Sebewa Recollector
Items of Genealogical Interest

Volume 3 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 The Sebewa Center Association, Bulletin of The Sebewa Center Association, August 1967, Volume 3, Number 1:



     At our Annual Meeting in June, the membership elected two officers to fill vacancies.  Harlan Leifheit was reelected to a three-year term as vice president over George Petrie.  John York defeated Clarence Sayer for a three-year term as trustee. 


     The roof on the schoolhouse has been replaced and does not look like the cluttered mess as shown in the picture of the bell.  The floor joists that were broken by the load of tumbled bricks have been replaced by twelve 2” x 10” treated planks.  Poor ventilation under the floor of the building had weakened the joists in the southwest corner.  A new asphalt shingle roof now covers the utility section of the building and the chimney is back in place.  The chimney blocks did not break in the collapse from the tornado.  New chimney liners were needed.

      At the front of the building the most of the good bricks have been cleaned and stacked.  The younger girls of the neighborhood get the credit for a good share of this job.  The boys also helped and were of great help in removing the old brick chimney.  Help with the roofing jobs were important and appreciated.  Most of the weather is now shut out.  The front should be closed by fall. 


     Without much campaigning or soliciting, more than 100 people have paid dues to The Sebewa Center Association for the 1967-68 season.  Here are a number of new names we welcome to the membership.

Mrs. Alice Sayers, Mrs. Jessie Rathburn, Charles F. Gierman, Mr. and Mrs. Everett Heintzelman, Mr. and Mrs. Clyde Smith, Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Brandsen, Mr. and Mrs. John G. Thomas, Mr. & Mrs. Jim Harle (Marjorie Thuma), Mrs. Eleanor Verguson, Mr. and Mrs. Stewart Kussmaul.

     If you have not already paid the 1967-68 dues, please mail the nominal sum of $1 per person to our Secretary, Mrs. Lucille Meyers, R 1, Sunfield, Mi.  48890. 


     On Sunday, August 6 there will be an open house for Della Post at 408 Hill Street in Ionia, beginning at 1:30 PM.  Hill Street runs east of Jefferson north of Lincoln.  August 7 is her 90th birthday.  Della will welcome her Sebewa friends. 


     The only roadside signs calling attention to things inside Sebewa are those of churches.  On M66 at Musgrove Highway, the Sebewa Baptist Church sign has the weathered look of another generation.  Going north to M66 we find the West Sebewa Church of Christ sign that spent the winter in anything but a pious posture.  Although now straightened, it has no look of freshness.  In contrast we find at Old 16  and the Sunfield Road the neat and trim sign of the Portland Christian Reformed Church pointing south to the church location.  The Bible Missionary Church, now the owners and users of the former U. B. Camp Grounds, has a sign or two pointing east on Musgrove Highway.  There is no need to moralize on this data. 



 Bell on top of damaged roof before it was rolled down the roof to the ground by one of the culprits.

View of lower portion of school hit by tornado

     What the April 21st tornado started at the Sebewa Center Schoolhouse, thieves completed in a daring daylight heist at dusk on July 5.  The school bell that served the community for 80 years left its familiar location in the trunk of a light tan ’61 Chevrolet down the south Shelton Road with trunk lid flapping.

     Some two hours earlier three men in the car had cruised the neighborhood and were seen and its occupants identified as three mature men by several people.  They had come north on Shilton Road, west on Henderson and south on Kimmel and were lost to area viewers until they returned at 9:15 p.m. 


     The bell was returned about 1:30 a.m. Saturday.  It was dumped on the school lawn from a car which sped away in a hurry.  The bell was made by the Sound Manufacturing Co., Seneca Falls, New York.    

     At that time John York, who lives near the schoolhouse, saw the car return and make a slow run past the schoolhouse, saw a man roll from the car onto the grass and in best TV style make a crouched run for the pile of rubble that had been a cement block privf (?) before the tornado.  Soon another sneaky run got the man to the schoolhouse and to a ladder left in place for roof repairs.

