Sebewa Recollector
Items of Genealogical Interest

Volume 38 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 Center Association (Sebewa Township, Ionia County, MI); AUGUST 2002, Volume 38, Numbers 1. Submitted with written permission of Editor Grayden D. SLOWINS:

SURNAMES: Arnold, Dexter, Yeomans, Slowinski, Story, Sessions, Gierman, Daniels, Kimmel, Kaufman, Ingall, Slowins, Bosley,


VERA SESSIONS GIERMAN, 82, wife of Maurice GIERMAN, mother of Jan GIERMAN and Deanna PUMPLIN, sister of Iva CLARK, Alice HILE, Homer SESSIONS, and the late Arlene EDDY, daughter of Barrett and Amelia SESSIONS. She was born April 28, 1919, in Lapeer and spent her childhood in Eastmanville and Ionia, graduating from Central Michigan College in 1939. Maurice farmed in Sebewa Township and she taught elementary school in Sebewa, Lake Odessa, Ionia, and Grand Blanc. Keeping up with the times, she and her sister Arlene wrote computer software for teaching reading. Retiring at 50 years of marriage, she and Maurice spent 12 summers in Fairfield Glade, TN, and winters they were residents of Bradenton, FL. Burial in East Sebewa Cemetery at a later date, with memorial service at Sebewa Center United Methodist Church. Memorial Friday, August 23, at cemetery followed by lunch at Sebewa Center Church Annex.

ALBERT J. DANIELS, 80, brother of the late Calvin DANIELS, Sarah HARRIS, Evelyn WACHA & Ellen SOULES, son of Violet HEATER and Jay DANIELS, son of Sarah & Orren W. DANIELS, Sr., son of Eunice & Andrus W. DANIELS, Sr. Jay DANIELS was a brother to Andrus W. DANIELS, Jr., father of Robert; to another brother who died young; and to Carrie KIMMEL, Lottie (Sam) KAUFMAN, Ida (D.C.) INGALL & Cora ARNOLD. Albert worked at Keeler Brass and Lake Odessa Canning Company. Burial at Lakeside, Lake Odessa.

ARNOLD FAMILY HISTORY: Dexter ARNOLD recently spoke to the Ionia County Historical Society about the ARNOLDS of Ionia County. He traces back to his 5X-great-grandfather, who was born and lived in Smithfield, New Jersey. His 4X great-grandparents were Hannah DEXTER & Job ARNOLD, a Revolutionary War Veteran. Their children were Oliver ARNOLD, Phoebe ARNOLD YEOMANS and Dexter ARNOLD. Oliver ARNOLD brought his family to South Ionia with his Uncle Samuel DEXTER’S Colony in May 1833. He was a blacksmith and founded what is today the ARNOLD Machine Company, said to be one of the three oldest continuously operating businesses in Michigan. They are buried in Balcom Cemetery, having been moved there from ARNOLD Cemetery when State Road was put over the South Ionia hill by Berlin Township Highway Commissioner Daniel SLOWINSKI in 1919.

Phoebe ARNOLD and her husband Erastus YEOMANS also came in 1833 with the DEXTER Colony, and their farm north of Ionia is the oldest continuously operated family farm in the area. They are buried in the pioneer portion of Oak Hill Cemetery.

Dexter ARNOLD came in 1835, after his father Job died in 1834. Hannah came along and died here in 1839. Dexter lived on the VanderHEYDEN land for a time and then moved to the southwest corner of Easton Township, Sections 29-31-32. He was the 3X-great-grandfather of the present Dexter ARNOLD, who still lives on the same land. He is also buried at Oak Hill Cemetery.

DEXTER ARNOLD, Sr. built a log cabin along M-21 on the farm and young DEXTER has the family Bible. Dexter’s son was William (2X-great), who built the present house in three stages in 1854-1865-1870, up on the high ground on Johnson Road. He married Phoebe ARNOLD YEOMANS’ daughter, his first cousin. Their son was Burt Walter ARNOLD (great-grandfather to Dexter). His son was Martin, and his son was George, who was the father of Dexter. Every generation has been on the Easton Township Board, usually as Supervisor, except Martin ARNOLD. But George’s wife, Myrtle was also on the Board, as Treasurer, so there have been six township officers in six generations. Ronald STORY and others in the audience were also descended from Dexter ARNOLD.


