THE SEBEWA RECOLLECTOR,
Bulletin of The Sebewa Center Association.
Volume 14, February 1979, Number 4. Submitted with permission of current editor
Grayden D. Slowins.
1878 WAS A GOOD YEAR FOR CENTENARIANS. Besides Clara Evans, who celebrated her
100th birthday last October, another one-time Sebewa resident, Mrs. Edith Shaupp
Rusher became a centenarian. Mrs. Rusher is in a convalescent home in Chesaning.
Mrs. Rusher and her sister, Cora, who married Rev. Riley Sandborn, were
daughters of Adolph Shaupp, a brother to Mamie Downing’s grandmother and
mentioned in her account of the Sindlinger family in the October issue of the
Recollector. The Shaupps lived on the farm that is now the Howard Knapp farm.
Nearing the 100 year goal is Mrs. Mabel Williams, who was born in Sebewa July
15, 1879. She has already celebrated her 100th Christmas and New Years at the
home of her daughter, Mrs. Donald Bippley.
IN 1848 THE INDIANS TOOK LEGAL TITLE TO
From (Liber) F, Page 332, Register of Deeds Office, Ionia County, Michigan
Wm. Fitch and wife to Dagmacke and Menekquett
21st of December 1848
Party of the first part for the sum of $324 in hand paid by party of the second
part has granted, bequeathed, do grant, bargain and sell to second part now in
actual possession, now being and to their heirs and assigns forever. All that
certain piece or parcel of land lying and being in Ionia County, State of
The NE fr. Of SW1/4 of Sec. 21 Town 5 N, R 5 W containing 108 and 20/100 acres
according to U. S. Survey.
Followed by a long paragraph customary in deeds that gave the Indians full
rights to the property with Fitches giving up their rights along with their
Sworn before Chas. W. Ingalls, Justice of the Peace.
Previously the Indians had an encampment about a mile east in Danby. Later Chas.
W. Ingalls purchased the property when the Indians were removed to the
reservation at Mount Pleasant.
(SEBEWA VETERANS’ GRAVESITES:)
LITTLE ORVILLE HAS LOST HIS FLAG
The Michigan Veterans Trust Fund Board of Trustees has recently made inquiry of
local officials as to whether the local cemeteries may have any unmarked
veterans’ graves or if any government headstones or bronze plaques might be held
in storage rather than being placed on veterans’ graves. That brings us to the
list of graves that have flag holders and have had flags placed in the holders
each year for many a year in the past.
The graves in the EAST CEMETERY so marked are:
Frank H. Rathburn, Heman S. Brown, Jacob W. Evans, J. Snow Peabody, Elmer J.
Showerman, Irving A. Brown, Nick DeVries, Rollin Derby, Ernest Showerman, Carl
McClelland, Walter Luscher, Ross Tran, Joseph Schnabel, William H. Pettingill;
William Lumbert, Jacob Showerman, Jonah Carpenter, Samuel Bigham, Dr. G. W.
Snyder, Charles Hiar, Annis M. Hiar, Nathanial N. Tidd, John R. Petrie, Charles
Deatsman, Charles A. Nichols, George E. Friend, John P. Franks, Alonzo N. Evans,
J. H. McClelland, John Cross, Orlando V. Showerman, Myrtle D. Showerman, Allan
B. Lippencott, Wm. H. Southwell, John M. Bradley, A. L. Olmstead, G. W. Lusk,
Dale Tran, Glenn Fender, Wm. Showerman, Cecil Tackett.
In the BAPTIST CEMETERY:
L. J. Heaton, George Trumpower, Oren Daniels, H. Rodegeb, H. Bates, J. C. Clark,
D. W. Goddard, H. Evans, Stephen York, Burton Daniels, Elkanah Carpenter, J. S.
M. Peabody, J. S. Henry, Stephen Everest, Cleon Creighton.
The George Trumpower grave is not marked with a headstone. For many years the
name of Orville Albro has been on this list. Dr. Orville Albro was wonce a
resident physician of Sebewa Corners and was health officer in 1872. Soon after
that he moved to Portland and he is buried in the Portland Cemetery. The Orville
Albro in our East Cemetery was the doctor’s infant son.MI, IONIA COUNTY: THE
SEBEWA RECOLLECTOR, Bulletin of The Sebewa Center Association. Volume 14,
February 1979, Number 4. Submitted with permission of current editor Grayden D.
THRESHING A CENTURY AGO:
August 6, 1879. Sebewa Corners. The Ionia County Farmers Mutual Insurance Co.
have had their inspectors around examining threshing machine engines where there
interests are involved.
