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 It was no longer in use, having been damaged by fire, and had been replaced by the new barn, where the cows were housed.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)

Basket Picnics

Vicinity Items

A mammoth pleasure excursion and basket picnic has been arranged to run from Streator to Dayton on Tuesday, Aug. 18th. For three years similar excursions have left there, and this promises to be the most enjoyable of all. Dayton’s beautiful scenery, fine shade, and unequaled reputation as a pleasure resort is unsurpassed, and Streator people, having no such beautiful or romantic camping out places near their city, have to come this way for such beneficial pleasures.1

A basket picnic was a popular event to raise money for charity. The women prepared picnic lunches in beautifully decorated baskets, filling them with their own personal culinary specialties. At the auction, all the baskets were anonymous, although it is possible that some husbands or beaux may have received a hint as to the identity of a desirable one. As the auction proceeded the men and boys competed to bid on baskets, and the winner would not only get the basket, but would share the lunch with the lady who created it.


  1. The Ottawa Free Trader, August 1, 1885, p. 8, col. 4

Dayton Centennial – Part 7

Trunk with old clothes

from the Ottawa Republican-Times, September 16, 1929

RELICS OF FORMER DAYS

            Mementoes, relics and curios on exhibition at the celebration includes:

Display of arrow heads, owned by Elmer R. C. Eick, 420 Christie street, Ottawa, many of which were found in Dayton and Rutland townships; quilt made by the great, great  grandmother of Mrs. Verne Wilson; coverlet made in Virginia more than 75 years ago, the property of Mrs. Van Etten; shawl owned by Mrs. John Thompson, made by her mother, Mrs. Elizabeth Brumbach, 80 years ago; quilt made by the wife and daughters of Matthias Trumbo in 1850; straw plug hat and woman’s straw hat of the vintage of about 1800; picture of old school house on the site of the present elevator in Dayton; corn planter used by David Strawn in Livingston county, loaned by Mrs. Walter Strawn; trunk carried in a covered wagon across the plains to California by Joseph Green in 1849 and again in 1852; another trunk brought from Rockingham county, Virginia, by Matthias Trumbo; steelyards which belonged to the Hayes ancestors, sewing box, which belonged to Mary A. Boston, grandmother of G. R. Hayes of Wedron; English tea caddy loaned by Mrs. Wilcox; bedspread made by the mother of C. H. Tuttles, 65 years ago; old candle molds used by Mrs. David Strawn, loaned by Mrs. Walter Strawn; 17 year locusts gathered in 1933 by Mrs. John W. Reynolds of Dayton; piece of fancy work made by Mrs. Mary D. Bennett, 81 years ago; reproduction of Jeremiah Strawn’s lantern 100 years old, loaned by Mrs. Walter Strawn; pictures of John and Barbara Grove Green; vest worn by Mr. Hall when killed by the Indians in the Indian creek massacre in 1832; old cow bell used by David Strawn’s farm in Livingston county, loaned by Mrs. Walter Strawn; flint lock guns which belonged to Peter W. Ainsly and Tim Thompson, lantern and fork found in Wedron under C. E. Thompson’s house; mammoth tooth found near Norway in a gravel bed 30 feet underground; copper toed boots; charcoal iron belonging to Mrs. Sarah Thompson; horse pistol brought from Nebraska by Edman Thompson, half brother of George R. Hayes of Wedron; handcuffs plowed out on the old Ed. Brundage place by G. R. Hayes at Wedron; silk stovepipe hat made by Roussel in Paris and worn to the inaugural ball of President James Buchanan in 1856 by one of Rhoades family; a large map of La Salle county drawn in 1870 by M. H. Thompson and C. L. F. Thompson, showing Dayton as one of the towns of the county; pictures of the old Dayton woolen mills, collar factory and Green’s mill were shown on the map; coverlet brought from Virginia by Mrs. Frank DeBolt’s mother and one brought from Ohio by Mr. DeBolt’s mother; a black net and lace shawl owned by Mrs. Charles Hayward Reed; brown blanket made in the old mills and owned by Mrs. Cornelius Bogerd’s mother; hoop-skirts, dress, blouse and hat about 100 years old; linen, black silk and satin capes eighty years old belonging to Miss Catherine Rhoades; a spinet, 85 years old, and having twenty-nine keys and 30 inches in height; coverlet, more than 100 years old owned by David and Anna Grove and brought from Ohio; a dollman, made of English broadcloth, lined with figured silk and worn by Sidney Lowry; two woven baskets each more than 75 years of age; spiral hall tree 75 years old; sugar, and coffee scoops made of wood; spatula of wood used to remove pie plates from the old ovens; earthen bowls, pottery jugs and ladles used more than 75 years ago; a tardy bell and a call bell used at the old Waite school. which was taught at that time by Miss Susan Bailey of Ottawa. Miss Bailey taught the school when she was sixteen years of age. She is 91 years old now. There were two chairs on display, which were brought down the Ohio river to Memphis, Tenn., thence to Alton, to La Salle on the Illinois and then overland by a four-yoke ox team to the Old Fox River house at Ottawa. The chairs were the property of Miss Rhoade’s grandmother, Mrs. Sarah Collins Rhoades and were brought to Ottawa in 1843; bed quilts made in 1860; two Paisley shawls which had been in the Collins family for 75 years;  mourning shawls and hats which were loaned out at the time of funerals which were at least 65 years of age; a table of mahogany and a tidy which were wedding presents of Mrs. Catherine Rhoades in 1860.

