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.

Occasional1


  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.

A Card and Dancing Party at the Dayton Club House

Dayton
by Mrs. Grace MacGrogan

DAYTON WOMAN’S CLUB HOSTESS AT PUBLIC PARTY

Members of the Dayton Woman’s club were hostesses Friday evening at a card and dancing party in the Dayton club house. The early part of the evening was spent playing games of bridge, five hundred, and euchre. Favors were awarded, Mrs. Earl Gardner and John Jackson in bridge; to Mrs. Ada Hallowell and Sam Buckingham in five hundred, and to Gladys Lattimore and Glen Nelson in euchre. A four piece orchestra furnished music for dancing at the conclusion of the card games. The committee in charge of the arrangements was comprised of Mrs. Earl Gardner, Mrs. Harold Schilling, and Mrs. Benson Chamberlain.1

Dayton store

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


  1. Ottawa Republican-Times, March 16, 1934, p. 2, col. 4

March 8, 1884 – News From Dayton

dance party

From Dayton

Dayton, March 4, ’84. – The young folks sent out about twenty-five invitations last week for a social party at the residence of H. B. Williams, Esq., in East Ottawa of Friday evening, Feb. 29. Messrs. John Hall, Chas. Green and Wm. Dunavan were the invitation committee, and Messrs. C. B. Hess and S. W. Dunavan were floor managers. About twenty couples were present and all had a very enjoyable time. Two large parlors had been prepared for dancing, the floors nicely waxed, and everything was in good trim. The music by Prof. Cliff G. Sweet and wife of Aurora, consisting of violin and harp, was excellent and was greatly enjoyed by all present. For good first class music, new changes and delicious waltzes, they cannot be excelled and we can heartily recommend them to parties desiring such music. At a late hour the guests retired thanking Mr. and Mrs. W. for their kind hospitality and for the pleasant time they had had. The following guests were present: Prof. and Mrs. C. W. Tufts; Mr. and Mrs. T. E. MacKinlay; Mr. and Mrs. C. B. Hess; Misses Stout, Misses Angevine, Misses Dunavan, Misses Watts, Craig, Barnes, Marriner, Misses Childs, Misses Loy and others. Messrs. Angevine, Trumbo, Hall, Mitchell, Butters, Dunaway, Flick, Clauson, Messrs. Green, Messrs. Dunavan and others.

            The paper mill after being shut down for three months, will start up this week.

            The tile works have opened a coal mine across the feeder from their works and will mine their own coal this season. The coal and fire clay will be run across and delivered at the works in cars.

            Two pet bears passed through town last Saturday and greatly amused the boys with their tricks.1


  1. The (Ottawa, Illinois) Free Trader, March 8, 1884, p. 8, col. 1

My Dayton Childhood

My great-aunt Maud was a large part of my childhood. She lived nearby and I spent a lot of my early years following her around.

One Sunday afternoon in July 1947 she thought of several ways to amuse an eight-year old. As she wrote down for me later:

Today Candace and I measured the old elm tree in the back yard planted by my father in 1853. It was thirty feet around at the base. Then we counted my cousins on both Green & Trumbo sides. There were 62 Greens and 31 Trumbos (first cousins) and they had 198 children who would be second cousins to Candace’s mother.

As you can see, she was interested in family connections and I can remember drawing family trees on the back of old rolls of wallpaper at her direction.

She knew how to fold paper into miraculous shapes and forms. We made cornstalks out of newspaper and boats out of typing paper. There was one paper folded boat that went through many forms along the way – a pocket book, a picture frame, a double boat and finally a motorboat. We made nose pinchers, cornucopias for May Day, and lots of other things.

She showed us how to make hollyhock weddings, with a white flower turned upside down, with a bud as a head, for the bride and colorful bridesmaids to accompany her. See an example here.

Sunday dinner began with my father killing a chicken and delivering it to aunt Maud. She would pluck it and clean it, carefully pointing out the gallbladder attached to the liver and warning that breaking it would release bile which would ruin the meal. After the feet were cut off, we had the fun of pulling the tendons to make the toes flex.

She was the unofficial historian of Dayton and knew all the families for miles around. And of course (see above) she was related to almost all of them. I was fortunate to inherit all her family information and her photographs of early Dayton, most of which appear around this web site. I owe a great deal of thanks to this much-loved aunt.

