Sebewa Recollector
Items of Genealogical Interest

Volume 45 Number 2
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. 
October 2009, Volume 45, Number 2.  Submitted with written permission of Editor Grayden D. Slowins:



 Front page photo:  Dr. Basil E. LOWRY, 1898-1963, Portland Dentist.

RECENT DEATH:  Kathryn Elizabeth PUMFREY GUY, 88, widow of Myron (Mike) GUY, mother of Kenneth B. (Joan) GUY, grandmother of three, great-grandmother of seven, daughter of Mildred Mae GRAGG & Roy PUMFREY, born March 4, 1921, married July 16, 1942, died September 3, 2009.  Kathryn attended TRAVIS rural school and graduated from Lake Odessa High School.  She worked in Chrysler Trim Plant in Lyons beginning in 1956.  It closed in the early 1970s.  In 1970 they moved from the farm in Sebewa to a home on the south side of Jordan Lake, Lake Odessa.  She was buried at Sunfield Cemetery.


   This letter was originally printed in THE CLARKSVILLE RECORD in January 1907, reprinted in THE RECORD in the 1940s, and again on March 12, 1970, and was found among the clippings of Crystal BRAKE SLOWINS.

   “Martin CAMPBELL and I were married in the town of Bativia, NY, on May 1, 1840.  My husband had already decided to go to Michigan to locate.  Such being the case, we set out on what we termed our wedding tour.  I remained in Jackson while my husband continued on in search of a location that suited him.  He was accompanied by John KUYKENDALL, who located where Clarksville now is.  After locating his land, Martin began the erection of a log cabin and doing other things necessary before taking me into the wild woods.  When he had everything in readiness, he returned to Jackson, MI, for me.  Together with our team we started out over the old CLINTON Trail.  We took with us salt, salt pork, potatoes, flour, tea and coffee, two cows and a few chickens.  We took with us sufficient supplies to last until such time as we could raise crops of various kinds, and arrived at our new home in December.

   To say it was a howling wilderness is putting it mildly.  For some time we had no door to our cabin, nothing but a blanket hung on sticks.  We used to lie there at night and listen to the howling of panthers and other wild animals.  We could hear them prowling around outside the cabin.  Finally my husband went over to the town of Boston and carried home on his back, some three or four miles, enough boards to make a door.  He also made all of our household furniture.  A stove we had not, but I used to do my cooking in the fireplace.  For baking dread, I used the old-time reflector and I must give it credit for doing good work.

   My husband immediately set to work clearing his land and many times I went out and helped him roll logs into heaps and set fire to them.  We burned up timber in those days that now is very valuable.  After getting a piece of land cleared, he would do his planting by going around among the stumps and sticking an ax into the ground and dropping the seed into the hole thus made.  The corn raised in this manner excelled anything I ever saw.  Of course the soil was of the richest kind.

   For some six years we had no neighbors but the Indians, and I must certainly say that they were very friendly and rendered my husband many a valuable service.  Occasionally our cattle would wander into the woods and fail to return for a couple of days.  The Indians would find them in the woods and drive them home to us.  Often the Indians would come to our cabin for something to eat.  An Indian is always hungry.  One evening seven of them came dressed in their war paint and feathers and I was really frightened then, but busied myself getting supper for them.  Their chief noticed I was alarmed, so he spoke to the others and they left without waiting for their supper.  My husband was absent from home at the time.

   Our first neighbors were the CHURCHES and then came the NASH family.  As new settlers came in they usually stopped at our place while their cabins were being built.  I have often thought how it was that we managed to escape the poisonous snakes.  The place seemed literally alive with rattlesnakes and other kinds.  Many a time I drove big blacksnakes out of the cabin and one day I went to make up a bed and found a big blacksnake between the blankets.  One day when the sun came out after a slight shower of rain, I started out to visit a neighbor.  When I stepped upon the cross-way leading over a swampy place, I had to turn back, for the logs were completely covered with snakes out sunning themselves after the rain.  The sight actually sickened me and I could venture no further.