Heading to Silver City on New Mexico 90, we encountered increasing hills, trees, and altitude; crossed the Continental Divide again at 6355 feet. On every side of us is a different mountain range. These are the Burro Mts., to the east is the Cookes Range of the Mimbres Mts, and south of Deming are the Florida Mts. Silver City is at 5938 feet more or less, a very hilly old mining town with old churches and mine tailings, with large open-pit mines now. Some rock layers are pink, some green, representing silver, gold, lead, zinc and copper mines of present or past. Returning to Deming on Hwy 180, got gas, groceries, USA Today, and a new toaster at Pepper’s Supermarket. Back in time for a hotdog and smores roast with the campground folks.

Thursday, February 28, (2002), 40 degrees at daybreak, partly cloudy. TV weather people brag that New Mexico has some sun on 362 days of the year, with 191 clear, 99 partly cloudy, 72 cloudy and 3 days with no sight of the sun. Our low yesterday morning, 25 degrees, was the high for the day in Grand Rapids, MI. The desert has no vegetation to hold the sun’s heat, so a drop of 40 degrees overnight is common. High today 69 degrees. As we began daily walk to K-Mart about a mile away for USA Today and Dairy Queen, one walker has his shirt off – a little too early in the season!

Friday, March 1, sunny morning about 40 degrees, washed dishes, wrote and mailed Thank You cards for Grandma LAKIN’S funeral memorials. Just walked in the RV park today; windy but nice and sunny. The gravel is no good for bikes and the highway is too dangerous, so no-one is using theirs. Went walking in the park again after lunch and a woman came running out of her motorhome, waving her arms and yelling Ann! Grayden! It was Maxine & Jim BOSLEY from Ionia, having just pulled in. They helped us get our cable TV hooked up properly. Then we all went out to supper at the Rancher’s Grill, formerly K-Bob’s. Bob recently sold the chain to run for Congress.

Saturday, March 2, low 28 degrees, high 48 degrees, sunny, but high wind and dust storm. Bosleys hesitate to move on to Arizona and some travelers pull in off the interstate early, saying it is like a white-out at home………

Sunday, March 3, sunny, but with a low of 18 degrees last night, it’s a good thing we had added some antifreeze to our holding tanks and have been disconnecting the outside water hose. Park has been into overflow the last two nights, some of the rigs in caravans. Attended the Deming United Methodist Church. Most of the congregation are our age and the rest are older! Many are retired from the North.

Ate a traveling lunch in Pepper’s Supermarket parking lot, got a paper and milk, headed south on Hwy 180 toward Columbus, near the Mexican border. Saw pecan trees being pruned, cropland being fitted, planted and readied for irrigation with trenches. Then desert again and abandoned farmland.

Columbus is about three miles from the border with Mexico. It has an old Customs House and a Southern Pacific Railroad Depot. Both are now museums. Pancho Villa State Park sits on the land once occupied by U.S. Army Camp Furlong. The camp was used as a base for pursuit of General Pancho Villa in 1916-1917. During the Mexican Civil War the United States aided a rival faction and VILLA decided to get even by attacking the U.S. at Camp Furlong and the adjoining town of Columbus. Not a smart move on his part, but chasing him back into Mexico provided a training ground for World War I. General John J. PERSHING was in charge and this was the first war where trucks and airplanes were used, as well as machine guns and even a simple armoured vehicle resembling a tank. The Germans supplied the Mexicans with machine guns, hoping to divert our attention from Europe.

A video made in 1981 has interviews with a number of residents who were present as children, as well as old still photos and silent movies from the war. The battle in Columbus only lasted one night and the next day, March 9-10, 1916, but a dozen or so civilians were killed, including the father of one woman interviewed and the uncle of another. The local telephone operator had stayed by her post at the switchboard and kept sending messages for help, even though a bullet passed thru the switchboard. Mothers hid their children under their beds and one stuffed a cloth in her baby’s mouth to keep it silent. Many homes and business buildings were burned, although some remain that appear in the video. About forty Mexicans, or Villistas as they were called, were killed, and a few more captured, tried and executed later. We viewed the video in the Old Customs House museum and then bought a copy to bring home for family and friends.

The town claims to have a lot of cultural events even today, including community theatre and historical festivals. But other than a few small houses and struggling stores, we saw only a Mission Style Catholic Church and a Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses – Temple De Jehovah. Obviously farming is no longer prospering.

By the way, Pancho VILLA never was captured by the Americans after several months of chasing. He later surrendered to the winning faction of his own countrymen and retired to a fine ranch with five “wives”. Several years later he was assassinated by gunmen while leaving his front gate in an automobile. His legal wife lived in the United States for a few years, then returned after his death and was still alive at the time of the video, dying in 1986.