A 1917 Valentine’s Party

DAYTON CLUB AT SCHMIDT HOME

Valentine Party Held at Residence of Prominent Couple – Many Novel Features Introduced.

            Mr. and Mrs. Henry Schmidt gave a valentine party Wednesday evening to the Dayton Homemakers’ Circle and their families, numbering about sixty. Their home was like a fairy bower, each room being most artistically festooned in green and white, with red hearts hanging daintily about. Each guest was presented with a festal cap, the gentlemen wearing the high-pointed tasseled ones, and the ladies turbans of many hues. They were very picturesque and added great merriment to the entire evening. All these decorations were the work of the skillful hands of Mrs. Schmidt.

            Miss Marie Schmidt played a very pretty piano solo, after which the time was devoted to merry making.

            All were requested to write a sentence, each word beginning with the successive letters in the word heart. The ladies prize was won by Miss Lillian Arentsen and the gentleman’s by Mr. Louis Belrose. Broken hearts which were mended, formed the words of some familiar songs and the holders of the fragments were required to sing the songs together. This brought to notice many voices that had never been before the footlights, conspicuously among them the rich tenor of Frank Beach as it rose and fell with feeling in “The Old Camp Ground.”

            The men’s contest in heart dice was won by Paul Schmidt, who made the entire word with one toss. His unusual skill is attributed to the military training of the Ottawa high school.

            The grab-bag created a search for the bleeding heart, which was found by Miss Olmstead, and her reward was a box of candy.

            To test the memory of the married man, the left hand of his one-time bride was held beneath a white curtain, where he might recognize the wedding ring. Only one man was equal to the task and he was quite newly wed.

            In the dining room hung the great cushioned heart covered with valentine hearts and each lady was taken before this blindfolded and given an arrow with which to pierce a heart. This bore the name of a man who came bravely forward, read the beautiful sentiment inscribed therein and claimed the lady for his Valentine, to share with him the feast which followed. Here nothing was omitted, from chicken salad to ice cream hearts. And amidst it all one heard the voice of Henry Schnidt as he softly whispered the motto on his candy heart.

            The cheer of the occasion made the old grow young, and even Charles Olmstead was heard to express the pleasure he had received from the companionship of youth.

            The Dayton Homemakers thank Mr. and Mrs. Schmidt for the royal manner in which they were entertained and the evening of February 14, 1917, will be one of the memories which never fade.

Agreement to Adventure

In February of 1849, the Greens had decided to go to the California gold fields. Young Torkel Erickson was drawn by the idea of adventure and wanted to join the westward rush. The problem  was how to afford the trip and how to travel with others for protection.

This was solved when the Greens offered to include him in their party, providing he would work his way. The result was an agreement signed by both parties wherein the Greens agreed to furnish provisions and ammunition to get to the Sacramento valley of California, furnish provision, tools, and ammunition for one year after commencing work at gathering gold, and pay all necessary expenses on the trip.

In return Torkel Erickson, in the document above, agrees to assist in driving the teams going to California, and to give the Greens one half of the proceeds of his earnings or labor for one year after they commence work, at gathering gold or any other business in California.

He additionally agrees to compensate the Greens if he is unable to work for any considerable length of time due to sickness or any other cause; the compensation to be based on the price for labor in the immediate area. The agreement was written up and signed in the presence of two witnesses.

The Greens proceeded with their arrangements for the trip and were ready to set out for California leaving Ottawa on April 2 on the Timoleon which they chartered to take them through to St. Joseph, on the Missouri river. No other men had yet offered to work for their passage, but three men must have decided at the last minute to go along. The agreements with Jackson Beem, Erick Erickson, and Alanson Pope were written and signed on April 3, presumably on the boat.

Don’t Believe Everything You Read in the Journal

man reading newspaper

From Dayton1
     December 28, 1893

            We do not take the Ottawa Journal, but a friend seeing an account of our Christmas entertainment and knowing it to be untrue, sent us the paper, and, being an eye witness, we will take the trouble to give a true account, as there is great injustice done in naming those that were no more to blame than other boys that began the disturbance by throwing paper wads at Shauner, who was under the influence of liquor but probably would have made no disturbance, as he was sitting quietly, instead of calling names, as the Journal says. The whole commotion lasted but a few minutes and, aside from a rush to rid the house before there was danger of anything insulting or disgraceful, the exercises were not delayed at all and nothing further was heard in the house.