     The man was seen on the roof and there was the sound of the bell.  The light tan Chevrolet (with a tint of redness) had gone north on Shilton Road, east on York Road and was returning to the school-house when the bell was untied from its mooring on the roof where it had been left for its safety, shoved down the incline of the roof and crashed to the ground, breaking the wheel that gave leverage for ringing.

      Another clang came from the bell as an attempt was made to carry the heavy bell to the car.  Apparently it was too heavy and the car was backed to the bell and the bell was lifted into the trunk.  The bell was 30 inches in diameter and too high for the trunk lid to close.  It was last seen in a cloud of dust going south.

     The outer surface of the bell had once been painted white.  The clapper was well worn by its eighty years of ringing and had once been turned 180 degrees to bring the wear to another point.

     Two years ago the Sebewa Center Association had been formed to preserve, protect and provide for community usage of the old schoolhouse.  Repairs were under way to restore the building from the severe damage of the April 21st tornado.  The belfry had been destroyed in the storm and the bell had been lifted by the tornado and set over on the roof about ten feet.  Leaving it tied there had seemed the best safety precaution.  The brazen act of dumping the bell to the ground had seemed possible only on a TV screen.  It was not so at Sebewa Center.

     Memories, a tape recording and a dozen pieces of the bell are what are left of the old sound that called the neighborhood pupils to school for as long as anybody can remember.  The State Police ask “What was it worth?”  Who can answer that question? 


     “Sebewa Township is in the southern tier of townships of Ionia county and is bounded on the north by Orange, on the east by Danby, on the south by Sunfield in Eaton county, and on the west by Odessa.  The soil of Sebewa is mostly clay loam, though in some parts, slightly sandy.  It is well adapted to wheat growing and is quite largely under cultivation.  Near the center of the town is a large swamp extending nearly the whole length of the town.  This swamp is covered with timber, though in the northern part is an open huckleberry marsh.  It lies high enough to be capable of being converted into good grassland through drainage.  The timber is mostly beech and maple, and sugar making is extensively carried on every spring, some farmers making as high as 4,000 pounds in one season.  Fruits of all kinds suited to this latitude are successfully raised.  In the eastern part of the township are many fine farms under cultivation.

     Thus the HISTORY AND DIRECTORY OF IONIA COUNTY for 1872, describes the township in which I lived from earliest childhood on the farm which my great grandfather, Jacob Showerman, took from the government in 1836, for $1.25 an acre.  He came from Batavia, Genesee County, New York, on a land hunting expedition, leaving his family behind him.  Arriving in Portland in the night, he was unable to get a meal, and he went on to Ionia the next day.  There he remained for a week, trying to get his bid into the land office.

     Having no money, he worked forenoons in that rapidly expanding town.  The land office was a busy place and it was not easy to get the attention of the agent.  At last, in desperation, Grandfather tied his land description to a long pole and passed it in over the heads in the line before him.  The man in charge took it, recorded it, and passed the papers back on the pole.

     Great grandfather Showerman went back to New York State go his family, and in 1839 brought them to Michigan to live.  When he took up his land in 1836, there was only one family in Sebewa, a man and his wife named Jones.  They came into the township sometime during 1836, carrying their worldly goods on their backs.  They found life in the wilderness hard, and soon moved on.  In 1838, came three families, the John F. Terrill’s, the Charles W. Ingalls’ and the John Brown’s.  Terrill located on Section 25 and the other two on Section 36, nearby.  All were Vermont Yankees, and went to work with a will.  Slowly the forest-wild gave way to their axes, as their homes grew in the wilderness.

     “Sebewa Creek”, says the History of Ionia County, “has sufficient power in Sebewa to drive three mills.”  John Terrill was the first to use this water-power, for in 1843 he built a saw-mill just west of where the village of Sebewa Corners now stands.  His son-in-law, Anson Halbert, who came to Sebewa in 1841, opened a mercantile store in his log house.  Strictly speaking he was Sebewa’s first merchant, but his effort was transitory and not well noted in the history of the times.

