Sebewa Recollector
Items of Genealogical Interest

Volume 4 Number 6
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, Bulletin of the The Sebewa Center Association, Bulletin of The Sebewa Center Association, June 1969, Volume 4, Number 6



SEBEWA CENTER will be the locale of the fourth Annual Meeting of the Sebewa Center Association.  On Saturday June 14, 1969 there will be the usual potluck dinner at noon.  A short business meeting and a program will follow. 

WHEN MICHIGAN WAS YOUNG is the title of the film to be shown at the program.  This film was the first in a series of three about Michigan’s history that was sponsored and developed by Consumers Power Company.  The Company has loaned the film for use in schools and social groups all over Michigan.  In order for everyone interested to have a good chance to see the film, it will be shown at the schoolhouse as a preview on Friday evening, June 13, at the program on Saturday and again on Saturday evening at 8 PM at the schoolhouse.  All members of the Sebewa Center Association and friends are invited to attend at the most convenient showing. 


     The principal item of business at the meeting will be to elect a president of the Sebewa Center Association for a three-year term.  Anne Slowins and Mabel Ralston will act as a nominating committee.  Any member may submit a nomination from the floor.  The elective 3 year term of Robert W. Gierman as president ends with this meeting.

     The Board of Directors consists of Harlan Leifheit, Vice President; Faith Shilton, Secretary-Treasurer; and John York and Wilbur Gierman as trustees.  They will be listening for your suggestions for and/or criticisms of conduction the activities of the Association. 


     Leona Meyers and Doris Droste will manage the serving of the dinner.  Coffee, ades and ice cream will be furnished. 

DUES                                         DUES                                           DUES

     Dues for the 1969-1970 year become due as of the June meeting.  There seems no other way to keep our organization alive and serving a useful purpose than to finance it with annual dues.  For a few people to spend the time of collecting the dues consumes time all out of proportion to the money involved.  To make it possible for us to continue at the low figure of $1 per person for dues, won’t you see that your dues are paid promptly?

     Send your $1 ($1 each for Mr. & Mrs.) to Mrs. Faith Shilton, R 1, Portland MI  48875 or your dues will be accepted by any member of the board, should that be more convenient.

     To many of you the payment of dues has meant principally that you would receive our bulletin, THE SEBEWA RECOLLECTOR.  Plans call for its continued publication.  The membership last year reached 334.  Some have already paid dues for 1969-70. 


     Every tenth person in the U. S. is age 65 or over—a total of almost 20 million men and women.  There are about 134 older women to 100 older men.  Life expectancy at birth is 73.8 for females and 66.7 for males.

     Retirement is defined as withdrawing from one’s business or vocation or job.  This is usually done because of reaching the age when we begin to wear out physically and are unable to carry on full time work.  Retirement applies more to men than to women because household chores never end.  Mother may get more help if daddy is looking for something to do besides waiting for the mailman to deliver the Social Security check.

     Some folks retire from a full time job and then take a part time job.  Farmers have historically turned over the hard work to the young men when they felt it was time to withdraw.

     Most retired people have a problem of what to do with their time and those who solve this problem are lucky.  If they have hobbies such as gardening, bird-watching or rock hunting, these activities may be expanded.  A variety of light sports such as fishing, golf or shuffle-board are enjoyed by the active ones.

     The person who dreams of retirement to catch up on his fun is usually on the wrong track.  He would trade time for old age and that is a poor bargain.

     It is evident that the subject of retirement is a very broad and complicated one.  Each individual who enters that stage of life must decide what he will do about it.

     There is no doubt that there is a big waste of time and talent in this country by retired people.  Many of them have health and wealth that is used to be no higher purposes than to take care of themselves and pass the time.  There is a place for leadership to encourage retired individuals and groups to use more of their time and talents on projects to improve the community and help others who are less fortunate.  End. 


     I recall an early school reunion at Sebewa Center when for some reason or other, neither Elem Tran nor John Cole had cut the June grass hay crop from the church and school grounds.  For a few little hay cocks, Elem or John usually performed this summer task.

     With the June grass well headed out and stretching to its tallest, the picnickers began arriving and parking the autos of that day wherever they would.  Soon the grass heads were smeared with the oily refuse from the underside of the engines of Model T’s Overlands and Chevy 4’s of the times.  Many a woman could have wished she had one of today’s miniskirts when she began to find the greasy smears on the hems of her skirt and petticoat.

