Sebewa Recollector
Items of Genealogical Interest

Volume 47 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 – Historical Newsletter from Sebewa (Sebewa Township, Ionia County, Michigan). 
April 2012, Volume 47, Number 5.  Submitted with permission of Editor Grayden D. Slowins, Editor.



Letter dated March 1, 2012 from Margaret A. (Smith) Troyer, 231 South Holmes Street, Lansing, MI  48912-2019:  “Dear Mrs. Troyer, This is in reply to your letter searching for information on Leola/Liola, daughter of Jane Smith Towner Bradfield of Sebewa Corners (Cornell), Danby Township.   We checked cemetery records for Sebewa, Danby, Portland and Odessa.  Nothing showed up, but of course we did not know if she had a married name.

   Then we went to the Internet on (LDS-Mormons) and United States Census Records.  Jane Smith was listed as born in Danby Township, Ionia County, MI, 1891.  Her parents were Elizabeth Collingham, born 1858 - died 1927, & Oliver D. Smith, born 1855 – died 1928.  Jane was married June 23, 1910, to Everett/Evart A. Towner, born in Danby, May 1882.  His parents were listed as Sarah J. Rice, born in Michigan, 1857, and William C. Towner, born in Massillon, Stark County, OH, 1851, married in Ionia County, MI, July 4, 1878.

   As you mentioned, Jane Smith had a son, Leonard/Lenard Smith, called Johnny Pumphandle, before marriage.  Jane & Everett had two sons, Bert/Burt Towner and Leo Towner.  The 1920 Census says Leola M. Towner, born in 1919, was residing in Ionia County, and was the niece of the head of the household where she lived.  This was Charles E. Towner, born 1885 (age 34), and wife, Marie C. Soderstrom Stocker Towner, born 1884 (age 35).  Charles’ parents were Sarah J. & William C. Towner, so he was a brother to Everett.  Leola was 11 months old, and her brother Leo, born 1914 (age 6), was also living with Charles.  Their brother Albert (Bert/Burt) was age 17 and hired man at the George Pitchford farm.  We have no death dates for burial records for Everett, Jane, nor Leola Towner.  We also did not find any marriage or death records for a husband of Jane named Bradfield.  ~ Grayden D. Slowins

COVER STORY:  The covers of this issue display photos of West Sebewa School, District No. 8 of Sebewa Township, at the northeast corner of Clarksville Road and Goddard Road, and the West Sebewa Presbyterian Church, just south of the store at the southwest corner of this same intersection.  Following is a list of the teachers at the West Sebewa School from 1920 through the 1963 closing.  Evie David says Miss Marie Leik (Slowinski) taught there, in a divided room (by sheets) with Bessie Alberta, but she is not on this list provided to us:

   Susie Classic, Wilma Hunt, Bertha Kneale, Ruth Peacock, Lula Wallace, Lena Crane, Mable Blackmer, Beatrice Kauffman, Violet Myers, Constance Hiller, Lucile Sindlinger, Ruby Adams, C. Earl Champlin, Bessie Alberta, Rachael Binns, Theda Pallas, Joyce Steele, Linda Hershberger.

   Following are the students, 1920-1963, with three years missing:

Cheney:  Josephine, Alma, Daisy and Clara; Creighton: K. Carl; Goodemoot:  Ruth, Ruby; Green: John, Orlo, Gordon; Hunt, Walter; Leak, Lorraine; Lesher, John, Madalund; Litchfield: Durwood, Atheline, Maxine, Alvin; Martin, Lloyd; McNeil, Charles; Nicholson, G. Robert; Peacock, Wayne, Robert, Catherine; Thorp, Marshall; Wallace, Roger; Brown, Nyol; Brandt, Robert; Barclay, Bertha; Van Houten, Clifford; Friendly, Lloyd; Kenyon, Willard; Kenyon, Loraine; Goodemoot, Earl; Leak, Anna Bella; Kenyon, Madonna; Sargeant, Mavis; Sargeant, John Jr.; Goodemoote, Merle; Layrer, Paul, Layrer, Gloria; Smith, Kenneth; Vance, Richard; Creighton, Frederick; Goodemoot, Richard; Zwilp, Mary; Hatt, Herbert; Leyrer, Martin; Kill, Albert, Kill, Frank; Smith, Carlton; Sharlow, Arlene; McCaul, Anna Mae; Brandt, Hazel; Brandt, Max; Brandt, Ray; Brandt, Ruth; Van Putten, Gerald; Van Putten, Katherine; Lakin, Glenna Mae; Lakin, Teddy; Sharlow, Elizabeth; Shetterly, Philip; Smith, Beverly; Vance, Marilyn; Janes, Betty; Janes, Carl; Tompkins, Amy; Tompkins, Denver; Tompkins, Gordon; Tompkins, Leota; Johnson, Ethlyn; Barkley, Marian; Schnabel, June; Tomlinson, Richard; Commee, Edmund; Sargeant, George; Commee, Durwood; Johnson, Gordon; Johnson, Marlene; Becker, Marian; Blackmer, Jacquline; Commee, Clarence; Coe, Joyce; Shetterly, Shirley; Smith, Roger; Becker, Louise; Brandt, Betty; Brandt, Evelyn; Blackmer, Donna; Shetterly, Joy; Downing, Cleo; Commee, Loren; Creighton, Rex; Smith, Calvin Jr.; Hissong, Max; Simmons, Claude Jr.; Morley, Sherdyne; Raymond, Kenneth; Raymond, Donald; Raymond, Shirley; Coe, Larry; Brandt, Roy; Eldridge, Joanne; Smith, Della; Galvan, Sarah; Galvan, Rachel; Galvan, Tabita; Galvan, Raquel; Galvan, Esther; Esparza, Consuela; Esparza, Elizabeth; Esparza, Pauline; Baily, Jr.; Baily, Polly; Baily, Alice; Baily, Marguerette; Baily, Marjorie; Smith, Donna; Sedore, Shirley; Thomas, Robert; Brofford, Thelma; Wybenga, Katheryn; Davis, Larry; Piercefield, Jerry; Thorp, Donna; Piercefield, Janet; Piercefield, Wayne; Piercefield, June; Piercefield, Wanda; Smith, Tommy; Shetterly, Linda; Brandt, Leon; Carey, Nancy; Carey, Norma; Carey, Noretta; Lich, John, Pinkston, Karen; Bursley, Robert; Beaver, Barbara; Bursley, Lawrence; Bush, Arlean; Graul, Jerry; Graul, Melvin; Smith, Mary Lou; Ingrahm, Betty; Avery, Dorne; Avery, Robert; Creighton, Rodger; Piercefield, Bonnie; Landeros, Mary Lou; Landeros, Ruth; Cavazos, Lupe; Cavazos, Janie; Cavazos, Joe; Cavazos, Pete; Champlin, Donald; Harris, Norman; Harris, Doris; Harris, Betty, Harris, Larry; Harris, Ernest; Beaver, Arlene; Harris, Robert; Lich, Evelyn; Piercefield, Wilma; Dexter, Walter; Dexter, David; Dexter, Lynden; Avery, Jimmy; Brandt, Melvin; Bush, Ronald; Hale, Donald; Hale, Donald; Hale, Sharlene; Brown, Jimmy; Orta, Esther; McNutt, Vonnie; Creighton, Ronnie; Creighton, Penny; Sandborn, Julie; Smith, Elaine; Garcia, Reymundo; Garcia, Ramiria; Montalvo, Roman; Montalvo, Rafael; Garcia, Victor; Oviedo, Lupe; Oviedo, Tony; Lich, Linda; Montalvo, Pancho; Thorp, Bonnie; Sandborn, Marcia; Pinkston, Craig; Thorp, Donald; Possehn, Carole; Montalvo, Richard; McNeil, Clay; Taylor, Ronald; Haverstick, Kenneth; Taylor, Ruth Ann; Haverstick, Jimmy; Taylor, Roger; Haverstick, Sharlotte; Taylor, Rhoda; Lich, Larry; Piercefield, James; Goodemoot, Kenneth; Pinkston, Brian; Thorp, Richard; Binns, Paige; McNeil, Corinne; Possehn, Christine; Possehn, Robert; Smith, Victoria; Thorp, Connie; Sandborn, Suzan; Smith, David; Haskins, Arthur; Haskins, Arthur; Haskins, Mary; Haskins, Carolyn; Haskins, Willis; Conley, Joe; Downing, Vicki; Goodemoot, Keith; Haskins, Henry; Thorp, Larry; Sandborn, Vicky; Haverstick, Patricia; Ludwick, Roselie; Piercefield, Dorothy; Risner, Richard; Risner, Larry; Risner, Theodore; Conley, Maston; Downing, Diane; Possehn, Donna; Baker, Sue Ellen; Baker, Bonita; Conley, Gene;  Goodemoot, Jane; Sandborn, Kay; Risner, Debra; Risner, Steven; Ritenburg, Kathy; Conley, David; Ritenburg, Vicky. 

