Sebewa Recollector
Items of Genealogical Interest

Volume 40 Number 6
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 Newsletter from Sebewa
JUNE 2005, Volume 40, Number 6. Sebewa Township, Ionia County, MI.
Submitted with written permission of Editor Grayden D. SLOWINS:



ROBERT L. HEINTZELMAN, 76, widower of Shirley FISHER HEINTZELMAN, father of Mark HEINTZELMAN & Sonya HEINTZELMAN JOHNSON, brother of the late Norton, Howard & Everett HEINTZELMAN, Olive SLATER, Dorothy ACKERSON & June COURTS, son of Grace CARPENTER & Harry HEINTZELMAN, son of William E. HEINZELMAN, who settled on BIPPLEY Rd. in Sebewa Township in 1876. A U.S. Navy Veteran 1946-1950, he worked 19 years for Mitchell-Bentley and 22 years for Greenville Tool & Die Co. He is buried at BALCOM Cemetery.

EVELYN F. GOODBLOOD HEYBOER, 82, widow of Warren, mother of Richard HEYBOER & Arlene LEE, sister of Marian EZINGA & the late Ruth FRYLING, daughter of Lena MARSMAN & John GOODBLOOD. They farmed first in Kent County and then on Grand River Trail in Orange & Sebewa Townships. She is buried in East Sebewa Cemetery.

REINE ELIZABETH CONWAY PEACOCK, 90, widow of Thomas Leander PEACOCK, mother of Betty CAREY, Thomas, Richard & Harry PEACOCK, and the late Helen HALLER, Catherine PEACOCK & Frances GLASGOW, sister of Sister William Mary & Sister Carmella, and the late Russell & Ivan CONWAY, Mary JACOBS & Sister Magdalena, daughter of Blanche DURAND & William Hugh CONWAY. Long active in catering banquets for St. Edwards Parish, Lake Odessa Schools & the community, she was the first recipient of the Janie Rodriguez Award. The PEACOCKS are one of the oldest families in Sebewa Township, having settled in Sections 5 & 6 on KNOLL & CLARKSVILLE Roads before 1865. She was therefore active in genealogy and the Lake Odessa Area Historical Society and is buried at Lakeside Cemetery.

MADELINE LEE (MINDI) WEAVER SANDBORN, 52, wife of Bruce G. SANDBORN, Jr., mother of Heather A. SMITH, sister of April SALYERS, Richard L. WEAVER, Jr. & Charles WEAVER, and the late Jack & Paul WEAVER, daughter of Kathleen Mae KLEISMIT & Richard Lee WEAVER, Sr. She is buried in East Sebewa Cemetery.

MARY MAE GOODRICH SANDBORN, 79, widow of Howard SANDBORN, mother of William, Robert & Edward SANDBORN, sister of Orpha STIFFLER, Stan & Alfred GOODRICH, and the late Byron GOODRICH & Loretta PEABODY, daughter of Oma HOLBROOK & Alfred T. GOODRICH. They farmed on MUSGROVE Highway in Danby Township and she was active in genealogy & crafts. She is buried in East Sebewa Cemetery.

OPAL GRACE BENJAMIN THUMA, 96, widow of Clyde THUMA, sister of Eugene BENJAMIN and the late Gerald, Howard, Vernon & infant Donald BENJAMIN, daughter of Cora PATTERSON & Fred BENJAMIN. She farmed hard on their BIPPLEY Road farm all her married life. She is buried in East Sebewa Cemetery.

MARGARET THUMA WILSON, 86, wife of John WILSON, mother of Duane WILSON, Janice JEWELL, Barbara GROSS & Sharon WESTVEER, sister of the late Clyde & Volney THUMA, daughter of Raymond & Ella THUMA. They farmed all their married life on the Edwin & Bart BUCK Farms on Peck Lake Road in Orange Township, first as tenants and then as owners. She is buried in East Sebewa Cemetery.

WILMA USBORNE WILSON, 84, widow of Keith WILSON, mother of Thomas, Victor, Mary Ann & Elma WILSON, Anita BARCROFT, Jane MAZIE & Janet KUDIRKA, sister of Mildred PYLE, Alex USBORNE, and the late John, Gordon, Mercy & Greeta USBORNE and Jessie ELWELL, daughter of Verdie KNOWLES & John USBORNE. They farmed first on his parents’ on YORK Road in Sebewa Township, where they were active in Sebewa Community Farm Bureau Group, and then on HENDERSON Road in Odessa Township, where they had a large dairy herd with their sons. She is buried in Fuller Cemetery in Carlton Township, Barry County.

MARGARET WILSON’S husband, John, was the son of Alfred (Fred) WILSON, son of Francis (Frank) WILSON.  WILMA WILSON’S husband, Keith, was the son of Ella PEACOCK & Victor WILSON, son of Arthur WILSON. Frank & Arthur WILSON were brothers. Their family settled on PETRIE Road in Sections 1 & 2 Sebewa Township before 1891. By 1906 Frank was up in Orange Township. Arthur was on YORK Road in Sebewa Township, and their third brother, Theodore (Ted) straddled the line on KNOX Road, on the farm later known as the Francis LAWLESS farm and now as the HEYBOER farm. ELLA PEACOCK WILSON was the daughter of Catherine E. DOWNING & Benjamin Calvin PEACOCK, who settled on KNOLL Road in 1865.