     To return to Great grandfather—when he joined the Sebewa settlement in 1839, accompanied by his family, and Eleazer Brown and family, he found that it was necessary to cut a road into section 22 before his home site was accessible.  So he and Brown lodged their families with John Terrill, and his son-in-law, John Hogle.  For four weeks the families of Terrill, Hogle, Showerman and Brown lived in the one-room Terrill cabin.  “There were twenty persons in the four families, and if those accustomed to plenty of space and modern conveniences can begin to imagine the weary time those twenty people had during the four weeks spent together, they will have some idea of what pioneering was like”.

     When his home was completed, Jacob Showerman moved onto his land, living there until his death in 1875.  In 1872 he was listed as the oldest living settler in the township.  Here he raised a family of six children, three of them preceding him in death.  His name, and those of his sons, Lucius and Orlando appear many times in the development of Sebewa Township’s history.

     Many interesting stories have been handed down in our family, about Great grandfather.  It was said he never wore shoes, going barefoot the year around and that he could run through the woods as silently as an Indian, and as swiftly as a deer.  In winter he when he husked corn in the field he first burrowed with his feet into a corn shock, making a comfortable nest for them, and sitting there for hours at a time, he worked quite comfortably.  Once when working in a field he was bitten by a rattlesnake.  Whipping out his knife, he immediately cut out the section where the snake’s fangs had left their mark, sucked out the wound and went home for bandages.

     Before his death, Jacob Showerman divided his 160 acres, giving half to his son Lucius, who was my grandfather.  At the time of Jacob’s death in 1875, the whole farm passed into Lucius’ hands.  His two sons, Frank and Hugh, inherited 80 acres each.  Frank was my father, and being an only child, I inherited 80 acres of the original 160.

     During the years that he lived in Sebewa, Jacob Showerman saw the township grow into a prosperous farming community.  Sebewa Township was organized on March 19, 1845, being previous to that time, a part of Berlin Township.  The first town meeting was held at the house of Jacob Showerman, at that time the first frame house in the township.  The first assessment roll bore eighteen names.  The names first proposed for the township were Charlestown, in honor of settler Charles  Ingalls, and Liberia; but when Rufus Goddard suggested Sebewa, after Sebewa Creek, and meaning “little river” in the Indian tongue, public fancy was suited, and the name adopted.

     The township grew, especially in the southeastern part and listed 251 names on the assessment roll in 1872.  Among the township officers of that year were Lucius Showerman, Supervisor and Orlando Showerman as School Inspector.  Leafing through the township records, I find that Jacob Showerman was Director of the Poor in 1845; Road Commissioner in 1846; and his name appears regularly, year after year as “an elector who voted” in all elections.

     From Schenck’s HISTORY OF IONIA AND MONTCALM COUNTIES (1881) is this description of Sebewa Corners.  “The village lies on both sides of the line between Sebewa and Danby townships, and takes in the platted village of Cornell in Danby.  Properly speaking, the name “Cornell” belongs now to the entire village, although it is of such recent bestowal (consequent upon the similar change of the post office name from Sebewa) that the average villager has not yet become sufficiently familiar with it to give it ready voice.

     The first attempt at establishing a trading-point at that locality was made in 1851 by a Mr. Hulse, who brought a few goods in a trunk and sold them from a block-house.

     After a little while he sold out to Aretas Howland.  There were a grist mill and a saw-mill in the vicinity when Hulse set up his store, and because they were there, he thought, of course, a store was likely to meet with some support.  These mills were on Sebewa Creek, just west of the town-line road.  The saw-mill (the first mill in the town) had been built by John Terrill and A. W. Halbert; the grist mill by Chauncey Lott and Jacob Green, in 1849 or thereabouts.

     In 1852 Elihu Halladay settled near the Corners, and in 1853 came John Friend, who bought Jacob Green’s log house, and after occupying it a year, built the house he now occupies (1881) and in one part thereof putting a stock of goods and became a trader.  From that time to 1879 he kept store at the Corners almost continuously.

