THE SEBEWA RECOLLECTOR – Historical Newsletter from Sebewa (Sebewa Township, Ionia County, MI) Volume 46, Number 4, FEBRUARY 2011 (Submitted with written permission of Editor Grayden D. SLOWINS):
SURNAMES: SLOWINS, DAWDY, LUSCHER, GOODEMOOT, LIVERMORE, ROBINSON, MEYERS, BRODBECK, BALDUF, GODWIN.
COVER PHOTO: “As requested, this shows the WEIPPERT Mill on Sebewa Creek at BIPPLEY Road and KEEFER Hwy. The original photo is long lost and this copy is the best we could come up with.”
ROBINSON, HELEN G. (GOODEMOOT) LIVERMORE, 92, born in Sebewa Township, September 12, 1918, died in Lowell, November 9, 2010, widow of Ray LIVERMORE and Otis (Doc) ROBINSON, mother of Michael (Karen) Livermore of Deming, New Mexico; Sara Jo (Larry) Cobb, Mary (Patrick) James, Scott (Esther) Livermore, all of Lake Odessa, Tom Livermore of Woodland and Robin (Don) Ainsworth of Rockford, 14 grandchildren, 18 great-grandchildren, two great-great-grandchildren, sister of Mary “Peg” Faulkner and Don Goodemoot, son of John & Mary J. Goodemoot, who was a great-granddaughter of Oliver WOLCOTT, Jr., Governor of Connecticut and second Secretary of United States Treasury after Alexander Hamilton, and great-great-granddaughter of Oliver Wolcott, Sr., also Governor of Connecticut and Signer of the Declaration of Independence. Helen was buried at Odessa Lakeside Cemetery.
MEYERS, WESLEY PAUL, 89, born in Sebewa Township, March 3, 1921, died at Hastings, December 22, 2010, husband of Lucille M. HEINTZLEMAN MEYERS, father of Linda (Philip) DeVries, Duane (Buffy) Meyers, Deborah (Ed) Smith, Wesley (Connie) Meyers, Jr., and Annette (Ron) Thompson of Indian River, and infant Darrell E. Meyers, 15 grandchildren, 21 great-grandchildren, one great-great-grandchild; brother of Harold Meyers, Ardell (Richard) Ward and the late Howard (Leona) Meyers and Eleanor (Al) Allen; son of Mattie M. Bailiff and Harold A. Meyers, son of Lydia Shipman & Albert W. Meyers.
Wes served in the U. S. Navy in WWII on the islands of Guam, Saipan and Hawaii. He was a life-long farmer at Bippley Road and Sunfield Highway in Sebewa Township, a floor covering installer for Mapes Furniture Company, and a member of VFW. He was buried at East Sebewa Cemetery.
BRODBECK, MARGARET GRACE (BALDUF), 80, born in Sebewa Township, August 24, 1930, died December 22, 2010, widow of Willard “Bill” Brodbeck, mother of Naomi (Roger) Wilson, Esther (Alan) Sellman, Peter (late Barbara) Brodbeck, Philip (Dawn) Brodbeck, Mary Lou Brodbeck (John Schmitt), Jacob (Freda) Brodbeck and Abraham (Keetsie) Brodbeck; 17 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren, sister of Helen Miller and the late Harold Brodbeck, Marion Miller, June McMannus and Beatrice Faber, daughter of Crystal Huntington & William Balduf. She was a lifelong farmer, a nurses’ aide at Pennock Hospital, Hastings, active in Zion Lutheran Church at Woodland and is buried at Woodland Memorial Park.
WE HAVE MOVED OUR HEADQUARTERS By Grayden Slowins:
Some substantial changes in our lives since the December issue may make this February issue a bit late. We have had our names on the waiting list at Clark Retirement Community, Grand Rapids, MI, since November 23, 2004. On January 13, 2009, we had asked to be moved up to the Ready-Now list. On Monday, October 4, 2010, we received a phone call from Jane Ward, Admissions Coordinator at Clark. We were still 12th or 13th on the list for a two-bedroom, one and a half-bath apartment, for which we had been waiting.
That day Jane said there was a two-bedroom, one and a half-bath townhouse with attached garage available. Since it is all on one floor and barrier-free, it is what most of us would call a condo. We had previously mentioned some interest in that type of accommodation back in June, so she asked if we would like to come and check it out. Ann said “We can be there in a little over an hour!”
We came, we saw, we accepted! It is the second residence from the end and only about 50 feet from Entrance No. 4 to the main building. A review of financial considerations showed this to be a better deal than any of the apartment styles in the main building. The initial entry fee (lease) is larger, but the lower monthly charges result in considerable savings in the long run.
