An oyster supper was held last Wednesday . . .

oyster stew

An oyster supper was held last Wednesday evening at Mr. Jesse Green’s, the proceeds of which will go toward purchasing an organ for the school house. Quite a number were present. The old organ was put up at lottery, and the proceeds from both amounted to about $25. Mr. H. B. Williams drew the instrument and we understand will sell tickets for it again, the proceeds to go for the same purpose.

The literary’s entertainment will be held at the school house Friday evening, April 4. The following is the cast of characters of the play, “Three Glasses a Day, or The Broken Home:”
Ralph Aubrey                          Mr. John Green [son of David Green]
Harry Montford                      Mr. Wm. Dunavan [grandson of Eliza Green Dunavan]
Zeke Wintergreen                   Mr. Chas. Green [son of David Green]
Mrs. Aubrey                            Miss Cora Green [daughter of Jesse Green]
Clara Aubrey                           Miss Josie Green [daughter of Basil Green]
Julia Lovegrove                       Miss Ada Green [daughter of David Green]
The entertainment will conclude with the extremely ludicrous Dutch farce, “Hans, the Dutch J. P.”1

The previous notice, which appeared in the Dayton news column of the Ottawa Free Trader describes two of Dayton’s popular social activities of the 1870s. Frequently held as a fund raiser, as in this case, the oyster supper was a well known and popular event. Packed in barrels and whisked from New York by train, oysters were a popular food. Diners could usually choose from a variety of oyster dishes: raw, fried, or scalloped, but oyster stew was the mainstay.

The play, described as “A Moral and Temperance Drama, in Three Acts” was published just the previous year. The cast of the play consisted entirely of the young Greens, aged 17 to 24, showing themselves to be very up-to-date in their literary endeavors.

“Hans, the Dutch J. P.” was also a new offering. Judge for yourself whether it is as “extremely ludicrous” as reported. A copy of the short script can be read here.

  1. The Free Trader, March 29, 1879, p. 2, col. 4

A Spring Tradition


violets          Virginia Bluebells

In the early 1900s kids made May Baskets – sometimes pages from wallpaper sample books formed into cone shapes, sometimes strips of paper woven into square baskets.  They filled them with flowers, often violets and bluebells, and with candy and hung them on friends’ doors.  The trick was to yell “May Basket!” and run away fast, because if the receiver of the basket caught you, you’d get kissed.  Of course, some ran away faster than others.

One time a boy who lived here happened to be upstairs when he heard the call “May Basket!”  He ran to a window, jumped on the porch roof, and then flung himself the 12 or 14 feet to the ground and landed running.

“Did you catch them?” he was asked.

“Oh, yes, they wanted to be caught.”

Sending Money in 1854

torn bill

Brighton Iowa May the 8th A D 1854
Dear Nephue
I have at last got ready to write to you conserning your money I went after it the first week in Aprile but Mr Dfrans was not at home and I left word for him to bring it down but he did not come tell last friday. he gave me $88 in $3 $5 and 10 bills and the ballence in gold. on saterday I turnd out to git large bills, and found but one fifty Dollar bill and that was all that I could git, larger then $10 but I have $20 so I will inclose $100 in this letter, or one half of each bill, and the other half in A letter that I have rote to send to Ephraim whare you will find it if he gits his letter and as soon as I can git sutable bills for the gold I will send it if this gose safe
I have not got that rent money yet but I sent him sharp orders if he dit not soon pay it I would give it to some boty to colect it I think your Mother could afford to come after it
we ar all well except my self I had another turn of the rumitis but am gaining again
hoping that these fue lines ma find you all in good health, write as soon as you git this and not fail, so fairwell
Jacob Snyder
[The spelling has been left uncorrected. To see the original, click here.]

This letter was written by Jacob Snyder to his nephew, Oliver Trumbo, of Dayton. In the days before the existence of checks or money orders, it was difficult to send money to someone at a distance. If it could be sent with a trusted person who was traveling to that location, that was the best. In the absence of such a person, careful people often resorted to the method Jacob describes in the above letter. A bill or bills would be cut in half; one half sent in one letter and the other half, as in this case, sent to a friend. The person to whom the money was sent would then join the two halves, which could be exchanged for complete bills. Another method was to mail the half bills and wait until confirmation arrived that the money was received. Then the second half could be sent. This method took more time, but did not require involving a second party.

