

         Dear Husband I embrace this opportunity of writing you a few lines. David was writing and left room for us to say a few words we have all enjoyed very good health since you left and do much better than I thought we possibly could although we are very lonely. I have received four letters from you since you left and am very happy to hear that you are getting along well I hope you will continue to write whenever you have an opportunity. I am sending our four oldest children to school and the crops look well       from your affectionate wife Nancy Dunnavan                               

84 Years Ago Today in Dayton

Dayton store

On the left, behind the store, is the Dayton clubhouse

Dayton Woman’s Club Observes Anniversary of Its Founding1

The Dayton Woman’s club today had started the 26th year of its organization, with memories of the fitting observance yesterday of the silver anniversary of its founding.

The present members of the club, who include many of the 13 charter members, received 100 friends from 3 to 5 p. m. yesterday in the Dayton clubhouse, to mark the anniversary.

Silver and white appointments were used on the tea table from which the guests were served. Daises, calla lilies and white delphinium formed a centerpiece. Mesdames Ralph Green and Gilbert Masters poured.

Baskets of flowers were used about the room to create a background for the lovely event.

Piano solos were played by Miss Betty Rensch, a piano duet was played by Mary Louise Varland and Betty Follett, a vocal solo, “June Morning,” was sung by Miss Ida Chamberlain and a violin solo was played by Marjorie Williamson, accompanied by her mother, Mrs. Ernest Williamson.

Painting Given

A painting of Wallace Nutting’s was presented to the club by Mrs. Bert Tuttle in memory of Mrs. Fannie Osbourne. A tribute was given Mrs. Osbourne by Mrs. E. C. Cleary. The presentation was made to Mrs. Arthur Retz, president of the club.

Of interest to the guests was a picture on exhibit of the home of Mrs. Rush Green, now destroyed by fire, in which the club was organized 25 years ago.

Honored yesterday were the following past presidents of the club: Mesdames Gilbert Masters, Dan Hallowell, Ben Chamberlain, Will Fleming and Miss Maud Green. They were given special badges and also were in the receiving line, as was Miss Jennie Fraine.

Charter Members

Among the 13 charter members of the club present were: Mesdames Masters, Hallowell and Misses Jennie and Emma Fraine.

The guests included Mrs. B. O. Benson of Tampa, Fla., a guest of Mrs. John Smith of Wedron; Mrs. Annie Barnes of Boston, a guest of Miss Jennie Barnes and Mrs. Carrie Green; Mrs. Barbara Masters of Chicago, a guest of Miss Maud Green; Mrs. Emily Brown and daughter Ethel of Oak Park; and others from Ottawa, Grand Ridge, Harding, Wedron and Marseilles.

The celebration was in general charge of Mesdames Charles Clifford, Arthur Retz, Ralph Green, Will Ryan and Misses Jennie and Emma Fraine and Maud Green.

The first meeting of the group in its 26th year will take place Wednesday, June 29, in the club house, which the organization constructed in 1923 and 1924.

The club was founded June 13, 1913, to promote sociability, discuss subjects relating to a betterment of the community and provide amusement and recreation.

  1. Ottawa Republican-Times, June 15, 1938, p6

Early June in Dayton

Rural Happenings

Dayton, June 5. – The late rains have raised the river somewhat. Fishing is some better than it was before the rain. Lots of people come to enjoy piscatorial sports. A few bring tents and camp out for a few days, but as soon as a tent is pitched, we notice the mercury in the thermometer begins to move toward zero, so camping out has been so far a wretched cold business.

Query: “If Park Reed still continues to seine, what has become of the Ottawa Fish Protective Association?”

Mr. Harry Green departed last Tuesday on a wool-buying trip near Mendota.

J. Green’s horse which was supposed to have been stolen from the stable last Saturday night, was taken up as an estray by Mr. Jos. Hall, four miles north-west of town, and returned to Mr. Green last Wednesday. The horse had broken his halter and walked off.

Mr. W. B. Roberts, with A. Reed & Sons, Chicago, was in town Wednesday.

