Sebewa Recollector
Items of Genealogical Interest

Volume 46 Number 1
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 Historical Newsletter from Sebewa, Sebewa Township, Ionia County, Michigan; August 2010, Volume 46, Number 1.  Submitted with written permission of editor Grayden D. Slowins:

SURNAMES:  Of students attending Sebewa Center School 1944-1950; also Ireman, Kidd, McClelland, Kent, Doremus, Majinska, O’Mara, Sibley, Stuart, Towner, Northrup, Mauren.


MAJINSKA, Richard T., 69, born in Lake Odessa, September 14, 1940, died in Phoenix, AZ, May 1, 2010, husband of Elizabeth BIANG MAJINSKA, father of Theresa E. (Robert) Walker, Michael T. Majinska, Lynette Jo (William) Samples, and the late Jamie A. Majinska, grandfather of three, great-grandfather of three, brother of Martha Sturm, Jane M. (Kenneth) Gasper, Joseph A. (Debbie) Majinska III, George (Sue) Majinska, and the late Mary Catherine (Ronald) Bergeron, son of Maudaline Rathbun & Joseph Majinski II, son of Martha Slowinski & Joseph Majinska, son of Annette Kubish & George Majinska, son of Anna Sovoka & Anthony Majinska.
   Martha Majinska was the daughter of Mary Gregie & Christopher Slowinski, son of Anna Schnabel & Daniel Slowinski, Sr., son of Casmer Slowinski.  Annette Kubish was daughter of John Kubish.  Mary Gregie was daughter of John & Catherine Gregie.  Anna Schnabel was daughter of Regina & Anton Schnabel Sr. 
   Richard was a pipefitter for more than 50 years, in Lake Odessa, MI, where he was also a volunteer fireman, in Ohio, in Las Vegas, NV, for 21 years, in McMillan, MI, for 10 years, and final retirement winters in Phoenix, AZ.  He is buried at Odessa Lakeside Cemetery. 

O’MARA, Marie Josephine; 89, born in Lake Odessa, October 7, 1920, died in Ionia, June 26, 2010, sister of Pauline (Kenneth) Hubbard, Eugene O’Mara, Rosemary Hickey, and the late Thomas O’Mara and Lawrence O’Mara, daughter of Emma Frances Endres & Frank Roman O’Mara, son of John O’Mara & Pauline Steinberg, daughter of August Steinberg & Rosanna Schnabel, daughter of Regina & Anton Schnabel, Sr.  Emma Endres was the daughter of of Mary Tennis & John Endres. 
   Marie was aunt to 30 nieces & nephews, 70 grand nieces & nephews, and 31 great grand nieces & nephews.  Marie was a graduate of Limerick Rural School, Lake Odessa High School, Western Michigan University, with advanced education at University of Colorado, University of Michigan, and Michigan State University.  She taught 36 years in Ionia, Cass and Calhoon Counties and always told us that her life role model was her First Grade Teacher, Crystal Brake Slowins.  She was buried at Odessa Lakeside. 

SIBLEY, Alexander W., 94, born in Ionia August 30, 1915, died May 27, 2010, widower of Ellen GOULD Sibley, father of Kathleen Akers, Andy Sibley of Ionia, Martha Jajuga and Susan Chase, six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren; son of Frances BABCOCK & Alexander Bell Sibley.  Alex was descended from several pioneer families, the BABCOCK house being on Washington Street about a block east of the First Presbyterian Church, and the Burton BABCOCK farm originally totaling over 400 acres on West Main Street in Easton Township.
   Alex graduated from Ionia High School in 1933, Western Michigan University in 1937, enlisted in the United States Army in 1941, and was honorably discharged as a Major in 1945 at the end of WWII, then National Guard.
   He had married Ellen, an army nurse, in 1942 at Camp Callen, CA, and she preceded him in death in 2001.  He worked for Upjohn in Kalamazoo until they acquired the family farm in 1948 and moved back to Ionia, where he worked for Fuller Furniture and then at Mitchell-Bentley as an accountant, retiring in 1980; Easton Township Supervisor 1956-1995, Ionia County Memorial Hospital Board, Farm Bureau, Fishing & Hunting Club, Ionia Hist. Soc., HIS Alumni Assn., worked to turn Ionia County Poor Farm into Ionia State Recreation Area. 

