Sebewa Recollector
Items of Genealogical Interest

Volume 38 Number 5
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,Michigan);
APRIL 2003, Volume 38, Number 5. Submitted with written permission of Editor, Grayden D. SLOWINS:

Front page photo of:
Fred ARNOLD family in front of home 1918-1921 – Esther COE ARNOLD (mother) ? Anna MAJINSKA ARNOLD (second wife), Adelene ARNOLD & Lenna ARNOLD (daughters), Fred ARNOLD (owner), Helen DINEHART SLOWINSKI & Richard SLOWINSKI (nephew)

SURNAMES: Brown, Sayer, Petrie, Boocher, Fry, Fees, Petrie, Cook, Hoffman, Taylor, Warner, Olsen, Alwen, Slater, Duits, Pike, Mulholland, Halladay, Wilson, Smith, Conkrite


WENDALL B. BROWN, 78, husband of Jean BROWN, father of Steven & Daniel BROWN and Gail McFANIN, brother of Walter, Wayne & Weldon Brown and Betty DUFFEY, son of Minnie SAYER & Burton BROWN, and descended from the very earliest settlers of Sebewa Township on MUSGROVE Highway. A lifelong Danby Township farmer, Wendell is buried in Danby Cemetery.

MARGARET E. PETRIE, 74, widow of Maynard L. PETRIE, mother of John, David & Carl PETRIE, Mary HOOVER and the late Kathryn PETRIE, sister of Carmen STAMBAUGH, daughter of Mary E. BOOCHER & Ora E. FRY. They lived in North Manchester, IN, where her funeral was held in the Old German Baptist Church and burial in the Old German Baptist Cemetery. Maynard was the son of Mierl Evelyn FEES & Carl PETRIE, and was born and raised in Sebewa Township on PETRIE Road.

GRACE LAVON COOK, 85, widow of Gaylord COOK, mother of Keith & Kendall COOK, Lavon BLIESENER, and Lola DAKIN, sister of the late Hubert TAYLOR, daughter of Mary Olive HOFFMAN & Harry TAYLOR. She was buried in Lake Odessa Lakeside Cemetery. Gaylord COOK was the son of Gladys SHETTERLY & Clifton COOK, and was born and raised in Sebewa Township on TUPPER Lake Road.

Britta (Sharry) WARNER SAYER, 80, widow of Stanley SAYER, step-mother of Naomi SHELTON, daughter of Signe Matilda OLSEN & John Edward ALWEN. She was born in Sweden, raised goats with Stanley at Lyons (Collins), MI, and is buried in East Sebewa Cemetery.

The Forrest & Esther SLATER family recently had a five-generation photo taken. They are the great-great grandparents. Marian & Wayne DUITS are the great grandparents. Anita & Richard DUITS are the grandparents and Rachel DUITS & Jeremy PIKE are the parents. Four-week-old Adrianne Amber DUITS-PIKE was the guest of honor.

SLATERS are descended from Peter & Clara MULHOLLAND SLATER, who homesteaded a wilderness farm, later known as the John F. BRAKE farm and now Dale ZOOK farm, on THOMPSON Road in Campbell Township in 1872. Peter had emigrated from Holstein, Germany with his mother in 1854 at age 13. In 1867 he married Clara and they had eight children, of which five grew up: Minnie BURLEIGH, Nora HOOPER, Garfield, Edgar & Berton SLATER. Garfield’s children were Esta STUART KOLE, Marian HOWLETTE, Elwin SLATER and Ivan Kenneth SLATER, who married Olive HEINTZELMAN of Sebewa and had Lewis SLATER. Edgar’s children were Merton & Glenn. Berton’s children were: Mabel McCAUL, Phebe GEIGER, Mary McCAUL and Carl, Roy, Keith, Forrest, and Richard SLATER.


