Sebewa Recollector
Items of Genealogical Interest

Volume 33 Number 3
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,
DECEMBER 1997, Volume 33, Number 3. Submitted with written permission of Grayden D. SLOWINS, Editor:



GEORGE E. GIERMAN, 51, husband of Adrienne WILCOX GIERMAN, father of Ryan g. GIERMAN, Jacqueline HOLM & Kristen LYNCH, grandfather of Mitchell & Madison HOLM, brother of Eric GIERMAN, Cheryl WARREN & Janet RUDD, son of Marcella HEINTZELMAN & Wilbur GIERMAN, son of Mae OATLEY & George GIERMAN, son of Christina KLAGER & Charles GIERMAN, son of Frederick (Fritz) GIERMAN. He was a Methodist minister and juvenile counselor in Lakeland, FL, and is buried there.

REVA M. COOK, 101, widow of Grover COOK, mother of Charlotte SUMNEY, Dorothy FREY, Marilyn NICHOLSON, and the late Robert, Richard, and Donald COOK, daughter of John & Althea WATKINS. Farmed on GODDARD Road. Buried at Lakeside Cemetery.

MANARD W. HUNT, 81, husband of Kathryn STEIN HUNT, father of Mary Jane HAMP, Theresa BOYCE, Barbara HUNT, Patricia TREMAN & Joyce JOHNSON, John, Michael & Thomas HUNT, brother of the late Lillian WEIBELHAUSE & Adeline KIEL, son of Floyd HUNT & Mary Jane WENGER, daughter of Mary Elisabeth VOLLWILER & Isaac G. WENGER, son of Elisabeth GOOD & Christian WENGER, son of Elisabeth ZIMMERMAN & Joseph WENGER, son of Anna SHERK & Hans WENGER, son of Eve GRABIEL & Christian WENGER, who emigrated from Eggwil & Wengen, Canton of Bern, Switzerland, to Groffdale, Lancaster County, PA, in 1727. Manard was Postmaster in Clarksville for 32 years. His parents were muck farmers in Sebewa and predecessors & mentors of John LICH, Sr.MARILYN BYWATER SAAD, 71, wife of Fred SAAD, daughter of Margery WILHELM & Carl BYWATER, son of Abel BYWATER. Mrs. Joseph WORTLEY was a sister to Abel BYWATER, (t)o Mardi EDWINS, daughter of Walter WORTLEY, son of Joseph WORTLEY, was a second cousin to Marilyn.

GERALD (JERRY) CARPENTER, 70, husband of Noreen HINDS CARPENTER, father of Sue MOODIE, Christy WELLS, Mark & Scott CARPENTER, brother of Betty TORREY, Beth TUBBS, Beverly BROWN, Lynda WARNER and the late Lois BROOKS FORMAN, son of Edna NARIGAN & Hobart CARPENTER, descended from Cyril, Elkanah and Rev. Samuel CARPENTER, pioneer Sebewa residents. He ran Jerry’s Tire & Battery dealership in Lake Odessa. His father ran a farm machinery dealership in the middle of the block on the east side of Fourth Aveneu, where part of the antique mall is today.


ISABELLA COUNTY courthouse is a modern white stone and black steel structure at Mt. Pleasant. It has just closed for the day and we head out to Cold Water Lake County Park near John ENGLER’S hometown, Beal City, to camp for the night. It’s a nice park with a nice lake, and we rest in the picnic area while two young women rangers rake seaweed from the beach and load it on an old Chevy pickup.

MECOSTA COUNTY courthouse in Big Rapids is another modern two-story flat-top of pale tan brick & narrow gray stone & metal trim. It is far different from the Victorian-Italianate structure we remember from our college days, and we can’t recall what happened to the old one. Perhaps it was simply outgrown & demolished. At least the Civil War monument remains.

NEWAGO COUNTY courthouse in White Cloud is a flat-roofed, one-story building of multi-shaded brown bricks. It is one of the more attractive county buildings of its style period.

OCEANA COUNTY courthouse in Hart comes close to duplicating the MISSAUKEE building in Lake City, which we described as a small-town AT & T telephone building. Except this one is just one story and a bit more sprawling. Here again the Civil War soldier remains to tell us it is indeed a place with some history.

The MONTCALM COUNTY courthouse in Stanton, built in 1905, reminds us of the buildings in Baldwin & Sandusky, except the bricks are light brown instead of red. The sandstone basement and white pillars & trim give it dignity. It replaced a three-story Victorian-Italianate edifice, built in 1879-1880, which burned in February of 1905.

