Sebewa Recollector
Items of Genealogical Interest

Volume 45 Number 3
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. 
December 2009, Volume 45, Number 3.  Submitted with written permission of Editor Grayden D. Slowins:

SURNAMES:  Strang, Hogle, McCrumb, Lehman, Phillips, Pryer, Inglis, Van Riper, Andressen, Steinmets, Fedewa, Pohl, Pung, Sutherland, Shaffer, First, Sarlouis, Kavanaugh, Schnabel, Grenic, Benschoter, Kauffman, Snyder, Bradley, Van Benschoten, Probasco, Quackenboss, Story, Ware, Gierman, Slowinski, Slowins, Benhagel, Biehler, O’Mara, Allen, Ansel, Lakin, Brooks, Mares, Spaulding, Grinnell, Orser,  

COVER PHOTO:  Ronald Story and Robert Wilfred Gierman with Ron’s 1929 Model A Ford


RICHARD D. STRANG, 73, husband of Joyce PATRICK STRANG, father of Kimberly (Michael) Fedewa, Mark Strang, Jeffery Strang, Richard Strang and Barry (Leslie) Strang, brother of Barbara (Gerald) Davis, and sisters-in-law, Margaret Strang and Ruth Strang, and four deceased brothers and one deceased sister, son of Charles & Florence (HOGLE) STRANG.
   Born in Lansing, September 22, 1936, Richard graduated from Lansing Eastern High School in 1955, later lived in Portland, where he was a member of St. Patrick’s Church and Knights of Columbus.  He was a Specifications Engineer at General Motors, retiring after 33 years of service. 
   Richard died November 1, 2009, and was buried in Danby Cemetery.  (See August 2007, Volume 43 Number 1, for the HOGLE family, and June 2009, Volume 44 Number 6, for the STRANG family.  We don’t make an immediate connection to either.) 

MARY E. McCRUMB, 98, aunt of Margaret (Donald) Sheffer of Muskegon, Delores Walker of Bradenton, FL, and the late Robert Clark, sister of the late Catherine Clark, Agnes Lietzke, Helen Smith and Lester McCRUMB, daughter of Sadie Lehman & Emmett McCRUMB, son of Lester C. McCRUMB & Elizabeth A. (Libbie) PRYER, daughter of Cornelia Ann PHILLIPS & Thomas PRYER, who first settled in Danby Township where William S. PRYER lives today, in 1846, son of Mary INGLIS & Merselus PRYER, of New York City, son of Maria VAN RIPER & Casparus PRYER, son of Johanna STEINMETS & Andreas PRYER, of New Jersey, son of Margaret & Thomas PRYER, an officer in Queen Elizabeth I’s army, who fought in Holland in 1586-1587, and whose family originally came to England from Normandy Province with William The Conqueror in 1066.
   Mary McCRUMB was born April 18, 1911, and died October 19, 2009, having lived on the same farm on CLINTONIA Road, near I-96, in Eagle Township, Clinton County, with land in Danby Township, Ionia County, her entire life.  She and Helen taught at Eagle School for many years, and after consolidation Agnes, Helen and Mary taught at Portland Schools until retirement, which came in 1973 for Mary, at age 62.  She loved working on the farm all her long life.
   She was buried at Portland Cemetery. 

MARVIN STANLEY FEDEWA, 78, husband of Janet POHL FEDEWA, father of Gary (Janet) Fedewa, Dan (Linda) Fedewa, Tony (Deb) Fedewa, Ann (Harold) Bouma, Marlene (Clint) Thomas, Jane (Dan) Schafer, Judy (John) Piasecki, Laura (Dan) Price, Marie (Bob) Schafer, Mark (Paula) Fedewa, Stan (Nancy) Fedewa, Dale (Mary) Fedewa, Connie (Bill) Vallier, and Carol (Don) Gunderman, grandfather of 40, great-grandfather of 17, son of Marcellus and Leona (PUNG) FEDEWA.
  He was born March 4, 1931, and died September 22, 2009.  Marvin was a life-long farmer, and also worked as a supervisor at Motor Wheel and T. R. W.  He was buried at Portland Cemetery. 

