Sebewa Recollector
Items of Genealogical Interest

Volume 33 Number 1
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,
AUGUST 1997, Volume 33, Number 1. Submitted with written permission of Grayden D. SLOWINS, Editor:



MALCOLM A. TASKER, 81, husband of Iris REED TASKER, brother of the late Marshall TASKER & Phyllis SEDORE, son of Roy & Rose SCHNABEL TASKER, daughter of Margaret SHOTWELL & Peter SCHNABEL, son of Marina & Martin SCHNABEL, son of Regina & Anton SCHNABEL. Malcolm was a pharmacist in Detroit, Lake Odessa, and Hastings.

REVA HAUSERMAN, 96, widow of John HAUSERMAN, mother of Rose Marie DEMARAY JOHNSON & the late Betty DEMARAY, sister of Lamoin ALLEN, Vera MILLER and the late Clarence MAJOR, daughter of Mabel CHAPIN & John MAJINSKA, son of George MAJINSKA & Annette KUBISH, daughter of John KUBISH. George MAJINSKA was son of Tony MAJINSKA & Anna SOVOKA.

Cecil F. TORREY, 80, widower of Maxine HAZZARD TORREY, father of Norman TORREY & Marilyn POSSEHN, brother of Charles, Clare & Chalmer TORREY & Marie BURGESS, son of Glenn & Katie BROOKS TORREY. He was the last of the “Gandy Dancers” – section hands – for the old Pere Marquette Railroad. Others were Bert TOWNER, John HENRY & Voight McDIARMID, plus Ray BARNARD in the early years. I personally have seen these four men take four long-handled ratchet jacks and lift a fully loaded coal car back onto the tracks. Uncle Bob SLOWINSKI was once their supervisor.


The cemetery sexton’s job begins in early April. The first task is to remove all the old faded flowers and wreaths, both real and artificial, as well as leaves & branches from trees. This is also a good time to prune trees & shrubs if it was not completed in the fall & winter. Burials from winter storage should be completed by May 1, weather permitting, and all graves leveled and re-soded or reseeded.

Mowing should begin the last week of April in the areas that grow the fastest………

State law requires United States flags on the graves of all known veterans for Memorial Day. If the veterans, scouts, or cemetery society supply the flags or labor, that’s find. Otherwise the township is responsible. Flag holders denoting the specific war are a nice touch but not required.

When a funeral home calls for a grave, the first step is to alert the grave-digger, usually a back-hoe operator. Be sure the family has selected a grave-site, then measure and stake it out, remove and save the sod……..

The sexton is the last person to do a service for a human being on this earth. Yet they are seldom thanked. The doctors, ambulance personnel, nurses, ministers, undertakers & luncheon ladies are publicly thanked, but seldom the sexton. Sometimes people say the cemetery looks nice all trimmed up, but they never say thanks for a good job of burying our loved one. The reward is satisfaction of a job well done, not from being appreciated! END


Most of the settlers who came to Ionia with the DEXTER Colony in 1833, or during the 20 years thereafter, were of English descent. Their families had lived in the New England Colonies for several generations. Many of their ancestors had arrived from England with at least a few gold coins in their pockets, and these Yankees had prospered in the Colonies before heading west. In Ionia they founded the First United Methodist Church, First Baptist Church, First Presbyterian Church, and the Church of Christ (Disciples).

In the second 20 to 25 year period of settlement, approximately 1854-1879, a different group of people made a massive influx to America and to Ionia. They were largely German-speaking people from the Principalities of central Europe: Alsace-Lorraine, Austria, Baden, Bavaria, Brandenberg, Brunswick, Hanover, Hesse, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Mecklenberg, Palatinate, Pomerania, Prussia, East Prussia, Saxony, Schleswig-Holstein, Silesia, Switzerland, Westphalia, and Wurttemberg.Their religions were Roman Catholic, German Lutheran, German Baptist, German Brethren, and a few other Protestant sects. One thing they had in common was their German language, although in different dialects. Another thing they had in common was their poor financial condition and along with it a fierce ambition to work hard and improve their lot in this land of opportunity.

