Sebewa Recollector
Items of Genealogical Interest

Volume 41 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 Newsletter from Sebewa; Sebewa Township, Ionia County, MI. 
APRIL 2006, Volume 41, Number 5.  Submitted with written permission of Editor Grayden D. Slowins:



FRONT PAGE PHOTOS of PRAY Family Residence:

   Update by Joseph G. SLOWINS.  Residence of the George PRAY Family, 8755 Plymouth Rd., Superior Twp., Washtenaw County, MI; later residents of Ronald Twp., Ionia County.  See Feb. 2002 RECOLLECTOR.

   Memorial Day, May 30th, 2005, my wife Jody and I went for a leisurely ride on a nice sunny day out and around the Ann Arbor area.  One of our stops was in front of the former PRAY residence at 8755 Plymouth Road.  The house looked very nice and well kept.  There were a few small outbuildings, including the old pump house, which were also in good shape and nicely painted.


 ELIZABETH (Betty) AVERY SMITH, mother of Gary SMITH and Marilyn NOFFKE, sister of Darrell, John, Ron & Don AVERY, daughter of Viola GREY & Herbert AVERY, son of John AVERY, farmer & longtime Supervisor in Portland Township.  Betty farmed in Sebewa Township, worked at Hastings Piston Ring, Lake Odessa Canning Company, Tasker’s Orchard, Lake Odessa WAVE, housekeeping for several elderly ladies and finally for Victor ECKHARDT.  Buried at Lakeside Cemetery. 

HULDA DOROTHY POSSEHN SUTTON, widow of Stephen SUTTON, mother of William SUTTON, sister of Helen GODWIN, Lucille HEPPE, Donald & Raymond POSSEHN, and the late Harold, Herbert & Thomas POSSEHN, daughter of Bertha SCHROEDER & William POSSEHN, son of A. C. POSSEHN, whose family emigrated from Posen, East Prussia, and settled in Odessa Township, Ionia County, before 1891.  Hulda lived most of her life on the family farm in Orange Township and retired to Emerson Manor in Lake Odessa.  Buried at BALCOM Cemetery.

WEIPPERT MILL FURTHER UPDATE:  In the last issue we mentioned that the mill primarily ground animal feed but also made buckwheat flour for pancakes.  We should have listed cornmeal for mush & johnnycake as well.  They were not equipped to make fine wheat flour.  Many of you may not know the joys of johnnycake & mush.  Let’s just say that maple or brown sugar on the mush and maple syrup on the johnnycake helped them a lot!


   “Sebewa Township, April 25, 2006 – I hereby retire, resign, and relinquish my position as Trustee on the Sebewa Township Board as of May 20, 2006.  Having first taken the oath of office as Sebewa Township Justice of the Peace on April 3, 1963, serving more than 5 ½ years, then taking the oath of office as Sebewa Township Clerk on January 4, 1969, serving 32 years, and then serving 5 ½ years as Trustee, this completes 43 years in Township Government. 

   These positions also allowed me to serve on the Board of Directors of the Michigan Townships Association for 17 years, including a term as President in 2001, an opportunity for which I shall be forever grateful.  I have enjoyed working with a lot of wonderful, dedicated people in Sebewa Township, Ionia County, and throughout the State of Michigan.  I am happy, proud, and sad, but I know I am leaving everything in good hands.  Sincerely, Grayden D. SLOWINS

Cc:  RECOLLECTOR April 2006.

   There have been a lot of changes in township government in the last 43 years, beginning with the election process.  Township elections were held in the Spring from 1837 until 1968.  Nomination was by caucus, rather than by petition and primary election.  The Township Annual Meeting was held on the Saturday next pending the first Monday in April.  After the meeting was adjourned, we split up into party caucuses and nominated candidates by simple motion, second, and majority voice vote for each office.

   The ballots were printed over the weekend by the local newspaper office and delivered to the local Clerks on Sunday evening for a quick proof read.  The election was held on that Monday.  Originally all terms were one year.  From 1908 to 1968 the Supervisor, Clerk, and Treasurer had two-year terms.  The Trustee and Justices-of-the-Peace had four-year terms staggered so only one Trustee and one Justice went off each year. 

   Prior to 1953 the Justices served as the Trustees too.  By Act of the Legislature, the final Justice terms were extended from April 1967 to December 31, 1968.  This was because the Constitutional Convention of 1962-1963 had required the creation of District Court Judges, who were to take over the Justice duties, along with considerably more, on January 1, 1969.

