Sebewa Recollector
Items of Genealogical Interest

Volume 11 Number 4
Transcribed by LaVonne I. Bennett

     LaVonne has received permission from Grayden Slowins to edit and submit Sebewa Recollector items of genealogical interest, from the beginning year of 1965 through current editions.

February 1976, Volume 11, Number 4; submitted with written permission of Editor Grayden D. Slowins:



     Route 1, Route 2, Route 5 and even Route 35 all at one time or another designated the mail delivery route into Sebewa’s north half from Portland ‘s Post Office.  With the recent change of carriers on Route 1 when John Dornan opted for a different route and Maggie Sabin became the new carrier it seems a proper time to review the history of the route.

From the OBSERVER—Portland, August 7, 1901.  Rural #2 being laid out will go to Campbell’s corners northwest of town, then southwest to the southwest corner of Orange Township on the town line between Orange and Berlin, then south through West Sebewa, then east three miles into Sebewa Township, then north three miles into Orange and then east to the Portland Post Office.

     This from the REVIEW with a picture, the clipping undated:  Frank C. Adams is the pioneer rural carrier of the half dozen men who drive over routes emanating from the Portland post office every morning.  He was appointed February 15, 1900 and, aside from the regular holidays allowed, has missed few trips in all the years that have elapsed.  The job sought Mr. Adams.  An inspector came to Portland quietly and laid out the route and then the matter of a carrier came up.  Mr. Adams didn’t know whether to take the place or not, for it only paid $500 a year then.  Salaries have been increased until the carriers are now receiving $1,000 per annum, which will permit them to lay by a little for a rainy day.  Mr. Adams covers nearly 26 miles on each trip, mostly in Sebewa township, though his route takes in a part of Portland and Danby.  He will be 55 years of age his next birthday and has lived in Portland most of his life.  End of clipping quote.

After Frank Adams’ service on the route came Ira Preston, still using horse and enclosed buggy to make the route.  Like they tell of the baby chick, I was “imprinted” with Mr. Preston as the model mail carrier.  Lester M. Campbell followed and covered the route with a Model T Ford.  Jack Hill had the route for a while and Mrs. Hill occasionally substituted for him.  For many years Russell Blackman held the position and could be depended on to sell stamps and even lick them if necessary.  John Dornan was a carrier for several years and now Mrs. Sabin has taken over.

LANDMARK GONE.  If you are not a regular traveler of Tupper Lake Road you might not know that the Bishop Schoolhouse is no more and its site is reduced to tillable acreage.  The cut sandstone inscription from the front of the building was rescued by Gerald Stoel.

NO CENTENNIAL FARM?  PERHAPS YOU QUALIFY FOR A CENTENNIAL FAMILY CERTIFICATE.    If you can supply proof that you had an ancestor in Michigan prior to 1877 you can apply for a Centennial Family Certificate.  Write Michigan Genealogical Council, Michigan State Library, Michigan Unit, 735 E. Michigan Ave., Lansing, MI  48913 for the application forms.  A fee of $2.00 for the certificate is required when the application is submitted.

Refer to your October 1967 RECOLLECTOR for more about Ephraim Shay and his locomotive.

DIED DECEMBER 5, 1975, Mrs. Mae Gierman at the age of 89.  Many of her recollections are recorded in previous issues of THE RECOLLECTOR.

SUNFIELD—SETTLE IT WITH A GUN—The following story should be read noting that it occurred prior to the shooting of Riley N. Wilson by Walter Dann in September, 1882 near Sebewa Corners.  The 1882 story was in the October 1971 Recollector.

SUNFIELD—March 3, 1881.  To THE PORTLAND OBSERVER.  On Saturday, the 26th ult., Mr. L. O. Wilson, accompanied by his own team and teamster, James Tichnor and Chas. Hiar and his team went west of this place two miles and a little south to draw logs, which R. N. Wilson & Co. had cut on Geo. W. Case’s premises, the timber having been purchased by the firm some time since from Case.  Case claims that he reserved a portion of the timber which Wilson had cut, and he made up his mind that no more logs should be drawn away from his premises by Wilson & Co.  James Tichnor was the first to arrive at Case’s, Mr. Wilson having waited for Chas. Hiar to come along as Hiar did not know the way into the woods.  Tichnor drove up in front of Case’s. 

