Sebewa Recollector
Items of Genealogical Interest

Volume 1 Number 2
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; October 1965.  Volume 1, Number 2.  Submitted with written permission of editor, Grayden D. Slowins:



   To celebrate the acquisition of the Sebewa Center school property, The Sebewa Center Association will hold open house with a hobby-heirloom and old time articles show on Sunday, October 17.  The hours will be 2:00 to 5:00 P.M. at the schoolhouse.  A refreshment committee will arrange light refreshments.  Everybody is invited (with the exception noted below).  Bring your friends.

   Several categories of displays are being planned.  Indian artifacts, household tools and appliances of yester year, bottles, old time carpentry tools, books, rocks and minerals, scrapbooks and others are on the list for display.  If you have such items you would like to show others, bring them for the show.  There are many such things our display chairman will not know about unless you volunteer them.  The old school desks will be removed to storage to give us sufficient room for displays and chairs.  Mrs. Alice Bulling, a lineal descendant of Sam Dexter mentioned in the accompanying history of Ionia County article, has promised to show some of her Dexter heirlooms.

   If antique dealers appear at this show of the community’s heirlooms, our security police have been instructed to lock them in the northwest brick pavilion (free bread and water) until all displays have been safely returned from whence they came. 


   For the school property to be ours, we must raise the $500.00 we are to pay for it.  At this open house, our treasurer, Lucille Meyers, with receipt book at hand, will be ready to accept contributions.  If you prefer to make a contribution without it being made a matter of record, Lucille will have a slotted container to receive such and the record will show only the total amount thus received.  Mail contributions may be sent to Mrs. Lucille Meyers, R 1, Sunfield, Michigan  48890.

   While it would be desirable to have the total indebtedness wiped out with one drive and contribution, any deficit will have to be worked on by our finance committee.  Perhaps we shall have to try for a wheat allotment for the school yard. 


   At a meeting September 16, 1965 at the schoolhouse the constitution and by laws as printed in the September issue were adopted.  You may refer to that as your official copy. 


   From the school records we find this itemized report on labor and costs of building.  We have copied the freewheeling spelling as it appeared and leave it to you to translate the names to the familiar ones of the community. 


   When you pass Portland Road traveling M 66 do you ever wonder what is the name of the little cemetery on the knoll back from the southwest corner?  You may tell your friends “That is the Alderman Cemetery”.  The last burial there saw the casket borne from the road by bearers.  Formerly there was a driveway to the cemetery but it has long since disappeared.  ‘Tis said the badgers have not been content to let the dead lie in peace. 


   Robert E. Gierman, Vern Bullen, Mr. & Mrs. Maurice Gierman, Pauline Gierman, Mae Gierman, Christine Jarchow, Helen York, Mr. & Mrs. Homer Downing, Joel York, Lucille Esch, Robert W. Gierman, Mr. & Mrs. Elmer Gierman, Ruth Seybold, Martha Gierman, Mr. & Mrs. George Carr, Mrs. & Mrs. Charles Gierman, Stanley C. Sayer, Mr. & Mrs. LaVern Carr, Mr. & Mrs. Clarence Sayer, Mr. & Mrs. Ralph Coe, Mr. & Mrs. Harlan Leifheit, Mr. & Mrs. Jonathan Pumplin, Mr. & Mrs. Robert Wenger, Elfa Creighton, Geneva Kneale, Mr. & Mrs. Theo Bulling, Nora Sindlinger, Ardell Ward, Mr. & Mrs. Allen J. Cross, Mr. & Mrs. John Shay, Mr. & Mrs. Wilbur Gierman, Mr. & Mrs. Maynard Gierman & Family, Ruby Wekenman, Mr. & Mrs. Howard Meyers & Family, Mabel Ralston, Theo Lenon, Mr. & Mrs. John York, Mr. & Mrs. Dennis Petrie, Reba Thuma, Mr. & Mrs. Lyle Ingall, Howard Cross, Mr. & Mrs. Ora J. Walkington, Richard Droste, Mr. & Mrs. Melvin Buchner, Mr. & Mrs. Ben Probasco, Jan Gierman, Mr. & Mrs. E. H. Kenyon, Mr. & Mrs. Kyle Stambaugh, Harold Meyers, Dora (VanderPoel) Tysse, Mr. & Mrs. Wesley Meyers, Mr. & Mrs. Joseph Speas & Stephen, Linda Meyers, Bernard H. York, Bernice Gunn, Ronald S. York, Gladys Shaffer, John Rodney York, William Anderson, Mr. & Mrs. Raymond Heintzleman & Family” 


