Sebewa Recollector
Items of Genealogical Interest

Volume 21 Number 5
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 Association,
April 1986, Volume 21, Number 5. Robert W. Gierman, Editor;
submitted with written permission of current Editor Grayden D. Slowins:


MEYERS CEMETERY - ALMOST WITHOUT FAIL spring is the time when we review the damage that has been done by vandals in the cemeteries. Never have I seen an honest confession of why they do it.

For one hundred ten years the grave markers, now somewhat weathered, of John and Cathreen Meyers have stood, facing the highway in the Meyers Cemetery in northeast Woodland Township a half mile north of Lakewood High School. Not far from that place once stood the Meyers Church and the Meyers school. Those are long gone and the M 50 highway now curves around the west side of the cemetery.

Years ago, somebody planted spruce trees around most of the boundary of the cemetery. Several of the burials in the cemetery were exhumed for burial in other cemeteries. Many other markers have been overturned and are piled against the trees. But the markers of John and Cathreen withstood the troubles of the times and kept their attitude to the road on the east side. With a look at them this spring, I find that John’s stone has been toppled, cracking in two places. It has been left leaning against that of Cathreen’s.

The Meyers family came to Woodland Township from Ohio in the 1850’s. John saw to it that each of his nine children had 160 acres of land on which to make a home. Only Jessie B. Meyers, grandson of John, kept the parcel for 100 years. His father was John’s first son, Ziba B. Meyers. The others of the family left a good sprinkling of descendants in the Woodland and Odessa area as well as in a great circle around the place.

Come refreshing weather, I plan to repair that stone that marks my great, great grandfather’s resting place. R. W. G.

ANTHONY KREAMER – (This article is submitted by Max McWhorter from the Portrait and Biographical Album of Barry & Eaton Counties, Chapman Bros., 1891.)

Anthony Kreamer, a well-to-do farmer residing on section 4, township of Sunfield, Eaton County, ranks high among his fellow-citizens as a man of sterling worth. He was born in Wayne Township, Wayne County, Ohio, April 16, 1837. The Kreamer family is of German origin and was founded in America by the great-grandfather of our subject. His grandparents, Michael and Susan Kreamer were both natives of Pennsylvania where was also born John Kreamer, the father of our subject. His birth occurred in Lancaster County, about 1806, and in his youth he learned the trade of shoemaking. Having removed to Wayne County, Ohio, he there wedded Mary FRALICK, who was born in Columbia County, Pa., February 10, 1810. Becoming financially embarrassed during the panic of 1837, to obtain relief he began working on the Erie Canal and in less than a month from that time was drowned near Cincinnati, Ohio.

The mother subsequently married John SHIDLER of Wayne County, Ohio, where they remained until 1849, when they removed to Richland County, that state. Their next place of residence was in Noble County, Indiana. The mother is still living, making her home in White County, Indiana with her youngest son, James P. Shidler. The family to which our subject belongs numbered four children---Elizabeth and George, who died in infancy; Emeline, wife of Martin McDonald, a farmer residing near South Milford, La Grange County, Indiana; and Anthony.

By her second union, Mrs. Shidler became the mother of six children, namely: Isaac of Galion, Ohio; Susan, deceased; George, who served as a soldier in the late war and is now living in Monticello, Indiana; William, who was killed at the battle of Lookout Mountain while serving as one of the boys in blue; Jane, wife of Samuel Albright of White County, Indiana and James P. who resides in the same county.

It was during the infancy of our subject that the death of his father occurred. He remained with his mother until eleven years of age, when he went to live with his grandparents, but twelve months later he started out in life for himself and from that time has been dependent upon his own resources. He is indeed a self-made man. He began working for a farmer in Richland County, Ohio, for $2.50 per month and retained that position for two and a half years, after which he was employed in a livery stable at Shelby, Ohio, for a year. The succeeding season he engaged in teaming in Fort Wayne, Indiana and then went to Swan, Noble County, Indiana, where he remained seven years, working on a farm as an employee in a sawmill or assisting to build a plank road.

