Sebewa Recollector
Items of Genealogical Interest

Volume 42 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; Sebewa Township, Ionia County, MI. 
June 2007, Volume 42, Number 6.  Submitted with written permission of Editor Grayden D. Slowins:




ELEANOR LOIS MEYERS VERGESON ALLEN, 82, widow of Delbert VERGESON and Almerian ALLEN, sister of Harold and Wesley MEYERS, Ardell WARD, and the late Howard MEYERS, daughter of Mattie BAILIFF & Harold (Harry) MEYERS, son of Albert MEYERS & Lydia SHIPMAN, daughter of Angerona CARPENTER & William H. SHIPMAN, who settled on Sunfield Road in Sebewa Township before 1891.  Eleanor was associated with her husband Del in several gas stations in Lansing and Portland, and later worked in the J & J Variety Store in Portland.

   She’s buried in East Sebewa Cemetery.

THEODORE P. (Ted) ARMSTRONG, 61, husband of Karol ORRELL ARMSTRONG, brother of Thomas J. ARMSTRONG and Kathy S. SWIFT, son of Phyllis CUTLER & Theodore H. (Ted) ARMSTRONG, longtime dairy farmers in Odessa Township on South HARWOOD Road, active in the Michigan Farm Bureau and Republican Party, and for about the last twenty years retired to a new home on South State Road in Sebewa Township.  Ted P. was an Aeronautical Engineer and self-employed computer software consultant, living in Vineland, NJ.

   He’s buried in Glenwood Memorial Gardens, Broomall, PA.

ALBERT WINSTON IVES, 91, widower of Mildred G. KENYON IVES, father of Denise BEECHLER and the late Patricia GIRDWOOD, brother of the late Stanley IVES, son of Aaron & Grace IVES.  They lived on a portion of the KENYON farm on PETRIE Road at YORK Road in Sebewa Township.  Winston retired in 1977 from ELLIOT’S IGA Store in Sunfield after 30 years as a meat cutter and had been a television technician at BEEBE’S TV Shop in Ionia.

   He’s buried in East Sebewa Cemetery.

FLORENCE E. SANDBORN, 90, widow of Raymond, mother of Constance STIFFLER, Lynda RUSSMAN, Jack SANDBORN, Daniel SANDBORN, and the late Jeffery SANDBORN, sister of two deceased brothers, daughter of Helen SHAY & Arthur SUMMERS.  The late John & Marie SHAY of Sebewa were her uncle & aunt, as is Dorothy (Mrs. Russell, Jr.) BLACKMAN of Portland.  She and Raymond, son Jeffery and grandson Jeffery have been longtime farmers in Sebewa & Danby Townships.

   She’s buried in East Sebewa Cemetery.

ROSE GAY SLATER SAYER HOFFMAN STEWARD, 88, ex-wife of the late Stanley SAYER and widow of Clinton HOFFMAN and Loyd STEWARD, mother of Naomi SAYER SHELTON, Virgil HOFFMAN and Genie HISLER, daughter of Ava GARDNER and Malcolm G. SLATER, son of Z. B. & Mrs. SLATER, daughter of Ephraim PROBASCO, the namesake “Uncle Eph” with whom Ephraim SHAY enjoyed spending Sundays.  Ephraim PROBASCO lived on the northeast corner of BIPPLEY Road and PETRIE Road in Sebewa Township, and Z. B. SLATER and wife acquired the north 80 acres of that 160 and thus lived on PETRIE Road.  Rose was a founder and 10-year librarian of Sunfield Library.  She was very active in the Sunfield Historical Society.

LORANCE (LARRY) DAVIS, 63, husband of Linda, father of three children, brother of Jeannette MILLER, LeRoy DAVIS and Janice BRADLEY, son of LaVerne and Elnor DAVIS.  The older DAVIS family lived for many years in the Archie VanHOUTEN tenant house, just over into Odessa from Sebewa Township.

   Larry & family lived in Lansing.

STEVEN KALLWEIT, former husband of Vicki ACKERSON KALLWEIT PONTZ, father of Alea and Mefean, brother of David, Debbie and Peggy, son of Maggie & Rev. Ralph KALLWEIT, former Pastor of Sunfield’s Sebewa United Methodist Churches from Pembina, North Dakota.