     Perhaps it was a fresh application of dust-laying oil at some locations on our roads that reminded me of the distraught ladies at that school reunion.     RWG 


     Fred and I went to keeping house in a log cabin.  There was a little bedroom downstairs off the living room, just room enough for the bed and one chair.  Then over in the northeast corner I had my dresser.  My father gave me a stand and a lamp—one of those big globe lamps with flowers on it.  Fred bought a new stove, so that was what I had in my living room besides two extra nice chairs.  They were sort of dining room chairs, only they were fancier.

     Then in the dining room there was a dining room set.  Then I bought one thing and another and a cupboard, it was.  I’ve got that upstairs at home now.  I kept my dishes in that.  Then we had a pantry and we had one of those old ice refrigerators in there that you had to keep a pan down below and lots of times that would run over.  There was a kind of a square in the floor of the pantry with a ring in it so you could lift that up and that’s what all the cellar I had.  The rats and mice were so thick in there that I had to put a crock down there with a plate on top of it with a heavy stone to hold it down so the mice and rats wouldn’t get in.  Finally Fred got tired of that so he built some cupboard doors with screens on them to keep the mice out.  After that we set traps and finally got rid of those mice.

     Fred had bought a cheap carpet—not a roll carpet—but a cotton one and it was quite nice looking.  That we had down in there in the living room and my mother had given us twenty yards of homemade—we sewed the rags and had that rag carpet made—and I had two strips of that in the bedroom and behind and underneath the bed you couldn’t see it looked as if it were all carpeted.  We had a little bedroom to the east in the old log house.  You know that was quite a lot of room in that old log house.  And there was enough carpet left so that I could carpet that whole bedroom there.  And we had the bed that Fred’s folks gave us there in that bedroom and then I had a commode in there—Mother gave us the bedroom suite.

     Then there was an upstairs up there in that old log house and they had three little rooms in it, so we took out the partitions and made it all into one big room.  We had the sawmill men—we were getting ready to build our new house and we had old—I forget his name—his last name was Haight.  He was a drunken puke; he got drunk all the time.  He slept upstairs and there were two others worked there.  There was John Kussmaul and another man, the sawyer.

     Anyway that drunken fellar, his socks was wet some way or other and he put them around that little register where the stovepipe went through with holes in.  He put them there and they got too close to the pipe and his socks burned up.  So such a time we had.  My sister, Ollie, came there and stayed with me for a while and the boys learnt us how to play pedro.  We was tickled to death when we got a five spot—we thought we was in glory, you know, ‘til we finally learnt that didn’t mean anything.

     We had a well but we didn’t have any windmill.  We had to pump the water.  I even had to pump the wash water unless it would rain and then I’d have to put tubs out underneath the eaves-troughs and catch soft water.  We didn’t have a cistern—heavens no!  There was nothing there.  I don’t know how they ever got along the way things was.  After a while we made a cistern of our own and we had plenty of soft water then.

     When we butchered we had to salt the meat down.  We didn’t know much about coldpacking at that time.  In the wintertime we’d eat up the shoulders and hams and then we’d put the others down in brine, you know.  Made salt pork so as to have it when you cooked beans and things like that.

     I had chickens, yes Old Estep—that’s the man’s name we rented of.  He had a girl and a boy.  I can’t remember their names right now.  The minister lived the first house west of us and he had a girl.  Estep’s boy was sweet on that girl.  And he used to steal chickens from us and give them to that girl to eat.  You see, half the hens were ours and half were Charlie Estep’s.  Charlie thought I stole the hens or something.  He used to come down there and he would go in the chicken coop and see how many eggs had been laid.  I got onto that, so, early in the morning, about the time I thought he was going to come, I’d go out and gather all the eggs so he wouldn’t know how many eggs I got.  I thought “Old fellow, if you are that kind, afraid I’m going to keep your eggs, I’ll just fool you and I’ll get the eggs all in before you get here.”  I’d watch him then and when he would come in he would be disappointed as he would find only two or three eggs because I had just gathered them about the time I knew he was going to come.