In the meantime, Mr. Kreamer was married, to Miss Charity M. WRIGHT, of Swan, becoming his wife. Their union was celebrated April 12, 1860, and unto them were born eight children as follows: Dayton J., Orville A., William W., Carrie A., Emma, Oliver, Oscar and John C. The mother of the family, who was born in November, 1835, and was the daughter of Oliver and Amanda WRIGHT, departed this life June 13, 1877. On the 12th of March, 1879, Mr. Kreamer was joined in wedlock with Catherine A. Smith, widow of Robert Smith of Sunfield, and a daughter of Asa and Elizabeth STINCHCOMB of Sunfield Township. Two children grace their union---Ernest L. and Elsie L.

Immediately after his first marriage, in the spring of 1860, Mr. Kreamer rented a farm in De Kalb County, Indiana, which he operated until the fall of 1861. The war having broken out, he could no longer remain quietly at home and enlisted as a private in the Fifth Indian Light Artillery, serving until February, 1863, when on a surgeon’s certificate of general disability, he was discharged at Nashville. He participated in the battles of Bowling Green, Ky., Iuka, Miss, Champlain Hill, Stevenson, Ala. And Stone River, after which battle he was taken sick and sent to the hospital in Nashville, where he remained until discharged. He was never wounded or taken prisoner and never off duty until the sickness, which necessitated his confinement in the hospital.

Mr. Kreamer has never fully recovered from the injurious effects of his army life, but as soon as possible he resumed work, again renting the same farm upon which he lived previous to his enlistment. Selling out in February, 1865, he went to St. Louis, where he entered the Government employ and later was transferred to Omaha, Nebraska, his service constituting irregular warfare against the Indians on the frontier. He there remained until November, 1865, during which time the troops suffered intensely from lack of provision. They had to live upon horse and mule flesh for about six weeks and many died of starvation. At the time above mentioned, Mr. Kreamer returned to South Milford, Indiana, where he worked at various employments until the following April when he came to Eaton County, Michigan, purchasing the farm in the Township of Sunfield, which has since been his home.

It comprises eighty acres, all of which was then in its primitive condition and covered with a heavy growth of timber, in which the chopper’s ax had never awakened an echo. There was not a house in sight and he had to cut a road to the place. A log house, 18 x 24 feet was erected and in that cabin home his family lived for several years. It is still standing, one of the few landmarks of pioneer days that yet remains. The usual hardships and trials of frontier life fell to his lot. He had to pay $3 per bushel for wheat and $9 per hundred for flour. Leaving his family, he went fifteen miles into the forest to cut wood to pay his taxes.

He had only $380 to begin life in the West, which sum was soon expended and with only his strong right arm to depend upon he has made his way in the world, overcoming the difficulties in his path and surmounting all obstacles until he is now reckoned among the substantial agriculturalists of Eaton County.

The hardships of his army and pioneer life have, however, undermined his health. In politics he is a Republican. He served three years as Highway Commissioner and has held a number of township offices to the credit of himself and his constituents.

Socially he is a Master Mason, a member of the Odd Fellows society and of Samuel W. Grinnell Post, No. 283, G. A. R. of Sunfield.

(This excerpt from the Portrait and Biographical Album should add to the interest of the Anthony Kreamer Diary sections that have appeared here.)


Mr. Bedford, our teacher, had a violent temper and he believed in “laying hands” or anything else handy on his students. I saw him get mad once and hit a boy, almost as big as he was, over the head with a slate, breaking the slate in a hundred pieces, leaving the frame dangling around the student’s neck. The boy sat just across the aisle from me.

Another time, I whispered in school to the girl in the seat in front of me. Mr. Bedford saw me and I was ordered up front to stand and face the rest of the students. Well, I never had been ordered up front before and I wasn’t about to go then, but I did! He came back to my seat, tried to pull me out, but I had one leg around the underside of my desk and I refused. He didn’t just pull, he then yanked me out. I don’t remember, but I know I must have stood on the floor. I do remember how I scraped the hide all off my leg.

Now, a teacher who did the things Mr. Bedford did would lose his job. Although I know, now, that my folks didn’t like it, I was told “You shouldn’t have been whispering. You should always do as you are told. If you hadn’t hooked your leg around the desk, you wouldn’t have scraped it etc., etc.”. I didn’t get much sympathy.

Just a couple of other experiences I had on the front porch, then I’ll go out the back door and start all over on the uses of our wood house.

