THE SEBEWA RECOLLECTOR Bulletin of the Sebewa Center
FEBRUARY 1993, Volume 28, Number 4.
Submitted with written
permission of Editor Grayden D. Slowins:
SURNAMES: WILLIAMS, BRODBECK, CUSACK, COOK, GOODEMOOT, FENDER, BURGER, ELLIOTT,
SHERWOOD, COPPESS, BLIZZARD, FOSTER, DOWNING, BITTERMAN, ESTEP, GROSS, VESSELLS,
SENTERS, LASS, SLOWINSKI, KIRKENDALL, SWITZER, WAGONER, SAWDY, LANG, CASSEL,
RAIRIGH, EVEREST, JOHNSON, WISELOGLE
LEONARD G. WILLIAMS, 56, father of Terry & Steven, brother of Marie Brodbeck,
Ann Cusack & Dale Williams, son of Ruby Goodemoot & Gerald Williams, son of Leon
Williams & Mable Cook, daughter of Emily & Charles P. Cook, son of Ursula &
Pierce G. Cook. Leonard was also grandson of Allyn Goodemoot, son of George
Goodemoot, son of John & Mary J. Goodemoot, who was the great-granddaughter of
Oliver Wolcott Sr., signer of the Declaration of Independence and Governor of
RAY ELLIOTT, 82, father of Lynda Hamill of Grand Ledge, brother of Sadie,
Myrtle, Isabel & Harry, husband of Ethelyn and then Margaret Sherwood Coppess.
He was a grocer in Sunfield for 30 years, and longtime member of Sebewa Center
Association. Ethelyn and Ray are buried in East Sebewa Cemetery.
KIMBERLY BLIZZARD, 34, daughter of Gail Foster & stepdaughter of Duane Foster,
stepson of Evelyn Downing Bitterman Foster, daughter of Maude & Ezekiel Downing,
children of Rebecca & William Estep and Sarah & Samuel W. Downing Sr. Kimberly
will be buried in West Sebewa.
OMA IRENE FENDER, 96, widow of Ray Fender, daughter of Henry & Lelia Rose Clark
Gross, mother of Ray Fender Jr. & Norma Vessells. Ray Fender Sr.’s garage in
Lake Odessa was the same one operated by Orr Caswell, before Carl Senters and
Conrad Lane. Zerfas Brothers may also have used this building for their
International Harvester Dealership, after they burned out on the west side of
ADAM FENDER by Grayden Slowins
Recently Ariel Morris loaned us a book that had been presented to Ionia County
Historical Society. The title is “SHAKE MY HAND” and it’s by Louisa M. Burger.
We have no information as to any connection with the Lloyd Burger family of
Lyons or Flossie Burger of Portland. The book is about Adam Fender, who
homesteaded after his discharge from the Civil War on what is now the Hample
farm of 61 acres at the west side of Sec. 30 Sebewa Township on South Side Rd.
Louisa (long “I”), his granddaughter, is a retired school teacher from Flint,
Michigan, who now lives in Point Reyes Station, California, and writes the book
for Fifth Grade readers.
Adam Fender enlisted in the 185th Ohio Infantry Regiment at age 19, on February
24, 1865, near the end of the Civil War. He was stationed near the nation’s
Capital at Washington, DC, to guard the Capitol Building. The enemy campfires
could be seen at night across the Potomac. He was wounded in the leg and
hospitalized near the Capitol. Presidnet Abraham Lincoln often came to visit the
wounded and stopped to visit and shake hands with each man. For the rest of his
life, Adam Fender offered people the chance to shake the hand that shook the
hand of Abraham Lincoln.