He had hardly got there when Case came out of the house and grabbed the horses by the heads and shouted, drawing a Colt Navy revolver at the same time, “Get out of here!”  Tichnor told him he was there on orders and he would have to deal with Wilson, who was coming.

Said Case, “Wilson is the man I want to kill, and I’ll show him when he comes here!  Turn your horses’ heads around and get out of here!”  Just then Wilson drove up and Case’s wife, who had come out of the house with a pistol in her hand, was ordered by Case to step around so as to take the whole company in range.  Case then being fifteen feet from Mr. Wilson, spoke up and said at the same time presenting his revolver, “Get out of this or I shoot”.

Wilson said quietly “If you wish to shoot me, let her come”.  Whereupon Case took deliberate aim at his body and pulled the trigger and the cap, missing fire, he pulled again at the same time uttering a whoop.

This time the revolver went off, the ball entering Wilson’s left thigh sideways and carrying with it a portion of his overcoat, undercoat, pants and drawers.  He was promptly lifted on the sleigh with a “Boys, drive home as fast as you can”, they drove off, whilst Case, presenting the pistol at Tichnor’s head said “Now will you go?”

Three times he threatened to shoot the teamster before he could get out of the woods.  Wilson’s party were without any weapons of defense, not anticipating any trouble.  Dr. Benson of this place and Dr. Parmenter of Vermontville were promptly on hand and after two hours’ probing, failed to find the ball.

Mr. Wilson is at the present writing as well as could be expected.  Case and his wife were arrested Saturday afternoon and lodged in the Charlotte jail.   End

No followup to this story was found in the OBSERVER.

HOW THINGS WENT IN 1928 (Thumbing through the pages of the PORTLAND REVIEW of that year)

Harry Kline was acquitted in Ionia Circuit Court in a trial for a fake operation for removal of cataracts on the eyes of Miss Enola Reeder of Danby.  A “Dr. Williams” had performed the “operation” and had taken the Reeders’ life savings for the “service”.  Kline produced an alibi of a registry in a Kansas City hotel on the date of the “operation”.  Defense attorneys were surprised at the verdict of the jury.

Men were digging for gold at Shimnecon on a spiritualist’s advice of where to look for treasure.

O. J. McNaughton of Mulliken developed the pole-stack system of drying beans in the field to overcome the hazard of fall rains.

Barricades were set up on principal highways to check for sweet corn that might be the carrier for the corn borer to non-infested areas.

A sinkhole developed just west of the Lockwood (Barr) Schoolhouse on the Clarksville Road while construction was in progress.

Valentine Meyers and family moved into the Jacob Sayer tenant house in Sebewa.

Mr. and Mrs. S. L. Buchner left for a two-week trip to the Upper Peninsula and Wisconsin.

There was a chicken stealing at Mrs. Annis Hiar’s and Will Roger’s farms.

Mrs. Harry Meyers cared for Mrs. Guy Hummel and new baby.

A daughter was born to Mr. and Mrs. Iril Shilton.

Ben Probasco painted the roofs of his buildings.  He was assisted by Albert Gragg.

Elmond Strong and Federick England hitchhiked  to Niagara Falls.

Jake Miller threatened to split Deputy Sheriff Sprague wide open when Sprague mistook him for his brother, Leander.  Sprague went to serve a warrant for assult and battery on Leander.  Jake was released on five hundred dollars bail.

Crude forms of travel trailers were the objects of experiment and pictures of expansible models were shown.

John Benschooter died.

Louise Showerman of Hastings spent the week with her parents in Sebewa.

A rainstorm was the cause of a forced landing of a light plane by Clare Botts of Grand Rapids in a muddy field on the L. Huizenga farm.  He called Grand Rapids for transportation home and left the plane for more favorable weather.

Wesley Joynt left for Arizona to spend the winter for the benefit of his health.

Mr. and Mrs. Harry Myers spent an evening with Mr. and Mrs. Henry Whorley to listen to the radio.

Carpenter work was finished on Theron McNeil’s new fieldstone home.

Melvin Buchner went to Wisconsin to spend the winter.

George Gierman drove William Meyer’s Fordson tractor to Mesick.

Harry Meyers broke his arm cranking a truck on a road job near Mulliken.

Forty-nine warrants were served for delinquent dog taxes.  Dog tax fees were doubled for delinquents and $3.80 for costs were added.