   The principle duties of Justices had been:

(1)  Viewing, inventorying, and settling damages caused to livestock by wild or stray dogs

(2)  Viewing disputed line fences, ordering the negligent party to build their half, and if they were still negligent, directing the complaining party to build it, send the bill to landowner & township, and cost was placed on tax lien if unpaid

(3)  Performing marriages

(4)  Optional to hold Traffic Court as well as Preliminary Hearings on charges to be bound over to Circuit Court.”


   Monday, February 13, 2006, up at 5:54, 20 degrees and wind chill of 10 degrees.  Shut off things in house and locked up.....this is our fifth year south, the first winter was to New Mexico & Arizona, and now the fourth in Starke, Florida………Since things have become somewhat repetitious, this diary will be limited to daily reports of the weather and events on the road, plus people & stories that are new to us.  That way we can begin reporting in this April issue and be done in time to report other stories & events for 2006…………called Ken CARR at home, all is well.

   Tuesday, February 14…………some good farmland in southern Kentucky, with wheat greening up………no snow in Tennessee and spots of grass are greening up………these two states are narrow north to south and pass by quickly…..Indiana & Alabama are each almost a day’s drive north to sout……we enter the red soil of Alabama; Charolais, Black Angus & Red Angus crosses, with sometimes a few Herefords.  Lots of newborn black calves and some little red pigs.  The backwaters of the Tennessee River have scads of little black ducklings……a big show-horse farm with red roofs on barn, toolshed, and manor house just north of Birmingham, AL……

   Wednesday, February 15………Saw Robins, Blue Jays, Cardinals and Mourning Doves in the campground….around the northeast side of Montgomery………Larger herds of beef cattle on pasture as we move south……same breeds as above, plus a few that appear to be miniature Longhorn cattle.  Peanut harvesting equipment and processing plants.  A field of small scraggly cotton plants that didn’t get picked…..also pecan trees, a peach orchard, and daffodils………(AL & GA) fields were starting to be tilled and a few people were raking their yards…………into the Starke KOA Kampground at 3:30 PM………temperature is 72 degrees and everyone credits us with bringing their first warm day of the year……trip down was 1164 miles……think new high-profile tires reduced this measurement.

   Sunday, February 19, 52 degrees and misty………third 80-degree day in a row………a family saw our sign and stopped by from Dutton, MI………we mentioned that Dutton is between Grand Rapids & Caledonia, where our BRAKE & WENGER ancestors settled………in fact when great-grandpa & great-grandma Abraham & Caroline BREAK came to Caledonia, MI, in 1866, they loaded livestock, farm tools, furniture and family on the Grand Trunk Train a half mile from their house at Breslau, ONTARIO, and came directly to Caledonia, MI, as BRAKES!.........met Mr. & Mrs. LEUPOLD………came from Osh Kosh, WI, where his Swiss ancestors settled in 1867.  His great-grandparents came to America with two kids, his grandfather and sister.  The man died and the wife remarried to a SCHROEDER and had seven more kids.  So the reunions include both families and go back & forth to Switzerland.  They were not part of our Mennonite ancestors who escaped religious persecution, but rather their ancestors were the Lutheran persecutors and came here 140 years after our ancestors because of great poverty & economic hardship in Europe.  The Catholics persecuted the Protestants, but when a particular Protestant denomination got control of a county, they also wanted to be exclusive.  Wally GIMBEL’S mother was a religious group also persecuted  LEUPOLDS have visited Switzerland several times and have viewed our ancestral hometown, WENGEN, from above, like the photo on our wall, and looking up from INTERLAKEN.

   Saturday, February 25, 62 degrees & rainy.  Began typing story for RECOLLECTOR.  Ann worked on her music arrangements with keyboard.  Temperature was 79 degrees at noon and 80 degrees at 4:00 in spite of rain.

   Wednesday, March 1………visited with the SCHWEITZERS from Curtis, MI, near Newberry in the UP.  He was a plumber in the U.S. Navy in Viet Nam & Desert Storm.

   Monday, March 6, 30s and clear.  Began to transcribe Ephraim SHAY’S diary and read in McCullough’s 1776.  Got another mail packet.  Called Ken CARR.  High 72.

   Friday, March 10………to North Florida Antique Engine Show………Allis-Chalmers was represented only by a couple Model-Gs.  An old International Farmall with mounted mower looked bad, but was able to take part in the parade.  An old fellow from the campground church had another Farmall in the parade…..repainted white and hard to pinpoint the model……he said he had bought an old A and a C and put the engine from the C into the (Super-)A.  He still plows, harrows, plants & cultivates his garden, scrapes dirt, and mows lawn.  He said he has an old Allis-Chalmers wrench, hex-head on one end and square-head on the other.  We think we have one too, and will look for it.

   Monday, March 13………biked five miles and got back to this typing……received mail packet……   (TO BE CONTINUED)



Last update November 10, 2013