A Social Party

couple dancing

Dayton, March 4, 1884. – The young folks sent out about twenty-five invitations last week for a social party at the residence of H. B. Williams, Esq., in East Ottawa of Friday evening, Feb. 29. Messrs. John Hall, Chas. Green and Wm. Dunavan were the invitation committee, and Messrs. C. B. Hess and S. W. Dunavan were floor managers. About twenty couples were present and all had a very enjoyable time. Two large parlors had been prepared for dancing, the floors nicely waxed, and everything was in good trim. The music by Prof. Cliff G. Sweet and wife of Aurora, consisting of violin and harp, was excellent and was greatly enjoyed by all present. For good first class music, new changes and delicious waltzes, they cannot be excelled and we can heartily recommend them to parties desiring such music. At a late hour the guests retired thanking Mr. and Mrs. W. for their kind hospitality and for the pleasant time they had had. The following guests were present: Prof. and Mrs. C. W. Tufts; Mr. and Mrs. T. E. MacKinlay; Mr. and Mrs. C. B. Hess; Misses Stout, Misses Angevine, Misses Dunavan, Misses Watts, Craig, Barnes, Marriner, Misses Childs, Misses Loy and others. Messrs. Angevine, Trumbo, Hall, Mitchell, Butters, Dunaway, Flick, Clauson, Messrs. Green, Messrs. Dunavan and others.1

  1. Ottawa [Ilinois] Free Trader, March 8, 1884, p. 8, col. 1

The Sounds of Winter


In the absence of paved roads, a wet fall could make roads impassable and people waited eagerly for cold weather and snow. It was then time to get out the sleigh and resume visiting with friends and neighbors.

Maud Green remembered that ” ‘Old Jim’ belonged to Grandma Trumbo, & mother inherited him in 1873.  The sleigh bells & a sleigh came with him.”

The sleigh, unfortunately, is gone, although in my childhood it was still up in the hayloft of the old barn. My mother always wanted to get it down and restore it, but it never happened and then the barn burned. However, the sleigh bells are still in existence and are brought out every Christmas to hang on the door. Here’s a reminder of the joys of a sleigh ride:


Thanksgiving Day 1900 in Dayton

Thanksgiving dinner

A report of one Thanksgiving feast:

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.1

The hosts were Oliver W. Trumbo and his wife, Rebecca Green. Their daughter Jessie was the wife of Wilmot Van Etten and the mother of Clare Trumbo Van Etten, Walcott Gumaer Van Etten, and Frank Campbell Van Etten.

Ella Green, whose name appears coupled with Eugene Appleton was the daughter of David and Mary (Stadden) Green. Eugene appears to have been an unsuccessful wooer, as Ella later married Dr. George H. Riley.

William Miller’s wife was Alta Barbara Gibson, daughter of George W. and Rachael (Green) Gibson. Their children were Gertrude Rae Miller, Howard Miller, and Glenn Gibson Miller.

Isaac Green and wife Mary Jane Trumbo attended with their son Lyle. They had no daughter named Carrie, but they did have one daughter at home in 1900. Possibly daughter Maud was misidentified as Carrie.

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

The Drunken Dancing Master


FROM DAYTON, Jan. 8, 1877

Being a constant reader of your paper, I see no one has taken note of our little village for some time. Permit me, therefore, to give you some items of interest.

Our improvements are plain. The paper mill of Williams & Co. is running in full and is in a flourishing condition, turning out about 24 tons of paper per week.

It is needless to say the Fox River Horse Collar Manufacturing Co. still carry on an extensive business. They are known far and wide. Nothing seems to daunt them, nor does their trade decrease. In spite of hard times they prosper.

The store formerly owned by John T. Makinson has been purchased by Jesse Green & Sons, who have enlarged the building and now have on hand a full line of groceries, woolen goods, &c.

Our inhabitants are a class of persevering, energetic people. Among them is a renowned ex-granger, to whom life on a farm becoming monotonous, he concluded to enter into something which would bring him more in contact with the people of the world. So he engaged in wholesale manufacturing pursuits, but becoming weary of the hum of machinery, retired from business and set himself down to think what he should do next. At length he exclaimed, “I have it!” I will do something for the people which will cause my name to be handed down to future generations with honor never to be forgotten.