STUART, NORMA JEAN (DAVID), 81, born in Clarksville, March 17, 1929, died June 12, 2010, wife of Lester D. (L.D.) Stuart, Jr., mother of Marlene (Doug) Denny, Dale (Deb) Stuart, and the late Linda Stuart, six grandchildren, eight great-grandchildren, sister of Ken (Evelyn) David, and the late Carolyn David, daughter of Raymond & Ewilda (Shafer) David, daughter of Ida (VanBuren) & Charles Shafer, son of John & Egara Shafer, who settled on southeast ¼ Sec. 35 Odessa Township, on Eaton Hwy at Harwood Road, before 1875.
   Norma graduated from Saranac High School in 1947, married L. D. May 22, 1948, and is buried at Clarksville Cemetery.

 TOWNER, KENNETH F., 90, born in Grand Rapids, January 24, 1920, died June 30, 2010, widower of Mary Christine AVES TOWNER, whom he married October 28, 1944, and who died March 9, 2010, son of Edith (Moore) & Alfred F. Towner, son of a pioneer Danby Township family, who settled at northwest ¼ of northeast ¼ Sec. 16 Danby Township, on Okemos Road north of Towner Road, before 1875.
   Kenneth graduated from Portland High School in 1937, worked for Oldsmobile in Lansing, and retired from TRW in Portland.  He had served on the first yearbook committee at Portland High, and enjoyed camping, fishing, hunting, and traveling, also photography, history and genealogy, was a member of First Baptist Church of Sebewa, Ionia County Genealogy Society, First Families of Ionia County Society, and Great Lakes Campers of Michigan.  He is buried at Danby Cemetery. 

THIS ISSUE’S COVER PHOTO:  Provided by Walt SPRAGUE, these photos show the Pere Marquette Railroad bridge over the Grand River in Portland, about 1910 and in 2010.  The Portland Cooperative Elevator is shown to the left of the bridge in 1910, but only a  storage shed shows in 2010.  The farm buildings at the right in 1910 are those of the Preistly Franks family; in 2010 a glimpse is seen of Walt’s Portland Products buildings on that land.  The building on the close right of the bridge is a mystery.  Was there ever an elevator on that side of the tracks, or could it be an icehouse? 

CORRECTION:  In the paragraph (above) about the cover story, Portland Products buildings are listed as being on the same land as the former Priestly Franks farm buildings.  Actually they are located across MORSE Drive to the west of the farm buildings.  If anyone can remember what that elevator-like building close to the bridge was, please tell this editor or Walt Sprague.

CLASS LISTS – SEBEWA CENTER SCHOOL (As of 1st day of school each year)

Year 1944-1945; Teacher Joyce LUSCHER

Kdg  Elaine Cross
1st   Kendall Cross
2nd   Ronald York
3rd   Donald Cross
        Karabell Meyers
4th   Larry Cassel
     Carol Gierman
     Ardell Meyers
5th   Dean Cross
     Pauline Shilton
6th   Howard Shilton
     Marvin Smith
7th   Bobbie Cross
8th   John Smith 

YEAR 1945-1946; Teacher Joyce LUSCHER

Kdg   Robert Hollenbeck
      Robert Rillema
1st    Elaine Cross
2nd    Kendall Cross
      Marjorie Franks
3rd    Ronald York
      Dawn Rillima
      Larry Cassel
      Norman Franks
4th    Donald Cross
      Karabell Meyers
5th    Carol Gierman
      Virginia Hollenbeck
      Adell Meyers
6th    Dean Cross
     Betty Hollenbeck
     Pauline Shilton
7th    Howard Shilton
      Marvin Smith
      Bernard York
8th    Bobbie Cross
      Chester Franks 