GRATIOT COUNTY courthouse at Ithaca, built in 1900, has many similarities to the Ionia courthouse, inside and out. The historic four offices on the first floor are very similar, right down to the faux marble fireplaces with their carbide gas logs. It is no surprise to learn that the architect was Claire ALLEN, who had been the contractor on the start of the Ionia courthouse in 1883. GRATIOT County Clerk was a gracious tour guide.

CLINTON COUNTY courthouse at St. Johns, built in 1869 with David W. GIBBS as architect, is also very familiar, except it has a mansard roof. GIBBS was the architect for the Ionia & Eaton courthouses. Clinton County added two wings in front, similar to those at Rogers City and to Ionia’s old “new” jail, but more closely attached than Ionia’s. Now Clinton residents are debating whether to add still more to the stately old matron, or go to their modern county complex near the edge of town and start all over new. Clinton County was named after Governor DeWitt CLINTON of New York, and DeWitt was the first county seat. When the seat was moved to St. Johns, court met in a rented building called PLUMSTEAD Hall until 1869.

SHIAWASEE COUNTY courthouse, built in 1903 at Corunna, is even closer to Ionia and Gratiot courthouses in design, and to no one’s surprise Claire ALLEN was the architect. It would appear that David W. GIBBS perfected the design and ALLEN made just enough “improvements” to call it his own. This site was first designated as the public square in 1839, with county offices occupying temporary facilities here until 1851, when a brick courthouse was built. It was replaced with the present structure for $75,000. All three of these others have a working clock in their tower, while Ionia never has.

LIVINGSTON COUNTY courthouse at Howell, built in 1890, is a three-story red brick & sandstone building showing the Richardsonian Romanesque or Romanesque Revival style seen earlier, and was designed by Albert E. FRENCH. Many of the original Victorian furnishings remain. The county was named after Edward LIVINGSTON, Secretary of State in President Andrew Jackson’s cabinet. Although many county officers are in the new county building nearby, the decision to restore the courthouse was influenced in part by a deed restriction which says the courthouse square will revert to heirs of original owners if no longer used for a courthouse.

INGHAM COUNTY courthouse at Mason, built in 1904, is fairly close to the GIBBS-ALLEN design, but no information on who was the architect is readily available. This county was organized in 1838, and named after Samuel D. INGHAM, Secretary of the Treasury in President Andrew Jackson’s cabinet.

MASON became the county seat in 1840. The first county offices were on the sides of the square until 1858, when the first courthouse was built. The dark woodwork in the rotunda area and stairways is especially striking in the present courthouse. The most interesting item, however, was a map on the rotunda wall showing Ingham & Livingston Counties in 1869. Ann’s great-great grandparents, Hulda ELLIS MERRILL & John LAKIN had a farm in Putnam Township, Livingston County, with 150 acres on the north side of BURGESS Road and 40 acres on the south side. We located the section numbers and there they were!

After camping for the night at Sugarloaf Lake Campground in Waterloo State Recreation Area, with a pleasant evening’s stroll among the campfires, we travel to MONROE COUNTY. The county was established in July, 1817, as one of the first steps in the organization of the MICHIGAN TERRITORY after the War of 1812. The old settlement of Frenchtown, which centered on the same square, took the name MONROE and became the county seat. Controversy over the county’s southern border culminated in the bloodless Michigan-Ohio “Toledo War” in 1835-1836.

In settlement the United States Congress gave a strip of MONROE County that became Toledo to Ohio. In return, Michigan was given the Upper Peninsula. The present MONROE COUNTY courthouse was built in 1880 and shows strong Italianate architecture. It is built of gray sandstone, with a tall white bell-clock tower on one corner and shorter towers on the other three corners. Across the street is the first Presbyterian Church in Michigan, where services were first conducted in 1816 by Rev. John MONTEITH, who later became the first president of the University of Michigan. He dedicated the present building in 1848. It was here that General George Armstrong CUSTER married Elizabeth BACON.


Sebewa, known in the United States survey as Town Five North, Range Six West, lies on the southern line of Ionia County, having Orange Township on the north, Easton County’s Sunfield Township on the south, Danby Township on the east, and Odessa Township on the west.