We were very sorry to have had anything unpleasant occur, but as every one leaving and the entertainment broken up is a falsehood, fabricated by some malicious person or want of a sensational article for a paper like the Journal.

Our school is taught by W. S. Moore, principal, and Miss Carrie Barnes, assistant, with an attendance of over eighty.

Our principal was called home today to attend the funeral of a cousin in Troy Grove.

Mr. B. Green is getting ready for spring work by putting in a new Brewer tile machine which will increase his capacity for manufacturing one half.

Mr. Hoxie, from Nebraska, carried off one of our young ladies, Miss Nora Breese, on Xmas day. She will be missed by all and all wish them happiness.

No sickness in our town.

OCCASIONAL


  1. The Free Trader, December 30, 1893, p. 4, col. 5

Christmas Programs in Dayton – 1931 and 1955

School Christmas program

I have no pictures of the 1931 celebration described below, but here is a picture from the 1955 school pageant. It, too, was held in the Dayton clubhouse.

Program Given at Community Party at Dayton1

Decorated Christmas trees and red and green streamers formed an attractive setting in the Dayton Community hall, Saturday evening for the annual Christmas party sponsored by the Dayton Woman’s club.

One hundred and seventy-five guests were served cafeteria style at the community supper at 7:30 o’clock.

An interesting program of vocal, piano and dance numbers was presented by a group from the vicinity of Dayton. The program consisted of the following numbers: piano solo, Dorothy Mitchell; song, Mrs. T. J. Cruise, Miss Anna Cruise and Will Breese; solo, Will Breese; duet, Mrs. T. J. Cruise and Miss Cruise; reading, Zelda Garrow; solo, Billy Gardner; solo dance, Dorothy Mitchell; acrobatic dance, Della Tohella; Christmas song, Mrs. Benson Chamberlin; cornet solo, Walter Anderson; solo, Alden Garrow; solo, Earl Gardner; solo, Nicholas Parr.

An orchestra furnished tunes for old time and modern dances at the conclusion of the program.

The committee in charge was comprised of Mrs. Arthur Retz, Mrs. Thomas Waldron, Mrs. Alvin Hepner and Miss Emma Fraine.


  1. Ottawa Republican-Rimes, December 28, 1931

News From February 1888

 

sleigh

THE COUNTY
Dayton Dottings

Dayton, Ill., Feb. 7 – Another fine snow storm has commenced this morning which will make the sleighing still better. It has been excellent this winter, and during the past few weeks the weather has been warm enough to make sleighing thoroughly enjoyable. We have a very fine drive from here to Ottawa on the feeder, and as the ice is about 18 inches thick it is perfectly safe. The young people have been improving the times with sleighing parties in the surrounding neighborhood. They had a very enjoyable party a week or two ago at the large and commodious residence of Lew Robinson, Esq., in Rutland township, and last week they were entertained by Mr. and Mrs. H. B. Williams, of Ottawa.

A. W. Ladd is operator now for the “Q.”

The paper mill expects to get started this week or next. The state’s men have been busy during the past two weeks stopping a leak in the bank near the flume.

The tile works are having a good many tile hauled out of their yard this winter, and their stock is beginning to get low. They are getting ready to do a good business the coming season.

Recent letters from Dayton boys in Kansas say that they are having warm weather at Kinsley, and at Fort Scott the frost is out and farmers are getting ready for spring work. Kansas winters, it seems, are quite severe, but not so long as those of Illinois.

We recently learned of the good fortune of Mr. Woolsey, formerly an old resident of the northwest portion of our township, but making his home during the past four years near San Diego, Cal. He bought about 20 acres of land at $70 per acre, and commenced putting it in fruit trees. Within a short time he got discouraged and wrote to his friend, Irenus Brower, Esq., (everybody knows that whole souled man) offering to sell out to him for cost. Mr. Brower let the opportunity pass by, and now he is ready to kick himself all over the county, for Mr. Woolsey was offered $1,000 per acre for that identical land this winter.