During the 1860s Prime Minister Otto Van Bismarck led a series of wars against Denmark, Austria and France, in order to unite all the German-speaking peoples located in the areas between them. Bismarck came out of it as the Chancellor of the United German Empire. But the average German did not fare so well, and wanted a better life for their country in the military. Then at first opportunity, they sold almost everything they had to pay for the $10 “steerage” for the trip on a sailing ship to the New World. Often only the husband came first, worked a year or two, and then sent for the wife and kids.

Immigrants were welcomed to settle the new lands opening up, but the story was that every man needed a trade to guarantee that he would be a self-supporting citizen. Among their few possessions, besides the clothes on their backs, they usually carried a carpet bag with the tools of their trade as a carpenter, bricklayer, stonemason, tailor, butcher, printer, or whatever. Most were really farmers at heart, but then as now, a man needed a trade to grub-stake his farming. Many worked a couple years in New York or New Jersey and then headed for Michigan.

In Ionia they were soon known for their industry and thrift. They worked on the farms and in the construction trades. They worked in the Pere Marquette Car Shops, the furniture factories, the shirt factories, and in the prisons. Soon they saved enough to buy land or go into business for themselves.

It’s hard to believe that a man could work for 50 cents a day, support a growing family, and save enough to make a sizeable down-payment on a 40-acre farm in just two or three years. The reason, as with most all immigrant families, was the extended family. With father, brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, aunts, uncles, and cousins all working, they soon paid for a farm for one family, then for another, and so forth. They never paid interest on borrowed money for very long.

In Ionia they formed the Arbeiter Bund (German workers Aid Society), and built their Lodge Hall on the southwest corner of Dexter Street and Lincoln Avenue (recently torn down to make way for a quick-oil-change shop). They built and supported S.S. Peter and Paul Catholic Church, St. John’s Lutheran Church, and the German Evangelical Church (now Zion United Methodist).

It is interesting to note that the uprisings in Poland at the end of the Cold War started not in the shipyards of Gdansk, as is commonly reported, but 25 years earlier in the railroad car shops of Poznan, whence came many of Ionia’s old settlers. A striker shown on TV from Poznan was a LEHMAN, and the LEHMANS of Ionia originated in Posnan. My grandmother Wilhelmina SLOWINSKI was one of them.

The SCHNABEL family was one of the first to come from POZNAN to the Ionia area. The oldest Schnabel child was Anna, shown on our cover with her husband, Daniel SLOWINSKI Sr. (also shown - Christopher SLOWINSKI).

Their children were:
1. Christopher SLOWINSKI, 1838-1900; married Mary GREGIE
2. Louis SLOWINSKI, 1841-1918; married Henrietta
3. Michael SLOWINSKI, 1844-1917; married Josephine KLOSS
4. Theofil SLOWINSKI, 1847-1894; married Magdalena
5. Paulina SLOWINSKI, 1850-1931; married Frank BENHABEL
6. August SLOWINSKI, 1853-1912; married Amelia SHADDY
7. Minnie SLOWINSKI, 1855-1922; married George BIEHLER
8. Frank SLOWINSKI, 1861-1915; married Lena KRIEGER
9. Roman SLOWINSKI, 1864- ; married Mae OTTE.

Christopher SLOWINSKI, born in East Prussia, November 28, 1838, died in Berlin Township, Ionia County, Michigan, December 5, 1900; was married to Mary GREGIE, born in Prussia, September 1845, died in Berlin Township, May 23, 1895, daughter of John & Catherine GREGIE. Catherine was born in Prussia, May 1808, died in Berlin Township, January 8, 1899. Christopher, Mary and Catherine are buried together at Mt. Olivet.

After serving three hitches in the German army, fighting against Denmark, Austria, and France, Chris and his brother Mike took advantage of the Armistice with France to sail out of Hamburg for America in 1870. They landed in New Jersey and worked there two years. Then they had enough money to send for their families and they all came to Martin Schnabel’s farm in Berlin Township in the winter of 1872. (This farm was the Lyle & Peg FAULKNER home in recent years.)