YEAR 1946 – 1947:


YEAR 1947 – 1948; Teacher MARIE POSSEHN:

Kdg   Larry Bradley
2nd    Robert Hollenbeck
      Larry Warner
3rd    Elaine Cross
      Dennis Warner
      Neil Warner
4th    Kendall Cross
5th    Larry Cassel
      Ronald York
6th    Donald Cross
      Karabell Meyers
      Shirley Warner
7th    Robert Cross
      Carol Gierman
      Virginia Hollenbeck
      Ardell Meyers
8th    Dean Cross
      Betty Hollenbeck
      Pauline Shilton
      Howard Shilton
      Marvin Smith 

YEAR 1948 – 1949; TEACHER Alberta Allen

Kdg    Larry Bradley
       Roselie Cross
       John York
2nd     Craig Simon
3rd     Robert Hollenbeck
4th     Ruth Bailiff
       Elaine Cross
5th     Kendall Cross
6th     Larry Cassell
       Charles Simon
       Ronald York
7th     Donald Cross
       Karabell Meyers
       Karl Simon
8th     Duane Cross
       Virginia Hollenbeck

 YEAR 1949 – 1950; TEACHER Maxine Torrey:

Kdg    Raymond Cross
       Jerry Brandsea
       Jeffrey Gierman
       Cheryl Gierman
       Marilyn Torrey
1st     Marlene Brandsen
       Roselie Cross
2nd     Robert Brandsen
4th     Robert Hollenbeck
5th     Ruth Bailiff
       Elaine Cross
6th     Kendall Cross
8th     Donald Cross
       Karabell Meyers

FROM SEBEWA RECOLLECTOR, VOLUME 6, NUMBER 1:  “BUSINESS CHANGES IN SUNFIELD SINCE I BEEN HERE (1910)  The building next east was built by Mr. Fisk.  He and Ed Cole opened their hardware in it and later added shoes.  My father worked there at one time.  Ed Cole bought Mr. Fisk out later.  Skip Dunham was a bookkeeper for Cole and Fisk.  Jim Harger, Claude Peabody and Floyd Greiner were the tinners for Mr. Wassink.  After the building was vacated by Cole, John Gearhart & Ireman opened a general store there.  I think he sold out to Mrs. E. D. Mapes, who operated it for some time.  Some of her clerks were Elsie Freemire, Martha Frantz, Aleeta Lyons, Mrs. Miller, Eldron Dunham and Effie Hager.”

In answer to the above article, Susan IREMAN MATTHEWS recently wrote:

When referring to Gearhardt & Ireman, Ireman was my Grandpa.  Alger J. Ireman of Ann Arbor.  He married Pearl Isabelle Koutz of Lake Odessa.  I have postcards of them standing in front of their store.  I have another photo of them in front of what looks like the same store at a later date and it no longer says Gearhardt and Ireman.  My father, Ernest Alger Ireman who recently passed away on March 8, 2010 at the age of 86 always referred to it as only “my grandpa’s store”.  Maybe he bought out Gearhart and didn’t sell it to Mrs. E. D. Mapes??  Not sure but just thought it might be of interest to people who look at your (web)site to know who Ireman is ~ Susan IREMAN Matthews of Dexter, MI.”

 Please share any additional information you may have---about this store and its owners---with Sebewa Recollector Editor Grayden D. Slowins.  Thank you!

SOME HISTORY OF IONIA COUNTY MEMORIAL HOSPITAL:  This hospital began its operation when the Ionia City Council took over, in August 1943, a 22-bed private hospital that was then closing, and the Ionia city voters approved a one-mill special assessment tax levy for ten years to help operate it.  This original hospital operated in a house on the east side of Jackson Street, between East Main and Washington Streets.  The house was the former home of the late James M. Kidd, a pioneer lumberman and manufacturer in the Ionia County area, founder of the now-ghost-town called Kiddville, on Long Lake Road east of Belding and north of Kiddville Road, in Sec. 1, Otisco Township.  James M. was the father of General James H. Kidd, about whom we shall write more later.

