THE SEBEWA RECOLLECTOR Bulletin of the Sebewa Center
(Sebewa Township, Ionia County, Michigan);
AUGUST 2003, Volume 39, Number 1. Submitted with written permission of Editor,
Grayden D. SLOWINS:
SURNAMES: DOTY, CROSS, BRIGHTON, MUMAW, HANSBARGER, SHUPP, COOK, AUGST, DRAGHI,
WINSLEY, ROCKEFELLOW, HOLLAND, SHETTERLY, GIERMAN, LILLIE, JARCHOW, MEYERS,
KLAGER, OATLEY, RALSTON, DOWNING
DOUGLAS DOTY, 67, husband of Marian DOTY, father of daughters Dody & Sharon and
son Bill, brother of Maureen CROSS, Shirley GRIGHTON and Bruce DOTY, son of
Merle & Dorothy MUMAW Doty. He once ran the North Inn restaurant in Lake Odessa,
which has been in the family since his grandmother Ada (Becky) MUMAW HANSBARGER
ROSE M. COOK AUGST DRAGHI, 86, widow of Gerald AUSGST & Nathan DRAGHI, mother of
Geraldine WINSLEY, Ernest & Vaughn AUGST and Bonnie ROCKEFELLOW, sister of the
late Ilene HOLLAND, Gaylord, George and Merlin COOK, daughter of Gladys
SHETTERLY & Clifton COOK, son of Emily & Charles P. COOK, son of Ursula & Pierce
G. COOK, who settled in Sebewa Township on MUSGROVE Hwy. in the Spring of 1853.
PAULINE E. GIERMAN LILLIE, 88, widow of Robert C. LILLIE, sister of Maurice
GIERMAN and the late Charles & Robert Wilfred GIERMAN and Christine JARCHOW,
daughter of Nellie E. MEYERS & Robert E. GIERMAN, son of Christina KLAGER &
Charles GIERMAN, son of Frederick (Fritz) GIERMAN, who settled in Sebewa
Township on BIPPLEY Road about 1875.
FARMERS’ MUTUAL FIRE INSURANCE COMPANY, of Ionia County, Annual List of Members,
1874, is especially interesting because Charles RALSTON of Sebewa Township was
later the long-time Secretary/Manager, followed by Homer DOWNING, also of Sebewa,
who was in charge when they merged with another company, possibly Hastings
Mutual Insurance Company.
OATLEY FAMILY UPDATE: The following letter is a reply to two recent inquiries
about the OATLEY families of Sebewa Township, Ionia County & GRESHAM, Chester
Township, Eaton County:
To: Sandra McCARRICK – I suspect you are right about Chester & Mary OATLEY in
our West Sebewa Cemetery. It never occurred to me that the Mary OATLEY buried
with Chester II would be his father Simeon’s second wife.
Yes, Sandra SLOWINS MILLER is my sister. She & her husband Jim are retired at
HARDY Dam, near White Cloud, MI. My wife Ann’s Aunt Gerry SMITH LAKIN HATCH was
probably your relative also, and her daughter Sheila was in your class.
Wilbur GIERMAN, 11616 S. SHILTON Road, Portland, MI 48875, is the son of Mae
OATLEY GIERMAN, but he doesn’t have much information beyond what was printed in
April 1970 and February 1999. I do have the same 1880 census information from
the Internet that you have.
A man named Clark TINNEY…..Tucson, AZ, writes: “My grandmother, Emmaline WHEELER
FRAZEE’s death record of October 7, 1916, shows her father as M. or Mr. WHEELER
and her mother as Pheba OATLEY, who was born in Ohio. Emmaline was born either
1857 or 1859, supposedly at Eaton Rapids, MI. She was married to James FRAZEE,
July 1882, at Portland, and is buried in North Eagle Cemetery. He is trying to
find out more about her parents living in and around Ionia County. He is also
looking for Ionia County Poor Farm records listing people there around 1870.
This sounds like your branch of the OATLEY family and you are probably already
in contact with Clark TINNEY, but if not it’s worth a try. Wilbur GIERMAN seems
to think Simeon’s father may have been Edward, but he has no record of Pheba.
Perhaps she was Simeon’s brother John/s daughter. Hope this helps a little bit –
Sincerely, Grayden D. Slowins, Editor of THE SEBEWA RECOLLECTOR”
ANNUAL MEETING OF THE SEBEWA CENTER ASSOCIATION was last held on May 29, 2000.
