THE SEBEWA RECOLLECTOR
Historical Newsletter from Sebewa; Sebewa Township, Ionia County, MI;
June 2014, Volume 49, Number 6. Submitted with permission of Editor Grayden
Cover page: Drawing of the Ionia County Court House – Built in 1886
“VOICES FROM THE PAST” & “THOUGHTS WHILE STROLLING ON KENT STREET” Gathered from past issues of the PORTLAND REVIEW & OBSERVER.
November 13, 1889: Last Thursday morning, before many of the people were up, four gentlemen (that is three gentlemen and the Observer Editor – Lew F. Cutcheon) might have been seen starting out from Portland in the direction the sun sets. The other gentlemen of the party were Josiah Dilley, George Dinsmore and Duncan Kennedy. We were bound for Woodbury, the junction of the C. K. & S. Railroad (Chicago, Kalamazoo and Saginaw, a.k.a. Cuss, Kick and Swear R.R. 1), with the D. L. & G. R. Railroad (Detroit, Lansing and Grand Rapids R.R.) where, through the courtesy of President Bush of the former railroad, we were to take a ride over the length of the road from Woodbury to Kalamazoo, a distance of almost forty-five miles, and like James G. Blaine, being dead heads in the enterprise. (An inside political joke at the expense of the Republican Candidate for President defeated by Grover Cleveland.)
The ride from Portland to Woodbury (15 ½ miles) was most enjoyable, the party drinking in the fresh air, because there was nothing else to drink, and occupied in a little more than two hours. The ride through Sebewa Township showed that the wheat crop is gaining in root and most pieces look very much better than a month ago. Woodbury is a village that exists only in the imagination, but it is a splendid location for a town; level, high and dry and, we believe, the best place for an investment in building lots of any of the small places along either the D.L. & G.R. or the C.K. Railroads. At present there is only one business place besides the depot, which was built by both companies.
At 8:20 we took the train for Kalamazoo, at which place we arrived at 10:30. To say that we were surprised at the present condition of the C. K. & S. is to put it mildly. It rode like an old established road. It is well fenced, excellently balanced and in prime condition. The road passes through some fine farming country which is full of lakes. There are several quite lively little burgs along the line, Hastings, of course, being the largest. The station houses are neat and tidy – all painted and in the best of condition.
The road runs alongside of several large lakes, Long Lake the largest, being three miles long. These lakes, those who live near them informed us, are alive with pickerel, bass, catfish, etc., and it is only a question of time when such beautiful sheets of water will be made resorts for Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, etc. In fact, Crooked Lake, nearer to Kalamazoo than the others, is already being made a popular resort for Kalamazoo than the others, is already being made a popular resort for the people of that city, and many cottages will be built along its shores in the spring. In our opinion, the C. K. & S. will be a great summer route for these resorts. The best farming country along the road is from Woodbury to Woodland (and of course just across the corner in Sebewa & Odessa Townships.) It has been a good apple year and the road has hauled many cars of apples. There are also mills at two or three of the villages which are doing a good business for the road.
Arriving at Kalamazoo, we met Mr. Frederick Bush, president of the company, and accompanied him to his office. From conversations with Mr. Bush and others, we learned some facts in connection with the road which surprised us. Mr. Bush says that from the first the road has more than paid expenses; and from the time the road was completed to Woodbury it has done better than ever. The month of October saw their net earnings crowding $3000. This is an extremely good showing for a road so young and only 45 miles in length. The company has just purchased a brand new locomotive and will have others. At present they are running two passenger and one freight train each way each day, and their freights run from 15 to 22 cars each way.
Mr. Bush says the company has its road all paid for, does not owe a cent that it cannot pay at any time, and has no bond outstanding against it. He also said the Kalamazoo people who had money in the enterprise were satisfied with the road and its management so far and were anxious to go on. When asked if it was certain the road would go on to Portland by June, Mr. Bush said it was not certain; but negotiations were pending, looking to that end, and before January 1st it would be known with certainty. We informed Mr. Bush that it was reported the road had been sold to the Grand Trunk. He denied this and said no negotiations looking to that end had been made. Mr. Bush said that should his plans be carried out, Mr. Dingman will begin work on the cuts this winter.