We continued to measure and plan what would fit in our new space. Although 1027 sq. ft. is quite roomy, it is about half the size of our 11-room house. October, November and December were spent sorting, packing, giving things to our children and other people, storing some things for our farm auction (April 23, 2011, 10:00 AM, at the farm, 3226 E. Musgrove Hwy, Lake Odessa, with Stantons as auctioneers) and burning or dumping so much stuff collected in 56 years of marriage, 54 on one farm.
On Wednesday, November 24, 2010, we signed the final papers prepared by Cathie Hoort, Attorney, and sold our Sebewa farmland and home to Brian & Becky Spitzley Haskin. We had been conferring with them for a couple years as our plans of retirement progressed, because while half a dozen people wanted our land, only this family would revere and preserve our 1878 Victorian Italianate home. On Tuesday, December 21, 2010, we signed the final papers and received the keys and garage door opener for our newly redecorated townhouse. Then we began to transport boxes of small or fragile items daily in our car or pickup.
An interesting episode occurred when we tried to arrange for an AT&T land-line telephone. The contact number we were given got us Darlene or Geraldine, a woman in a foreign land, who is apparently a sister to the guy in the stupid TV ads who calls himself “Peggy”. The phone was connected correctly with the right number, but from Ann & Grayden” she got “A. Green” as the occupant of this address and spread that information all through the system. Of course a credit check for A. Green at this address failed, further delaying the process, because that particular A. Green does not exist!
On Saturday, New Year’s Day, January 1, 2011, our son Joe came with a large U-Haul truck, which he is licensed to operate. Our daughter Karen, our son Dan & fiancée Peg, our daughter Kris & Clint, our cousin Lee Hunsberger & wife Barb Klenk, our nephew Dave Miller, my sisters Sandra and Donna, plus Gerald Jones the new occupant of the house as an employee of Brian & Becky, all came to help load and unload. Several of these people got things dropped off at their homes on Joe’s return trip.
Sunday we rested in our new home! Monday, January 3, we went back to the farm and met Jerald, Brian & Becky, to carry out the remaining things to the tool shed for the sale. The next day they cleared the attic and vacuumed the dust there too. Throughout all this activity I was dealing with a pinched nerve in my lower back and taking PT at Grand River Physical Therapy from Julia Blodgett, also a retired shepherd. So no heavy lifting for either Ann or me in view of this and our ongoing arthritis.
Since we live in a townhouse here at Clark Retirement Community we have one main meal each day in the main dining room, and prepare our own breakfast and summer in our newly remodeled kitchen. Ken Bos, Maintenance Supervisor, had said we could pay the difference and get any upgrades we wanted in the remodeling. He came back to say “I hate to tell you this, but new cabinets in cherry wood are cheaper than white, because white is the “In” color this year and they have extra cherry in stock!” Most every day we eat with two or three different people in the restaurant-style dining room. There are numerous choices on each day’s menu. One of the most important things for the elderly, and all people, is to maintain a range of choices.
We subscribe to the Sunday Grand Rapids Press, which we were used to at home. The Ionia Sentinel is still our daily paper, but the delivery is erratic by mail. We gave some of you an improper mailing address on our Christmas cards, according to the Grand Rapids Post Office. Please verify that you have the correct one:
Clark Crossing S.E.
The rest we had included would be very helpful to anyone coming to visit us, so if you don’t have Electronic Global Positioning System (GPS), finding the place behind Clark Retirement Community at 1551 Franklin St., SE, may be difficult.
Ann has joined the bell choir and practices daily on the organ in the Chapel and also uses the Internet in the Computer Room. I have begun working in the Wood Shop and look forward to getting the rest of my walnut lumber from our farm back from the planing mill. For the first couple weeks of unpacking, there were certain things we could not find in our carefully marked boxes, but yesterday we each found what we had been missing. We have good neighbors and meet more daily. Everyone wants to tell their story and to get a handle on ours, although some don’t listen too well. Some are senile and/or very deaf, but many are not. As my Mother said when they moved into the cottage here at Clark, “We have the best of all worlds!”
“VOICES FROM THE PAST” & “THOUGHTS WHILE STROLLING ON KENT STREET”. Gathered from back issues of PORTLAND REVIEW & OBSERVER:
November 8, 1951: George STEWARD, retired farmer and retired janitor for Portland Public School and later St. Patrick School, stood by his car for a testimonial ad for Robert ACKERSON’S Kaiser-Frazer Dealership. George said he was operating his three-month-old Henry J, a subcompact popular in its time, at an average cost of one cent per mile! Of course gasoline was 18 cents/gal before the Korean Conflict and the car itself and its service parts were similarly priced.