At that time the membership voted to cease collecting dues and move toward
dissolving the organization. The school building was leased to Sebewa Township
at $1 per year for a period of five years, July 1, 2000, to June 30, 2005, for
continued use as voting precinct. This was done with the idea that the
Association treasury would be depleted by that time and the property could be
deeded over to the township. Sebewa Township has paid the liability & property
insurance, utilities, janitor and lawn care. But the Association is responsible
for repairs to the building, well, pump, furnace and premises. The well & pump
now need replacing. This will probably finish off the treasury balance, even
though some people have continued to make voluntary contributions. The church &
township will pay the rest of the well costs, because they will share in its
Since the Sebewa Center Association is in the process of dissolving over the
next year or two, we soon will no longer be able to accept monetary
contributions as a non-profit organization. This editor will probably continue a
newsletter in some form for family and friends after the organization ends, but
it will be done for free, so as not to involve Michigan tax laws.
OUR FIRST TRIP TO FLORIDA by Grayden Slowins:
Thursday, March 13, 2003 – 68 degrees in the morning & sunny. Along the roadside
we identified the flowers & leaves of Blue-Eyed grass. Resurrection fern grows
three to six inches tall on tree limbs and is spread by spores. Ann practiced
her organ music on the keyboard, while I walked over to visit with John from
Lake City, then we both walked.
Wednesday, March 19, 71 degrees & sunny, becoming partly cloudy………We visited
with Marie STEFFENS, owner of the park, at the ice cream social. She & her
husband, son & grandson & wives had a dairy farm at Rockford, IL. After his
stroke, she & the children sold the farm and bought this park, only about six
years old. Her husband died within the year. Son John, his wife Debbie, grandson
Matt, his wife & two little great-granddaughters are involved in the day-to-day
All thru the South we saw John Deere Lawn & Garden tractors being sold at
hardware stores, discount outlets, and various other chains or franchises.
Probably it is happening in the North too, and we have to wonder who will be
servicing these machines, when authorized dealers aren’t making the sale. Maybe
the company perceives a need to compete with Sears Crafsman and others that sell
for less, but what will service cost and where will it be available?
Marie Steffens stopped in today to visit and see the aerial photo of our farm on
our wall, similar to those on her walls……visited with a man from Middlebury, VT,
who retired from the Boston-Maine Railroad. Said Middlebury is a college town –
Middlebury College – an expensive private college – plus home of the late Robert
FROST and Bob NEWHART’S Bed & Breakfast……a couple from Rockford, MI. She grew up
in Ithaca, he in Ionia. Their name is Roberts, but claim no relation to any
Roberts currently in Ionia, Lake Odessa, Portland or Sebewa………
Sunday, March 23………visited with John Steffens, park owner, about his John Deere
720 tractor. He says they have a Gas & Steam Antique Tractor Show at Ft. Meade
the last week in February each year. He loaned us a video tape of it to watch
tonight. Allis-Chalmers was the featured make this year and McCormack will be
next year, but all kinds take part. A man in the park from Ontario has
Allis-Chalmers tractors and a farm license plate on his pickup….
Monday, March 24, 51 degrees at daylight. Breakfast TV had an interview with
Melissa RATHBUN COLEMAN of Texas, whose great-uncle Frank RATHBUN is in our East
Sebewa Cemetery. During the Gulf War I in 1991, she was the first woman, and one
of only two women, to be taken POW. The truck she was driving was disabled when
she was shot in the arm and driveshaft. The lead driver had wandered into enemy
territory and Melissa could not believe it when her interrogators told her she
was at fault. Released after 30 days, her medical attention had not been the
best, but otherwise she was not abused. Psychological effects lasted longer, but
she says now okay.
We battened the hatches, took in the electric cord & wheel pads, headed toward
Michigan. Drove northwest on Florida-100 to Lake City, then on I-75 north into
Georgia. With next year’s reservation in place and several people & places
already in mind to visit, we leave Florida with pleasant memories.
Tuesday, March 25, 54 degrees in morning……Saw yellow daffodils and red & yellow
tulips planted in rows on the highway roadside along with wildflowers. Also
red-violet blossoms on shrubs, not really fruit trees………Drove thru the mountains
in North Georgia & Tennessee, with rock outcrop ridges like fins, then began to
see some green hillside pastures with beef & dairy cattle & nice homesteads.
Thursday, March 27, woke (in Auburn, IN, KOA) to robins singing, 40 degrees,
nice flock of sheep north of town, home 2 hours, unloaded 60s, shirtsleeves……
Our Florida trip covered 1609 miles from Sebewa Township, MI, to Trilby, FL,
then 494 miles touring in FL, and 1273 miles home.