   The woods abounded with game of all kinds and we were never in need of fresh meat.  One day a wild turkey wandered near the cabin.  Thinking I would like to have him for supper, I took two guns out to kill him, and when I got out to where he was, I was afraid to shoot either one of them.  I always had a dread of firearms.  The bears used to trouble our hogs a great deal, and more than one night my husband had to get out of bed and rescue a fine porker from the embrace of a big bear.  He never stopped to consider the danger attached to such a proceeding, but rushed in regardless of consequences.

   As new settlers came in and it got to be quite a settlement of people, the question of giving the place a name came up.  Some wanted to call it CHURCHVILLE, after Mr. CHURCH, the next settler after us.  Others desired it called NASHVILLE, after Mr. NASH.  And still others (and they proved to be in the majority) insisted on the name of CAMBELL Town in honor of my husband.  An election was called to settle the matter and the voters decided in favor of CAMPBELL Town, now called CAMPBELL Township.  At that time the mail from Jackson to Grand Rapids was carried by John KUYKENDALL over the CLINTON Trail.  (Much the same path as M-50.)  He usually walked over the route but sometimes would go horseback.  The round trip usually occupied a week.  He would stop wherever night overtook him and was a frequent guest at our place.

   We had a family of eight children born to us in the old home, four boys and four girls.  Two of the girls died quite young.  The rest are still living.  When the oldest of the children got old enough to go to dances, they thought nothing of tramping five or six miles through the woods to go to a dance.  Other times they might yoke up the oxen and go in the wagon.

   Such was life in the backwoods of Michigan in the early days.  I might narrate my experiences still further, but they all tend to show the same thing.  Now I hear of the steam cars, automobiles, telephone, electric lights, etc. being in the town of CLARKSVILLE.  It sets me thinking how simple we were in our method of living and doing things in the same place over sixty years ago.  To be sure were simple in our tastes and ideas and in our manner of living, but now in my old age I look back upon those days as the happiest days of my life.  Yours Truly, Mrs. Winifred CAMPBELL, Alameda, CA.”

PORTLAND REVIEW  February 2, 1947:  Leo C. LEHMAN has sold his interest in the Smith Hardware to his partner, Laban SMITH, (Jr.).  The men had operated the business together for 23 years, having purchased it from William B. STOCUM. 

PORTLAND REVIEW  February 2, 1927:  Mrs. Thomas J. BANFIELD (Sr.) died unexpectedly at her home in Portland Saturday evening.  She had been reading aloud to her husband and was suddenly seized with a fainting spell.  She laid down on the bed and had passed away when Dr. John D. BRADFIELD arrived.

   Adam FENDER, who just a few years ago gave up the office of Supervisor in Sebewa Township after having served for 20 years, died at the home of his daughter in Lake Odessa recently at age of 81 years.

   Zene DILLEY, formerly of Portland and brother of William DILLEY, former Ionia County Clerk, is seriously ill in a Chicago hospital.  (Their ancestors were pioneer settlers on the north side of Eaton Hwy in Sebewa Township, on the Loren SAYER farm before the William ROGERS family whom we mentioned earlier as having lived there.)

   An automobile failed to make the turn from Brush Street to Kent Street near John A. McCLELLAND’S residence about midnight Thursday and ran into a telephone pole near the home of Mrs. Julia BEARD.  Even this did not stop it, the car next striking a tree and grazing the end of the BEARD porch.  The car then backed out of the yard and disappeared before anyone could get a good look at the driver.  (The driving skills of impaired midnight drives have not changed much in 82 years.) 

PORTLAND REVIEW  March 9, 1967:  Rev. Ordis A. DOW, 83, resident of Olney Springs, Colorado, and former Portland area resident, died Sunday, march 5, at his home there.  Rev. DOW was born March 10, 1883, to Mr. & Mrs. George A. DOW of Danby Township and graduated from Portland High School.  He entered the ministry and served the Seventh Day Adventist Church until he retired.  Rev. DOW is survived by Mrs. Katherine Kelly of Portland Township, Mrs. Thomas DOWNING of Sebewa Township, and Forrest DOW of Danby Township (EMERY Road at NELSON Rd.) 