February 6, 1958: A story on floods of the Grand River mentions the flood of 1920, which took out the Grand River Avenue or lower (US-16) bridge and destroyed the backs of the BLANCHARD & KNOX store buildings, now called the KRAMER Building, and removed the alley that once ran along the back of the buildings on the east side of the river, below where that part of the river-walk is now. It also took out numerous wooden buildings along Canal Street and Water Street. About 1953-55 there was another flood which repeated the damage to the BLANCHARD & KNOX Buildings.
However, the flood of March 1904, was the only one to take a human life, as far as we know. A stiff winter had covered the land with heavy snow and the rivers were filled with thick ice. When the breakup came, things happened fast. A water main across Looking-Glass River to the north side was snapped when the Grand River backed up into the Looking-Glass with great pressure. The Pere Marquette Railway tracks were washed out for a half-mile east of the Looking-Glass bridge. Floyd SAYER went down Water Street in a boat and near the WATSON House Hotel, at the west end of the lower bridge, and near the WATSON House Hotel, at the west end of the lower bridge, he told flood-watchers he was going hunting. He had a small boat, wore hip boots, and had a gun in the boat. An hour later men at the municipal dam saw his boat go over the spillway, but he was not in it. The following week, when flood waters receded, his body was found in a field north of the depot. The coroner said there was no water in his lungs, but a bruise on the forehead indicated he might have been killed by falling from the boat and striking on an ice floe.
ROY W. DAWDY, 73, passed away. Mr. DAWDY came to Portland at the age of nine years when his father, Samuel DAWDY, was transferred here from Fenwick by the Pere Marquette Railroad. After graduating from Portland High School in 1900, he worked in the VERITY-CASWELL factory, clerked for DERBY & ROBINSON Grocery, LUDWIG General Store, George W. ALLEN Clothing. In 1912 he and C. D. TOMY formed a partnership and bought out ALLEN. Mr. DAWDY purchased his partner’s interest in 1922 and continued in business until his retirement in 1948. Years ago he played baseball with the Portland Independents and was also a member of the Portland City Band and PORTER’S Imperials, an orchestra. He was a charter member of Portland Country Club. He was village treasurer for 17 years. He was married to the late Rhyde KELLY DAWDY of Sebewa Township, had two sons: Richard, and the late Douglas, six grandchildren, one great-grandchild, two sisters, Mrs. Fern PENFIELD, East Lansing, and Mrs. Lena DAVIDS, Paris Station, NY.
JANUARY 30, 1958: The Review of September 20, 1904, carried an interesting story dealing with the possibility this village might become the center of a large electric power generating setup, through rebuilding the dam which backed up Grand River water behind the present site of Portland Library. S. E. (Sam?) JARVIS of Lansing represented a group of investors who considered the project. Surveys had been made in Portland and along the river above the town. The old dam (which years later fell apart and disappeared) had been built to furnish water power for Portland Industries on both sides of the Grand River. In 1904 Charles J. WARREN had a mill on the east side and HATHAWAY Furniture Company was on the west side. Both held ownership interests in the dam and Mr. JARVIS also had acquired some interests.
There was a proposal to sell it to the village, to add to the electricity being generated by the municipal dam at FRIEND Brook (out Lyons Road). Also Mr. JARVIS sought ownership for a bigger project. He had been working along the river for six years and owned nine “Water Privileges”, including what he held in Portland. He planned to develop them all and make the dam in Portland one of the units of a giant power combine. A “River Gauge” showed the stream here would generate 1500 to 2500 horsepower from a 23-foot-high dam of stone and steel, and with generating equipment would cost about $180,000. (!)
Apparently the plan was given up after long debate. Portland did not buy the dam; the power combine did not develop; although JARVIS wound up with a controlling interest in the old dam, which was gradually destroyed by the river. Portland continued to depend solely on the municipal dam at FRIEND Brook until the first diesel unit was installed here. A contract with Tri-County Electric has since made possible purchase of power from the Cooperative (and by the 1960-1970s from Consumers Power also).
SEPTEMBER 8, 1949: One of the very oldest farms in this vicinity was not included in the list published two weeks ago in the Review & Observer, owners of which had been invited to be guests at Michigan State Fair. One which tops the record of any of those listed is the farm in Danby Township now occupied by Mr. & Mrs. William S. FRYER. It was taken up in the year 1827, by John PRYER of New York City. It passed from John to his brother, Thomas PRYER, who was not old enough in 1827 to seek a land patent in his own name. From Thomas & wife Cornelia PHILLIPS PRYER, it went to one of their sons, Sylvester & wife Sarah TOWNER PRYER. From them to nephew, Roy W. & wife Lucile STRONG PRYER, then to their son, William S. & wife Lucille HAUSER PRYER, current owners. The family has the abstract of title from the original sale of the property, which consists of a single sheet of paper with the description. The original price was $1.25 per acre and there were 360 acres. Over the years portions had been sold off to Thomas & Cornelia’s oldest son William H. & wife Margaret WOODIN PRYER, and others. (But William S. PRYER and son Larry got it back up to 380 acres and operated a modern dairy farm.)
