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

Spring in Dayton – 1902

DAYTON

Farmers are about through sowing oats.

O W Trumbo began assessing this week.

School began Monday for the spring term with an enrollment of thirty-five pupils. The 7th and 8th grade pupils received from the county superintendent their record in the central examination. All passed satisfactory grades.

Mrs Chas Temple of Serena, visited Mrs Ed McClary Monday.

Mr Trumbo and Miss Maud Green attended the funeral of Mrs Bradford at Ottawa Monday.

James O’Meara Jr has recovered from a case of the mumps.

Mr Beck is enlarging and improving the appearance of his house.

Reports are that Dayton is to have an elevator.

Newton Connors is working at Wedron.

Dayton school has a base ball nine averaging 13 years of age that would like to arrange some games.

Mr McBrearty is laid up with rheumatism. His son Roy has charge of the depot.

The school trustees met with Treasurer McClary Monday.

Jas O’Meara is preparing to grind clay at the brick mill.

second correspondent

Mr Elsbury has been quite sick the past few days, but is better now.

Mr and Mrs McBrearty returned home from Marseilles Saturday where they have been visiting their daughter, Mrs Ed Emmons.

Steve Koenig returned home Friday from Ottawa where he has been visiting his aunt.

Bessie Davis is quite sick with the la grippe.

Some of the people of this place were very much excited Thursday evening. Old lady Keough started a bonfire. It got into the dry grass and was making a fair way toward her house. While she was putting it out some of her clothes got pretty badly burnt. If it had not been for the neighbors she would have been burnt up alive.

from the Ottawa Fair Dealer, April 11, 1902, p 8, col 3

Spring in Dayton – 1907

News From Dayton

Mrs. Ostrander spent Saturday in Ottawa.
Mrs. Sam Hippard is very slightly better just now.
Mrs. C. G. Wilson visited Mrs. Ostrander Friday.
Mr. Chas. Ballou was a passenger to Ottawa Saturday.
Mrs. Edward Dallam was a passenger to Ottawa Friday.
Mr. Birch is to work for Mr. McClary this coming summer.
Mr. Frain is doing considerable improving to his residence, including a new veranda.
Mr. Tom Maher and Townsend Fullerton are doing some tiling for Mr. Frank Trumbo.
The Dayton township school trustees met with the clerk, Mr. Ed McClary, Monday morning and transacted business.
Mr. Joe Hogan will move Tuesday to the farm of Mr. Frank Trumbo, to whom he has hired out for the coming year.
Mr. Clarence Doran, who has been in Joliet for the past year, is now home and will work the home farm this year.
Mrs. Rush Green and daughter Gladys went to Chicago Saturday via the Rock Island to visit her mother and sister.
Mr. Collamore and wife and grandson, Willie Kelly, went to Montgomery last Monday, probably to stay permanently.

Mrs. R. G. Trumbo came down from Mendota last Monday, where she has spent the winter with her daughter, Mrs. Will Van Etten and family.

Mr. Ray Doran and family have moved to Joliet, where he has a position with the Rock Island railroad. Mr. and Mrs. Jim Collison have moved to Joliet, also. Mr. Collison has the same work as Ray.

Mrs. Edward Dallam entertained a select party of eight last Thursday – Miss Ruth Haight and Ralph Green, Mr. and Mrs. Rush Green, Mr. and Mrs. Edward McClary. Five hundred was played and ice cream and cake were served.

Mr. Geo. Makinson, who died at the home of his daughter, Mrs. G. M. Pedersen, at Yorkville, was buried in Dayton on Saturday, March 30th. He left Dayton about 16 years ago. Previous to that he had been postmaster of Dayton for forty years. He was 81 years of age.

What narrowly escaped being a tragedy occurred in Dayton as a result of the usual April fool joke. Miss Cora Tanner, only daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Al Tanner, was accidentally shot by her cousin, Willie Luce. The shot entered at the knee, struck the patella, glanced off and is buried in the flesh. She was hastily brought to Ottawa and Dr. Hathaway made a careful examination, but says no bones are broken. They will make another examination with the X-ray on Wednesday and remove the bullet if possible. She is resting as comfortably as can be expected.

from The Ottawa Republican-Times, April 4, 1907

He Had Seen Connors

HE HAD SEEN CONNORS
How a Dayton Man Was Licked Despite a Peace Warrant

            William Brown and John Conners, of Dayton, had a difference of opinion over some matters yesterday, and, this morning William came to Ottawa and swore out a peace warrant before Justice Weeks. Dick Norris was chosen to serve the paper, and, accompanied by Brown, at once proceeded to Dayton to do so. When they came within the town lines, Brown stepped out of the buggy and walked along the towpath of the canal, while Dick whipped up his horse and trotted to the factory where Conners is employed. He did not know Conners, and, when a man passed him on a brisk walk, did not consider it his business to question his freedom.

