Death of an Old Settler

William Pitzer tombstone

photo credit: Everett Ross, La Salle County Genealogy Guild

Wm. Pitzer, one of the earliest settlers of the county, died at his home in the town of Rutland on Friday of last week. We are not advised as to his age, but it must have been in the vicinity of the eighties. He was one of those sturdy, staunch, big and pure hearted men that make one think sometimes the early pioneers of this region belonged to a superior race. He had been a subscriber to the Free Trader from its first issue, in May 1840, and never failed to pay for it annually in advance – a fact which illustrates his scrupulously correct habits not only in business matters, but in all relations of life. His funeral took place on Sunday, the services being held at the Barnes school house, the Rev. A. White, of Sheridan, officiating, and notwithstanding the severe weather, was very largely attended.1

RUTLAND TOWNSHIP
PITZER WM. Farmer; Sec. 14; P.O. Ottawa; born in Licking Co., Ohio, Sept. 23, 1809; came to this Co. in 1831; Democrat; Methodist; owns 200 acres land, val. $15,000; married May 26, 1831, to Sarah Kite, of Licking Co., Ohio; she was born April 16, 1810; seven children, four sons and three daughters; was Justice of Peace for ten years, and has held various offices of trust in the place.2

William (Billy) Pitzer was the son of Richard Pitzer and Anna Green, a sister of John Green. Richard Pitzer died in 1819 and Anna, with her large family, came to La Salle County in 1831.


  1. The Free Trader, January 26, 1884
  2. Past and Present of La Salle County, Illinois (Chicago: H. F. Kett & Co., 1877), 508.

What could you buy at the Dayton store in 1873?

mill, store & feeder bridge

If you shopped at the Dayton store in 1873, here’s what you might have found on the shelves:

crochet needles, penholders, castile soap, smoking tobacco, boys’ suspenders, linen shirts, lamp wick, woolen hoods, buttons, lace, handkerchiefs, buckles, ginger, mustard, raisins, allspice, castor oil, buckram, sugar, rice, brooms, vinegar, clothes pins, corn starch, matches, canned fruit, stove polish, liquorice, sugar, cinnamon, Japanese tea, calico, muslin, ticking, parasols, neckties, ribbon, ladys’ hose, silk thread, corsets, knitting needles, pants buttons, summer hats, and last, but not least, there were 43 boxes of collars.