Kalamazoo is full of fine homes and business blocks. Senator Stockbridge and Judge Severens of the U. S. District Court have fine residences, which were pointed out to us. We also drove past the State Hospital, situated in a handsome grove with finely kept grounds. When the first train over the C. K. & S. runs through from Portland to Kalamazoo, those who have never been in the busy city of 22,000 people, should take advantage of the opportunity. It is one of the prettiest cities we have ever seen.
On our return trip from Kalamazoo, we had forty minutes in Hastings. We called upon George Wilcox, formerly of this place. George has given up the saloon business and is now running a first class restaurant and is doing a good business. Hastings is a prettily laid out town of about 3000 people; and now having gotten competing lines of railroads, is reaching out for manufacturing enterprises – and getting them too! Nothing can prevent Hastings from becoming an important point. In fact we were informed while there that the city was already beginning to feel the results of the boom. There was not a vacant house in the place and new ones were going up. The party arrived back in Portland about half-past nine, well satisfied with the trip and what had been seen and heard. END
(This railroad never reached Portland; the coming of the automobile had its impact on the C. C. & S. In January 1934, the passenger runs were replaced by one passenger car hooked to the freight runs. On July 18, 1937, they were tearing up the tracks. See the Sebewa Recollector Volume No. 45, Issue No. 6, for ViVern Pierce’s story from his childhood, of the turntable at Woodbury.)
January 20, 1949: Mr. Dolph Wolf, Manager of Tri-County Electric Cooperative, in his annual report to the Board of Directors, state that they had extended electric lines to 222 new rural customers in 1948. Another 200 farms are awaiting service as soon as materials are available. The annual REA survey over the United States as of July 1, 1948, estimated that 1,800,000 American farms and about as many non-farm rural residences and businesses still lacked electric service. As of that date approximately 7 out of 10 American farms and about as many non-farm rural residences and businesses still lacked electric service. As of that date approximately 7 out of 10 American farms had central electric service (as opposed to Delco home generators, which our Grandpa Dan Slowinski and Ann’s Grandpa Frank Fryer had at least 20 years earlier), as compared with 1 out of t0 when REA was established just 13 years ago, in 1935.
Justice Allen W. Hughes, in whose court many traffic fines are assessed, himself stood in front of a mirror for the first case of the day in his court and fined the fellow $1 for a parking ticket! Others listed were: Mrs. E. E. Breining - $1, Faust Agostini - $1, Dr. J. C. Hilligan - $1, Roy Higbee - $1, Cloyce VanHouten - $1, Clarence Duistermars - $1, Francis Lawless - $1, Harold Augst - $1, John Stockdale - $1, Jerry Leik - $1, W. D. Earle - $1, Roy Dawdy - $1, Gerald Hackenbruch - $1, Ferd Wahlscheid - $1, Dr. A. J. McDaniel - $1, Mary Anne Trieweiler - $1, Edwin Schueller - $1, Dr. John Hancock - $1, J. H. Graham - $1, Claud Plant - $1, Richard Goodman - $3.
Alfred Bauer tells us the plant of Bauer Lumber Co. has its new flooring mill in operation. They feature oak flooring, and will be going full blast soon, Alfred expects. It is listed in a national publication, and orders for the product have already come from several distant states. The Bauers first built up a big saw mill, and now comes this addition. Their plant covers about 12,000 square feet. (Of what was once Alfred’s eight-acre berry and truck-crop farm. If memory serves, it was hard maple flooring that we made on our summer job in that plant in 1952.)
January 20, 1929 Miles Tran has moved from Frank Wilson’s farm to the Hendee farm near Christian Bend School in Portland Township, formerly occupied by A. Gustavson; a distance of about two and one-half miles across the Goodwin Bridge. (Born & raised in Sebewa Township, Miles and his wife Neva are buried in East Sebewa Cemetery.)