PLACE OF HONOR

            Mrs. Frances Beach, who resides north of Ottawa, and is ninety years of age, was given a place of honor on the official Centennial register of visitors, her name being placed first on the list.

[concluded]

Dayton Centennial – Part 6

 

from the Ottawa Republican-Times, September 16, 1929

THE DAYTON SONG

            A song composed especially for the centennial by Edith Dunavan Hamilton, a great granddaughter of John Green was sung by Miss Isobel Brown at the afternoon program. The song follows:

“Sound of the axe-man’s stroke, creaking of ox-teams yoke, bravely the young wives smile ‘though danger lurks the while. Planting the cornfields, plowing for bounteous yields, braving the winter’s cold, we honor you, dear pioneers of old.

By the river gently flowing – Dayton, mellowed by the year’s swift going – Dayton. Through days of storm and strife, through years of peaceful life for those gone these many years, we pause to shed a tear, today we gather to honor your 100 years.”

SOME OLD DRESSES

            During the afternoon, Miss Maude Green, Mrs. John Bowers, Miss Helen Hallowell and Miss Edith Reynolds donned garments of several decades ago and promenaded the streets, reviving an interesting bit of history in regard to modes and fashions. Only the marcelled hair of Miss Hallowell and Miss Reynolds which peeked from underneath their quaint old bonnets showed that they were maids of the twentieth century rather than of the days when Dayton was in its infancy.

[to be continued]

February 1880 Rural Happenings

Jesse Green

Harry Green

Charles Benton Hess

Charles Benton Hess

 

 

 

 

 

 

from the [Ottawa] Free Trader, February 28, 1880

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.

Mr. William Dunavan is attending Bryant and Stratton’s commercial school at Chicago.

Mr. James Green and Miss Cora Green are still attending school in Aurora.

A large force of men are employed on the railroad south of the dam, filling in a large ravine.

Mrs. S. F. Gibb, our Universalist pastor last year, had taken charge of the church at Waverly, Iowa.

Mr. and Mrs. Chas. Ballou pleasurably entertained a leap year party last Friday evening. The boys say it’s lots of fun to be “toted around.”

The store has changed hands, Mr. T. H. Green (Harry) having taken possession of it the 1st of February. He is doing a cash business.

Mr. Jesse Green and Mr. C. B. Hess went to Chicago on business this week.

Miss Ellen Trumbo is visiting at Mr. Isaac Green’s.

Major Whittle and Mr. McGrannahan and wife, the evangelists, will hold a meeting in this place Saturday evening, Feb. 28.

Monday evening a number of our citizens attended the celebration of the tin wedding of Mr. and Mrs. Thos. McKinley of Rutland. We hear it was a very enjoyable affair.

Occasional

Dayton Centennial – Part 5

Levi Fahler

Levi Fahler

Herbert L. Dunavan

Herbert L. Dunavan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

from the Ottawa Republican-Times, September 16, 1929

MANY OLD TIMERS

Levi Fahler, 87, of Mendota and his wife, Mrs. Katherine Gephard Fahler, 85, were two of the interesting visitors at the celebration. Fahler made his first visit to Dayton with a load of grain which he took to the grist mill when he was but sixteen years of age. Both he and Mrs. Fahler were members of a colony of 27 persons who came from Pennsylvania by boat in 1849 and settled on a farm near Troy Grove. Fahler hauled grain to the Dayton grist mill for many seasons after making his first trip at the age of sixteen. They were accompanied to the centennial by their son, Martin Fahler, of Mendota and his son Forest.

Josiah Fahler, 89, also of Mendota and his son Forest at the celebration. He is a brother of Levi Fahler and although he was reared near Troy Grove he frequently went to the mill at Dayton.