Catherine (died 1890) and Henry (1819-1881) HALLADAY homesteaded at the southeast corner of TUPPER Lake Road and KEEFER Hwy, diagonally across from the HALLADAY School. This farm was later owned by the Burr DUFFEY family and now by Walter & Maxine DUFFEY BROWN. HALLADAYS farmed and ran a hotel in their home. They also owned 80 acres on the northeast corner, where their daughter Helen HALLADAY (1859-1919) and her husband Elmer BLANCHARD (1851-1903) lived. Those buildings are gone now. Their son was Guy BLANCHARD, whose Eighth Grade Diploma appears in this issue. Note the signatures of the teacher, district board, and county school commissioner. A. Bruce GIBBS was the father of our long-time member, Byron GIBBS. Jane COOK acquired the original of this diploma at an auction sale recently and will give it to any family member who reads this and claims it.

DIPLOMA. This is to Certify, that Guy BLANCHARD, of District No. 6, in the Township of Sebewa, County of Ionia, has completed the following Studies in the Common Branches required by Law to be taught in the Public Schools of the State, vis: Orthography 80, Reading 90, Writing 70, Arithmetic 85, English Grammar 60, Geography 80, Physiology 91, United States History 60, Civil Government 72. Witness our Signatures: Given at Ionia, in the County of Ionia, State of Michigan, this Fourth day of June, A. D. 1899. (Signed) Clayton PETRIE, (Fillious?) WHITE, John H. SAYER, DISTRICT BOARD. A. Bruce GIBBS, TEACHER. Levi A. BURHAMS, COMMISSIONER OF SCHOOLS.

EARLY MotorHome UPDATE: The first motor home, shown in our FEBRUARY issue, was built by Horace SNOBBLE of Ionia. Richard SLOWINSKI probably helped build it, since they both worked at ARNOLD’S Machine Shop and were related to the ARNOLDS. Persons identified in the photo are: Horace SNOBBLE – left rear, Arthur DENTON – next rear, Agnes SNOBBLE VANDECAR, Cora VANDECAR DENTON & Jane SNOBBLE BLOOD – in front of window George VANDECAR – in front of Jane, Nellie PIERCE SNOBBLE – in front of driver, and Cova SNOBBLE – in front of Nellie. Not all fifteen of these people rode to Florida in this vehicle! Please note the names SCHNABEL & SNOBBLE are interchangeable in this family.

WILSON FAMILY UPDATE: A recent inquiry about the Frank WILSON lot & grave in East Sebewa Cemetery brought this information: Frank WILSON was one of seven siblings. They were: Francis (Frank), Theodore (Ted) & Arthur (Art), plus four sisters. Frank also had seven children: Olive – who married Lewis ROWE, Sr., Genevieve KIRNEY of Middletown NY, Bernice – possibly in Oregon, Alfred (Fred) – father of Charles, Marge, John; Howard – in Oregon, Edmund – a Lawyer in Bessemer AL & Charles Wilson, Sr. The location of Frank’s wife’s death & burial is unknown.

Arthur WILSON was father of Christina – who married Albert EVANS and had Herb EVANS & Mildred BROWN, and Victor WILSON, Sr., father of Joyce LUSCHER, Rose AINSWORTH, Carol CASSEL, and Keith WILSON, who was father of Tom, Victor, Jr., Elma & Mary Anne WILSON, Janet KUDIRKA, Jane MAZEI, and Anita BARCROFT.

We remember Ted WILSON retired in Portland, but don’t know if he had descendants.

WILLIAM ALLEN SMITH FAMILY UPDATE: As a follow-up to the Burton SMITH obituary we printed in October 2001, we received this information:

The William Allen Smith family lived on the old William T. GOODRICH farm across from our home on MUSGROVE Hwy. William A. SMITH & Louise SINDLINGER SMITH are buried in East Sebewa Cemetery, along with son Glenn, just inside the west gate, fourth row over to the left. Louise was a sister to Fred, Willard, Minnie & Lydia SINDLINGER. Other SMITH children were Clyde, Clifton, Burton & Violet.