Mr. Wm. George, Miss Ida George, and Miss Helen Tarket, all of Leland, were visiting at D. Green’s a few days last week.

Miss Carrie Stowell of Bloomington, is visiting her sister Mrs. J. Wright.

Mr. Jos. Green returned last Saturday from a wool buying excursion near Washburne. Mr. Burtie Stadden, formerly of this place but now of Wenona, accompanied him for a few days visit with his little Dayton friends.

The musical Union at their meeting last week chose the following officers for the ensuing term: president, Chas. K. Howard; secretary and treasurer, Miss Reed; Leader, Chas. Green; organist, Jennie Dunavan.

Universalist services next Sunday evening by Rev. Mrs. Gibb.

Rev. G. B. Barnes, of Ottawa, preaches at the school house this evening. Mr. B. delivered an excellent sermon at his last appointment, being a forcible argument in favor of Christianity.1

  1. The Ottawa Free Trader, June 7, 1879, p. 8, col. 1

Drama in Dayton

An evening of entertainment at the Dayton school house

A large audience assembled at the school house last Saturday evening to witness the presentation of the drama, “The Lost Children,” by the Musical Union, assisted by others of the home talent. Considerable pains had been taken to make this closing entertainment a complete success and the members of the company exerted themselves to their utmost to secure that end and acquit themselves creditably. The words of the play were all well memorized and the parts were finely sustained.

The characters of Jamie and Lily, “the lost children,” were performed in an excellent manner by little Eddie Hess and Gertie Howard, who entered into the spirit of the play and were highly encored by their appreciative listeners.

The prologue and epilogue by Eddie and the tableaux in which Gertie figured beautifully as the Goddess of Liberty, capped the climax of their success.

William Dunavan as Mr. Manly, Cora Green as Mrs. Manly, and Dessie Root as Bridget sustained their parts admirably. The other characters of the play, Jennie Dunavan as Miss Fitzallen, William Davis as Mr. Bonville, James Green as Town Crier, Chas. Green as Watchman, and William Holton as Dick, played their parts well.

The squad of soldiers under the command of Thomas Howard was a novel feature in our home theatricals, and the drill and the military tableaux were considered very fine.

The minstrels deserve a word of praise for their funny efforts.

The singing between the scenes by the chorus of young girls was quite good and their selections appropriate.

All in all the drama was quite a success and is highly satisfactory to the management. The members of the Union desire to return thanks to Capt. S. R. Blanchard, of Ottawa, for his kindness in fitting out the military scene, which made the drama quite effective, to Mr. Thos. Howard and others for their kind assistance in presenting the drama, and to Wright’s orchestra for their excellent music.1

For those of us unlucky enough to have missed this outstanding production, this newspaper description of another presentation of the play gives an idea of the action:

The opening scene takes place in the parlor of Manly Hall. Mrs. Manly tells Bridget (who has an endless story about “my father”) to dress the children and let them out to play. The children dressed, the lady with matronly solicitude tells them above all things not to run after the soldiers.

The next scene opens with a most imposing array of soldiers, neatly dressed in dark blue cloth with white facings. The men were put through the manual exercise and company drill and then marched and counter-marched followed alas! by Lillie and Jamie, now as the reader will see, two lost children. Fortunately a sailor boy on his way to his vessel stumbles across the lost ones in the street and finding that they only know that their names were Lillie and Jamie, and that “pa’s name is pa”, and “ma’s name is ma”, he takes them to his home and leaves them with his mother.

Meanwhile the frantic father has enlisted a watchman and the town crier into his service but no signs of the children can be found. A report however comes that a sailor was seen carrying two children off to sea. The upshot is that the sailor is found, brought before Mr, Manly who seizes him by the throat. Fortunately the sailor’s mother enters with the two children and all is explained. The sailor refuses to take any reward; Bridget tries to tell a wonderful tale about “my father’’ and all ends well.2

  1. Ottawa Free Trader, May 7, 1881, p. 8, col. 1
  2. Passaic (New Jersey) Daily Times, December 20, 1884. p. 2, col. 2

Croquet Games and More – A View of Dayton Social Life

croquet player

Dayton, May 8, 1879. – The weather during the past week has been quite cool. Small fruit is doubt injured somewhat, but it is to be hoped no great damage will be done. The frost’s come like the Dutch girl’s beau, “efery evening, mine sweet sourcrout.”