H. L. Dunavan, manager of the People’s Gas stores in Chicago with Mrs. Dunavan, his son, daughter and four grandchildren came to Dayton for the celebration. Dunavan was born and reared in Dayton, as was Mrs. Dunavan who was Cora Moore, daughter of the late Daniel Moore.

Dunavan left Dayton 37 years ago. He spent the greater part of the day hunting up friends of his boyhood days.

“Nothing looks natural,” he complained, “Not even my old home. It does not seem as though I ever had lived here. The old Fox river bridge is the only thing that looks the same. I proposed to my wife on that bridge and I still like it.”

James A. Green, a grandson of John Green, one of the original settlers brought Mrs. Green and their daughter driving from Grand Junction, Colo. to attend the celebration.

[to be continued]

Dayton Centennial – Part 4

Chief Shabbona

Chief Shabbona

from the Ottawa Republican-Times, September 16, 1929

G. W. GREEN RETURNS

G. W. Green, 79 of Aurora, whose boyhood at Dayton was marked by a friendship with the great Indian chief Shabbona, was disappointed Saturday to find that the village had changed since his boyhood days.

The Aurora man was the grandson of John Green, and the son of David Green who accompanied John Green to the Fox river town site in 1829. His mother was Mary Stadden Green who moved to Dayton in 1832.

“Why if I should drop in here at night I would never know where I was at,” he exclaimed as he looked up and down the streets. Green left Dayton in 1884 to move west and later returned to Illinois settling in Aurora.

His boyhood was marked by many interesting experiences with Chief Shabbona and the Indians. Once Green and a group of Indian boys who accompanied Chief Shabbona to Dayton were shooting pennies with arrows. The Indians won all the pennies, stirring up the anger of the Dayton boy who grabbed the bow one Indian boy was using and broke it. The Indians started after him, and Green related Saturday how he fled to the front porch of the home of his grandfather, when John Green and Chief Shabbona were sitting talking. Shabbona saw the child’s fear and stroking him on the head said kindly: “No be afraid.”

Green also told of the visits Chief Shabbona would make to Dayton twice a year, to receive the blankets, meat and flour from John Green and would then go on to Ottawa where George Walker and William Hickling would give him groceries. These men gave Shabbona his supplies for his friendship with the white people and because he warned them of attacks which were to be made by unfriendly tribes.

OLD FRIENDS MEET

“This town was almost at a standstill when I left here in 1884,” said Green. “In my boyhood, it had been a brisk little business community. The old Trumbo home is about the only thing around here that looks the same to me.”

Mrs. Alice Allen of Des Moines, Iowa, the eldest sister of G. W. Green, was also in attendance at the centennial.

Green was born in the old Dayton Tavern in 1850 and grew to manhood in the village. The principal recreation in his youth, he said were old fashioned country dances held at the various homes.

Frank DeBolt stood in front of a stranger until a September breeze blew the man’s identification tag disclosing the name Harry Green.

“Why, are you Harry Green?” gasped DeBolt.

“Yes,” replied the other, who failed to recognize DeBolt.

Why I haven’t seen you for forty years,” continued DeBolt. “Don’t you remember me, why when you ran the store here, I furnished you meat for several years.”

This was only one of the hundreds of revivals of old friendships that occurred during the day. Green is now living in Chicago.

Terry Simmons, Marseilles editor, was one of the most enthusiastic visitors at the centennial. Simmons’ father used to take grist to the mill when Dayton was the state’s most thriving village.

[to be continued]

A Meteor in the January Skies

meteor

from the Ottawa Free Trader, January 8, 1881

Dayton, Jan. 5. – The river is now being crossed at this place on the ice.

Prof. H. L. Boltwood, of Ottawa, delivered an excellent New Year’s discourse at the school house last Sunday. Preaching every two weeks at 4 P. M.

School commenced last Monday after a holiday vacation of one week.

Mr. Frank Dunavan made his New Year’s calls in Dayton.

A watch meeting was held by the young folks at the residence of C. B. Hess, Esq., last Friday evening. A goodly number were present, and report a very enjoyable time.

Last Saturday evening about 8 o’clock a large and brilliant meteor was seen by a few fortunate ones who chanced to be “‘neath the starry heavens.” It started nearly overhead and “struck a bee line” for the northeast, leaving a tail of fire after it resembling a comet. Just before it reached the horizon it exploded, throwing out particles in all directions. The sight was magnificent. By the Chicago Times of Monday, we notice it was seen in Chicago and in Battle Creek, Michigan. At the latter place the light from the meteor was so brilliant as to dim the gaslight.1

A grand concert will be given by the Musical Union at the school house Friday evening, Jan. 14. They will be assisted by the Harmony Quartette of Ottawa, and the chorus of 25 voices will be accompanied by 1st and 2d violins, bass and organ. Everybody invited to attend.