We received separate phone-calls from Mary Lou GRABOSKI and Fred SMITH, ages 70 and 73, children of Clifton SMITH. Their family first lived in the little house west of William’s, which Clifton built of used lumber from Sunfield when he was first married and before the big house burned. William rented extra land around the neighborhood and Clifton worked it with him. Then they lived in the tenant house on the Glenn OLRY farm, which is now our farm, from 1934 to 1940 and the kids attended Sebewa Center School. The family went to South America for a year as missionaries – they were Seventh Day Adventists – and upon return lived in the George PETRIE, Sr. house for a year and the kids attended school in Sunfield. Then the family moved to Berrien Springs, where Clifton built a house and worked for the Adventist college.

Burton SMITH graduated from Sunfield High School and farmed all his life near Clarksville. He also worked for SMITH-GROEN Lumber Co. in Grand Rapids, manufacturing windows. His children were Selma WILLIAMSON and Burton M. (Jack) SMITH. He is buried at Clarksville.

Melvin LeRoy FENDER & Jennie CASSEL FENDER lived in our tenant house prior to 1934 and one or both of their boys, Glenn & Richard, were born there, with the help of Fern CONKRITE. Garland & Grace BAILIFF and family moved into that house in 1940, when the SMITH family left, and lived there until 1957, when we purchased the farm and ended the life of that house. For all its dilapidated condition, it was unique because it had ships-timber mortise-and-tenon framing line the older barns.


Hannah M. SCHNABEL, born in New York State, 1855, died in Ionia, 1918, daughter of Mary CANTANT & Michael SCHNABEL, was married to Fred E. ARNOLD, born in Ionia, 1855, died in Ionia, 1936, son of Esther COE & George Wesley ARNOLD. G.W. ARNOLD had come to Ionia in 1833 with the DEXTER Colony at the age of 1 year. He was the son of Oliver ARNOLD, whose mother, Hannah, was a sister of Samuel DEXTER, and whose father was Job ARNOLD, a Revolutionary War soldier from Smithfield, Rhode Island. Oliver ARNOLD, born in 1793, left Herkimer County, New York, on April 26, 1833, with his second wife, Susan, age 38, along with their nine children (6 boys & 3 girls – all under age 21). They traveled 200 miles on the Erie Canal on Mr. DEXTER’S horse-drawn canal boat, Walk-in-the-Water, with “Michigan Caravan” chalked on the side, from Frankfort to Buffalo, New York. Then the group of 63 people took the steamer, Superior, to Detroit, and from there came by ox-wagon to Ionia, arriving May 28, 1833.

While the others settled on lands north of the Grand River, Oliver ARNOLD and his family settled on 88 acres south of the river, along what is called ARNOLD Creek. He built a log cabin about ten rods east of the present factory site. On February 11, 1834, his wife passed away, which was the first white adult death in Ionia County.

The First Methodist Church was founded in his home that year, and his three older children – Silas, Anthilda, and Anthy Philena – were the sole members for the first two years. The first wedding in Ionia County was that of Anthy P. ARNOLD to Dr. W. B. LINCOLN, the colony physician, on July 5, 1835, performed by Judge Samuel DEXTER. The LINCOLNS established their 80 acre farm & home on the northwest corner of LINCOLN Avenue and Jefferson Street, when that young fellow, Abe LINCOLN, was still splitting rails!

Oliver ARNOLD was a blacksmith by trade, and founded in 1833 the ARNOLD Machine Company, the oldest continuously operated industry in Ionia County and said to be one of the three oldest in Michigan. Oliver’s sister Phoebe ARNOLD & husband Erastus YEOMANS established the oldest continuously operated family farm in Ionia County that same year.

Oliver utilized the water power of the creek first for his bellows and grind-stone, and specialized in making and sharpening axes, knives, scythes, and other hand-held farm tools, as well as simple plows. His youngest son, George Wesley ARNOLD, worked with his father and upon his father’s death in 1859, took over the business at age 27. G. W. ARNOLD added a foundry, machine shop, and wood-working of all kinds, as well as dinner, school & church bells. In 1876 he platted South Ionia, which had been known locally as ARNOLDTOWN.