            Arrived at the factory he was informed that Conners was not present, and, turning, drove back along the towpath to find Brown. Presently Brown came in sight holding his nose and mouth, while his face and clothing showed signs of trouble.

            “Conners wasn’t at the factory,” said Dick, “have you seen him?”

            “Yes!” exclaimed Brown, from a battered face, “I’ve seen him.”1


  1. Ottawa Free Trader, 13 May 1893, p1, col 4

Rabbits, a Dance and Thanksgiving

Dayton1

            The coal industry is still thriving in our burg.

G. G. Galloway, our enterprising manager of the electric plant, has just placed a telephone in his residence.

            It was expected that the shutting down of the brick mill so early in the season would cause a number of men and boys to lay idle until spring, but such is not the case. Our men, as well as boys, are all hustlers, and scarcely an idle man can be found on our streets.

            Mrs. E. McClary, who has had the measles for the past week, is now much better and able to be about again.

            A special school election has been called for Dec. 15th to elect a director to fill the place made vacant by J. W. Channel, now deceased.

            Mr. and Mrs. Henry Clodt have had troubles enough of their own for the past two weeks. Their oldest son, Henry, has been sick with scarlet fever for the past two weeks, and the four youngest are laid up with the measles. The house is still under quarantine.

            Mr. and Mrs. E. Hill and Miss Bartlett, of Rutland, attended the dance at Woodman hall on Thanksgiving night.

            A large gathering attended the dance at Woodman hall on Thanksgiving night, and everybody seemed to have enjoyed themselves.

            The crown in one of the kilns at the tile mill fell in one day last week, but fortunately no one was injured. The kiln was full of tile partly burned, and will necessitate the emptying of the kiln and burning the tile over again. It will be repaired at once.

            The river is at a height to harvest a good crop of ice should it freeze up in the near future.

            The old paper mill, at one time one of the greatest industries that Dayton ever had, is a thing of the past and a sight to behold. Hardly anything is left that could be carried away but the foundation, and the trust will be at no expense in clearing away the ruins.

            Joseph Barends has lost his valuable shepherd dog.

            E. Trumbo, of Rutland, is shipping cord wood from Dayton on the cars for the C., B. & Q. R. R.

            Mr. and Mrs. George A. Mills, of South Ottawa, spent Sunday with Mr. and Mrs. G. G. Galloway.

            Mr. and Mrs. Ed Emmons, of Marseilles, have been visiting Mr. and Mrs. McBrearty the past few days.

            A number of rabbits have been killed here the past week.

            Wm. Hanna and family have removed to Morris and will make that city their future home. Mr. Hanna is employed in the tannery.

            Emery Waller is still on the sick list, but was out for a while this morning.

            Mrs. Susan Ellis, of Chicago, an aunt of Mr. Galloway died on Monday. Mr. Galloway left this morning to attend the funeral.

            Mrs. Grace McGrogin [McGrogan], who has been sick for some time past has recovered.

            The tile mill is still busy shipping fire clay.

            A Thanksgiving dinner given by Mr. and Mrs. O. W. Trumbo was largely attended. Among those present were Mr. and Mrs. W. Van Etten and three children, Batavia, Mr. Eugene Appleton, Miss Ella Green, Aurora, Wm. Miller, wife and three children, Rutland, Mr. and Mrs. Isaac Green, Miss Carrie Green and Lyle A. Green, Dayton.

            Gilbert Masters, with the P. R. R. at Chicago, returned home on Sunday, after spending a couple of days among his friends here.

            Mrs. Emma Boyd, of Seneca, is visiting Mrs. John Channel for a few days.


1. Ottawa Republican Times, December 6, 1900, p. 4, cols. 3-4

120 Years Ago in Dayton

Dayton

             Jesse Hudson, of Chicago, is visiting Clyde Channel for a few days.

            Gilbert Masters, of Chicago, with the P., C C & St L. R R, is here visiting Mr. and Mrs. Masters, for a short time.

            Mrs. Miles Masters, who had been visiting her sister in Pennsylvania, and was expected to remain until October, was called suddenly home to the bedside of her husband, who has been confined at his home for the past three weeks. Mr. Masters is much better at this writing.