J. Green & Sons have the Woolen Mills refitted, and are now ready for custom work, manufacturing goods on shares, &c. They will also pay the market price in cash for a limited amount of wool.

Messrs. Zearing & Row, and Basil Green will finish at the culvert this week or next. Two large coal beds have been opened on Mr. Green’s land, enough coal to supply the town for some time.

Mr. Martin Wilkie has commenced the erection of a dwelling house on his property south of his present residence.

The tile machine with brick attachment arrived this week, and D. Green & Son say they will be making first class brick in about a week. It is generally conceded that the clay around Dayton is of an excellent quality and will make good substantial brick and tile.

Mr. W. R. Roberts with A. Reed & Sons, Reed’s Temple of Music, Chicago, was in town last Saturday.

Prof. Newberry has two schools at Hinckley, Ill. He sends his best regards to the Union, and wishes it success.

D. L. Grove is laid up with a severe attack of erysipelas.

Miss Clara Grove of Rutland is spending a few days in town.

Quite a number of our young folks gathered at the pleasant and commodious residence of O. W. Trumbo, Esq., last Wednesday, to celebrate the birthday of Miss Josie Green. Croquet and other games were engaged in on the pleasant lawn adjoining the residence, but as overcoats and mittens were needed and the party did not come prepared with those convenient articles, the games were adjourned and all gathered around a good, comfortable fire. After an excellent repast, prepared in honor of the occasion by Mrs. Trumbo, the party scattered; some to tune their voices for the meeting of the Union, others ascended to the balcony and enjoyed the beautiful prospect. May Miss Josie have many happy returns of the day, was the wish of her many friends.


  1. Ottawa Free Trader, May 10, 1879, p. 8, col. 1

A Trip to The Court House

Ottawa Courthouse

Ottawa Courthouse

The following column is reprinted from volume 3 of the 1953-54 publication, The Dayton News Reel, produced by the students of the Dayton School.

The seventh and eighth grades are studying county, city and state government in civics, and in connection with that visited the Court House in Ottawa on January 14.

They visited the Sheriff’s office, the office of County Recorder and there saw the photostat machine at work and the addressograph machine being worked.

We learned of the work of the County Recorder and how the records of the county real estate, deeds, mortgages, etc are kept.

We were given a photostat copy of a chattel mortgage and watched a plate made for the addressograph machine and were given a copy of the work done by this machine.

We went to the County Clerk’s Office and learned how the records of births,  marriages and deaths are kept, and were given a demonstration of how a delayed birth certificate may be secured from these records.  Connie Krug’s record was looked up and we saw the information available when needed.

We also saw the jury box and the names in it which may be drawn for jury duty as needed. The County Clerk has the only key to this box.

We saw the files where the permanent registrations are kept for voting privileges, the books which are sent to the precincts on voting days, and the files for those who have not voted for four years and where the registrations of deceased persons are kept.

We saw where the Board of County Supervisors hold their meetings, where the Board of Review meets.

We witnessed a class of twenty-seven persons from LaSalle County, Grundy County and Bureau County receive the oath of allegiance to the United States. They had fulfilled all the legal requirements for naturalization previous to this final step. Following the oath of allegiance short speeches were made by representatives of the following organizations:
The American Legion
Veterans of Foreign Wars
Daughters of the American Revolution
War Mothers
Relief Corps
La Salle County Bar Association
Dept of Naturalization and Immigration
Judge Zearing of the District Court

Following the oath of allegiance the pledge to the flag was repeated, the new citizens were given their naturalization papers, other patriotic material including flags, and were taken to the office of County Clerk where they registered as voters for their respective counties.