An animal identified as a wolverine was killed by the two sons of Clare Spalding in Danby.

Mrs. Plakneir died at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Lewis Stoel.  Interment was discharged the following day.  Her mother went to Lansing to care for her.

Teachers in Sebewa for 1928-29 season were:  High, Don McCormack; Goddard, Edith Williams; West Sebewa, Ruth Peacock; Center, Louise Fuller; Bishop, Mrs. Merle Smith; Halladay, Fannie Bailey; Johnson, Pearl Read and Travis, Ruth Benedict.

The Clarksville Road of the six miles from the South Kent St. pavement in Portland and continuing west to the Travis Schoolhouse was completed at a cost of $54,000.  Of this amount the County paid 50%; the assessment district 15% and the remainder of 35% was apportioned between the townships of Portland, Danby, Sebewa and Orange.

Died of diphtheria where the family was living on the Charles Brooks farm in Danby, Raymond, son of Mr. and Mrs. John Kartuski.

Charlie and Wilfred Gierman were working at the Fisher Body plant in Lansing.

Born to Mr. and Mrs. Joe Schabel, a daughter.

January 8, 1929.  Suffering from injuries received while working in a gravel pit on the Florian Kenyon farm southwest of Portland ten days ago, Samuel Leak, Sebewa Township farmer, was still confined to his bed Saturday but it was believed he would recover.  He was hurt internally, three ribs having been broken.  With his son, Harold, Mr. Leak was loading gravel on a wagon when a large chunk of frozen earth came tumbling from near the surface.  He was bending over at the time and it struck him on the back, pinning him against the wagon.  His son called Iril Shilton, who lives near the pit, and the two were able to release him.  He was taken to his home one half mile west of the pit and was able to walk from Mr. Shilton’s truck to the house but took to his bed soon after.  The Kenyon place is on the Portland-Clarksville Road west of the Travis Schoolhouse.  The Leaks were hauling gravel for a cross road.

LISTED HERE ARE the names heading the accounts in Pierce G. Cook’s ledger compiled in the last half of the nineteenth century.  Mr. Cook took many liberties in the spelling of names, as did many of his contemporaries.  The locale of the names range from Lyons, Portland, Sebewa, Sunfield to Lake Odessa.

Alman, H.H.; Aben, G. S.; Austin, Truman; Allen, Alfred; Atchley, W.; Allen, G. D.

Barnard, Jas. M.; Bogue, Wm. W.; Blanchard & Morehouse; Brokaw, Jerome;  Brown, Lyman; Burhans, Charles; Brokaw, Ursula J.; Brown, Sidny A.; Barber, Wm. S.; Bigham, Sam; Brown, Henry; Brown, Major; Benschooter, C.; Braly, John; Brown, Jonathan; Barber, John; Brown, Jonathan;  Barber, John, Bennschooter, Wm.; Brown, Milissa; Benschooter, Oliver; Baldwim, Erastus; Brown, John D.; Boyer, Timothy; Benschooter, Widdow; Brown, Dr. Rob; Bennet, Wm.; Bussert, Isaac; Barret, E.; Barnum, Elizabeth; Burns, Benj. E.; Bliss, S.P.; Burns, A. P.; Barlow, R. H.; Bradly, Joseph M.; Burns, Peter; Barnes, Alan; Barber, Thos. J.; Bishop, A.

Carpenter, Cyril; Culver, Henry; Cook P. G.; Coon, Chancy; Croff, Francis; Culbertson, Eli; Conkrite, John M.; Cahoune, John; Carpenter, Elkanah; Cook, John H.; Cahoon, Susan; Conkrite, Wm. Milton; Compton, John; Crapo, Lafayett; Crapo, Jane; Cook, Chauncy; Crittenden, Rosett; Crapo, David; Croff, Nathaniel, Criderman, Wm.; Carpenter, Lucy J.; Colingham, Jacob; Crane, George; Caston, Wm.; Cummings, Henry; Clark, Josiah; Cress, David; Cooper, Mrs.; Carr, H.

Dunham, John; Davids, Payson; Davids, Alpha; Derby, Charles; Dann, Wm.; Davis, Mrs. J. S.; Dow, John; Davis, Dow, Peter; Dow, Danny B.; Davids, John; Dellenbaugh, Dr. Chas.

