Sebewa Recollector
Items of Genealogical Interest

Volume 34 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 1998, Volume 34, Number 3. Sebewa Township, Ionia County, MI.
Submitted with written permission of Grayden D. SLOWINS, Editor:



ALZEO (MIKE) SMITH (Update), widower of Clara Louise JESSUP SMITH, father of Charles L. SMITH, Mary L. KLEINFELT, Margaret A. TROYER, Richard Ben SMITH & Alice E. BERENS, brother of Velda HALE, Bernice DARLING, Beatrice HOLLENBACH, Ruth, Helen & Maxine SMITH, Sarah SHAFER, Irvin & Oliver D. Smith, son of Mabel BAIRD HALE & Benjamin F. SMITH, son of Oliver D. SMITH & Elizabeth COLLINGHAM, daughter of Jacob & Lucy BOYINGTON COLLINGHAM.

LARRY A. DANIELS, 60, husband of Judy GREEN DANIELS, father of David DANIELS, Diane PETERSON & Julie JOHNSON, brother of Margene SMILEY, Dallas & Gary DANIELS, son of Beulah & Oren DANIELS, son of Anna U. & Andrus W. DANIELS, son of Sarah D. & Orren W. DANIELS, son of Eunice & Andrus W. DANIELS. He was an excavating contractor and former member of Lakewood School Board.

RANDY WOLVERTON, 54, husband of Linda Gayle FREDERICKS WOLVERTON, father of Lisa PETERSON, Diane SPRAGUE & Robert WOLVERTON, brother of late Kathryn WOLVERTON, Joan SLAGER & Kerrie IDEMA, son of Pauline B. FIRST & Richard E. WOLVERTON, son of Lester WOLVERTON.


Jim WILLETS recently brought us from the Floyd EVANS estate sale several booklets of Official Proceedings of the Ionia County Board of Supervisors for years 1911-1912 thru 1966-1967 and one for Board of Commissioners 1971-1972. We don’t know what happened during the reorganizing years 1968-69-70. Jim was a brother to Charles, George, Viola, Virginia and an infant Leland Rue WILLETS. They were the children of Ray WILLETS, who had sisters Hattie & Bertha and lived in Lansing. They were the children of Ray WILLETS, Sr., who is buried in East Sebewa Cemetery. He was the son of Leland RUE WILLETS Sr., who lived on the 50 acres at NW ¼ SW ¼ Sec. 7 Danby, east side of KEEFER HWY., where Joe & Karen TOWNER live now. Leland RUE WILLETS was the son of Stephen WILLETS and both are buried in Spaulding Cemetery on DEXTER Trail near SPAULDING Road Sec. 25 Lyons.

Ray WILLETS Sr. was married to Marcia TRYON, sister of George TRYON & another brother. They were the children of Otis TRYON & Catherine POOLE, whose mother was a BARNUM from Sunfield. Otis was the son of Noah & Marcia A. TRYON, who are buried in East Sebewa Cemetery. Otis is buried east of Greenville, but his second wife – Gracie LUMBERT TRYON MARTIN is buried with her last man, Ray SMITH, in East Sebewa Cemetery. Storyteller Welcome (WECK) LUMBERT was a half-brother to Otis Tryon thru their mother’s marriage into a different line of LUMBERTS, who were numerous in the early days of Sebewa & Odessa Townships. Some are now called LAMBERT. One very old woman called Aunt Sylvia LUMBERT, written about in The RECOLLECTOR Vo. 9 No. 1 & Vol. 20 No. 4, was a LUMBERT both before & after marriage.

Otis & Gracie TRYON had one daughter, Clarabelle TRYON ROACH SHARP, and husband John SHARP, who are also buried in East Sebewa Cemetery. Jim WILLETS’ niece met and married Darrius HART, son of Fred & Hope JACKSON HART of Sebewa, while both were working at the Saturn plant. Fred grew up on the Charles E. HART farm at S ½ SE ¼ Sec. 13 Sebewa, on the west side of KEEFER Hwy., not far from the old Leland RUE WILLETS farm.

Some months ago Judy FRANKS REYNOLDS of Parma, MI, contacted us about the FRANKS families of Sebewa, from whom she is descended. We sent all FRANKS information we had from East Sebewa Cemetery and put her in touch with Julia CASSEL WHORLEY. Now she writes for information on the OATLEY family. Our reply is included here. We do not, however, find James Henry OATLEY, who married Mary A. (Evaline?) FRANKS, but is not listed as being buried with her in East Sebewa Cemetery. Can anyone help?

“SEBEWA TOWNSHIP, settled in 1838; organized in 1845.

