Items of Genealogical Interest
Volume 19 Number 2
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
October, 1983, Volume 19, Number 2: (Submitted with written permission of
editor, Grayden D. Slowins)
THE EATON COUNTY COURTHOUSE OF 1845 was a relatively small frame building that
stood on the site where the imposing structure of the 1883 old courthouse now
stands. To make way for the 1883 building, the first courthouse was moved across
the street to the east where for many years it has served as a garage at the
house next north of the library. Two small wings were removed when it was moved.
In 1976 a new courthouse supplanted the 1883 building, giving Eaton County a
record of three courthouse buildings. The 1845 building is being moved to
Bennett Park in the south part of Charlotte.
CHARLES A. ESTEP’S 100-YEAR-OLD DIARY IN WHICH HE TELLS OF SEBEWA FARMING AND
SOME OTHER THINGS.
Charles Estep, aged 30 in 1883, and his wife, Flora B. Kelley, aged 25, lived on
the E 1/2 of the SW ¼ of section 21, Sebewa Township, on Musgrove Highway on the
farm that later became the Fred Bulling farm. East 1 ½ miles lived “Father and
Mother”, William and Rebecca Estep with their other children Bion, Ward, Maud
(later Mrs. Ezekiel Downing) and Dora (later Mrs. Russell Goodemoot). William
came to Michigan from Maryland. Just east of the Shilton Road intersection lived
John C. and Laura Olry. Laura is the sister of Flora. The “Corners” was Sebewa
Corners, 4 ½ miles east. It was a 12-mile trip to Portland. In keeping the diary
for three years, Mr. Estep never once used his own name. He always called his
wife Foe. Here we start the diary.
Sebewa, January 1, 1883. Foe and I went down to John C. Olry’s to a visiting or
play party this evening. There is no sleighing now. We went with the carriage.
We had a splendid visit there. There was a fine gathering. It was their eleventh
Tuesday, 2nd. Tinkered and chored around all day.
Wednesday, 3rd. Foe and I went over to L. E. Showerman’s visiting today. I went
over to Isaac Bretz’s to see about renting my farm to William Aves. We have not
made a bargain yet.
Thursday, 4th. I am not doing much of anything this windy day.
Friday, 5th. I took Josh Henry’s corn sheller home this afternoon. I went to the
Corners this afternoon.
Saturday, 6th. I wrote a letter to Detroit this morning. I went to the Corners
Sunday, January 7th. Foe and I went to church (Sebewa Baptist) this morning and
this evening Cyrus Lawrence and Alonzo Evans and wives took dinner here today.
Monday, 8th. William Cole helped me to cut saw logs to draw today. We cut 13 and
William filed the saw.
Tuesday, 9th. I skidded my saw logs this forenoon. This afternoon I took two
loads over to Cling’s mill.
Wednesday, 10th. I drew saw logs today. The sleighing is very good from here to
the mill, but the most of the roads are about bare. Foe and I to church every
night. The meeting has been in progress for about two weeks. No converts.
Thursday, 11th. I finished drawing my saw logs this morning. Went over to
Dietrich’s and bought a pair of rubber overshoes for $1.25. I went down home to
clean up a load of wheat but didn’t clean any. Ward went off to trade horses and
wanted me to go along, so I did, but we made no trade.
Friday, 12th. I went to Portland today. Drove Frank to the cutter. The sleighing
is very rough. Everybody, most, goes on wheels. Foe’s aunt Huldah came home with
me. It is quite stormy tonight.
Saturday, 15th. Thomas Leak was here this forenoon. William (Aves) came about 11
o’clock and he and I made a bargain for him to work my farm the coming summer.
We went over to Tom Leak’s and he made out the writings for us. I am to give him
one third and furnish everything. He is to have one quarter of the wheat now in
Sunday, January 14th, 1883. Foe and I went to church both this morning and this
evening. Elder Green preached this morning. He was here to dinner. Father and
Mother were also here to dinner. They stayed to the evening meeting. There was a
Monday, 15th. I helped Thomas Leak to butcher today. We killed 15, all large
hogs. It has been a very pleasant day today. We had a hard day’s work. Foe and I
made a start in religion---that is, we took the first step. God grant that we
may be faithful. Elder Northrop called before church.
Tuesday, 16th. I went to the shop today and had my horses shod. Mary Olry died
last night of consumption. They say she was only bedfast about three hours. We
go to church this evening.
Wednesday, 17th. I went over to see Reuben Lapo this morning. He is very poorly.
We went to the funeral today. It was at our church. Elder Mount preached it. It
was a good discourse. There was a full house but few tears were shed. After the
funeral Foe and I went down home. Ward helped me to clean up a load of wheat. It
snowed very hard about all day today.
Thursday, 18th. I went over and helped Lapos to fix their wind pump this
morning. There is a prayer meeting at our house this afternoon and we had a
glorious good meeting, too. I can say now that I love the Lord and I shall ever
strive to do right and by God’s grace assisting me, I will be faithful until
Friday, 19th. I went to Portland with a load of wheat today. I got 80 cents a
bushel for it. I contracted the balance at the same price to be delivered next
week. Also I contracted my hogs for $7.20 to be delivered next week. The
sleighing is good. We have been to meeting every night this week. There is no
meeting tomorrow evening.