     The first tavern at the Corners was opened in 1854 by William Barber, and stood next south of Friend’s house.  P. G. Cook succeeded Barer as landlord, and after him Hiram Trim took the helm.  The Corners rejoice at present in two general stores, a drug-store, two blacksmith-shops, a market, tavern, harness-shop, etc., and esteems itself a bustling little place.

     The post-office at the Corners is now called Cornell, although to the spring of 1880 it bore the name of Sebewa.  Cornell has since 1867 been the name of that portion of the village lying in Danby (the plat having been recorded in that year), and, in deference to request, the post-office name was changed to accord with the name of the only legalized portion of the village.

     Sebewa post-office was established about 1846 or 1847, and B. D. Weld appointed postmaster.  In 1853 the office was removed from the Weld neighborhood, in the southwest corner of the township, and transferred to the Showerman settlement, when L. E. Showerman received the appointment.  In 1857 the office was moved to the Corners, where it has since remained.  John Friend was the first postmaster at the Corners, and to him succeeded C. W. Kibbey and M. W. Wilson, the latter being the present incumbent.

     On Sebewa Creek, in Sebewa, there are a saw-mill and two grist-mills.  The Lott mill, at the Corners, is being carried on by E. Y. Lowe.  1 mile north, Andrew Weipert has the mill built by Malvin Rogers in 1872. 

In the northwest corner of the township the attraction for the early settler was less positive because of the marsh.  Nevertheless, ventures were made there about 1850.  By 1852 there were five or six families living in that section.  In 1852 there was a road on the line between Odessa and Sebewa known as the State Road, but it was a poor apology for a highway.

     Methodist missionaries were usually first in the field in the infant settlements of Ionia County and the earliest religious organizations were Methodist Episcopal Classes.  Sebewa was no exception.  As early as 1839, Rev. Mr. Mitchell came into the town and organized a Methodist Episcopal Class at John Terrill’s house.  John Compton, of Danby, assisted in the work, and was chosen leader.  Preaching was supplied once in two weeks at various places, but usually at the district schoolhouse.

     Since 1839, services have been regularly held, and at this time the Sebewa Methodist Episcopal Class has a strong membership and worships in a neat church edifice, which the Society built in 1876.  The leader is O. V. Showerman, and the Sunday-school Superintendent is Mr. McClelland.  The pastor is Rev. J. E. Hollister, in charge of the Danby-Sebewa circuit.

     The First Baptist Church of Sebewa was organized April 8, 1858, with eighteen members.  They were named Josiah C. Clark and wife, Samuel Freehouse, Carlos Pierce and wife, Stephen Rider and wife, Addison Rice and wife, John Jackson and wife, Cyril Carpenter and wife, Elkannah Carpenter and wife, Samuel Carpenter, Mary Betts, and Margaret Griffin.  The first pastor was Rev. Samuel B. Towne; and the present pastor is Rev. David Burgess.  Their house of worship was completed (on section 30) in 1871, and dedicated January 10, 1872, and cost of the structure being one thousand four hundred fifteen dollars.  The membership is now upwards of seventy, and church affairs generally are in a condition of encouraging prosperity.  There is also a flourishing Sunday-school, of which Z. Carter is the superintendent.  The deacons are J. H. Lapo and C. D. Yeager; the trustees, John Hammond, Elkanah Carpenter, and Reuben Lapo.

     The First Congregational Church of Sebewa was organized December 20, 1870, at Charles L. Halladay’s house, with four members as follows:  Charles L. Halladay, Amanda Halladay, Clarissa W. Lowe, and Nancy Halladay.  Two months later Mildred E. Halladay and Mary Warner were received as members.  The first pastor was Rev. P. J. McClelland, and the second Rev. Burtwell N. Chamberlain, since whose departure in 1872, dependence for preaching has been upon supplies.  To 1876, meetings were held in the district schoolhouse; since then the Methodist Episcopal Church has been occupied.  The membership is now seven.  (End quotation from Schneck).

