Sebewa Recollector
Items of Genealogical Interest

Volume 34 Number 4
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 (Sebewa Township, Ionia County, MI).
FEBRUARY 1999, Volume 34, Number 4. Submitted with written permission of Grayden D. Slowins, Editor:



DORIS R. LEAK, 84, widow of Zeno LEAK, mother of Edwin LEAK, Nancy DOWKER, and the late James LEAK, sister of the late Ruth BECKER & Reah RADEMACHER, daughter of John SHERRARD & Blanche OSMAN, daughter of Sidney OSMAN, whose wife was a HYLAND, daughter of Sarah E. HYLAND, whose family settled in NE ¼ NE ¼ Sec. 35 Orange Township before 1891. Doris farmed in Sebewa for many years. To be buried in West Sebewa Cemetery.

JOHN RODNEY YORK, 55, husband of Luann MIDDAUGH YORK, father of John YORK III & James YORK, brother of Bernard & Ronald YORK & Geneva SPEAS, son of Wilma MEYERS & John S. YORK, son of Ruth A. & Harry L. YORK, son of Christina & Stephen L. YORK, son of Josiah YORK, son of Zachariah YORK. Buried in East Sebewa Cemetery.

GEORGE GAYLORD LAPO, 86, father of Stephanie CORLEW & the late Michael Gaylord LAPO, son of Earl J. LAPO, son of George H. LAPO, son of Jacob or Reuben LAPO, who settled on MUSGROVE Hwy. in Sebewa Township about the time of the Civil War, on what are known in modern times as the Aubrey DAVID & John SHAY farms. Gaylord was retired from Ionia State Hospital for the Criminally Insane. Buried at Chapel Hill Memorial Gardens, Cascade Township, (Kent County, MI).

DALE WILLIAMS, 56, son of Ruby GOODEMOOT & Gerald WILLIAMS, son of Leon WILLIAMS & Mable COOK, daughter of Emily & Charles P. COOK, son of Ursula & Pierce G. COOK, who settled in Sebewa in 1853 on today’s Henry SMITH farm, ran a store in Sebewa Corners during the Civil War, and was Justice of the Peace in Portland in retirement. Ruby was the daughter 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 Connecticut.

MARIE WICKHAM, 73, widow of Gerald WICKHAM, mother of Gary, Donald, James, Phillip & David WICKHAM and Debra KENNEDY, sister of LaVern & Lawrence ELDRIDGE, Madeline BUEHLER, Margaret GENDER, and the late Madonna HILLEY, daughter of Pearl McLeod & Eddie ELDRIDGE, son of Rufus Jay ELDRIDGE & Sophia SLOWINSKI, daughter of Louis SLOWINSKI, son of Anna SCHNABEL & Daniel SLOWINSKI, son of Casmer SLOWINSKI.


Wilbur GIERMAN has access to a book on the OATLEY family, written by Gravener B. OATLEY II, a cousin of Wilbur’s mother still living at 3219 N. Seventeenth Road, Mesick, MI, 49668, phone 616-885-1838, and wintering in Florida. Simeon & Chester OATLEY were pioneer settlers in Sebewa Township. Their father is buried at Gresham Cemetery in Eaton County.

Simeon & Sally OATLEY are buried in West Sebewa Cemetery. He was born 1826, died 1901. She was born 1829, died 1873. They farmed at W ½ SE ¼ Sec. 10 Sebewa, on south side of YORK Rd., now owned by Audrey CASSEL.

1. James Henry OATLEY – apparently first married to Mary A., who was born 5/14/58 & died 3/14/1884 and is buried on his lot in East Sebewa Cemetery. Then he married Eva FRANKS.
2. Gravener OATLEY – married Sarah GUNN and farmed first at W ½ NE ¼ Sec. 12 Sebewa, on south side of Clarksville Road, now owned by Betty ELDRIDGE, and then farmed near Mesick, MI. They are buried in Antioch Cemetery, Wexford County.

1. Mae OATLEY – married George GIERMAN, mother of Wilbur, Reba
2. Another daughter who married a man named Clarence
3. Simeon OATLEY II – father of Ralph OATLEY, who stayed with Forrest STIFFLER, and was a cousin to Forrest on their mother’s side.
3. John OATLEY – married Clara FRANKS
4. Chester OATLEY II – father of Gravener II, is supposedly buried in Antioch Cemetery in Wexford County.
5. Barney OATLEY – married Anna HANSON, farmed at W ½ SE ¼ Sec. 10 Sebewa after Simeon, and they are buried in West Sebewa Cemetery. He was born 1863 & died 1947. She was born 1869 & died 1912.