Estep, Wm.; Eshbaugh, Joseph; Estep, John; Estep, Wm. Jr.; Estep, John J.; Ehle, David.

Fleetham, R.; Friend, John; Farrand, S. D.; French, Benj.; Friend, James; Fleetham, George; Figg, Henry; Fig, Alexander; Fleetham, G. & Sarah; Frayer, Henry H.; Friend, Lou; Ferral, Lou.

Green, Jacob; Galiger, John; Green, Green, David; Green, Wm.; Grinell, Samuel; Green, Sarah; Griffin, David; Galiway, Jerome; Green, Milo; Glass, A.; Goss, Wm. C.; Gilbert, Lucinda; Haliday, Elihu; High, J. C.; Hough, Rollin; Harper, Charles; Haight, Reuben; Haladay, Abel; Haladay, Henry; Hagerman, Samuel; Hagerman, Benj.; Huested, Hiram; Hogle, Moses; Howe, Perry; Hammond, Charles; Hunt, George; Higher, Royal; Haladay, David; Hayes, Jacob; Haladay, Lovell; Hunt, Wm.; Haladay, Apoles; Howland, Aretus; Hinkley, John; Hugg, Wm. M.; Howe, Perry; Hewett, W. P.; Hamlin, Iva; Hostetter, S. W.; Humphry, E. W.; Harger, C.; Holcomb, Jackson.

Ingalls, Charles; Ingalls, Manly.

Jewett, W. D.; John, Indian; Johnson, Samuel; Jackson, C.

Kimble, David; King, B.; Knox & Briggs; Kibby, O.W.; Knowls, Isaac W.

Linly, S. J.; Lubbert, Bub; Lunbert, David; Lumbert, Abill; Lumbert, John; Leppo, Jacob; Lumbert, Leonard; Lyon, Russega; Lumbert, Jabiz; Lowe, Wm.; Leppo, Ruben; Little, Sarah; Lyon, Seth; Lyford, Horice; Lindsey, John; Lavaly, Eric; Laraby, A. W.; Lumbert, Siles.

McWhorter, Oscar; Minor, Erastus; McDonald, John; Minor, Edward; Manning, Perry; Metcalf, George; May, Mrs. Thomas; Minor, Horice F.; McConnell, James; Massey, Dr.; McClelland, John; Maynard & Woodbury.

Nichols, J. A.; Northrup, George; Norris, Wm.; Nichols, E. R.

Olery, John; Osman, James; Osborne, D. M.

Plants, Jacob; Probasco, Benj.; Probasco, Ephram; Phillips, Levi; Perry, George; Pennington, Joshua; Powell, Albert; Parker, Josh; Pool, George; Peter, Indian; Phillips, Philetus; Pratt, John; Probasco, Henry.

Quackenboss, Anson; Quackenboss, Garit; Quackenboss, Norman; Quackenboss, Isaac.

Rowe, Oliver; Rose, D. W.; Ralston, Marshall; Roof, Samuel; Rice, C. J.; Ray, J.; Ray, Benj.; Rider, John; Reeder, Many; Rice, Clark; Rider, Stephen; Reynolds, Moses; Roof, Isaac; Rice, Addison; Reed, James; Rogers, Henry; Rhine, Albert.

Seares, L.; Smith, A. L.; Showerman, Jacob; Soles, Nathaniel; Steares, James; Stimson, Theron; Smith, Josiah; Smith, Cyrus; Stebens, Oren; Stafler, Wm.; Smart, Samuel; Showerman, Orlando; Sunderlin, I. G.; Spalding, C. M.; Showerman, Lucius; Swytser, F.; Sargent, Wm.; Switser, Michael; Smith, Frank; Sindlinger, Frederick; Sacket, Noble; Story, V.; Smith, E. F.; Smith, Joel; Southara, A. J.; Smith, R. B.; Simpson, Mary Jane.

Thomas, A. E., Thompson, Albert; Tryon, Noah; Trim, Hiram; Trim, Jerome; Thompson, Louisa; Trim, Perry; Tunison, Wm.; Thomas, Alvin; Troutwine, George; Trim, Homer; Thomas, Oliver; Tunison, Abram L.; Trim, Mortimer; Taft, Levi; Tibetts, James B.

Upton, Henry; Upton, Sarah.

