Items of Genealogical Interest
Volume 23 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 Association,
October 1987, Volume 23, Number 2; Robert W. Gierman, Editor;
submitted with written permission of current Editor Grayden D. Slowins:
SURNAMES: ROBB, GUNN, McNEIL, VANHOUTEN, ARNESEN, WAKEMAN, COOK, CASSEL, McLEAN,
MEYERS, LOVELL, WELCH
THE SEBEWA CENTER DISTRICT #4 SCHOOLHOUSE 1957 (WITH PHOTO), some 10 years
before the 1967 tornado swept away the belfry, caved in the front and left the
whole thing in a mess. This was the year of the Dutch Elm disease that got the
graceful elm tree in the background. The woodshed and the two outdoor brick and
concrete toilets were also flattened. Of Sebewa’s eight district schools, it
remains the only one left as a public building.
DEATHS FOR THE PERIOD. John Robb, husband of Dorothy, great granddaughter of
Samuel Gunn. They lived in Kansas. Lula McNeil VanHouten, Norman Arnesen,
Richard Wakeman, Donald Cook, Lester Cassel and Fern McLean, a sister of
John MEYERS was my great, great grandfather. I did the story for the Woodland
Township sesquicentennial history book. Some 500 copies were printed and a few
remain for sale.
MYRTIE’S MEMORIES Continued…….by Myrtie Candance (Lovell) Welch
Dr. Snell! Not only a doctor in Vermontville and the surrounding country but a
real friend to everyone in the community. He was one of my dad’s special friends
and mine too. He had a daughter, Norena, a deaf mute. Sometimes, if Pa was not
going to be in town very long, he’d allow me to go with him, dropping me off at
Dr. Snell’s to play with Norena while he went to take care of whatever business
he had, stopping by to pick me up on his way home. Their house was just at the
north edge of Main Street.
Norena was older than I; but she liked small children. She would bring out her
dolls or maybe some books to entertain me. This day Dr. Snell came out of his
office to talk to me. He asked what my Dad was doing. I told him he butchered
two hogs the day before. He said “What did he do with the pig-tails?” I answered
“He threw them away”.
“Threw them away? That’s a terrible thing to do. Doesn’t he know pictails make
delicious soup, my favorite. When he butchers again, remember to bring them to
me, will you?” I promised I would and told Pa on the way home. I remembered how
he laughed but he said “We will do just that. Help me to think of it”.
I did and the next time we butchered, Pa brought the tails in the house for me.
He said “Wrap these up for Dr. Snell. I’m going to town and you can go and take
them to him”. When I took them to the doctor he thanked me kindly and asked me
if I wanted him to save me some of the soup, but I said NO really quick-like.
I was rewarded for the gift, though. Some time later, he drove into our yard,
lifted out a small crate and handed it to me, saying that he’d enjoyed the soup
so much he wanted to give me something. In that crate was a beautiful pair of
snow-white fantailed pigeons. I was a happy little girl. Later, I would want to
take Dr. Snell the pigtails every time we butchered but my folks said he didn’t
really make soup of them, it was just a joke, but I didn’t believe them.
One summer Arby was very, very ill with some kind of fever. I remember a bed was
moved into our parlor, placed in the center of the room for better air
circulation and plenty of room to get around him. Dr. Snell came every day,
ordered medicine for every hour on the hour, night and day. The neighbors were
so kind. They took turns coming to help Ma and the older girls. Someone would
always stay over night so Ma could get some rest. There were no hospitals back
in those days. You took care of your own sick person. I presume maybe in the
large cities there might have been hospitals.
Arby grew worse every day, sometimes delirious and a little hard to handle.
Later on he just laid there, rousing up only for his medicine and, I suppose, a
little food. I don’t really remember that. Dr. Snell had told them when Arby’s
fever broke, whether it was night or day, they must notify him immediately. It
happened one afternoon and the rest of this I do remember clearly. I was out in
the dooryard on the south side of the house and saw Dr. Snell when he was at the
corners a quarter of a mile south.
Now Dr. Snell had a span of small bay driving horses. He always drove the two of
them. The roads were sandy, muddy at times or frozen and snow covered most too
hard for one horse, especially being on the road every day, for a doctor made
house calls wherever and whenever he was needed.
What a sight I saw that day as he came closer. The Dr. was standing up in the
buggy urging his horses by flapping the lines across their backs. He had run
those horses every step of the four and a quarter miles from Vermontville to our
Tossing the lines to someone (I presume it was my Dad) the Dr. grabbed his
little black bag, and was soon inside with Arby, staying the rest of that
afternoon on through the night. In the morning he reported “the crisis is over,
now all he needs is a good rest and care. He’ll soon be good as new”.
This was certainly a heavenly message to a little girl who adored her only
This thought just popped into my mind. I’ll bet no winning race horses at the
tracks ever received more efficient, loving treatment than Dr. Snell’s little
bays at the hands of my Dad. After all, they had just won an important race
against life or death. Dr. Snell! A true friend of the community.
CUTTER RIDE WITH MY DAD
I always loved going places, didn’t matter where, with my Dad. Just the two of
us, he was all mine, no one I had to share him with.
This particular morning at the breakfast table he told my mother he had to go to
Woodland. Of course, I was excited and though “wish I could go; Woodland, I
don’t get there very often”---on and on went my thoughts.
Now, any of the others would have blurted right out “Can I go with you?” but not
me. I just hated having to ask for anything, especially such a favor as this.
(Never did and still don’t like having to ask for anything.) I had my own
special way. I’d wait until Pa left to go harness his horse, then sneaking up to
Ma, would whisper to her “You care if I go with Pa?” Always the same answer: “I
don’t care, it’s whatever your Father says”. Down that hill I’d race, pulling up
short at the barn door, standing just inside, my Father never even looking at
me, watching him place one piece of harness after another until he started to
take the bridle down off it’s peg. That was the final act, so it was now or
never. Finally out of my dry mouth would at last come “Pa, can I go with you?”