Adam was discharged on June 29, 1865, and came back home to Ohio. Soon his
parents moved to Sec. 13, Woodland Township, Barry County, Michigan, and Adam
helped his father establish his farm. The father died in 1871 and Adam came on
to Sebewa Township, Ionia County, in the spring of 1873 at age 27, on his
“Soldier’s Patent” land. The book tells about the tasks and joys of a pioneer
family. First he built a lean-to, and then a five-room log house where his
children were born, then an eleven-room farmhouse which still stands in good
The author is the daughter of his daughter, Dora, and being born soon after
1900, remembers Adam & wife Louisa well. Adam Fender was Supervisor of Sebewa
Township in 1897-1917, and twice chairman of the Ionia County Board of
Supervisors. We have a photo of him and our great-grandpa Chris Slowinski &
great-great-uncle Mike Slowinski of Berlin Township, on the Court House steps
with other County officials about 1897. Adam was also Justice of the Peace, a
stockholder in the Farmers & Merchants Bank of Lake Odessa, and a member of
Samuel Grinell GAR Post in Sunfield and West Sebewa IOOF Lodge.
Some of Louisa M. Burger’s stories on home-crafts read like THE FOXFIRE BOOKS,
her illustrations of hand-tools are like Eric Sloane books, and we will print
them from-time-to-time, as we have permission on her copyright. Meanwhile, she
continues to offer the hand that shook the hand that shook the hand of Abraham
Jacob Fender, born in Germany, died in Woodland Township, Barry County, March or
April, 1871, was married to Rebecca Kirkendall, born in Columbiana County, Ohio.
He was trained as a blacksmith in his native land, and after three years in the
German military came to Ohio at age 23. After marriage they farmed in Putnam
County, Ohio, until moving to a farm they purchased in Sec. 13 Woodland
Township, Barry County, MI, in 1865.
THEY HAD EIGHT CHILDREN, of whom six grew up:
1. Adam Fender – Sebewa Township.
2. Daniel Fender – Odessa Township.
3. Elias D. Fender – Putnam County, Ohio.
4. Peter Fender – Sunfield Township.
5. Van Fender – Sunfield Township.
6. Louis P. Fender – Mecosta County, Michigan.
1) ADAM FENDER, born in Putnam County, Ohio, October 9, 1845, married June 9,
1874, to Louisa Switzer, born in Wyandot County, Ohio, whose family settled at
SW ¼ Sec. 31, Sebewa Township, in 1866.
THEY HAD EIGHT CHILDREN, of whom four grew up:
1. Warren P. Fender – Odessa & Sebewa Townships.
2. Dora M. Fender – Sebewa & Odessa Townships.
3. N. E. Fender – Odessa Township.
4. Ray Fender – unmarried, lived with parents; later lived at Woodbury.
2) DANIEL FENDER, born in Putnam County, Ohio, came with his parents to their
new farm in Woodland Township Sec. 13, in 1865. Later he farmed at E1/2 SE1/4
Sec. 25 Odessa Township, across from his brother Adam, on what was later the
Byron Schneider and then Harold Funk farm.
4) PETER FENDER, born in Putnam County, Ohio, married Effie Wagoner and lived on
a farm in Sunfield Township. Their daughter was:
1. Cleo Fender – married Sawdy and was mother of David Sawdy, Melvin Sawdy, &
5) VAN FENDER, born in Putnam County, Ohio, lived on a farm on Ionia Road in
Sunfield Township, near the Benedicts. His son was:
1. Melvin Fender – married Jennie Cassel and farmed here for Glenn Olry and had
sons Glenn Franklin Fender & Richard Van Fender.
1) WARREN P. FENDER, son of Adam Fender & Louisa Switzer, lived on the Karl
Eckhardt farm, then owned by Warren’s in-laws, Mr. & Mrs. Joseph Statsick, first
place north of the railroad at Woodbury, on west side, at SE ¼ NE ¼ Sec. 1
Woodland Township, Barry County. His son Harold was born there and attended
Goddard & Bretz Schools. Then they moved to the George Fletcher farm, south of
West Sebewa Store on east side, S1/2 NW1/4 Sec. 8 Sebewa, where Clyde Avery
later lived. Warren died January 6, 1925, when the family lived on the Allison
Knapp farm, S ½ NE ¼, Sec. 25 Odessa, later owned by Roy Winey and still later a
part of the Gerald Williams farm. George Schneider was Supervisor of Odessa when
Adam Fender was Supervisor of Sebewa. Later Leon Williams was Odessa Supervisor,
1922-1930, and still later Gerald Williams, 1957-1974.
