THE SEBEWA RECOLLECTOR Newsletter from Sebewa
FEBRUARY 2005, Volume 40, Number 4. Sebewa Township, Ionia County, MI.
Submitted with written permission of Editor Grayden D. SLOWINS:
SURNAMES: WILSON, AINSWORTH, PEACOCK, DOWNING, COX, JOY, BAIRD, KLAHN, VELTE,
RUDD, LIVERTON, SLATER, WHITER, MULHOLLAND, BRAKE, BROWN, VanDeVELDE, BAUM,
STALTER, SNYDER, INGALLS, CLEVELAND, LOCKE, STEGENGA, FROST, SMITH, GILLETTE,
THOMPSON, GATES, ATWATER, MORRIS, PATERSON, HALLADAY, DAVID, SHAY, JARMAN, ICE,
CONKRITE, HULL, LEIK, GIBBS
ROSE E. WILSON AINSWORTH, 90, widow of Winfield AINSWORTH, mother of Linda
CURVEY, Ann Lee DECENT, Sarah AINSWORTH and Lorna CARNEY, sister of Joyce
LUSCHER, Carol CASSEL and the late Keith & Royal WILSON, daughter of Ella
PEACOCK & Victor WILSON, son of Arthur WILSON, whose family settled in Sec. 1 &
2 Sebewa Township on PETRIE Road, between KNOX Road & Clarksville Road, on land
now owned by Richard HEYBOER, Frank FANDEL, Jr. and Betty ELDRIDGE, before 1891,
and he on YORK Road Sec. 11 by 1906.
Ella PEACOCK WILSON was a daughter of Catherine E. DOWNING & Benjamin Calvin
PEACOCK who settled in Sebewa Township in 1865, son of Benjamin PEACOCK, Sr.,
son of Ruth COX & John JOY PEACOCK, Sr., son of Anna JOY & Abraham PEACOCK.
Catherine E. DOWNING was a daughter of Elizabeth BAIRD & Samuel DOWNING, who
also settled in Sebewa in 1865.
Rose graduated from Ionia County Normal in 1933 and taught in country schools
for three years before her marriage to Winfield. After his untimely death in
1954, she taught twenty-two more years, the last fourteen in second grade of
Woodland Elementary, Lakewood Schools. In retirement she traveled the U. S. and
read a lot. Buried in Lakeside Cemetery.
CARL JOHN KLAHN, 81, widower of Phylene HARPER, whose family once owned the Zeno
LEAK and Max VanHOUTEN farms on MUSGROVE Highway in Sebewa Township, husband of
Mary SMITH KLAHN, father of Roger KLAHN, Shirley COURTNEY & Janice HEYBOER, son
of Cora VELTE & Howard KLAHN, son of John KLAHN, whose family emigrated from
Prussia to BOWNE Township, Kent County, MI, about 1865 and was one of the early
families of the BOWNE Mennonite Church. Carl was stepfather to Diane Adams,
Ionia County Register of Deeds, and nephew to soon-to-be Centenarian, Geraldine
KLAHN. Carl was a retired farmer, wood-craftsman, and world traveler.
Buried at Lakeside Cemetery.
ELJIE M. (JACK) RUDD, 101, widower of Alice STEWART and Mary SCHEIERN, father of
Leon (Janet GIERMAN) RUDD, Janice SHIELDS, Joy BUTCHER, and Karen MORROW,
stepfather of Mary KLAHN, Ruth INGRAHAM, Irma SMITH, Elsie VOORHEIS, and the
late Harold SCHEIERN, Joe SCHEIERN, Eunice RITZ, and Janet LOWER, brother of his
birth twin Elsie RUDD and other deceased siblings Ethel WALTER, Montie RUDD &
Clinton RUDD, son of Charles RUDD & Anna LIVERTON RUDD, who was one of the eight
niece heirs of fabled farmer-capitalist, George LIVERTON, as was Ora
A lifelong farmer, Jack also worked for West Shore Construction Co. building
US-16, now called Grand River Avenue, at Mitchell-Bentley Corporation, and for
Berlin Township as Letts Cemetery Sexton. Buried in Letts Cemetery.
FORREST W. SLATER, 91, husband of Esther, father of Marian DUITS, Norma ROSE,
David, Fred and Darell SLATER, brother of Richard SLATER and the late Mable
McCAUL, Phoebe GEIGER, Mary McCAUL, Carl, Roy and Keith SLATER, son of Rose
WHITER & Berton SLATER, son of Clara MULHOLLAND & Peter SLATER, who settled on
THOMPSON Road in CAMPBELL Township on what was later the John F. BRAKE farm and
now the Dale ZOOK llama farm, in 1872. Forrest served in the Civilian
Conservation Corps (CCC) in 1933, then became a lifelong farmer, as well as a
truck driver and truck repairman for Ionia County Road Commission, carpenter and
maintenance person for Lakewood Schools. Buried at Lakeside.