‘Tis true, we have no churches, but we don’t need any – our people are good enough. They are noted for honesty, integrity, and warm genial disposition. Neither have we any saloons, nor do we need them – our people are temperate, and Ottawa is not far distant. But notwithstanding our people are good and temperate, they are deficient in good manners and gracefulness – cannot describe a proper circle in making a bow; in short, need a dancing master. Therefore he had one imported from the east, organized a dancing school – in fact, two dancing schools, one for juveniles at 4 P. M., another for adults at a later hour. Juvenile class assemble to meet their tutor dressed with all the care and taste their fond mothers could devise, their flashing eyes sparkling with anticipated pleasure, the bloom of health and innocence upon their cheeks. Their teacher arrives by the train, alights and walks up the railroad track describing a Virginia worm fence. Great consternation among his admirers. It was a stunner, a perfect surprise. Crowds could be seen on every corner with blanched cheeks and distended eyes, asking what shall we do? “Pickles!” shouts one. “Lemons!” cries another. “Yes, that’s business, give us lemons,” says a third. “Who cares for expenses. Here – you – somebody – hold him up on t’other side; feed him lemons; walk him two miles and a half!” A consultation was then held as to whether the school should continue, the gentlemen being in favor of a change of tutors, while the sentiments of the majority of the ladies seemed to be, “get drunk if you want to, boys, we’ll forgive you.” This is apparently a new style of crusaders.

Much more might be said upon the subject; but suffice it that the adult class proceeded to be instructed, and got through as well as could be expected under the trying circumstances, closing with an appointment for Thursday evening, Jan. 11.


  1. The Ottawa [Illinois] Free Trader, January 13, 1877

Elizabeth Trumbo’s Will

The Elizabeth Trumbo house

Elizabeth Trumbo house

Will of Elizabeth Trumbo, Deceased

I, Elizabeth Trumbo of the Town of Dayton in the County of La Salle and State of Illinois, being of sound and disposing mind memory and understanding, do make publish and declare this to be my last will and Testament hereby revoking and making Void, all former Wills and testaments by me heretofore made.  It is my will, First that my funeral charges and debts shall be paid by my Executor Oliver W. Trumbo, my son whom I do nominate and appoint to be the sole Executor of this my Last Will and testament. In the Second place, what property remains after the payments of my just debts, and funeral charges and the Expenses attending the Execution of this my last Will, and the Administration of my Estate, I wish to dispose of in the following named manner, to wit; Third I give devise and bequeath to my daughter Mary Jane, wife of Isaac Green of La Salle County in the State of Illinois the sum of Two Thousand dollars, Also all that tract or parcel of land designated as Block one in Green’s Addition to the Village of Dayton, in La Salle County Illinois together with the house, and other improvements, and the household furniture, Beds bedding, and all the hereditaments and appurtenances thereunto belonging, or in anywise appertaining, to have and to hold the premises above described to the said Mary Jane Green of La Salle County Illinois, and to her heirs and assigns forever, Fourth, I give and bequeath unto my Grand son Walter Trumbo, Son of John Trumbo decd the sum of Eight Hundred dollars, when he shall arrive at the age of Twenty-one years But if he shall not live to become twenty-one years of age, then at his death, the said sum of Eight Hundred dollars Shall come back to my children, Fifth I give to my daughter-in-law Delia wife of Ahab Christopher Trumbo decd the sum of one dollar.

Sixth I give and bequeath unto my daughter-in-law Rebecca G. Trumbo, wife of Oliver W. Trumbo, of Dayton La Salle County Illinois the sum of Eight hundred dollars, also one Horse, One Spring Wagon together with any surplus in money or personal property that may be left after satisfying the above and foregoing Will. Seventh, All of my other heirs not mentioned in this will have heretofore been provided for.

In witness whereof I the said Elizabeth Trumbo have hereunto Subscribed my name and affixed my seal this Eighth day of April A. D. one thousand eight hundred and Seventy three1

The house shown above , the one referenced in the third clause in the will, is also the place where Mary Jane Trumbo and Isaac Green were married. It is located at the top of the hill, on the south side of the road which leads down to the new bridge across the Fox river. The house is still relatively unchanged.

