THE SEBEWA RECOLLECTOR Bulletin of the
Sebewa Center Association,
FEBRUARY 1995, Volume 30, Number 4. Submitted with written permission of Editor
Grayden D. Slowins:
SURNAMES: REED, BIPPLEY, COOK, THORP, WELCH, FRIEND, BULLING, DEXTER, TORREY,
EDWINS, SMITH, MEYERS, PANGBORN, GUILD, ANDREWS, INGALLS, POWELL, CLARK, WELCH,
ALICE MARY BULLING, 86, widow of Theo BULLING, daughter of Nettie SMITH & Leon
ALDRICH. They farmed on Musgrove Hwy., Sec. 20 Sebewa all their married lives
until retiring in 1972. She was a descendant of the Samuel DEXTER family, first
settlers in Ionia County Seat.
BERNICE M. BULLING, 80, widow of Keith BULLING, mother of Joan HANSON, Susan
LAKE, Marjorie MONTGOMERY, Barbara FROST, and Bill BULLING, sister of Iva REED,
Edith BIPPLEY, Myrtle CHILDS, Mildred INGALL, Claude WILLIAMS & Gerald WILLIAMS,
daughter of Leon WILLIAMS & Mabel COOK, daughter of Emily & Charles P. COOK, son
of Ursula & Pierce G. COOK, pioneer farmer & Civil War merchant, who settled in
Sebewa Township in 1853.
MAXINE E. TORREY, 76, wife of Cecil TORREY, mother of Marilyn POSSEHN & Norman
TORREY, daughter of Benjamin HAZZARD & Zella SEXTON, daughter of Mary BALDWIN
SEXTON, daughter of George BALDWIN, son of William F. BALDWIN & Matilda SHAW,
daughter of Robert SHAW, son of Richard SHAW, Soldier of the Revolution. Her
place of birth is given as Sebewa Center, but we suspect it was West Sebewa,
because the SEXTON (SAXTON, SECKSTONE) farm was where Ida SEXTON & Issi FLETCHER
lived later and BREARLEYS are now. Ben HAZZARD was son of Charles W. HAZZARD,
who once owned the Christopher & Daniel SLOWINSKI farm and later the Robert
SCHNABEL farm in Berlin Township. Cecil TORREY is the last of the Gandy Dancers
(Section Hands) on the Pere Marquette RR crew with Bert TOWNER, Voight McDIARMID
& John HENRY.
IVA REED, 91, widow of Vern H. REED, mother of Natalie GAEDERT, Joyce PETERSON &
Vern H. REED, Jr., sister of Edith BIPPLEY, Myrtle CHILDS, Mildred INGALL,
Claude WILLIAMS, and Gerald WILLIAMS, daughter of Leon WILLIAMS & Mabel COOK,
daughter of Emily & Charles P. COOK, son of Ursula & Pierce G. COOK. Only Edith
BIPPLEY remains of her brothers and sisters.
MARSHALL T. THORP, 78, husband of Dorothy HARDER THORP, father of Donald & Larry
THORP, Bonnie ENGLE, Connie DeVOL & Jackie LESMAN, brother of Kenneth THORP, son
of Ethel YOUNGS & Burt THORPE. He farmed on S ½ Sec. 6 Sebewa, on Clarksville
Road, all his life, except for four years in Army Air Force in WWII.
WILLIAM EDWINS - PORTRAIT & BIOGRAPHICAL ALBUM OF BARRY & EATON
COUNTIES – CHAPMAN Brothers – 1891:
William EDWINS is a name that will be recognized as that of an almost lifelong
resident of Eaton County, one who from boyhood has borne a part in the work
which has made of this section one of the finest agricultural regions in the
State. The owner of a fine farm of one hundred and five acres on Section 8,
Sunfield Township, he displays as a farmer an active temperament and an
excellent capacity for managing his affairs to the best advantage. For more than
a quarter of a century he has been identified with the history and development
of the county and has taken his part in its upbuilding. His residence, which is
both comfortable and sufficiently commodious, is represented, with its pleasant
surroundings, by a view on another page.