Waddell, Thomas; Wood, Austin; Waddell, John Jr.; Wyman, George; Wyman, Nathan; Wyman, O.; Waddell, John Sr.; Wheeler, Myron; Woolvin, John; White, Washburn; Wooden, Amos; Wellington, Cornelius; Wool, John; Wite, Byron; Whitbanks, Isaac J.; Wood, Philander; Williams, Harvey; Woodbury, John D.; White, Wm.; Webster, James; VanHoutan, John.


    Coming in from Crystal early Friday morning, we could not help contrasting means of travel with those of long ago.  It used to be a great stunt for Portland folks to drive over to the lake, thirty-four miles distant, during the blackberry season and it usually took up the greater part of a day, both going and returning.  Now, with the automobile, the trip is easily made in a little less than one hour.  With almost surprising swiftness the towns appear and are soon left behind.

     Six minutes from the time we leave Crystal we pass through Butternut.  In another six minutes we go through Carson City.  It takes eleven minutes to go from there to Hubbardston and two minutes later we pass the post office in Matherton.  The steep Matherton hill is no longer an obstacle in the way of speed.  We are hitting forty-five as we go over the top and in nine minutes we are in Pewamo, thirty-four minutes after pulling out of Crystal.  Then comes the longest stretch between towns.  We pass the Portland Country Club as we push along and sixteen minutes after leaving Pewamo we park the car in front of the Review office, the whole trip having taken fifty minutes.

     We did not stop this time to sample the water gushing from the flowing well at Hubbardston because it tastes like an overripe egg though we have sampled it on other occasions.  They say there is some sort of mineral in the water but we have always believed that the man who analyzed it made a mistake in his records.  We think he meant to have written “animal matter”.

     Speaking of the mineral well, they lost it a couple of years ago and had quite a time finding it.  The pipe through which the water bubbled was on a corner and they decided it would be more convenient to locate it across the street and so they dug it up.  Prodding around on the other corner, it was several weeks before the vein was located and another flowing well opened.

     We also noticed that Hubbardston’s Schneider Bros., who moved there from Fowler some time ago, are putting up a brick building to house their hardware stock.  It is being built on the west side of the Main Street, directly across from the wooden store building in which they are doing business.

     Up the big hill at Matherton the first sight to great us is the handsome home of I. C. Richmond with artificial lake and beautiful landscaping adding to the attractiveness of the surroundings.  A little farther south where the road turns west at what was once a bad corner is now a handsome curve.  Our friend, William Shultz, whose car hit the ditch at this point a year ago will appreciate this.

     Pewamo is an Indian name.  Looking across to the north over the hills as we speed west on M 21 the view is striking.  One sees only the trees below the skyline and can easily imagine the old chief still camping over there, undisturbed by the white man’s coming.

     Turning south for the straightaway spin into Portland, one cannot refrain from giving the engine a little more gas.  Henry Miller was a long time building that short stretch from M 21 to Maple Rapids but he handed over one of the best roads in the county when he quit.

     The Country Club and its green golf course is another beauty spot.  The dew is on the grass as we pass it and the whole field glistens in the rays of the morning sun.  In a few moments we are at the summit of North Hill.  Below, Grand River winds its way, high banks on one side and level fields on the other.  We love the lake; we love the old river on whose banks we were born.  Happily the automobile permits us to enjoy both.


(Mr. Russell was grandfather of Alice --- Mrs. Russell --- Burnger of Grand Ledge.  Mrs. Burnger has furnished the copies of the clippings of her grandfather’s story.)

     When this country was new, timber was of little value, acres and acres of virgin forest were felled into long windrows a few rods apart, running parallel to each other, covering perhaps five, ten or twenty acres.  The chopping was usually done in the wintertime and the winrows left to dry or season until summertime, when they would be fired, limbs and small stuff burned away, the larger tree trunks or bodies to be later cut or “niggered” into logging lengths, hauled to place by ox teams, piled into large log heaps and burned.

     Often this last would be just when the corn was in the roasting ear stage.  Many a time have we had a feast of corn roasted to perfection by the burning log heaps, and many a time have watched the men apply the torch to the long piles of dry timber.

     It surely was a splendid sight and a great treat to see the blaze waver for an instant, then great sheets of flame and smoke leap high in air, sometimes great broad sheets of fire would leap clear away from the fire below and go floating away in the away in the air with columns of smoke above, hissing, crackling, roaring; flames would race along the winrows until the whole fallow would be a vast fiery furnace with flames leaping and jumping or swaying to and fro until the whole air above would be one quivering mass of heat and smoke.