The roller mill is doing a booming business this winter grinding for farmers. They ground over two thousand bushels of custom work last month.

Geo. M. Dunavan, Esq., and family, old residents of this township, are now living near Wellington, Kas. His sons are scattered. Ed. is at home, Frank is in the Indian Territory, Charlie is in Central City, Col., and Silas is in South America. Belle and Cora are at home. We hope they will get together some time and revisit their old friends and acquaintances in Dayton.

Mrs. M. D. Skinner and Miss Della, and Mr. Chas. Snydam, of north of Somonauk, were visiting at Mr. Chas. Green’s last week.

Mrs. Stowell, of Bloomington, is visiting her sister, Mrs. John F. Wright.

Mrs. and Miss Davis, of Maine, mother and sister of Ira W. Davis, Esq., are keeping house for him since the death of his wife.

Mrs. Jennie Martell, of Chicago, is visiting her parents and friends in Dayton. We understand her and her husband will soon make their future home in Saratoga, N. Y.

Mr. J. A. Dunavan, of Rutland township, will hold a public sale on Thursday of this week, and about March 1st he and his family will remove to Colorado, near Sterling, where they will make their future home.

Our schools are prospering under the instruction of Mr. A. E. Butters and Miss Etta M. Barnes.

Occasional1


  1. The (Ottawa, IL) Free Trader, February 11, 1888, p. 2, col. 4

It Was Hot 140 Years Ago Today, Too

Rural Happenings1

Dayton, Aug. 3. – Hot, hotter, hottest, 100 in the shade.

The tile works shipped three car loads of tile to Serena this week. They are building up a fine reputation for first class hard drain tile, and have an ever-increasing demand for them.

The vote at the school house last Saturday evening on the question of authorizing the directors to issue bonds for the construction of a new school building, was lost by a small majority. Goodbye, new school house.

Misses Hattie and Belle Brown of Newark, Ill., were visiting Miss Cora Green last week.

A frenchman working on the section had his finger badly mashed while coming home on a late train last Saturday evening. The car door was closed on his finger, and the noise of the train prevented him from being heard until the bone was broken and the finger badly crushed.

Mr. H. B. Williams started last Tuesday on a trip to northern Iowa.

Miss Hattie Edwards, of Mendota, is visiting Miss Cora Green.

Mr. and Mrs. C. B. Hess departed yesterday for Macomb, to attend the golden wedding of a cousin.

Miss Dessie Root closed her school at Wedron last Saturday with a pleasant little picnic in the grove.

The young folks picnicked at Deer Park last week. Notwithstanding the dust and heat they claim to have had a very enjoyable time.

The woolen mill runs a few hours in the evening besides their day’s work.

The river falls quite slowly. A few nice fish are being caught.


  1.  Ottawa Free Trader, August 6, 1881, p. 8, col. 2

Library Books, Oyster Suppers, and More

From the Ottawa Free Trader, December 7, 1878

                                                            Dayton, Nov. 27, 1878

            Since “Sleesel” has stopped writing, Dayton has been without representation in your valuable paper, and we think it is time for an article from our quiet town.

            Perhaps it is generally known that the woolen mill has been sold, and that Mr. Jesse Green was the buyer, so it is needless to say anything about that. Mr. Green is taking out the lower floor, and will fill in with dirt and stones.

            The public school, under the management of Miss F. A. Mott, is progressing finely. Our people consider her a No. 1 teacher.

            Although our town has no churches, yet for the past two months we have had religious services averaging once a week, and for the past year Universalist services every two weeks. Last week we were treated to an excellent discourse by Rev. M. Barnes, Congregationalist minister at Ottawa. An effort is being made to have him preach in this place next year as often as he can come.

            Last Saturday evening an oyster supper was held at the commodious residence of Mr. Geo. Dunavan, northwest of town, for the benefit of Mrs. Gibb. A large number were in attendance, about eighty-four taking supper. A notable feature of the evening’s entertainment was Prof. (ess) Mott’s Art Gallery, which, through the pluck and perseverance of the Prof., netted eight dollars for the church. It is seldom so many people get together and have such a good time as all seemed to have on that occasion. The Universalist people were well satisfied with their entertainment, as it netted them thirty-seven dollars.