November 16, 1998:
9275 County Farm Rd., Parma, MI 49269

Here is the information I found on your questions, plus a printout my wife happened to be working on that has a REYNOLDS family who once lived in the Putnam Township area near Pinckney.

Elta CASSEL & George HOFFMAN are probably buried in Portland Cemetery.
The BEERS family would also be in Portland Cemetery.

In the East Sebewa Cemetery we have:
Isaac BRETZ – born 3/12/1826 – died 12/9/1883
Eliza BRETZ – born 1829 – wife of Isaac
They are on Block 10, Lot 19, Graves 1 & 2.
Mary A. OATLEY – born 5/14/58 – died 3/14/1884; wife of J.
H. OATLEY. She is on Block 8, Lot 5, Grave 1
William TURNER – 1848-1919
Melintha TURNER – 1854-1935
James D. TURNER – born 4/11/56 – died 8/30/1880
Jeannett TURNER – wife of ?
They are on Block 3, Lot 9, Graves 1,2,3,4.

In the West Sebewa Cemetery we have:
Simeon OATLEY – 1826-1901 – Father
Sally OATLEY – 1829-1873 – Mother
They are on Lot 65, Graves 2 & 4.
Barney OATLEY – 1863-1947
Anna M. OATLEY – 1869-1912
They are on Lot 109, Graves 2 & 3.
Another son of Simeon & Sally OATLEY, and brother of
Chester & Barney, was buried at Mesick, MI:
Gravener B. OATLEY

OUTDOOR IMAGES – Tom HUGGLER – Writer/Photographer
Phone 517-566-8155 – Fax: 517-566-7076. E-mail:

October 4, 1998
Janet RUDD, President, Sebewa Center Assoc.,
1426 W. Grand River, Ionia, MI 48846

Dear Janet:
Duane MEYERS and I recently looked over the Robert GIERMAN historical collection which is being housed, temporarily, in the Archives Dept. of the Michigan Historical Library on Allegan Street in Lansing.

A total of 21 boxes of notes, photos, records and other historical data are in the collection. According to archivists Dave Johnson and Helen Taylor, these materials do not fit into current collection themes. In short, the Library would like someone to take all the materials off their hands. If we don’t, they will be discarded.

Samples of information that Duane and I uncovered:
Box #1: 1967 Ionia Cty. Soil Survey, Sebewa Center Assoc. Bylaws and Constitution, 1965, Warranty Deed for the Sunshine Property to Sebewa Twp.
Box #2: Grand Valley Rock & Mineral Society News, 1963-1971. Copies of SEBEWA RECOLLECTOR.
Box #3: Lakewood Schools Enrollment & Annual meetings from 1895. Same for Sebewa Twp. schools from 1917. Various
accts. and ledgers for individuals and townships.
Box #4: Teachers’ contracts, government documents, census information.
Box #5: Photos
Box #7: Local historical society scrapbooks.
Box #8: Personal diaries, information about Ella Jean PETOSKEY
Box #9: Ionia County materials and records
Box #10: Scrapbooks, IOOF West Sebewa from 1910, various records

The rest of the boxes contain similar materials, including school records from 1865. Duane and I thought the Association might be interested in getting these materials back, then setting up several tables in the old schoolhouse. Members could sort the information according to subject and put everything out onto the tables. The next step would be to inform the public through local newspapers, as well as our newsletter. We could set apart a few hours one day when people could take whatever momentos they wish.

What do you think of this idea? Regardless of what we do, we need to call Dave Johnson (517)373-1452 within the next month or so, or he will likely authorize destruction of the collection.

In reference to a grant for repairing the old schoolhouse, I called the Michigan History Division of the Secretary of State’s office and was told to contact either the Historical Society of Michigan in Ann Arbor or the Michigan Council for the Arts. I have not had the time to do either. Perhaps you or someone else would like to look into it?

I’m sending a copy of this letter to Graydon in the event he wishes to print it in the RECOLLECTOR.

Sincerely, Tom HUGGLER, cc: Grayden SLOWINS, Duane MEERS

COVER PHOTOS: Colorado State Capitol is one of the most beautiful Capitol buildings in our nation. Sitting on a high knoll, it can be seen & photographed from many directions, especially from its beautifully landscaped Civic Center Mall. The dome is covered with solid gold leaf, donated by a local mining company so copper would not be bought from elsewhere. At the opposite end of the Mall is the City/County Court House.


Egbert Yandall LOWE was born March 23, 1819, in Ulster County, N.Y. He came to Michigan in 1836, locating in Monroe and following his occupation of milling. After four years he went back to his old home and voted for President William HARRISON. After milling at different parts of Michigan, he came to Sebewa in 1868 and bought the FRIEND Mill property, which he has operated ever since. He was a resident of this place for the last 32 years, except for 4 years spent away.

