Items of Genealogical Interest
Volume 22 Number 5
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 1987, Volume 22, Number 5; Robert W. Gierman, Editor;
submitted with written permission of current Editor Grayden D. Slowins:
SURNAMES: LOVELL, WELCH, HIGH, WOLF, P.J. WELCH, MILLER, PRICE, WOODBURY,
DEATSMAN, DERBY, PLANT, KENYON, SANDBORN………
MYRTIE’S MEMORIES, CONTINUED, by Myrtie (Lovell) Welch:
ARBY’S TAFFY PULL
Sunday afternoon, the folks were gone to Diamondale to spend the weekend with
Ma’s cousin, Rachel Smith, leaving Pearl and I at home with the older ones.
Arby, probably getting bored, nothing to do, suggested to the older girls that
they made some taffy. That should be fun. Said he wanted them to teach him how
to pull it, he had always wanted to try.
I don’t remember Mae being there. Probably spent the afternoon with a girlfriend
or maybe had a date with a boyfriend. Anyway, the rest of us all headed for the
kitchen and the fun began. Can’t really tell you who did what, everyone was busy
doing something, especially Pearl and I dancing around, getting in everyone’s
The other three brought the maple syrup from the pantry, poured it into a large
kettle, lit the little oil burning cook stove, set the kettle of syrup on the
burner and the taffy was on its way. Nothing to do now except wait for the syrup
to boil down. Oh, yes, you could butter three plates to turn the taffy on to
cool. One for Arby, one for Sylvia, one for Grace. None for Pearl and I, again
we get told “You are just too little”. We were big enough to enjoy smelling the
aroma of that boiling maple syrup. Most delicious odor in the world!
At last, it is now time to turn the syrup onto the buttered plates to cool.
Syrup has cooked long enough or so they thought. Checking every few minutes with
their fingers, they finally decide it’s cool enough to handle and we all start
A beautiful autumn day, sun shining brightly, we decide to go on the south side
of the house. Arby was the first one to get his taffy off the plate to start
pulling. Grace and Sylvia, when they tried to pick theirs up, discovered the
syrup had not been cooked long enough. Telling Arby to put his back on the
plate. He said it would be alright when he pulled it enough for the stuff to
set, but that wasn’t the way it worked. The heat of his hands and the warm
sunshine made it softer and stickier than ever so he gave up finally. Tried to
put the syrup back on the plate but most of it stuck on his hands. Asking the
girls to take the spoon and scrape it back on to the plate, he was told that no
way were they going to scrape his fingers then put the scrapings in with theirs
to be cooked over. Go wash your hands. “No”, Arby said “Ma won’t like it when
she finds out we wasted all this syrup. I know what to do”. Calling Pearl and I
(the scape goats, always), he ordered us to start cleaning up his hands by
licking it off. Always we’re told to mind the older ones and do as they said, so
we started licking, Pearl on the right hand, me on his left. I can see this all
so clearly, but, as usual my memory has left me. It’s frustrating not to know if
they cooked the taffy over or if Arby helped to pull it. I’m certain of
this---I’ll bet Pearl and I didn’t help eat it, if they did. Such a dirty trick
that brother of mine played on us. I wish now I had nipped his fingers just a
My story is over, the day is gone, but as usual it was a fun day. Everyone
CHICKEN FOR SUPPER
I used to like to feed the young chickens in the fall of the year. Why wouldn’t
I, I had helped set the hens, take the little chicks out of the nests, and now
they were nearly full grown. Almost ready for market.
There was a bare spot down in front of the granary. I liked to scatter the wheat
grain there, then I’d stand and watch them scratch around in the dirt for their
One night as I was feeding them, Ma came along, going to the barn to do chores.
