Sebewa Recollector
Items of Genealogical Interest

Volume 43 Number 4
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;
FEBRUARY 2008.  Volume 43, Number 4.  Sebewa Township, Ionia County, Michigan. 
Submitted with written permission of Editor Grayden D. SLOWINS: 

 

SURNAMES:  WALTER, KIMBLE, WITBECK, FREEMONT, LOWREY, SHELLENBARGER, TISCHER, LOWREY, SCHEIDT, SAUERS, BESKO, SPAULDING, HIGH, BABCOCK, GIERMAN,  JOHNSON, WELCH, BALDIE, NORMINGTON, ADGATE, RUSSMAN, VANBENSCHOTEN, LINEBAUGH, SNYDER, ROGERS, O’MARA, GIBBS, LEHMAN, ARNOLDS, PEAKE, PRYER


FRONT PAGE PHOTO OF SEBEWA HIGH SCHOOL – K-8  1951-1952 WITH STUDENTS:

   Back row:  Sally McQUEEN, Don BUTLER, Paul THUMA, Gladah LUMBERT, Sharon SANDBORN, Ronal EVANS, Agnes THUMA, John SANDBORN, Charles ALLEN, Mrs. Grace GRAFT.

   Middle row:  Bill SANDBORN, Floyd BUTLER, Jim LUMBERT, Dick HOLLENBACK, Lloyd BUTLER, Jean Ann BLACK, Bill BARRETT, Larry CURTIS, Howard KENYON.

   Front row:  Richard STEMLER, Roberta HOLLENBACK, Cynthia SANDBORN, Janice KENYON, Luke SANDBORN, Jean LUMBERT, Ramona DARLING, Joyce ALLEN, Bob SANBORN, Don KENYON, Kip LUMBERT, Daryl HOLLENBACK.


RECENT DEATHS:

LEON A. WALTER, 87, husband of Doris KIMBLE WALTER, widower of Mary WITBECK WALTER, father of David WALTER and Linda GIBBONS, grandfather of Chris WALTER, Jeff WALTER, Amy HAZEL and Rebecca MAZUREK, great-grandfather of Traver WALTER and eight others, plus two great-great-grandchildren, brother of Lois and son of Hattie DAUSMAN & Homer A. WALTER, son of D. FREEMONT WALTER, son of George WALTER, who settled there in Boston Township on the north shore of Morrison Lake in 1864.  Born January 7, 1920, died September 1, 2007.
   Leon was a dairy farmer on the WALTER homestead all his life and Boston Township Supervisor for 20 years.  Just three months before his death, he let us tour his historic double-drive nine-bay gambrel-roofed barn, one of the largest ever in Ionia County, with its two hayrack-lifters, and his maple sugar shanty, along with lots of oral history of farming in Boston Township for the last 150 years.
   He is buried by his first wife in Saranac Cemetery. 

PHYLLIS ARLENE LOWREY SHELLENBARGER, 89, widow of Claud, mother of Gary SHELLENBARGER, Linda TRAVIS, Diane DUFLO, and the late Greg SHELLENBARGER, daughter of Ollie TISCHER and Charles LOWREY, was born, raised and farmed all her life on the 1856 LOWREY homestead on Jordan Lake Road at I-96 in Berlin Township.
   She was born July 18, 1918 and died December 28, 2007 and was cremated. 

DONNA B. SCHEIDT SAUERS BESKO, 89, wife of Henry BESKO, widow of Paul SAUERS, mother of Monte and Dennis SAUERS, Toby HASKINS, Sonya LATZ, and Dirk BESKO, daughter of Bernice SPAULDING & Bernard SCHEIDT, whose family opened SCHEIDT’S General Store in Lake Odessa soon after its founding in 1887.
   Born August 8, 1918, she November 7, 2007.  Donna was the first woman on-foot mail carrier in the United States at Lake Odessa and later Postmaster at Ovid.