     We had three horses, Maude, Prince and I can’t remember the name of the other one.  I remember one time though, we were going to go some place.  Prince was an awfully nice and tame horse.  But I was in a hurry and I scared her.  I ran underneath her without speaking to her or slapping her on the hind end like you do, you know.  It scared her so that she broke loose and pret’near trampled me.  Fred thought I was dead, I guess.  He come and carried me clear to the house.  I was scairt more than I was hurt.  It was my own fault.  I shouldn’t have gone without first speaking to the horse because she was as gentle as could be.  She wouldn’t break loose or anything.  But I just scared her, you see.    The end.

     Mary Rogers Bulling was raised in the Kilpatrick neighborhood in Woodland Township.  Fred Bulling’s boyhood home was one mile east of Woodland.  Fred’s sister was married to Edwin Leak of the Baptist neighborhood.  That link with the Leak family would account for the young couple coming to the Baptist neighborhood in Sebewa to live.

     Mr. and Mrs. Bulling raised their family on that farm home.  Fred served as an official in Township Government.  Later Mr. and Mrs. Bulling “retired” to Lake Odessa.  For a number of years Fred was manager of the Co-Op Elevator in Lake Odessa. 


     As inquiry from Muskegon by Mrs. Russell Curtice for local records of her birth prompted this search of news items that relate to the operation of the Sebewa Corners mill.   The following quotations from the SEBEWA items of the PORTLAND OBSERVER show that Elias Becker, father of Mrs. Curtice, operated the mill for six of the first ten years of the twentieth century.

PORTLAND OBSERVER, February 7, 1900

     Egbert Yandall Lowe was born March 23, 1819 in Ulster County, N.Y.  He came to Michigan in 1836, locating in Monroe and following his occupation of milling.  After four years he went back to his old home and voted for President William Harrison.

     After milling at different parts of Michigan he came to Sebewa in 1868 and bought the Friend Mill property, which he has operated ever since.  He was a resident of this place for 32 years except 4 years spent away.  He was married to Clarissa Ward October 24, 1844 at Hudson, Michigan.  She died at Sebewa December 10, 1891.  Of this union six children were born, four of whom preceded their parents in death.  Two sons survive them, Egbert and Dayton, both residents of Sebewa.

     He was a man of sterling integrity, a kind husband and an indulgent father and a good neighbor.  He was always ready to assist in times of need.  He was a staunch Republican in politics.  He will be missed very much in the community in which he lived so long.  The immediate cause of his death was a severe cold, developing slight pneumonia from which he was apparently recovering until the morning of the 28th when a sudden change took place.  The action of the heart became weak and he sank slowly and died at 9 o’clock that evening.  The funeral was held at the house at two o’clock Tuesday by Rev. Skentleberry, pastor of the Congregational Church at Lake Odessa.  The remains were taken to Chelsea, Michigan and buried beside those of his wife.

     8-29-1900:  It will be three weeks before Bert Lowe does any grinding unless he uses steam.  Besides putting in a new foundation he will put in a new flume for the water wheel.

     10-10-1900:  Bert Lowe is having more of a job of repairing his mill than he expected.  He not only extended the foundation walls but put new timbers under it.  The job will take two more weeks.  Fred Brown is helping him.

     10-31-1900:  Bert Lowe will soon have his mill in running condition.  Making the necessary repairs has been a long and tedious job, taking a great deal longer than he expected, the foundation being in such decay that he was obliged to put under stone walls and abutments.  He is now putting in a new flume.

    12-19-1900:  Bert Lowe will go to Detroit for a few days to get a new purifier for his mill.

     3-6-1901:  Bert Lowe’s new feed grinder is a success.  It grinds very much faster than the mill stones and does not take near the water.

     1-17-01:  Bert Lowe’s new feed mill seems to be a success.  He can grind three times as fast and with less power than with the mill stones.

     5-8-01:  Bert Lowe has sold his mill and will soon move to Lake Odessa.

     7-17-01:  We are to have new residents in our burg this week as Bert Lowe has sold his mill property to a gentleman from Holland and he is to take possession immediately.  Mr. Lowe is undecided yet as to what he will do.

     8-7-01:  The new miller has arrived and will soon be ready for business.

     9-28-01:  Mr. Becker, the new miller who has been ill for some time, is slowly recovering.

     3-12-02:  C. P. Becker died at his home March 7.  His remains were taken to Holland, Michigan for burial.