I called her attention to how fast they were growing. She agreed saying some of
them are big enough to eat, like this one right here. There was one almost under
my feet pecking away at his supper. Reaching down, Ma grabbed my little friend
by his head, raised up, gave his body a flip, broke it’s neck, handed him to me,
saying “Take him to the house and tell the girls to cook him for our supper”. On
she went to the barn. I knew she always killed the young chicken that way, but I
had never seen her. Always before I had closed my eyes when she was about to
show her dexterity. I was struck dumb, couldn’t utter a sound, no one around to
hear me anyway. I just stood there with the poor thing in my hand, then decided
I better mind and do as she said, so I walked slowly to the house. The girls
were delighted, saying “Our first young chicken. Won’t he taste good”, we’ll
have mashed potatoes and so on for our supper. Presume I ate as much as anyone
else but right that minute, I was very mad at my mother.
The first farm on the west side of Lakewood High School was owned, at one time,
by my father’s aunt Diana Pickens. She lived there, a widow, with her two boys,
Thomas and Charley, who married and brought his wife to live there, also. They
had two children, a boy Orvin and a girl Coral. When these two were quite small
Charley died. Soon after, his wife, Addie, re-married to another Pickens,
Tommie, a cousin of Charley. Now, Tommie moved in, took over the farm and helped
raise Charley’s children. Aunt Diana and her other son, Thomas, had to move out.
She asked my father to find them a place with a small acreage, so she could have
her garden, a cow and always chickens. With a garden filled with vegetables, a
cow to furnish milk and butter, chickens to provide you with eggs, once in
awhile, a chicken dinner, then setting your hens, you might just have some young
ones to sell in the fall. This would be practically their living.
My father soon located the ideal spot, I’ve told you before, the twenty acres
across from the Bismark Church and School house where Lloyd and Rose Steward now
live. House just the right size, could have their garden, cow and chickens. Just
one of three-fourth miles from us. Also Thomas would find plenty of work as a
day laborer for the farmers. This is the thing that seems so ironic to me. Pa
moved Aunt Diana close to him so he could take care of her when she grew old. He
was the only relative she had here in Michigan. Pa died at the age of Fifty,
Aunt Diana, one hundred and two.
Time moves on. Of course Aunt Addie and Uncle Tommie, as we were taught to call
them, were really not related to us in any way but Coral and Orvin were. Their
Grandmother, Aunt Diana, was a Lovell. We always called each other cousins but
we really were third cousins. Coral and I were the same age, everyone said we
looked more like sisters than distant cousins. We had been close friends all our
lives when suddenly, at the age of sixteen, Coral became ill and died within a
week. Don’t remember what her illness was. Such a shock to everyone, Aunt Addie
almost lost her mind with grief. In a short time, she began driving over to our
home wanting me to go home with her for a few days, Ma would always say I could
go, thinking perhaps it would help Aunt Addie adjust to the loss of Coral. One
day she came for me and asked my mother if she could keep me, said “Ma had Grace
and Pearl, and she had no one, Ma didn’t need me but she did, etc.” Of course
you know the answer to that one and also I didn’t go home with Aunt Addie that
day. Later on, I did go once in awhile. It was so lonely there, no one my age.
Can remember Sunday mornings, we always went in to Lake Odessa attending the
Methodist Church there on main street.
ANOTHER CHICKEN FOR SUPPER
Once on one of my visits to Aunt Addie’s she said “I wish Orvin and Tommie
weren’t working over on the other place, I’d like a chicken for supper”. A few
minutes later she asked me if I supposed I could run one down. Now that was one
thing I could do, run. We went outside, she pointed a chicken out to me, saying
catch that one. No sooner said than done, handing the poor thing over to her,
she now said “Get the axe, I’ll hold it down for you while you chop it’s head
off”. “Me?” I answered, “I never killed a chicken in my life”. Then her answer
came “Neither have I, but if we’re going to have chicken for supper one of us
has to kill it”. So she took the chicken’s legs in her hand, laid the poor thing
on a block of wood, grasped it by the head with her right, pulled its neck out
straight and said “Now, kill it”.
Picking up the axe, I raised it over my shoulder and came down with a powerful
blow, I thought, but it was just hard enough to start the blood a little. The
rooster squawked, I screamed, threw the axe and ran for the house. Aunt Addie
was on her own, a half killed chicken in her hand, nothing for her to do but
pick up the axe and finish the job.