IONIA SENTINEL-STANDARD April 22, 1967:  Last evening, Friday, April 21, a tornado cut northeast across the southern part of Ionia County.  At Sebewa Center the belfry, woodshed, and front end of the brick building formerly serving as Sebewa Center School was ripped away.  (Also destroyed at Sebewa Center were Bernice GUNN’S barn and John YORK’S barn, as well as serious twisting to the YORK house and tool shed.)  The Ida HUHN home on KEEFER Hwy. at KNOX Road, Sebewa Township, was badly damaged, but on-one was hurt as first thought.  The barn a mile west of HUHNS on Grand River Trail belonging to Mr. & Mrs. Warren HEYBOER (formerly owned by Francis LAWLESS and before that by E. G. (Ted) WILSON,) was dropped on the dairy herd, killing 40-63 head.  The Wagon Wheel Bar (located on the north side of Grand River Avenue back then) was demolished.  The farm home of Earl E. ZIMMER just south of Portland Country Club was destroyed by being blown into Divine Hwy. 

PORTLAND REVIEW  October 24, 1943:  Ruby WHITACRE, Charlene McCRUMB, Margaret WOODEN, Margery WOHLSCHEID, and Charles WILLEMS, 6th graders at the Frost (rural) School, visited the REVIEW AND OBSERVER office this week.  (These people became part of our Portland High School Class of 1950, which is having its 59th reunion this September 24th.) 

PORTLAND REVIEW  October 24, 1923:  A representative of the State Highway Department has been working near Eagle, soliciting right-of-way for widening M-16.  If the road is widened, BALDERSON’S Garage will be moved back, as well as the EAGLE Hotel.  (M-16 was paved in the early 1920s, became part of US-16 in the late 1930s, and was replaced by I-96 in the late 1950s, always more or less parallel to the Grand River Trail, which was hacked out of an Indian trail in the 1830s.)

   Heman BROWN, Civil War Veteran and well known Sebewa resident, (south side of MUSGROVE Hwy at Sunfield Hwy) received a threatening letter a few days ago, ordering him to deposit $2000 in a certain spot in Sebewa.  Sheriff COOK (Dave’s grandpa) and his deputies have been investigating the incident.  (The late Welcome (WECK) LUMBERT often referred to this incident in his ramblings called “The EAGLE Screams”.) 

PORTLAND REVIEW  October 24, 1903:  Charles C. RICE of Portland has been appointed Drain Commissioner of Ionia County by the Board of Supervisors to fill the unexpired term.

   Umbra J. MAYNARD of MAYNARD Place Farm last week received a consignment of 930 lambs from the Chicago Stockyards for winter feeding.  Almer WELCH lost nine sheep by lightning Thursday. 

PORTLAND REVIEW  October 31, 1963:  Miss Clarys E. COE, 67, passed away Tuesday morning at her residence, 123 Albro St.  She was born in Sebewa Township and had resided here in Portland 40 years.  Surviving is her sister, Gladys, with whom she resided.  The late Mr. & Mrs. Alfred COE were her parents.

   The Wagon Whell Bar on W. Grand River was broken into between 3 and 7 AM Monday morning and $1,071 taken, mostly in $20 bills, according to police.  Entry was made by breaking a window.  The money was taken from several different places in the building, suggesting inside information.

   Five-month-old pigs, valued about $500, were taken from the Linus POHL farm, apparently within the past week.  Mr. POHL reported to police that about 30 feeder pigs were missing.  Fifty pigs were also taken from the William BIERGANS farm nearby. 

PORTLAND REVIEW  November 21, 1923:  A number of Danby farmers have lost sheep through depredation of dogs.  William POHL, Pearl BARR, and Sid WAKELY are among those whose farms were visited. 