     3-26-02:  Mrs. Becker and Chris returned to their home last week.

     4-16-02:  Date Lowe is running the grist mill while Chris Becker is laid up with a sore foot.

     6-4-02:  Miss Alice Decker went to Grand Rapids last week to visit relatives.    

     7-2-02:   Mrs. Decker and family expect to move to Holland in the near future.

     9-21-04:  Elias Becker, who has purchased the Lowe Mill west of town, will overhaul the present machinery, installing new when required and put the mill on a paying basis as soon as possible.  This property has been a forlorn hope for some years past.  C. P. Becker, the present owner’s father, bought the mill three years ago and undertook to improve the property but death took him before his plans could be put into operation.  Since then the mill has been practically inoperative, D. C. Lowe occupying the mill residence and doing what little feed grinding as came in at irregular intervals.  The mill is a good property and with good machinery and an experienced miller as the present incumbent at the head, will soon reclaim its place at the front rank.

     Mr. Becker is a man of pleasing personality, making friends of all who met him during his father’s illness several years ago and he assures us he has come to stay and will give his patrons the best there is.  The feed mill will be put in repair at once and he invites the patronage of the surrounding community, assuring them if earnest endeavor and honest dealing will gain their good will, they will have no occasion to deal elsewhere.

     12-14-04:  Our miller is the busiest man in town, buckwheat being one of his specialties.

     6-28-05:  There will be a bee Tuesday to help Mr. Becker, the miller, replace his dam, which was taken out by the flood.  Come one and all and bring your dinner.

     10-18-05:  Born October 12 to the wife of Elias Becker an eleven pound daughter.  All are getting on finely.

     11-15-05:  Christopher Becker of Holland is visiting his brother.

     1-10-06:  Mr. spent a few days visiting in Holland the past week.

     8-28-06:  Chris Becker of Holland shook hands with old friends here last Wednesday.  He was accompanied by Mrs. E. Becker.

     5-29-07:  E. Becker was visited by his sister, Mrs. P. Berg and children of Holland last week.

     7-17-07:     Hattie Hall is working for Mrs. E. Becker.

     7-31-07:  Born to Mr. and Mrs. E. Becker,  July 21, a daughter.

     8-28-07:  Mr. and Mrs. Morris of Owosso were at E. Becker’s last week to look over the mill property.  They were favorably impressed with the location.

     10-12-09:  E. Becker went to Grand Rapids last Tuesday on business.

     4-12-10:  Mr. Baker from Ohio has moved into a house west of the mill.

     11-16-09:  E. Becker and family moved to their new home at Grandville last week.

     7-12-10:  Westley and Henry Becker of Grandville are spending a week with Howard Knapp. 


     The diary of Lawrence Knapp for July 1907 has an entry stating that Laurence’s wife, Mac, took Mrs. Becker a dressing sack.  The dictionary tells us that a dressing sack is a woman’s dressing gown.  The ladies also called them Monkey Jackets.  Again the dictionary says the gown was called that because of the resemblance to the garb worn by an organ grinder’s monkey.

     Good Luck, Mrs. Curtice, in establishing your Social Security claim! 


     Many readers will probably recall that there was published recently in this  paper a copy of an article written by J. C. Holmes of Detroit and read by him before the Detroit Pioneer Society about 1890, describing a journey made by him the fall of 1835 to Grand Rapids and back in the company with a Mr. Hutchinson, in an effort to reach Saranac.

     The opening paragraph of Mr. Holmes’ article explained the reason for this trip on horseback along trails through the wilderness of Michigan.  He stated:  “In the autumn of 1835, Mr. Hutchinson called on me and said his firm had purchased the plat of the village of Saranac, located on Grand River a short distance above the Rapids, and destined to become a large city.  Before offering the lots for sale, he wished to visit the place and see what it was, so that in selling he might act with understanding as to location, prices and relative values of lots.  He invited me to go with him.”  Then followed the description of the trip recently published during which they reached Grand Rapids, but failed to reach Saranac.