1. Fern OATLEY – first wife of Theron McNEIL & mother of Alhol
2. Maude May OATLEY – married Benjamin PROBASCO & mother of Harold and Uzel.

CHESTER OATLEY SR., brother of Simeon, married Frances Louise and first farmed at W ½ NE ¼ Sec. 12 on Clarksville Road, now owned by Betty ELDRIDGE, which he bought from Gravener. Frances is buried with their daughter Nina & husband in Portland Cemetery.

1. Nina OATLEY BAUMAN, who married Nelson B. BAUMAN and succeeded her parents on that farm.

There is a Chester OATLEY in West Sebewa Cemetery, born 1851, died 1899, and Mary OATLEY, born 1847, died 1881. Which Chester OATLEY is this?


Hotel BURKE – Mary A. BURKE, Prop.
WAITE Inn – M/M Charles WAITE, Prop.
Wenonah Resort – Lealie RICE
Coffee Kitchen – Mrs. Mina PERKINS
Robert VEITCH – Harness Shop
W. C. HAMMOND – Novelty Shop
Thomas JOHNSON – Lawyer
J. E. PEACOCK – Grocery
Mae BADGER – Millinery
George A. WEED – Furniture & Undertaking
W. H. McCARTNEY – General Merchandise
James SCHEIDT – Hardware
Glenn MEYERS – Pool Room
Dr. M. J. HENDERSON – Dentist
Diamond Theater – H. H. CHASE, Mgr.
Frank FALSETTA – Fruit Store
Byron GOODSELL – Hardware
Charles ERNSBERGER – Lawyer
Pliny RUSSELL – Second Hand Dealer
Michigan Sugar Beet – Orson LOVELL
Charles DAILEY – Blacksmith
Lake Odessa WAVE-TIMES – Mrs. DANN-GOODEMOOT, Editor & Publisher
Frank ULRICH – Barber
Dan SKELLINGER – Oil Station
International Harvester – (ZERFAS?)
Ermal GARLINGER – Produce
W. A. BURLING – Flour Mill
A. M. SMITH Co. – Poultry Buyers – Alvah TINGLEY, Mgr.
Theo. FOSTER – Jeweler
T. A. HEALEY – Gas Engines, etc.
HADDIX Market – C. J. YAGER, Mgr.
LaDUE & SNYDER – Hardware
R. S. BRADEN – Barber
M. E. EVERETT – Jeweler
CAMPBELL & GILSON – Men’s Furnishings
Clare SEXTON – Oakland Sales
D and C Stores – Mrs. R. AUSTIN, Mgr.
Dr. P. F. HINES – Dentist
Dr. J. W. ROBINSON – Physician
Olive HUNTZINGER – Millinery
Ray FENDER – Garage
Charles LAPO – Implements
Leon NICHOLSON – Barber Shop
D. R. TROWBRIDGE – News Agency & Photographer
Lewis TERRY – Barber Shop
Consumers Power – F. E. BRANCH, Mgr.
F. W. SMELKER – Drugs
O. B. GARLINGER – Meats & Groceries
Ed SHELLHORN – Gents’ Furnishings
Bell Telephone – Janet MALONEY, Chief Operator
Fred SMITH – Groceries
City Bakery – Wm. TIETS, Prop.
Andy DIRR – Meats & Groceries
SMITH Brothers – Grain Elevator
P. M. Railroad – F. M. THOMAS, Agent
Howard D. POFF – Tire Service
Standard Oil – Service Station
George KART – Flouring Mill
Nestles Food Co. – F. A. PAGE, Mgr.
City Laundry – H. BUXTON, Mgr.
Ada SHUPP – Restaurant
J. D. PARMENTER – Shoe Repair
Fred URTEL – Groceries, Dry Goods
Harry JAMES – Garage
Fred PUGH – Blacksmith
George REISER – Lumber 7 Coal
Otis MINER – General Merchandise
Vern MONASMITH – Barber
C. C. Petty – Veterinarian
Cloyd KART – Shoe Repair
Al RIBLET – Pool Room
A. L. NYE – Drugs
Claude Carpenter – Autos & implements
A. & P. Store – William GARDNER, Mgr.
Guy W. HART – Bill Poster & News Agency
E. C. TEW & Sons – General Store
Dr. C. H. PEABODY – Physician
Loraine ERNSBERGER – Beauty Parlor
Orr CASWELL – Nash Sales
Christian KLEPFER – Second Hand Dealer

What makes the above list so good is the fact I remember most of these people, or their widows, in the 1930-1960s, and many were original almost from the 1887 founding of Lake Odessa. If it had Mrs. COLWELL as the owner of the wooden buildings at the middle of the 1000 block on west side of Fourth Ave., it would be complete – SEE NEXT PAGE.