My Dad was waiting on the front steps of the porch for some guy who was coming to see him. The man was training a colt to drive on the road. He had him hitched up to a cart. When training a horse to pull a vehicle, you’d first drive it around the yard, back the lane, anywhere it was familiar with. Next step was out on the road. My Dad saw this man coming down the steep hill south of us, when all at once something frightened the colt, starting him into a run. The man lost control. The horse slackened his speed a little coming up the steep hill to our place. My Dad ran to the road, as the horse turned into our driveway, he grabbed him by the bridle strap down close to the bit. Hanging on tightly, his weight pulling on the bit, soon slowed the horse down. He stopped about a hundred feet or so from the driveway. BUT, the sudden stop made my Dad lose his hold on the bridle, falling to the ground, landing on his side, breaking his left arm between the elbow and wrist.

Next thing I remember was sitting on the front porch, looking through the south door, into the parlor. Ma and Mae had him propped up with pillows, putting cold cloths on his forehead to keep him from fainting and waiting for the doctor to come. The doctor was four and a quarter miles away and there were no telephones. I don’t remember how they managed to call him but I have an idea Arby probably rode his horse into town. The doctor would then have to drive his horses out, so more time was consumed.

I remember when he arrived, he examined my Dad’s arm, saying it was broken. Then saying “I’ll have to have help from one of you”.

Ma said “I can’t and walked away crying, but Mae said “I’ll help you”. The doctor said “You’ll have to hold him while I pull the bones back together, but first, I’ll give you some morphine, Dan, to lessen the pain”.

Dad replied “I don’t want it, you just go ahead and do whatever you have to do, I’ll make it”. So the doctor pulled and Mae held on. I still remember the grating sound of those bones going back in place.

Writing this has made the whole episode come back to me vividly. The horse, running at full speed down one hill, then up the next, turning into our driveway. My Dad, grabbing the bit, dangling from the horse’s head, his feet just touching the ground once in a while, then being thrown almost under the horse’s feet. Also his lying on the couch, waiting for the doctor and all the rest. If I live to be 100 (and I might just do that, just to be ornery). I’ll never forget this day. Did I say it was a long time ago? Today it seems like the event was just yesterday.

THE THRESHERS. This happened sometime between 1905 and 1909. I know, because Sylvia was married in 1905 and Grace in 1909. At this time Ma, Grace, Pearl and I were the only ones left at home. I would have been any age between 15 and 19. At heat and oats threshing time, Ma hired this man who brought his own crew with him. That made it easier for Ma as she didn’t have to scour the neighborhood for help. There were always three men who came with the tresher’s rig, the engineer, separator man and the water wagon guy.

One night, it was almost dark and here came the whole kit and caboodle. Engine, separator, water wagon and a truck full of men to stay over night. They had finished their job that day with just time enough to move to our place before dark. They would be able to get to work earlier the next morning by staying with us, so all we had to do was find a place for them to sleep.

Well, I don’t know exactly how many there were but we had three beds upstairs and one downstairs in the spare bedroom. These were all filled with one man left over. Ma fixed him a place on the couch in the parlor. Grace slept on the lounge in the setting room. Ma’s bedroom was at the north end of the porch. Pearl always slept with her. There I was, no place to lay my lousy head as Aunt Diana Pickens used to say. Ma said I’d have to sleep with her and Pearl. I refused to sleep three in a bed on a hot night like that. We had a hammock on the south end of the porch and I decided to sleep in that. My mother argued it would be very uncomfortable, as well as I might fall out. Of course, you know me, I argued right back that I had taken naps in the hammock lots of times, enjoyed it, didn’t fall out either. I won and we finally all were bedded down for the night.

That was the longest night of my whole life and there’s been quite a few of them. I slept for a little while, my feet as high as my head, the rest of me doubled up in between. The hammock was prickly. I wanted to turn over but couldn’t, had to lie on my back. Every bone in my body ached and I knew I should have listened to my mother. She told me to make a bed on the floor. I couldn’t even get up and fix me a pad in the night. There was no place for a quilt, the floor was bare, not even a rug to crawl out on. So, I just laid there and suffered it out until morning. The porch faced the east and I was sure I saw the first crack of dawn next morning. Then my mother said “I tried to tell you, but that didn’t help either”. It proved that mothers always know best. At least mine did. I was not always sure that I did know best after I became a mother.

At lots of places the men on threshing crews were told to sleep in the barn. That was not my mother. She said hard working men needed a good night’s rest in a nice clean bed. When I was trying to sleep in that hammock, I thought I almost would rather sleep in a hay mow as to ever try that again.