   The present building with modern facilities and a starting 50 beds was opened in the fall of 1953.  Financing was provided by over $327,000 in pledges made by persons throughout Ionia County, and with the help of Hill-Burton federal aid funds.  Tax aid was continued by the city for another two years until 1955, but since then the hospital has operated on its charges and without direct tax support.  An 18-bed pediatric unit was added in 1960, to give a total of 68 beds and a physical plant valued at over $1,200,000.  Several remodelings and updates have occurred over the years.

   Although it was operated by Ionia City Council with a Board of Trustees from throughout the county appointed by Ionia’s Mayor, much of the hospital’s patronage was from outside the city limits.  The hospital’s budget and number of employees by 1963 exceeded those of the city of which it was an agency.  In 2010 the hospital is a branch of Sparrow Hospital, as is St. Lawrence Hospital and the hospital in St. Johns and other nearby communities.  There are plans in the works to build a new facility south of the Ionia Airport off David Hwy.

GENERAL JAMES H. KIDD, mentioned above, was born in Ionia February 14, 1840, attended State Normal College, Ypsilanti, and then University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.  He recruited the Sixth Michigan Cavalry Regiment in the Ionia area and entered the Civil War as its Captain at age 22.

   At age 23 he fought as a Major at Gettysburg, PA, and at Falling Water, WV, where he was wounded.  Promoted to Colonel, he was wounded again at Winchester, VA, and after the battles in the Shenandoah Valley, VA, he was brevetted Brigadier General of the Michigan Cavalry, where General George Armstrong Custer was promoted to Major General in command of the Division.

   After General Lee’s surrender at Appomattox, Kidd went west with Custer, but his enlistment ended Nov. 7, 1865, and he was mustered out at Fort Leavenworth, KS, before the Battle of Little Big Horn.  Back in Ionia he became Registrar of the Federal Land Office, Brigadier General and Inspector General of the Michigan State Troops – later known as the Michigan National Guard.

   In 1890 he became Ionia Postmaster and owner and publisher of the Ionia Sentinel.  He married Florence McConnell, raised a family, and was active in the Grand Army of the Republic and Masonic Lodge.  He wrote “Personal Recollections of a Cavalryman” and published it at the Sentinel Printing Office.  He also wrote about his war horse Billy.  General Kidd died in Ionia in 1913.


Sam McCLELLAND, 87, a resident of South Kent Street for many years, was overcome by coal gas at his home but later recovered.  Mrs. Russell McCLELLAND, living a few houses south of Sam, was advertising to rent an apartment in her home.  Glenn BOUGHNER was reelected president of the Northwest Danby Game Protective Association.  Twenty-nine children were enrolled in the kindergarten department of Portland Public Schools, with Coleta CONVERSE as teacher.  The boys were Eugene ADAMS, Richard BARNES, Alfred BAUER (III), George BECKER, William CARR, Donald DAGGETT, James DALY, Keith NELLER, Melvin SUMNER, Martin SMITH, William WAINWRIGHT; the girls were LaCorda Ann BALMER, Betsy BARLEY, Mary Julia BEARD, Sherilyn BURGESS, RosaLee COE, LaBurl HILL, Jacqueline HOLLY, Irene KINNEY, Donna MARVIN, Jean MERRYFIELD, Joyce PETERSON, Hazel REED, Judith RICE, Sandra SANDBORN, Carol SEAL, Sally SINES, Sharon VINCENT and Judy WESTLY. 