Supper time, it made a lot of sport for Orvin and Uncle Tommie. They sure
enjoyed making fun of us. I didn’t care, I never had killed a chicken, I never
was going to kill a chicken, up until now I never have. Now, I couldn’t anyway,
no one has chickens running around. You go to the market and buy them already
killed, sometimes already cooked; but, however, until you have tasted a freshly
killed fowl, you never will know what a delicious treat it is. I really don’t
enjoy chicken any more.
One evening Ma and I were milking the cows outside in the barnyard. Oh, oh, now
I hear someone say “Barnyard? What’s a barnyard?” A barnyard was a huge pen
built to enclose your animals at night.
The long part of our barn run from the east to the west, covering about half the
enclosure. At the south east corner a fence was fastened directly to the barn,
then extended east to the water tank, leaving this space for the animals to
drink when they were shut in, beginning the fence on the other side, it extended
east to the road, then north, probably a couple hundred feet or so, now back to
the west until even with the barn at the west end, then south and fastened to
the corner of the barn again. A large gate was in this last part, to enable a
team and wagon to get in and out.
Sliding doors on this side of the barn opened into the horse stable, the cow
stalls and the sheep pen. You could let the animals in or turn them out again
without leaving the barn. Hope you get the picture. I could draw it but how do
you type a picture?
Guess Ma and I better get the milking done, so we had just threshed out grain a
few days before this. A huge, cone shaped stack of straw, thirty or forty foot
high, was built about fifteen or twenty foot from the barn, directly in front of
the stable doors. This straw would be used during the winter months to bed down
the horses and cattle making them nice and cozy through the cold weather.
We liked to milk our cows outside in summer so pleasant, air so nice and fresh,
no stuffy barn odors. Just as we were getting up on our feet, after finishing
the last two cows, Ma spotted a hen’s nest about halfway to the top of that
She said “Look up there, the hens have stolen a nest in that straw. How will we
ever get the eggs?” I answered that I could easily climb up after them. She said
“I couldn’t, I’d fall, straw was so slippery” etc. I insisted that I could do it
and I started climbing. Oat straw was especially slippery and so recently
threshed, hadn’t settled the least bit, I would maybe get three or four feet up,
then down I’d come. After trying several times and getting nowhere but down, I
decided the east side was a little more slanting, I’d climb up that side to the
top, then work myself down towards the hen’s nest, pick up the eggs and come to
the ground. Ma said “I’d fall”, I said “I wouldn’t” and up I went clear to the
top without a back-slide. I started down and about the first step I took, the
straw started sliding and I shot like out of a cannon, clear to the ground.
Traveling past that nest at a terrific speed, thinking I’d break my neck, my leg
or maybe just an arm. I scrambled out of that pile of straw, thankful to be
alive and unhurt. Do you want to know what that Mother of mine said? “You never
got the eggs!”
Well, now I like that! I was thankful just to be alive and unhurt and all my
Mother could say was “You never got the eggs”. Don’t remember whether we ever
did or not.
JACOB C. HIGH GENEALOGY by Grayden D. Slowins
Trina High, 211 Glenforest Rd., Toronto, Ontario, M4N 243 Canada
Dear Ms. High; Sorry for the delay, but I wanted to assemble as much material
for you as possible. The following comes from the records and gravestones of
East Sebewa Cemetery, from the Atlas Plat Maps of early years, from U. S. Census
Records of 1850, 1860, 1870, and 1880, and from the pages of The Sebewa
Recollector historical bulletin of the Sebewa Center Association.
Jacob C. High, was born in Virginia, December 13, 1813, died in Sebewa Township,
Ionia County, Michigan, 1905; was married to Catherine Estep, second to _______
Estep, and third to Mary Ann Lapham Green, born in Ohio, December 1, 1820, died
in Sebewa Township, 1905. The family was not listed in the Census of 1850, but
in 1858 Jacob C. and Mary Ann High deeded 1.2 acres of their farm at NE ¼ Sec.