   Kyle Stambaugh, Theo Yager, Max VanHouten, Charles Doolittle, John Blaho, Wayne Thrams, Myron Guy, Clarence Bailey, John Shay, Graden Slowins, Floyd Carroll, Keith Merryfield, the late Dale Stabaugh, Henry Hoort, Clyde Thuma, Duane Pinkston, Oren Daniels, Lyle Ingall, M. J. Robers, and Harold Hanna.  Reading this list of names may not ring a bell or strike a light for you, but every evening at dusk until dawn you may think of some of them as you see some of  the 20 mercury vapor all-night yard lights that shine in Sebewa.

   The first one installed was that of Kyle Stambaugh in 1961.  He has not yet had to replace the bulb in it.    Kyle has installed several of the lamps in Sebewa and adjacent areas.  The night pattern of these bright lights is a far cry from the light from the fireflies of pioneer days.

   A bird’s eye view would place the lights like this in the township:  (Pattern of dots on the page, beside this report – lib)

SEBEWA, DEC. THE 15, 1882:

   Report of the Treasure of the Building community as School District No 4 Sebewa:


on Brick $100.00

for lime and Water line 28.70

for bill lumber for joyse & rafters 32.50

Gerald for laying stone 21.00

Thomas Little for laying stone

Henry Petinail for tending mason 16.87

Wm Pleaseman for labor 2.50

Theadore Gunn for teaming 50.57

For Water Table Window sills & caps 53.69

J. H. McClelon for drawing Brick 10.39

Louis Staplfor pileing Brick 3.75

Frank C. Smith for drawing brick & sand 17.88

James Pebody work on foundation  6.00

Otis Griner for drawing brick  10.18

David Gunn for labor   .75

Wm. Shipman for timber & labor 5.00

J. S. Gunn for labor and bord  23.63

Emanuel Trann for labor  2.18

To A. M. Ralston for Teaming and other labor  31.75

      Making total off       $438.21

Leaving on hand Sixty one dollars 79/100

All of which I respectable submit – A. M. Ralston Treasure of the Bilding Comitty 

Report of Treasurer of Building Committee of School Dist. No. 4 Sebewa supplementary to the report of Dec. 15th, 1882

Bal. on hand Dec 15th 1882 $61.79

Rec’d on orders from Assessor 703.43

Total  765.22 

Paid Bal on Brick 75.00

“ Frost, Laying brick 164.83

“ Barrell, Tending mason 58,00

“ Chapin, Carpenter work 83.75

“ Heacock, Carpenter work 65.00

“ J. S. Gunn on Acct   50.00

“ F. C. Smith, Labor   5.00

“ Roe for lime   32.40

“ for freight on school furniture 16.62

“ for drawing school furniture   7.50

“ for lumber at yard   28.76

“ for Shingles  45.50

“ for Sayers, Olry, Shipman & Aves drawing Brick

         From Vermontville each $2.00     8.00

“ Little, Laying stone   8.75

“ Bates, tending mason 3.50

“ Trann, tending mason  5.62

“ Difference in window caps  2.00

“ John Aves, Labor  2.87

            Total $663.10

Pd. Ward Estep, drawing lime    $663.10,  $765.22

“ for lime and nails     1.75

“ lath and hoop iron    .87

“ lags to fasten plates  2.64

“ A. M. Ralston on Acct   56.63

           Total Paid out   $727.62


                                             $  37.60

Respectfully Submitted

M. Ralston


School Dist No. 4 To A. M. Ralston:

Feb 22nd To drawing 2 loads shingle $4.00, Mar. 8th Going to see Mr. Frost $2.00,

Mar. 14 Going to settle at brick kiln $1.00, Mar. 24  drawing brick from Vermontville 2.00, etc…………..Total $96.83, Cr. Sept 3rd By cash 56.63, Bal due $40.20

M. Ralston


Read at the Celebration in Ionia, July 4th, 1876.

   The history of a county is, unless spoken of geologically, but the history of its people, their character and their doings.  It embraces their immigration and settlement of the county, the development of its resources of soil, timber, its mineral wealth, the utilizing of its water power, and all else that the creator has provided to increase their wealth, to supply their wants, or add to their comforts.  Their successes and disaster, their individual enterprise and united efforts to open the country by building roads and bridges, mills, factories, machine shops, and whatever else will give remunerative employment to those already there, or invite an increase of population, their establishment of civil government, the administration of law, organizing schools and churches, and the practical workings of these make up the sum total of the history of a county.  The natural preface to that history is the primitive condition of the country at the time when the pioneer settlers made it their home and commenced to develop its resources. 

LOCATION.  Ionia, the county seat of Ionia county, is distant, by the United States survey from Detroit 105 miles west, and 36 or 38 miles north, and by the D. & M. Railway, 125 miles.  It is 84 miles from the south line of the state, 60 miles east of Lake Michigan and by railway, 64 miles; and south from Mackinaw 192 miles.  A line running north from Ionia intersects Little Traverse Bay some 30 miles south and west of Mackinaw.  It is 24 miles square, embracing 16 townships, each six miles square except Berlin and Easton.  It is well watered.  The Grand River enters the southeast part and runs in a northwesterly direction until it passes some two or three miles north of the center line, thence in a westerly direction through the county.  The Flat River, running down from the north, enters at the northeast corner of Otisco, crossing that township diagonally, crosses the northwest corner of Keene and passing into Kent County empties into Grand River at Lowell.  Maple River enters at the northeast part of the count and empties into Grand River about five miles east of Ionia and near Muir.  The Looking Glass River empties its waters into the Grand River at Portland.  These with their tributaries afford many excellent water powers, which are already being utilized for flouring mills, saw mills, factories, machine shops, and various other purposes.  The water is unusually good.  That found in the streams is clear and pure, while that obtained from wells is of rare excellence. 

THE SOIL.  For richness of fertility is scarcely equaled by any county in the state.  It is known as “timbered land”, “oak openings”, and “plains”.  There is very little “waste land”, but a small percentage of so-called “light soils”.  It is a wheat growing county, and in quantity per acre and quality of wheat it has no superior, we think, in the state.  Its yield of corn, oats, potatoes, and grass is abundant.

THE TIMBERS embrace almost every variety found in this latitude.  The varieties most valuable and which grow in great abundance are oak, maple, beach, basswood, ash, butternut, cherry, black walnut, some white wood, hickory, and pine.

   It is not deficient in stone.  Almost every farm has stone enough on or near the surface for all necessary farm purposes, yet not often too abundant for convenience, or sufficient to depreciate the value of the farm.  There is an extensive bed of variegated sandstone on the D. L. & L. M. Railroad, some four miles east of Ionia.  It is easily worked, and when dressed makes a beautiful building material.  The First National Bank and the residence of Hon. Fred Hall of Ionia are built of this stone.  Such was Ionia county in the early spring of 1833.