            Harry, Joseph and James Green leave next week for Aurora, where they are to attend school.

            The Literary meets Friday evening to re-organize and adopt a new constitution. A committee has been appointed to procure more books for the library.

                                                                        Occasional

On this day in 1888 in Dayton

Image by Noël BEGUERIE from Pixabay

Dayton Doings

            The river is about dried up, there being no water running over the dam for two days. We do not recollect of its ever being so low during the month of June, and hope that some timely rains may come and put more water into the stream.

            Conductor Williams of “Billy’s” train on the main line of the “Q,” Crooker of Mendo, and others are camping out near the dam.

            Mr. William Dunavan, of Kinsley, Kansas, came home last week for a week’s visit. He has become a full fledged Westerner and swears by Kansas, which State he says, is bound to have a big boom this fall. Now is the time to invest in cheap lands.

            Mrs. John Gibson, of Eldorado, Kansas, daughter of Basil Green, Esq., is visiting relatives and friends in Dayton and vicinity.

            Mr. and Mrs. Chas. Green attended the commencement exercises of the Leland high school last Friday evening.

            Our public schools closed last Friday, and the pupils are now enjoying their summer vacation.

            Prof. Butters started with the Ottawa military company (of which he is a member) to Springfield to spend a week camping out under military discipline. He has given excellent satisfaction as a teacher, but we learn that he will not return next year as he has other plans in view.

            The Paper Co. are getting to plenty of baled straw and are running right along. The prospects at present are that there will be plenty of straw in the country for them after harvest.

            A few of our citizens and their ladies attended the excursion and picnic at Deer Park last Sunday. They say there were about 5000 people there.

            Joe Green says his strawberry crop was almost a failure this season, as he did not get one-fifth as many berries as last year. The dry season last year killed out a large number of his best plants. He is not discouraged, however, but says he will erect pumping works and irrigate with river water another season.

            Kent Green is studying law with Griggs & Allen in Ottawa.

            D. L. Grove, Esq., of Ottawa, was in town on business last Saturday.

            The new brick company are making arrangements for shipping clay, and will soon be grinding and shipping twenty tons per day. They expect to manufacture brick and other ware also, and we hope the new Co. may prove to be one of our substantial institutions.

            The seventeen year locusts are very numerous in our woods and are beginning to be very noisy. Will Dunavan has pickled a few in alcohol to take to Kansas with him. He will place them on exhibition and see how they compare with the original Kansas “hopper.”

            The news of Harrison’s nomination was received here with no enthusiasm by the members of his party. As one of the Chicago delegates remarked, “they did not want to vote for a pair of dudes like Harrison and Norton, but live men like Gresham, Sherman, &c.” Harrison will do for a clean candidate, but his Chinese records, and his free whisky platform, together with the Cleveland rose and the red bandanna, will “bury him deeply down” in the ides of November, and the Democrats will win by a popular majority of a million votes.

            Boss Blaine had almost entire control of the Convention, and at a word of assent could have received the nomination, but chose to give it to his friend Harrison, as he saw no possibility of electing a Republican President. Harrison controlled the Indiana machine, but has been defeated every time he has asked the suffrage of the people. Query – can he beat his record?

                                                                                                Occasional

Ottawa [IL] Free Trader, June 30, 1888

News of Dayton – 1850

Pages 1 and 4 of a letter from Josiah Shaver to Jesse Green

                                                                                                                                                Ottawa, Illinois Feb 6th 1850

Mr. Jesse Green Esqr.