Back to the woodhouse I go. It’s Sunday night, copper wash boiler must be placed on the stove, nice soft rain water carried from the cistern pump in the kitchen to fill it, wood laid in the stove to be touched off in the morning, everything in readiness for Monday’s washing. Can you imagine the pile of clothes? Eight people could soil a lot of clothes, not to mention sheets, pillow cases, towels, etc. All of these had to be rubbed by hand on a wash board. Home made soap wasn’t much like our detergents today.

My mother used to wash outside on the grass. It was much cooler and pleasanter but still hard work. It took pails and pails of water. After scrubbing them clean (you hoped) the clothes were next placed in the boiler and boiled. You then took them out of the hot water with a stick, putting them into a pail, then emptying them into the tubs filled with clean cold water. You sozzled them up and down, round and about to rid them of the soap suds. Then you wrung them out by hand. Then you dip them into the second tub of water and proceeded to repeat the process.

Now, you were ready to hang them on the line, proud, they looked so white and pretty. Sometimes if a towel or table cloth had a slight stain, you’d spread it on the grass in the bright sunshine and quite often the stain would disappear. Do you think you’re through? Oh, no. Look back there on the floor, all the colored clothes are yet to be washed. Quite often the first rinse water would still be warm, also a little soapy and we would use that for the colored clothes. Putting the scrub board into this tub, spreading the closes on it, we’d rub the worst spots with a cake of soap, then rolling it up and placing the rolls in the back of the tub, letting them soak a bit, made the dirt come out easier.

Ma would call out “One of you girls make some starch!” There would be aprons, dresses, shirts, waists (you call them blouses now) then a frilly one was a waist. Tailored ones were shirt waists, under skirts or petticoats (your name---slips). All these had to be put through the starch water before hanging to dry. I, at least can appreciate the modern day fabrics.

I remember the first step to easier wash days was a portable wringer, which clamped on the edge of your tub. This made it much easier than wringing your clothes by hand, even though you had to turn a crank.

Most of the mountain of clothes had to be ironed next day. Sometimes we put the sheets back on the beds, but if you were putting them in the drawers, they, too, were ironed. The first irons that I remember were called sad irons. It was a good name for them. The irons were not sad, of course, but you were, having to use them. They were molded into a form, handle included. The handle was just as hot as the bottom of your iron. We had to use a pot holder to cover the handle.

We had three irons, heated over a roaring fire in the cook stove or range. You’d test the temperature of your iron by picking it up by the handle, tipping it up, wetting your finger in your mouth, quickly touching the bottom with your wet finger. If you heard a sizzling noise, the temperature was O K and you could start ironing.

Using one iron until it began to cool, you placed it back on the stove and used another. “Keep your fire going, girls, so your irons will stay hot”.

Once, I remember I was ironing Sylvia’s petticoat. It was long (she wore her dresses ankle length) with a full twelve inch ruffle around the bottom starched quite stiffly to make her skirt stand out. I was getting tired of it, so, I decided the top part didn’t show, so why iron it? Folding it carefully, as just the pretty starched ruffle was outside, I laid it on the table. Sylvia was putting clothes away and she discovered my little trick. She said “Myrtie, you didn’t iron the top of my skirt”. I quickly informed her of my reason. Her answer was she’d know it wasn’t ironed. Handing it back to me she said “finish this” and I quickly obeyed. I never could get away with anything. Older sisters also knew best.

This is one ironing chore I brought upon myself. Probably I was fourteen or fifteen years old at the time and I wanted a white skirt. Choosing white Indian head material and having no pattern, I decided to box pleat the material onto a belt. Sounds simple? That’s what I thought too. It was much easier said than done. Those box pleats had to be pinned in from top to bottom, not only when I sewed it but also at ironing time. Again Ma and Grace tried to tell me that I’d be sorry and not to expect them to do it. It was my skirt. The ironing took me an hour but I was thankful I didn’t have to use the old iron hot handle. A few years back, someone had manufactured a flat iron with a removable wooden handle.

From the sad iron to electric steam irons, I have used them all. Now, they have become almost unnecessary because of the new fabrics, no ironing. That’s the kind of material I would have had to make that skirt. Myrtie



Last update November 15, 2013