  1. Elizabeth Trumbo probate file, 1873, file T48, La Salle County Genealogy Guild, 115 W. Glover, Ottawa, IL.

Dayton Homemakers

Dayton Homemakers 1912

In 1911, a group of farm women in Dayton township got together and organized a club, shown above, with the object of social gatherings where they could get to know their neighbors and exchange ideas on home management. They began with twenty-three members who met monthly. They always had a speaker, discussion, and, of course, refreshments and visiting. They are still meeting in 2016, and are not so different from the meeting described below, which took place in 1922. Wouldn’t you have liked to hear the responses to their roll call? and not just for the recipes!


The members of the Dayton Homemakers’ club held a meeting yesterday at the home of Mrs. Louis Bellrose in Dayton township. Practically all members of the club and a large number of guests were in attendance.

An interesting program was given. Mrs. Hans Vogel sang two solos, Mrs. Charles Long of the Rutland club told of the work her organization is doing, and Miss Houston of St. Joseph, Mo., who is visiting her aunt, Mrs. Charles Bellrose, told of her recent travels through Mexico.

A clever feature of the program was a roll call, when every member responded, giving her most embarrassing moment and her favorite recipe. Late in the afternoon refreshments were served by the hostess.

The September meeting will be held at the home of Mrs. John Eustis. This session was postponed one week on account of the county fair and will be held on Sept. 21.1

More information on the Dayton Homemakers can be found here.

  1. Ottawa Free Trader-Journal, August 11, 1922

The Library Association of the Dayton Literary Society

Book label - Dayton Literary Society

The Dayton Literary Society flourished in the 1870s and 1880s as shown by the clippings below, taken from the Ottawa Free Trader newspaper. Book No. 70, in which this bookplate appears is My Own Times by John Reynolds, published in 1855. Reynolds was governor of Illinois from 1830-1834. It is tantalizing to speculate on what the other 99 volumes might have been.

December 7, 1878, p. 4, col. 5
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.

March 15, 1879, p. 8, col. 2
The Literary is in good running order and having good success. The exercises show care in their preparation and talent in their delivery. The library of the society, containing over a hundred volumes of choice reading, is a great benefit to the town. Much interest is taken in it and beneficial results we have no doubt will proceed from its use.

February 5, 1881, p. 8, col. 2-3
The Library Association has reorganized and will soon add a few more volumes to their catalogue. The following officers were chosen for the ensuing year: Mr. Isaac Green, president; Chas. Green, secretary; Harry Green, librarian. An initiation fee of fifty cents for the year will be charged, with no monthly dues. An invitation is extended to all to join the association and enjoy the privileges of the library. It contains many readable and instructive volumes.

February 19, 1881, p. 8, col. 1
The Library Association has adopted a constitution and is receiving many new members. The library is at the store, and Harry is the librarian. He will issue cards of membership at fifty cents each, and allow the holder to read any and all of the hundred volumes in the library.

There’s WHAT? in Them Thar Hills


New businesses are not always welcome, especially when uninvited. Some time around 1950, without the knowledge of the owners, a still was being operated on the Green farm, in one of the ravines north of the barn. For several weeks there had been rumors of a still in operation somewhere in Dayton. Then Dom DiBernardi, who kept the store in Dayton, told Charles Clifford, operator of the Green farm, that three boys had seen the still. Clifford investigated and, upon finding the still, contacted Harland Warren, La Salle County State’s Attorney. Warren, in turn, contacted the Internal Revenue Service. An agent for the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax Division was sent out immediately and was shown to the scene. He commented that apparently someone had returned to the still the previous night and attempted to burn part of the barrels and remove several pieces of pipe. He described the still as “peculiar” and seemed to think the operators were on the amateur level. The still had been chopped to pieces, and no further investigation was planned. Mrs. Ruth Green, owner of the farm, was subjected to considerable teasing in the days that followed.