August 27, 1879. Mr. Albert Figg had the misfortune of having a stack of wheat
containing about 130 bushels entirely destroyed by fire last Tuesday. The fire
was caused by Charlie Bennett’s Pitts thresher engine. Charlie generously
declared that he would stand half the loss and no one blames him for
A FIRST FOR SEBEWA
The Michigan History Division, Department of State, Secretary of Stat’s Office
to Lansing has announced that the old Weippert Mill on Sebewa Creek at the
corner of Bippley and Keefer Roads in Sebewa Township has been added to the
State Register of Historical Buildings. David Schroeder’s application for the
building’s historic designation was sponsored by The Sebewa Center Association.
The mill and dam were built in 1876 by Adrew Weippert on the site where Melvin
Rogers and Charles Ingalls had previously had such an operation. Mr. Weippert
operated the mill until his death in 1903. It was later in business under the
successive managements of John Benedict, Harry Gibson and a Mr. Merritt.
Although it was primarily a grist mill, buckwheat flour was one of its products.
This is the first time that any building in Sebewa Township has been placed on
the State Register of Historic Buildings and probably the first such building to
be so honored in the south part of Ionia County.
THINGS I REMEMBER By Ben Probasco
When I started farming I used a hand corn planter. My dad marked the rows with a
home made tool that was a six-inch log or timber with stakes protruding to
scratch the ground and leave marks for the rows of corn………Later we got a couple
of John Deere riding cultivators……..I was born May 21, 1885 at the Showerman
house a half mile south. When I was about six years old my parents decided to
make a trip to Texas to visit Uncle Uzel Probasco. We left Sunfield by train.
We lived in the Merrifield house on Bippley Road on the land that Howard Meyers
now owns. When we returned from Texas my father built this house where I live so
that we could move in in late tall. He always said that it took the last cent he
had to pay for the plastering……Granddad came here as a cooper and had a cooper
shop, first on the corner at Sebewa Center soon after 1852. A little later he
sold that land to Sam Gunn and bought the land where I live and built another
cooper shop across the road from where Howard Meyers lives. I never saw him do
any cooperage work because he was finished with that work before my time. He
made a tight barrel and made whiskey barrels and cider barrels. When that kind
of played out he made butter tubs. He could make four a day when he had the
timber, at a dollar and a quarter apiece. I think he used white oak. The hoops
were made out of hickory. When they were notched out right you could slip them
right together and they would stay. He had a lot of tools up in his buggy shed
and corn shed. They were right in there when I sold Roy Sears the shop so Roy
got the tools but they didn’t keep them anymore than I did. I think I sold the
building for $40 and I don’t know if Wallace has the building left or not. Frank
Cassel came over and moved it. Before 1883 the schoolhouse was on Granddad’s
corner. He was always good to kids and raised flowers. He would work harder than
a man would at farming. He had a good garden for everybody. He had about half an
acre of flowers around the house that was moved for the Portland Christian
Reformed Church parsonage.
Granddad was married three times. His first wife, my grandmother, was Deborah
Showerman. After she died he married I. A. Brown’s sister, Luryette. The next
one was a Quackenboss. She had been married before and her man died. Her maiden
name was Boyer. Pa always said that Granddad could make a barrel airtight but he
couldn’t nail up a gate.
My Dad, Gene, and Heman Brown went to the World’s Fair in Chicago in 1893. Near
the fairgrounds they had Libby Prison set up. Heman had been a prisoner of war
when the old tobacco warehouse was made a prison at Richmond, Virginia. He was
in the prison a short time before the war closed. He had cut his initials in a
door frame. When they went to look over the reconstructed building at the fair,
there were his initials in the door frame. For souvenirs at the fair, Pa brought
folders and he brought me a little box about an inch high that was made in
Japan. It had two mud turtles about as big as a nickel. You just wiggled the box
a little and the turtles seemed alive.
I was at the St. Louis World’s Fair in 1904. I got a stopover to the fair for
three or four days on my way to Texas. I was seventeen years old. St. Louis
people took the fairgoers in to make a little money and accommodate the crowds.
Frank Showerman and Kelly had a cousin there and they stayed with her…….Granddad
was the youngest one in his family. There in Ohio he did the farming. The other
boys had all gone then…….Uncle Ephraim Probasco was here in Sebewa first. He
owned the land where Ken Seybold lives in section 15. Uncle Uzel took this up
for Granddad. Granddad was only 16 years old when he got it. His brother it up
for him through a Mexican War grant. They had a brother who was killed in the
Mexican War. There were a lot of the Ohio people who came up here. Lots of the
settlers were from Ohio. I suppose they got noise of this part of Michigan down
there that this was a pretty good place—probably a few mosquitoes and a little
water. Anybody from Sebewa was known as a “Swomp Angel”. It’s a pretty good
place to live in now.
When Granddad came to look at land here he wanted to go to the land on the
southeast corner of the Center. He was at the corner of Bippley and Sunfield
Roads and went to the Center by way of Marshall Ralston’s on Musgrove Road. Pa
asked him what he went that way for. He said “Well, the water was four feet deep
between the Center and a mile east”. You can imagine what it could be in the
spring when there were no ditches. Pa said he could remember when from the
corner on Bippley east past Wesley Meyers’ place to the hill there was an old
crossway—logs and blacksnakes and a little dirt on them logs. He said the water
was four feet deep on either side of the road. I guess the country has improved
quite a lot. End.