BERNADINE BROWN VanDeVELDE BAUM STALTER, 82, widow of Lloyd (Stub) STALTER,
former wife of Charles L. VanDeVELDE and James BAUM, mother of Charles (Mick)
VanDeVELDE, Monte BAUM, Jon STALTER and the late Curtiss BAUM, sister of the
late George BROWN, daughter of Mary Snyder & Walter BROWN, son of Fred E. BROWN,
son of James H. BROWN, son of Sarah (Sally) INGALLS & John BROWN, who were
Sebewa’s first settlers at SE ¼ Sec. 24 Sebewa Township on KEEFER Highway just
north of MUSGROVE Highway in 1838. Mary SNYDER was the granddaughter of Dr.
George WASHINGTON SNYDER, Civil War Veteran.
Sally INGALLS was the daughter of Abigail CLEVELAND & Jonathan INGALLS, Sebewa’s
only Revolutionary War Veteran and one of only three buried in Ionia County and
one in Kent County, son of Hannah LOCKE & Jonathan INGALLS, Sr. Bernadine is
buried at Lakeside Cemetery.
JACK C. STEGENGA, 69, husband of Laura, father of Mike & Bill STEGENGA of
Portland and Beth STIFFLER on Clarksville Road in Sebewa Township, brother of
Ellen WINCHESTER, Jean BARRUS and Evelyn HAUETER, son of Conrad STEGENGA &
Harriett FROST, daughter of Charles FROST & Harriett SMITH, daughter of Hannah
GILLETTE & Laban A. SMITH, Sr., who settled in Portland Township, on DIVINE
Highway at GOODWIN Road, in 1866, son of Lucy THOMPSON & Marvin SMITH, son of
Lydia GATES & Benjamin SMITH, son of Hannah ATWATER & Daniel SMITH, son of Anna
MORRIS & Samuel SMITH, son of Elizabeth PATERSON & Thomas SMITH, who were
married in New Haven, Connecticut in 1662.
Jack was a lifelong farmer on the family homestead, served in the US Army,
retired from TRW after 36 years. Buried in Portland Cemetery.
HALLADAY SCHOOL: Cover photo of students of in 1923:
Back row: (Teacher), Kendall RHEAM, Claude MILLER, Bernice HALE, Frances
LIPPINCOTT, Reva SKINKLE, Leona MILLER, Fern WALKER.
Next row: Beatrice HALE, Sarah SMITH, Gladys BUMP, Edythe PETRIE, C. Louise
JESSUP, Norma LIPPINCOTT
Second row: Allene LIPPINCOTT, Katheryn KARTUSKI, Pauline RHEAM, Ruth PETRIE,
Lillian BIDWELL, Ruth WISE.
Front row: Kenneth Haskins, Jessie WISE, Harold BUMP, Ronald FIRST, George
MILLER, Gerald BUMP, Alzeo SMITH, Myrwood RHEAM.
1925/1927? Photo on page 3, of HALLADAY SCHOOL STUDENTS:
Back row: Jessie WISE, Harold BUMP, Claud MILLER, Kenneth HASKINS, Frances
LIPPINCOTT, Miss HOFFMAN (Teacher), Leone MILLER, Reva SKINKLE, Edith PETRIE.
Next row: Fern WALKER, Clara L. JESSUP, Gladys BUMP, Norma LIPPINCOTT, Ruth
WISE, Myrwood RHEAM, Alzeo SMITH, Allene LIPPINCOTT, Pauline RHEAM.
Second row: Duane RHEAM, Leo KARTUSKI (CARR), Dennis PETRIE, Ronald FIRST, Ruth
PETRIE, Robert FIRST, Loberta EVERETT, Maxine EVERETT, Virginia STAMBAUGH,
Katheryn KARTUSKI, Esper EVERETT, George Miller.
Corrections? If you have corrections on the identifications in the above photos
or if you have other stories about HALLADAY School, please write them down and
send them to the Editor of this publication.
STORIES ABOUT HALLADAY SCHOOL by Grayden SLOWINS & Others:
On the cover of this issue we have a school photo from HALLADAY School, loaned
to us by the daughters of Alzeo (Mike) SMITH; Alice BERENS, Margaret TROYER and
Mary KLEINFELT. Thoughts of this school first bring to mind a chance encounter
we had some years ago.