GIBBS FAMILY VISIT:  Four GIBBS women came April 29th for a week, to visit their relatives in Michigan and East Sebewa Cemetery.  Jessica GIBBS ZAVALA, age 31, & her mom Judy are from 907 S. Wooster St., Los Angles, CA  90035.  Jessica’s dad’s sister, Pat BUTLER & her daughter, Heather WELCH, are from 2839 West 8250 South, West Jordan, UT  84088.  They are descendants of Robert & Mariam GIBBS, then George and Frank and three more Georges to Jessica.  They also visited patriarch Byron GIBBS at Mt. Pleasant.  At age 90, he is busy taking a computer class!  Because Columbus SANDBORN married Sarah Jane GIBBS, most of the SANDBORNS in this area are GIBBS descendants also, and several came over, but Melborn, age 93, was too sick. 

EPHRAIM SHAY’S DIARY 1861-1863:       Continued

   Saturday November 1st – Wednesday 12th – usual routine of duties.  The new regiments are now coming in here, one or two each day.  A new Medical Officer outranking Major HARTSHORN has reported for duty.  Thursday 13th – Friday 14th – last night three more Regts arrived.  I have been quite unwell, feeling better this morning.  Saturday 15th – Monday 17th – usual duties, nothing new, a series of fires in town.  They seem so regular that the supposition is they were set and that there is a group of rebels at work.  Received letter from Kate, all well, answered it.  Tuesday 18th – Wednesday 26th – usual duties in office.  Received orders on 23rd to march on 26th, column did so early this morning.  We left at 2 AM, crossed the Hatchie and encamped about one mile beyond.  Thursday 27th – column moved at sunrise, and as it passed the road on which Genl LAUMAN was to join our column, he reported promptly at that moment.  Went on about half mile to the State Line, where Genl M. L. SMITH was to join us, he reported also, making an exact meeting of the three Divisions at the appointed place.  Genl LAUMAN left Memphis by the Hernando Road, Genl DENVER by the Pigeon Roost Road, and Genl M. L. SMITH by the Germantown Road, encamping at Coldwater Creek 27 miles from Memphis.

   Friday 28th – column marched at sunrise.  Genl Sherman and staff (incl. E. SHAY) stopped at Byhalia Village until Genl DENVER’S and Genl LAUMAN’S Divisions passed and the column of Genl SMITH’S was in sight.  Then we left at dusk on the direct road to Pigeon Roost, where we arrived and encamped at 9 PM.  Genl LAUMAN’S Division took the Chulahoma Road at Byhalia and joined Genl DENVER’S column, which passed on the direct road to Pigeon Roost beyond the Holly Spring Road to join us.  Saturday 29th – remained in camp at Pigeon Roost.  Sunday 30th – column moved at sunrise, we left soon after.  Stopped at a farmer’s until by brisk riding we just had time to reach the head of the column as it arrived in Chulahoma (Chewalla, TN?).  Went in camp with Genl. DENVER in the center, the others on the right and left on the principal roads leading to and from town.

   Monday December 1st, 1862 – remained in camp at Chulahoma, cold damp day, had our office in the parlor of the mansion in the yard where our tents were pitched.  I was very busy making out a Consolidated Monthly Report of all the sick and wounded of the District of Memphis.  Sent out a reconnoitering party of two Regts of infantry (815th Missouri was one) and a force of cavalry to ascertain the enemy’s position on the Hatchie, where they are fortified.  Discovered them in full retreat, burning everything they could not take along.

   Tuesday 2nd – column moved at 2 AM, we left at 7 AM, arrived at Wyatt at 12, took quarters in a house near the river.  Very rainy and muddy, building a bridge across the Hatchie.  Wednesday 3rd – Genl SHERMAN and staff went to a ford.  Thursday 4th – marched to College Hill.  Friday 5th – Monday 8th – in camp at College Hill, Genl Sherman went to Oxford to consult with Genl GRANT and others.  Tuesday 9th – orders from Genl SHERMAN arrived to prepare to march to Memphis in company with Genl M. L. SMITH’S Division.  Left at noon and Genl SHERMAN rode along the lines of Genl LAUMAN’S and Genl DENVER’S commands, making a short speech to each Regiment camped at Wyatt.

   Wednesday 10th – marched to Pigeon Roost and encampment.  Thursday 11th – marched to Coldwater Creek, where Genl M. L. SMITH’S Division encamped.  We, with 7 companies of the 13th Regt as a bodyguard, camped 20 ½ miles from Memphis this side of Coldwater Creek several miles.

   December 12th – left camp at 4 AM, rode in advance of the Infantry and arrived in Memphis at noon, took quarters in the Fort in a house formerly occupied by Col McDOWELL.  Office is in the basement of the brick house now used by Genl HURLBENT as Headquarters, formerly SHERMAN’S.  Saturday 13th – busy issuing orders and getting everything ready to move down the river as soon as boats arrive to transport us.  Sunday 14th – Friday 19th – very busy making the needful preparations for the important movement down the Mississippi.  Saturday 20th – at 10 AM the Forest Queen, upon whom Genl SHERMAN has his quarters, left the landing at Memphis (TN) for Helena (MS), in order to arrive in time to perfect arrangements for the disembarkation of the troops at that point.