Suffering from injuiries received while working in a gravel pit on the Florian Kenyon farm, southwest of Portland in Sebewa Township, 10 days ago, Samuel Leak, Sebewa Township farmer, was still confined to his bed Saturday, though it is expected that he will recover.
The house on Elm Street next to the High School building, was sold by Allen Mack, of Ann Arbor, to Prine E. Barclay last week.
January 20, 1909: Oliver Kelly, only son of Mr. & Mrs. William Kelly of Lyons, was drowned in Grand River within a half mile of his home. He was crossing on the ice and it was not solid enough to hold him.
January 27, 1929: Twins, a boy and a girl, were born to Mr. & Mrs. Russell Moyer, who reside on a farm near Eagle.
Fred England and family are to move into the remodeled house, formerly the Harriet Clark property, one block west of South Kent Street (on the southeast corner of Beers Street, now Riverside Drive. Harriet and John Clark were the parents of Nora Clark Lakin, Ann Lakin Slowins’ grandmother.)
Pneumonia claimed another victim Friday, when Floyd Fleetham, living near the Pere Marquette crossing south of Sebewa Corners, passed away. He was just past 30, married and the father of five children. (We believe this was Edgar Fleetham’s father, who we know died young.)
January 27, 1909: Lewis Perl has purchased G. P. Burtch’s planning machine and other equipment and is conducting the business at the same old location, next to the Carnegie Library.
Charles Lockwood is home from Blackwell, Okla. He and his brother, Leon, are to work their father’s farm this year.
February 3, 1929: An important real estate transfer was made last week, when Carl D. Bywater purchased from C. F. Powers the store building in which his drugstore has long been located.
Bishop Gallagher has announced selection of a new church building committee for St. Patrick’s parish.
At the Congregational parsonage, Rev. Fred Williams performed the marriage service for Mrs. Cora B. English and Mr. Harry Townsend. (Henry Townsend was father of Blanche Townsend Reed and Ross Townsend, father of Forrest Townsend, father of Larry Townsend and Joyce Townsend Dutcher; so he was not a young buck at the time of this marriage. He lived next door to Ernest Seal family at the foot of the north hill on Divine Highway, in retirement.)
February 3, 1909: Pulling out of Grand Ledge earlier than usual for the run to Ionia, Saturday morning, the Pere Marquette freight train left the rails at the crossing near the William Hudson farm southeast of Portland. None of the crew were hurt, but twelve loaded freight cars were thrown on both sides of the track.
February 3, 1949: Frank Goff stops in to have a look at the new Review & Observer building. Frank did a lot of building in his younger days. Now 90, he works quite frequently in his basement wood shop. “If I can keep busy, I may live another 10 years,” he says. Many people younger than he can profit from his advice. (Frank Goff’s home/shop building stood just east of Hoovers’ Home Restaurant, which name got transferred to the next building west, that is now called “Looking-Grand Restaurant.” Goff’s lot is now part of the parking lot. Menold’s Flower shop was once in there, too. Frank’s son Ben and his sons carried on the construction business, and one was a professor at MsU.
February 10, 1949: Fire completely destroyed the farm home of Mr. & Mrs. A. C. Fineout, four miles southeast of Portland. Loss was estimated at $8,000. The fire was discovered when the Fineouts noticed smoke sifting into the room from a stovepipe. Upon opening the door leading upstairs, that part of the house was discovered to be in flames. Fineouts just recently purchased the farm, known as the former Cliff VanBuren place in Danby Township. (The VanBurens, along with their son Lawrence and wife, had recently purchased the Nathan B. Hayes pioneer homestead north of Muir on Hayes Road. The farm on VanBuren Road in Danby has long since been part of Peake Bros. land.)
Dr. and Mrs. Clayton E. Kokx completed purchase of the former George Knox property at the corner of Academy and Elm Streets in Portland. The purchase was made from Charles Knox of South Haven. The home is a brick bungalow and was completed some years ago by the late George Knox, his widow occupying it after his death. Mr. & Mrs. Merle Todd and family have occupied the downstairs apartment in the home for several years.