FRONT PAGE PHOTOS OF Ionia Steam and Gas Farm Power Show Coming again June 24-26, 2005

ANNIVERSARY: Oren & Beulah AUSTIN DANIELS celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary on June 22. Oren is 95 and Beulah is 89!


Monday, February 14, 2005, up at 5:00, 37 degrees and rainy……loaded last perishable items from refrigerator, shut off pump & water heater, dialed down furnace and left things in the capable hands of Ken CARR…….traveled 383 miles this first day………to Louisville KOA………south of Louisville we began to see where cattle are left in the rolling hill pastures all winter. Some round bales of hay are fed to supplement the short winter grass and the cattle droppings are scattered everywhere over the pasture, not bunched up around sheds or trees. A few are large dairy farms, but most are small beef cow/calf operations and a few large feedlots with cattle on dirt. An Allis-Chalmers WD tractor with attachments sits in one farmyard. Old tractors need to be run on odd jobs occasionally to stay in shape – like we all do! In southern Kentucky we are getting into red dirt and huge soybean stubble fields, maybe 240 acres in a chunk………We entered Tennessee and immediately began to see large horse & cattle “Estates” with big new manor houses and stables and horse-training barns………down to US-10 east of Tallahassee. Nasty turns in Dothan & Thomasville are nerve wracking, as well as the one in Montgomery. In Alabama & Georgia we saw pecan trees and little peach trees in blossom, and harvested rows of peanuts that looked like potato rows, near a shelling plant. Some ground was recently plowed for spring crops and they were getting the planters ready………to Starke KOA Kampground………

February 17, 61 degrees & misty in morning, reaching mid 70s & sunny by 3:00………

February 18, did laundry and visited with men at coffee break room and then at Wally GIMBEL’S trailer………he was born & raised on a centennial farm at Freeport, near Breslau, Waterloo County, Ontario, where his father was an Allis-Chalmers Dealer………

February 23, 65 degrees at 7:00…..Wally GIMBEL says their name is same as GIMBEL’S department store. So he suspects he may have some Jewish blood too by way of the French Huguenots who came to Pennsylvania and then to Waterloo. His mother’s relatives are the Mennonities.


……peaceful in the Cathedral. There were no pews I noticed. People must have stood or sat on the floor. After a while, I found out where the faint music sound came from. It was Monks high up in the choir loft chanting their prayers. The Cathedral was not damaged. The outside was made of cast iron sections painted gray. These were made in Belgium and fitted together in Manila. It was a beautiful building.

On April 29, 1945, I found out I had a cable address that was 2nd Lt. Byron GIBBS 0-505036 AMTEBY. That day I had seen some beautiful linen table cloths 6’ x 12’ or more priced at 390 pesos ($195). The sales woman said they were made in China and took six women 18 months to make. I also saw many beautiful silk tapestries and kimonos for around 200 pesos ($100).

In the evening as soon as the sun goes down, the mosquitos come out and it was necessary to wear a shirt and when sleeping at night to be inside a mosquito bar.

On April 30, 1945, I sent mother a Mother’s Day cable. It was surprising that a cable could be sent for $.60. I think it rained that day from my notes. When it rains it pours. You get caught in it and drenched to the skin but then the sun may come out and the steam will roll off the street and out of the clothes you are wearing and you are dry in a short time.

I did not know just where people bought groceries as I never saw any grocery stores. There was however a Farmers Market with everything. Meat was hung in the open air or laid on a counter and just covered with black flies. The sight and smell was enough to make you not want meat.

There did not seem to be any beggars on the streets, but we always had hungry boys, however, standing around the mess hall waiting for us to share some. They usually had a pail made from about a one gallon tin can. Our mess hall was on the ground floor of the Chico Building just across the Jones Bridge over the Pasig River.

The mess hall was fenced in and we had mess personnel there around the clock because the Signal Corps was a 24 hour per day operation 7 days a week. Some nights a Japanese would come out of hiding and get in and get some food and quickly disappear. The unarmed mess personnel could not keep them out. Our meals here cost the officers just 25 cents each and we had good meals. With the Signal Center being a 24-hour a day operation seven days a week, it was necessary to have at least two of my repair teams on duty all the time.

These men were the most capable mechanics I have ever worked with. They were able to do anything or make anything. To insure that the equipment was in good operating condition I set up a preventative maintenance schedule with each shift having some definite piece of equipment to clean and check. One big problem, I knew, would be dirt, since the windows were all gone in the building there was no way to keep the wind blown dirt out of the equipment. The solution had to be careful, frequent cleaning.

I had a schedule posted on the wall so everyone knew what they were supposed to do preventative maintenance on. We did sometimes have mechanical parts break and we had in our maintenance kit things like springs and nuts. If a major part was needed, the old part was sent by officer courier to Washington and in a few days an officer courier would deliver the new part. This was something that rarely occurred. The repairmen could make about anything with a few simple tools such as files. Materials were scrap metal that might be salvaged from a downed Japanese plane.