Evelyn LICH DAVID and I were attending the Annual Educational Conference of the
Michigan Townships Association (MTA) at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Dearborn
about 1983. Each morning a few of us farm boy & girls would rise early to do the
chores and hed down to the lobby café for a hearty farmer’s breakfast, not one
of those high carbohydrate, low protein “Continental Breakfasts”! By change Evie
& I spotted a large, gray-bearded man about my age sitting by himself at a table
and asked if we could join him. “Sure thing!” he replied, and then the standard
greeting at these affairs, in some variation of the following, “Hi, I’m Theron
Parker, Supervisor of Haring Township, near Cadillac. Where are you from and
what office do you hold?”
We gave our names, “Evie DAVID – Supervisor, Grayden SLOWINS – Clerk, Sebewa
Township, Ionia County and I know Haring Township!” I went on to ask “are you
familiar with the story of Ephraim SHAY, the man who founded Haring, owned the
sawmill, general store & post office and invented a steam locomotive adapted to
logging and mining on rough terrain?”
“Well, I know about Ephraim SHAY and his unusual steam locomotive, although I
hadn’t realized he founded the town too. The building he built as a general
store and post office was only recently town down. The upstairs had always been
our Town Hall and public meeting room. Many people in the community were married
and buried from that hall. But no-one seemed interested in my suggestion to form
a historical society and make that building into a museum, when we built a new,
barrier-free hall. But how do you know about Ephraim SHAY and Haring Township?”
“Because before Haring, he founded a similar sawmill town called SHAYTOWN a few
miles south of us in Sunfield Township. It too had his general store-post
office-Odd Fellow hall building that has just about fallen into the ground.
“Before that he spent his upper-teen and young-adult years in Sebewa Township.
He worked in Theodore GUNN’S sawmill, studied the stationery steam engine and
had visions of making it self-propelled. He lived first on a forty-acre farm at
Sebewa Center with his mother & siblings, then married and bought an eighty a
mile west, where he also served as Sebewa Township Clerk.”
“Well, I know about Sebewa! I went to school there two years. Back in the Great
Depression times were extra tough in the poor, sandy farmland around Haring. Dad
made a few extra bucks as a horse trader. Mother was a school teacher, but
couldn’t find a school to teach. She wrote to the State School Superintendent
and he put her in touch with the HALLADAY School Board. She taught the HALLADAY
School two years.
There were ten of us kids. The seven oldest stayed on the farm with Dad. Us
three youngest came to Sebewa with Mother and lived in a rented farmhouse. I
can’t remember what house it was nor who owned it. We got home once in a while
on weekends or Dad would come down. I was the oldest of the three younger kids
and I started school there. The only other kids I can remember were from a big
family, very poor, named JARVIS, I think.”
“That’s it. JARMAN. Years later, after World War II, we seven brothers had a
spray painting rig and painted barns in Ionia County and all over Michigan. Big
white stars on the barn doors were our trademarks. One Saturday night I was
driving up M-66 and picked up a hitchhiker. It was Bob JARMAN, who had been in
my class in first and second grades.” END OF CONVERSATION
In more recent years, a father & son team, George & Mark ICE, has acquired
Ephraim SHAY’S farm in Haring Township, built a replica of his first locomotive
and begun to rebuild his trackage, so they can give tourists rides through the
woods and countryside like Ephraim did after the timber ran out. Since they are
in the wrecker & iron salvage business over on US-131, they have both the
materials and the talents for reconstructing Ephraim’s prototype, which they
will also display at the annual “Ephraim SHAY Days” at Harbor Springs.
In Sebewa, Phoebe SHAY owned the forty acres surrounding Sebewa Center School,
near her brothers Benjamin PROBASCO, Sr., and Ephraim PROBASCO, and other family
members. Ephraim SHAY’S farm was forty acres on the northeast corner and forty
acres on the southeast corner of BIPPLEY Road & KIMMEL Road, now owned by Ilene
CARR. Ephraim’s engine, as we have often explained, had helical (tapered) gears
on the drive wheels which were directly driven by matching gears on the engine
crank shaft extension. All wheels under the engine and even under the tender
were drive wheels, thus giving the engine extreme drive power and traction for
its size, plus short turning radius for uneven temporary tracks, due to
universal joints in the drive shaft. The prototype was simply an upright boiler
mounted on a small flatcar, with the piston-driven crankshaft geared directly to
In a recent letter about Sebewa Corners and HALLADAY School, one of Alzeo
SMITH’s daughters mentioned they were related to Fern CONKRITE, our longtime
friend & history consultant who passed away in 1999 at age 104. Her father was
Charles CONKRITE and his brother was Manley CONKRITE, who was great-grandfather
to the SMITH girls. So her grandparents, William CONKRITE & Calphernia HULL,
earliest settlers just south of Charlotte Highway Bridge in Danby Township, were
there great-great-grandparents. William died young, leaving a large family, who
were by that time located around to the southwest on TUPPER Lake Road, between
Wellfare Road & MURTHA Road, where Keith MERRYFIELD lives now, near where Manley
had his farm on the southeast corner of TUPPER Lake and BROWN Roads.