February 10, 1929: A daughter, weighing 7 ½ pounds, was born to Mr. & Mrs. Earl Swiler. She has been named Marilyn Joyce.
February 10, 1909: Charles Miles and Ray Barnard, two Orange Township farmers, swapped horses on Kent Street after 15 minutes dickering. The horses were unharnessed, turned over to the new owner, and harnessed up again.
Henry Gates has sold his fine farm of 385 acres in Orange Township to Ted Wilson and will move to Oregon in a few weeks. (This is the Henry Hoort St. farm of 225 acres on Portland Road and the west 160 acres of the Dr. Harriet Carbaugh farm across the road to the north, long owned by absentee landlord Ole Benson, then by Gerald Sampson – also absentee, and now by David & Jody Cassel. Erwin G. (Ted) Wilson’s home farm was the Francis Lawless farm.)
February 17, 1949: Flames swept over the roof of the Ben Smith farm home in Orange Township, causing damage second only to loss of the A. C. Fineout home in Danby Township last week. Once again the fire was believed to have started around an overheated chimney, caused by heavy firing of the heating system in this extremely cold winter weather. The Smith farm is the former Charles Estep place, and is now owned by Mr. & Mrs. Harry Seeger of Lansing. (It is located on the high ground just west of the Jeremiah Kilmartin/Stella Baker/Fred Werner farm on Portland Road, and now belongs to Gordon Walkington. Charles Estep was born and raised in Sebewa Township on the Theo Bulling farm on Musgrove Highway and long ran a lumber yard in Portland. Robert Wilfred Gierman ran Charles Estep’s memoirs of early days of farming, some years ago in THE SEBEWA RECOLLECTOR. This family of Esteps was related to several other early families in Sebewa: the Ezekiel Downings, the John Olrys, the Charles Kellys, etc., but none of the modern-day Esteps in Sunfield, Lyons-Muir, or Portland have claimed any relationship to them.
February 17, 1949: Harry Hall stops in to show us a cigar box, original contents of which were made in Portland in 1910. On the box is a baseball picture and the words “Our Fine Portland Team”. Harry didn’t know that cigars were ever made in Portland, but they were. There were several “factories” here in earlier years. As we remember it, Emery Swank operated one, and James Kenny, an Ionia resident, came here and ran another. We recall that when one cigar factory quit business, our father (Fred J. Mauren Sr.) bought one of the work tables to use for a paper-folding table….and it is still so used. That “factory” was back of Justice Bill Selleck’s offices, above present-day Owen Pharmacy. But in time bigger plants with mechanized equipment dominated the field and handmade products disappeared.
The New Sun Theatre, nearing completion on Maple Street, will open to the public on Tuesday, March 1st, according to John Kortes and his sons Howard and Russell, owners. It is about twice as wide as the old theatre on Kent Street, and will seat 472 on the ground floor. A balconey on the north side of the projection booth will accommodate 40-50 more. A glassed-in “cry-room” is on the south side of booth.
Construction of the new theatre on Maple Street puts into use lots which had been vacant recently, but years ago played an important part in the town’s enterprises. It was on them that the Hinman & Perrigo wagon works stood, and there two fine pioneers of the town turned out a product of which each was proud. Later the plant was turned into a washing machine factory. (Just one of the locations where Terriff’s Perfect Washer was built.) Finally it was used by E. L. (Edward) Goodwin for his monument manufacturing works.
February 17, 1929: Lee Hyland, who died at Ionia Saturday, was born in Orange Township 45 years ago. (He was a brother to Charlie Hyland and Mrs. Sidney Osman, and son of pioneer farmer Sarah E. Hyland, who raised a family as a widow on 19 acres on the south side of Portland Road, between the Warren Rowe and Warren Rogers farms.)
The home of Wellman Darling, in Culvertown, was badly damaged by fire, which was first discovered near the chimney.
