Sebewa Recollector
Items of Genealogical Interest

Volume 16 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.

THE SEBEWA RECOLLECTOR Bulletin of The Sebewa Center Association,
February, 1981, Volume 16, Number 4.  Submitted with written permission of current Editor Grayden D. Slowins:


Dick Evans with his On-The-Road daily channel 8 short interviews with interesting people of the channel 8 viewing area, has recently presented local people on his show.

ART KRANICH was shown with the barn he had built at the corner of Tupper Lake and Brown Roads in Danby.  It was the reassembled granary and corn crib that had served HENRY WHORLEY and JOHN YORK until the tornado twisted it in 1967.  Next LETHA PATTERSON was shown with her country store at West Sebewa.  Lastly REX GOODEMOOT, seventh of the eight children of DONALD AND SADIE GOODEMOOT was shown with his power wood splitter made from an outdated pea harvester.


Bearing a date of May 28, 1897 a card was issued by schoolteacher O. C. Allen supported by Director J. O. Olry, Moderator I. A. Brown and Assessor H. Townsend of Sebewa Center School District #4, listing the pupils of the district.  Here is the list of pupils (and ages):

Winfield Cassel, 17, Ross Townsend, 17, Nellie Meyers, 17, Nora Luscher, 16, Blanche Townsend, 15, Irving Brown, 15, Robert Gierman, 15, Asa Cassel, 15, Glen Olry, 15, Maud Wood, 15, Hugh Showerman, 14, Earl Pettingill, 14, George Gierman, 14, Fred Benedict, 14, Mary Pettingill, 13, Herbert Demeray, 13, Myrtle Townsend, 12, Cora Gierman, 12, Gertrude Bickle, 11, Bertha Demeray, 11, Homer Luscher, 11, Bennie Probasco, 11, Earnest Clark, 10, Winnie Estep, 10, May Gunn, 10, Edna Luscher, 9, Jessie Tran, 9, Frank Bickle, 9, Oscar Cassel, 8, Beulah Gunn, 8, Vera Gunn, 8, Fern Probasco, 7, John Luscher, 7, Don Estep, 7, Archie Meyers, 7, Edna Gierman, 6, Reva Snyder, 5, Harry Meyers, 5, Roy Cassel, 5, Miles Tran, 5.

A year or two later the family of William Howland, faced with near crop failures at Lapeer was induced by W. W. Merrifield to move to Sebewa.  That move added the name of Edna Howland to the District #4 list of pupils, making three Ednas on the school list.  In 1980, EDNA GIERMAN SAYER and EDNA HOWLAND KENYON celebrated their 90th birthdays as had EDNA LUSCHER WENGER some three years earlier.  To have three young ladies of the same first name in one county school grow to be nonagenarians seems extraordinary.

Of that group of pupils, BEN PROBASCO and BEULAH GUNN besides the Ednas lived to past their 90th year.  Each of the Ednas lives in her own home.  Ben, at 95 is in the Eaton County Medical Care Facility and Beulah died last year.

Of this list of 40 pupils, only ROBERT GIERMAN and NELLIE MEYERS and ASA CASSEL and BEULAH GUNN paired in marriage.


Quoting from the January 1981 BONANZO BUGLE, Mrs. Elaine Garlock, Editor, is this paragraph:

“Within eight days, the local (Lake Odess) funeral director, Gary Koops, has the unusual experience of rendering his services for three centenarians.  In his twenty-five years as a mortician he had dealt with only two such persons.”

The centenarians were Mattie Rodebaugh Schneider of Woodland, Ben Carter of Odessa and Mabel Williams of Sebewa and Odessa.  The number of centenarians in local historical records is very small.


Fire and its control is one of the foundations of civilization.  Survival of the majority of the world’s population is completely dependent o fire.  Yet fire in uncontrolled situations is horribly destructive of people and their creations.  Even with modern methods of control with sophisticated fire fighting equipment we have reports of disastrous building fires, killing home fires of the heating season and destructive fires of forest, brush and grass in exceptionally dry times.

Here following is presented some of the accounts of fires at the turn-of-the-century in Sunfield as reported in the Sunfield papers of the time.  These fire stories were saved IN A SCRAPBOOK OF MRS. MONROE (LYDIA) STINCHCOMB.  A copy of this extensive scrapbook is in the Sunfield District Library.  Also in the library for your reference are the bound files of the Sunfield Sentinel 1956 through 1980.


Last Thursday evening the village was thrown into intense excitement by the report that Keith Preston was seriously burned.  Investigation proved the report too true.

No one is able to tell exactly how the accident occurred, but this much is known:  Keith and Hubert Snyder were heard in high merriment back of Mr. Skinner’s blacksmith shop, where he had been setting wagon tires during the afternoon and had put the fire out as usual all but a few coals and hot ashes.  Keith’s mother noticed him dangerously near a pile of blazing shingles and called to him to come away, but he was enjoying himself too much to yield immediate obedience.