HISTORY OF THE COUNTY FARM by Grayden SLOWINS:

   Charlie BABCOCK asked me to speak at the Township Officers Association chapter meeting, after seeing Bill DAVIS’ article in the Weekender about Robert Wilfred GIERMAN and THE SEBEWA RECOLLECTOR.  R. W. GIERMAN – Wilfred to those of us from Sebewa – Bob to the outside world – started THE RECOLLECTOR in September 1965, after the Sebewa Center School closed, and after several previous small attempts at newsletters.  I researched and wrote numerous articles for it over the years.  In December 1990, with his health failing, he turned the operation over to me and he contributed a few more articles.  So 25 years plus 18 years, equals almost 43 years so far.

   Of interest tonight is the history of the Ionia County Poor Farm.  First a few words from a past article I wrote entitled “Welfare in an Agrarian Society”.  Because in the beginning most problems are local and are handled locally, and so it was in the townships.  I have the Sebewa Clerk’s Minute Books dating back to the beginning in 1845, and from these I reconstructed the story of Alice JOHNSON.  A once proud pioneer family that owned most of Section 17 Sebewa, the resident family had dwindled to one widow or maiden lady on 80 acres in the 1930s & 1940s.  She had no tenant farmer, so the Township Supervisor, a man named William ROSEVERE, more or less managed her farm.

   He got neighbors to plant and harvest her crops, and she kept a cow, some chickens, and a few sheep.  Her main cash crop was about ten acres more or less of wheat.  All through the year the township paid her doctor bills, coal bills, and let her run a tab at PATTERSONS’ General Store.  Then came wheat threshing day and William ROSEVERE tended bagger on Daniel CREIGHTON’S Port Huron Separator powered by an International Titan 15-30 Tractor.  The first 20 bushels or so were put in those 2 bushel/120# Bemis Seamless bags and saved to be cleaned for seed.

   You may remember that we planted 7 pecks per acre back then.  The next 4 – 6 bushels were saved to trade for flour – one 60# bushel for one 25# bag of flour at Valley City Milling Company.  The remainder of the crop found its way to market and the screenings from all of the crop were brought to her granary to feed the chickens and sheep.  She fed the threshers a hearty dinner of chicken, biscuits & gravy, garden vegetables & apple pie, the Township General Fund was repaid as far as possible and the year’s process started over again.

   And her story ends with a mystery:  Alice JOHNSON was dead and buried by the time Ann & I took over the Clerk/Sexton job in the late 1960s.  But just before Memorial Day for many years, a big black Lincoln Continental would pull in and a well-dressed man would set out flowers on her grave.  When I approached, he would get in the car and leave.  Was he a nephew, or a cousin, or perhaps an orphan boy she had taken in and helped long ago?

   But for those who didn’t have the land behind them that Alice JOHNSON had, or who needed daily assisted living, we had the County Farm, Poor Farm, Poor House, or at the last it was called the Ionia County Infirmary.  The first one was on the farm now owned by Ronald Township Supervisor Patrick WITTENBACH, after John B. & Amos WELCH, after Mrs. NORMINGTON (aunt to Stanley POWELL), after David BALDIE, later of BALDIE Street in Ionia, who first separated out the quarter acre cemetery description on the deed.

   David BALDIE bought it from first settler Joshua SHEPARD, who died and was buried there on his own farm in 1837.  When Wilfred and I first went to investigate, we got permission and went across the farm of Stanley & Eleanor, Ron & Margie, and now Doug & Amanda POWELL.  We had understood it was on the corner of their land and we could drive right to it.

   But it was just over the fence, and when we stepped over that pattered fence, we knew at once we were in a cemetery, even though there were no markers.  After many years working in and restoring cemeteries, we could spot the little rows of depressions where someone had been buried in a pine box without a vault.

   The 1875 Ionia County Plat Book shows:  County Farm, G. WOLVERTON, Keeper.  I believe he was a son of Israel WOLVERTON, who homesteaded on what we think of as the Tag FERRIS farm on KELSEY Hwy.  Then it took considerable research and legal footwork to verify the county’s ownership, determine the date of founding (1856), date of building (1871 for $7000), date it burned (1907), and names, ages, and burial dates for inhabitants. 