When the West Sebewa School closed in 1963, all records and contents went to Lakewood School District, under the care of Superintendent Bill Eckstrom.  A few years later the records came back and Marion Goodemoot compiled this list of teachers and students.  It first appeared in THE RECOLLECTOR in February 1987.  Each person is listed the first time their name appears, so we do not know the span of years for each.  I believe the building was purchased by Homer & Mamie Downing, whose farm was next east (the former Anna Slowinski & John Lehman farm), and whose retirement home was next north of the school.  Others have owned that house and school building, and now both are owned by Patty & Brad Catlin.  Evelyn Lich David has been carrying on an E-mail conversation with various people who wish to share memories, photos, and comments.  Patty Catlin wants to do a “Before and After” photo album.  Brad & Patty Catlin have cleaned up the trash, weeds, and underbrush around the school yard, and it looks “spiffy”, as Evie says! 

In 1915, Probate Judge Arthur Peacock of Wakeeny, Kansas, wrote about his memories of coming from Indiana to Sebewa Township (MI) with his family in a covered wagon at age 8, in autumn of 865.  West Sebewa had a little log school house, and his first teacher was Miss Lucy Titus.  Second was a Miss Jackson in 1866, the year they built the Presbyterian Church, and began to build the new school house.  She was followed by Hester Carter, Millie Carpenter Goddard, and Matt Knoll. 

In 1867, Dora Peacock Johnson wrote about the school house and playground on the northeast corner in 1891, when she started.  Students were numbered around fifty and ranged in age from five to twenty one.  School was divided into terms – fall, winter, spring.  The youngest children were not obliged to attend during winter term due to the cold, stormy weather, because they had to walk.  The big boys did not attend during spring & fall terms, when they would be busy helping plant and harvest crops.

MARRIAGE CONGRATULATIONS:  An E-mail comment about the schoolhouse reminds us that congratulations are in order for Tammy Hirschman and Richard Thorp!  They were united in marriage by Rev. Dr. Marilyn Danielson at Portland Congregational Church on January 21, 2012.

 UPDATE:  The Jonathan I. Hale Flour Mill on Steele Street in Ionia, which was the subject of our cover story in April 2011, is now a vacant lot.  It and the adjoining facilities of the Ionia Grain Elevator were knocked down and removed last autumn.

REMINDER:  An annual contribution of $5.00 each year by July 1st covers our printing and postage costs, although the rates are climbing and we may soon need $6.00.  Full sets of back issues of THE RECOLLECTOR are still available at $70; 47 years x 6 issues per year = 282 issues, a good bargain, but postage on 16 pounds is prohibitive.  See if you can arrange to pick them up.


BETTY ANN SCHEURER KNOX, 74, born in Orange Township, December 6, 1937, died January 3, 2012, wife of Kendall KNOX; mother of Karen (William) MORIARTY, Beth (Tim) INGRAHAM, Barb (Rick) BALDERSON and Kathy (Aaron) HOWAT; six grandchildren; nine great-grandchildren; sister of John (Marie) SCHEURER, Peggy (Joe) RUSSMAN, and the late Harold and Jerry SCHEURER, daughter of Bertha SCHLOSSER & Harold SCHEURER, Sr., son of Bert SCHEURER; Bertha was daughter of John H. SCHLOSSER.  Betty & Kendall were dairy farmers on the Knox Farm in Portland and Danby Townships for many years.  Beth & Tim continue that operation today.  In retirement Betty enjoyed sewing and volunteering in the library in Alden, MI, and in Alabama.  Cremation has taken place with a private burial. 