PORTLAND REVIEW, MI; October 10, 1963:  Miss Charlotte WEBBER of Columbus, Ohio, Mrs. Weldon WEST of Lansing and Mrs. Robert STANLEY of Flushing, MI, daughters of the late Mr. & Mrs. George SLOWINSKI (Marie LEIK) were invited as dinner guests of Mr. & Mrs. Norman LAY Saturday evening.  They were pleasantly surprised upon their arrival to find a group of neighbors already gathered there for a potluck dinner.  After dinner the newlyweds opened gifts presented by the group and the remainder of the evening was spent in playing cards.  Present besides the honored guests were Mr. and Mrs. Charles SNELL, Mrs. Elizabeth COOK, Mr. & Mrs. Donald SLOWINS, Mr. & Mrs. Richard SCHNEIDER and Mr. & Mrs. Lester FOX. 

PORTLAND REVIEW, MI; October 10, 1923:  Charles KENT, for years a well-known resident here, expired suddenly at the home of his daughter, Mrs. Charles MUNGER, in this village, while having some teeth extracted.  (Was this due to faulty anesthesia, or did he perhaps bleed to death?  And why did the dentist make a house call?) 

PORTLAND REVIEW, MI; October 17, 1943:  Miss Nettie BERLES, who recently retired from Maynard-Allen State Bank in Portland, is now employed with the Old Kent Bank in Grand Rapids.  (Our memory tells us she moved to Clark Retirement Community at that time.  Did she perhaps receive some training by Old Kent staff in their way of doing things and then open the branch at Clark which is there today?) 

PORTLAND REVIEW, MI; October 17, 1923:  Charles RALSTON of Sebewa Township was elected Secretary/Manager of the Farmers Mutual Fire Insurance Company of Ionia. 

PORTLAND REVIEW, MI; April 27, 1961:  Funeral services were held in Detroit for Mrs. Frank E. DOREMUS, widow of the founder of the Portland Review.  Mrs. Doremus, 95, died in the hospital in Dearborn.  Burial was in Royal Oak.  (Her husband was a member of Portland High School Class of 1883 and distinguished himself in the Debate Club, as mentioned in our history of the school in our April issue.)  After leaving Portland, Frank Doremus became mayor of Detroit, served in the Michigan State Legislature and as Congressman from Wayne County. 

PORTLAND REVIEW, MI; April 27, 1961:  Mr. & Mrs. Thomas (Marilyn) BANDFIELD have purchased a coin operated laundry in Grand Ledge at the corner of Bridge and Scott Streets.  The Bandfields also operate the Wash King Laundry in Portland, which they purchased recently.  (This was near the time they closed Bandfield Furniture.) 

PORTLAND REVIEW, May 18, 1961:  Funeral services were held for Adelbert (Del) NORTHRUP, 94, who died at his home on Knox Road (Northwest ¼ Northeast ¼ Sec. 1, Sebewa Township and Southwest 60 acres Southeast ¼ Sec. 36 Orange Township).  He had resided on the same farm all his life, was a member of Portland Masonic Lodge for 69 years and was its oldest life member.  He had served as a member of the former Pierce Rural School Board for over 50 years.  He was related to many of the pioneer families in Sebewa Township and is buried with them in East Sebewa Cemetery. 

FRED. J. MAUREN, 61, publisher of the Portland Review & Observer died at his home, May 15, 1961.  he had been in the business for 50 years, starting as a “Printer’s Devil” at age 11, for his father, the late Fred J. MAUREN, Sr., editor & publisher.


1)  In the April issue the Portland School story told of the 1887 Senior Class planting 87 pine trees at the east end of Brush Street school grounds, and I said they were gone when we started in 1937.  No-one called me on it, but two of those old pines are still there in 2010, as I knew were many of the maples planted along the front at the same time by the School Board! 

2)Phoeba Marie (FRIEND) & Rush BALDWIN from Sebewa, who made the “New Red School” at the top of James Street hill into their retirement home, were the parents of Ann LAKIN SLOWINS’ grandmother Stella BALDWIN PRYER. 

ATTENTION READERS:  To those of you who send me a check occasionally to help with printing and postage costs of THE RECOLLECTOR:  Will you please include my name, GRAYDEN D. SLOWINS, on the “Pay To The Order Of” line, to make the Bank Tellers happy?  Thank You!


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

Last update May 27, 2013