They first lived in a log house on the Henry HAUSERMAN farm, next north of Martin SCHNABEL. The men worked in a lumber camp near Stanton & Sheridan that first winter, and the summer in a shingle mill at Sheridan. About 1874 or 1875 they bought land in Sec. 36 Berlin Township and began at once to clear and drain it.

Chris was a stonecutter/stonemason, and Mike was a carpenter/joiner. They built their own barns with wide, solid, stone foundations, and then frame house. Chris built his Michigan-T style farm house about 1895-1896. He was remembered by his last surviving daughter, Mary, as a stubborn old man at 62, who had lots of guts to come over to this New World and even learned to read and write English. Chris and old Dan took out only their “first papers” and never became citizens, so Roman and Theodore were never citizens either, which they could have been automatically. Chris had learned the art of grafting, pruning, and raising apple trees. He started orchards for all the family. In the old country they had raised wheat, oats, and barley, and these were the favored crops here too. They kept a few cows and hogs, but sheep and draft horses were their favorite livestock. Chris & Mary’s children were:
1. Roman SLOWINSKI, 1868-1923; married Anna KRIEGER
2. Theodore (Pete) SLOWINSKI; 1869-1940, married Rose HAULIHAN
3. Anna SLOWINSKI, 1872-1929; married John LEHMAN
4. Daniel SLOWINSKI, 1874-1951; married Wilhelmina LEHMAN
5. Michael SLOWINSKI, 1876 -; married Myrtle
6. Martha SLOWINSKI, 1878-1940; married Joseph MAJINSKA
7. Minnie SLOWINSKI, 1880-died soon.
8. Mary SLOWINSKI, 1883-1969; married Guy Eicholtz
9. Emma SLOWINSKI, 1885-1904

Christopher SLOWINSKI’S Last Will & Testament is recorded as follows:
I, Christopher SLOWINSKI, of Berlin Township, Ionia County, State of Michigan, being sixty years of age and being of sound mind and disposing memory, do make this my last will and testament hereby revoking any and all former wills by me made.

After the payment of all legal claims or demands against me or my estate, I give, devise, and bequeath my estate and property, Real and Personal, as follows to wit:

I will to my son Daniel SLOWINSKI the south half of the south half of the northwest quarter of Section No. thirty-six, also the northwest quarter of the southwest quarter of said section No. thirty six, both in Township No. six (6) north of Range No. seven (7) west, 80 acres in the two descriptions, subject however to the payment by said Daniel SLOWINSKI of six hundred dollars as follows, to wit: Two hundred dollars to my daughter Anna SLOWINSKI, and two hundred dollars to my son Michael SLOWINSKI, and two hundred dollars to my daughter Martha SLOWINSKI, which said sums of two hundred dollars I will to my three said children, and will that it be paid to them three years after my decease.

I will to my son Roman SLOWINSKI the north half of the southeast quarter of Section No. thirty five in Township No. six (6) north of Range No. seven (7) west, eighty acres, subject however to the payment of six hundred dollars as follows: Two hundred dollars to my daughter Mary SLOWINSKI, and two hundred dollars to my daughter Emma SLOWINSKI, and two hundred dollars to my son Theodore SLOWINSKI, which said sums of two hundred dollars I will to said Theodore to be paid to them three years after my decrease, and two hundred dollars to be paid to Emma when she reaches 21 years of age.

All the land hereinbefore described is in Ionia County in the State of Michigan. I will all the rest and residue of my estate, real if any and all my personal property to my two sons Daniel SLOWINSKI and Roman SLOWINSKI, to be divided between them share and share alike. And after the division between them as aforesaid, I will that said Daniel SLOWINSKI’S share of my personal estate shall be subject to one good cow which he shall give to each of my three years after my decease and Emma’s cow to be delivered when she becomes of the age of twenty-one.

I hereby appoint Henry DARNELL of Berlin Township, whose Post Office is Orange, Mich., Executor of this my will. In witness whereof I have signed and sealed and published and declared this instrument as my last will and testament at Ionia City in Ionia County, State of Michigan, this fifth day of November A.D. eighteen hundred and ninety eight. Signed Christopher SLOWINSKI. Montgomery WEBSTER, Register of Probate. Wm. O. WEBSTER, Judge of Probate.