A Party in Dayton


Dayton on September 14, 1929, was the scene of a glorious centennial party, marking the 100th anniversary of the arrival of the Green party in Illinois. Two bands, a children’s chorus, and a dance orchestra provided music; a gigantic tug-of-war and other tests of skill and strength amused the merry-makers; and former residents came from near and far to join the festivities.

A marker was dedicated on the spot where the mill-stones were found which were used in Green’s mill, the first water-powered mill in northern Illinois. The marker, a brass plate with the story of the discovery, was placed on a boulder set in cement, along the east bank of the river. Although the boulder may still be there, the brass plate disappeared many years ago.

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.

There were many mementos, relics and curios on display:
.     straw plug hat and woman’s straw hat of the vintage of about 1800
.    old candle molds
.    flintlock guns which belonged to Peter W. Ainsley and Tim Thompson
.     blankets and coverlets made in the old woolen mill
.     hoop skirts, dresses, black silk and satin capes
.     an 85 year old spinet, having twenty-nine keys, and thirty inches in height
.     a tardy bell and a call bell from an old school
.     mourning shawls and hats, which were loaned out at the time of funerals

The revelry went on well into the evening and a good time was had by all.

Holidays at Dayton

Walter Brown cottage - Dayton

Walter Brown cottage – Dayton

In the late 1800s and early 1900s Dayton was quite an attraction. In the summer weather it was the stamping ground of many a picnic party. During the fishing season, sportsmen and picnickers flocked there by the hundreds.  A few brought tents and camped out for a few days, although unseasonal cold weather could put a damper on events. A number of summer cottages were built along the east side of the river, below the dam. One of these cottages, pictured above, was owned by Walter Brown, and the Green and Brown families spent many vacations there in the summer. A camping trip to Dayton was popular with residents of other towns, also, as shown in the newspaper reports below:

The river is falling slowly, and is now being crossed at both fords. Fishermen and sportsmen are here in great numbers. The Earlville people seem to have struck a “boom” and are turning out en masse for a good time fishing and camping out.

Our busy little neighbor, Dayton, besides becoming famous for her horse collars, woolen goods, tile and paper, is getting to be quite a popular summer resort. The stream of visitors during the few weeks since the fishing season opened must be enormous, for on every bright day at least the banks of the river are lined with people. As a sample of the size of parties: – Some 25 couples from Streator went up in a special car on Tuesday! Already the campers have begun to put in their appearance, and it is altogether likely that from this time until fall there will be no great diminution in the number of visitors. We should think the citizens would turn this flood of tourists to their advantage; and they certainly could make themselves vastly popular with the people of the Fox River Valley by lending their aid in the suppression of illegal seining in their waters.

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.

The camp just north of the ice house above the dam, is certainly an ideal spot. There are about a dozen glass blowers from Streator at the camp, and sometimes as many as fifty visitors can be seen enjoying camp life at one time. Good boating, turtle soup and fresh fish always on hand, and no one who ever visited there ever went away without leaving sweet memories behind. On Saturday, August 17th, will be “Ladies’ Day” at the camp, when the wives and lady friends of the members will be present and a most enjoyable day is expected by all. Good music and dancing will be one of the features of the day.

Twenty-nine boys ranging in age from five to ten years of the “Fresh Air Fund” arrived over the Q. R. R. at 11:17 A. M. on Tuesday. A number of ladies and gentlemen from Ottawa met them at the train and escorted them to their camping ground, just west of Basil Green’s residence. The camp presents a very pretty appearance, everything about it being very neat and tidy. Eight tents comprise the sleeping apartments, while one dining, two commissary and one kitchen tent make up for the rest. Felix Mader of Ottawa presides over the culinary department, while Charles Caton acts as his assistant. Through the courtesy of Mr. Basil Green a dam has been built just south of the camp, where the boys may bathe and enjoy a fresh water bath, unlike that of the Chicago river. Judging from the first day or two, the visitors next week will be very numerous, and will no doubt wake up this old burg, which has so long been sleeping.

There are more than one hundred people in camp along the Fox river between Dayton and Wedron.

Dayton, just north of Ottawa, on the Fox river, is becoming a great summer and fishing resort. A party from Streator has been camping there for several weeks. The Burlington sells from fifteen to twenty tickets each day to parties who go there to spend the day fishing and visiting the campers already there.