Mr. Newton Hess and lady last week celebrated in a becoming manner their tin wedding.

The woolen mill has been running all winter on a large order for cavalry blankets for the government.

Last Saturday evening a large reception was given by Mr. and Mrs. Geo. W. Gibson, of Rutland, in honor of the return of their son Lewis with his bride from Nebraska. The party was the finest of the season and a most enjoyable affair. The large residence was completely filled with guests, who were pleasantly received by the host and hostess. Dancing continued through the evening; and refreshments were served during an intermission. The hour was “wee sma'” before the guests departed. The reception was a joyous one and quite complimentary to the host and hostess.

The Literary meets at the residence of Mr. David Grove next Saturday evening.

Occasional


  1. In the Chicago Tribune of January 3, the meteor was described as “about the size of a full moon, and was enveloped in a beautiful flame of lightish blue tint, while following in its wake were several bright red fragments. Time of transit, fifteen minutes.”

Dayton Centennial – Part 3

crowd

Were some of your family members in the crowd?

from the Ottawa Republican-Times, September 16, 1929

SOME OF THE VISITORS

            Among the visitors who came from a distance for the celebration were:

Mr. and Mrs. James A. Green and daughter Alice of Grand Junction, Colo.; Mr. and Mrs. James Nagle of Webster Park, Mo.; Mrs. Hattie Lewis, Stuartsville, Mo.; Robert Fleming, Palkerton, Wyo.; Miss Isabella Grove, Washington, D. C.; Edward E. Rooney, St. Albans, Vt.; Mrs. Kate Fleming McAllister, Laramie, Wyo.; Mrs. Ben E. Lawrence, River Forest, Ill.; Carl Rossitor, South Bend, Ind.; Mr. and Mrs. Clarence Green, Aurora; Mr. and Mrs. J. L. Knight, Aurora – Mrs. Knight was formerly Miss Ethel Green; Harry Green, Chicago; Mrs. Alice Green Allen, Des Moines, Ia.; Emma A. Wallwork, Los Angeles, Calif.; Mrs. Lena Masters, East Chicago, Ind.; Mr. and Mrs. Henry Richmond, Taylorville, Ill.; Mrs. Richmond was Miss Maude Shaver, daughter of Frank Shaver prior to her marriage; Mr. and Mrs. LeVoy Richmond and family; Miller Wier, Jacksonville, Ill.; Al Fisher, Gatzki, Minn.

Mr. and Mrs. Fred Green and Winfield Green, Peoria; Roy McBrearty, Aurora; Mrs. Myra E Lawry, St. Louis, Mo.; Mrs. Barbara DeBolt Webster, Pontiac; Harriet Bruner, Los Angeles, Calif.; William Holmes, Mrs. Nettie Holmes and William B. Holmes, Chicago; Lewis E. Myers, Valparaiso, Ind.; Mrs. John Champlain, South Bend, Ind.; William Breese, Chicago; Ruth Brown, Oak Park; Walter D. Brown, Oak Park; Mr. and Mrs. Allen Fleming, Aurora; Mrs. Walter Brown, Helen Brown and Ethel Brown, Oak Park; Mrs. John Westermeier, Warren Westermeier and Donald Westermeier, Chicago; Mrs. J. Neises and Gladys Neises, Chicago; Charles Nash, Hennepin; Mrs. Russell P. Childs, Ohio; Mrs. Nellie DeBolt Snow, Chicago; J. N. Ferguson, Woodlawn; William Mettebarger, Woodlawn; Mrs. Charles N. Nash, Mr. and Mrs. Roland Hamm, Hennepin; Mr. and Mrs. Roy Green, Aurora.

George W. Green, Aurora; Miss Miriam Green, Aurora; F. S. Wallwork, Los Angeles, Calif.; Mr. and Mrs. H. L. Dunavan, Chicago; Dorothy Elains Richmond and Floy Arlene Richmond, Taylorville; Herberta Dunavan Schabes, Chicago; Harold Dunavan, Chicago; Frank Schabes, Chicago; Eva Channel Ladd, Shabbona; Lottie Makinson Pederson, Chicago; Mrs. C. A. Palmer, Chicago; Mrs. Frances Hendrix, Chicago; Martha Howard White, Joliet; Walter Howard White, Joliet; Maud Ferguson White, Joliet; J. Kent Greene, Chicago; Mabel Greene Myers, Valparaiso, Ind.; R. E. Breaty, Aurora; Robert Lee DeBolt, Evanston; Mrs. W. Miller, Aurora; Mr. and Mrs. Vernon Miller, Millington; Ludwig Lazar, Joliet; Elmer Freine, Somonauk; Mrs. Mannie Freine, Somonauk; John Champaign, South Bend, Ind.; Walter Rositer, South Bend, Ind.; Mr. and Mrs. Floyd Fleming, Aurora.

Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Reid, Springfield, Mo.; Mamie DeBolt Terry, Highland Park, Ill.; Mr. and Mrs. Ray Doran, Aurora; Mrs. Carrie Green, Joliet; Mr. and Mrs. Jule Pitts, Joliet; Mrs. S. A. Armagast, Joliet; Mrs. J. E. Cutting, Joliet; Mrs. Evelyn Lawrence, River Forest; Mrs. Lana Masters, Chicago; Mr. and Mrs. Frank Green, Joliet; Mrs. Hattie Lewis, Stuartsville, Mo.; Mrs. Josephine Gibson, Chicago; Mrs. Pauline Blunt, Mo.; E. W. Jackson, Toledo, O.; Charles W. Eisenhuth, Mrs. Lena Eisenhuth, Marian Eisenhuth, Aurora; Mrs. Mable Hayward Rothgeb, East Orange, New Jersey; Harriet Pellouchoud, Odell, Ill.; Mr. and Mrs. R. A. Swindler, Chicago; Mr. and Mrs. Charles Leafe, Villa Park, Ill.; Mrs. M. Raymond, Blue Island; Ira Hanson, Iowa; Pearl Masters, Chicago; Philip Deegan, Chicago; John W. Whalen, Graymont, Ill.

Dr. H. G. Logan, Mrs. Rae Parr Logan, Mobile, Ala.; Mrs. John Watnew, Santa Monica, Calif.; E. M. DeBolt, Mildred DeBolt, Barbara DeBolt, Catherine DeBolt, Roy DeBolt, Gilbert, DeBolt, Robert DeBolt of Pontiac; Mrs. Harry Hinkson, Waterman; Mr. and Mrs. Chris Junken, Chicago; Loretto E. Dockendorf, Joliet; Mrs. Nauman, Joliet; Mrs. underline, Joliet; Dwight, Lillian and Jack Ladd, Chicago; Mrs. E. Weber, Chicago; Mr. and Mrs. Paul C. Lange, Chicago.

Cora Tanner, Aurora, Ernest Weber, Chicago; Sam Hall, New York; Arthur G. Wunderlick, Joliet; William Carter, Joliet; Reuben Burch, Arlington; E. Rachael Davenport, Chicago; Dorothy Masters, Chicago; John E. Davenport, River Forest; Cora Childs Greene, Chicago; Mrs. Anna Manges, Chicago; Mrs. Ruth Atkinson, Champaign; Ed W. Jackson, South Bend, Ind.; Mrs. Sara Ferguson, Grand Haven, Mich.; Alvin Green, Mr. and Mrs. Dwight Ladd, Joe Ozark, George Ozark and Nicholas Dummitt, Chicago.

[to be continued]


Image: Ghozt Tramp [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D

Christmas in Dayton – 1881

Christmas greetings

Rural Happenings
From Dayton

Dayton, Dec. 28, 1881. – Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all your readers!

Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Brown, of Chicago, spent Christmas in Ottawa, and on Monday visited relatives in Dayton.

Mr. McGrew closed his school last week. Mr. N. Clawson took charge yesterday.

Mr. James Green is “teaching young ideas how to shoot” at the McMichael school, east of Wedron, this winter.

Every one is going around these days with a sore arm, the result of vaccination. “Ouch, don’t you touch my arm.”

Mr. and Mrs. John Gibson, of Rutland, attended the Christmas exercises and spent Christmas in Dayton.

Mr. Will Davis’s Santa Claus costume was the finest ever in Dayton. It was from Mrs. Hentrich, Ottawa’s popular costumer. It made Will appear like the old Nick in the story books.

Mr. O. W. Trumbo and Miss Jessie are visiting friends in Iowa.

A private Christmas tree was held at Mr. Chas. Burch’s Saturday evening.

Rev. E. C. Arnold, of Ottawa, delivered a sermon at the school house last Tuesday evening.

Mr. T. R. Brunk, of Ransom, will deliver a lecture in Dayton next Saturday evening. All are invited to attend.