     The first schoolhouse was built on the bank of Sebewa Creek in 1843 on Section 25.  THE PORTLAND REVIEW AND OBSERVER, reminiscing in “Member When” says, when the first schoolhouse was built in Sebewa it stood just north of the Oscar Dravenstatt barn and the first teacher was Fanny Croger.  The second schoolhouse was on the northeast corner of the Hugh Showerman farm (SE1/4 sec. 22).  The first five teachers were Willard Barr, Lucinda Barr, Pheobe Knox, Eugenia and Deborah Showerman.  The books at that time were the old Webster Elementary spelling books, afterwards changed to Saunder’s Series.  The grammar was first Kureums, where all the sentences were parsed.  Next came Clark’s where the sentences were put into diagrams and every  word in a little pen like pigs.  In fact, it is what the pupils called it.  The worst trouble.

     The schoolhouse built on the Hugh Showerman farm deserves more than a passing glance, as it was there the first “ideas” of knowledge began to shoot in the now Center school in Sebewa.  The house was built of logs, about 16 by 24 feet, had a large fireplace in the west end.  The seats were handmade benches which sat around the walls.  For writing desks, holes were bored in the logs of the house and strong staves driven in.  Very smooth, planed boards were fastened to these.  Here is where the youngsters learned arithmetic, reading and spelling and some were whaled almost every day.

     Luryette Brown (Heman’s sister), at the age of 16, taught her first school in the Benjamin Probasco cooper shop located at the Center.  Later she married Mr. Probasco.  The old log house had become dilapidated and soon a good house was built on the Probasco corners.  (Bippley and Sunfield Roads.)

     The years have brought many changes to the Township of Sebewa; to the little village of Sebewa Corners; and to the Showerman family.  Today the township is predominantly a farming community, with the large swamp drained and occupied by prosperous “muck farmers”.  Sebewa Corners, which started out so bravely and enjoyed many years of hustling activity is now a sleepy little four corners.  The railroad missed it completely, passing nearly three miles to the south.  The mills have crumbled away.  The township is dotted with fine farm homes; crossed and recrossed by roads that would have made the early settlers gasp with admiration; and the forest lands have melted away.  Yet with all the modern improvements I think those men would miss an air of tranquility and peace.  Modern Sebewa, along with modern America is always in a hurry.

     And what of the Showerman family?  Of our branch, I am one of two survivors.  The other is my father’s brother Hugh, youngest of Lucius’ family and now nearing 75 years of age and childless.  (Hugh died in 1959).  I quote two items from THE PORTLAND REVIEW AND OBSERVER of 1912 and 1940.

     “Sebewa township is mourning the loss of one of its most popular and foremost citizens, Frank J. Showerman, who for several months had been subject to heart attacks, was working in a field when the summons came.  Following the drag in his usual sunny mood he was seen to sink to the ground by his brother, Hugh Showerman, working nearby, who rushed to his assistance.  The stricken man never revived, however, death appearing to have been instantaneous.  Dr. Peacock, of Sunfield, was summoned and pronounced death due to heart disease.

     No sooner had Mr. Showerman breathed his last than the sad news had flashed to every nook and corner of this community, causing a general sorrowing.  Deceased was ever of a jovial disposition—he made friends easily and always kept them.  His sunny smiles and kind words made an impression wherever he went, and his death is keenly felt.  While Mr. Showerman was known as one of Sebewa’a most popular and influential citizens, he was also regarded as one of the township’s “biggest” men, weighing upwards of 200 pounds.

     Born in Sebewa township August 9, 1866, Mr. Showerman resided in that vicinity until death called him.  In July, 1896, he was married to Miss Cora Henry, of Rosina, the couple up their home on the farm where the husband died.  The widow, with one child, Louise, four years old, and a brother, Hugh Showerman, survive.