JANETTE E. (FIRST) SUTHERLAND, 82, widow of Merle SUTHERLAND, mother of Sam SUTHERLAND and Joel (Liz) SUTHERLAND, sister of Lucille (Robert) WALTER, daughter of Ethol and Lela (SHAFFER) FIRST.
   She was born in Sunfield August 6, 1927 and Janette grew up in Portland and graduated from Portland High School in 1945.  After her marriage, she lived in Lake Odessa for over 60 years, where she was active in the Congregational Church.
   She died September 18, 2009, and memorials are suggested to the Congregational Church or Lake Odessa Fire Department. 

EDGAR (BOB) SARLOUIS, 105, widower of Julia KAVANAUGH, father of Marilyn (Darwin) Clark, brother of the late Frances, John, Martin (Pat), Edward (Nit) and Bernard SARLOUIS, Clara Nelson and Josephine Hester, son of Joseph SARLOUIS & Amelia (Minnie) Schnabel, daughter of Martin & Marina GRENIC SCHNABEL.
   Born twin with Nit, April 15, 1902, in Berlin Township, Ionia County, Bob died in March 2008.  (We missed this then – Editor)
   Sharp of mind until the last few weeks, he hollowed a deer-blind out of a big round hay bale at age 100 and took his dog along to the woods because he wasn’t allowed to drive the car alone! 

JAMES W. BENSCHOTER, 53, husband of Julia K. KAUFFMAN BENSCHOTER of Lake Odessa, father of Kristi (Derek) Waddle, Jill Benschoter, and Kellie (Jason Abfalter) Benschoter, brother of Karen (Terry) LAFLER, son of Leonarda (Linda) & James O. Benschoter, son of Winnie Bell SNYDER & Donald A. Benschoter, son of Bertella BRADLEY & John M. BENSCHOTER, son of Mary M. & Oliver P. BENSCHOTER, son of Diana & Cornelius VAN BENSCHOTEN. 
   Winnie was the daughter of Eva M. PROBASCO & Henry P. SNYDER, son of Mary C. & Dr. George W. SNYDER, Sr.  Eva was the daughter of Dora BOYER QUACKENBOSS & Benjamin PROBASCO, Sr., son of Mary S. & Jacob PROBASCO, Sr.
   Bertella was daughter of Mary A. & John M. BRADLEY.  All these families settled in Sebewa Township well before 1861 and the Civil War.
   Don & Winnie needed two flats of pansies every Memorial Day just to decorate the graves of close relatives. 
   Jim was born June 13, 1956, in Wurzburg, West Germany, where his father was serving in the U. S. Army when his parents met.  Jim graduated from Portland High School in 1974 and worked as an engineer at General Motors for 32 years.  He was buried in East Sebewa Cemetery.


   Henry FORD and Clara BRYANT FORD were both born to farmers in the Dearborn, MI, area.  Henry was born in 1863.  He began working in a machine shop at age 16 and loved puttering with machinery.  He built his first gas engine in 1891 and started it for the first time in the kitchen sink.

   Henry and Clara moved to Bagley Ave., in Detroit, where he was an engineer at the Edison Illuminating Co.  He built his first car there and test drove it on Bagley Ave., at 4:00 AM June 4, 1896.  He thought that he got up to 20 MPH.

   He sold this first car for $200 and used the money to buy tools and parts for another car, which he finished in 1898.

   Several investors established the Detroit Automobile Co. in 1899 and hired Henry as superintendent.  They went out of business 1 ½ years later.  Some of the investors reorganized the company and retained Henry as Superintendent.  They started by building a race car, which was Henry’s passion at the time.

   On October 10, 1901, with Henry driving, their race car won a race against the leading race car of the time.  This gave the company much favorable publicity.

   On November 30, 1901, the company reorganized as “Henry Ford Co.”.

   In 1902 Henry owned 1/6 of the company.  On March 10, 1902, Henry resigned and received $900 for his stock.  That company went on to become “Cadillac Motors”.

   Henry then concentrated on building race cars.

   In November of 1902, the “Ford & Malcomson Co.” was formed to build runabout cars.  In the spring of 1903, it evolved into “Ford Motor Co”.