There was a small team of Australians on the floor below us that had their own code room equipment. I think they had just one officer and one Sargent. They could not get their equipment to work for two or three days and were very concerned.

Their officer came to our Signal Officer and asked if our cryptographic repair officer and the best mechanic would see if their equipment could be repaired. To have even an Ally look at your cryptographic equipment was something that was never done. They were desperate though and took a chance on us. I took a Sargent with me. The equipment was as high as an upright piano and couple of feet wide. Their Sargent removed the back panel and there was a large number of relays all connected with red insulated wire. My first thought was a dirty contact somewhere so we cleaned each contact by drawing a strip of bond paper between the points. When we finished the equipment worked and they were much relieved to be able to encipher and decipher messages again.

One morning, not long after I was in Manila, I was with another officer on the street near the headquarters of the Armed Forces Southwest Pacific. There was a crowd of people lining each side of the street for some distance as if waiting for a parade. I asked the officer if there was some special event. He told me the crowd was there every morning just to get a glimpse of General MacArthur being driven to his office. When the Japanese invaded the Philippines and the American and Filipino forces were defeated, General MacArthur pledged to the Filipino people “I shall return”. He was their liberator, their hero. They all wanted to at least see him in his car as he was driven past.

One time I remember going with an officer, Lt. Peterson, I think, to General Douglas MacArthur’s residence to deliver a message. If a coded message came in for General MacArthur as the enlisted man would start to decipher it he would see an indicator that the message was to be seen only by the addressee. The enlisted man would then have the duty officer in the code room complete the work and seal the message in an envelope for delivery. Then an armed officer would personally deliver it. I think for that message delivery to General MacArthur, both Lt. Peterson and I were armed with Colt 45s.

My primary responsibility was maintenance of the code room equipment. With a good preventative maintenance program and well-designed equipment, there was a good deal of free time for everyone. Some additional duties could be easily handled.

In May, the officer overseeing the work of several Filipino labor gangs was in the hospital and that job fell to me for a short time. There were some good Filipino foremen over the labor gangs so this additional assignment was no great problem.

In a letter to my mother, written on May 7, 1945, I said I would stay up to hear President Harry TRUMAN talk at 10:00 because I expected he would tell of the German surrender. The house we were living in had a leak in the roof and when it rained I had to string a shelter half over my bunk. The real rainy season had not started yet so this was no serious problem.

By May 14, 1945, I had started making a pair of triangular shape mahogany lamps with squares of thin sea shell used instead of glass. The squares of then sea shells were used in many residential windows. I was now on duty 7 days a week but this still left some free time. The equipment in the code room worked well.

By May 20, 1945, we had a PX with limited supplies such as soap, tooth paste, tomato juice, candy bars and peanuts. In a letter home I mentioned that I had a Baby Ruth candy bar for the first time since leaving the U.S.

On May 23, 1945, I had a surprise visit by Dick EARLY, who had been with me at Harvard, M.I.T. and Camp Murphy, Florida. Also had a visit from Al LOBBEZOO, who had been in Co. C. during the time at Camp Livingston. He had transferred to the 32nd Division Signal Co. and was starting his 4th year overseas.

Traffic had been on the opposite side of the road to that in the United States but effective June 1, 1945, that changed. All traffic was now the same as in the United States. The next day, June 2, 1945, we had moved to the 5th floor of the Chico Building. This was a reinforced concrete building that had suffered little damage to the structure. It had however been burned out. The elevator had been destroyed. The overhead water tank and pump still functioned but the level control had burned so it was necessary for a man on the ground floor where the mess hall was to manually turn on and off the pump.

I decided to rebuild the control with some brass strips cut from an artillery shell casing and some other parts salvaged from other equipment. This worked and now we had a reliable supply of water for showers in the second floor shower room with no one assigned to watch the pump and turn it off and on.

The electric system was still intact and the ceiling fans operated. The lights were 220 volt bulbs and rather dim. I hooked up a 110-volt light in series with my Knight Radio so we now had radio and reading light. I priced bulbs made in China and Japan that were in a hardware store. A 60-watt bulb, four pesos ($2.00). Everything was not high priced, however, bananas were 10 centavos (five cents). They were very good, tree ripened with a little different taste.

Our 5th floor living quarters just had folding canvas cots and a Signal Corps table for the telephone, radio, and to write on. There were openings in the outer walls with several small balconies having iron railings. The one closest to my bunk had a dried up potted palm. This potted palm contained the solution to a mystery. At night we laid some of the contents of our pockets on the floor beside our bunks along with our shoes and socks. We began to notice some items missing in the morning. Cigarettes, gum, and candy and anything shiny seemed to disappear. We finally found a pack rat had a nest in the potted palm and there was all the missing items including one sock.

The Chico Building was just across the Pasig River. It was now just a few blocks to work across the Jones Bridge. From the 5th floor, we had quite a view of the city. Many of the nearby buildings had been destroyed. We could see in the distance………TO BE CONTINUED.



Last update November 10, 2013