     Mr. Showerman was ever popular with his fellow men in Sebewa Township, and had held a number of public offices, including town clerk and treasurer for two terms.  Being a Democrat in politics, Mr. Showerman almost assured the election of his township, but when the ballots were counted, his Republican friends had invariably piled up a vote much larger than the normal Democrat majority.  At the time of his death, Mr. Showerman was serving directorships in the Farmers’ Mutual Fire Insurance Co. of Ionia County, and Farmers’ Cooperative Telephone Co., of Sunfield.

     Funeral services were conducted from the residence at 2:00 o’clock Monday afternoon, Revs Millard, of Portland, and Wynn of Sunfield, officiating.  Pallbearers were Charles (?) Ralston, Eugene Probasco, Glenn Olry, Joseph Bliss and Jay and Ernest Showerman.    

(1940)  Hugh Showerman, of Sebewa has the distinction of living on the farm on which the first log dwelling was built in that township, a century ago.  The land was bought from the government by Jacob Showerman, grandfather of Hugh, in 1836.  He bought 160 acres on December 22, when there was not one white resident in the township.  The 80 acres which Hugh owns is part of the original 160 on which the log house stood for years.  The farm has been in the family for 104 years.

Editor’s note:  This article was written as a theme for a MICHIGAN HISTORY course by Mrs. Buchner in the mid 1950’s. 


     Sebewa Township is a square, six miles on a side, with an area of 36 square miles.  This, however, is like describing a cake by its upper layer of icing.  If we can visualize the rest of our real estate to the earth’s center, we have a township shaped like the plug from a watermelon.

     This bit of earth with whose surface we are familiar, has a volume of 142,500 cubic miles, or if you’d like to load it on a truck, call it 776,900,000,000,000 cubic yards.  Square it up and you have a pile 50 miles high and 104 miles across.  This, our share of the world, weighs 1,206,000,000,000,000 tons.

     Although we seem to have an impressive piece of real estate, we must remember that the rest of the world is 5,472,000 times as large as we are and its weight is 6,600,000,000,000,000,000 or six sextillion, six hundred quintillion tons.

     Now if you own an 80 acres, you have a 1/288 part of the township.  A little more division will calculate your number of tons and cubic miles.  A step farther into pounds, and dividing that into your valuation will give you a decimal point followed by several zeros before other figures come to put the value on what is meant by “dirt cheap”.

     The older generations have dinned it into our minds that if we overdo in digging we’ll surely come out in China.  If anybody ever is successful with such a straight hole, he will sample the Indian Ocean southwest of Australia.

     Some day we shall value more than just the surface of our real estate. 


     Mrs. Virginia (Cross) Wood died at home in Portland on July 28.  She is survived by her husband, Robert, Kathy, her ten-year-old daughter and her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Howard Cross.  She was 42 years old. 


     A law enacted by the current session of the Legislature has extended the terms of township officials to November 20, 1970.  The reason for the extension is to make this township elections fall into line with the state elections. 


     “When we retire we’ll come back to Sebewa”:  The pressures of city living are perhaps making this statement spoken more seriously now than ever.  Mr. and Mrs. Wallace Sears have nearly completed a fine new home on the Sears farm on Sunfield Highway and have now moved in.  Wallace razed the old house before starting to build.  The new house being built on the Clarksville Road in Section 1 is for Mr. and Mrs. Tom Breimyer of Portland.  A welcome to Sebewa. 


     Within the past year or two some three farm ponds have been excavated in Sebewa.  The first at Oren Daniels’ farm has been developed for swimming and the grounds are lighted.  The pond level is maintained from a nearby well.  On the back part of his farm, Fred Hart dug a pond last fall.  The children need it for skating in winter.  The newest pond is that of Gordon Piercefield in section 3.  A little below the muck at that site is a big deposit of sand.  The Piercefield pond is securely fenced. 


     In 1900 Samuel Kaufman made inquiry at the Agricultural College at East Lansing about the college facilities and the possibility of enrolling.  Here is the form reply of President J. L. Snyder of Michigan Agricultural College.  The postmark was Agricultural College, Mich., February 26, 1900.