     John S. Schenck’s “History of Ionia and Montcalm Couties” published in 1881, says in the article on the settlement of Saranac:  “The land upon which Saranac now lies was purchased of the general government in 1836 by Judge Jefferson Morrison of Grand Rapids.  Soon after his purchase he sold to Dwight and Hutchinson of Detroit, some of the land occupying portions of sections one and two, upon which there was a mill site on Lake Creek.  D. & H. counseled with Morrison as to the founding of the town at that point and as a result they platted the village of Saranac in common:  D. & H. laying out the western part of the plat on which runs Lake Creek with a mill site, and Morrison the east part.

     In a write-up of Jefferson Morrison in Goss’ “History of Grand Rapids”, is found this statement:  “He was born in Milton, Saratoga Co., July 15, 1805; came to Detroit in 1834 and then in 1836 married Caroline Gill, whom he brought to his Grand Rapids home, making  part of the journey in canoes from Middleville down the Thornapple River.  He had entered the land and platted the village of Saranc in Ionia County and Cascade in Kent County.  He had also platted Arthursburg on a hill just west of where Muir was located in 1856 and lots from this plat were sold as far east as Connecticut but the town never materialized.  In 1836 he was elected the first probate judge in Kent County”. 


     From Mr. Holmes’ article, stating that in the fall of 1835 Mr. Hutchinson told him “their firm had purchased the plat of Saranac”, also that in 1836 Mr. Morrison had settled at the “Rapids”, it would seem that Saranac was mapped earlier than 1836.  Mr. Morrison probably purchased the land by the summer of 1835, made a plan of the town which he named Saranac, and then interested Dwight and Hutchinson of Detroit, who joined with him in a mapped plat.

     Schenck’s History states this plat was not recorded and Mr. Morrison then disappears from association with Saranac, as history states that “late in 1836 or early in 1837 the proprietors proceeded to hold a public to hold a public sale in Detroit and at that and other sales disposed of many Saranac lots.  In 1837 Dwight and Hutchinson, failing to see any signs of village growth, (for none of the lot purchasers seemed disposed to make improvements) induced Cyprian S. Hooker of Oakland County, by the donation of some land, to come out to Saranac and build a sawmill.  This was begun in 1837 on the site later occupied by Saranac Mills.  The construction dragged along until 1841 when the mill first did active duty.


     This data quite clearly shows that it was Jefferson Morrison, in 1836 elected first probate judge of Kent County, who first made a plan of a town which he named “Saranac”.

     A valuable and interesting sequence followed the publishing of the Saranac Advertiser and the Ionia County News of the article, written by J. C. Holmes of Detroit, which he read before the meeting of the Detroit Pioneer Society in 1890.

     Soon Mrs. Maurice Cahoon, whose home is west of South Boston Grange Hall, placed with Mr. Hiram Johnson, editor of SARANAC ADVERTISER, some valuable historical papers connected with the early days of Saranac, her interest being aroused upon the reading of Mr. Holmes’ article.  Mr. Johnson, in time sent these to me and one of these papers doubtless is the unrecorded first plat of the village of Saranac, which evolved from Mr. Morrison’s idea and plan; the mapped plat being later entered into also by Dwight and Hutchinson of Detroit; who, by the article of Mr. Holmes, had by the fall of 1835 purchased “Mr. Morrison’s plat of Saranac”, which was never recorded.

     The plat is titled “Map of the Village of Saranac.  Situated at the mouth of Lake Creek and Grand River in the County of Ionia and Territory of Michigan.  Surveyed by E. Shepard.”

Lot No. 1 in Block No. 44 reserved for Episcopal church.

Lot No. 8 in Block No. 21, reserved for public school.

Lot No. 6 in Block No. 63, reserved for Presbyterian church.

Lot No. 10 in Block No. 62 and 74, reserved for Baptist and Methodist churches.

     The street running north and southwest, east of Lake Creek, was named Canal Street.  Next east is Center Street.  Those next east in order are Skutang, Wegwos, State, Ocomoss and Cheemon, while streets running east and west are Bridge, which is the most southerly and crosses Canal where the southern end of the mill race joined Lake Creek.  Next north of this is Morrison Street, by which Mr. Morrison’s name would be perpetuated; then Main.  Eight and one half blocks were mapped north  to Grand River with streets and Lorette, McKinstry, Green, Wacousta, Wacoosh, Maskegon, Labercrosh, East River Street; while north of Main Street is East Public Square, triangular in shape, formed by course of Grand River bounded on its northwest side by Quiouigoshcum street.    