PORTLAND REVIEW  November 21, 1963:  Herbert McCRUMB, Portland, recently purchased an Aberdeen-Angus bull from Clarence H. SAYER, Lake Odessa (Sebewa Township). 

PORTLAND REVIEW   November 21, 1943:  George DILLEY, for many years in the barber business in Portland (and a Sebewa Township native), remains a patient at University Hospital in Ann Arbor. 

PORTLAND REVIEW   November 21, 1923:  Considerable sodding was done along M-16 on the west side last week.  Both sides of the embankment of Alton Hill have been made more presentable in this way and portions of the south bank further east have received attention as well.  In reducing the grade at the top of ALTON Hill (by ALTON Park), Herbert T. EMERY’S garage was left so high that it was impossible to drive in or out.  The old floor was taken out and enough earth removed to bring it down to the level of the new driveway.  (In the 1940s and 1950s, Dr. Robert W. ALTON’S fine home was known as the Sam BURMAN apartments.) 

PORTLAND REVIEW  November 21, 1903:  Mr. & Mrs. Thomas PRYER celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary Monday. 

PORTLAND REVIEW  November 28, 1963:  Harry E. GIBSON, 87, died last week in a Dunedin, FL., hospital.  He was a resident of New Port Richey.  Forty years ago Mr. GIBSON operated the feed mill in Sebewa at WEIPPERT’S dam.  Survivors include his widow, Vyolet (sic) B. Gibson, and two sisters, Mrs. Mildred TISHHOUSE and Mrs. Bessie TOMUS of Otsego, Mich. 

PORTLAND REVIEW  November 28, 1923:  Harry KLEIN was thrown under his tractor Thursday, catching his heel in a belt as he fell in front of the wheel, and his leg was caught beneath it.  Fortunately help was near by and two men pried up the wheel and released him.  The leg was bruised from the knee down and Mr. KLEIN was confined to the house the rest of the week. 

PORTLAND REVIEW  November 28, 1903:  A contract for a new $500 iron bridge over the Grand River at the south end of Kent Street will be let December 17.  (Can you guess what its replacement cost about 2003?) 

PORTLAND REVIEW  December 12, 1963:  Andrew B. GOODWIN was interred in Portland Cemetery Tuesday afternoon following services at Holland, MI.  (Born in Orange Township, he was an 1888 graduate of Michigan State, and as the oldest living alumnus, was the holder of the KEDZIE Cane.  He was a retired Carson City attorney and a brother-in-law of the late A. Frederick KLOTZ, (husband of Fred’s older sister, Nellie.)  Mr. GOODWIN would have been 99 on January 11th, 1964.

   Mrs. Rose Ward EDGEL, 88, lifelong resident of Sebewa Corners, passed away in a local nursing home.  Surviving are daughter, Mrs. Ernest JOHNSON of Charlotte, sons Zene WARD of Portland and Graydon WARD of Los Angeles, a brother Loren HOLTON of Lansing, and sisters Lillian CAREY of Jackson, Tiddie LAING of Lansing, and Mrs. Dennis JOPPIE of Sunfield. 

PORTLAND REVIEW  December 12, 1943:  George STEWARD, who for many years was janitor at the public school, started December 1 as janitor for St. Patrick’s. 

PORTLAND REVIEW  December 19, 1963:  Former resident, Herb LEE, now residing in Detroit was passing through town the other day and stopped at a local gas station. He is an adjuster for an insurance company and was on his way to Muskegon……Howard GOODWIN, another former resident, now of Libby, Montana, writes the weather has been very good, with some snow and climbing to 10 degrees above zero most days.  He left Portland 12 years ago……Gary J. OLMSTEAD is graduating today from the University of Michigan with a Bachelor of Music degree.  He had received the Theodore PRESSER Foundation music scholarship each semester.  He will start teaching at Byron, MI, (a very old small town on the Dexter Trail in the southeast corner of Shiawassee County) in January.  He is the son of Mr. & Mrs. Robert OLMSTEAD of Portland.  (Gary’s grandmother, mother, and eventually his stepmother all played the organ at Portland Congregational Church.)