                Dear Cousin

                                I am seated for the first time to address you since you left us. But we were very sorry to see in your last of Nov. 8 ’49 to E. Trumbo stating that up to that time you had not heard a word from home. (which letter came in Ottawa on the 26th of Jan ’50 with many more, one for your wife of an earlier date, and some for the Mrses Dunavans) I hardly know where to commence in giving you the news, for I expect that your folks have written of events as they transpired, and much that I may write will likely be no news to you but thinking that perhaps you will not receive all I will commence back at the time of your departure and come up as near correct as my memory will serve me. The first item of importance is the cholera which scared the folks more than it hurt them. It made its appearance in Ottawa in the fore part of June. Never was there such a cleaning of the St.s and renovating and white-washing of houses & cellars before in that place which fortunately cept it from raging very much about, but 30 or 40 died with it there and many of them caught it on the canal. The Country folks never stoped going in on buissiness. The folks in Dayton were perty badly scared at one time being so many in one house. They feared if it got among them that it would make bad work. But fortunatley they were joyfully disappointed (for they expected it) for there was but one case in Dayton and that was Cousin David thought that he had every symptom of it, but by using the cholera medicine he soon was as well as ever. It did not cramp him. Aunt Anna Groves died with it Aug 8th ’49. She took it and had not been exposed to it in any way, and in a few days Aunt Trumbo took it but was soon relieved. That is all of the connections that suffered any with it. Colman Olmstead’s wife and two oldest daughters died with it, also Jesse Johnson’s wife and oldest girl. (Colman is married again to his wife’s cister, an old maid)

It was much worse in Peru at one time in July it was nearly deserted all kinds of buissiness stopped for a few days. Here it was but a short time that they feared it. Your son Byron died on the 6th of may ’49. He was sensible until the last he wanted to be carried across the room but a few minutes before he expired. We had great trouble with the seed corn, almost all had to plant over from once to three times, which cept very backward until quite late but we had such an extraordinarily good fall that corn was first rate, wheat on an average both Spring and winter was scarcely a half crop. Potatoes, tolerable good, rot doing but little damage. Corn market last summer ranged at one time from .30 to .37 cts pr. Bush, and came down to 2 shillings at which price it readily sells for now in the ear. Wheat market was up last fall to 5 and 6 shillings pr. Bushl and then fell and was very low until lately. It is worth now best qual .75 cts pr. B. Pork was very dull from $1.75 to 2.50 pr. Hund. Lbs. Ottawa has improved very fast this last summer. We had a delightful warm and dry fall until the 25th of Nov. when winter set in but we have had a pleasant winter this far. Some snow which made good sleighing for two or three weeks. For the last two weeks it has been quite warm and windy, but it is colder today. The ice has started in the river. W. Irwin, Commision merchant of Ottawa (Eaton Goodel’s brother-in-law) went to Chicago last June and there entered his passage on a vessel for the lumber country, as he intended to purchase some lumber to bring home with him, and that was the last track that could be got of him all supposed that he was murdered or fell overboard in the night as the officers of the boat could tell nothing about him, all was mystery until lately when a Mr. Kellog returned from California and said that he saw him in Sanfrancisco, and a few days ago they got a letter from him. It is supposed that he got scared too soon. (he ran from debt.) A. W. Magill of Ottawa failed this fall. His store was sold at auction. The California Fever is raging this winter as bad as last if not worse, although Elias Trumbo and David and I have not got it so bad but I do sincerely wish that I had of went with you. George & Theodore Gibson are going. Aaron Daniels & John Holkan are using every effort to make a raise to go, the Connord boys are going. All intend to go with the oxen. In fact they are going from all over the country. Alison & Ralph Woodruff & Jo. Hall started a month ago, and Ralph died in Peoria in a drunken fit, and the others came back on account they say that they would have to lay too long at the isthmus. George Galloway with a number of them on that side are going to start soon. Our Township Organization caried unaminous. The commissioners are now laying out their boundaries, and in April we elect our officers which is some 14 or 15 in each town. I can’t give you the boundaries of them as they are fractions and will be attached, to some other and the commissioners have not got this far along. The banc of Marseilles has gone the way of all the living. Old L. Kimble died this last fall with an old complaint. Jack Trumbo had been in Cincinatti over a year, studying to be a physician when the cholera broke out there and he started for home, and died with it near the mouth of the Ohio river, and his father went in the fall and took him up and brought him to Ottawa for interment. The connections here have been unusually healthy since you left, your folks have got along very well as far as I know. They all remain in the big brick house. Their greatest anxiety is for your welfare which is often increased by the long space of time between letters, as I will tell you by and by. You will have to try for a large lump or your wife will beat you, as she found over a 7 pounder. The married part of the emigrants have generally left their representatives they range from a month to 8 weeks of age, yours is a fine daughter about 6 weeks old wife and child well. Tell George & Albert that their wives can present them with a Son each