Be it Remembered, That I, Daniel SLOWINSKI of Township of Berlin in the County of Ionia and State of Michigan, being of sound mind and memory, but knowing the uncertainties of this life, do hereby make, execute, and declare this to be My Last Will and Testament, in manner following:

FIRST, I will and direct that all my just debts and funeral expenses be paid in full.

SECOND, I give, devise and bequeath unto my sons in manner as follows, to wit:
Donald Frederick SLOWINS, the sum of One Thousand Dollars, and my farm tools and equipment.
Herbert Clarence SLOWINSKI, the sum of One Thousand Dollars;
Eugene Adelbert SLOWINSKI, the sum of One Thousand Dollars;
Frank Hugh SLOWINSKI, the sum of One Thousand Dollars;
John Bernard SLOWINSKI, the sum of One Thousand Dollars;
Clarence Henry SLOWINSKI, the sum of One Thousand Dollars;
Woodrow Wilson Daniel SLOWINSKI, the sum of Five Hundred Dollars, in full of his legacy under my Will.

THIRD, All the rest, residue and remainder of my estate, ral or personal or mixed, wheresoever situated, whereof I may die seized or possessed, or to which I may be in any manner entitled at the time of my death, I give, devise and bequeath unto the following named children, to wit:
Frances Mary GAZALLA
Florence Genevieve SLOWINSKI
Marguerite Wilhelmina MARION
Louise Regina SARLOUIS
Clarence Henry SLOWINSKI
John Bernard SLOWINSKI
Eugene Adelbert SLOWINSKI
Herbert Clarence SLOWINSKI
Donald Frederick SLOWINS,
To be divided equally among them, share and share alike.I hereby appoint William ALLEN and Thomas JOHNSON of Lake Odessa, Michigan, executors of this My Last Will and Testament.

LASTLY, I do hereby revoke all former, any and every Will heretofore made by me.

In Testimony Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and seal, this Twenty-seventh day of January in the year One thousand nine hundred and forty eight

Signed: Daniel SLOWINSKI
Witnessed: Victor D. CLUM, Robert K. LAPWORTH.


Restoring a Nineteenth Century tomb in OAKHILL Cemetery has been a project for several area residents for the past few months. It was said to be the grave of an old time Presbyterian minister’s wife and child, but nobody knew for sure. Rev. Robert NIXON, Pastor Emeritus of First Presbyterian Church in Ionia, and his wife, Joan, began researching the 1850s tomb. With help fro the Ionian County Historical Society, old local church minutes, and the National Presbyterian Historical Society, it was determined that the wife of Rev. Dr. Robert WHARTON LANDIS, Elizabeth WHITE LANDIS, and their child were buried at the site.

Rev. R. W. LANDIS and his wife met and married in Philadelphia. They moved to Ionia in 1856 and soon had a child. The child was always frail and died when 9 months old, just hours before the death of Elizabeth. Rev. LANDIS did not like the idea of burying them in the ground and built a vault for them in the hillside. He left Ionia in 1859 for Kentucky, where he later became president of a college and died there January 24, 1883, at the age of 74.

Inside the tomb Rev. NIXON found a funny-shaped metal casket, probably containing both mother and child, whose name is unknown. An anonymous donor provided funds for the restoration, and Chris MECHANEY’S company, J. B. Construction, did the work, with Tom HANLINE as bricklayer. The related bricks have been sealed and a granite stone will tell who is inside.

Hay managers need to have 7 ½-8” gaps for the sheep’s heads, with 5 ½-7 ½” vertical dividers between. Viking Birdsfoot Trefoil is a good pasture legume, gives small tender shoots for lambs & ewes, high protein, and high milk production, and does not cause bloat. A mineral mixture containing calcium, phosphorus, iodized sodium chloride, and other trace minerals, but not much copper, should be available to the flock at all times.


Last update November 10, 2013