A native of the Empire State, Mr. EDWINS was born in Ogden, Monroe County, N.Y.,
March 10, 1847. He knows nothing of his parents, having been taken out of the
asylum at Syracuse by Benjamin Wheeler, who brought him to this State when only
three years old. His protector located in Barry County, and there and in Eaton
County the days of his boyhood and youth were spent, his time being occupied by
work upon the farm and in attendance at the common schools. His quickness of
apprehension and ardent desire to become well-fitted for the battle of life,
gave him a better understanding of those branches usually found in the
curriculum of the public schools than is sometimes the case.
On February 9, 1861, when only sixteen years of age, Mr. EDWINS enlisted in the
service of his country, becoming a member of Company K, Sixth Michigan Cavalry,
which regiment was afterward consolidated with the First Michigan Cavalry. His
first service was with the Army of the Potomac under command of Gen. Sheridan,
and he participated in many of the hard-fought and important battles of the war,
including the engagements at Yellow Tavern, Meadow Bridge, Winchester, Sandy
Ridge, Five Forks, Shepherdstown, Travillion Station, Appomattox Court House,
Fort Republic, Mt. Crawford, Woodstock, Leetown, Baltimore Cross Roads, Cold
Harbor, and the twenty-one days raid from Winchester on the James River Canal.
After participating in the Grand Review at Washington, D.C., where “wave after
wave of bayonet-crested blue” swept by the grandstand, the regiment was ordered
to Ft. Leavenworth, Kan., and thence sent to Salt Lake City, remaining in the
West until 1866. Its duty was to guard the mails and protect the emigrant
trains. With his comrades our subject was honorably discharged at Detroit,
Mich., June 30, 1866. He was wounded by an accidental shot from our own troops
on Little Blue, Neb., on the 3rd of July, 1865, but otherwise escaped uninjured.
He was never taken prisoner and was only in the hospital a short time, but
always faithful to his duty he was found on the scene of action ready for any
services required of him.
When the war was over, Mr. EDWINS returned to his home in Barry County, Mich.,
and began working as a farm hand. On the 28th of June, 1868, he led to the
marriage altar Miss Helen LEONARD of Assyria, Barry County, who was born in
Niagara County, N.Y., May 30, 1845. Mrs. EDWINS is the daughter of Orville and
Elizabeth LEONARD, natives of New York. Her father died in the army while
defending the old flag January 26, 1865, and her mother is still living and
makes her home on the farm of Mr. & Mrs. EDWINS. The congenial union of Mr.
EDWINS and his estimable wife has been blessed by the birth of three children –
Orville, Edna E. and Charlie.
For the past twenty-one years Mr. EDWINS has owned and resided upon his farm in
the township of Sunfield, which as before stated, comprises one hundred and five
acres. At the time of his purchase not a furrow had been turned or an
improvement made, and its present flourishing condition testifies to the thrift
and enterprise of the owner and the prosperity resulting therefrom. He is a
self-made man in the best sense of the word and to his own efforts may be
attributed whatever success he has achieved in life.
Mr. EDWINS has met with a number of reverses; the money which he sent home
during the war for safe keeping was burned in 1866, when the house and contents
were entirely destroyed by fire. But he has overcome his misfortunes by
indomitable will, energy and pluck. After his loss he went to the pineries of
Michigan and worked by the month for money to pay for his farm. His first home,
a log cabin, 18 x 24 feet, has long since been replaced by a fine two-story
frame residence; a large barn, 36 x 66 feet, has been built and the other
improvements are in keeping with those already mentioned. Mr. EDWINS is a
staunch Republican in politics and has held a number of minor offices. An
honored member of Samuel GRINNELL Post, No. 283, G. A. R., of Sunfield, of which
he was Commander three years, he takes an active interest in the workings of the
organization and always attends the State Encampments at his own expense. His
life has been an upright one, winning him the confidence and respect of all and
his army record is one of which he may well be proud. END.
William EDWINS was the great-great-grandfather of Edwin SMITH, husband of Debrah
MEYERS married Joel McDOWELL from Berlin Township and they live on the east
portion of William’s farm and have an Auto Repair Shop there. Ed’s other sister,
Diana, married Keith WARD and lives on a farm in Arkansas. They are the children
of Orlo James SMITH & Louella EDWINS, daughter of Glen EDWINS & Mardie WORTLEY,
daughter of Urah & Walter WORTLEY, son of Elizabeth LEOPARD & Joseph WORTLEY,
whose family we covered a bit in December, 1986. Glen EDWINS was son of Orville
EDWINS, who lived where Debbie & Joel are now.