     “Dear Friend:  Your name was given to us by one of your friends about a year ago who informed us you might be induced to enter this institution as a student.  We placed your name on our list and sent you the M.A.C. Record and other advertising material.  As you have not yet entered we desire to call your attention again to the advantages this College has to offer.  We are certainly in position to give you a very thorough, practical education at the minimum cost.  The prospects for next year are very bright.  The class entering last September numbered 275.  The recent increase in attendance is our best advertisement.  If you have fully decided not to go to College, or expect to enter some other institution, we wish you success in your work; but if you are still in doubt on this subject, and expecially if there is a probability that you may take a course in this College, we desire to keep in touch with you.  Some of the names given us last season were of young people who will not be able to attend college for several years, and if you are in this class we are especially anxious to keep your name on our list so that you may attend this College in the future, will you not fill out the enclosed card and mail it to us at your earliest convenience.  Your name will then be placed on our new list and we shall occasionally send you copies of our College paper and other advertising material.  We have an illustrated booklet of the College nearly ready for distribution which will be sent upon receipt of your card.

     Our new building for young women is now in course of erection.  It will cost, with the furnishings, $95,000 and will be one of the finest buildings of its kind in the country.  Before the next school year opens our new dairy building, costing $15,000 will be completed, also a farm barn an expense of $4,000.  Other improvements are being made.  If you desire to hear from us further please do not fail to fill out and mail the enclosed card.  Very truly yours, J. L. Snyder.


Number of College buildings, 54.

Number of Laboratories, 10.

Number of Professors and Assistants, 47.

Number of Students, nearly 575 in 4-year courses, 90 in special short courses.

Number of Books in Library, 21,000.

Number of Acres in Farm, 671.

Value of Farm, Buildings, etc., $476,115

Annual Income of College, $115,000.

No tuition to Residents of the State.

Expenses Very Low.

Oldest Agricultural College in the United States.

Has Graduated 772 Young Men, and 32 Young Ladies.

Expenses Very Low.

Oldest Agricultural College in the United States.

The College offers three four-year courses:  The Agricultural, the Mechanical, the Women’s; all include general culture studies; all require manual training; all are practical; all lead to the B. S. Degree. 


     Mrs. Dora (Vanderpoel) Tysse has suggested that we have a Recipe Corner for the exchange of treasured recipes.  Your contributions are solicited.  Each recipe should be one of some historical interest with a little story along with it.  Dora has given us a fine example.  She says:

     The recipe I’m offering is one my great grandmother used.  She was an early settler in Holland.  When the Indians gathered ‘round her log cabin, as she cooked this dish, she invited them inside; because of the limited number of chairs, they sat in a circle on the floor.  There was much laughter and chattering of appreciation as they ate.  This third generation still enjoys the mixture; in fact, it is one of the very few foods I take as a second helping.

      MASHED POTATOES AND CABBAGE:  6 medium sized potatoes, ½ medium sized cabbage, 2 tablespoons shortening (lard, beef fat for early days—crisco or oleo now), Butter, milk, salt

     Place the pared potatoes in a kettle and cover with the cabbage, which has been cut up quite fine.  Add salt and shortening.  Add enough water to let it simmer until done.  Drain, mash and add butter and milk as for mashed potatoes.

     If you have a lot of hungry Indians, double the recipe. 


     (From Reminiscenses of Pioneer Life in Ionia County by B. Hayes coming to us via an unidentified newspaper clipping)

     On January 11, 1805, this territory of Michigan was formed with Detroit the seat of the government.  As early as 1831 Ionia and Montcalm counties were organized.  In March 1833, what few white men and Indian traders were here petitioned Gov. Porter, then governor of Michigan, to appoint a commission to locate the county seat for Ionia County, with the idea of having it located where the village of Lyons now stands.  The first petitions were signed by Wm. Hunt, Elisha Belcher, Louis Genereaux, and seven other Frenchmen, presumably Indian traders and was sent by messenger to Gov. Porter.  In the meantime Dexter colony of 63 persons had settled at Ionia, and learning of the actions of the party here to locate the county seat at Lyons, they lost no time in sending a larger petition to the Governor to have it located at Ionia.