CHARLES LEIK UPDATE: The proper internet website for The Barn
Journal is <thebarnjournal.org>
BYRON GIBBS’ WORLD WAR II MEMOIRS CONTINUED:
Mrs. BROWN’S husband was an officer in the Signal Corps stationed in Africa. We
would frequently go to Alexandria on Sundays, and mow the lawn, put up screens
and do other jobs in exchange for a home cooked meal.
On Sunday, April 30, we went to Washington to see the boats in the marina there.
Due to the housing shortage many people were living on their boats with
connection for power and telephone. There was one rather large boat owned by a
Dow Chemical executive. The engineer invited us aboard to see the boat.
On Sunday, May 7, 1944, I took Lt. Ralph CLANTON, his wife and his little girl,
Lt. Clarence CONRAD and Lt. Dick KEMPER down to Mt. Vernon. That made a very
pleasant weekend. That night when we got back to Arlington we had the first
black out we had so far.
It was now getting rather warm and we changed to summer uniforms May 15. The
next weekend I went to Alexandria and had dinner with Louise BAUGHMAN and her
sister Mrs. BROWN. Louise was working for Pen Central Airlines in reservations.
The lawn needed mowing and there were some minor repairs to do.
On Sunday, June 11, 1944, I went to the Smithsonian Museum. I spent too much
time looking at the electrical exhibits and I missed many other things. I did
see the Spirit of St. Louis suspended there. It seemed smaller than I thought it
was. The museum closed at 4:00 on Sunday so I had to leave. I did see in an
outside display of some enemy planes for a bond drive. The German plane motors
were very well made. The German planes had all been damaged though. The only
undamaged plane was a Japanese Zero that looked like new, but it had the U.S.
insignia on it.
When I arrived at Arlington Hall Station, I had secret clearance but work there
requiring cryptographic top secret Diplomatic Clearance. Until this was
obtained, I spent my time on the top floor of the girls’ school working on
correspondence courses on cryptography. It was a surprise when I found I was
able to decipher a German message without a good working knowledge of the
There was only one kind of cipher equipment any one person was to know. I first
worked with voice scrambling equipment for use with the telephone. At the end of
the training the entire team was sent to England except me. I was then in the
manufacture and service of a much more complicated piece of equipment. All girls
worked on the assembly. They would receive instructions to solder one wire, then
return the part, pick up another one with different instructions to solder one
wire. To work on this equipment we had to know every part, how it worked and
memorize all the part numbers. After I left there, all service information was
in my head. There were no books or drawings to refer to.
Some sections at Arlington Hall were involved in deciphering foreign messages.
Many of these girls were experts. Some seemed rather odd but they were geniuses.
On June 16, 1944, I moved to Vint Hill Farms Station with their long range radio
antennas. This was near Washington roughly 40 miles from Arlington and past
where the first battle of Bull Run in the Civil War took place and near Manassas
Junction. Where initially I shared a three-room apartment with Lt. Lunceford
GILLENTINE and Lt. Leonard LONG.
Vint Hill Farms Station was rather isolated on weekends and when possible, I
along with most of the others would go into the Arlington, Washington, and
Alexandria areas where there was much more to see.
By the end of July, we knew we would be going back to Arlington Hall Station
sometime in August. Now there were about 30 officers living at the Officers’
Club at Vint Hill. My comment in a letter home was that it reminded me of a
On August 19, 1944, we received orders back to Arlington Hall Station and I was
able to room again at 3215 Columbia Pike. I knew the stay here would be short.
On August 22, 1944, I found out I would be going to Camp Crowder, MO for
assignment to a unit. The orders dated August 23, 1944 showed the assignment as
3168 Signal Service Bn. To report Aug. 30, 1944, with no leave en route. Camp
Crowder was 1150 miles by the most direct route or 1550 miles if I went by going
to my home in Clare.
This was an additional 400 miles. I decided to try it even if I could only be
home a day or two to see Gertie and mother. On August 24, 1944, I sent a wire
from east Liverpool, Ohio at 1:25 p.m. saying I would get to Clare that night.