   They started their cars with Model A and worked up through the alphabet as new models were introduced.  The Dodge Brothers made the transmissions and frames, and the bodies were built by the C. R. WILSON Co., Detroit.

   Henry became President of the company in 1906 and in 1907 they started building the Model T.  Henry at that point was adverse to major changes.  As a result, by 1928 the Model T had been surpassed in popularity and sales by Chevrolet and other car companies.

   On May 26, 1927, the last Model T was built and the factories were closed.  Over 15 million T’s had been built.  At that time, they designed and tooled up for a totally new and up-to-date car.  It was so new that they started from the beginning of the alphabet again and started producing the new Model A, which was introduced on December 2, 1927.

   In May of 1931, the last Model A was built.  At that time, they had produced about 4 million Model A’s.  They then started production of the Model B.

   My Classic car is the 1929 Model A.  It is a two-door sedan.  It has a four-cylinder 40 horsepower engine.  It will accelerate from 5 miles per hour to 25 MPH in 8 ½ seconds.  It gets between 20 & 30 miles per gallon.  It holds 10 gallons of gas.  It has an electric starter.

   I purchased the car in May of 1964, so have had it for 45 years.  The car is 80 years old, so I have owned it over half its existence.

   The green body with black fenders is the original color of the car.  (They weren’t “Any color as long as it’s black”, as Henry is often misquoted.)

   The fastest I drive is about 50 mph.  We used the car as our second car for several years.  I drove it back and forth to work and we used it with chains when the snow was deep.  I used to do most of the work on it myself and it has had extensive mechanical and body work over the years.  It has been a great hobby, and also very practical and economical.

   I am sending three pictures of the car.  One has my father (George) and me, another has two granddaughters and me, and the third (on the front cover of this issue) is of Bob Gierman and me in front of the courthouse.

    - Ron STORY

   (Editor:  Ron’s grandparents, Mr. & Mrs. Ralph STORY, and other STORY and WARE ancestors lived just off Hastings Road, on CONKLIN Road, between WARE and PECK Lake Roads, and just north of this editor’s birthplace, which was on the southwest corner of Hastings Road and Grand River Avenue, Boston Township, Ionia County.  This was diagonally across from Ray WARE’S gas station, which later became the popular Jimmie’s Grill.)

GREAT CHRISTMAS GIFT SUGGESTIONS:  Past issues of THE RECOLLECTOR, 45 years – 270 issues – for $65.00 at our farm home, $8.00 extra if shipped. 

   Also SCHNABEL Family History, covers SCHNABEL, SLOWINSKI, SLOWINS, STEINBERG, BANHAGEL, BIEHLER, O’MARA, SARLOUIS, and related families, leather bound $30.00 at our farm home, $34.00 with shipping.


   A small, ordinary, black oilcloth case, looking much like worn imitation leather, seemingly would have little of note to make it important or even interesting.  But when identified as the medicine case carried by Dr. George D. Allen, Portland’s own Marcus Welby, who came to the then small village in 1867 and administrated to the sick and infirm for almost 60 years, the unassuming little case immediately takes on character and prestige.

   Research into the life and times of this beloved old-time physician became a fascinating combination of perusal of hundred-year-old newspaper stories, written in delightfully flowery prose, visits to the town cemetery, and reading medical and pharmacology reference books.

   Born July 11, 1839, in Orleans, NY, Dr. Allen graduated from Cleveland Medical College.  Beginning his practice here in days when all travel was on horseback or by horse and buggy, this very popular doctor earned the name of “baby doctor”.  “The number of youngsters he ushered into the world is well over the two thousand mark – a number equal to the population of the town”, according to an article in the January 20, 1926 Portland OBSERVER, written just five months before his death in May of that year at the age of 87. 

   The article stated further: “The veteran physician is confined to his home in a wheelchair.  At times he has been bedridden, but through it all would not permit patients to be turned away.  The grand total of pills prescribed by him (dispensed actually) in the years of his practice would make a wonderful exhibit.”

   Which brings us to the medicine case he carried during the last 30 years of his practice.  This case was kept separate from his stethoscope and other instruments in a large valise that opened at the top, according to Mrs. Lloyd (Lillian) PHILLIPS, one of Dr. Allen’s babies.