   Wilfred’s brother, Maurice GIERMAN, and Wilfred’s lady friend, Marge SMITH were county commissioners and a lot of help pushing it through the legal underbrush.  Then we began to clear the actual underbrush and prepare to set a common marker, since the location of the individual graves was never recorded.

   In the rather skimpy records we found some people who went there as an infant or orphan child and worked there, on the farm or in the house, all their lives – they never got to go anyplace or do anything else!  Other people fell into financial hardship or poor health, and because they had no family who cared about them, and no money to pay their way to Heartlands or Green Acres, even if such places had existed, they ended up at the Poor Farm.

   This place burned in 1907, miraculously without loss of life, and the County started over in north Berlin Township on Riverside Drive.  Most of us know more about the 1907 County Farm & Infirmary.  This was originally the Alonzo SESSIONS homestead (hence SESSIONS Creek & Lake) and later the MORRISONS and ADGATES farmed it.  John ADGATE, Loren’s dad, was born there, and I believe John MORRISON, although I don’t know if the MORRISONS ever owned it, but I think they were all related.

   Wilfred was able to talk to the last couple who had been the Superintendents, Mr. & Mrs. Harvey GIBSON, and see the Poor House Record Books, which are now at the State Archives (Lansing, MI).  There are 44 people listed as “Buried in the farm” in Ronald, and 55 in Berlin.  Bronze plaques now list them on the big stone.  The cornerstone was laid November 21, 1907.  The cost was $37,000 and the contractor was a man named WRIGHT, whose father had helped build the original 1845 stone farmhouse.

   The new building had a 720 foot by six-inch sewer running to SESSIONS Creek!  It closed in 1967, after a 30-year decline in use, for lack of customers.  Adult Foster Care Homes, as well as places like Ionia Manor – now called Heartlands Health Center – took over.  Even before the Board of Supervisors became the Board of Commissioners on January 1, 1969, there started to be talk about giving the 400 acres to the State of Michigan for a park.  I doubt if anyone now living knows for sure who first had the idea, but Rus GREGORY pushed to have it developed and not just be more State Game Area, like over around Portland and some along the Flat River near Belding.


   PORTLAND REVIEW & OBSERVER, Thursday, March 30, 1950:  Horse-drawn vehicles have come into play, because roads are so bad many farmers can not get out by car or truck.  Some rural schools have been closed due to muddy roads and buses to town schools have been sticking to main highways only.  Rural travel has been a hard job unless by tractor or horse power.
   It is expected the subject of raising taxes one mill for Portland Township road upkeep will be brought up at the annual town meeting.  NOTICE:  Portland Township Annual Meeting, Monday, April 3, 1:00 PM.  Dan WATSON, Clerk. 

NOTICE:  Danby Township Annual Meeting, Monday, April 3, 1:00 PM, Burr DUFFEY, Clerk. 

NOTICE:  Sebewa Township Annual Meeting, Monday, April 3, 1:00 PM.  Wilbur GIERMAN, Clerk.

   (EDITOR’S NOTE:  Sebewa Township Electors heard a motion by John LICH, Sr., to raise one mill for gravel on Sebewa’s roads.  The gravel was contracted immediately out of current funds, and that fall’s elections approved the beginning of collection of millage for roads in Sebewa, Portland and elsewhere.  For the 57 years since, with a couple lapses that were quickly seen as needing rectifying, this millage has continued.  Currently it is two mills, plus two mills long ago voted for Fire and Emergency Service, and less than one mill for general operating of cemeteries, elections, etc. dut to the so-called HEADLEE rollback.)

 IONIA SENTINEL-STANDARD, June 17, 1940:  DOGS IN SHEEP, TWO ARE KILLED.  Three dogs, two of them large collies, were shot and killed after they were reported in a flock of sheep belonging to Emory TOWNSEND.  Deputy Sheriff Ben NEVE said he shot and killed two of the dogs and wounded the third, a large red hound which escaped.  Sheriff Leslie MURPHY warned dog owners they must keep their dogs tied and they cannot be released to run free at night, which many have apparently been doing. 