His only son, Fred E. ARNOLD, joined him in the business known as G. W. ARNOLD & Son. Upon the father’s death in 1888, Fred took over the business at age 33, and by slight alteration of the foundry molds, it became G. W. ARNOLD’S Son. He made knives, axes, plows, land rollers, cultivators, sledge hammers, wagon gear, bob-sleds, bells and double-folding collapsible step-ladders. The left-over molten iron from casting was cast into frog door-stops. Much of their work involved repair of steam engines.

Most of the machinery was run by an eight-horsepower, vertical – shaft turbine under the factory floor, which was fed by a 60 ft. head of water from Arnold Creek at the top of the hill. In 1925 the planned upgrade of M-14 to M-66 required diversion of the creek to underground storm sewers. Fred ARNOLD was paid $5,000 by the State for this interference with his source of power, and for about two years, until the availability of three-phase electricity, the plant was run with a seven-horsepower ARNOLD Gasoline Engine. One suspects Fred was willing to take $5,000 for doing something he planned to do eventually anyway, because the water could have been piped thru conduit to his plant.

Starting in 1901, the ARNOLD Gasoline Engine had been developed and produced in sizes from 3 to 18 horsepower. An automobile was also developed under the financing of Ionia capitalist George WEBBER, and although it performed as well as any in its day, only one prototype car was built. The firm became a dealer for MAXWELL Automobiles and had as many as 33 employees on its payroll. A recently discovered photo in the estate of Ariel MORRIS shows a 1920 Motor Home which was apparently built by the ARNOLDS as well.

After Hannah’s death, Fred married Anna MAJINSKA, born in Odessa Township, 1871, died in Ionia, 1953, daughter of Annette KUBISH & George MAJINSKA. Both wives were called Annie ARNOLD. In 1922 Fred ARNOLD took in with him Richard SLOWINSKI, born in Berlin Township, 1902, died in Ionia, 1989, son of Emma MAJINSKA & Thomas SLOWINSKI. Richard was a cousin to Hannah ARNOLD thru his father and a nephew to Anna ARNOLD thru his mother. He leased the place in 1929, and after Fred’s death in 1936, he purchased it from his aunt in 1940. He got into tool & die work along with the machine shop, and received a commendation for aiding the war effort in World War II. The foundry, blacksmith shop, and wood shop were phased out over the years, rented to Howard TOWNSEND’S Body Shop and Elwin BROWN’S Cycle Shop, and torn down about 1960.

In 1962 the present two concrete-block buildings were built over the floor of the original blacksmith shop, and the old frame machine shop was torn down also. Richard sold the ARNOLD Machine Shop to Gary BUSSELL in 1975, who operated it until his untimely death 2 years later. After being used by Jack SKOOG of American Anodco for several years, the ARNOLD Machine Company was sold to the present owner, Welland SPRAGUE of Portland Products, in 1982. The proud history continues in the production of welded automotive assemblies.

Anna ARNOLD is buried with her parents in Mt. Olivet Cemetery. Hannah and Fred ARNOLD are buried on the family plot in BALCOM Cemetery, along with their daughters, Lenna, born 1882, died 1949, and Adelene, born 1887, died 1921. Neither ever married. There is an anvil on the ARNOLD Family stone!


Eustis, FL, December 16, 2001 – Dear Friends, For many it has been a while since I contacted you. Most of you know that Lynn died on December 9, 2000. We are glad that he did not suffer, but I miss him and have had the year to remember all the good things that we did and our life together.

After the funeral Sharron and I flew to Florida and I had a relatively uneventful winter in my own home until March 31, when I had a stroke. It affected my right side and for a few days I had problems with speech, walking and thinking. On April 19, Sharron and I flew to Grand Rapids, where Alaina met us and took me to her home in Onekama.

Jim & Alaina took good care of me. I had my bedroom, bathroom, and a living-room that I could call my own, and was well fed. Still, it is not like living in your own home, where I wanted to be. The girls knew that I could not fix my meals and take care of myself and that Ionia was too far away from any of them. I knew that is true, but hard to accept. Anyway, we had the best summer under the circumstances. Alaina and I read quite a few books together to help pass the time. Other than that, I listened to the radio and many books on tape. Other than that, I listened to the radio and many books on tape. My sight is so bad now, I had little interest in traveling around the beautiful Onekama area.