(2)  PIONEERS.  In the spring of 1833 the Hon. Samuel Dexter of Herkimer County, New York, with his family and the families of Judge Yeomans, Oliver Arnold, Darius Windsor, Edward and Joel Guild, together with Dr. Wm. B. Lincoln, then a young man, came to Ionia.  They started from Utica, N.Y., on the 5th day of April, 1833, on a canal boat chartered or owned by the company, and reached Buffalo on May 7th.  They arrived at Detroit May 10th on the steamer Superior.  From Detroit they started with ox teams for Grand River, going to Fuller’s tavern, 13 miles north of Pontiac, on the Saginaw turnpike.  At this point they turned abruptly into the woods, leaving all roads, public highways, and civilization as well, to traverse more than a hundred miles of unbroken forest, save only one family, a Mr. Gage, who had settled a short distance from Fuller’s tavern, and two Indian trading stations on the Shiawassee River, one kept by a Mr. Godfrey, a Canadian Frenchman, and the other by two brothers named Williams, one of whom they employed to pilot them to Grand River.  Eighteen days after their arrival at Detroit, having encamped nine nights on the ground, they arrived at Ionia on the 28th day of May, 1833.  Their journeyings were several times broken in upon from various causes, but the saddest of them all was the death of a little son of Mr. Dexter, who died in the heavy forest in Clinton County.  His body was put into a trunk and buried under the shade of a large forest tree, the bark of which was taken off one side and inscribed partly with red chalk and partly with a branding iron, “Here lies Riley, son of S. Dexter”.  The inscription gave the age and the date of his death, which I have forgotten as the last time I saw it, it was scarcely legible, while the rest was perfectly so.  Let me say here that there are discrepancies in the date given at the arrival of this pioneer party at Ionia.  Some writers give it as about the middle of or early in May; others about the middle of June.  A diary kept by Dr. Lincoln, one of the party, records the date of their arrival the 28th of May.  Neither tradition nor the uncertain recollection of other members of the party can weigh against a continuous diary kept of their every day’s journey with its incidents and their testimony of Dr. Lincoln’s diary is indisputable.  He still retains that diary.  The “History and Directory of Ionia County” is full of inaccuracies, and hence is not reliable authority. 

THE INDIANS were still in possession of their old camping grounds, cultivating them after the Indian fashion.  They very readily and pleasantly sold out their “betterments” to the newcomers, and vacated, leaving them in peaceful possession.  The Indians were for a few years more of a benefit than an annoyance to the settlers, furnishing them with venison, fish, wild berries, tanned deer skins, (out of which many a pair of pants were made), maple sugar, and other products of the country.  One peculiarity of their habits, and very commendable, was that they never intruded by night, unless intoxicated, which seldom occurred at first.  They knew but little of the value of articles of traffic, or of money at first.  Their only standard for exchange was quart for quart and bushel for bushel.  If they had cranberries or huckleberries to sell, and wanted potatoes, turnips or flour in exchange it was all the same, bushel for bushel.  If you offered them 24 cents in silver and a ten dollar bill, they would take the silver. 

The first addition that was made to the little settlement at Ionia was the Cornell families, who arrived November 9, 1833.  They were from Madison County, N.Y., and were fourteen days coming from Detroit to Ionia, having encamped on the ground nine nights, no very bad bed chamber in pleasant weather.  Traveling over the same route that the first company had traveled, they found two additional settlers from Fuller’s tavern to Ionia.  The first, Mr. Runyan, not far from Mr. Gage’s before mentioned.

   The other was Capt. Scott, the first and only settler then in Clinton County.  He had just preceded us by a few days, and was then living in an Indian wigwam on the ground where DeWitt is now built.  Philo Bogue settled at Portland in October, 1833 and Mr. Milne, an Englishman, in November of the same year.  This constituted the entire population, except a few transient persons residing in the families already named, at the close of the year 1833.  By families, they were at Ionia, S. Dexter, E. Yeomans, D. Windsor, Oliver Arnold, E. Guild, A. Cornell, Sr., and Thomas Cornell; at Portland, Philo Bogue and M. Milne.  The next spring, 1834, John E. Morrison settled across the river from Ionia in the town of Berlin.  Mr. McKelvey and Mr. Libhart came in the same spring and located near where the village of Lyons now is.  Mr. George Case located in the same spring in Easton on the farm now owned by J. Sanford, 1 ½ miles west of Ionia. 