THEIR CHILDREN WERE:
1. Harold J. Fender, born 1906 – married Coral Rairigh, daughter of John Rairigh
the thresher, sister of Glenn Rairigh the sawyer and preacher, and lived at
2. Girl Fender.
3. Iva Fender, born 1917.
2)DORA M. FENDER, born 1880, daughter of Adam Fender & Louisa Switzer, married
Harry B. Everest in 1901. They lived in Sebewa & Lake Odessa. Dora taught school
in Sebewa and helped her father with the Assessment Rolls of Sebewa Township.
THEIR CHILDREN WERE:
1. Charles Everest, born in 1903, died young of meningitis.
2. Louisa M. Everest, born March 27, 1909, married Burger.
3. Thelma Everest – married Robert S. Johnson, son of Royal (Sam) Johnson, and
lived in Belding.
3) N. E. FENDER, son of Adam Fender & Louisa Switzer, married Laura and lived at
W ½ SE ¼ Sec. 26 Odessa, later owned by George Schneider and now by Berton
4) RAY FENDER, son of Adam Fender & Louisa Switzer, worked on the home farm,
then ran a garage at Woodbury and Lake Odesssa on the south end of Fourth
Avenue, where Senters, Lass, and others ran the garage before it became a
grocery store and pharmacy. END
MEMORIES by Fred Wiselogle (continued)
Isn’t it ironic that to be qualified to teach “children” one has to pursue a
college degree in the University’s Department of Education, take dozens of “how
to teach” courses and then get a certificate? Yet to teach undergraduate College
students in a top university all one needs is a Doctor’s degree in some Science
subject and a published research dissertation? Not a singe teaching course
........Johns Hopkins University.
By 1940 I had accumulated enough capital to feel that I could finance an
automobile of my own – and after visiting the Ford dealers in Baltimore –
settled on a new red ford Convertible with radio and heater, @ $750 plus
shipping. Now the destination charges for delivery of a new car from Detroit to
Baltimore were something like $50. Why should I pay all that money? Why not take
the train to Michigan during spring vacation, visit my folks in Ann Arbor, buy
the car in Lake Odessa, save the transportation charges and enjoy the car in
Lake Odessa, and enjoy the drive back to Baltimore? So I called Doris Hand, who
worked for the local Ford Agency here in Lake Odess and ordered the car. Some of
you may recall her as Doris Yager; she later became my aunt by marrying Chet
Yager, my mother’s younger brother.
I got on the train – arrived in Ann Arbor, met my mother and called Doris to
learn when I could pick up my new car. “Alas”, she replied, “we’ve contacted
every Ford dealer in central Michigan and we just can’t locate a red convertible
with radio and heater. You’ll have to settle for something else”. I was crushed
– and when my father arrived home that night I spilled out all my outrage and
disappointment to him. But I sensed that he didn’t appear nearly as distressed
as I thought he should at this major disaster in his son’s career. All he said
was: “don’t worry about it”.
The next day, back at work, my father telephoned the Director of Transportation
of the Ford Motor Company, a man with whom he had a long and excellent business
association. Remember that in those days executives traveled exclusively by
train. And my father always saw that these important Ford people were assigned
either compartments or lower berths in the center of the Pullman car away from
My father said to the Ford executive: “sorry to tell you this, but we’re having
scheduling problems and all of your executives will be assigned to upper berths
on their trips to New York from now on”.
The Ford executive gasped – but quickly recovered and said: “Just what the H---
is it that you want, Andy?” And without hesitation, my father replied “Why, a
new Red Ford Convertible with radio and heater for my son. Our Lake O. dealer
can’t locate one in the state”.
“Well, Andy, why didn’t you say so in the first place!” And two days later, to
the utter astonishment of Doris Hand, there was dropped off at the Ford Agency
in Lake Odessa a new red Ford Convertible with radio and heater. I’m not sure
that business is done that way any more.
World War II clouds were now threatening……We set up our quarters in a
magnificent ball room, a part of the Hopkins medical library in downtown
Baltimore; this meant soliciting candidate chemicals (drugs) from chemists all
over the United States and our allies: cataloging them, forwarding them,
collecting testing results of tests for the control of malaria…… (To be
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