Sebewa Recollector
Items of Genealogical Interest

Volume 20 Number 3
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;
December 1984, Volume 20, Number 3. Robert W. Gierman, Editor
(Submitted with written permission of current editor, Grayden D. Slowins)

FAULTY CEMETERY TITLE CORRECTED. Away back in 1846 a deed was given the Union Burying Grounds Corporation for a 10 rod square plot of ground for a burying ground in section 19 of Portland Township. Some few years later Mr. Joseph Webber of Lyons again deeded the 80 acres containing the cemetery plot to the Gibbs family. Several burials were made in the cemetery and some removals of buried copses took place. One particular burial was that of Seleh Ames, first settler of Orange Township.

Although the cemetery has not been actively used for many years, it stands next to Keefer Highway near Peck Lake Road, hardly recognizable as a cemetery. It has grown up to tall trees. Now that Mr. and Mrs. Dean Gibbs have signed a Quit Claim deed in favor of Portland Township, it becomes clearly a Township cemetery and can be properly treated as such in coming years.



Last week the OBSERVER gave the account of the death of William W. Bogue, together with a brief mention of his life. It was impossible to do more for lack of space and want of time to put the matter into type. The prominence of the deceased, however, is worthy of more extended notice.

Mr. Bogue, at the time of his death, was the oldest resident of Portland, so far as the number of years he has resided here is concerned, he having come here with his father in 1833, and he had continued to reside here ever since---more than 66 years, and in this respect, also, he was one of the oldest residents of the Grand River Valley and Western Michigan and there are comparatively very few now living in the state who have been residents of it longer.

Philo Bogue, father of the subject of this sketch, came to Wayne County, Michigan from New York State in 1831, coming from there to what is now a part of this Village of Portland and settled on the west bank of the river just below the railroad bridge. Here he built the first log house in the township and afterward the first frame home.

His neighbors were Indians and wild animals and William’s early companions were Indian children. His father obtained his first supplies to live upon from the Indians and he afterward opened the first store in this section and took the Indian hides and pelts in exchange for goods. Their nearest white neighbors were ten miles distant---at Lyons.

The elder Bogue died about six years after coming here and when William was 12 years of age. From that time forward he was obliged to hustle for himself. He had learned the Indian language perfectly and was on the most intimate terms with them and they loved him as they did one of their own number. His mother afterward married Larmon Chatfield, who was a circuit rider in the Methodist Church in those early days.

William, soon after, entered mercantile life as a clerk and he continued mercantile pursuits until the early 1880s and was appointed Postmaster by president Cleveland in his first term. His store was on the S. E. corner of Kent and Bridge Streets.

During his early days he was a Whig in politics, then a Republican, but was identified with the Democrats during the latter part of his life. He served the Township and Village as clerk.

For the early advantage he had in an educational way, he was an intelligent man, he having had the meager learning which the schools of Portland afforded at that time, in addition to a short term in a private school in Pontiac, but notwithstanding this he was an excellent penman and was more than ordinarily well posted on general subjects.

William W. Bogue was a good clean, Christian gentleman, a member of the Methodist Church for years and in which society he had held many offices.

His funeral was conducted from the Methodist Church on Thursday afternoon last Rev. D. E. Millard, whom he had first met in 1854, officiating. The services were conducted by the Masonic fraternity, there being upward of 70 of the Order in attendance.

Thus has passed away the person whose face had longest been seen upon our streets and whose face was familiar long before the streets of our village were anything but Indian trails through the virgin forests, who had seen almost the first tree cut in the forests and in their place rise a prosperous, thriving village and one of the best farming communities in the state, who had been identified closely with the progress and who, where many men would have died rich through the advantages at hand, he, through the machinations of others and by his own kindness of heart, died a poor man.

He leaves a widow in very poor health and two children, Mrs. Theron Loomis and Bruce Bogue. End item.

April 26, 1899. Martha, widow of the late William W. Bogue, died at her home in this village on Monday morning of this week, aged 69. Mrs. Bogue was the daughter of John Milne, who came to Portland in 1833, a few weeks after the Bogues’ arrival. End item.

Mr. Bogue’s name is also to be found on the U. S. Census record of 1850. He was the enumerator for the Township of Danby.

The name of Larmon Chatfield as a Methodist Circuit Rider interests me. He is mentioned in the Schenck’s “IONIA AND MONTCALM HISTORY” book of 1880 as serving in Ionia and Lyons and the general area around, yet I could find no mention of him in the Centennial History books of Portland, Lyons-Muir or Ionia. He was a relative of Abram Chatfield of Sunfield Township. Max McWhorter of Sunfield Township is a descendant of Abram Chatfield, is the keeper of the Chatfield history.

Neither do I find any trail of the survivors, Bruce Bague and his sister, Mrs. Theron Loomis. Perhaps somebody can furnish a clue to any possible descendants of the family.

You may wonder how I came across this obituary. I was looking through the Portland Observer files around 1900 when I found the headline. What I was looking for was some account of the railroad wreck that killed many “day laborers” near Pewamo. From Muir I find that Mr. Douglas, one time president of the village and man about town, had for many years taken care of the mass grave that was the result of that railroad wreck. He was born in 1891 and told others that he remembered when the grave was dug with horses and drag shovels. He had taken care of the grave for many years and asked those succeeding him to always keep a bed of flowers on the grave. When I went to Muir I found a large grave with a well kept plot of flowers blooming. In recent years a stone has been placed on the grave but with no information on it. Louis Lemke of the village of Muir thinks it must have been around 1900 when the several people were killed. “The bodies were taken to the undertakers in Ionia and then brought in sacks to Muir for burial after the Muir officials offered the use of their cemetery for a grave.”

Near the Probasco lot in that cemetery I found a stone for James Shay, father of Ephraim Shay. James’ wife, Mary Probasco Shay, is buried in the East Sebewa Cemetery. I shall keep looking to find the story of that train wreck.



Last update November 15, 2013