Sebewa Recollector
Items of Genealogical Interest

Volume 43 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;
APRIL 2008.  Volume 43, Number 5.  Sebewa Township, Ionia County, Michigan. 
Submitted with written permission of Editor Grayden D. SLOWINS:




KATHYLEEN A. SANDBORN ROGERS, 89, born in the town of Sebewa on the Danby side of the road, July 3, 1918, died February 6, 1008, widow of Donald ROGERS, mother of Larry (Cheryl) ROGERS, Joan (Jim) TRUMBLE, Mary (Bill) LEONARD, and Douglas (Judy) ROGERS, sister of the late Max SANDBORN, daughter of Bernice Esther HALLADAY & Jacob WATSON SANDBORN, son of Sarah Jane GIBBS & Columbus SANDBORN.
   Bernice Esther HALLADAY was the daughter of Martha Jane DEATSMAN & Arthur HALLADAY, son of Mildred Eliza SEARS & Charles Lincoln HALLADAY, son of Elihu & Amanda HALLIDAY.  Elma Winifred LUSCHER was the daughter of Minnie C. ERDMAN & Jacob LUSCHER, Jr., son of Anna HUNTZINGER & Jacob LUSCHER, Sr., son of Anna FAES & Hans Jacob LUSCHER of Remach, Aargau, Switzerland.
   Sarah Jane Gibbs was the daughter of Mariam & Robert GIBBS.  Minnie C. ERDMAN was the daughter of Hanna PETERS & Michael F. ERDMAN, son of Sophie & Christian Frederick ERDMAN.  Martha Jane DEATSMAN was the daughter of Charles & Elizabeth DEATSMAN.  Mildred Eliza (Mandy) SEARS was the daughter of Samantha KING & Lorenzo SEARS.  All early settlers in Sebewa, Danby & Orange Twps.  Kathyleen & Donald were dairy and horse farmers on Portland Road all 62 years of their married life.
   She is buried at East Sebewa Cemetery. 

RILEY LaVERN (BUD) SANDBORN, 83, born in Orange Township, January 20, 1925, died March 21, 2008, husband of Maxine ALLEN SANDBORN, father of Marcia JOHNSON, Vicky HEDLUND, Suzan BALDEZ, Katherine BENJAMIN, LaVern SANDBORN and Thomas SANDBORN, brother of June HIGBEE, Janet GILBERT, Bonnie JAMESON, Judy McCRUMB, Betty RUSSELL, Louis, Richard, Kendall and Gary SANDBORN and the late Howard SANDBORN, Maxine VOGT and Joyce LYON, son of Anis Berthelda BENSCHOTER & Riley Howard SANDBORN, son of Elma Winifred LUSCHER & Lon SANDBORN.  Anis was the daughter of Berthelda BRADLEY & John A. BENSCHOTER, son of Mary & Oliver, son of Diana & Cornelius VanBENSCHOTEN.
   He farmed all his life in Sebewa and retired from TRW.  He is buried at East Sebewa Cemetery.

FRONT PAGE PHOTO of Sebewa HIGH School – 1907:

   Back Row:  Fern CONKRITE, Edna ALLEN, Teacher Anna WILTON (in doorway), Anna REEDER, Lena KENYON, Bernice HALLADAY.

   4th Row:  Vernon ALLEN, ? WILSON, ? ?, Inez BROWN, Burt BROWN, Don BENSCHOTER, Charles KENYON, Cora OLIVER, Layton CORNELL.

   3rd Row:  Dorothy KENYON, Zora WARD, Mae ERDMAN, Hazel DICKERSON, Catherine WILKINS, Josephine DORIN, Evelyn FRIEND.

   2nd Row:  ?, ?, Russell HALLADAY, T. O. HENRY, Ted WEBSTER, ??, ??, ? WILSON, Mamie WILLIAMS, ? HENRY.