LAWRENCE (LARRY) M. CAHOON, 81, born in Grand Rapids, January 12, 1930, died January 3, 2012, husband of Marilyn RICKERT CAHOON; father of Tim (Nancy) CAHOON, Brian (Wendy) CAHOON, and Jim (Robin) CAHOON; ten grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; brother of James Fred (Jacqueline) CAHOON, and the late Anna CAHOON ELVERT and Ida HATCH CAHOON; son of Maurice & Jessie HATCH CAHOON, descendent of Harvey HATCH and of Timothy WHITE, Worchester ENGLISH, James TALLANT and Jesse WILLIAMS, the first settlers of Boston Township, Ionia County.  Larry grew up on the farm his great-great-grandfather Timothy WHITE settled in 1836.  He attended North Bell Rural School and graduated from Saranac High School in 1949.  Larry & Marilyn bought and farmed for 57 years on Tannis Road, south of the M. S. U. Research Center.  He also cut wood and worked for John Bean Company in Lansing, Universal Metal Products in Saranac, Newells in Lowell, Woodland Mall in Grand Rapids, and M. S. U. Research Center.  He had been a member of Boy Scouts in Saranac, Michigan National Guard Co. H. in Ionia, and was a member of Lowell First United Methodist Church, Boston-Saranac Historical Society, Ionia County Genealogical Society, and First Families Society.  In retirement they traveled in the U.P. and camped with the grandchildren.

Burial was in South Boston Cemetery near many generations of his ancestors. 


THELMA M. EVEREST JOHNSON, 93, born in Lake Odessa, March 22, 1918, died January 27, 2012, widow of ROBERT S. JOHNSON, (son of ROYAL (SAM) JOHNSON, mother of BETTY JO ( ANTHONY) JACKSON of Lake Odessa, and STEVE (KARLENE) JOHNSON of Smyrna; five grandchildren; five great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren; sister-in-law of BETTY JOHNSON ANDERSON of Grand Haven, sister of the late LOUISA M. BURGER, VERA M. BEEBE, MARTHA, CHARLES AND RAYMOND (LUCILLE McCARTNEY) EVEREST; daughter of HARRY EVEREST & DORA FENDER EVEREST, daughter of ADAM & LOUISA FENDER, pioneer settlers on what is now the HAMPEL farm of 61 acres at the west side of Sec. 30 Sebewa Township on South State Rd.  ADAM FENDER was Justice of the Peace, Supervisor of Sebewa Township for 20 years, 1897-1917, and twice chairman of the Ionia County Board of Supervisors.  He also was a stockholder in the Farmers & Merchants Bank of Lake Odessa, a member of Samuel GRINNEL G. A. R. Post in Sunfield and of West Sebewa I. O. O. F. Lodge.  He had shaken the hand of Abraham Lincoln while lying on a hospital cot near the Capitol in Washington!  Thelma & Bob lived in Belding and she had operated a fabric & custom clothing store.  They hosted many exchange students.  Cremation has taken place, with burial in Odessa Lakeside Cemetery. 

RONALD H. POWELL, 83, born in Ionia, June 15, 1928, died February 22, 2012, husband of  MARGIE THOMAS POWELL; father of DOUGLAS (AMANDA) POWELL of Ronald Township, Ionia, JON (MARTHA) POWELL of Holly, and JULIE (BRIAN) CALLEY of Portland; and grandchildren:  HEATHER and LAUREN POWELL, ALANNA PAPE and RYAN POWELL, and COLLIN, REAGAN and KARAGAN CALLEY; brother of LARRY (BLANCHE) POWELL of Portland; and REX (PEGGY) POWELL of Maryland, and the late PATRICIA POWELL; son of ELEANOR PARTRIDGE and STANLEY M. POWELL, son of ALICE MAY WATERBURY &  HERBERT E. POWELL, son of RUTH ANN GOODWIN & JOSEPH PRIESTLY POWELL, who settled on 160 acres of well-drained land in Ronald Township, Ionia County, MI, in 1845 after returning from a land-seeking trip and turning down a chance to buy 40 acres of swampland, now called “The Loop”, in tiny ten-year-old Chicago, which could have been bought in exchange for one yoke of oxen.  Ron farmed all his life on that same family farm, gradually changing from Stanley’s herd of dual-purpose Red-Polled cattle and flock of Shropshire sheep, to a fine herd of Holstein dairy cattle, now replaced by Doug & Amanda’s herd of Angus beef cattle.  Ron attended Zion United Methodist and later Shiloh Community Church, was a member of Farm Bureau and liked to square dance.

Burial was in Woodard Lake Cemetery.  Memorials to Ionia County Animal Shelter – Cat Room!

REMINDER:  An annual contribution of $5.00 by July 1st each year covers our printing and postage costs, although with the rates climbing, we may soon need $6.00.  Full sets of back issues of the RECOLLECTOR are still available at $70; 47 years x 6 issues per year = 282 issues, a good bargain, but postage on 16 pounds is steep.  See if you can arrange to pick them up.