Edna E. EDWINS married a SANDBORN and was mother of Claire EDWINS & Mae SANDBORN,
who married Bethel SAWDY and had Carol SAWDY, who married Roger TOBIAS and had
Greg TOBIAS, who married Gail and lives in the old homestead. Their house has
been lovingly restored and is a beautiful tri-color or “Painted Lady” Victorian
home. Claire married Edith Heintzelman, Debbie MEYER’S aunt. Charlie EDWINS had
no children. The Helen EDWINS Tent, Daughters of Union Veterans, is named in
honor of Mrs. William EDWINS.
Ionia County has three veterans of the American Revolution buried in its
cemeteries. William PANGBORN at Woodard Lake Cemetery in Ronald Township, Louden
ANDREWS at Letts Cemetery in Berlin Township, and Jonathan INGALLS west side of
Keefer Hwy, south of Sebewa Corners in Sebewa Township. All have been written
about in previous issues of THE RECOLLECTOR.
Kent County, on the other hand, has only one Revolutionary Veteran. This has
been attributed to the fact that the first permanent settlers in Kent County
came slightly after those in Ionia County, and in fact were a split-off from
Ionia’s Dexter Colony. They were the family of Joel GUILD, his wife, six
daughters, and one son, who settled on Prospect Hill east of Division St., from
Wealthy to Leonard, on land for which Samuel Dexter had recorded claim at White
Pigeon in 1832 at the same time as his Ionia claim. The Ionia settlement was
made May 28, 1833; likewise, Stanley POWELL’S grandfather, Joseph PRIESTLEY
POWELL, rejected a worthless forty-acre swamp that is now “The Loop” in Chicago,
because things were more prosperous in Ionia when he settled in Ronald Township
Following is a story from THE GRAND RAPIDS PRESS on Kent County’s lone
Revolutionary veteran, Moses CLARK, written by Pat Shellenbarger:
The fact he enlisted was no surprise. Public service was a family tradition at
least from a 17th century ancestor who was the first Secretary of the
Massachusetts Colony. His own father was a Minuteman. What made Moses CLARK
unusual was his age. He was only 15 when he joined the fight for American
Independence. Joe VanderMEULEN is nearly 10 and shows no sign of running off to
join the army. He stood before a weathered headstone in Walker’s Brooklawn
Cemetery one recent morning reading the inscription: Moses CLARK, Died January
2, 1844, Aged 82 yrs 3 mo.
Joe had heard of Moses CLARK, and knew they somehow were related. But only
recently did he learn he is a direct descendant of the only Revolutionary War
soldier buried in Kent County. “I knew he was related to my mom and me somehow”
said Joe, adding that “I feel lucky” to be the
great-great-great-great-great-grandson of a man who served in the American
Revolution. That war, Joe knew, had something to do with the reason we celebrate
the Fourth of July. “The British wanted to control America” he said, “and we
didn’t want them to, so we went to war, and we won”.
Moses CLARK’S role in that victory, and the events that eventually would bring
him to Kent County, began in May 1777, when he enlisted at his hometown,
Lebanon, Conn. His father, James CLARK, was a captain (later promoted to Major,
then Colonel) who fought at Lexington, Concord and Bunker Hill. Moses was a
fifer, serving under Capt. John HART, Col. Samuel WEBB and Col. William
LIVINGSTONE, according to military records. In those days, army musicians also
sometimes assisted physicians during battle.
Family legend has it that Moses, stationed at Valley Forge, sometimes sneaked
into Philadelphia, where he played for dances, often attended by Gen. George
WASHINGTON. He was discharged May 31, 1780, at Morristown, N.Y., on the St.
Lawrence River, military records show. He returned to Connecticut, where he
married Patty BILL in 1786. His journey to Michigan began in the summer of 1805,
when the family moved to Canada, just across the St. Lawrence from New York. The
family took a step closer to Michigan in 1819, when they moved to the Lake
Simcoe region north of Toronto, lured by word that the government was giving
land to new settlers. But when Moses arrived, he found he could not agree to the
government’s one condition: that he become a British subject and swear
allegiance to the King. Instead the family rented.
The move to Michigan was precipitated by the same rebel spirit that prompted
Moses CLARK to enlist. In 1837, Canada faced a rebellion in the Toronto area.