Camp Furlong is one of three former military bases around Deming. Camp Cody was located in town at the airport hangers and was used to train bomber pilots and navigators in World War II. Fort Cummings at Cook’s Spring, north of town, was used to protect that water supply for Union forces during the American Civil War.

Monday, March 4, temperature is even lower than previous night at 17 degrees, but quite pleasant with a high of 60 and very little wind. Did laundry, dishes, and walked in campground. Wrote letters and received first packet of Priority Mail. It works! And at $3.50 the package easily holds more than ten pieces of 34 cent first class mail.

Tuesday, March 5, low of 26 degrees, drove north on US-180 thru Hurley & Silver City again. Near the town of Buckhorn we saw newborn Brahma calves. Crossed Continental Divide again at 6230 feet in the San Francisco Mountains, and a little later went thru Salig Pass at 6436 feet. Took nice photos of the mountains at a rest stop scenic overlook. As we had come up from the valley, we began to see evergreen trees with spotted orange bark, first small ones and then saw-log size at higher altitudes. Some areas were burned over by recent forest fires. At Glenwood, near the Arizona border, there were patches of snow among the trees and at Luna Lake, where we stopped for lunch, there were patches of ice in the center and people fishing in open water from the shore.

Entered Arizona at 8100 feet and was antelope grazing. Soon we joined US-191 to I-40 and turned back east across the state line to Gallup, New Mexico, where we gassed up and saw a small flock of sheep, then turned north again on US-666. This area is mostly barren alkali flats in both states, but the setting sun makes beautiful vistas as we approach Shiprock and turn east on US-64 to Farmington. Parked for the night at Mom & Pop’s RV Campground on the east edge of town.

Wednesday, March 6, the morning the temperature is 21 and a high of 63 expected. Dennis RYAN, the park owner, was a year older than us and with his red hair and thick glasses reminded me of Phoebe’s father on Friends TV program. He was originally from Ohio and had one year of college in Cleveland when the Korean War started on June 25, 1950. He beat the draft by enlisting in the Air Force. After basic training he served at what is now Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. They worked on secret rocket stuff and were not allowed overseas until the fighting stopped, for fear the enemy might capture and torture secrets out of them. He stayed in the service for 30 years, retiring in 1980, having served in Okinawa, Thailand, Germany two hitches and Viet Nam two hitches. His son and daughter graduated from high school in Germany. He and his family saw every little back road in Germany on weekends.

After retirement, he and his wife traveled in an RV full time for five years, then bought this small park – 35 sites – from the city. They have lived in three different manufactured homes on the same site and built his office/workshop from salvaged materials. Outdoors he has built an extensive G-gauge railroad with houses, stores, depots, sawmills, mines, mountains, etc. The unpainted wood buildings of the frontier town were unharmed b the annual 15 inch rainfall and 2 inches of snow. The sun is more harmful, especially to the plastic Victorian buildings & his hand-carved Styrofoam mountains, painted twice a year.

His greatest talent is creating lead alloy figures of soldiers, cowboys, Indians, stage actors, animals, birds, etc. First he carves the model in wood, then makes a flexible plastic mold, pours the alloy, peels off the mold halves, pours a new batch and paints the figures. Executives from large manufacturing companies have come camping, seen his process and adapted it to industry. The models are 2 inches to 12 inches in size, very exact, detailed & historically authentic. Some are parts of scenes, events, historic battles, and he has thousands on display for sale. Also inside is another railroad.

Heading back west toward Shiprock, we stop to take photos of this red rock towering above the desert, then on to Four Corners Monument, where New Mexico, Arizona, Utah and Colorado come together, the only such place in the United States. Stopped first at Teec Nos Pos Trading Post, where they sell everything from hay to barbecue sauce and buy wool, mohair, and handicrafts from the Native Americans. We dealt with a young Navaho woman for crafts and a young man who showed us the rugs, some worth thousands of dollars. Then the Caucasian owner guessed our profession and talked to us about the wool market and sheep industry. He also thought I might be a retired doctor or college professor and probably hoped for big sale of an expensive rug.

Then on to the Four Corners Monument, which is in the middle of nowhere, but because it is in the Navaho Reservation, they have set up permanent outdoor vendors’ booths to sell their crafts and foods.