Christmas Greetings, 1884 Style

1884 Prang Christmas card

If you received this card in 1884, you were part of the new American practice of sending Christmas cards. The first Christmas card originated in England in 1843, but not until Louis Prang, a Boston lithographer, introduced them in 1875 did they become popular in America. By 1881 he was printing as many as 5 million cards a year. The earliest cards were simple flower designs with the words “Merry Christmas.” Later, the cards had more traditional holiday motifs and some were fringed with silk, as in the 1884 Prang card shown above. His cards used the new method of photolithography to produce the intense color and gradation that he was known for. This was a very labor-intensive process, and when cheap German cards flooded the market in the early 1890s Prang got out of the greeting card business rather than lower his standards. Perhaps you could have bought this card or others like it at the Dayton store, but if not, a good supply could be found in Ottawa at the millinery store of Mrs. Gregg, on Main street.

Christmas Shopping 1875


If you were Christmas shopping in Dayton in 1875, you were reading the ads in the Ottawa Free Trader carefully. You might have chosen your Christmas gifts from any of these:

Handsome trimmed cloaks at $5.00
Table lines, towels and napkins – fine turkey red damask – $1.00
Nice two-button kid gloves $.75
Handsome new chintz print dress goods – 6 to 8 cents per yard
Paisley shawls from $9 to $60
Large, all wool blankets $5.50

For the ladies: special attention is called to the new Florentine hat, which is a marvel of beauty and commands the admiration of all. Also, the “Vampire Queen”, trimmed beautifully by our new trimmer.

For the gentlemen: cigars, tobacco, and tobacconists’ fancy articles generally, such as fine genuine meerschaum pipes, cigar holders, cigar cases and brier pipes.

And of course, toys for the children!

For Christmas Trees

Mr. Louis Hess, on Madison street, has bought the largest stock he ever had of fancy candies, for special use as ornaments for Christmas trees, such as fruits, toys, &c., &c.; also fancy cakes of all kinds, of which he always has a fine assortment, and will manufacture to order. And, by the way, as we need crackers with our oysters, it should be remembered that he manufactures all his crackers himself and his customers will hence be able to get them fresh every day.

You own a piano? That’s $4, please.


It’s not well known, but income tax in the US didn’t begin with the ratification of the 16th amendment in 1913. In 1862 an act of Congress established an income tax to pay the cost of the war. In addition to income, a number of luxury goods, such as watches, carriages, or pianos were taxed and the records show that a number of Dayton people possessed such luxuries. For example, in 1866 George W. Dunavan was taxed $2 for a watch, $4 for a piano, $2 for one carriage and $3 for a second, presumably of greater value. Isaac Green was taxed $1 for his watch, obviously not as valuable as George’s was. David Green paid $4 for his piano and brother Jesse had to come up with $2 for his carriage. James Hite was taxed only $1 for his carriage; it must not have been in very good condition. Seth Sage also paid $1 for his carriage. Moab Trumbo had a carriage ($1) and a watch ($1). Fred Tavener’s piano wasn’t all that good – he paid only $2 tax on it. Luckily, no one in Dayton had an unlicensed billiard table – that would have cost the owner $10. The Civil War taxes were not immediately repealed at the end of the war, but most of the “emergency” taxes were repealed in 1872.

May I have your autograph?

Autograph album 2

Maud Green’s autograph album, shown above, was given to her for Christmas, 1879, when she was 13 years old. She kept the album and treasured it, as years later, she added the married names of some of her young friends to their verses. A sample of some of the entries:

Remember me when washing dishes
Remember me and my best wishes.

Dear Maud,
Many a bow the archer sent
Hits a mark that was never meant.
So many a word though lightly spoken
Has healed a heart that’s almost broken.
Yours truly
Frankie R. Trumbo, by her mama

Passing through life’s field of action
Lest we part before its end;
Take within your modest volume
This memento from a friend.

Autograph album

The album from which this page came was given to Grace E. Green for Christmas, 1885, when she was twelve.

Dear Grace,
A little word in kindness spoken
A motion or a tear
Has often heal’d the heart that’s broken
And made a friend sincere.
Your friend and school-mate,
Allie Ainsley
Dayton, Jan. 12th 1886

My pen is poor
My ink is pale
My love to you
Shall never fail.