     From that time on the county seat fight was a strenuous one.  Petitions and counter petitions were sent to the Governor, and on Sept. 5, 1833, he appointed three commissions to locate the county seats of Clinton, Ionia and Kent counties.  In October they commenced their work; Clinton being first, Ionia next.

     After visiting the different localities and hearing the various petitioners they decided to recommend that it be the site of the present city of Ionia.  What influences were brought to bear on the commission is not known, but in the archives of state papers was found a receipt which ran as follows:

     “Received of Samuel Dexter, by the hand of Abraham S. Wadsworth, one hundred and seventy-one dollars for locating the county seat for Ionia County, Dec. 12, 1833.  Duplicate  L. Cook   T. M. T.” 


     When the Sunfield School District expanded in the late 1940’s to take in the Bishop district of Sebewa; Kelly of Roxand; and Figg, Magden and Hunter districts of Sunfield township, there arose the question of what to do with the school bells whose peals were a familiar part of those communities.  The forethought of P. J. Welch of Sunfield saved them from being scattered to who-know-where.

     With the help of Richard Taylor he collected and installed them on the south wall of the Sunfield High School gymnasium where they are today.

     The buildings were disposed of by the School District.  The Bishop building in section 34, Sebewa is crumbling.  The Kelly   in section 31, Roxand, is used as a 4-H meeting house.  The Hunter in section 20 of Sunfield is used as a community building.  Dwellings were made of the Figg in section 2, Sunfield, and the  Magden of section 22 of Sunfield township.

     Another bell at the Podunk School on 143 southwest of Hastings was stolen and not returned.

     The West Sebewa school bell was once removed for building repairs.  Glenn Coe recalls that it was put back in place by skidding it up a plank ramp.  It is still on the building owned by Homer Downing. 


     Since the state went on daylight time we have noticed no new mercury vapor lamps in Sebewa’s heavens.  There must be a connection. 


     A sign in the dooryard of Oren Daniels saying “Tables For Sale” has attracted nearly 60 purchasers of picnic tables.  Oren and Beulah have been retailing the tables to the travelers on M66 for a Grand Rapids manufacturer.  The latest gadget is a baby’s seat that hooks onto the end of the table. 


     We are surprised at the general unconcern with the spread of sow thistle, north to south and east to west across the township.  This is no ordinary weed that has come upon us in the last ten years.  The proverbial “stitch in time” will pay handsome dividends in its eradication.  The plant blossoms mornings at this season with the flower resembling that of a dandelion growing on a plant similar to wild lettuce.  The seed blows and scatters like that of the dandelion.  The plant is a perennial with roots that spread like quack grass.  When once it is established, nothing less than weed sprays will remove it.


     The combined Lions Club of Lake Odessa, Sunfield, Woodland and Clarksville will again sponsor the travelogue programs at Lakewood High School.  The new series will consist of six programs of travel and adventure narrated by the persons who filmed the pictures and present them in the cities around the country.

     This is unusual fare for an area as rural as Lakewood.  Your continued support of the programs will maintain them here.  Without the Lakewood programs, you would fight the traffic to see the same pictures in Grand Rapids or Lansing.  The prices remain the same as last year—season tickets are $5 and $1.50 for single admission.  The programs and dates are listed on the next page. 


October 14, 1967, AUSTRIA by Robin Willilams

November 11, 1967, TIMBUKTU & BEYOND by Romain Wilhelmsen

January 5, 1968, NORWEGIAN PANORMAS by Joe Adair

February 3, 1968, APPALACHIAN TRAILS by LeRoy Crooks

March 1, 1968, CANADIAN FAR WEST by Dennis Cooper

March 30, 1968, ENGLAND by Jonathan Hagar

     All except the March 1 date, which is Friday, come on Saturday evening.  8:00 PM is the starting time.



   Robert W. Gierman, Editor

   R 1

   Portland, Michigan   48875 U. S. A.

Last update March 01, 2013