            Mrs. Robert Wilson, of Stewart, Ill., who has been visiting her parents, Mr. and Mrs. John Brees, returned to her home on Tuesday.

            I understand one of our boys “set ’em up” on Friday evening last, and all the other boys had a good time at his expense. Such is life.

            Martin Welke has a good crop of grapes, and expects to have some fine wine this coming winter.

            The river is fast falling, much to the disgust of our mill-owners.

            G. G. Galloway has started up the hydraulic cider press.

            Miss Etta Barnes, of Chicago, is visiting her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Jos Barnes, and will remain until September.

            Channel and Co., are shipping a quantity of tile and brick.

            Mrs. W. Van Etten, of Batavia, and three children are visiting Mr. and Mrs. O. W. Trumbo.

            Threshing is going on lively in these parts, and help seems to be scarce.

            Wilmot Van Etten, formerly of this burg, but now of Batavia, leaves on August 22nd for Boston to take charge of an excursion train for California.

            Wm. Ribes, of Ottawa, is repairing the kilns for J. W. Channel & Co.

            From present indications Dayton will be well represented at the old settlers’ picnic and Pawnee Bill’s Historic Wild West show on Thursday.

                                                                                                Daytonian1


  1. [Ottawa] Republican-Times, August 23, 1900, p. 4, col. 4

This is a Very Corny Story

corn, corn, corn

CORN PARTY WAS A SUCCESS
IT WAS HELD OUT IN DAYTON TOWNSHIP
And It Demonstrated That Corn is Still King in This Section

Friday evening, Feb. 23, the Dayton Homemakers’ Circle, including all the gentlemen, was entertained at a “Corn Party” at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Beach.

Mr. Beach, being an enthusiast on the subject of corn, had the house decorated with his best selections of seed corn as well as corn on the stalk. And a large pan of pop corn, encircled by ears of corn, formed the center piece of the dining room table. The menu consisted of corned beef, corn bread and butter, coffee, cider, pickles, popcorn and apples.

Mrs. J. J. McGrath, vice-president, announced the following program, which was well rendered:
Piano solo – Irene Barrett
Reading – Mrs. Fannie Tucker
Vocal solo – Mr. Chally
Piano solo – Lucile Bultman
Piano solo – Gertrude Beach
Dialogue – The Misses Erickson
Mandolin and piano selection – Mr. and Mrs. Louis Belrose
Corn conundrums – Frank Beach1

The highlight of the evening appears to have been the “corn conundrums” offered by Mr. Beach. Unfortunately, the newspaper did not list any of them, but a diligent search turned up the following examples:

Why are potatoes and corn like certain sinners of old? Because, having eyes, they see not, and having ears they hear not.
Why should a man never tell his secrets in a corn field? Because so many ears are there, and they would be shocked.
Why is corn like a rose bush? Because both are prized for their flour / flower.
Why is corn like a dunce? Because it is always likely to have its ears pulled.


  1. Ottawa Free Trader, 1 Mar 1912, p12, col 5

The Old Barn

Green farm - old barn on left

Green farm – old barn on left

When I was a child, all of Dayton was our playground, but no place saw more action than the old barn on the Green farm. It was no longer in use, having been damaged by fire, and had been replaced by the new barn, where the cows were housed.

The old barn made a perfectly marvelous playground. We played a game that had some of the aspects of hide-and-seek, some of tag, and some of a game we made up on the fly as we went along. One of the most important skills to have in order to do well at the game was the ability to climb. In order to avoid being caught by a pursuer, you might climb to the hayloft at the north end, scurry along southward, avoiding the area where the fire had burned the floor away, climb down the silo, and seek safety in the lower level. At some point you might turn into the fox rather than the rabbit. The game had no formal stopping point; no one ever won. It just kept going until, all of a sudden, everyone had somewhere else to be.

The old barn had other uses, as well. I had an aunt who was an amateur artist, who sat up in the hayloft and painted a picture of the dam and the river valley from high above it.

One of the fascinating things in the hayloft was an old sleigh. It had belonged to previous generations, who needed it for winter traveling, but it had been stored in the hayloft, unused, for many years. My mother always wanted it brought down and refurbished, but somehow my father never got around to it. My sister and I have the sleigh bells and bring them out every year to add to the Christmas spirit.