Bought turquoise & silver bolo tie, silver sheep pin, turquoise & coral cross, and black clay & wool Suffolk sheep. The woman Ann visited with most makes turquoise & silver crafts and her late mother made rugs. She guesses that I am of Mennonite descent and says when she goes on vacation, she likes to visit Lancaster County, PA, to see and buy their crafts!

Near the town of Shiprock there was irrigated hay for sale in big square bales. Hay is bright green color here, because it seldom gets rained on while curing. There are hogans everywhere in the reservation. Some are lived in and others just used for religious ceremonies, but most every backyard has one. A lot of the land in northeast Arizona is canyons & mesas of red rock and red dirt in various shades from bright red to light brown. The large flat areas are mostly fenced, but some cattle, sheep, goats & horses are outside the fences, so there are cattle guards built into every driveway and some of the highways.

Our next stop on the Arizona side was at Canyon de Chelly – pronounced Canyon de Shay – National Monument. This is located in the Navaho Reservation and although the park headquarters and tour facilities are operated by the Parks Service, the inhabitants are Native Americans. In some ways it is more spectacular than Grand Canyon, because it is living history. They live and farm in the rich silt of the canyon bottom and some have homes up on the rim, which is barren except for a few scrub bushes.

A model Hogan at the park museum shows how they are built and used. We visited the museum, saw a video, bought books, then took a self-guided tour on the south rim road, with frequent turn-outs to overlook the canyon. There are cliff & cave dwellings from long ago, as well as farm homes of fifty families who still inhabit the canyon & rim. Eroded red rock is the best description of the sides, although the stream in the bottom is small now after several dry years.

San Juan & Animas Rivers in Farmington did have water and an old four-arch iron bridge spanned the San Juan. The nearby town of Klagetoh had a Mennonite Church, although we didn’t see any people, but the woman at Four Corners said they do come to visit. Both cultures are making it in the American world by making things to sell to the “English”, while struggling to maintain their culture and bemoaning the inablility to teach religious values in public schools, according to their video at the museum.

Signage on Highway 191 coming back south to Lyman Lake State Park was good. Overall road signage in these two western states is inadequate. First of all, roads are almost never on the mile section lines like they are in the Northwest Territory of the upper Midwest. For a while we thought they were not even surveyed that way, but early maps in the Deming museum show that they are, it’s just not adhered to in road building. Secondly, the roads are often not marked before a turn, or the sign is on the left side of the road when you need to turn right. Then you may look down the road as you pass by the corner and will see the sign for the road you wanted. But if you do turn the corner because you think it is the right road, there will not be a sign for miles to reassure you it is the road you wanted.

We arrived at Lyman Lake long after dark on this cool March night, so we self-registered and found a nice paved campsite with electric & water and a roofed picnic table, as most are out there. Apparently the roof is for shade from the sun, not for infrequent rains.

Thursday, March 7, we arose to 35 degrees and sunshine. The lovely park ranger returned $4.00, because we had left too much. This park surrounds a man-made lake, which would ordinarily be quite beautiful for fishing, boating and other water sports. But after four years of drought, the lake is way down and weedy, the Angus-cross cattle are grazing on the inner face of the earthen dam. Just beyond the dam, in another fenced-in area, bison are sleepily pasturing. We left this pleasant park and drove on US-191 & 180 back to Deming, finally seeing a real live road-runner near town.

Friday, March 8, 48 degrees and sunny, but 39MPH winds and dusty. Drove to Rock Hound Roundup at Southwest New Mexico State Fairgrounds just southeast of Deming. Bought charolite & silver bolo tie and a necklace pendant of same materials. Charolite is a mottled-purple stone that is very attractive when polished. Looked at lots & lots of rocks and visited with some of the exhibitors, especially those from places in Michigan like Battle Creek and Scots. Back to town for our usual Wednesday trip to Pizza Hut buffet, although today happens to be Friday. Walked campground, watched cable TV in evening, high was 69.