Tell Snelling that his wife has a daughter also. All are well and doing well. Mrs. Zeluff is in the same fix. (Surely the idea of California is quite prolific.) Eliza Gibson had a young daughter. So much for the live stock. Rachel & Rebecca have been on a visit to their Unkle William Greens this winter for 6 or 8 weeks. They were all well and his oldest daughter come home with them and is there now. David is not running the factory this winter and he thinks that it will hardly quit expense in the winter. Old man Hite gets along very well. They all think a great deal of him the girls say he is so good and fatherly that they can’t help but like him. Ben is living with David and talks some of California. Feb 13th river closed up again roads have been excellent for the last 2 weeks neither snow nor rain, excellent, winter weather. Winter wheat looks fine yet. Grain is on the raise wheat 80 cts corn 28 cts They say that the California gold has made quite a visible change on real estate and in the markets in N.Y.

                We but seldom hear from you. We heard tolerably regular from you until you left Fort Hall and then it was over 3 months before we got any more, which you wrote about 300 miles from the diggings, then the next was when you got through which was some 8 weeks after incoming. We were glad to hear of your success in getting through, and in your first adventures in the diggings, and may you continue to be successful until, as the song goes “now I’ve got all I want I cannot lift any more &.c.” Tell Snelling his folks are all well and John gets along as well as well as could be expected. I will write to him soon. Please write soon. Tell Joseph a line from him would be thankfully received. My respects to you all.

                                                                                From your affectionate cousin   J. R. Shaver

Mr. Jesse Green Esqr

Feb 20 This leaves us all well. I have not got a line from any since you left.  J. R. Shaver    write soon

Dayton in the 1850 census

On November 8, 1850, the census taker enumerated the village of Dayton. Here’s what he found.

There were 85 residents, 17 female 0-16; 25 females 19-71; 19 male 0-17; 24 males 18-72

The breakdown by last name:
Stadden 15
Turner 10
Green 9
Johnson 8
Dunavan 7
Gibson 4
Carter 3
Crossley 3
Ford 3
Makinson 3
Stickley 3
Wheatland 3
Goodrich 2
Jacobson 2
Beamen, Davis, Dyson, George, Hite, Jacob, Jacobs, Lockard, McCoy, and Samson were represented by one each.

By birthplace:
US 58
—-Ohio 18
—-Pennsylvania 5
—-Virginia 4
—-New York 3
—-Vermont 3
—-Maine 2
—-New Hampshire 1
—-no state specified 22
Norway 13
England 9
Ireland 4
Wales 1

by occupation:
farmer 2
gunsmith 1
laborer 1
woolen manufacture 6
Methodist clergy 1
miller 7
shoemaker 1
wagon maker 1

2 couples were married in the pastyear
16 attended school

Tavern Stand to Let

The Subscriber offers to let that well known TAVERN STAND, 7 miles from Ottawa, on the road leading from Ottawa to Chicago. Attached to the tavern, is a tract of land, containing 10 acres, on which are erected a large barn, and other convenient out-houses, together with a fine Young Orchard of apple, peach, and cherry trees, which yield annually an abundance of fruit.

Possession will be given by the first of March. Persons wishing to examine the property, and ascertain the terms, can do so by applying to the subscriber at Dayton, Ill’s.

W. L. DUNAVAN

January 8, 1841

Local News From Dayton

For a brief period of time, Dayton had its own newspaper, the Dayton Enterprise. It was produced by Charles Green, son of David. With his own small printing press, Charlie was reporter, editor, printer, and publisher. He was also a musician, giving lessons and conducting a singing school at the schoolhouse

The front page of the October 18, 1878, edition contains local and area news, humor, and advertising. It is a great loss that only this one issue has survived.

Page 2 of the 4 page issue provides more area news, a census of Dayton, and the premiums offered to subscribers. Coincidentally, the visiting and floral cards were printed by Charles as a sideline.

If sufficient interest is shown, pages 3 and 4 may be forthcoming at a later date.