   An interesting sidelight was that, when looking for a picture of the good doctor, about everyone talked to over the age of 70 (in 1974) was one of his ‘2000 babies”.  The medicine kit was recently given to Portland Historical Society by Mrs. George ESTEP.  She got it from C. Jack HILL, who picked beans on the doctor’s farm south of Portland in 1910, when he was a boy of 13.  Mr. HILL received it from Dr. Allen’s daughters, Fanny and Edla.

   Dr. ALLEN’S third daughter, Alice, ironically enough, died in childbirth in 1910, and his twin sons both succumbed to “lung fever” during their first year, according to an OBSERVER in April 1877.

   Mrs. Richard (Elizabeth) ANESI, Portland Librarian, said she remembered Dr. Allen as an old man in his wheelchair, and said that dozens of Portland boys were named “Allen” after the doctor.  She recalled Dr. Allen’s philosophy, that most of the ills people suffered from were due to “poor diet, faulty elimination, and tight corsets”. 

   Everyone who knew him was firm in pointing out that Dr. ALLEN was “a homeopath, not an allopath”.

   DORLAND’S Medical Dictionary defines “homeopathic” as “healing based on ‘a doctrine of similars’, devised by Sam HAHNEMANN in the early 1800s”, advocating that “diseases are curable by those drugs which produce effects on the body similar to the symptoms of the disease”.

   Which brings us again to the small case.  It is fitted (in spring holders) with 38 larger vials and 27 small vials, each containing traces of powdered drugs (it is assumed), and neatly labeled with medicinal names.  “The doctor”, Mrs. Addie KINNEY said, “always had sugar pills in his case, in a small lidded compartment, on which he put either powder, or a dilution of it, to administer the medicine”. 

  Charles CALLIHAN, Portland pharmacist, said homeopathy is no longer practiced.  The two types of medicine practiced these days are called “general” (formerly misnamed allopathy), and “osteopathy”.  Three volumes of CALLIHAN’S pharmacy encyclopedia helped identify some of the mysterious substances in Dr. ALLEN’S kit.  Not all were listed in the books.  It appears that nearly all of the 50-odd drugs were of vegetable origin.

   Among them were:

HYDRASTIS (golden seal) – a perennial herb known to the Cherokee Indians who used the root.  It was an alternative on mucous membranes, and for nose bleed, was a source of strychnine, and used as a dye.

LYCOPODIUM (common club moss) – a dusting powder for abrasions.

PODOPHYLLUM (May apple) – cathartic.

COLOCYNTH (bitter apple) – cathartic.

RHUS TOXIX (poison ivy) – for poison ivy dermatitis and treating nervous disorders.

EUPHRASIA (eyewort) – for eye diseases and internally for jaundice.

BAPTISTA (wild indigo) – antiseptic and stimulant, externally for ulcer treatment.

CAUCOPHYLIN (squaw root) – an antispasmodic.

CACTUS GRAND – heart and nerve tonic.

COLCHICUM (meadow saffron) – gout and rheumatic swelling.

PHYTOLACTON (poke root) – for rheumatism and as an emetic.

BRYONIA (this root seems to have as many uses as aspirin) – cathartic, diuretic, pleurisy, dropsy, bronchitis, tonsillitis, etc.

SEPIA (cuttlefish bone) – antacid, used in tooth and polishing powders, and in bird cages.

CANTHARSIS (Spanish & Russian flies) – in counterirritants and internally has aphrodisiac and diuretic action.

   Dr. ALLEN carried potassium carbonate and bicarbonate powders for stomach disorders, and commonly known substances like belladonna, ipecac, borax, digitalis, and coffee.  Comparison with today’s chemically derived medications, many from molds and synthetics, shows how drastically the profile of medical treatment has changed.

   Dr. ALLEN carried potassium carbonate and bicarbonate powders for stomach disorders, and commonly known substances like belladonna, ipecac, borax, digitalis, and coffee.  Comparison with today’s chemically derived medications, many from molds and synthetics, shows how drastically the profile of medical treatment has changed.

   Dr. ALLEN was a community-minded man who served on the Portland School Board a number of terms in the early 1900s, and he was a member of the Masonic Lodge for 66 years.