I don’t know whether our mothers didn’t know what we were doing, or just held their tongues, but no one ever said “Don’t go up there.” There might have been an occasional “Be careful” but that’s all. It was a different, and magical, time to be a child.

Musical Dayton

 

DAYTON, Dec. 24. – Dayton, unlike many western towns, is blest with a number of good things, and one of the good things is the Musical Union, which was organized last spring by Prof. Newbury, and has since been conducted by our esteemed fellow citizen, Mr. Chas. Green. We also have a Glee Club in Dayton. And all feeling a high appreciation of Mr. Green, determined to make that feeling manifest by giving him a benefit. Hence a concert was agreed upon and given last Friday evening, which was well attended, not only by the village people, but by many from the country. All were well pleased with the entertainment and expressed a desire to come again. We certainly have good reason for anticipating a bright future for Charlie in his wisely chosen field of labor, knowing as most of us do that he is in a very large degree self-made in his profession. May success crown your every noble effort, friend Charles.1

Dayton, Feb. 24. – Friday evening, Feb. 13, the Musical Union gave a concert and entertainment, which was well attended and quite a pleasant occasion. The class are making good progress in music and it is to be hoped the Union will continue its existence for a long period. The choruses “Great is the Lord,” “Lift your glad voices,” “Zion’s children, ” “O, Lord of Heaven,” “Crown them as Martyrs” and “We all are happy rovers” were given in a very fine manner. Marks of power were carefully observed, thereby giving considerable expression and life to the choruses. The male quartette and glee club, consisting of Messrs. Green, Rhoads, Howard and Grove, sang a few selections in an admirable manner. Their quartette “I love the path of the tree” and chorus “Barnyard Serenade” are especially worthy of mention.2

The Musical Union will give an entertainment at the school house next Wednesday evening, Feb. 23, the proceeds of which will go towards procuring chorus books for the Union. Mr. Frank Fitzgerald will assist in the entertainment with his cornet solos, and, with Mr. Harry Hammond, will give a musical sketch and minor comicalities. The Union will also furnish music in the way of quartettes. A good enjoyable time is promised, and everybody is invited. There will be no lack of fun. You will miss a treat if you are not there.3

The Musical Union are preparing an interesting drama entitled, “The Lost Children,” which will be given at the school house Saturday evening, April 30. Admission 10 cts. This drama is full of interest and excitement and the minstrel scene is quite funny. The play opens with a fine prelude followed by an interesting chorus. Then the plot of the play commences. A small company of soldiers have been well drilled by Capt. Howard and will form a scene with their military maneuvres, army songs, &c. A band of minstrels is also introduced in the play with their instruments, darky songs, jokes and scenes, the whole forming a pleasant evening’s entertainment. You should not miss hearing it; besides this is the closing entertainment for the season of the Musical Union, and it should be well attended.4

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 out 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 our 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.5


  1. Ottawa (Illinois) Free Trader, December 27, 1879 [page labeled Dec. 20]. p. 8, col. 2
  2. same, February 28, 1880, p. 8, col. 2
  3. same, February 19, 1881, p. 8, col. 1
  4. same, April 23, 1881, p. 10, col. 1
  5. same, May 7, 1881, p. 8, col. 1

Apple Butter Time

cider press

In 1932, a small booklet titled “Stories of Pioneer Days in La Salle County, Illinois” was produced by the grammar school students of the village and rural schools of the county. 14-year-old Virginia Esmond wrote of happy famiiy times on the Furr farm, the property of her great-grandparents, Squire Newton Furr and his wife, Mary Elizabeth Bruner.

APPLE  BUTTER TIME
by Virginia Anne Esmond, Dist. 142.

There was great excitement in the house. Tomorrow was to be the great boiling down of the apples to make apple butter at my Great-grandmother Furr’s home.

The house was about half a mile west of Dayton. The relatives were to come in the morning and stay all day to help. The men were out in the orchard getting apples to use. Romany apples were the kind used. They were excellent for eating and cooking. When stored in barrels in the basement they lasted till the next summer. Some of the smaller cousins were helping pick up apples, too. Some of the windfalls were used in making cider in great-grandmother’s cider presses. She had two of them.

People used to come from miles around with wagon loads of apples to be made into cider. In later years when the grist mill at Dayton ground apples and pressed out the juice for cider the people used to take their apples over there and have them ground. Eventually my great-grandmother did, too.

The best apples on the ground were used to make apple butter. The cider was made and boiled down. The stirrers, which are long wooden paddles with handles set in them at right angles, long enough to keep the person stirring from getting too hot, were made from the wood of a large maple tree that had been injured when the crib burned down.