After two full days at home, I left for Camp Crowder the morning of August 27
and stopped long enough in Charlotte to say hello to my Uncle Earn and Aunt Min
and then got as far as Effingham, IL that night. The following night, Aug. 28, I
got to Springfield, MO. Then I arrived at Camp Crowder on August 29, 1944. I had
been a little concerned about gasoline but I had plenty.
There was a portion of the 3168 Sig. Sv. Bn. At Camp Crowder but not the portion
I was to be assigned to. Until this got straightened out, I was assigned to a
unit and as the newest officer I became the weekend duty officer. I remember
Sunday morning, Sept. 3, 1944, having to go to the stockade and get a soldier
who had been picked up Saturday night by the MPs.
I saw Lt. Dick KEMPER, who I had roomed with at one time in Arlington and went
to supper with him at the Officers’ Club. That evening, I found out that the
portion of the 3168 Sig. Sv. Bn. I was to have been assigned to was in Camp
Kohler, California. Another officer I had been with at Vint Hill also had come
to Camp Crowder as I had but also should have gone to Camp Kohler, California.
A Teletype from the Seventh Service Command in Omaha, Nebraska dated 30 August,
corrected the error and directed us to report to Camp Kohler Sept. 7. Camp
Crowder however would not release anyone until they had gone through the gas
chamber, gone through the infiltration course, thrown a live grenade, qualified
with the carbine on the rifle range and cleared with 14 offices on the post. It
was Sept. 5, 1944 before I got the final release.
Lt. GILLENTINE and I left in my 1940 Ford and got to Oklahoma City that night.
We had decided to drive long days at first then go slower when we go to places
in the west we wanted to see.
The following night, Sept. 6, 1944, we were in Tucumcari, NM. The next night we
stayed in Gallup, NM. Sept. 7, 1944, at the El Rancho Hotel and Court. The
following day, Sept. 8, we saw the Painted Desert and the Petrified Forest and
stayed that night at Cameron, AZ. about 50 miles from the Grand Canyon. Sept. 9
we saw the Grand Canyon and Lake Mead. That night Sept. 9, 1944 we stayed in
Boulder City. On Sunday, Sept. 10, 1944 we drove on the highway that crosses
Bolder Dam in a convoy. The speed limit was 20 miles per hour across the dam and
no one was allowed to stop. That evening we went to Las Vegas, Nevada for
supper. They seemed to have all the scarce items in the stores. There were slot
machines in many stores.
We then drove across the desert country at night and got as far as a little town
somewhat north of Bakersfield, California, where we stayed Sept. 10. A front
tire blew out in that town but I was able to buy a new one because we were
traveling on government orders. It took some hours of red tape to get the tire
The next evening, Sept. 11, 1944, we stayed in a cabin at the Sequioa National
Park and sat around the campfire there for a couple of hours. Here we had driven
through a large redwood log. I had my camera on this trip and took a good many
pictures. I noted in a letter to mother that I was writing by the light of a
Kerosene lamp and there was no electricity in the cabin.
On Sept. 12 and 13 we stayed at Yosemite National Park. This was a beautiful
place. I remember the famous photographs Ansel Adams had a studio there and I
purchased one of his beautiful black and white photographs of El Captain which I
sent to mother. At night they had a bonfire of redwood bark up on Glacier Point
and the Forest Ranger shouted up “let the fire fall” and they pushed the embers
over the edge and it looked like a waterfall only glowing embers.
This ended our wonderful sightseeing trip and we arrived on Sept. 14, 1944 at
Camp Kohler. When we started, we were not sure of the location of Camp Kohler
but we found out it was between Sacramento and Roseville about 25 miles from
My first impression of Camp Kohler was that it was a rapidly constructed
temporary camp. Most of the buildings were covered with black tar paper. There
did not seem to be much shade and it was hot and sandy.
We got tetanus and typhoid shots and we were on the submachine gun range on
Saturday Sept. 15. I did well firing expert on my first try. We also had to fire
the bazooka to see how it functioned.
After being on the range all day in the bright sun and blowing sand, we were
loaded on an open army truck and hurriedly returned to come for an eye
examination. I was at the back of the truck and the first one off into the
darkened room in the tar paper-covered building. There I was told to read the
eye chart. My eyes had not adjusted yet from the bright sun and I could not see
the chart. The impatient medical officer made a notation on my records and I was
sent to Dewitt General Hospital about 25 miles from there for another check to
see if I qualified for general service or limited service. TO BE CONTINUED