IONIA SENTINEL-STANDARD, June 17, 1900:  A Mr. CALVERT of Detroit was in the city today in the interest of an electric railroad from Ionia to Grand Rapids, which he says Detroit capitalists will build.  All he asks from the city is a franchise to use the streets.  (This was the Inter-Urban, which did reach places like Ada, Cascade, Lowell, Elmdale, Alto, Freeport, Whitneyville, Alaska, Caledonia, Middleville, Wayland, Jenison, Coopersville, Sparta and Rockford, but never came out as far as Ionia.  It crossed the Grand River on what is now the pedestrian bridge from DeVOS Convention Center to Gerald R. FORD Museum.  Lake of ridership in the jobless late 1920s and early 1930s, plus more convenient carpools and buses, killed it. 

PORTLAND REVIEW & OBSERVER, February 28, 1939, Mr. & Mrs. Joseph RUSSMAN and family will move from the Helen WOODBURY farm north of Portland near Christian Bend, to the former C. J. (Jack) HILL farm south of Portland in Danby.  (HILLS kept the peach & apple orchard at this time.  These moves all took place on March 1, traditional annual moving day for farmers.)  Forest STIFFLER will move from the HILL place to the farm of his father, Warren STIFFLER, also in Danby. 

PORTLAND REVIEW & OBSERVER, February 28, 1939:  Pewamo Hardware Co.  Our bargains include:  Used Equipment – Allis Chalmers 1938 WE tractor, John Deere Model B cultivator, two International 10-20 tractors, five Fordson tractors, one Hart PARR 18-36 tractor, one black mare 6 years old, nearly new double harness, other new and used harness, one-row cultivator, five 2-bottom 12-inch plows.
   New Equipment – Allis Chalmers Model B tractors on rubber $495.00 F.O.B. Milwaukee, farm at twice the speed of a team of horses with a Model B and matched implements:  16-inch plow $85.00, one-row cultivator $50.25, side mounted mower (price not listed), Model 40 All-crop Harvester $345.00 F.O.B. factory, harvest your crops with no outside help needed.
   Attorney Harvey VanBenSCHOTEN of Belding was in town yesterday on his way to his former home in Sebewa.
   Treasurer Frank LINEBAUGH of Orange Township settled with the County Treasurer at Ionia last week, having collected every cent of tax spread on the rolls. 

PORTLAND REVIEW, May 7, 1912:  George SNYDER, Jr., local meat dealer (formerly of Sebewa) says they are not doing much business these days because of the high price of beef.  Cattle are bringing 5 cents to 6 cents a pound, live weight, which makes them cost the dealer nearly 11 cents a pound dressed out. 

PORTLAND REVIEW & OBSERVER, May 7, 1942:  Lorenzo WEBBER came to Portland 72 years ago on May 10, 1870, at age 10 months.  For many years he was engaged in the banking business started by his father, John A. WEBBER and grandfather, Lorenzo WEBBER, Sr.  Now he operates a real estate and insurance business (with Allen HUGHES in the back of the former bank building).
   Ionia County Board of Supervisors defeated a resolution to change the time from Eastern War Time (Daylight Savings Time) back to Eastern Standard Time.  Farmers had asked to change back, stating the cows didn’t like waking up so early in the morning and the hired help wanted to leave about the time the dew was off the field work.  (This topic was still being argued thirty or forty years later, in fact until the cows and hay had mostly disappeared, but the cows and farmers never won out.)
   The (REVIEW) Editor stepped to the curb in front of the R & O this week and was shocked to see Joe WAINWRIGHT lying on the sidewalk, an excited schoolgirl standing beside him holding her bike.  As we helped Joe to his feet, he explained that he had just been knocked down by the young lady’s bike, while she was riding it on the sidewalk on her way to school.
   Joseph, who has kept the pavements of the village swept (clean of road apples) for quite a few years now, has dodged many a horse and auto and now his first “rap” is from a bike.  His shoulder was painfully injured and he was unable to resume work for several days.  And now we get to the angle of riding bicycles on the sidewalk, which for more than a generation has been a problem in Portland.  Thirty years ago no-one thought of riding a bicycle on the sidewalks of Kent Street during daytime or evening.  It was comparatively safe to ride in the street, because there were few autos, and teams hitched to wagons were easy to dodge. 