   Front row:  Howard CRAMER, Harold CORNELL, Laurence FRIEND, ? NBECKER, Ted BROWN, Howard KNAPP, George CAREY, ??, Vern REED


   Monday, February 11, 2008, up at 6:00, to cold 5 degree wind and a little new snow over night, but clear and sunny………traveled at 30-39 MPH for the trip to I-69 at Charlotte, then mostly 45 MPH until we got into Indiana, then clear and dry and could use cruise control.  Snow hit as we crossed the Ohio River into Louisville, KY, first light and dry, then heavy and wet, icing up the windshield………took us two hours to inch our way through………to Kampground of American (KOA) RV camp.

   Tuesday, February 12, 32 degrees and raining on crusted snow……Radio says to stay off roads if possible………Wednesday, inched slowly out of the long winding, hilly drive to the highway……snow flurries in lower Kentucky………cold wind and dark sky as we entered Alabama.  Thursday……toward Starke……turned right again on 301 and out about a mile to KOA………Day’s high was 56 degrees.

   Friday, February 15……All old friends who have not died or stayed home came out to greet us:  Marie, Marcia, John, Debra, John W. & wife, little John M and baby Emma STEFFEN, the owners; Barry & wife from Pennsylvania, Jon & Brenda NEWTON BROWNELL from Woodland/Hastings, MI, Tom & Annette Schweitzer from Curtis, UP, MI; Bill & Diane ANGUISH from near Ithaca, NY, Barb & Elmer (Dude) MOHN from near the Mississippi in Illinois, Chief Petty Officer Retired Bob Antoine & wife from this park, Gail & Mike DUDLEY from Ontario, Dick SMITH & wife from York State, John (Shorty) CLEGG & wife from this park and PA, Howard & Dolly MEIER from this park and South Lyon, MI………Most missed couple who stayed home for health reasons are Wally & Dorothy GIMBEL of Southhampton, Ontario.

   Saturday, February 16………visited with a couple from south of Waterloo, IA.  He is retired from hauling redi-mix cement.  Hauled a lot to farmers building hog pens, milking parlors, manure pits, etc.  He was born near Postville, IA, where our cousins John & Susie SCHNABEL McKERNAN lived all their married life and John is buried in the churchyard……

   Tuesday, February 19, 43 degrees, sunny and clear………Called Ken CARR back home………he reported more snow & freezing rain……

   Friday, February 22, 65 degrees, 1-3 inches more rain in night and even a little hail.  Became sunny so could bike my 5 miles, Ann to quilters daily.  Then we both walked and stopped to visit with Jon & Brenda NEWTON BROWNELL about their families.  Also Tom & Annette SCHWEITZER came back from four days & three nights at the Fort Meade/Avon Park antique tractor show…….

   Sunday, February 24, 61 degrees and partly cloudy, becoming sunny.  Attended Presbyterian Church, with its beautiful old dark stained ceiling wood & trim and stained glass windows…….  High was 81 degrees.

   Thursday, February 28, 29 degrees, warming quickly to 48, then more slowly as wind came up.  Biked my 5 miles.  All-camp hot-dog roast in fireside area at noon, moved indoors due to cool air.  Visited with Jon & Brenda, Tom & Annett while biking.  The great barbecued pork we ate Tuesday night was from SCHWEITZERS’ own hog.  Barb told Ann she and Dude are looking toward an army/navy retirement home near them and are offering their park model camper for $20,000.       TO BE CONTINUED.


   Part I – First 120 years – 1838-1957:

   The first settlers who came in 1838 were Charles &. & Catherine INGALLS, John F. & Polly INGALLS TERRILL, John & Sarah (Sally) INGALLS BROWN, and Jonathan INGALLS, age 76, Revolutionary War Veteran, father of thirteen children, including Charles, Polly, and Sarah.

   There are still INGALLS not too far away in Dewitt, Grand Ledge and Lansing, and scores of BROWNS all around.  William HOGLE and Anson W. HALBERT soon came, married TERRILL daughters, and became the first miller and first storekeeper on what later (in 1854) became the John FRIEND farm, still later Laurence KNAPP’S farm, and now James & Delores STANK’S home.  Next came Jacob SHOWERMAN & Eleazer BROWN (a different strain of BROWNS) to the MUSGROVE Hwy/Sunfield intersection, Sec. 23-26-27.