Gathered from back issues of PORTLAND REVIEW & OBSERVER 

May 5, 1949: 

Mrs. Anne Warnke, a resident of Easton Township, contributed two bags of beans in the winter CROP drive, which procured food for European people.  Of German descent, she has relatives in that country.   Both bags were new ones with her name on them….and her sister got one of the bags and wrote back about the coincidence.  She is using the bag itself as a dish towel.  This is good proof that CROP contributions arrived and were properly distributed. 

Another letter of thanks comes from Austria.  Last week, Mrs. Harold Storz received the letter from a family who had received some clothing the Storz family sent some time ago.  The family is made up of the father, mother and three children.  The father stated that they could find food to buy, but almost no clothing was available, so the contribution was very welcome.  He said that all the clothing arrived in good condition. 

May 5, 1929: 

Two dogs were put to death by Village Marshall Ferguson, following complaints from livestock owners in various parts of the area. 

Fire destroyed the house on the old Ansil Green farm, one and a half miles west of Sebewa Corners.  The place is now owned by Rev. Andrew Hoffman, a retired United Brethren minister.  (Later owned by his daughter Lucille Stambaugh and husband Kyle, in 2012 this farm is owned by Dave & Jody Cassel, except for the home built to replace the one mentioned above and one built by Raymond Stambaugh.) 

Chester M. Divine, landlord of Hotel Divine, is conferring with architects with a view to having a new brick wall, same color as the front of the building, built along the north side and substituting French-style windows for those now in use. 

An X-ray examination at Grand Rapids revealed a broken kneecap in the case of Ben Sykes, brick-mason, who was injured several weeks ago in a fall from a ladder & scaffolding. 

May 5, 1909:  William (W. D.) Lakin has been losing eyesight and it is feared he will be totally blind. 

Otis Tyler tapped 700 maple trees this year and sold all the syrup at an average price of $1.00 per gallon. 

Remember When?  When William Seiler Sr used to drive a team of oxen to town with a load of logs or firewood?  When the doctor rode horseback through the woods and swamps to make house calls?  When the children went to the old log school on the farm of Jeremiah Kilmartin in Orange Township (Portland Road) and a milk snake crawled onto the shelf where the dinner-pails were kept?  Del Courser, uncle of Ernie & Dale Courser, got a piece of fence-rail to kill the seven-foot snake.  Jake Seiler took up 80 acres government land in Orange for $25 for the 80 acres?  (Ora Walkington bought part of this and Gordon the rest.)


West Sebewa Presbyterian Church 1865-1913

West Sebewa School after closure – 1963

JOHN S. SCHENCK’S HISTORY OF IONIA AND MONTCALM COUNTIES (1881) has this account of the First Presbyterian Church of Sebewa:  “The church was organized in 1865 by Rev. Lewis Miller.  The organizing members were:  David W. Goddard, Hannah Goddard, Robert Allen & wife, Mary Coe, E. B. Buckman & wife, Benjamin Bartlett & wife.  Directly after organizing, the church built a house of worship on Sec. 7 and dedicated it in February 1866.”  Our photo shows the landmark building which stood from 1865 to about 1913, when it was dismantled by Donald Goodemoot and the materials used to stable the horses that brought the members to meetings.  Such sheds were in place at the Sebewa Baptist Church three miles south, and the Methodist Episcopal Churches at Sebewa Center and Sebewa Corners (East Sebewa).  For many years it was served by the Presbyterian minister from Ionia with regular Sunday meetings.  News items of the period mention several different ministers who served the church on this arrangement.  In 1902 Benjamin C. Peacock and others organized a Church of Christ and built their own church a half mile north, near the southeast corner of Knoll and Goddard Roads.  The Presbyterian building sat empty and went rapidly downhill.

FROM:  Grayden D. Slowins, Editor


               702 Clark Crossing, SE

               Grand Rapids, MI  49506-3300


REMINDER:  An annual contribution of $5.00 each year by July 1st covers our printing and postage costs, although the rates are climbing and we may soon need $6.00.  Full sets of back issues of THE RECOLLECTOR are still available at $70; 47 years x 6 issues per year = 282 issues, a good bargain, but postage on 16 pounds is prohibitive.  See if you can arrange to pick them up.


Last update January 17, 2013