Ben is now 94 and is at the Eaton County Medical Care Facility at Charlotte.
OUT INTO THE WORLD FROM WEST SEBEWA; As
told on tape by T. Leander Peacock.
I was born near West Sebewa June 3, 1894. My parents were Eunice Lindley and Sam
Peacock, son of John Peacock, who lived in the log house on M 66 just north of
the Clarksville Road on the Odessa side. I went to school at West Sebewa and
that was the extent of my education through the eighth grade in my sixteenth
year. We took the eighth grade examination at Lake Odessa in the old High School
building. I remember Alta Johnson as one of my teachers and also one of the
At home I worked on the farm some. When my brother got a little bigger, I began
to work out in the summers for two or three years. I worked in the West Sebewa
store one summer when W. R. Wells owned the store. His son was operating the
store and he wanted to be gone for the summer so I took his place in the same
building that Mrs. Patterson now operates her store. We bought eggs and cream
from the farmers. The truck came over from Woodbury once a week and picked up
the cream and eggs and took them to Woodbury to ship them out. We tested the
cream and paid for the amount of butterfat. We had a Babcock centrifugal tester
turned with a crank. We also bought butter. We did not buy poultry. A truck came
through the neighborhood for that. We sold drygoods, overalls, groceries and
things of that kind. We did not have the post office in that building.
About that time the Presbyterian Church just south of the store stopped holding
meetings. The membership got so low that they quit and went to other places to
church. The Creightons, Goodemoots, Thorps and others as well as myself used to
go to that empty church to play cards and fool around as young men do. The stove
was about shot so we met there only in good weather.
I painted houses some in early summer but later I went to work threshing and
working in the sawmill. I worked eight winters in the sawmill and eight falls
with the gang thresher. I tended the separator and looked after the blower so
that whoever was stacking straw could get the straw where he wanted it. By that
time we had begun threshing out of the field though some were still stacking the
grain before we threshed it. I worked with Jimmy Creighton one year and the rest
of the time with his son, Sam Creighton. Jimmy was a good manager. He had
threshed for a good many years before that. I think that my father was with his
crew for one or two falls.
Sam Creighton had a bean huller besides the thresher. Lots of times we slept
right in the barns where we were threshing because we were quite a little ways
from home. Sam had seven or eight men in the crew that followed the thresher.
Bill Elens and one of the Downing boys were in the crew. There was quite a bit
of transient help in the crew. The pay was 50 or 60 cents a day. This went back
to the period of 1910-1918. The Creightons used a steam engine. When I was a kid
we would hear the steam whistle blow and we would run out by the road and watch
the outfit coming and kept on watching until it got out of sight.
I went in the first call of the first draft in World War I. At Fort Custer at
Battle Creek they put me in the first squad. The Corporal had been in there
about three weeks and they made him a Sargeant and they had to replace him with
somebody and I became the Corporal so I had the first squad in the outfit. I got
a chance to volunteer with an outfit that was going across the pond. I thought
the war was going to end before I would get over there. When we got down to New
York State, half of our men were in one barracks and half were in another small
barracks. The other barracks became quarantined for measles so they sent my half
right on across. Over there we were helping to build a camp at St. Lazare, in
France…………….I spent from spring until Armistice Day on the ammunition detail.
Part of that time I was chauffeur for French officers. I drove both an
English-made Model T Ford and a French Renault. That was the best job I had in
the army. I had two leaves of two weeks while I was in France and visited
mountain resorts in Southern France.
My father died while I was on the front and I did not know about his death until
six weeks afterward. Once in a while the mail would catch up to us but it was a
long time between times. We came home on a German ship that had been
confiscated. The apparatus that desalinized our drinking water played out and
the last two days we had no fresh drinking water. We made tea from the salt
water. We were five days in New York and then they sent us on down to Camp
Custer and then we were sent home the next day. I was paid off $30 and $30 extra
and on that I came home to find a job. I think I pained some houses as my first
work. We never got any other Government help.
I worked for Sam Creighton again for a year and then started farming on my
wife’s folks’ place near Lake Odessa and ran a threshing rig of my own for a
while. I also did some tile ditching. I worked for Zerfas International
Harvester dealership for eleven years, six years in the Lake Odessa Machine Shop
and then I worked thirteen years for the John Deere dealer in Lake Odessa.
My sons are Tom, Harry and Dick. Betty is our oldest daughter and one other
daughter, Kathryn, died. Frances and Helen are the other two daughters. Walter
Peacock is my youngest brother. The two boys between us died. I also had three
Mrs. John P. (Shirley) Lich is my granddaughter. She has carried a part of the
family back to its Sebewa beginnings.