THE WORK OF IMPROVEMENT, which now commenced in earnest, was necessarily slow at first, having many interruptions and hindrances.  Their only teams were oxen, and their only pasture grounds were “Uncle Sam’s” vast domain, reaching almost “from the rivers to the ends of the earth”.  Hence it often occurred that the teams wandered so far away at night that it took a quarter or a half of the next day to find and bring them back again to their tasks.  The task of hunting up the cows at night and the oxen in the morning was no small item in the labors of pioneer life.

   The country, at this date, had become sufficiently known to attract public attention, and the enthusiasm for emigration, together with the reckless spirit of speculation in “wild lands”, which reached its culminating point in the years 1836 and 1837, brought such a rapid increase of population, that the harvests were insufficient to supply the increased demands.  Provisions must be obtained from abroad.  The commerce of the lakes was small, the distance was great, but few vessels entered the harbor at Grand Haven, therefore it was precarious to depend upon that as a source of relief.  In the winter of 1833-34 the Cornell brothers went with two teams to Detroit to bring in goods left behind, and brought in a small supply of provisions, but sufficient to eke out their stock of supplies until early spring.  An expedition was then fitted out to go up the Thornapple River to above where the village of Middleville now stands—provisions having been purchased at Gull Prairie and delivered on the river at a place known as Bull’s Prairie.  The expedition went up in a pole boat capable of carrying from 15 to 25 tons burden.  Judge Yeomans commanded the expedition and the “boys poled the boat”, of which I was one.  It was at once romantic and laborious.  At a later period when Mr. Dexter had built a mill, the supplies were brought from Gull Prairie, Kalamazoo, and Prairie Ronde.

   Until about the year 1847 or 1848 the only means of transportation to an eastern market was by way of Grand River, in pole boats, and the lakes.  At about that time steamers were placed upon the river, thus giving us a continuous line of steamboat communication with Detroit and Buffalo.  In 1856 the D. & M. Railroad reached Ionia from Detroit, opening a direct and speedy communication with the east.  In 1869 the D. L. & L.M.R.R. was constructed, thus giving us two competing parallel lines to Detroit. 

ORGANIZATION:  Ionia county at the first was attached to Kalamazoo County for judicial purposes.  Subsequently it was attached to Kent County until the year of 1837, when the county was organized.  An election was held in April of that year, at Genereau’s, an Indian trading station on Grand River about a mile below Lyons.  The result of the election was as follows:  Number of votes cast, 293.  Elected:  Associate Judges, Isaac Thompson, Truman H. Lyon; Clerk, Asa Bunnell; Register of Deeds, Adam L. Roof; Treasurer, John E. Morrison; Judge of Probate, Wm. D. Moore; Coroners, Philo Bogue and Thaddeus O. Warner.  The county was divided into two townships, Ionia and Maple.  The dividing line ran north and south, three miles east of the center line of the county, it being the center line of the townships of Sebewa, Orange, Ionia, and Ronald.

   The townships were organized as follows:  Ionia and Lyons in 1837, Otisco, Berlin, Boston, and Portland, in 1838; Keene, 1842; North Plains, 1844, Danby, Orange, Ronald and Sebewa, 1845; Odessa and Orleans, 1846; Campbell,1849.  The townships are all six miles square except Berlin and Easton.  The fractional part of Easton on the south side of Grand River is attached to Berlin, giving Berlin about 42 sections, leaving Easton only about 30.

   Thus it was not until 1849, 15 years after its first settlement, that it was fully prepared by the protection and cooperative aid of the civil power, to commence the task of working out its destiny to its fullest, highest, and broadest possible perfection of its social, moral, political, and material development.