Sunday, March 10, 39 degrees and sunny. Drove to Presbyterian Church, an old white clapboard building, “Established October 23, 1898, serving also Disciples, Moravians, United Church of Christ & others”. A woman at church had moved to Deming from Romeo, MI, twenty years ago and ran the Deming RV Repair with her husband. When he died, she moved back to Michigan to be near family, but is here today to visit. She had been organist here, and today she read scripture. After getting groceries, we found this another good day to sit in the 73 degree sun and read. An indication of the dryness here is humidity report of 2% low & 19% high, compared to 50% in winter and nearly 100% in summer sometimes in Michigan. There are brush fires near Ruidoso, NM. TV News says another body was found in the World Trade Center wreckage overnight; two more firemen were found two days ago………

Tuesday, March 12, back down to 38 degrees and still sunny. Vacuumed floor in motor home and Ann practiced on her keyboard. Then we walked to K-Mart and around the campground. Park manager, Ollie, watered the trees yesterday, using underground sprinklers, plus hoses, plus dirt dikes around each tree that hold the water. Today we read in the sun, then in the shade, and finally in air-conditioning, due to temperature reaching 80 degrees. Like most days here, people changed clothes three times, from winter coats to windbreakers or sweatshirts, and finally to shirtsleeves or T-shirts. Toward evening you start the process in reverse.

Wednesday, March 13, 43 degrees and sunny, expected 79 high and actually reached 84 degrees. Drove downtown to take Deming Historic Landmark Walking Tour, starting with visitor center for maps and then the Deming Luna Mimbres Museum. Luna & Mimbres are Indian Tribes. The main building is a 1917 Armory which, along with several tasteful additions, has been turned into an amazing museum. There are artifacts from Native Americans, Mexican Americans, American cowboys, miners and farmers.

Paintings, pottery, antique cars, chuck-wagons, fire engines, old stores & shops, everything used in the home. There are rocks, including mineral formations from New Mexico, Arizona, Canada, Australia, Russia, Germany and all other parts of the world, including Michigan’s Petoskey stones. Numerous old maps on display showed geological formations, elevations, and governmental divisions.

I have been under a wrong impression. The State of New Mexico is in fact surveyed into Congressional Townships with Sections numbered 1 thru 36, just like Michigan. They are not, however, governed as individual townships, but rather are bunched together into quite large units for country government. They almost never have roads on the section lines, but all are on old trails.

We toured and photographed the 1910 Luna County Court House. It has an architecturally matched annex and a later-added three-story connector with steel beams & plank catwalks like Trappers’ Alley in Detroit. The old building has the usual four statutory offices, Clerk, Treasurer, Register of Deeds, and Judge of Probate, on the middle floor and Circuit Court with satellite offices on the third floor. There is an ancient judge’s bench and speaker’s podium………

Friday, March 15, low 37 degrees, sunny, expect 76 and less wind. Revisited Deming Museum for more photos inside & outside. Learned that the intricacies of high altitude bombing with the Norden Bombsight were taught at Camp Cody’s Deming Army Air Force Bombardier School in World War II. During the Civil War, Confederate forces pushed Union troops back from the Rio Grande to Tucson, AZ. In the return offensive, Fort CUMMINGS at Cooke’s Spring was where the Union troops dug in and held their ground.Sunday morning, March 17, 36 degrees and exactly one month from the day we left Michigan, we started home. Up at 4:30 with the electric meter read and everything packed, we head out on I-10, US-70, US-54, I-40, thru Las Cruces, Organ, San Agustin Pass, Alamogorda, Tularosa, Three Rivers, Carrizozo, and Santa Rosa to Tucumcari, NM. Saw a coyote eating road-kill on the centerline of the highway.

Tuesday, March 19, up at 5:00, 37 degrees, ate breakfast and got away from Tucumcari on I-40 across Texas & Oklahoma to KOA just beyond Tulsa. It was misty all day. We have come from dust in the throat to dampness in the air in one day’s drive. The first rain came at Tucumcari 30 days after we were there last and we saw no rain between. Saw irrigated wheat in Texas, nice wheat with cattle grazing in Oklahoma, plus huge cattle feedlots and Gleaner combines. Went from 4000 foot elevation where we entered Texas, to 1400 feet near Clinton, OK, where we got Historic Route 66 patches………

Thursday, March 21, with a low of 30 degrees and a high predicted in the 30s, these days are more stable, like Michigan weather. We got on I-44 again, then I-270 northwest around St. Louis to I-70. At Indianapolis we took I-465 around the southeast to I-69 and straight to Auburn, IN, driving thru snow flurries. Camped early, drained the holding tanks and pumped in non-toxic antifreeze, because it’s going down to 10-13 degrees tonight and 32 a high for tomorrow.

Friday, March 22, awakened to 16 degrees and snow flurries. Gas in Auburn (IN) and onto I-69 to Charlotte, MI, and M-50 to home by 9:30AM, 5020 miles round trip. END


Last update November 10, 2013