JANUARY 1898: PROSSER & WARING, dealers in farm implements, lost their stock of merchandise in a fire which destroyed their building at West Sebewa Friday night.
Banker Charles H. MAYNARD’S new home is to be open for the first time tomorrow for public viewing. (This is the red brick Victorian home on Bridge Street, later occupied by MAYNARD’S daughter Helen WOODBURY & husband Jason, and lastly by Helen’s lifelong friend, Barbara KEILEN.)
JANUARY 1918: Frank ADGATE has purchased the Frank HARR home on the west side in Portland and will move to this village from his farm in Orange. (The house was the concrete brick home and a barn, with a few acres for cow and horse pasture and alfalfa hay, at the triangle intersection of Grand River Avenue and Union Street (KNOX Road) in Portland. The ADGATES move there in 1920 when he was 60.)
SEPTEMBER 8, 1949: Portland men to aid in farm face-lifting: The face of a 135-acre Bellevue farm will get lifted by one grand heave-ho on September 15, and Portland men and equipment will be there to help. Marcellus and Marvin FEDEWA, Ed PECKINS and Fred VOGT have been selected by officials of the Thornapple-Grand Soil Conservation District to help in the huge face-lifting operation scheduled at the Don KEISER farm four and one-half miles northeast of Bellevue that day. Marvin FEDEWA has been selected by the soil-conservation officials and the John DEERE Company to pilot the terrace building demonstration. Marvin has acquired considerable recognition as an expert in installing soil conservation practices, having done this work at the home farm north of Portland. Arrangements by the John DEERE Company for use of Marcellus FEDEWA’S equipment has been completed through Ed PECKINS.
Prominently listed among the heavy contractors demonstrating in the face-lifting is Fred VOGT with his Gradall equipment. Mr. VOGT will build a farm pond, bury stone piles and remove trees and brush during the big performance. Floyd EVANS will demonstrate his pasture renovating machine. Special soil conservation practices are appearing on farms around Portland. Accompanying photo shows waterway constructed this spring by Marcellus FEDEWA and son Marvin, who live just north of Portland on the old CHURCHILL farm. It is designed to carry surface water from the FEDEWA farm and adjacent lands. The FEDEWAS also have, besides these waterways, 60 acres of contour strip cropping and several acres of terraced land.
Roy DAWDY, who knows most farmers of this area personally, through his long years in the men’s clothing business here, has been serving some of them in a different manner the past few days. Recently appointed assistant carrier on rural route 3, he made his first solo trip Saturday, relieving Jack HILL, who is on vacation.
SEPTEMBER 1929: Stirred over wholesale slaughter of sheep by dogs in this vicinity, Deputy Sheriff Otto SPRAGUE advises farmers to shoot any stray canines found loose on their premises and says it can be done legally.
CLASS LISTS – SEBEWA CENTER SCHOOL (As of 1st day of school each year)
Year: 1953-1954; Teacher Joyce LUSCHER
Kdg Bobby Carey, Lonna Shook
Year: 1954-1955; Teacher Joyce LUSCHER
Kdg Howard Meyers
Year: 1955-1956; Teacher Joyce LUSCHER
Kdg Janet Gierman, Nancy
Morgan, Ray King
Year: 1956-1957; Teacher Joyce LUSCHER
Kdg Pamela Gierman, Patricia
Meyers, Donald Rose, Marsha Rose, Douglas Seybold
Year: 1957-1958; Teacher Sharon HUNT
Kdg Martha Meyers
Year: 1958-1959; Teacher Sharon HUNT WHITE
1st Martha Meyers,
UPDATES & CORRECTIONS: Mrs. Helen (POSSEHN) SUTTON GODWIN, now 93, updates us, through Walt SPRAGUE, saying she now thinks her father’s (William POSSEHN’S) icehouse was behind the Portland library near where that dam used to be. The icehouse near the railroad bridge apparently supplied ice for shipping produce by rail. Whether it was owned and operated by the railroad or by private contractors is unclear, but it almost certainly stood on the railroad right-of-way.
Please send $5.00 per year by July 1st to cover printing and postage and remain on the mailing list. Special back issues: $69/45 years, shipping included. Notice our new address:
Grayden D. SLOWINS, Editor
Last update May 27, 2013