Always the same answer: “I don’t care, it’s just as your Mother says”. Before
the words have all come out of his mouth, I’m gone, racing up the hill, bounding
into the kitchen saying “He said just as you say”. Then my mother would sputter
at me, (can’t say I blame her) “I don’t care, but I wish you would ask when you
should, never have time to get you ready properly, come here while I comb your
hair, etc., etc., until I see Pa driving up from the barn. Some way she always
finishes in time.
This morning is very cold and I am bundled up like a mummy as I go out to the
cutter to climb in. Pa reaches over to tuck the blankets in around me. Our
cutter is what they called a Swell-box painted a bright red. Not quite as big as
the box-like ones but much lighter and prettier.
We are on our way, out the driveway, north down the hill, red cutter glistening,
sun shining on the snow, sleighbells jingling such a pretty song, everything
just perfect, I’m going to Woodland with my Dad.
Now, I would like to tell you some more about my ride, but I can remember
nothing after coming down the hill at home. Must have gone the whole way just
floating along in my cutter on top of cloud nine until I came back to reality.
We had been to woodland, although I don’t remember about it, for here we were at
Kilpatrick Church, halfway on our way home. Going east beyond the church on the
north side of the road is Kilpatrick Lake. We were traveling right along, when
suddenly my Dad pulled off the road to the left, going through an opening in the
bushes along the highway, driving right out on that frozen lake, going over to
the east end, drove back on to the road again. Never said a word, just acted
like it was a perfectly normal thing to do. I never said a word either, but I
was scared half out of what few wits I had. Reaching home, I overheard my Dad
telling my Mother about it, heard her laughing, asking my Father what I did. Pa
said “She never said a word or made a sound”. I could have said plenty if I
hadn’t been too frightened to speak.
When I started this chapter, I spoke of my Father being at the breakfast table.
He always was, but the unusual part of it was, he never ate any breakfast, just
drank a cup of coffee. Food first thing in the morning made him ill. Meal time
at our house was such a special time to him. His whole family seated round the
table, talking, laughing, bantering back and forth. He loved it. Now most men,
especially a busy farmer, would have drank a cup of coffee and left the house to
begin their day’s work. But not my Dad, he always came to the breakfast table
and sipped away at his coffee until everyone was finished. Meals were a
wonderful time to just sit and relax and talk. In the hustle and bustle of
modern living just try that sometime. This is what I call being a family. Take
time to enjoy it.
GOING FOR THE COWS
This was a task I thoroughly enjoyed. Never went by myself, either Grace or
Pearl was with me. They enjoyed the walk also. Supper over, my mother would say
“you girls better go let the cows out of the pasture. I can hear them bawling,
it’s time for milking”. Then off we’d start going down the grade past the hog
pen through the gate, and we then headed west, right into the sunset.
Always a little problem to face right here. Ma raised geese and the old gander
always spotted us the minute we came through that gate. Now he thought he was
King of the Barnyard and he resented us being on his property. That measly old
guy would start running at us, old long neck stretched out as far as it would
go, head lowered just above the ground and hissing just like a snake. If Grace
was with me, she just picked up a stick, fired it at the gander, hit the target,
he gave a loud squawk, turned, running back into the barnyard. Always took more
than a gander to keep Grace from whatever she wanted to do. Pearl and I, that
was a different story. We would both be scared and start running. Soon the
gander would tire of the race and turn back. Ma used to tell us to turn around
and yell “shoo” at him and he’d leave us alone. Who wanted to turn around and
face that horrible thing! Don’t think either one of us could have yelled at that
Now that’s all over, maybe now we can enjoy our walk. On we go, a little farther
west, the lane leads right along the edge of a nice big pond. Our pride and joy
but not our Father’s, an eyesore to him in the middle of his farm. Really, just
like a small lake. Very deep in the center and way to the north side. Deep
enough to row a boat or swim. Arby and his buddies used to swim there. In the
winter everyone in the neighborhood came to our pond to ice-skate. Along the
lane on the south side there was a nice, hard, sandy bottom, stretching out into
the water probably about twenty-five feet, where we girls used to play in the
summer. Our own private beach, what a place to entertain the girls who came to
You know those cows are still bawling and we are only about halfway there, so
think we better hurry along. Quite a steep little grade in the lane, as we leave
the pond. What a beautiful sky we see, sun just sinking out of sight, every
color of the rainbow displayed along the horizon. What beautiful dresses they
would make. Next one of us would suggest we choose our color, make believe we
are grown-up ladies and make a party gown to wear to a ball.
If Grace was with me she would always make me describe my dress first. Tricky,
of course. If I made mine first, then she could make her train on the gown
longer than mine and cut hers a little more daring at the top. Sometimes hers
were so daring, I was ashamed of her. Once I thought she will never beat this
one, so I made my train so long it would reach halfway as far back as our house.
What did she do when she made hers? Her train reached all the way to the house,
and that would have been ¼ mile.
When the “cow-getters” were Pearl and I, I always made her go first so I could
pull the same trick on her, that Grace did on me. A few weeks ago Pearl was here
and we were talking over old times. She said “How was it you always made me go
first to make our dresses?” I told her because I had to get back at her, what
Grace did to me.
Well, here we are at the pasture gate, cows are waiting, opening the gate, they
file out one by one and start for the barn, always in single file, like a
parade. Throwing our pretty dresses over the fence, we close the gate and follow
the cows back to the house. We probably will make some more dresses tomorrow
November 15, 2013