One of the earliest residents of the Village of Lake Odessa was Alice M. COLWELL, housewife, school teacher, business woman, and school board member. She was born November 6, 1843, in Carlisle, Ohio, to Oren & Maticia WEBSTER RICKEY. She had two brothers, Edwin & Edgar RICKEY, both of whom served in the same company of the 178th Ohio Volunteer Infantry during the Civil War, and one sister, Eva J. RICKEY.

In 1848 her father bought farm land from the government in Orleans Township, Ionia County, built a log house, and moved his family to Michigan. Alice attended country school in Orleans. At 15 she received her teaching certificate from Lorain County, Ohio, and taught in country schools. In 1862 she entered Oberlin College in Ohio, which was the first college in the United States to admit women students. She moved back to Michigan and taught school, including the school in Orleans where she had been a student. In 1867 she married Alanson CORNELL in Ionia. They had one child, May E. CORNELL. In 1872 her husband died, and while the elder CORNELLS cared for the little girl, Alice worked in the office of the Ionia County Register of Deeds copying legal documents.

A year after her husband’s death she married Eugene F. COLWELL, a cousin of her first husband, and a widower with two small sons. They lived for some time in Detroit, where Mr. COLWELL had a drug store. The COLWELL family moved to Lake Odessa in 1888, where they built several store buildings on the west side of the 1000 block and had a drug store in one of them. After her husband’s death in 1898 she still owned and managed the rental of the buildings now occupied by Katie’s Stitch & Stuff, Lake Pump Tavern, and the Funn House Restaurant.

Over the years they were occupied by barber shops, Trowbridge’s photography studio, a bakery, etc. She attended the Congregational Church, was a member of the Lake Odessa Women’s Club, helped organize the first Library association, and was the first woman to become a member of the Lake Odessa School Board. She had a vivid recollection of a great-grandfather named MASON who fought in the Revolutionary War, and later worked as a stone-mason to build the walls around West Point Military Academy. On his 100th birthday he was granted a pension by the United States Government.

The lat twenty years of her life, she lived with her daughter, May, and son-in-law William H. McCARTNEY, and their two daughters, Alice and Grace McCARTNEY. She died at the McCARTNEY home December 6, 1939, at age 96. Her own home was built in the middle of a wheat field in the new village at what is now 835 Fifth Avenue. It was the first house in Lake Odessa to have a bathtub. The tub frame was built into the house and lined with sheets of zinc. There was no village water system, so water was pumped from the cistern, heated on the kitchen stove, and carried to the tub. It did have a drain to empty it. The house also had the first telephone, which ran between it and the drug store. The house was heated with stoves: a beautiful hard coal or anthracite burner in the living or sitting room, a wood stove in one bedroom upstairs. The square grand piano is now at BLANCHARD House.

Built onto the back of the house was a woodshed, part of which was floored. In this woodshed was a hand-powered washing machine and a kerosene stove used for summer cooking. At the back of the lot was a barn and the usual outhouse. The stable part of the barn, as well as the outhouse, vanished long ago, but the part housing the buggy and the cutter is still standing and used for a garage. The home was continuously occupied by Mrs. COLWELL or a member of her family through the occupancy of her grandson, William C. McCARTNEY, and his wife, Vera, and their children. It is now occupied by Mr. & Mrs. Dennis COOK of COOK’S Apothecary Shop. Descendents still living in Lake Odessa are great-grandson, C. Hale McCARTNEY and great-great-grandson Michael R. McCARTNEY. END


The VanderHEYDEN house has been on the Ionia Homes Tour at least three times, in December or May of 1975, 1982 and 1985, under three different owners, and we wrote about it each time. We summarize the history of the family and the house here, as an introduction to the NEW INFORMATION which follows. While perhaps not quite as elegant as the BLANCHARD house, it has half-again as much floor space, bright sunlit rooms, and a hillside setting best appreciated by a shepherd.

The house is located at 926 W. Main Street, Ionia, and was built in 1879, a year before the BLANCHARD house, a year after our own house and contemporary with many other Victorian-Italianate houses in Ionia City and County. A main point to remember is that this house was designed and built symmetrically for two separate-but-related families right from the start. So it was not cut up later and ruined like so many old houses. In fact, it was later combined into one household, which only improved it. There were two of everything on each floor except the central halls and the front & rear stairs; two parlors, two living-dining-family-rooms, two kitchens, two summer-kitchen-woodsheds. There are four large bedrooms upstairs and two full baths, plus bright pleasant quarters for servants in the upstairs rear.