Early the next morning the boys were in the orchard picking up more apples.

Somebody had to go to town to get the relatives that were to help. When they arrived they exchanged greetings, as they hadn’t seen each other probably for quite a while. They set to work washing apples. After they were washed, the young folks peeled them with two peelers. The young people thought it quite a bit of fun to turn the crank on the peelers, but the novelty wore off before the apples were all peeled. The older folk sat down and cored the peeled apples.

Some cider was put in the boilers to keep the apples from burning. As soon as the apples were peeled and cored they were popped into the boilers. They kept on boiling down. As soon as the boilers were filled enough so that they wouldn’t boil down much more, the young folks went out in the pasture to catch old “Dexter.” The city cousins considered riding old “Dexter” much fun, even if he was a driving horse instead of a riding horse. Two or three of the young folks got on the horse at once.

Much of the time was spent also by the young people in rambling over the farm and sometimes sliding down the strawstacks. Also amusement could be found in the barn, both in the hay loft and in where the animals were.

The men worked in the fields after carrying in apples by the basketful. Each one of the younger folks took his turn stirring the boiling apples.

The women had a sociable time preparing dinner. The relatives stayed to supper that the women had prepared. After supper the visitors usually went home and the women at grandmother’s finished the work.

They took the apple butter off the stove at about nine o’clock. Then it had to be put in crockery jars about ten inches high. A cork fitted into the top that was about half an inch thick. This was sealed with sealing wax. A few days later the butter was distributed and each family took some home. Everyone that had helped make the apple butter could be reminded of a pleasant day at Grandma Furr’s whenever they tasted of the butter.

A Spring Day in 1881

 

house under construction

Rural Happenings

Dayton, April 21. – Good bye, old snow, good bye. Fox river has been and is at present on the “boom.” It commenced rising last Saturday and was so high by Monday morning the mills were unable to run on account of the back water. They are still unable to run. Sunday afternoon the water was up to the top of the old pier and towards evening it was carried off.

Martin Wilkie is putting an addition to his dwelling house on Canal street, at present occupied by Geo. W. Green. Mr. Wilkie is one of our most enterprising citizens and is assisting materially in improving the town.

H. B. Williams has the foundations commenced for two new tenant houses. He received three car loads of lumber from Chicago this week for his tenant houses. Mr. W. is another of our best citizens and a believer in progression.

Miss Sadie Holton, of Braidwood, Ill., is visiting at Geo W. Green’s.

Mr. John Channel and family, of St. Louis, are visiting at Geo. W. Makinson’s. John was formerly one of the boys of Dayton and it seems like old times to have him with us again.

Jackson Channel, of Marseilles, who had his arm badly injured at that place a few weeks ago, made Dayton a short visit last Wednesday.

H. B. George, Esq., of Leland, gave Dayton a short call one day this week.

The Literary Society and Musical Union have adjourned until next fall.

The Musical Union are preparing an interesting drama entitled, “The Lost Children,” which will be given at the school house Saturday evening, April 30. Admission 10 cts. This drama is full of interest and excitement and the minstrel scene is quite funny. The play opens with a fine prelude followed by an interesting chorus. Then the plot of the play commences. A small company of soldiers have been well drilled by Capt. Howard and will form a scene with their military maneuvres, army songs, &c. A band of minstrels is also introduced in the play with their instruments, darky songs, jokes and scenes, the whole forming a pleasant evening’s entertainment. You should not miss hearing it; besides this is the closing entertainment for the season of the Musical Union, and it should be well attended.

The tile factory are about ready to commence operations for the summer. They will have tile for sale again in a few weeks.

OCCASIONAL1


  1. The Ottawa Free Trader, April 23, 1881, p. 10, col. 1

May Baskets

May Basket (cone)        VirginiaBluebells

 

 

When I was a child, it was a tradition for Dayton children to hang May baskets. We made the baskets out of construction paper. There were two styles – one rolled into a cone, and one of heart-shaped basketweave. We picked wildflowers – bluebells and violets – for the baskets and put a handful of candy corn or popcorn in the bottom of the basket. The baskets were delivered  on May 1st by hanging a basket on the doorknob of a house, ringing the doorbell, and then running away. After all baskets had been delivered, we went home to see all the baskets that had been hung on our door. Long after I should have outgrown making and hanging May baskets I made enough for everyone in my office and hung them on the doorknobs of their offices before they came to work.

violetsMay basket (woven)