Saturday, 20th. I am thirty years old today; quite an old man. Ward helped me to
clean up two loads of wheat today. They finished hulling their clover seed this
morning. This afternoon I got partly ready for butchering. Elder Northrop was
here to tea.
Sunday, January 21st. This is a very cold, disagreeable day, about as cold as
any day this winter. Our cow had a calf this morning. I killed the calf. We did
not go to church this evening. It was too cold.
Monday, 22nd. I expected to butcher today but it is so cold no one came, so we
did not butcher. I understand that the thermometer is 22 degrees below zero this
Tuesday, 23rd. Not quite so cold today but very tedious yet. Thomas Leak, Ward
and Bion helped. Maud helped Foe. Ora helped me weigh and load them this
evening. They weighed 1,698#---eight of them.
Wednesday, 24th. I took the hogs to market today. They froze out 25 pounds. They
came to $120.45. It was a tedious day to go to town. J. C. Olry went with me.
Thursday, 25th. I took a load of wheat to Portland today. It is quite pleasant.
Father went with me. I had the impression taken for a new set of teeth
Friday, 26th. I took another load of wheat to Portland today. Nettie Smith came
home with me yesterday to spend a few days in the country.
Saturday, 27th. Ward helped me to clean up the balance of my wheat today,
screenings and all. We have none left for my bread. I expect to buy some that is
better. Father and Bion went to town with clover seed today.
Sunday, January 28th. I went to church this morning. Foe did not feel like
going. It is a very warm and pleasant day today. The test today was the 4th
chapter, 11th verse of Hebrews. Foe and I both go this evening. Large
Monday, January 29th. I took a load of wheat to Portland today. I had 48 bushels
and 17#. Nellie Smith went home.
Tuesday, 30th. I butchered today. Thomas Leak and Ward helped me. We got done a
little past ten o’clock. We killed four. Elder Northrop was here to dinner
today. Foe helped me weight and cut up the hogs. One weighed 136 pounds, 150#,
154# and 156#. It rained some this afternoon.
Wednesday, 31st. It has turned very cold and stormy. I went over to Jake Lapo’s
and borrowed his grinder and stuffer and we made sausages and salted our meat
today. I went to church.
Thursday, February 1st, 1883. I helped Charlie VanHouten today. We sawed stove
wood. It has been very cold today.
Friday, 2nd. I put up a lot of screenings and corn and went to mill this
forenoon. This afternoon we went to prayer meeting at George Baldwin’s. Foe rode
down with Mrs. Northrop. The Elder and I went afoot. It has snowed about all day
and part of the day very hard.
Saturday, 3rd. Foe and I expected to go to Grandy’s (Portland relatives) but it
stormed all day, so we could not go. It is rain and snow or sleet. Bill Olry
came down this evening to do the chores. He thought we were gone. He stayed all
Sunday, February 4th. We went to Grandy’s today. It snowed a little. There was
not much of a track but we got along all right. Bill is doing the chores while
we are gone. Maud and Aunt Huldah are keeping house for him. We met George and
Nora coming up to Charles Kelley’s. We told them they were not at home, so they
turned around and went back. Wallace is better than we expected to find him.
Monday, 5th. All of Grandy’s folks and Foe and I went over to Mr. Tiney’s today.
That is Ellie’s husband’s name. We did not get started for home until 3 o’clock.
We stopped in Portland and I got my false teeth and they fit very well. They
cost $8.00. We did not get very cold coming home. Everything was all right at
home and we had a good visit.
Tuesday, 6th. We went over to Cling’s mill this morning to see when I could get
my logs sawed. Afternoon I went to the Corners and got part of my feed. Foe and
Aunt Huldah went over to Lute’s (Lucius Showerman).
Wednesday, 7th. I went to the Corners again today. Foe and Aunt Huldah went to
Father’s visiting. R. Lapo came there while we were there.
Thursday, 8th. Father and Bion helped me to butcher my Preston sow this
afternoon. She is thin. Wesley Balget was here to dinner.
Friday, 9th. I went to Portland today, got 7 cents a pound for my sow. She only
weighed 166#. The roads are drifted very bad in places. I had my lower teeth
cleaned and two of them filled at a cost of $1.50.
Saturday, 10th. I have done nothing but putter today.
Sunday, February 11th. We went to church today and listened to a good sermon. I
had a bad head ache all day. It has been quite a nice day.
Editor’s Note: Here ends the first installment of a long diary. Your comments
about continuing the diary will be appreciated. Tom Leak, David Leak and Charles
VanHouten lived on Goddard Road south of the Baptist Church. The Baldwins were
in the first mile to the east and in the second mile were Cy Lawrence and Alonzo
Evans. Mark Dietrich’s (Maybe Detterick) was at the corner of M 66 and Tupper
November 16, 2013