A verse you ask this fine day
Of course I’ll write you one.
The task of writing finds its pay
In joy that it is done.

The Dayton Enterprise

Dayton Enterprise

For a brief period of time, Dayton had its own newspaper, the Dayton Enterprise. It was the product of Charles Green, son of David Green. 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 October 18, 1878, edition contains local and area news, humor, advertising, and an editorial about the poor condition of the sidewalks. A year’s subscription could be had for 40 cents, and it is a great loss that only this one issue has survived.

A few excerpts:

Wit and Humor
A poor relation – a carb-uncle.
Why is an insensible man like a wicked man? Because they both need to be revived.
What is the difference between a gas tube and a silly Dutchman? One is a hollow cylinder, and the other is a silly Hollander.
The first thing in a boot is the last.
Is it right for young ladies to smoke? – Yes, there can be no harm in taking a lady-like cigar – a she-root, for instance.
Query for naturalists: If a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, is a mole on the face worth two in the ground?

Population of Dayton, latest census, 204.
Number of young men, actual count, 12.
”      ”         ”     ”      ladies,   ”       ”           6.
Boys, a half a dozen of us will have to go,
so as to give the other six a chance.
No. of dwelling houses in the town, 41.
”    ”   manufacturing establishments, 4.
”    ”   Hotels,                                      2.
1 Store.
1 Meat-market.
and 1 Printing Office,
Don’t forget that!

The Dayton Literary Society

Book label - Dayton Literary Society

The Dayton Literary Society was founded in February of 1881,  with Isaac Green as President, Charles Green as Secretary and Harry Green as Librarian. Harry was the librarian because the library, all one hundred volumes of it, was housed at his store. You paid a monthly fee and then you could borrow any book. This label, found in every book, listed some of the rules governing the library:

ART. 4. The Time of Keeping a Book shall be Two Weeks, and any person failing to return said book inside the specified time, shall be fined the sum of 5 cts. for each day until returned. Also, any person returning a book unnecessarily soiled, shall be fined the sum of 10 cts.

ART. 6. The Librarian shall not issue Books to any person who is known to be in arrears of monthly dues or fines.

ART. 7. No person shall be allowed more than ONE Book at a time.

Unfortunately, no record of the complete “Rules to Govern Library” has survived. Did it contain guidelines for what books to include? Were books purchased, or donated from town residents? What was the most popular subject matter?


The Temperance Movement in Dayton in 1842

temperance pledge

Temperance Meeting at Dayton1


We, whose names are hereunto subscribed, being thoroughly convinced that the use of intoxicating liquors is pernicious to health and good morals, therefore pledge to each other, in the presence of God, and our country, our most sacred honor to abstain, in all time to come, from the use of all intoxicating liquors, except as a medicine; and that we will use our influence, on all proper occasions, to cause our friends to unite with us in this pledge.

Wm Stadden                                                  Lars Harrison
C G Miller                                                       Isaac Miller
W L Dunavan                                                 Morris Laupher
Joshua Fairchild                                             James Thompson
Z H Baxter                                                      Lars Larson
Jesse Green                                                    Isaac Hayes
Jacob Leavens                                                Stephen Donohoe
David Green                                                   Elizabeth Miller
Peley Frink                                                      L W Abbot
A T Marr                                                          Mrs Elvira Laupher
John Lewis                                                       Jefferson Weatherford
E G Janes                                                         Mrs Mary Weatherford
Z A Kelly                                                          Francis Weatherford
Z Preston                                                        Rachael Weatherford
Uriah Miller                                                    Rebecca Green
Joseph Green                                                  Elizabeth Jacobs
John A Quick                                                   Isaac Green
Jonathan Stadden                                          Mrs. Mary Ann Fairchild
Albert Dunavan                                              Mrs Eliza Dunavan
Hardin Weatherford                                      Emma Dunavan
H Fairchild                                                      Mrs E Baxter
J M Laurence                                                  Mrs Eliza Miller
John Miller                                                      Mrs Tobitha Bockorn
John Combs                                                    Chilson McKurley

1. The Illinois Free Trader, February 25, 1842, p. 2, col. 6