In the central and northwestern portions of the town there are stretches of swamp-lands of considerable extent. The soil is generally clay loam and famous for its wheat-producing quality. The timber is mainly beech and maple, the liberal presence of the latter making the yield of sugar no small item in the town’s products. Three churches are among the architectural features, while more than that number of religious organizations worship in the school-house. Sebewa Creek, on the east, has sufficient power in Sebewa to drive three mills, and that power is at present (1881) fully utilized. The only village is a small one on the east town-line known as The Corners.

It is vaguely asserted that the first white settler bore the name of JONES, first name unknown. It is known that he and his wife came to the town during 1836 and squatted on Sec. 1. They apparently did not recognize the force of the undertaking upon which they had entered, for they soon sickened of the job and packed up and left. It must have been pretty lonesome, hemmed in on all sides by howling wolves and so poor they had to live on herbs and roots.

The first attempt at a permanent settlement, and the one from which the history properly dates, concerns the coming in 1838, of John F. TERRILL, Charles W. INGALLS, and John BROWN. TERRILL located on N ½ NE ¼ Sec. 25 and BROWN and INGALLS on Sec. 36. (BROWN and INGALLS were really on Sec. 24 and 13 or soon moved there.) Jonathan INGALLS, Soldier of the Revolution, also came with this settlement. Charles W. was his son, and Polly (Mrs. John) TERRILL and Sarah (Sally, Mrs. John) BROWN were his daughters. In all, he had thirteen children. Born in 1762, Jonathan died here in 1843 and his monument is by the side of KEEFER Hwy. near the land which belonged to his son-in-law, John TERRILL. The INGALLS family was covered in Volume 30 – Number 1, August 1994.

William HOGLE came the first year and married one of John TERRILL’S daughters. Anson W. HALBERT came in 1841 and married another daughter. HALBERT was the first merchant in Sebewa, selling from a stock in his log house. In 1843, TERRILL and HALBERT built the first mill, a saw-mill west of the Corners.

Jacob SHOWERMAN and Eleazer BROWN joined the Sebewa settlement with their families in 1839. SHOWERMAN had come on a land-hunting expedition in 1836 and found only JONES on Sec. 1. He picked 160 acres in SE ¼ Sec. 22 and after recording at Ionia land-office, he had returned to New York. BROWN had 160 straddling the line at NW ¼ 26 and NE ¼ 27, where his widow still resides (1881). The first birth was her daughter Luriette in 1841. The SHOWERMAN and BROWN families have been covered in earlier issues. John MAXIM & Joseph MUNN also came in 1839.

In 1843-1844 Benjamin D. WELD and Rufus GODDARD came to the southwest quarter of the town. GODDARD’S fifteen-year-old son Daniel, who still lives on the land (1881), provided the neighborhood mill service, that is to say he usually went to mill for everybody. The condition of the roads was so horrible that it was as much as he could do to haul ten bushels of wheat to NEWMAN’S mill at Portland and back again in two days. Young GODDARD would usually set out early in the morning with his ten-bushel load drawn by a pair of oxen, reaching the mill by ten o’clock that night. While his grist was being ground, he would wrap himself in a blanket in his wagon and by daybreak was off again for home. This land is owned in 1997 by Daniel INGALL.

Other settlers in the 1843-1849 period were: Elkanah CARPENTER, William REEDER, David GRIFFIN, Major BROWN and Weston BRIGGS in the southwest, John F. OLRY, William ESTEP, John ESTEP, Peter GRINER, Isaac BRETZ, and Ephraim PROBASCO in the center area, plus Andrew ESTES, John WADDELL, Thomas WADDELL, Stephen PILKINGTON, John C. SMITH, and Moses HOGLE to the east.

The west-northwest area was settled in the 1850s by Pierce G. COOK, A. M. RALSTON, Nathan STEWART, Frank BROWN, Solomon HESS, J. C. CLARK, George SNYDER, John WARING, Orrin STEBBINS, and John JOHNSON.

The north-northeast area was settled in 1850s by Orrin MERCHANT in Sec. 1, Edward SANDBORN, Peter MAPES, Thomas J. ALLEN, Jacob GREEN, Chauncey LOTT, and A. GARLOCK. John, Elijah, David, Thomas, James, and Isaac LEAK came to the west-southwest quarter in the 1860s, just before or just after the Civil War. Rush, George & Isaac BALDWIN came after the war. John Joy PEACOCK and his wife, Margaret Caroline DOWNING PEACOCK and their children also came in 1865.