   In 1843-1848 Rufus GODDAR & Benjamin D. WELD brought their families to the southwest quarter of the township.  Also the Elkanah CARPENTERS, William REEDERS, Weston BRIGGS, David GRIFFINS, and Major BROWN (another breed of BROWN!).  In 1849 John F. OLRY came to the south edge of Sebewa Center (our farm), along with William & John ESTEP, Peter GRINER, Isaac BRETZ, Andrew M. RALSTON, and the PROBASCOS.

   The northwest, north central, and northeast areas got in the 1850s:  Solomon HESS, J. C. CLARK, George SNYDER, John WARING, Orrin STEBBINS, Pierce G. COOK, Frank BROWN (a fourth kind!), Edward SANDBORN, Peter MAPES, Orrin MERCHANT, Thomas J. ALLEN, Jacob GREEN, Chauncey LOTT, A. GARLOCK, and Moses HOGLE.  The 1860s brought the LEAKS, BALDWINS, PEACOCKS and DOWNINGS to the west-southwest.

   In the 1840 census Sebewa was not yet organized and the residents were counted in with surrounding townships.  In 1850 there were just 40 families.  In 1860 there were 120 families, and by 1870 there were 250 families.  Sebewa Township hit its peak population in 1880 with 1560 people, many of them in families on 40 acre farms, some as small as 20 acres!  The low in population came in the 1960 census, with only 849 people, as most young people left for town jobs.  More recently both farm kids and town kids have been moving out to the rural lifestyle on a few acres, and the 2000 census showed 1208.  Today some are rethinking that decision because of high gas & diesel prices!

   The most important infrastructures for a developing farm community were roads, drains, schools, churches, and of course cemeteries.  From the beginning of statehood in 1837, until the 1920s, roads were built and maintained by township residents and their taxes.  Many farmers paid their road tax by working on the roads.  Each township had a Commissioner of Roads and four Quartermen to keep tabs on their areas.  For many years they did a good job of cutting new roads, grading & graveling them.  In Sebewa Township, Jacob SAYER and his son, Clarence, built forms and poured concrete box culverts for many of the small streams & drains (called “dredges” back then) that crossed the roads in this “Swamp Angel” township.  The term “ditches” referred to the waterways along the edges of the roads.

   When automobiles became common in the 1920s and demanded better roads, a state gas tax and license fees for both drivers and vehicles were instituted.  The care of the roads was turned over to the counties, who could better justify the purchase of motor trucks to maintain the roads, although in some states, such as Wisconsin, the local roads are still maintained by the townships.  This program in Michigan was called the McNITT Act, and while it relieved the property tax for road car, there has been a continuous struggle to get enough income from the gas tax and license fees to build and maintain local roads.  This is especially true since WW II, when a large chunk of the money from the state gas tax, as well as the federal gas tax, goes to build and maintain state and federal highways.

   So in Sebewa Township, as well as many other townships, local funding has had to supplement what the county receives from the state tax.  On April 3, 1950, John LICH, Sr., loaded a group of his neighbors on a farm wagon behind his John Deere tractor and brought them to the Sebewa Township Annual Meeting, because the roads were impassible with mud and slush.  He made a motion to hire gravel hauled and spread on all gravel roads in the township at the rate of 100 cubic yards per mile at $1.00 per yard, for a period of four years.

   This amounted to about $5,000 per year and was paid for from the General Fund balance that first year, until a millage could be voted that November.  We have used millage money on the roads, usually some of the regular allocated millage as well as the special voted millage, in all but three of the succeeding 58 years.  Then work must be contracted through the county for liability reasons, and the contractors now require us to put on 500-1000 cubic yards per mile.  Thus each mile gets covered only about once every three to five years, depending on underlying soil types and the amount of traffic wearing on the road.