24 Sebewa Township to the Township of Sebewa on May 20, for the sum of $50.00,
to be used as a Cemetery. Apparently they also sold approximately 22 acres of
the flood plain along Sebewa Creek at the northwest corner of their farm to
Jacob Collingham (no; Cunningham) to form a millpond for his Up-and-Down
sawmill. Also approximately 1 acre was dedicated for the construction of the
High rural school. That acre reverted back to the current owners when the school
closed in the 1960s. Therefore all Atlas Plats beginning with 1875 show 137
acres and splits thereof. Mrs. Tena Rischow, 12288 S. Keefer Hwy., Sunfield, MI,
48890, is current owner and occupant of the property and could probably give
more information on the deed history. Jacob and Mary Ann are buried on Lot 22,
Block 3, of this East Sebewa Cemetery. Since the four older boys were all born
in Ohio, and Mary Ann was from Sebewa families of Lapham and Green, and mother
of Welcome J. High, it would appear that the Estep sisters were mothers of all
the boys born in Ohio, although Mary Ann was actually from there also.
Jacob C. High’s children were:
1. James W. High, born circa 1840, died 1862-1864
2. John High, born 1846, died after 1924
3. Jacob E. High, born 1848, died 1887
4. George High, born 1849, died 1922
5. Welcome J. High, born 1857, died 1914
James W. High, born in Ohio about 1840, died as a soldier in the Civil War,
about 1862-64; was married to Amanda Meloy, February 19, 1862. James is said to
have lived in Sebewa, and may have had children, but this family is not listed
in any of the Censuses.
John High, born in Ohio, 1846, died in Michigan after 1924; was married to Anna,
born 1852. This family lived on the Heinzleman farm, Sec. 17 & 20 Sebewa
Township. John was still alive in 1924; when he was interviewed by the Rambling
Reporter for an Ionia paper who happened to stop at the Sebewa Creek bridge.
John was 78 years old then. He said the up-and-down sawmill was gone and his
father’s old house was still standing but abandoned and in bad condition with
the windows stoned out.
John and Anna’s children were:
1. George High, Jr., born 1872;
2. Sarah High, born 1873.
Jacob E. High, born in Ohio, 1848, died in Sebewa Township, April 6, 1887. He is
buried on his parents’ Lot 22, Block 3, East Sebewa Cemetery. His parents were
Jacob C. and Catherine.
George High, born in Ohio, 1849, died in Lake Odessa, 1922, was married to
Mahala, born in Ohio, 1852. George had a 77 acre farm across the road at N ½ of
SW ¼ Sec. 18 Danby Township in 1906. He later lived at Lake Odessa with his
daughter and died there. Her husband was a Medical Doctor, first at Sebewa and
then at Lake Odessa after the train came thru in 1887. Her son was a Dentist at
Lake Odessa and owned the farm at S ½ of SW ¼ Sec. 18 Danby, next to his
grandfather’s old place. He set out pines and spruce and built a cottage there.
George and Mahala’s child was:
1. Nellie High
Welcome J. High, born in Sebewa Township, August 2, 1857, died April 9, 1914;
was married December 14, 1879, to Mary Lucinda Merryfield, born in Paris
Township, Kent County, Michigan, March 1, 1861, died in Sebewa Township,
September 16, 1894. Buried on Lot 8, Block 14, East Sebewa Cemetery, as is
Their children were:
1. Myrtle High, born September 1, 1880, died October 19, 1880.
2. Maurice Welcome High, born September 2, 1880 (?).
3. Harry High, born May 7, 1884, died December 11, 1970.
Maurice Welcome High, born in Sebewa Township, September 2, 1880, was married
February 2, 1908 to Lydia V. Wilcox, born at Portland. Later married Josephine
A. Stone or Deatsman.
Maurice and Lydia’s children were:
1. Opal High, born May 8, 1904
2. Maurice Winston High
3 Dorothy High
Harry High, born in Sebewa, May 7, 1884, died in Portland, December 11, 1970,
was married, no children. Harry is buried on his parent’s Lot 8, Block 14, East
Sebewa Cemetery. His wife went back to be buried with her first husband. Harry
ran a bakery in Portland, Michigan, for many years.