   Basil E. LOWRY, D. D. S., passed away following a long illness.  Born in Greenville, he had been a resident of Portland since he was two and a half years old.  Now 65, he was a veteran of WWI.  He had practiced dentistry in Portland since his graduation from the University of Michigan in 1924.  Dr. LOWRY was past commander of the Dale E. HYLAND American Legion Post, member of the V.F.W., past master of the local F. & A.M. Lodge, and a member of the state and national dental associations. 

PORTLAND REVIEW  December 19, 1943:  Mr. & Mrs. William O. BARTON have purchased of Mr. & Mrs. Charles CRANE the home of the late Lionel KENYON on Grand River Ave………Robert NICHOLSON and Duncan SCHNABEL were at their parents’ homes in Sebewa over the weekend and called on Charles McNEIL, who has undergone surgery at the hospital in Hastings. 

PORTLAND REVIEW  December 19, 1923:  Charles LEWIS has purchased Perry DAVENPORT’S farm near FROST Corners and expects to take possession of the house in the Spring……The Arctic Ice Cream Company is converting the house on the Thomas TOAN property into a two-family residence, next to the new creamery station they are building.  (Peter and Arthur VanALLSBURG, from Coopersville and Grand Rapids, each had a turn at making the ice cream here for a time.  The creamery later stood empty for a long period, then was converted into Joseph HENGESBACH’S Ford Farm Machinery dealership.  Recently it has been replaced by the Golden Bridge Senior Citizen Apartments building.) 

PORTLAND REVIEW  December 19, 1903:  Eugene HACKETT has been appointed postmaster at Orange.  Two new rural routes are to start from Portland Post Office January 1……Ed GOODWIN has sold Islands No. 13, 14, 15 to Frank & Joseph WHITE in the Christian BEND neighborhood, and the men will clear the trees for lumber……Fifty business and professional men were guests at a banquet provided by landlord Chester DIVINE at Hotel DIVINE.  The big dish was quail.  The birds were shot locally by Will HUTCHINSON and Ernest DIVINE. 

PORTLAND REVIEW Voices From The Past, January 2, 1944:  Mrs. Roy PRYER, who is comleting work for a Masters Degree at Michigan State College, will act as House Mother at Kappa Sigma Fraternity in East Lansing……Private William PRYER is attending Officers’ Candidate School at Ft. BENNING, GA. 

PORTLAND REVIEW  February 20, 1964:  Clarence BUDDINGTON KELLAND, one of Portland’s most famous sons, passed away Tuesday in Arizona, where he had made his home in recent years.  Retired from his career as a writer, a short time ago, KELLAND had been one of this country’s outstanding novelists (60 novels).  He also authored many (200) short stories and serials which appeared in the Saturday Evening Post and other leading magazines.  Several of his stories were made into movies and at various times his plots and characters were identified with Portland, his birthplace.  KELLAND was born in a house just west of POWERS Park, the structure having been razed a couple years ago.  (To get rid of the rat problem, which this most practical man would have understood.  He grew to age ten in a house at 233 LINCOLN Street, now restored, then the family left Portland.)

   After becoming famous, he returned to Portland several times, the last occasions being a homecoming celebration in 1935 and the DEWEY campaign in 1944.  In addition to his writings, KELLAND became active in politics and served as a national official (Executive Director) in the Republican Party.  KELLAND died at his ranch home near Phoenix.  Recently, as requested, he sent a portrait of himself to be hung in the public library here.  (Clarence BUDINGTON KELLAND was born in Portland July 11, 1881, and died in Arizona in 1964 at age 83.  At the peak of his 61-year writing career, he turned out 10,000 words each week, for a total of more than 10 million words.  A more complete life history appeared in THE RECOLLECTOR Volume 31, Number 6, June 1996. 