     Day after day, look in any direction, these great columns of smoke and heat would be seen rising toward the blue sky above, or night after night the sky would be aglow with the light of burning fallows.

     Thus fire, the pioneers’ greatest helper, was used to destroy acres of valuable timber.  However, it was only an encumbrance and of no value at that time.

     After the little dam and sawmill near where the factory of the Clay Product Co. stands was destroyed, my father, J. W. Russell, David Taylor, a cousin and Abraham Smith, a brother-in-law, formed a partnership for the purpose of building a new dame and sawmill on a new site and of larger proportions.  It was felt to be a great undertaking, for the country was new, money scarce, no roads, only trails through the woods.  A few early pioneer settlers had located on claims, built log cabins in the woods and with brave hearted young women, their wives, these people then in the prime of young manhood and womanhood began the building for themselves a home in a new country.

     I came with my father and others through the woods from our home when the new site was selected and remember well the man saying it should be directly across from a small cluster of linden or basswood trees standing on the north bank near the water’s edge—tall, stately trees of primeval forest, with branches reaching out over the limpid waters, shut in the river on both banks for miles to the right and left.

     And so it was that one August morning in 1849 on the wooded banks of Grand River, sharp, rhythmic strokes of woodman’s axe awoke the slumbering echoes of primeval forest, sending them reverberating and ringing merrily out over river, glen and woodland, proclaiming  the birth of a new city, Grand Ledge, born in the wilds of an almost unbroken forest.

     While building of the dam and mill was in progress I often came with my father to his work to play and watch the men at work chopping, scoring, hewing and planning timbers into place in the dam, forming little pens or cribs to be filled with stone taken mostly from the river bed and floated to place upon a large flat bottomed scow.  Timbers were taken from the forest right at hand and hauled to place with ox teams.  Many of the pioneer settlers donated work or took pay in sawing when the mill should be completed, coming by trail through the woods from their log homes for their work.

     I saw the first waterwheel started in Grand Ledge.  It was a horizontal or flutter wheel and proved to be too slow, and another core had to be made.  I very well remember looking through an opening in the mill floor, seeing the large iron crank and shaft go around, also remember the men counting forty-five revolutions to the minute, the Pittman connecting the crank to the old-fashioned sash saw from on the floor above was not yet in place.

     I think it was in the winter of 1850 and ’51 the mill company secured a contract to deliver a large quantity, many thousands of feet, of black walnut lumber at Grand Have, this lumber to be rafted down Grand River to that point.  My father often told me he bought of Mr. Griswold, who then owned the Alexander Lawson farm, thirty, fine, large black walnut trees for one dollar each.  Thirty fine, large walnut trees for thirty dollars!  By the way, this same Mr. Griswold called at our home and wanted to sell my father some cows on the very evening just before he drowned himself in the “Griswold Hole”.

     I saw the raft spoken of above just a day or two before it started down the river.  It was tied up to the river bank just above where the old chair factory stood.  I am told the members of that rafting crew were Doty Cramer (father of Gene Cramer), Wallace Norton, David Sanders, my uncles, Isaac Hixson, father of Fred and Dr. Abraham Hixson, my father, Jeff Wallace, brother of Ben Wallace, and one or two others whose names I do not now recall.  Ben Wallace and Charlie Wood tell me that Jeff Wallace was married just the day before starting out with the raft and that he came back home the next night; couldn’t stay away from the new bride any longer.

     I believe this raft became unmanageable while going over the Portland dam, ran against an ice breaker of the Portland bridge in two near the middle.  After being repaired, it was taken the balance of the way in two sections to Grand Haven, delivered and settled for.  Soon after, it either broke away from its mooring or was being towed into the lake and went to pieces in a big storm.

     Soon after this my uncle, Abraham Smith, sold his interest in the mill property and built a cottage on West Jefferson Street.  This house and part of the farm is now owned and occupied by Bert W. Kennedy and family.  It was in this house the first public school in Grand Ledge was held for a few weeks while the old red schoolhouse was being completed.  It was in this house the first sermon in Grand Ledge was preached by Elder John Clayton.  It was in this house, too, in the early fifties my brother, Franklin and myself came to visit and play with our cousins.  It got late in the evening before we family realized it and although the road was open and a bridge across the gulf, it was woods on both sides of the road all the way.