A Day in Dayton – December 1902

Dayton

Harry Tanner is on the sick list.
A dance will be given at the Dayton dancing hall Friday, Dec 19th.
The Dayton school expects to have quite an entertainment Christmas.
John Lookland came to Dayton Sunday and went to work for Jim O’Meara Monday.
Mrs. Newton Connors, accompanied by her aunt and uncle, Mr. and Mrs. Sam Hippard, went to Minonk Monday.
Miss Nettie Couch, of Seneca, is here waiting on her sister, Mrs. John Edwards, who has been on the sick list.

Mrs Pliney Masters, who has been visiting her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Isaac Green, returned to her home in Minnesota Monday. [see photos above]

Mrs. Ed Luce and two sons and daughter-in-law and grandson, of Sears, came Tuesday to spend Christmas with relatives in Dayton.

A very sudden death occurred here Tuesday night, Mrs. Tom Hippard, who has lived here for many a year. She was feeling quite well at supper time and helped do up supper work. She was taken sick and a physician was sent for but before the physician reached her she was dead. She was a kind neighbor and liked by all who knew her. She leaves surviving her besides her husband, two daughters, Sue of this place, and Lue of Chicago, one son John and one brother, George Stover. The funeral took place from the home Thursday at 10 o’clock. Interment in Dayton cemetery.

A precious one from us is gone,
A voice we love is still,
A place is vacant in our home,
Which never can be filled.

To her rest they gently laid her
In the arms of him who gave,
She will sleep but not forever
In the cold and silent grave.

from the Ottawa Fair Dealer, December 19, 1902

Dayton was a Fishing Mecca

A Trip to Dayton

    Dayton still draws fishermen to the banks of the Fox river to angle for game fish, and most any pleasant day from 30 to 50 persons can be seen between the dam and the town waiting for “a bite.” It was the pleasure of the writer in company with Ed Chapman of Freedom to visit Dayton a few days ago. Those who have been there before will be interested in knowing that Mr. Warner,1 or “old peg leg,” as they call him, is still a familiar figure there. Regardless of his 78 years of age he sits in his boat from morning till night and with a skill that only constant practice can acquire he persuades the elusive bass to “strike” his hook and skurry off in a vain endeavor to shake loose, making the water fairly foam when he happens to be landing a big one. Mr. Warner has fished there for 20 years and everybody knows him. He fishes as a business and makes quite a nice living out of it, each morning visiting his “night lines” and picking up the cat fish that fall a victim to the bait he set for them – then spending the day in silent meditation, contentedly smoking his pipe while the water ripples by him, gently stroking the side of the boat as he makes a “cast” far out to lure in a bass, pickerel or carp.

    One incident of the trip was the sight of a drunken father and three little boys, the youngest not over five who had driven there to fish and who slept in the open air with nothing but some old pieces of blanket for a cover. The reckless actions of the father were such before he sobered up that how one or more of the children escaped drowning was a mystery.

    The old four story stone mill where in war times woolen blankets were turned out by the thousands for the soldier still stands on the river bank near town. Surface coal is still mined as in years gone by, enough to supply most of the little town and sometimes the price is as low as $1.75 per ton. The dam at Dayton is each year repaired by workmen employed by the state. As fishermen stand below it they wonder what would become of them if the old dam would suddenly give way. It has stood there 25 years, but is built in sections and is strong. Those who know the river bottom can wade to almost any part of it and “cast” their line into the deep holes where the fish stay. Sun fish can be caught by hundreds and any body can catch them – they are a lovely little fish too. But the other game fish are harder to lure to the hook and not everybody lands a big string unless the “silver hook” is resorted to. Now Ed says the only way to make a sure thing of getting lots of fish is to have “peg leg” put you onto the best holes in the river and then to have him catch them for you. But we believe that as sure a way as any is to string everything that comes in sight from gars with their sword shaped mouths to “dog fish” that nobody will eat except as a last resort – then weigh in your string and tell how many pounds you caught.

    Though the weather was cold a few good sized game fish were caught and many smaller ones. The little trip was a most enjoyable one and the pleasant quarters we had to stay added much to it. Many from Earlville are planning a trip to Dayton. The fishing should be good from now on.2

  1. Joel F. Warner, Civil War veteran, lost the lower part of his leg in an accident.
  2. Earlville Leader, May 19th, 1899, p. 4