PORTLAND REVIEW & OBSERVER, May 7, 1942, continued:  Today autos are many and teams are few; even most of the hitching posts are gone.  Bike riders are taking a chance if they ride in the streets downtown.  Pedestrians are given less chance if bikes are operated on the sidewalks, and the way that would seem to give both groups an even break is for the youngsters to wheel their bikes through downtown.
   Frank ROGERS, who died last week in Lansing, was one of the men most responsible for routing the original M-16 and later US-16 through Portland.  ROGERS was State Highway Commissioner from 1913 to 1939 and saw Michigan’s road system expand to one of the best in the nation.  It was during the administration of Governor Alexander GROSBECK that the question of whether the trunk line would go through or south of Portland (Along the route of the old Grand River Trail) first came up.
   ROGERS favored going through, and the governor’s okay was secured by a committee of Portland residents.  (Of course we all know that when it came time to build EISENHOWER’S Interstates in 1956-1958, I-96 did indeed go south of town, although closer than originally proposed and with three exits, unusual for such a small town.)
   COMPTON School District – Miss Marie O’MARA and pupils visited several factories, public buildings, and other places of interest in Ionia one day this week.
   There was no school in the HIGH District Monday due to sugar rationing. (?)
   Mrs. Tom GIBBS of Sebewa fell and hurt her……self quite badly. (?)
   A letter from Dr. L. A. BURHANS of Peoria, Illinois, recalls when he attended TRAVIS School in Sebewa and graduated from Portland High School 50 years ago in 1892.  He mentioned Wright WAKELY, a classmate at the TRAVIS, who recently died in Portland.  END QUOTE.
   Leo LEHMAN advertised women’s clothing and shoes in his early ads, as well as the men’s furnishings for which we remember him.  George W. ALLEN sold gent’s furnishings in his 1902 advertisements.  Later Myrtle ALLEN & Rose BARNES ran the Style Shop with women’s clothing, and Gladys WOHLSCHEID worked for them, first next to Roy DAWDY’S Mens Wear and then next to BURGER’S/WARD’S Garage.  George W. ALLEN was a brother to Ora CLARK ALLEN, who ran a garage in the Detroit area for a while with his son, George Thomas ALLEN, and Ora was asphyxiated working under a car.
   George TOM & Myrtle were the parents of Maxine (Mrs. Riley LaVERN) SANDBORN of Sebewa.  Maxine was born in Highland Park, then they lived at Charlevoix for a while, where George TOM worked at logging down the rivers to load on big lake boats.  They came back to Portland by the time Maxine and young TOM started school and George TOM ran an ice business.  The Merritt ALLEN family, parents of George W. & Ora, pioneered on what we think of as the HUIZENGA farms on both sides of KEEFER Hwy. in Sebewa Township. 

IONIA COUNTY NEWS, March 27, 1924:  G. W. ARNOLD’S Son, located on the south side of the river in Ionia, was displaying the simplicity trade mark we are all familiar with today, but it was for his engine cylinder grinding service.  Ionia Water Power Electric Company was advertising to provide electric service in Ionia and vicinity.


 REMEMBER WHEN: 

   All the threshing machines were operated by horse power, and there was a continual hum, varying according to the speed the horses traveled, which could be heard a long distance away?
   When the late Charles WYMAN built a brick barn on Academy Street, fitting it up so as to be used as a residence until he could build a house on the same lots?  He never built the house, but the brick barn was later rearranged so that one would never guess the purpose for which it was originally intended.  (I believe it is still there in 2007, can you find it?)


PORTLAND REVIEW, February 4, 1936:  A letter from MERRITT S. ALLEN of Lake City, Mich., as follows:  “As to the date of the coldest New Years Day, I was on earth and took a sleigh ride on that day.  Many are the times I have heard my mother tell about that ride.  She said she took me in her arms and sat in the straw in the bottom of the sleigh box and my father covered us with quilts.  Then he ran the horses a distance of one mile (south) to the home of Mr. & Mrs. Jacob HIGH, near the HIGH rural school in Sebewa for the holiday dinner.  Now if I remember rightly, since I was there, I was born on the 25th of September that year 1864. 