The house was built for William H. and Frederick H. VANDERHEYDEN, father and son, although Fred was still a boy when it was designed. They were the only owners until Fred’s widow died in 1963 and the Bruce YOUNGS family purchased the place almost intact. Most of the original furnishings survived until the YOUNGS family had a sale in 1975. Originally William VANDERHEYDEN lived in the east half and Fred lived in the west half. After William’s death, Fred used the east half for daily living and the west became a library, office, small bedroom and laundry.

Originally there were two wood-coal furnaces, later stoker-fired. YOUNGS put in two gas furnaces. The original lights were carbide gas, as were both fireplace grates. The basement had brick floors and eight-foot ceilings. Upper floors have twelve-foot ceilings. The low attic originally led to a thirty-foot widow’s walk, which has had the railing removed and sealed over to prevent leaking. The house was built well, using the best materials available. The inside shutters were the best idea of their day for cutting winter drafts and summer sun.

The VANDERHEYDEN bricks are ivory in color, although some folks called them white or yellow brick. They also were made in red and were imprinted with WHV or FHV, not FVH as some have reported. The lintels, sills, foundations & steps are variegated sandstone from the Ionia Sandstone Quarry off East Riverside Drive. About 1975 the Bruce YOUNGS family sold the house to Dick or Joe BROWN of BROWN Corporation, and about 1985 they sold it to the Arnold WARNERS, who own a similar factory at Belding. WARNERS also purchased and restored the previous VANDERHEYDEN brick home, located just to the east and higher up on the bank. It had been subdivided and badly mutilated, but does retain some of its character.

William H. VanderHEYDEN was born in Herkimer County, New York, in 1836 and died in Ionia, August 16, 1910. He married Emily E. WOOD, born in Detroit, 1840; died in Ionia, 1918, daughter of John WOOD, also a brick manufacturer. William learned the brick-making trade in New York State, started his own yard in Ionia, and then bought the CORNELL brickyard about 1866. He also had a branch in Big Rapids for several years, turned out bricks at a rate of three to five million per year and shipped by rail to such projects as the Veteran’s Home in Grand Rapids. He sold the entire business to his son, Fred, in 1892.

William and Emily are buried in Oak Hill Cemetery, which adjoins the brickyard on the north. Their children were:

William H. II, who died young; Ella M., who married H. B. WEBBER, an Ionia banker and hardware merchant; Dora E., who married Dr. A. H. HALLADAY of Sebewa and lived in Long Beach, California; and Frederick H.

Frederick H. VanderHEYDEN was born in Ionia in 1869, died in Ionia, September 13, 1952. He was married January 25, 1895, to Eleanor M. CLARK, born in Muskegon February 28, 1874, and died in Ionia March 27, 1963. They had no children and are buried in Oak Hill Cemetery. The new information we have today is Eleanor’s Will, which follows.


I, Eleanor M. VanderHEYDEN, of the City of Ionia, in Ionia County, and State of Michigan, being of sound mind and memory, do make, publish and declare this to be My Last Will and Testament, hereby revoking all former Wills and Codicils thereto, if any, by me at any time heretofore made.

FIRST: I direct the payment of all my just debts and funeral expenses as soon as possible after my decease.

SECOND: I give, devise and bequeath to my beloved sister, Mrs. Jessie C. MOON, and to my beloved niece, Margaret MOON, both at present residing at 351 South Fuller Avenue, Apartment L1, Los Angeles 36, California, my house and lot, situated at 926 W. Main Street, Ionia, Michigan, together with all of my household furniture, fixtures, equipment and appliances, including linens, china and all wearing apparel which may be in my home at the time of my demise, except such articles of personal property as may be here-in-after specifically bequeathed, to them, their heirs and assigns, absolutely and forever, share and share alike. All of the above mentioned personal property located in said home belongs to me except five (5) antique pieces of furniture, which are plainly marked and belong to Mrs. Emily Webber, of 377 W. Third Street, Los Angeles, California, which will be picked up by her when she is notified by my executor.

THIRD: I give and bequeath to my beloved sister, Mrs. Jessie C. MOON, heretofore mentioned in paragraph two above, my diamond and turquoise ring.

FOURTH: I give and bequeath to my beloved niece, Janet SAMPSON, my mink coat and to my beloved niece, Margaret SAMPSON, my mink stole, and I also give to both of them, my two largest diamond rings as they shall select, both reside at 1012 Summit Street, Muskegon Heights, Michigan. Said furs are stored with the Alaska Fur Company, 53 Monroe Avenue, Grand Rapids, Michigan, when not in use.