Mr. David Dunavan, of Newark, and the Misses Dunavan, of Rutland, were visiting in town this week.

Miss Jennie Dunavan, of the Ottawa High School, is spending her vacation at home.

The Union Christmas tree and entertainment at the school house last Saturday evening were a complete success. The house was filled with children and people of all ages, every one of whom was kindly remembered by the good old Saint Nick. The exercises were opened by the beautiful anthem “The Prince of Peace” by the choir, after which Mr. Basil Green made a very appropriate prayer. “While shepherds watched their flocks by night,” a pretty carol was sung in good time and taste by the children; Mr. Clarence Griggs, of Ottawa, then followed with an appropriate address which was listened to attentively by the audience. Mr. Griggs is a bright and promising young attorney, and has formed many acquaintances here who think he is destined to make his mark in the world. “From our Merry Swiss home,” a duet, was sung in a delightful manner by Misses Myrtle Stadden and Mary Barnes, and was applauded by the audience; “The Legend of St. Fredo,” a recitation by Carrie Green, and “Gathering Sheaves,” by Lizzie Bogard, were spoken with good effect; “Christmas day,” a semi-duet and chorus, was sung with considerable taste by Misses Myrtle Stadden, Carrie Green, Gertie Grow, and Lona Root; “Old Christmas,” a recitation, by Miss Maude Green, and “The Fortune-teller,” by Miss Mary Barnes, assisted by little Grace and Kent Green, were rendered very tastefully; Santa Claus (Mr. Will S. Davis) was then introduced to the children in a neat little speech by Eddie Hess, and was enthusiastically received. Then the distribution of presents began. How the little hearts throbbed with delight as the good Santa called their names and delivered to each a pretty present. Nearly an hour passed before old Nick fulfilled his mission. Then every heart having been made joyous at this celebration of our Saviour’s birth, the exercises drew to a close. Before dispersing the audience gave a vote of thanks to Mr. Griggs for his kindness in delivering the address. The occasion will long be remembered as one of the most pleasant entertainments our little town has ever enjoyed.1

Occasional


  1. The Free Trader, December 31, 1881, p. 8, col. 1

Dayton Centennial – Part 1

from the Ottawa Republican-Times, September 16, 1929

Dayton and Rutland Townships Dedicate Marker and Celebrate Centennial of Settlers Arrival

            Old-time residents of Dayton and Rutland who have gone out to find a niche elsewhere, practically the entire present population and representatives of most La Salle county towns were at Dayton Saturday afternoon and night for a celebration commemorating the one hundredth anniversary of the founding of these communities.

A program of platform speaking, songs by the assembled school children of both communities, dedication of a marker on the spot where the mill-stones were found which were used in grinding the first wheat flour made in northern Illinois, and addresses by W. R. Foster, county superintendent of schools, and Kent Greene, former Daytonite and now a Chicago legal light, featured the day’s festivities.

Thomas O’Meara, Ottawa attorney, who was reared in Dayton, was master of ceremonies in the afternoon, when crowds gathered to hear addresses dealing with the significance of the origin of Dayton and Rutland. He was introduced by a member of the committee which evolved the celebration.

Relics which accumulated through the years provided a point of interest for visitors. All former and present residents were tagged with their names and addresses, facilitating renewal of old acquaintanceships.

Of particular interest in the celebration was the unveiling of a stone marker commemorating the vicinity where John Green, one of the village founders, and his party built their flour mill. A boulder set in a cement base, identified by a bronze plate inscribed with the story of the discovery, was veiled by a historical blanket woven in Dayton’s own woolen mill in 1860.

The blanket, now in the possession of Miss Catherine E. Rhoads of Ottawa, was bought by Thomas Rhoads, her father, at the mill and has been in the possession of the Rhoads family ever since. It is one of the few remaining tokens of the woolen mill which once apparently had Dayton headed on the road to industrial importance.

Blanket from Dayton Woolen Factory

Another example of the Dayton Woolen Mill blankets – this one from the Green family.

The dedication address was by J. Kent Greene of Chicago, a descendant of the John Green whose industry resulted in the flour mill.

He traced the events leading up to the founding of the mill, beginning with the first trip to the then new state of Illinois in 1829, when four pioneers, led by John Green, came to Dayton from Licking county, Ohio, on September 14, 1829.

They returned with their families on the 6th of December, 1829, and, despite the impending rigors of winter, established their colony by erecting shelters and clearing 240 acres of land before spring. Their saw and grist mill was put in operation on July 4, 1830, and the village of Dayton had been officially founded.