     On the west side of Lake Creek, Main, Morrison and Bridge streets are continued west from the east side.  On Lake Creek, Main Street is widened for a triangular piece of land called West Public Square, and squares of lots on this west side are platted on the map  way to Grand River.  The streets running east and west, north of Main Street being Bisford, Dwight, (doubtless after the Detroit partner in the proposed town), next north being West River street.  The streets intersecting, running north and south on the west side of Lake Creek, are first, Lake Street, Washcass, Wabesash and Hoqua.  Seemingly Indians and French people were living at the location and streets were named for them.


     I CARRIED THE MAP TO Mr. J. Clyde Watt, a former citizen of Saranac, to ask if any of the many Indian names of the streets in this plat of Saranac were in use today; but while the present plat uses some names today, the plat in use is different.

     The old plat presents a very handsome “layout” for a town, and no wonder many lots were sold at the public sale held in Detroit in 1836 or 1837.  One cannot help but wonder if “Ocomoss” street was not named for Okemos, the famous Indian chief buried at the deserted location of the Indian village of Mish-shim-me-ne-con-ing five miles south of Portland, as this chief often traveled in state through the valley to the “Rapids”.  Mr. Watt called attention that the map stated it was situated in the Territory of Michigan.

     To the year 1857 the village was called Saranac, but in that year, it was rechristened “Boston” and fir the first time formally platted.  The plat was surveyed in May 1851 by Alexander F. Bell of Ionia, the village proprietor being Louis S. Lovell, later of Ionia.  He was for many years Circuit Court Judge.

     Mrs. Cahoon also showed three old letters, sent to Timothy White, concerning their ownership of land, principally in Saranac.  These letters were sent before envelopes were in use, one being from John Bullard, Detroit, written July 12, 1840.  Another is from the more well-known Rix Robinson, who in 1822 purchased the trading post of Madame La Framboise on Grand River, just west of where Lowell was later located.  Rix Robinson later established a post at Ada.  His letter was written July 10, 1840.  A third one from “Your most obe’t serv’t, Timothy Eastman”, was written on July 11th 1840 and addressed to Timothy White, Esq., Boston, Ionia County, Michigan.  These letters, especially the two by Mr. Robinson and Mr. Eastman, were very beautifully written, script-like in appearance.

     Concerning Timothy Eastman, the spring number of the Michigan Historical magazine, published at Lansing by Dr. Geo. N. Fuller, executive secretary of the Michigan Historical Society, tells of him in giving the reading on tablets placed at historic points in Michigan counties.  Among those placed in Ottawa County was found the following:  “Boulder with bronze tablet at the four corners of the village of Eastmanville”.  Inscription on the tablet:  “The old swimming rock.  Placed here by Frederic Eastman in 1921 and dedicated to the memory of his grandfather, Dr. Timothy Eastman, 1798-1868.  The first white settler in 1835, who organized this town of Polkton in 1845 and of his father, Mason Eastman, 1829-1860, who in 1855 platted this village of Eastmanville.”


      Ionia county history states that the spring of 1836 Timothy White, James B. Tallant, Worcester English and Jesse Williams, came west from Vermont with their families, and stopped at Kalamazoo for a time while they looked about them for a desirable location to settle, and decided to settle in Boston Township, Ionia County.  Worcester English setting out with his family for the new home in January 1837.  The next after English as a settler was Timothy White in Marcvh, 1837.  One of Mr. White’s five sisters married Harvey Hatch, also an early settler in Boston Township.

     Mrs. Maurice Cahoon wrote me saying she became much interested in the story of Mr. J. C. Holmes about the attempt to find Saranac in 1835, and thought the early plat of Saranac and letters in her possession might add to the historical data in Historical Rooms at the Hall-Fowler Library.  She states she is a great-granddaughter of Timothy White; also of Harvey Hatch and her husband and herself reside on the farm that Timothy White settled on in the spring of 1837.  Mrs. Morton, daughter of Mr. White, lived on the farm until her death many years ago, and had many old records and letters which she prized highly, but Mrs. Cahoon does not know how she came to have the first plat of Saranac, “as that was made before they came here.”