On November 25, Sharron and I once again flew to Florida. I am in my home at 2933 Lake Louise Drive in Eustis. I have a young woman from Michigan who comes in for about 6 hours a day to take care of breakfast and a late lunch, baths and other necessities. Sharron or Alaina checks on me each evening. In January, Ardelis and Frank will arrive for the month. I am not complaining, but with Lynn gone, my eyesight pretty much gone, and my freedom to be independent gone, I also would like to be gone. I have lived a good like and have no pain or regrets, other than that I would have liked to have painted more and read more over the years. I am thankful for all the friends that still keep in contact and are concerned about me.

To you Grayden, I am sorry to hear about your troubles in 2001. Hope that things will be better for 2002. We do appreciate still receiving your RECOLLECTOR and keeping in touch. You have always been so nice to all of us. ARIEL


Before electric and gas refrigerators there were oak iceboxes. The home version usually held a fifty-pound cake or ice. The home-maker would set a card in the window with one of the numbers 10-20-25-50 facing up and out, to tell the iceman how much was needed. Drippings were caught in a pan under the icebox or drained thru a hole in the floor.

West Michigan has lots of lakes and ice was harvested for sale in cities and towns as far away as Chicago. REEDS Lake in East Grand Rapids had two ice houses owned by Consumers Ice Company, right where the middle school is now. Owners of Consumers Ice Company included bankers, furniture executives, and the president of Booth Newspapers.

To harvest the ice, it was scored with special horse-drawn drags with serrated blades, moving in a grid pattern. Usually they went over it 2 or 3 times to cut about two-thirds of the say thru. Then men with cross-cut ice saws would complete the cut into chunks approximately two foot by four foot by the depth of the ice and weighing 150-200 pounds. Others would move the blocks along the edge of the open water channel with hooked poles.

At the ice house the blocks were slid up underwater plank ramps and onto a steam-powered conveyor/elevator or loaded onto horse-drawn sleighs for immediate delivery. REEDS Lake even had railroad spurs to load for Chicago. Inside the ice house the blocks were stacked with layers of sawdust around and between them to hold the cold and keep them from sticking.

In 1917 just before World War I, Consumers built an artificial ice production plant on Market Street in Grand Rapids. Horse & wagon were replaced by trucks for delivery. Commercial ice-making almost ceased and then took off again with the advent of bagged ice for sale at convenience stores and resorts, as well as home ice machines on the modern refrigerators.

In Lake Odessa, the ice house was down by Jordan Lake and horses were used for the power. In Portland, Will POSSEHN was the iceman. He and his family lived on the old G. M. BENEDICT farm across from the municipal dam on Lyons Road. Some of his land was between the road and the river, and the ice house stood on the edge of the dam pond.

Bill BLOUGH of the Freeport sawmill family worked for Will POSSEHN and for later owners. According to Will’s oldest daughter, Hulda SUTTON, POSSEHN sold out to Loyal McINTYRE about 1927, got it back, and sold again to a man named ALLEN. In 1929 the POSSEHN family moved to a larger farm on M-66 in Orange Township.

The river ice was of course made from the same water that came out of the combined sewer systems of the villages of Portland, Grand Ledge, Eaton Rapids & Onondaga, and the cities of Lansing & Jackson. Perhaps it was okay for cooling, but don’t put a chunk in your beverage! So manufactured ice was a definite improvement health-wise. Portland/s came from Lansing, I believe. These blocks were scored, so the iceman could mor easily cut them with an ice pick.

I believe the price in the Great Depression was about 1 cent per pound – so 25 cents for 25# - 50 cents for 50# etc., where it had been $1.50 or $2.00 delivered to the farm before WWI. Mother bought groceries for a family of four for $3.00 a week and tried to lay aside 10 cents a week toward Christmas presents. So there wasn’t much money for ice in the Depression. The John & Glenn OLRY farm, where we have lived since 1957, had its own ice house. We don’t know where the ice was cut, but it was stored here on the farm for summer use. A ring of foundation stones in the ground is all that remains. END


Last update November 10, 2013