A vigorous folk, they with stood the menace of the Blackhawk Indian war, and not only stood their ground themselves but attracted other Ohio pioneers who populated Dayton and Rutland.

[to be continued]

Reception and Matinee Musical

Mabel Greene musical reception

Mrs. T. Henry Greene of 55 North avenue will give a reception and matinee musical Monday afternoon, Oct. 26 at the Plaza hotel in honor of her daughter, Miss Mabel Velette Greene. The musical program will be presented by Miss Jessie Armager Power, canteuse, who will give a group of colonial cantiliations in costume, with Walter Brauer, ‘cellist, and Mrs. Perry J. Power at the piano. Miss Power will also present dramatic sketches, and Mr. Brauer will play a group of ‘cello solos representing Chopin, Popper, and Cui. Miss Mabel Velette Greene will offer two groups of songs, and Miss Grace Grove will play a piano solo, also supplying the accompaniments.1

Mabel Greene was the daughter of Harry Green, the granddaughter of Jesse Green, and the great-granddaughter of John Green, all of Dayton.


  1. Chicago Tribune, 22 Oct 1914, p 11, col 1

Dayton Woman’s Club Observes Anniversary of Its Founding

Dayton Women's Club meeting

 

Dayton Woman’s Club Observes Anniversary of Its Founding

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

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

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

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

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

Painting Given

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

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

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

Charter Members

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

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

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

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

The club was founded June 13, 1913, to promote sociability, discuss subjects relating to a betterment of the community and provide amusement and recreation.1


  1. The Ottawa Free Trader, June 15, 1938, p6

The First Old Settlers’ Picnic – La Salle County 1869

THE OLD SETTLERS’ PICNIC.

This picnic, which had been looked forward to with such “great expectations,” was held on Wednesday. In every particular it was a success. The glorious weather was not brighter
than the sunshine of happy faces, and the beautiful scenery of the grove was made still more beautiful by the presence of so much solid worth mingled with so great a degree of enjoyment.
Judge Caton showed himself the fine and hospitable gentleman that we knew him to be in offering the use of his noble park for the purpose; and if he be frequently the entertainer
of the “great and mighty,” he proved yesterday that he was equally at home in entertaining the grand old pioneer, with his rugged nature, his hard hands, his tough muscles and determined will – the elements that have made these western wilds “blossom as the rose,'” and constituted the great west the granary of the world.

Long before noon the wagons, the buggies and the teams from a distance began to arrive at the grove, and the preparations were soon made for enjoying all the good things, and listening to the speeches to be delivered on the occasion; but probably there was nothing finer than to see the meeting, hearty and cordial, that occurred between friends who had not seen each other for years. Some there were of the very first settlers – men and women too who had known what it was to live in daily fear, and nightly dread of the stealthy step and murderous assault of the treacherous Indian. To those it must indeed have been pleasant to meet the friends and acquaintances of the stormy and insecure past, and to reflect how beautiful is the present – how full of promise; and, as they introduce their children and grand children to each other, how full of thankfulness must their hearts be that their hard toil and unremitting labor has been crowned with such glorious results.

The crowd that assembled probably numbered eight hundred to a thousand. It would
have been much larger but for a misapprehension on the part of the public. The picnic
was got up by the Old Settlers’ Society, and the condition of membership in that Society
being 30 years’ residence in La Salle county, most people seemed to think that none but
members were admissible to the grounds. This was a mistake – it was intended to have a general picnic under the auspices of the Society

Arrangements were made for supplying an excellent dinner to Old Settlers from a distance and invited guests, and when we mention that this part of the programme was left entirely in the hands of the popular host of the Clifton, and fully bore out the unsurpassed reputation of that good hostelry, further praise would be ” painting the lily” or doing any other absurd work.

Bowman, the ubiquitous, was of course there,and got every one to sit for photographs. In one group the following were pictured, all of whom were settlers prior to 1829; David Pembrook, Jeremiah Pembrook and J. E. Shaw, who originally hailed from New York; then John Green, Jesse Green, David Green, Barbara Green, Eliza Dunavan, Catherine Dunavan, Nancy Dunavan, David Grove, Burton Ayers, Jeremiah Srawn, J. S. Armstrong, Margaret Armstrong, from Ohio: John S. Mitchell, from Indiana, and A. W. Cavarly, from New England.