He was married to Clarissa WARD on October 24, 1844, at Hudson, MI. She died at Sebewa December 10, 1891. Of this union six children were born, four of whom preceded their parents in death. Two sons survive them, Egbert W. (Bert) and Dayton Otho (Date), both residents of Sebewa.E. Y. LOWE, (as he was called), was a man of sterling integrity, a kind husband and father, and a good neighbor. He was always ready to assist in times of need. He was a staunch Republican in politics. He will be missed very much in the community in which he lived so long. The immediate cause of his death was a severe cold, developing slight pneumonia from which he was apparently recovering until the morning of the 28th (January), when sudden change took place. The action of the heart became weak and he sank slowly and died at 9 o’clock that evening. The funeral was held at the house at two o’clock Tuesday by Rev. Skentleberry, pastor of the Congregational Church at Lake Odessa. The remains were taken to Chelsea, MI, and buried beside those of his wife.

August 29, 1900: It will be three weeks before Bert LOWE does any grinding unless he uses steam. Besides putting in a new foundation, he will put in a new flume for the water wheel.

October 10, 1900: Bert LOWE is having more of a job repairing his mill than he expected. He not only extended the foundation walls, but also put new timbers under it. The job will take two more weeks. Fred BROWN is helping him.

October 31, 1900: Bert LOWE will soon have his mill in running condition. Making the necessary repairs has been a long & tedious job, taking a good deal longer than he expected, the foundation being in such decay that he was obliged to put under stone walls and abutments. He is now putting in a new flume.

December 19, 1900: Bert LOWE will go to Detroit in a few days to get a new purifier for his mill.

March 6, 1901: Bert LOWE’S new feed grinder is a success. It grinds very much faster than the mill stones and does not take near the water (power).

March 17, 1901: Bert LOWE’S new feed grinder seems to be a success. He can grind three times as fast and with less power than with the mill stones.

May 8, 1901: Bert LOWE has sold his mill and will soon move to Lake Odessa.

July 17, 1901: We have new residents in our burg this week, as Bert LOWE has sold his mill property to a gentleman from Holland and he is to take possession immediately. Mr. LOWE is undecided yet as to what he will do.

August 7, 1901: The new miller has arrived and will soon be ready for business.

September 28, 1901: Mr. DECKER, the new miller who has been ill for some time, is slowly recovering.

March 12, 1902: C. P. BECKER died at his home March 7. His remains were taken to Holland, Michigan, for burial.

March 26, 1902: Mrs. BECKER and Chris returned to their home last week.

April 16, 1902: Date LOWE is running the grist mill while Chris BECKER is laid up with a sore foot.

June 4, 1902: Mrs. BECKER went to Grand Rapids last week to visit relatives.

July 2, 1902: Mrs. BECKER and family expect to move to Holland in the near future.

September 21, 1904: Elias BECKER, who has purchased the LOWE Mill west of town, will overhaul the present machinery, installing new when required and put the mill on a paying basis as soon as possible. This property has been a forlorn hope for some years past. C. P. BECKER, the present owner’s father, bought the mill three years ago and undertook to improve the property, but death took him before his plans could be put into operation. Since then the mill has been practically inoperative, D. O. LOWE occupying the mill residence and doing what little feed grinding as came in at irregular intervals. The mill is a good property and with good machinery and an experienced miller as the present incumbent at the head, will soon reclaim its place at the front rank.

Mr. BECKER is a man of pleasing personality, making friends of all who met him during his father’s illness several years ago and he assures us he has come to stay and will give his patrons the best there is. If he cannot make flour to supply the demand, he will open an exchange. The feed mill will be put in repair at once and he invites the patronage of the surrounding community, assuring them if earnest endeavor and honest dealing will gain their good will, they will have no occasion to deal elsewhere.

MARGE SMITH, special friend of the late Robert Wilfred GIERMAN, and former Ionia County Commissioner, Lumber & Hardware Dealer, School Teacher, and Historical Society Activist, is now living at Fountain View Retirement Village, 3962 Whispering Way Dr., SE, Grand Rapids, MI, 49546. She would love to hear about activities she once participated in, in Ionia County.

FARMING NOTE: Our cousin, Chris WENGER, reminds us that in the bottom of the Great Depression, hogs sold for 3 cents/# and one pound of pork would buy a postage stamp. Recently hogs have been selling for 18-25 cents/# and 32 cent tamps are going up to 33 cents. It can be argued that with Mega-farm automation, one extended farm family can produce many more hogs today. But are they really better off after expenses are paid, or is it just more cheap food for the consumer?


Last update November 10, 2013