About this time she noticed smoke apparently coming from his clothing, and quickly started for him with a rug, but before she could get downstairs (they live over the Blasier store building), the child’s clothing had burst into flames and he was running across the street as swiftly as his feet would carry him.

Mrs. Snyder and Mrs. Kaercher saw him coming and ran to catch him, but he was so frantic with pain that they could not get hold of him until he stopped at Mrs. Kaercher’s cistern, where his father succeeded in getting hold of him, quickly removing the burning garments from him and carrying him home.

Hubert Snyder (five years old), who was playing with Keith, says he fell into the fire, but this cannot be settled by adult testimony.

Dr. Snyder was called and everything possible was done for the child, but it was seen from the start that he could not live.  The skin sloughed off from his side, neck, chest and arms, laying the nerves bare.  The resulting nervous shock and the interrupted circulation were too much for any human organism.  The pain was relieved by opiates, and the child sank steadily till one o’clock Friday morning when life ceased.

The funeral was held from the home of Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Hulett, Mrs. Preston’s parents, Saturday afternoon, Rev. A. K. Stewart conducting short but appropriate ceremonies.  The burial was made in the Freemire cemetery.

Keith would have been six years old the 14th of next month.  He was a very active and energetic boy; had been to school one term and was quite a favorite with teacher and fellow pupils.  His Sunday School class, numbering about twenty-five, taught by Mrs. E. H. Deatsman, attended the funeral in a body.  His playmates were wonderfully solemnized by the strange, sad accident that took him so suddenly away.  The whole community is filled with sympathetic grief for the bereaved parents and relatives.  We hope never again to be compelled to write so sad an article for the columns of the Sentinel.


About 10:45 last Friday night as Ed Campbell and wife arrived home from a pedro party they detected the odor of burning pine and at once aroused Harry Jenkins, who rooms on the same floor.  A careful examination was made of the printing office but without finding any trace of fire.

The people in the hotel were quickly awakened as smoke was now pouring in from all directions and a careful search was made of the sleeping apartments.  Failing to find any trace of fire in the top story, they at once hurried to the ground floor where it was discovered that the rear of C. G. Loase’s general store was enveloped in flames.

A general alarm was sounded and not too soon, as the fire had gained such headway that the lives of those above were barely saved as the floor soon fell in.  In a few minutes the hotel was one mass of flames and in a short time the walls collapsed.

Inside of ten minutes after the fire was discovered we made our way to the top floor of the Cheetham building to see that every one was out and ascertain what could be done towards saving the printing plant.  We discovered that the fire had worked its way through the wall and into the floor in front of our office door.  It was impossible to save anything on this floor which was occupied by ED CAMPBELL AND FAMILY and the Sun printing office.

The Cheetham building, which was unoccupied below, was soon in ashes and in a short time Wolcott and Peabody’s and J. J. Bera’s buildings fell prey to the devouring flames.  Ben Fish and A. R. Peck, who occupied rooms over the meat market and furniture stores respectively, were not able to save anything on account of the heavy smoke, which filled their apartments.

Most of J. H. Bera’s furniture stock was saved before the fire reached the building.  A large safe, belonging to Dr. E. M. Snyder, which occupied a corner of the furniture store, was also saved.

The fire had evidently been burning some time before it was discovered, as the moment the door was broken open the whole inside immediately became one blazing mass.  Mr. Loase is unable to say how the fire originated unless it was from a lamp which he left burning in the store.  When he closed the store two hours before, everything was left as usual and how the fire could have caught will probably always be a mystery.

Several families were left homeless by the awful fire but are being well cared for until they can find new quarters.  At one time it looked as though the depot and elevator were doomed, but the walls collapsed in time to check the flames.

The only life known to be lost was that of “Smut”, Frank Lemmon’s pet dog, which was spending the night in the Cheetham building.  Had it not been for the timely arrival of Mr. and Mrs. Campbell, a large number of lives would undoubtedly have been lost as every one in the hotel and adjoining buildings were fast asleep when the alarm was sounded.

Landlord Walsh was taken out of the hotel unconscious while Mrs. Walsh had a narrow escape while arousing the guests, one of the floors falling in just as she was about to enter the room.

The following is a list of losses and insurance:  Hotel and contents owned by J. C. Walsh; loss $5,000, insurance $2,500.  C. G. Loase general merchandise; loss $11,000, insurance $7,000.  Geo. H. Cheetham building unoccupied below; loss $2,500, insurance $800.  Ed. Campbell; loss $500, no insurance.  The Sun printing office; loss $800, no insurance.  Wolcott & Peabody building; $2,500 insurance $800.  Lemmon & Peck grocery and meat market; loss $1,000, insurance $400.  Ben Fish; loss $700, small insurance.  J. H. Bera building and furniture stock; loss $2,500, insurance $800, stock nearly all saved.  A. R. Peck; loss $700, insurance $300………….





Last update November 16, 2013