There were just 40 families in the 1850 United States Census of Sebewa Township: Orrin MERCHANT, Peter MAPES, George DICKINSON, Charles W. INGALLS, William HOGLE, William PACKARD, John C. SMITH, Jacob GREEN, Jacob SHOWERMAN, Eleazer BROWN, Albert THOMPSON, CHAUNCEY LOTT, Charles WHITE, Richard FLEETHAM, David GRIFFIN, William DAVIS, Moses HOGLE, Samuel CARPENTER, William REEDER, Rufus GODDARD, Stephen RIDER, Elkanah DRAKE, Benjamin WELD, Elkanah CARPENTER, Hiran TRIM, John F. OLRY, John COOPER, John ESTEP, John WADDELL, Walter HARMON, Charles DERBY, John MAXIM, Joseph MUNN, John EVANS, Daniel BENJAMIN, Pierce G. COOK, Jacob VINTON, and George AUSTIN.

The LOWE family is more difficult to track. They were not here for the 1850 U.S. Census shown above. Lot 10 – Block 1 in the oldest part of the East Cemetery contains the graves of Ben LOWE, Mary Ann LOWE, Willam LOWE & Josphus LOWE. Only Mary Ann has a date – she died in May, 1860. Lot 146 in the West Cemetery contains the graves of Benjamin LOWE, born 1862, died May 12, 1947, and Francis Hannah LOWE, born 1867, died March 15, 1931. Two different Ben LOWES. Lot 70 in the newer part of the East Cemetery contains the graves of Date (Dayton) LOWE, who died November 10, 1939, and Henrietta LOWE, who died April 9, 1934.

A search of the Death Records at Ionia County Clerk’s Office, which began in 1867, along with the Register of Deeds and Register of Probate reveals the following facts:

Egbert Y. LOWE owned and operated the LOWE & HALLADAY sawmill at Sebewa Corners in 1875. His partner was Charles L. HALLADAY, Ionia County Clerk, whose farm lay on the south and west sides of the mill-pond. LOWE’S house and log-yard were located between the pond and the grade for the proposed Coldwater, Marshall & Mackinaw Railroad. This house was owned by Theodore & Beatrice EVANS in recent years. The sawmill itself was actually across on the north side of MUSGROVE Hwy. With some refinements, this was the same mill started by John F. TERRILL and Anson W. HALBERT in 1843. A flour mill was located above the east mill-race, about where the Howard & Bertha KNAPP house has replaced the original structure. This may have been operated by Egbert Y. LOWE’S brother Ezekiel. According to death records, Egbert Y. & Clarissa LOWE’S sons were Egbert W. LOWE and Dayton Otho LOWE.

Egbert W. (Bert) LOWE, born 1852 – died 1934, succeeded his father in the mill, operating under the name LOWE & REEDER in 1891. Later Bert lived near Sunfield. Dayton requested the probate of Bert’s will in 1934, swearing to be his brother, and Thomas JOHNSON, attorney at Lake Odessa, did it.

Fern CONKRITE, age 102 and now living in Portland, says Dayton (Date) LOWE, born 1856 – died 1939, lived in the little house just north of the old Methodist Church in Sebewa Corners. It has fallen and/or been torn down and replaced by a trailer. Date and Henrietta had a little acreage along Stoney Creek on PETRIE Road, where John VISSER Sr. & John VISSER Jr. now live. In summer they milked their cows in a little barn there each morning and night, and brought the milk back home. That was mostly pasture land and they made hay behind the houses in town and kept the cows in the barn by the house in winter. Date & Henrietta’s children were Otho & Minnie.

Minnie LOWE, born in 1882 – died January 22, 1911, married Grant GARBAUGH, who died February 12, 1950, and they are buried on Lot 66 in the newer part of East Sebewa Cemetery. They ran the mill after Bert and had two daughters, perhaps named Helen & Goldie.

Otho LOWE married Dawn McCrumb, born 1893 – died 1927, of Danby and farmed on TUPPER Lake Road east of KEEFER Hwy. They had four sons and she died at the birth of a fifth child. She and the infant are buried in Danby Cemetery. Otho and the boys moved back with Date. One boy lived and died in Sunfield, two in Lansing, one in the South. One was named Mike.

Ezekiel LOWE, born 1820 – died 1886, was a brother to Egbert Y. LOWE and also owned land around the mills. Egbert deeded land to Ezekiel’s wife, Sarah, in 1880. When Ezekiel died in 1886, an Order for Determination of Heirs was filed in Probate Court, listing the widow as Sarah, the sons as Charles and George, listing the property as ten acres in the area of the mill-pond, and sworn to by Dayton O. LOWE, nephew.


Last update November 10, 2013