No changes were made in the officers of the Portland Farm Bureau at the directors’ meeting. Those who will serve another term are: President, William H. Fryer; Vice President, A. Fred Klotz; Secretary-Treasurer, Lester M. Campbell; Elevator Manager, Allen Hughes; Cream Station Manager, Herbert Shafer; Livestock Marketing Manager, A. Fred Klotz.
Four hundred cakes of ice were taken last week from a pond on the farm recently purchased by Jack Sykes from Ben Smith, supplying the summer’s supply for the Portland Country Club.
Fred Erdman, son of Frank Erdman of Danby, died at the U. S. Army barracks at Columbus, Ohio, having enlisted in the Regular Army.
February 24, 1949: Miss Hannah Martin, 85, lifelong resident of Portland, passed away. Services at Neller Funeral Home, with Rev. Claude Studt of the Nazarene Church and William Simpson of the Methodist Church officiating. Miss Martin, daughter of Mr. & Mrs. William Martin, was born on the farm in Christian Bend School District March 15, 1863. (This 80 acre farm across from the schoolhouse and the Hendee farm, was later the Paul Wells farm and today belongs to Gerald Wells. In the late 1800s it included three other 40s and at 200 acres was a large farm for its day.) Years ago Hannah was in the millinery business in Portland, and was a charter member of the Portland Nazarene Church. Surviving were her sister, Carrie for many years a local greenhouse operator, (and before that a school teacher in Sebewa Township,) and a nephew, Floyd R. Martin, former Portland grocer, residing in Pinckney. Burial in Portland cemetery, (on the Martin family lot with its large dark gray family monument.)
February 24, 1929: Harry Hall, who operates an elevator on the night shift at the Hayes Hotel in Jackson, MI, spent Sunday in Portland. (Who knew? In our time he delivered newspapers and coached community baseball teams, with a history of service as a cook on freighter ships – and he tried to serve again during the Korean War.)
Peter Pohl of Portland, a younger brother of Allie Pohl, shows the same ability to trade punches that made Allie the most popular boxer in past years at the Ionia amateur boxing tournaments. Peter won his match handily Tuesday night.
February 24, 1909: A. O. Browning did some plowing on his farm the last week in January, (cropland – not snow!)
George B. Mathews, who recently sold his fine farm in Orange Township to Jacob Haas, has purchased 55 acres of the Webber Estate, lying on the north side of Lyons Road in Culvertown, and will build a house thereon. (This would appear to be the land on which TRW stands, but we cannot determine which house was built on it; perhaps the house next to the entrance?)
March 3, 1949: Anthony Leik, who for 55 years had been a well-known and highly respected resident of the community, died Sunday, February 27, at a Lansing hospital, after but a few hours illness. He was taken ill at his home on Kent Street Friday evening, and was removed to the hospital on Saturday. An infection of the blood stream caused his death. Funeral services were held on Wednesday morning at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, and burial was in Portland Cemetery.
Mr. Leik was born in Koblenz, Germany, February 5, 1870, and came to this country at the age of 24, accompanied by his cousin, Paul Leik, now of Westphalia. The two men worked at farming together for a time, before each went into the business of his own. For some years Anthony worked for Sam Campbell on a farm east of town, (on Looking Glass Ave.) and later on a farm at Campbell’s Corners, north of the Municipal dam, (on Lyons Road) now owned by Harold Buck.
Mr. Leik married Miss Ellen Moriarty, of (Looking Glass Ave.) Portland, and the couple lived for many years on a farm they bought from Dr. Frank W. Martin on Knox Road. (From 1912 to 1914 the family lived on Quarterline Street, then back to the farm on Knox Road.) In 1930 the couple moved from the farm into Portland again, and Mrs. Leik died in 1936. Surviving are the following children: Miss Helen Leik, now Sister Ethelreda, of the Sisters of St. Joseph, Detroit; Jerry Leik, who operates the home farm; Miss Marie Leik, (later Mrs. George Slowinski) who lived with her father and teaches the Coleman School; Henry and George Leik, who operate Leik Brothers garage, (formerly Chevrolet and now) Dodge – Plymouth dealers. Three brothers still live in Germany, and a sister, Mrs. Henry Stoeffel, lives at St. Johns, MI. There are several grandchildren and nieces and nephews. Mr. Leik had made three trips back to Germany to visit scenes from his boyhood and to visit relatives; once in 1908, again in 1927, and last in 1938.