     We were afraid to go through the woods alone and so were easily persuaded to stay all night.  Uncle Abraham and Aunt Chestina asked us if our parents had told us we might, but we evaded the question by saying our folks would not care.  I guess uncle and aunt understood how it was all right.

     At any rate, father came for us about nine or ten o’clock, and when we crossed the gulf bridge on our way home, instead of following the road around he led us directly into the woods on the west side to an Indian encampment of three wigwams just back of where my brother, Oliver’s house stands.  When we entered the circle of light from their burning campfires, their dogs began barking and two Indians came out of the wigwams with “Ah-wis-ta” to the dogs and a quaint “Bush-oo, Sha-mok-a-man” to my father, who immediately asked them what they did to boys who ran away.

     When one of them reached up and broke off a long slender beech limb there were two badly frightened boys clinging tightly to Father’s pantlegs, expecting that Indian was going to show him right then and there.  They surely looked like Big Indians just then—dressed in their semi-civilized costumes with the firelight shining in their copper colored faces they looked savage all right.

     We were mighty glad to get away from their campfire, out of the woods into the road on the way home again.  We never forgot that lesson.

CORRECTION:  The name at the head of this article should be spelled Mrs. Russell Brunger.

     CHIEF OKEMOS MAKES A VISIT --  In the summer of 1853 an Indian preacher (a white man) and an Indian chief whom I understood to be Chief Okemos, came to our home to see about purchasing a bill of lumber to build a church at Shim-ne-con, an Indian village between Grand Ledge and Portland, in Danby township.

     Mother prepared dinner for them and father sat at table with them.  It would have been a discourtesy for mother or us children to come to the table with them, having been told this Indian was a great chief.  We children were anxious to look him over, so we peeked in at the windows and an outside door just back of where the great chief sat at table.

     What attracted our attention most was his scalp lock with what looked to be a silver ring around it, something like a large silver napkin ring.  He talked much but spoke no English.  The preacher acted as interpreter.

     This chief was a very old man with face seamed, wrinkled and scarred.  His costume was moccasins, leggings, calico shirt and waistcoat and a blanket, which he kept about his shoulders while at table.  I don’t remember seeing any other Indian with a scalp lock except while in the West with the 7th Michigan Cavalry in 1865.  Many of the Indians in the mountains and on the western plains wore the scalp lock at that time.  ~ E. O. Russell, son of John W. Russell

CENTENNIAL – BICENTENNIAL-----------------------------------MILLENIUM

     It is no small distinction to live in the year of our nation’s 200th year.  Although there are more than 200 million of us to share the honor, it is not to be for those born after 1976.  For the centennial celebration of 1876 there were a few more than 40 million people to participate.  There may be a few yet living who remember the event.  Many of us have memories of people who lived through that period.  But hang in there for another quarter century and you will be on hand to start the third MILLENIUM of our calendar.  Live to be one hundred years and you have become a centenarian.  A quirk in the English language sets up different criteria for becoming a millenarian.  If you are a chiliast you already are a millenarian.  New York City celebrated its tercentennial in 1909.


     The Shay Locomotive was developed by Ephraim Shay when he was logging at Haring, just north of Cadillac.  Shay was Sebewa Township Treasurer in 1867.  His mother was Phoeba Probasco Shay.  Shay worked for Gunn Brothers in Sebewa; from Sebewa he moved to Shaytown in Sunfield Township, Eaton County, before commencing logging at Haring.  From Haring he moved his operations to Boyne City and , later, from Boyne City to Harbor Springs.

113 -  Another and more widely used style of logging locomotice was the Shay geared engine produced from 1880 to 1945 by the Lima Locomotive Works, Lima, Ohio.  The 450 shown here was exhibitied at the Columbian Exposition.  It was sold to the Hardwick and Woodbury Railroad after the fair.  The 450 spent its last years on an Alabama lumber road.  (Dredge, Plate LXXV., Fig. 1)

     This plate from EARLY AMERICAN LOCOMOTIVES, edited by John H. White, Jr., New York, Dover Publications, I 



Robert W. Gierman, Editor
R 1
Portland, Michigan  48875




Last update September 22, 2014