   Schools have gone from ten rural districts in 1875, thru a series of mergers with Sunfield and Lake Odessa and finally Lakewood or to Portland.  The original ten, including fractional districts, were West Sebewa, TRAVIS, PIERCE, KNOX, BIPPLEY, Sebewa Center, Sebewa HIGH, BALDWIN, CARPENTER, and HALLADAY.  By 1891, BIPPLEY School District no longer came over into Sebewa from Odessa, and BALDWIN and CARPENTER had disappeared.  The three were replaced by JOHNSON, GODDARD, and BISHOP, so there were still ten until the mergers began.

   There are two cemeteries and a single burial site in Sebewa Township.  A third cemetery, called the CARPENTER or REEDER Cemetery, was a private cemetery located on the northeast corner of Sec. 32 at KIMMEL & TUPPER Lake Roads.  It was about one-fourth acre in size and in 1905 this cemetery was taken up.  The CARPENTER burials were moved to West Sebewa Cemtery and the REEDER burials were moved to East Sebewa Cemetery.  The single grave site is that of pioneer Jonathan INGALLS, Soldier of the Revolution, now well-marked with a new government bronze plaque on a stone next to the stone placed by the D. A. R. in 1921 at 13400 South KEEFER Hwy.  The West Sebewa Cemetery was started August 1, 1872, by buying one acre just west of the Baptist Church.  Additions were made in 1919-1952-1986, bringing the total to 2 ¼ acres.  The Baptist Church assumed the care in early days, but the cemetery at 950 E. MUSGROVE always belonged to the Twp.

   The cemetery known originally as Sebewa Cemetery and later as East Sebewa Cemetery, was started May 14, 1858, with the purchase of 1 ¼ acres from Jacob HIGH.  Addition of two acres on the west end, extending to the creek, bought from Jacob COLLINGHAM, and an irregular piece, including a driveway swap with Clyde & Opal THUMA, added one acre on the east end in 1970.  Total 4.159 Ac at 5680 E. BIPPLEY Rd.

   Sextons of one or both cemeteries over the years were:

Harvey GUNN – east
William PETRIE – east
Edwin LEAK, Sr. – west
Chuck & Blanche LITTLE
John PROCTOR & wife
Lynn & Alice BAILIFF
Carl & Tena RISCHOW
Orrin & Lavancha AUSTIN
Wellman & Barbara DARLING
Clyde & Bertha AVERY
Grayden & Ann SLOWINS
Kenneth & Joan GUY 

   Some of the drains established over the last 170 years, without which probably 10% of Sebewa Township could be farmed or built on are:

HALL & INGALL – southwest side
COLLIER & Mud Creek – south central
BLISS & McCLELLAND – southeast
SNYDER & WALKER – very southeast
ROGERS & TROUB – south central
KING & WOLCOTT – south central
AVES & OLRY – south central
GUNN & LUSCHER – central
GUNN & RAMSEY – central
RAMSEY & INGALLS – east central
JOHNSON & DANIELS – west central
FLETCHER & WARING – northwest
KNOLL & KNEALE – north central
SANDBORN & YORK – north central
GIBBS & MATHEWS – north central
FISHELL & LUNGER – northeast
SWEET & SAMAINE – northeast
WILSON & PUMFREY – northeast 

   Our hope is that each church in Sebewa can tell their own history.  Those denominations represented now or in the past include:

United Methodist (Methodist Episcopal) – at East Sebewa
United Methodist (Methodist Episcopal) – at Sebewa Center
Presbyterian – at West Sebewa on GODDARD Road at CLARKSVILLE Road
Baptist – near West Cemetery on GODDARD Road at MUSGROVE Hwy.
Church of God – on GODDARD Road north of MUSGROVE Hwy.
Church of Christ – on GODDARD ROAD near KNOLL Road
Christian Reformed – on Sunfield Road near CLARKSVILLE Road
HALLADAY United Brethren – on BIPPLEY Road near KEEFER Hwy.
STAMBAUGH United Brethren – NW corner TUPPER Lake & Sunfield Hwy.
Bible Missionary – former U. S. Campground on MUSGROVE Hwy.


Last update November 10, 2013