PORTLAND REVIEW February 20, 1944:  Anthony J. SPITZLEY has purchased the 80-acre farm formerly owned by Mary BUCK just east of the village on Looking Glass Ave. (Next to the home farm of 108 acres just inside the village, which he had acquired from his father, Joseph, who had been occupying the farm west of Westphalia belonging to the Frank SPITZLEY Estate, (the original Johann Jakob SPITZLEY homestead on the NE corner of Price & Clintonia Roads,) has purchased a farm of 120 acres in Ronald Township. 

PORTLAND REVIEW   February 20, 1924:  Mrs. Amelia SMITH, first white child born in Orange Township and widow of Dr. John SMITH, died a few days ago at Daytona Beach, FL……Mr. & Mrs. Frank SCHULLER have leased the building on Kent St. formerly occupied by the VanHORN Photo Studio and will open a millinery and ready-to-wear store March 1……William POSSEHN, who was forced to halt work on the ice two weeks ago by the storm, has finally completed filling his icehouse and has put up enough so there’ll be no shortage in the summer….The Arctic Ice Cream Company will occupy its new building on the north side of Looking Glass River Tuesday, after the last of Monday’s milk is taken in at the old HAMLIN building corner of Maple and James Streets. 

SUNFIELD SENTINEL  January 7, 1915:  Mrs. George COLLIER died at her home here Monday afternoon after a short illness caused by a stroke of paralysis.  Funeral was held at the Free Methodist Church Wednesday forenoon conducted by Rev. HAHN.  Zearene LEAK COLLIER was born December 21, 1853, in Clifton County, NY, daughter of Sarah Ann GLOVER & Elijah LEAK, and departed this life January 4, 1915, at her home in Sunfield, Mich.  At the age of three she, with her parents, moved to the Township of Brantford, Dominion of Canada.  Twelve years later they moved to Sebewa Township, Ionia County, MI.  On January 9, 1872, she was married to George COLLIER of Sebewa.  To this union three children were born:  Mrs. Rosie EASTMAN of Sunfield Township, Mrs. Lucy TURNER of Danby Township, and Mrs. Millie FULLER of Roxand Township, all of whom were with her during her last illness and death.  Besides these she leaves to mourn her departure a husband and fourteen grandchildren, two sisters and four brothers, and a host of relatives and friends.


Name:  Heman BROWN
Residence:  Sebewa, Michigan
Enlistment Date:  5 Sept 1862
Enlistment Place:  Sebewa, Michigan
Side Served:  Union
State Served:  Michigan
Service Record:  Enlisted as a Private on 5 September 1862 at age 23.  Enlisted in on 11 October 1862.  Promoted to Full Corporal on 30 April 1864.  Mustered out 24 November 1865 Fort Leavenworth, KS.

Name:  Francis BROWN
Residence:  Sebewa, Michigan
Enlistment Date:  29 Feb 1864
Enlistment Place:  Sebewa, Michigan
Side Served:  Union
State Served:  Michigan
Service Record:  Enlisted as a Private on 29 February 1864 at age 32.  Enlisted in on 3 March 1864.  Died of disease on 30 May 1864 at Hillsdale, MI. 

Name:  Irving BROWN
Residence:  Sebewa, Michigan
Enlistment Date:  23 Feb 1865
Enlistment Place:  Grand Rapids, Michigan
Side Served:  Union
State Served:  Michigan
Service Record:  Enlisted as a Private on 23 February 1865 at age 18.  Enlisted in on 23 February 23, 1865.  Transferred out of on 17 November 1865.  Transferred into on 17 November 1865.  Mustered out on 31 March 1866 at Fort Bridger, UT.

THE SEBEWA RECOLLECTOR is mailed free to family & friends.  Others may send $5.00 per year by July 1st to remain on mailing list.  Back issues sell at our home for $65.00 for a set of almost 45 years.  At six issues per year, this amounts to over 250 issues, bound in three theme folders three inches thick.  Shipping costs extra, about $8.00 at this time. 


FROM:  Grayden D. SLOWINS, Editor
       3226 E. Musgrove Hwy.
       Lake Odessa, MI  48849-9528

Last update January 17, 2013