     After Mrs. Morton’s death, some of the old papers were given to Mrs. Cahoon.  She writes she has a map of Michigan made in 1829; a bill to the House of Representatives, to provide for a wagon road from Jackson to Saranac in 1845; also the first proceedings of a town meeting held in Boston township in 1837.  These historical papers will be considered as additional data for the rooms.  Mr. and Mrs. Cahoon reside on U. S. 16, the fourth house west of South Boston Grange Hall. 

MISS ELLA (Written as a composition class theme by Pauline Gierman in the early 1930’s)

     Ella, a spinster, lived in a little shabby green bungalow in the country.  The yard was surrounded by a high fence, topped with barbed wire.  The only trees on the lawn were fruit trees—pear and cherry; however, flowers, shrubs and vines grew in abundance about the little house.  The most noticeable of these was a row of hollyhocks, tall and straight, almost hiding the view of the west side of the house.  The low porches had never been finished but blocks of cement formed the steps at the front entrance and carefully laid boards led to the side entrance, which was almost level with the ground.

     As one stepped inside the door the first things to be noticed were dishes; dishes everywhere.  Glass cupboards were filled with dishes.  Several shelves about the room were lined with dishes.  Every stand, table and every available space was filled with dishes, which were dusted at regular intervals each week.

     Ella lived mostly in the kitchen by the old wood range, although one would never guess it was used, so black and shiny was it.

     The living room was as nearly an exact reproduction of one of 1879 as you could hope to find.  The shades were always drawn in the living room in order that the red mohair settee and chairs might not lose any of their brilliance.  Even the green mohair couch was covered with a spread.  Every chair had a “t???” and table tops that were covered with crocheted spreads as was the organ stool.  The family albums and huge family pictures had an important place in the living room.

     Ella looked not at all out of place in a room of that type.  In the morning she wore a long full gray skirt and a blue waist over which she wore the spare spare aprons; the first was a ragged faded one to cover the nest one, which was whole but worn, and under these two she wore on of comparative newness.  When company came, she took off as many as seemed necessary for the occasion.  Should the minister call, Ella removed all three aprons and excused herself to comb out her hair, which she always had done up on curlers in the morning.

     In the afternoon she donned a dress of a later era and combed her dark hair so that it lay in pinched little waves.  Her nose was long and thin and very pointed.  Her eyelids were puffed as if a bubble of air might be there.  Ella was very slender and every vein in her hands showed purple through the shiny skin.

     Above all else, Ella loved things—furniture, dishes, pictures, in fact anything that once belonged to Pa.  She was well liked in spite of all her idosyncracies. 


     As we are making local history the prime topic of the SEBEWA RECOLLECTOR and find that most of our members are interested in the subject, it seems appropriate to mention here the organization and activities of the Ionia Historical Society.

     The Society was organized in 1965 with Mrs. Kenneth Miller of Muir as president.  She has been succeeded as president by George Brown and currently, Alex Sibley, both of Ionia.  The group meets the first Wednesday evening of the month at the First Security Bank Building in Ionia for lectures, discussions or other related features.  They are contemplating the establishment of a local historical museum. 


     In 1918-1919 when Miss Mamie Williams was teacher at School District No. 4 in Sebewa certainly none of her pupils gave a thought to the possibility that she might one day have a 50th wedding anniversary with the fellow who came for her on Friday nights with his horse and buggy.  And had any of those children thought of it, none would have dreamed it would come so soon.  But here it is, set for the afternoon of June 6 at the West Sebewa Schoolhouse.

     With a little makeup and hair tinting, Mrs. Homer Downing could well pass with her pupils as Miss Mamie.  But those kids!  Nothing on earth could make them resemble their youthful figures and spirits of 1919.  Frances Sears and Burton Smith were the eighth graders that year. 


     Our condolences go to the families of three of our membership who passed away recently.  Mary McCormack, a Sebewa Center teacher in the early ‘20’s died at Charlotte.  She had been an obstetrics nurse for many years. 

     After a long period of ill health, Ralph Hiar died at the Manor in Ionia where he had been a patient for a few days.  He and Mrs. Hiar (Florence Tran) have lived in Portland for several years.  Ralph was a buyer of wool and hides. 

     More recently was the passing of Arvilla Sargeant, widow of John Sargeant, at her Lake Odessa home.  All will be missed. 


Bulletin of The Sebewa Center Association
Robert W. Gierman, Editor
R 1
Portland, Michigan 48875  U. S. A.


Last update March 23, 2013