   A country will be to an almost unlimited extent what its inhabitants choose to make it.  And as no element of great power is safe without a floodgate or safety valve to relieve the pent up power if necessary, so no county is a safe residence where the inhabitants are dependent on one or a few productions for their wealth and prosperity.  There is no crop in any country, however rich the soil, that will not sometimes fail.  Hence that country which has the largest variety of staple productions which will bear transportation and find a ready cash market at remunerative prices, offers the surest guarantee to the immigrant of a never failing prosperity.

   I have visited eighteen states of the Union.  The eastern states, known to you all; the western prairie states, Wisconsin, Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana; several of the cotton growing states of the south, and always with a sharp lookout to their advantages and resources, and I am free to say that I am satisfied that Michigan is unequalled by any one of them for the number and variety of her staple products for export, or the minor products for convenience and comfort.

   For exports, her wheat, wool, beef, pork, products of the dairy, fruit, lumber, salt, and gypsum.  For convenience, home supplies, and of every kind indigenous to this latitude and climate of rare excellence, well supplied with water, with wood for fuel, fencing, and building, to keep and to sell.  In the multitude of her resources she is not equaled by any state I have seen.

   If it were possible that every crop should fail him for a reason, the poor man’s wood, timber, and lumber are as bank deposits from which he may draw supplies until the earth again yields her increase. 

THEN AND NOW, 1833 and 1876.  Forty-three years ago Michigan was a territory of the “far west”, not yet admitted to the Union.  Then not a road or a public highway or a bridge across a stream, within a hundred miles.  Now there are not less than 1500 bridges, across Grand River within the county, which if equally distributed would give a bridge every four miles.  Then, all told, there were nine families, including perhaps 70 or 80 persons.  Now the population in round numbers is 30,000.  Then there was not a schoolhouse or school district.  Now there is not probably an acre of ground in the country not included in a school district, with a house, or school in practical operation.  Then there was not a church organization in the county.  Now there are seventy or eighty.  Then the nearest post office was at Grand Rapids, 35 miles distant, and the Rev. Mr. Slater, a Baptist missionary among the Indians, was at once the postmaster and mail carrier, having a contract with the Government to bring the mail from Kalamazoo to Grand Rapids, once a quarter, or four times in the year, for the avails of the office, less or more.  Now Ionia has seven daily mails, three from the east, three from the west and one from the north, besides the weekly, semi-weekly and tri-weekly from the country offices.  Then it took three or four weeks to make a round trip to Detroit and back with an ox team.  Now we can start in the morning after an early breakfast and return in the evening of the same day to a late supper.  Then in the beginning of 1833 not an acre of cultivated lands except “Indian Plantations”.  Now probably not less than two hundred thousand acres of improved lands.  The county would contain but for the meanderings of rivers and lakes 368,640 acres of land.

   Then, the 28th day of May, 1833, a company of sixty or seventy persons, of men, women and children, having left the abodes of civilization behind them a hundred miles and pushed their way through a trackless forest, following the section lines made by United States’ surveyors, stopped for final settlement on the very grounds we now occupy, (city of Ionia).  How different the scene looked upon by that party of worn travelers, as they stood beside their covered wagons and panting teams, and gazed upon the place in all its wilderness, that was to be their future home, from that scene that presents itself to their eyes not, as they and we gaze upon the scene in which we are the central figures.  Before us and around us is a city, with its streets, its schoolhouses and churches, its railroad depots and machine shops, and central to all the living masses, assembled here today to celebrate the centennial anniversary of our nation’s birthday.  To us it is full of thrilling interest; to them, a few who remain of that pioneer group, the contrast must be grand and sublime. Savoring more of fiction than of facts.

   What a contrast between this day’s celebration and that of 1834, when a few dozen whites and Indians were gathered.  H. V. Libhart crated, and the columbiad with which we waked up the echoes of forest, and saluted the nation, was a big stump with an auger hole wherein to burn the powder.

   The births were few and far between.  The first child born in the county of white parents was Eugene Windsor, son of Darius Windsor.  The first marriage that occurred was that of Dr. W. B. Lincoln and Miss Phelena Arnold, both of whom are with us today.  Now all of these events are of daily occurrence.