FIFTH: Deleted.

SIXTH: I give and bequeath to my beloved friend, Mrs. Frances COBB, residing at North Jefferson Street, Ionia, Michigan, my black fur coat which is stored at my home.

SEVENTH: I give and bequeath to my beloved friend and companion, Mrs. Elizabeth PURDY, of West Main Street, Ionia, Michigan, who has been a faithful companion for years, my Zenith television set located in my home and the sum of Five Thousand and no/100 ($5,000.00) Dollars.

EIGHTH: I give and bequeath the following:
(a) To my friend Mrs. Bernice WORTMAN, at present residing on West Main Street, Ionia, Michigan, the sum of Two Hundred and Fifty ($250.00) Dollars.
(b) Deleted.
(c) To the First Methodist Church of Ionia, Michigan, the sum of One Thousand ($1,000) Dollars.
(d) To the St. Johns Protestant Episcopal Church, corner of Washington and Kidd Streets, Ionia, Michigan, the sum of Five Hundred ($500.00) Dollars.
(e) To the First Presbyterian Church of Ionia, Michigan, the sum of Five Hundred ($500.00) Dollars.
(f) To the Boy Scouts of America of Ionia, Michigan, the sum of Two Hundred and Fifty ($250.00) Dollars.
(g) To the Girl Scouts of America of Ionia, Michigan, the sum of Two Hundred and Fifty ($250.00) Dollars.

NINTH: All the rest, residue and remainder of my property of whatsoever kind, name or nature, and wheresoever situated, real or personal or mixed, I give devise and bequeath to my beloved sister, Mrs. Jessie C. MOON, and my beloved niece, Margaret MOON, and to Archer M. SAMPSON, the husband of my deceased niece, Dora SAMPSON, and also to his daughters, Janet SAMPSON and Margaret SAMPSON, to them, their heirs and assigns, absolutely and forever, to be equally divided between the five of them, share and share alike.

I Hereby appoint Clifford L. MORSE, of 474 Lafayette Street, Ionia, Michigan, Executor of this my Last Will and Testament.

IN TESTIMONY WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and seal on this 16th day of November, A.D. 1954.
Eleanor M. VanderHEYDEN

A couple of codicils were made in 1956 to correct the deletions shown above and were witnessed by Elizabeth BIEHLER & Julia BIEHLER.

The entire population of Gilpin County, Colorado, was only a little over 2500 people – mostly miners and their suppliers – before the casinos came. Now Central City and its twin – Blake Hawk – are teeming with bus-loads of people from Denver. Old brick & stone stores, hotels & livery stables have been expanded into gambling houses. Only the Opera House and Court House remain untainted. Little old wooden miners’ cottages are being moved off valuable lots, but saved to help with the housing shortage, as well as for their historical value.


In 1934 my mother, Crystal BRAKE SLOWINS, of South Boston, Saranac, Michigan, sent a newspaper clipping to the Lake Odessa WAVE. It was from a paper her grandmother, Caroline COSENS BRAKE, had used to line a trunk for the trip on the Grand Trunk Railroad from Waterloo, Ontario, to Caledonia, Michigan, in 1866. Grandma Caroline in turn probably got it from her mother-in-law, Widow Catherine BETZNER BREAK, and she from her mother-in-law, Widow Christina Magdalena SHERK BRECH, who had used it to line the trunk when she brought her four kids with a four-horse team on a Conestoga wagon 500 miles from Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, to Waterloo, Ontario, in 1807, in Charleston, South Carolina, where a branch of the BRECH-BREAK-BRAKE family had settled.

This paper – now 190 years old – offered many different articles for sale: 9 hogsheads (barrels) of sugar, 4 pipes of gin, corn #94 cents per bushel, bundles of fruit trees, straw bonnets, silver watches, diapers, tablecloths, lace hose, 40 barrels of brown sugar, satin bordered shawls, and garden seeds.

FOR SALE – Cargo of 81 Gold Coast slaves. Just received another cargo of 24 Gold Coast slaves. A shipment of 400 prime Angola slaves, 380 Congo slaves. Wanted – a negro wench to do washing and ironing, also one to do good sewing. Wanted – four or five negro carpenters.

Our family name, SLOWINS, comes from SLOWINSKI, which is from SLOVINSKI, which is from SLAVINSKI, meaning Son-of-Slaves, as translated from the Polish-German. The Slavic tribes of Eastern Europe were one of the first ethnic groups captured as slaves by the ancient Roman Empire. So we were once slaves, too. But as a Black journalist named Jack E. White recently wrote in TIME Magazine “Get over it people, and move on!”


Last update November 10, 2013