   (ED Note:  In the 1950s there were still a few people asking for some of these remedies in the drugstores.  Some of the things sold in Health Stores today may be based on similar philosophies.)

YOUNG DRUG CLERK’S FLIGHT; A Story Of The Dark Night – PORTLAND REVIEW April 3, 1923

   Elon LAKIN, employed at the CRANE Drug Store, stretched languidly in the store Saturday evening and remarked:  “Well I suppose I had better be fixing the fire.”  Slowly he put on his coat and hat and with deliberation moved in the direction of the basement stairs.

   In the second after he passed through the basement door, his attitude changed.  Up flew a window opening on the river bank and down went a very alert young man.  He ran to the rear of the Opera House Block, climbed the fire escape, and entered the second floor.  With his flashlight he quickly found the window opening from the gallery of the old playhouse onto an adjoining roof.  He ran roof to roof until he reached the Masonic Hall, on the second floor of the WEBBER Bank building, where he had arranged to have a trap door opening to the roof left open.  He let himself down into the trap door opening to the rear stairs, opened the door to the street with his lodge key, and disappeared into the Saturday evening throng.

   “Chick” had committed no crime; he merely was getting married.  For two or three days he had heard rumors of what was to happen to him Saturday night.  Many times his thoughts had carried him over dark roofs, down into the spooky lodge room, and through the street door, while his would-be tormentors stood in front of the drugstore ready for him.  When he stretched as aforesaid and with studied deliberation decided to fix the furnace fire, he had just caught a glimpse of a small mob forming at the front door of the store.  It wouldn’t do to run, so he assumed indifference.

   Outside the mob grew larger.  Then its members entered the store and prepared to carry the young clerk to a waiting cart, drawn by Hi KEIFF’S mountain-climbing burro, who appeared to be enjoying the prospect of a parade down Kent Street, for his long ears jerked from one angle to another.  The mob searched the store and basement.  Its members went into other store basements and employed flashlights to search in dark corners.  The whole business district was patrolled, but the clerk had dropped out of sight.

   An hour later someone suggested that he might have gone to the home of Rob & Blanche BROOKS, where he had often visited.  A number of his pursuers called at the BROOKS home, then went out to the garage.  There they found the object of their search, contentedly seated in a coupe, awaiting developments, which came thick and fast.  The donkey and cart were brought into play, and the parade took place, though not at the time scheduled.

   Miss Marian Addie PRYER and Mr. Elon Dwight LAKIN were married at the PRYER homestead on M-16, southeast of the village.  Rev. John H. STEWART, now of Sparta, performed the ceremony in the presence of a few close relatives.  The bride, graduate of Ypsilanti Normal College and former teacher at Lowell, now at Lansing, is daughter of the late Stella & Frank PRYER, the groom is son of Claude & late Nora LAKIN.

BELDING BANNER NEWS October 19, 1939:  Alice Edith SPAULDING MARES, 70, widow of Richard A. MARES, mother of Richard M. MARES of Los Angeles, and Mrs. F. C. SMITH of Grand Forks, ND, sister of Mrs. Charles LAMBERTSON and Jerry SPAULDING, both of Belding, MI, daughter of Montgomery & Adelia CRIPPEN SPAULDING.  Born in North Plains Township, Ionia County, MI, March 29, 1869, Alice came with her parents to Orleans Township, Ionia County, in 1874, attending Green’s Corners rural school and graduated from Belding High School.  Then she taught rural schools in Otisco, Orleans, Ronald and Ionia Townships.

   She was married December 24, 1890, and lived all her married life in Wheatland, North Dakota, later retiring to her daughter’s home in Grand Forks.  She was a member of Wheatland Presbyterian Church and organist for many years.  She was a prominent member of Rebekah Lodge, serving in various local offices and as state president and was state secretary at the time of her death, October 8, 1939.  (ED:  Alice’s brother Jerry & wife Anna lived on the old homestead a mile west of the village of Orleans.  Their son Roy and wife lived in the bigger house and farmed it after them.  Roy died young and was succeeded by his son Perry & wife, living upstairs in the big house.  They were succeeded by their son, Jerry, who is a brother to Barb (Charles) HOLLON of Ionia.) 