The next group was of settlers who arrived between the years 1829 and 1832, and was composed of the following persons; Joseph A. Dunavan, Josiah Shaver, C. Shaver, J. R.
Shaver, W. L. Dunavan, M. Trumbo, Sarah Parr, Mrs. Millikin, Sarah Pitts, R. Debolt, of Rutland; G. W. Armstrong, of Brookfleld; G. M. Dunavan, of Dayton; A. M. Ebersol, C.W. Eels, A. S. Alderney, H. L. Brush, Mrs.Watts, Mrs. Gibson, David Strawn, Charles Brown, N. Beaubien, Mrs. Brown, Mrs. Libby, of Ottawa; Mrs. Munson, of Freedom; J. W.Armstrong, of . Deer Park; Wm. Pitzer, of Rutland; M. Shepherd, L. E. Skeel, Mrs.Dake, Mrs. Smith, Henry K. Parr, of Serena; A. Hogaboom, of Farm Ridge; Mrs. Jackson, of Milford; and Mrs. Ann Fitch, of Clinton,Iowa.

Groups wore also taken of those who had arrived between 1832 and 1835, and between 1835 aud 1841.

After the dinner had been duly disposed of, a stand for speakers was constructed, and Mr. Shaw made chairman. Judge Champlin, in pursuance of previous appointment, made the first speech. It was in the Judge’s happiest vein, and was replete not only with many humorous thrusts, but with reminiscences of the olden times of the deepest interest Thes peech closed with some beautiful lines of theJudge’s own composition. Owing to the lateness of the hour at which we make up this report, we are obliged to omit both in this issue,but shall make room for them in our next. He was succeeded by Arthur Caton, in an original composition, ” The Self-made Man.” Though the subject was old, it was treated with considerable ability and much novelty. The delivery was superb, and we predict for the descendant of our respected ex-Chief Justice a career of great distinction as an orator.

Judge Cavarly was the next speaker. His speech was also quite lengthy, and though we have a full report of it, we are also obliged to defer its publication to our next.
“Auld Lang Syne” was then sung, and it was expected that this would wind up the proceedings, but thw irrepressible and humorous Lucien Delano was called oat to show his paces, and, like the roaring farce’ after the classie drama at a theatre, did all he could,
and was a success, in sending the people home pleased with him, with themselves, with each other and with everybody.

We are hopeful that this, the first such picnic in our locality, will not be the last and are glad to understand that it is intended to make it an annual occurrence. There is a great deal to love, honor and respect, in such gatherings – they do good in many ways, the facts of the past are brought more forcibly to our minds when their living heroes are before us; the memory of those who perished, is more firmly venerated; the impulses which urge onto the future have more nerve power given them, and the contrast of the past with the present gives our hopes new wings on which to float to the grand possibility of the time to come.1


  1. The Ottawa [Illinois] Free Trader, 21 Aug 1869, p. 4, cols. 2-3

Celebrating the 4th of July with the Dayton Home Makers

Fourth of July

SANE 4TH POPULAR WITH LOCAL PEOPLE
PEOPLE OF CITY GO ELSEWHERE TO CELEBRATE
BUT FEW CELEBRATED
Small Gatherings the Popular Idea with Mercury Climbing Skyward and Heat Suffocating

Ottawa’s first real break from the old custom of celebrating July 4th was successfully carried out Thurs. The sound of pistols and fire crackers was hushed and an occasional pop caused slight cases of nervous prostration wherever they were heard. The unusual quiet caused too many favorable comments to revert to the old system of blowing off fingers and following tetanus victims to the cemetery.

Ottawa observed the day, but did it differently than other cities hereabouts. People were priviledged to go and come as they pleased. While many left town for a specimen of the wild and wooly bllows [sic] outs the vast majority remained within a small circle of celebrants and today are thanking their stars for the exhibition of foresight that kept them quiet throughout the day.

La Salle and Streator drew heavily from the rank and file of local citizens. Glen Park and Starved Rock came in for their share. Sulphur Springs also drew well from here. The favored spots, however, were in the country innumerable little gatherings from ten to a hundred and fifty people in numbers were scattered about the country side. The river banks were treated partially and small picnic crowds were scattered up and down the Illinois spending the day in their own manner and following the dictates of their own desires.

That Ottawa will never resume the old fashioned form of celebrating is assured. Thursday night was conspicuous by its silence and at night there were no shattered nerves nor torn and bleeding kids to mark the nation’s birthday.

The Dayton Home Makers

Although the surrounding country a number of family picnics were held, and some of them were very largely attended. None of these was more successful than that given by the Dayton Home Makers’ Circle. It was held at the home of Henry Schmidt, north of the city. The attendance was large, a splendid dinner was served, and a program and sports rounded out a very enjoyable day.1


  1. The [Ottawa, IL] Free Trader, 12 Jul 1912, p5, col 3