March 3, 1929: Portland Elevator Co. (Knox Elevator) sold its lumber business and stock to Builders’ Lumber and Supply Co., and the latter disposed of its fuel business and stock to the Elevator Co.
Under the terms of the will of Mrs. Sarah Scribner, former Portland resident, who died a few weeks ago in Detroit, the financial business in which she was engaged will be carried on under the name “Estate of Sarah Scribner, Deceased.” Last month we learned she had left $2,500 to the Portland Methodist Church.
March 3, 1909: J. Calvin Linebaugh, who teaches in Portland Schools, has purchased a farm in Orange Township. (This is 27 acres surrounding RiteWay Carpet Store, and the ivory brick Victorian Italianate house remains. Calvin later served as Ionia County School Commissioner. The William J. Linebaugh farm, his father’s homestead, was located on Portland Road in Orange Townhip, just west of the Henry Hoort Sr. farm, and was long owned by Riley & Anis Sandborn and family and used mostly as sheep pasture, but is now part of Gordon Walkington’s farmland. John Calvin Linebaugh, Lafayette Linebaugh, B. Franklin Linebaugh and several other siblings grew up there, including the father of Dorothy Gibbs Estep and John Linebaugh, the plumber.)
March 10, 1949: Sebewa Township, Portland’s neighbor to the southwest, is entitled to the honor of having been the birthplace of the new Chairman of the Michigan Republican State Central Committee, Howard S. Lawrence. (The Lawrence homestead was first rented and then owned by Ethel and Henry Hoort Jr., and was located on Musgrove Highway, second farm west of the Slowins farm.)
We also learn that as part of last week’s swap between Portland Elevator and Builder’s Lumber, Charles A. Lewis will leave after eight years employment at the elevator and be identified with the lumber company. J. Harey Rowe has returned from a visit with his son Glenn at Ann Arbor, who will finish a course in dentistry this year.
RECENT DEATH: Merle E. (Mike) Goodemoot, 88, husband of Virginia (Ginny) Harder Goodemoot, father of Linda (Eric Shields) Holley, and Mike (Betty) Goodemoot; grandfather of Melissa Hernandez, Meghean (Damian) Parker, Derrik Goodemoot, Meagan Lafler, Dustin (Laura) Lafler, and the late Eric Holley-Shields; great-grandfather of Joseph Holley, Graciela Hernandez, Antonio Hernandez, and Taylor Lippert; brother of the late Ruby (Gerald) Williams, Ruth (Kenneth) Thorp, Richard (Marian) Goodemoot, and Earl (Pat) (Shirley) Goodemoot; son of the late Florence (Fox) & Allyn Goodemoot, son of George Goodemoot, son of John & Mary J. Goodemoot, great-great-granddaughter of Oliver Wolcott, Jr., Second Secretary of United States Treasury, after Alexander Hamilton, and Governor of Connecticut, son of Oliver Wolcott, Sr., a signer of the Declaration of Independence and also Governor of Connecticut. Born in Sebewa Township, March 1, 1926, Mike died in Sebewa Township, March 27, 2014. He graduated from Lake Odessa High School, served with the U.S. Army in Japan in World War II, came home and farmed all his life. He loved to fish and hunt, and like all his sisters and brothers and learned from his father, followed the Detroit Tiger baseball games devotedly. Buried in Odessa Township Lakeside Cemetery.
CURRENT ISSUES OF RECOLLECTOR: We aim to publish every two months, so there are six issues per year, and we ask $6.00 to cover paper, ink, and postage. Everyone should be paid up by June 1st for the year ahead, which begins July 1st of each year. BACK ISSUES: $60 for 49 years, 294 issues, in 3 binders, including packaging & shipping.
Grayden D. Slowins, Editor
Last update July 25, 2014