   The transports bringing down the forces from Memphis are to follow.  We arrived at Helena at dark and they dropped us at the wharf on our boat.  Sunday 21st – Genl M. L. SMITH’S Division passed us early in the morning.  We staid at Helena until 3 PM, when we left for a landing (old town point) 10 or 15 miles down river, where we found Genl M. L. SMITH’S Division, remained here overnight.  Monday 22nd – all the troops on about 70 transports are now here or near.  It is very pleasant weather.  A rumor arrived yesterday that the Rebels had made a raid on Holly Springs and cut off communication with Genl GRANT’S command.  I have a Memphis paper from yesterday morning, which does not confirm it, but mentions a raid was expected at Jackson, Tenn. And states that a train of cars was set fire between Humbold and Cades Station (TN).  Passed White River at dark and stopped for the night just below its mouth.

   Tuesday 23rd – left early in the morning, passed Arkansas River about 8:30 AM, Napoleon, the small town at its mouth, is a busy small village composed of very ordinary houses.  Saw what appeared to be two small churches and one school house, no business house of any size.  A Marine Hospital is situated at the mouth of the Arkansas, quite a respectable building, but reported to be a very unhealthy situation.  There is no levee nor paved streets at Napoleon.  All the towns along the Mississippi River banks present a naked poor appearance.  Small poorly built houses, no pavement, and the farm houses near the banks look more like a backwoodsman’s hut in Michigan than a Southern Planter’s Mansion.  I have not so far seen one respectable-looking house since leaving Memphis.  Wednesday 24th – usual routine of camp got under way at about 11 AM, and went until 10 PM.

   Thursday, December 25th – this morning a group of soldiers unworthy of the name set fire to some barns, huts or Negro quarters, etc. burning 12 or more.  Genl SHERMAN ordered out a squad of armed men with orders to fire on them.  I guess he told them to aim high, as but one or two slight casualties occurred.  Several prisoners were taken and 28 more are being court martialed for stealing pigs, chickens, etc.  Friday 26th – arrived at mouth of Yazoo River about 12:30 AM, preparing to move up the Yazoo at 8 AM.  Left the landing and the fleet, except Gen A. J. SMITH’S Division tied up at the respective landing.  Gen M. L. SMITH’S Division is at Johnson’s house.  Gen MORGAN is about one mile above.  Gen STEEL is above Chickasaw Bridge and took necessary precautions to prevent the enemy’s making a rush on us.

   Saturday 27th – Gen M. L. SMITH marched to the front, had quite a skirmish.  Gen MORGAN also moved ahead, had quite a skirmish towards evening.  Gen A. J. SMITH landed near Black’s Mill and moved his line forward.  Gen STEEL also moved forward and much cannonading was heard from that direction.

   I supposed it to be the Gun Boats shelling the woods.  I have not heard anything from the command yet, whether they find the enemy in force at the front or not.  I saw a signal flag on the hill near Thompson’s Lake, but could not ascertain whose it was, whether ours or the enemy’s.  The Chickasaw Bridge prevents our communication except by water.  Tonight our line meets in the Chickasaw Bridge.  New bridges are being thrown across and will be completed by morning.

   Sunday December 28th – skirmishing commenced about 4 AM and at daylight cannonading, at 7 AM brisk cannonading, at 8 AM quite heavy, principally in the front of the center Divisions.  Gen (J. A.) McCLERNAND has not arrived yet, and unless he comes soon, Gen SHERMAN will have Vicksburg before he gets here and the honor he expects will be given to the man who deserves it.  We have a very hard task before us and with anyone but Gen SHERMAN to lead would be defeated, at least that is my opinion now.  At 7 AM Gen M. L. SMITH was wounded in the side.  He was in front with a Capt of one of his Battalions examining or choosing a position for the Battalion, when a rebel sharpshooter arose from the grass and shot him.  Some sharp skirmishing recurred during the day.

   Monday 29th – Infantry skirmishing commenced early in the day.  At 8 AM the Batteries opened very heavily and continued for one hour, firing more slowly all day.  Infantry commenced a vigorous attack at 12 noon and the firing continued without intermission until after dark, and all during the night the cannon shelled our bridge built by our Col at intervals of about 3 minutes.  Tuesday 30th – no firing of much account.  Enemy strengthening their position, we are also strengthening ours, building roads to the rear, etc.  Wednesday 31st – no action of any account, time occupied as yesterday.  A gun appeared today on the hill commanding the (Chickasaw) Bayou and from appearances was capable of shelling Headquarters, no firing from it yet.