PORTLAND REVIEW, February 25, 1936:  As we mentioned last time, Dr. & Mrs. Roy PRYER of Danby were headed for Florida.  But due to the subzero weather and deep snow, they were delayed, because the two-mile stretch from their house to FROST Corners could not be negotiated by automobile.  They had planned on leaving Wednesday morning, but even with men working all day, they could not do it.  It was not until Thursday afternoon that they reached US-16, using a team to pull the car on the last lap.
   Mrs. Guy PEAKE, formerly Maude BRADFIELD, lives in the PRYER neighborhood in Danby.  Returning from this village by auto in early evening, she got as far as the home of Mr. and Mrs. Harry KELLY, a mile from her own home, stuck in the snow.  A horse and some overalls were offered and Mrs. KELLY volunteered to accompany her.  On round-bellied farm horses they completed the trip.
  Contracts were let for this summer to widen US-16 in this village and include building the new bridge, to start as soon as possible and complete the work not later than August 1, 1936.  The first step will be to move the Worden Hotel some distance to the south, placing it on a suitable foundation.  Two houses also to be moved, are located to the west, part way around the bend in the road which is to be made a gentle curve. 

PORTLAND REVIEW, February 1916, William O. BARTON was elected Treasurer of the village.  Ira DARLING died and was buried in North Eagle Cemetery.  Carl BYWATER 7 Leo RYERSON (brothers-in-law) opened a drug store in the POWER’S building which was recently damaged by fire.
   Hoziah HORNER, Veteran of the Civil War, well-known auctioneer and former Supervisor of Portland Township, died after having been stricken with paralysis.  (In 1936 it was said that the last local Civil War Vet had died the year before, making 215 Civil War Vets buried in Portland Cemetery.)
   William B. STOCUM of Grand Ledge has purchased Duncan KENNEDY’S hardware business.  Charles CAMPBELL & Helen SOUTHWELL of Sebewa were married at M. E. parsonage. 

PORTLAND REVIEW, August 25, 1936:  Photo shown was taken from the summit of Alton HILL (near ALTON Park), now reduced to a long, gradual grad, with the dangerous curve eliminated, and ending at the new concrete US-16 (Grand River Ave.) bridge.  Another photo was taken from the east at the foot of GRANT Street looking west past Valley City Mill to Divine Hotel, with the banks cut back for more gentle curve there, too.
   On Tuesday, August 25, 1936, residents of Danby and Sebewa Townships were voting on whether to grant or reject a franchise to Ionia County Electric Membership (later called Tri-County Electric Cooperative), to sell and distribute electricity for light, heat and power within the respective townships (we voted again in 1966 and 1996 for 30-year franchises).  Meetings have recently been held for purpose of organizing in Portland, Orange and Odessa Townships.
   Lorenzo WEBBER had compiled a list of the community’s oldest living residents and their year of birth:
   Mary WHITLOCK 1842, Jacob YERGE 1846, Orson V. FROST 1847, William HECOX 1849, William H. PRYER 1849, Ira FULLER 1849, Abe H. HILL 1850, Elijah BROOKS 1850, Flora W. STONE 1851, Albert A. WAY 1853, J. W. (Wash) RADER 1854, Mel REIDING 1854, Henry KENYON 1855, Emeline STOCKWELL 1855.
   Superintendent Fred J. WILLIAMS was taking registrations for school to start September 8th.  The new wing of the BRUSH Street School was nearing completion.  Kindergarten, First and Second Grades were to be taught on the first floor.  The Manual Training Department (Shop) was to be in the basement of the new wing, but might not be completed enough to start on opening day.  The Home Economics Department would be taught in the east end of the main building basement.
   (In a succeeding year the Kindergarten and First Grade traded places and teachers, as did the Fourth and Fifth Grades, in order to accommodate the needs and abilities of the respective teachers.  This caused some students to have Mrs. Marjorie GILDEN for two years and others to have Miss Irene CRANE for two years.)
   George Ivan FRANCIS, former Portland High School teacher was Director of Education at Jackson Prison, with 1400 students and 75 teachers.  All but five teachers and Mr. FRANCIS were themselves inmates.
   Four youngsters were temporarily disappointed when they bought tickets for Ionia at Pere Marquette Depot and then were told there was no passenger coach behind the freight cars.  In the midst of their depression, the conductor came to their rescue and offered to let them ride in the caboose.  He even helped them up into the cupola, from which point they enjoyed a fine view of the countryside.  They were Robert and Frederick RUSSMAN, Robert SCHAEFER and Mary PROUDFOOT of Kalamazoo, cousin of the RUSSMAN boys.  They were headed for Ionia Free Fair.
  A two-day celebration was held for the opening of the new US-16 bridge on September 2nd.  Mayor Bill YOUNG and Country Road Commissioner Chester DIVINE made the first trip across in YOUNG’S car.  Speakers were M. Clyde STOUT, State Representative from Ionia County, and State Highway Commissioner Murray D. VAN WAGONER (later Governor). 