   THE LIVES AND CONDITION OF THE PIONEER SETTLERS.  You may very naturally say “They must have suffered very great privations and endured very great sufferings”.  Not at all, my friends, not at all.  Thank you for your kindly sympathies, but know this:  That there are none of the pioneer settlers now living, who do not look back with pleasure, even desire, to the days when an untrodden wilderness surrounded them; when the nearest settlement was a hundred miles away; yea, they hunger for a return of those days as the Israelites hungered for the “leeks and onions of Egypt”, or as the weary traveler hungers for the repose and comforts of home.  The memories of those days are full of the sweetness of real, virtuous life and noble aspirations so pure and unselfish, nor ambitions so free from ill will and jealousies toward……

   Never before did the husband and wife so realize their oneness.  Never the family union so perfect and complete, or neighbors live in such peace and joyful fellowship.  Never before were hopes and aspirations so pure and unselfish, nor ambitions so free from ill will and jealousies toward others.

   Not that they were different from other men, but that their circumstances and surroundings were favorable for the development of the noblest qualities; to the stirring up of the generous impulses and awakening the kindlier feelings that insure mutual sympathies and help.  They were like the returned days of man’s primitive virtue and innocence.  Helping others they helped themselves.  Seeking to make others happy, they increased their own happiness.  They were delighted with every new arrival.  Everything was yet to be done and they rejoiced in the doing of it.  Every new acre of improvement produced a thrill of joy in the household.  Every fruit tree planted was watched over with ever increasing interest, as the family estimated the probable time when it would yield them its ripened fruit.  Every new building erected by themselves or others, marked the advanced tide of civilization, and all were jubilant over it.  No man who has come into possession of his patrimony, with the lands all cultivated, buildings all made, fruit trees all in bearing condition, the surrounding villages grown to a “stand still”, almost in a state of dilapidation and lifeless inactivity, can have a just appreciation of the vitalizing power and life giving energies there are in pioneer life; or the abiding pleasure with which the early pioneer looks back to the days and doings when “the wilderness was made to bud and blossom as a rose”.  With him, every day is alike and monotonous, and every year a facsimile of the year that preceded it.  True, there were those who came and went away again without staying long enough to be baptized into the spirit of frontier life.  One such came to Ionia at an early day.  The wife began at once to bemoan her hard fate, her great privations, and begged with tears to be taken back to her old eastern home.  Friends interposed and expostulated; her husband persuaded, but at last in a fit of utter desperation, she announced the decree as unalterable as the laws of the Medes and Persians, that she “would not stay in a country where she could not get a stone churn”.  Oh!  Shades of the departed!  Her husband repacked his goods, retraced his steps, and left Michigan forever.

   There are, of course, legends of fierce encounters with the bloodthirsty wolf, and their breadth escapes” from the prowling bear.  But we must make large margin of allowance for the nervous excitability and timidity of those who relate them.  Their heated imagination can easily torture a crackling of dry brush, the screeching of the jay, or the hooting of the owl into a fierce and bloody attack of some wild beast of prey.  I remember an incident in point.  A man who came in and settled within two miles of the place we now occupy, in the spring of ’34, soon began to talk about wolves.  They troubled and alarmed him very much.  One day I chanced to be in his company at or near his house, when he started, saying, “There, did you not hear that wolf?”  I replied that I did not.  Presently he repeated, “Don’t you hear them?”  I replied that I heard nothing but a hoot owl.  He was astonished, for he verily thought it was a wolf.

   The only three ferocious animals that had not the fear of man before their eyes, were the mosquito, the flea, and the gnat.

   OUR TRUE POLICY.  If we would prosper and become distinguished as a county or state, we have only to develop and utilize our resources.

   From THE SEBEWA RECOLLECTOR, Robert W. Gierman, Editor, R 1, Portland, Michigan  48875      


Last update February 18, 2013