   An expedition was prepared consisting of 12,000 picked men and two mortars, a couple Ironclads and three wooden Gun Boats, with Steamers enough to transport the Infantry.  Under commands of Gen STEELE and Admiral PORTER respectively.  But owing to a slight fog hanging on the surface of the water, it was not thought advisable to attempt the storming of Haines’s Bluff, as much difficulty would be experienced in getting the transports near enough to effect a landing.

   Thursday January 1st, 1863 – at 3:30 AM a dispatch for Gen SHERMAN arrived on board the Steamer Forest Queen, on which boat the office of the Adjt Gen remained.  The Orderlies being all out in the field at Gen SHERMAN’S Hd Qtrs there, I saddled my horse and with much difficulty got him ashore, by crossing another boat and leading him down a single stair.  I rode as fast as possible to Gen SHERMAN’S Hd Qtrs, I found the Gen standing outside his tent by the fire, apparently listening for Gen STEELE to open on the Batteries at Haines’s Bluff, at which time attack was to be made along our whole front.

   The dispatch contained the notice of the failure of the expedition, giving the reasons.  He seemed disappointed, but without saying a word wrote an answer and gave it to me, which I delivered to Gen STEELE on board the Steamer Constitution.  He received it in his bed and merely raised up to read it.  All further attempts to take Vicksburg with the present force, and without the cooperation of Gen GRANT as well as Gen STEELE, appear useless and the attack was abandoned under cover of darkness.            TO BE CONTINUED.

OUR FIFTH TRIP TO FLORIDA by Grayden SLOWINS:    Concluded –

   Tuesday, March 6, 2007 – 33 degrees, sunny & breezy, reached 72 degrees.  A favorite entertainment is to compare Rvs when walking around the park.  There are other Coachmen Rvs in camp similar to our 220RK.

   Saturday, March 10……Ann and & rode with Wally to the North Florida Antique Engine & Tractor show at Bradford County Fairgrounds noeth of Starke.  An Allis-Chalmers Model U and two IHC Titan 10-20 tractors were among the most interesting, besides the John Deere featured brand and lots of innovative old stationary engines………back at camp received fourth mail packet (from MI), from Charlie, and the papers say lots of snow, rain and ice caused accidents in Ionia County and rest of Michigan around March 1-5, with blowing, drifting snow that closed schools………high here 81 degrees.

   Monday, March 12……good day to type RECOLLECTOR under the air conditioner.  Called Ken CARR………all is well at home, cold nights but snow is going down.

   Friday, March 16………..This weekend has the Gator-nationals at Gainesville and then races at Daytona.  After that crowd leaves, the snowbirds will also start migrating, although some have grandkids coming for spring break.  High 81 degrees.

   Sunday, March 18………visited with Jon & Brenda NEWTON BROWNELL at church potluck brunch.  BROWNELLS will head north April 15………

   Tuesday, March 27, 64 degrees, up at 5:00 and away at 6:45.  Azalea, Wisteria & Dogwood in blossom.  Smelled smoke and saw charred areas under trees in evergreen plantations:  one 40-acre forest fire and several small ones this past weekend.  In Georgia some corn is 2-4 inches high and some is still being planted.  Rye is ripening or sprayed for plow down.  Some peach trees are in blossom.  New plantings of pecan groves near the older ones………arrived at Birmingham South Good Sam Camp at 3:30 PM……camped next to a couple from Lowell/Rockford area of Michigan.  Her mother was a STAHL from Clarksville/Freeport area on Hastings & Bell Roads.  My mother, Crystal BRAKE SLOWINS, taught her Uncle Clare STAHL in Jennings Rural School about 1921-1922.  Small world – as everyone says while traveling!  High 87 degrees.

   Thursday, March 29, 58 degrees, away 6:07, to beat the rush of traffic entering Louisville…..A billboard depicts cows saying “Eat more chikin’”!  Cairo, GA, is called “Syrup City”  Why?  Cane syrup………in IN, saw half a dozen wooly Dorset-type ewes north of Auburn, then Suffolk ewes and lambs northwest of Charlotte made the trip complete.  This is our sixth spring without our own lambs and it’s nice to see some.  Arrived home in sunny 60s, with daffodils, crocuses, and hyacinths in bloom, and the lawn was green and clean.  Gas was $2.59 in Florida, $2.40s in Georgia & Alabama, at Sunfield had increased from $2.57 to $2.75 at noon before we arrived at 2:00 PM.  Mileage on trip home 1162, total trip of 2327.


Last update November 10, 2013