PORTLAND REVIEW, August 25, 1936, continued:  The US-16 bridge cost $70,400 and the almost one mile of concrete approaches cost $61,000.  The State paid 50% and the Feds paid 50%.  A queen contest was held in conjunction with the festival.  Marian BARTON (BROWN) was the winner.  Some of the other contestants were:  Lorette SCHNEIDER, Mary JARVIS, Betty BAUER, Edys INGRAHAM, Margretta PRYER and Reika VISSER (RAGLIN).
   Among 20 couples celebrating Golden Wedding Anniversaries at the Ionia Free Fair were:  Mr. & Mrs. Archie GREEN of Lyons, Mr. & Mrs. HIRAM WHITMORE, Portland; Mr. & Mrs. George LAPO, Orange Township; and Mr. & Mrs. George GOODEMOOTE, Sebewa Township.
   “Elderly couple to wed” was the headline for notice of marriage license application of Edwin LEAK (76) and Mary M. SEXTON (SAXTON SACKSTONE) (72), both of Sebewa Township, to be living at Lake Odessa. 

PORTLAND REVIEW, February 1916:  Heirs of the Oscar N. JENKINS estate and Jack SYKES have agreed upon the price of $1500 for the lots on the (center) east side of Kent Street owned by the estate.  Mr. SYKES is to build a large two-story brick store building thereon and has tentatively arranged to lease it to TOMY & DAWDY, clothiers.
   In the debris as the jam of ice passed through Portland was the bridge which had connected the mainland with the Seven Islands at Grand Ledge.  It had been carried away by the flood, but enough was left of it to make identification possible. 

PORTLAND REVIEW, February 1896:  John A. WEBBER has been having the third story of his new house lathed and plastered, indicating that the young people will have a nice place in which to dance when the job is completed.


   REMEMBER WHEN: About 1848 the Bridge Street Bridge, the only one across the Grand River in Portland in those days, went out, and traffic was maintained by a ferry boat large enough to carry one team & wagon, and operated by means of a rope stretched across the river, with three men supplying the motive power?  The bridge that replaced that one was supported by three piers, constructed like a barn frame and called “bents”.  A tree carried by the next run of ice tore out one of these piers, letting the west section down into the water and it floated away.

   WHEN the Indians from Shimnecon trekked north each year and small boys watched along the route?

   WHEN a good many Portland families kept a cow and it was the duty of small boys to drive them to and from pasture in summer, a mile or so out of town?

   WHEN Sylvanus GOFF bought cattle and drove them to Detroit, going all the way on foot, himself?  He said that as a youth he had suffered a sore on his leg and the doctors wished to amputate, but he refused, and that leg carried him to Detroit many times.  (Joseph Priestly POWELL, grandfather of Stanley and great-great-grandfather of Doug POWELL & Julie POWELL CALLEY, could walk to Detroit in the daylight hours of two days, a distance of 125 miles from his Ronald Township home.  Of course a herd of cattle would slow a man down a bit.)


 

Last update November 10, 2013