SUNFIELD SENTINEL December 9, 1965, by Vern H. BULLEN:  As far as folks in Sunfield know, they have the only Post-built Daughters of Union Veterans hall in Michigan.  When they say Post-built, they mean where the men who were charter members – plus their families and friends – bought the land, cut the timber, sawed the lumber, and built their Post home.  The white frame building with the high battlefront stands on the main street of town, flanked by two huge cannons on its front lawn.  Names of its Civil War heroes are engraved on stones set in the bases that support the cannons and six cannon balls.

   Inside, the walls are covered with pictures of the charter members and their wives who made up first WRC (Women’s Relief Corps) and later the DUV (Daughters of Union Veterans) auxiliaries.  Chairs that at first glance appear to be ordinary kitchen or dining room chairs, line the walls.  At closer look, each chair has a name, rank, of men who were original members of the Post when it was chartered October 6, 1884. 

   These are men who served in the Union Army and were mustered out with honorable discharges.  The hall, known as the Samuel W. GRINNELL Post No. 283, GAR (Grand Army of the Republic), is available to other veterans organizations for their meetings, in fact at the present time the VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars) is helping with painting and maintenance of the building.

   Sam GRINNELL lived on a farm in the DOW neighborhood, later owned by the PASTORICK family.  He served all through the Civil War and was a prisoner of war at LIBBY prison for six months.  When eventually freed, he walked to Washington, DC, arriving there nearly starved and frozen.  He came home to the old farm and died in 1883, several years before the hall was built.

   The Post first met in November 1884, adopted by-laws, and set meeting dates to be at 7:00 PM every Thursday until Memorial Day and every alternate Thursday thereafter.  The first dues were $2.00, payable quarterly in advance at each first regular meeting in January, April, July, and October.  Section 2 of the bylaws read “Conduct unbecoming a gentleman shall be punished by suspension as the case may require after trial by courts martial.”

   Meetings were held in the Albert ORSER home, later they moved to the upstairs of the blacksmith shop, across the street from the present building.  A janitor was hired for the princely sum of $4.00 per year or 15 cents a night.  In December 1898 the members decided it was time to build their own hall.  Two lots, numbers 7 & 8 of Block 7 in the village of Sunfield were purchased for $25.00.  Commander Thomas LEAK named a committee consisting of Daniel W. LITCHFIELD, Conrad PEABODY and Lyman M. PECK, to draw up plans.  Plans for a 20 x 40 foot structure with a battlement in front and 12 foot ceilings were presented.

   That end of town was heavily wooded at that time, and Clark Richards, previous owner of the land, helped cut the timber and saw the lumber.  The men worked all through the winter and the next spring, summer and fall, dedicated the building in October 1899.  Cash outlay, besides the donated labor, was $836, and when finished and furnished, had a value of $1660.00.  Bake sales, ice cream socials, and suppers served for 20 cents by the auxiliary, helped pay for the building.  A flag from the Civil War gunboat Manhattan was presented by Thomas Van BUREN.

   Two large cannons that the U. S. Government would give the Post were located alongside a railroad track in California, where they had been built.  The Post would have to pay the nearly $400.00 it would cost to transport them.  One weighed 8465 pounds and had cannon balls of 42 pounds each, the other 7200 pounds and had 32 pound cannon balls.  Once again the Post and WRC went to work and raised the money.  Three of the nine balls were lost in shipment and never found nor settled for.  The WRC disbanded and was replaced by the DUV Helen M. EDWINS Tent No. 30 in April 1926.  Mrs. Maude (Harold) HANNA is current president, and Mrs. Anna LITCHFIELD BIDWELL and Mrs. Cora Henry SHOWERMAN SHEPHARD are surviving daughters, age 90.

THE SEBEWA RECOLLECTOR is created for the enjoyment of family and a few close friends.  Others may send $5.00 per year by July 1st to remain on the mailing list.  At a cost of 85-90 cents per issue for printing and postage – depending on who is having specials on ink cartridges and paper - $5.00 for 6 issues barely covers it.


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

Last update January 17, 2013