Maurice Winston High. His child was:
1. Trini High
Wilson W. Merryfield, father of Mary Lucinda Merryfield High, owned a farm
directly across the road from Jacob C. High, at S ½ of NW ¼ Sec. 19 Danby
Township. Later his family owned much land in Sec. 14, 15, and 23 of Sebewa, and
later still in Sec. 12 & 2, still later in Sec. 35 and in 28 of Danby, and in
the Mulliken area of Roxand Township, Eaton County. He died in 1891 and is
buried in Mulliken Cemetery. He married Rosanah Howland September 8, 1846. She
died April 30, 1905, and is buried there also.
William Estep, born 1826; was married to Rebachah, born 1833. They live W ¾ of
SE ¼ Sec. 21 Sebewa Township. The Estep sisters who were married to Jacob C.
High in Ohio were not listed as his children, were too old to be his children,
so may have been his sisters. He had lived in Ohio and Rebachah was born there.
He was born in Maryland.
~ Grayden D. Slowins, Sebewa Township Clerk, Cemetery Superintendent
DEATHS for the period: Richard P. WOLF, living in the former High school at
Sebewa Corners and P. J. WELCH of Sunfield. Mr. Welch had served as a member of
the Sunfield, Sebewa and Danby Fire Department for 50 years, the last 32 as Fire
FROM PORTLAND REVIEW, Volume 28, Number 51, June 10, 1913
SLOW DOWN TO TEN MILES – Drivers of Automobiles Must Have Regard for Speed Limit
Careless automobile drivers, who turn the corners down town at a reckless rate
of speed, have forced the council to take action and last week the clerk was
instructed to have sign boards painted and place in different parts of the
village, close to the corporation line, warning the drivers not to exceed ten
miles per hour within the limits. It is understood that this is more for the
purpose of regulating speed down town than for checking it in the residence
districts, though it is intimated that drivers who take too much for granted
will find that it applies anywhere in the corporation.
The two following items are taken from PORTLAND REVIEW, Volume 34, Number 25,
December 10, 1918:
FIRST WOMAN VOTER – Mrs. Claude Plant First in Michigan to Exercise New Right –
Men Stood Aside At Polling Place While She Voted – Getting Up Early at the Plant
Home Wins Distinction for Her.
To Mrs. Claude Plant belongs the distinction of having been the first woman in
Michigan to vote at an election where officers are chosen. Hereafter women will
participate in every election.
Mrs. Plant was on hand at 7:00 o’clock Monday morning. Several men were there,
too, awaiting the opening of the polls. Gallantly they stood aside while Mrs.
Plant entered the booth with ballot No. in hand. Then she handed it to the
inspector, properly folded, and went her way. Her picture will be in every daily
newspaper in Michigan before the week is over.
Mrs. Plant is a demure little lady, who isn’t strong on notoriety, but they have
a habit of getting up early at the Plant home and there is also an autuomobile,
for quick transportation. Mrs. Plant is the mother of a charming little lady
named Virginia, about three years old. Prior to her marriage she was Miss Edith
Wasnick, for a number of years employed at the Ramsey-Alton plant.
BRING MRS. KENYON’S REMAINS FROM N. D.
Florian Kenyon, returning from Golden Valley, N. D., where he was called on
account of the serious illness of his father, Marvin E. Kenyon, brought the
remains of his mother, who died at Golden Valley last July, and they have been
interred in the Baptist cemetery in Sebewa Township. The body had been kept in a
vault, awaiting the trip to Michigan. The elder Kenyon was somewhat better when
Taken from Portland Review, Volume 45, Number 12, September 3, 1929:
THREE SANDBORN BROTHERS IN BRADLEY CORNERS WRECK - New Ford Coupe hits Abutment
As They Fail to Negotiate Curve.
Three brothers, Melbourn, Raymond and Harold Sandborn, sons of Lon Sandborn,
were in a new Ford coupe, on their way to Electric park, Friday evening. At
Bradley’s corners they failed to note the curve in the road and the car struck
Melbourn was cut on the neck and leg, Raymond about the face. Harold was not
injured. Dr. W. W. Norris attended to the injured at his office.
The car had gone less than 1,000 miles and the boys carried no insurance. It was
badly damaged and was towed to Hunt Bros.’ garage.
November 15, 2013