Moses CLARK’S son, Erastus, collected arms and ammunition for the rebels, hid
them in a wagon beneath bags of wheat and headed for Toronto. One evening, about
10 miles from Toronto, he was halted by guards posted at a small tavern,
according to WALKER Historical Commission files. The guards planned to search
the wagon, but decided to wait until morning. During the night, Erastus escaped
into Toronto with his wagon and later fled back to the United States. By 1838,
he had worked his way west to Michigan and sent for his wife and children. They
took up farming six miles west of Grand Rapids in what is now Walker. In 1842,
Moses and Patty CLARK moved to Michigan and lived with Erastus and his family in
a cabin on what is now Three Mile Road.
When Moses CLARK arrived in Kent County, he was among the few
non-native-American settlers. Grand Rapids still was little more than an Indian
trading post, a fact that may explain why more aging Revolutionary War veterans
didn’t settle here. When Moses CLARK died Jan. 2, 1844, he was buried in
Brooklawn Cemetery, just down the road from the family homestead. Two and a half
years later, his wife, Patty, died and was buried at his side. Moses CLARK is
one of 137 veterans of the Revolutionary War buried in Michigan, according to
records compiled by the Daughters of the American Revolution.
His great-great-granddaughter, Louise Maria TABER HOST, is 86 years old and
lives in a senior citizen apartment building in Grand Rapids. She was raised in
a farmhouse on Four Mile Road across the fields from where Erastus CLARK’S cabin
once stood. She remembers hearing stories about Moses from her grandmother,
Hannah Maria CLARK TABER, but never was certain how they were related. “Grandma
used to tell us about him” she recalled. “I remember she’d want us to go down
there to decorate his grave. ‘We gotta remember Moses’, she’d say. I know they
always put flags on his grave.” From Louise HOST, the story of Moses CLARK
passed to later generations: her daughter, Donna LEWIS of Howard City; Donna’s
daughter, Cathy VanderMEULEN of Belmont; and now to Cathy’s son, Joe
VanderMEULEN. But none knew exactly how they were related to Moses. The answer
was found in a copy of the 1850 census on file at the Michigan Room of the Grand
Rapids Public Library. Hannah was the daughter of Erastus CLARK and
granddaughter of MOSES.
MICHIGAN COURTHOUSES (With front page photos of the Wilson, St.
Ignace, MI Courthouse and of the Mackinaw County Courthouse. On back page, photo
of Court House and Jail at Newberry, Mich.)
We continue our tour of Upper Michigan courthouses with a visit to St. Ignace,
in Mackinac County. This county’s original courthouse was built in the City of
Mackinac Island in 1839 and is now used as City Hall. The second was built in
1881 at St. Ignace on the present site on Portage St., at a cost of $25,000. The
third and present courthouse was built in 1936, at a cost of $75,000, and is
best described as “Early WPA” in style. It is too small, even with the Public
Safety Annex freeing-up the basement jail space, and the County Clerk was
talking with someone about expansion plans the day we were in her office.
Likewise at Newberry, in Luce County, all that remains is a picturesque
Victorian-style jail that was a twin to the adjacent courthouse, built in
1886-1894 and torn down to build the 1975 flat-roofed, barrier-free structure
that serves well, but lacks historic appeal. The jail is now a museum worth
Similarly at Munising, in Alger County, the historic structure has given way to
a modern courthouse. Split level in design, it is better than the Mackinac, but
not quite as Luce, and again no historic ambiance.
In the story in the October Issue on Douglas Welch: The Twenty-First Michigan
Volunteer Infantry Regiment did not serve under Generals George ARMSTRONG CUSTER
and James H. KIDD. They were Cavalry Officials, and commanded the Sixth Michigan
Cavalry Regiment, which was also raised at Ionia and apparently later merged
with the First Michigan Cavalry Regiment.
Also, the WELCH Blacksmith Shop belonged to a man named SCHEID by the time
George PETRIE Sr. worked there and learned the trade.
In the story on John FRIEND: He platted that portion of the village of Sebewa
lying on the Sebewa side of Keefer Hwy., and promoted three railroads, the
Coldwater, Marshall & Mackinaw, the Detroit, Lansing & Lake Michigan, and the
Chicago, Kalamazoo & Saginaw, none of which passed thru Sebewa, dooming his
plans for a metropolis.