Sebewa Recollector
Items of Genealogical Interest

Volume 5 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, Bulletin of the The Sebewa Center Association, Bulletin of The Sebewa Center Association, April1970, Volume 5, Number 5

 

A STIR FROM NORTH AND SOUTH AND SOME TOWARD THE MIDDLE

     When somebody builds a new toolshed; buys a new tractor or tries out a new crop it makes no more than a spatter of news.  When investments are made that point to larger than normal operations, they warrant more than a quizzical glance.  Three such projects are beginning to show in Sebewa this season.

     Theo Lenon’s farms along with some others in the south part of Sebewa were sold last summer for the reported purpose of establishing a large dairy farm.  Before the dairy operation is moved here from Mason, the farms thus brought together are said to be put to use for a time with Black Angus feeders as the product.

     In the north part of the township there has been a consolation of the mucklands under the ownership of a Zeeland firm.  Celery and other vegetables are expected to be the object of intensive cultivation.  Do you remember when much of this muck was a hummocked sodded cow pasture?  The cattle repeated their walking pattern so as to squeeze up the small areas where they did not walk.

     Expansion in another direction is to be seen in the new building on the farm of Kenneth and Myron Guy on the Clarksville Road.  With the new 50’ x 150’ hog house the partnership of Ken and his father plans to turn off 1500 finished porkers per year.  The building will house 750 feeders in seven pens.  The setup calls for automatic feeding. 


MARCH—AS FICKLE AS FASHION

     Not since 1942 has March dumped such a snowstorm on us as hit on the 26th.  If you have not walked recently in such a storm as I did in this one, perhaps you have forgotten how much protection is afforded by even a small grove of trees from the fury of the driven snow.  And maybe you are not aware of the plaintive squeaking of the occasional surviving idling windmill, thirty years past its era. 


THE GENERAL HAS A FOLLOWING

Ambrose Everett Burnside has won a considerable following of late in the current style of hair dress.  It was the Northern general in the Civil War whose hairy growth of the sides of the face became so conspicuous that others began to call the style Burnsides.  In a switcheroo of that day, style leaders began wearing SIDEBURNS. 


AFFLICTIONS AND BROKEN BONES

     Henry Smith has spent the winter recovering from a bad break in his leg he incurred in felling a tree.  George Sargeant has been laid up for two months with a broken leg from an auto accident.  Mrs. Cora Shepard and Mrs. Melvin Ingall recently were in the same ward in Blodgett Hospital with broken hips.  Mrs. Shepard is at Springbrook Manor, 2320 E. Beltline, S.E.   Mrs. Ingalls is at the Medical Care Facility at Charlotte.  Mrs. Robert Wenger and Iril Shilton are suffering heart ailments at their homes.  Stanley Meyers is in the Ionia Hospital with a heart attack.  Mrs. Don Fees is recovering from a long disability with a broken hip.  All such illnesses we regret.  Our list is probably incomplete and we offer our apologies for omissions. 


INDIANS OF SHIMNECON CON ARE RECALLED BY A RESIDENT OF DANBY

(From a PORTLAND REVIEW clipping of about 1930)

      George Doolittle, formerly of Danby, is now a resident of Woodland.  Mr. Doolittle recalled several interesting incidents in which the Indians figured.  He lived near the Shimnecon settlement and played with the boys of his age.  He says:

     “One of the secrets the Indians carefully guarded was their method of coloring the ash splints from which they wove baskets.  Plants and berries were used, but only the Indians knew how to apply them and they never told.

     One Indian did reveal how strong strings with which they equipped their bows were made.  Long strips were cut from the bark of a certain kind of tree.  They were then pulled through small holes, cut in flat stones, to give them shape.  Next they were suspended, with a weight attached to the bottom end, in hollow trees, where they cured properly.  Their strength was surprising.

     It was also surprising how dexteriously the Indians used their bows and arrows.  Originally they did all their hunting with arrows tipped with sharp stones, commonly called flint.  When wooden pails first came into use they were equipped with a triangular-shaped piece of metal to which the bails were attached.  It was found these pieces of metal were easily adjusted to the ends of arrows, and when the Indians went after big game, such as deer, they used arrows fitted out this way.  The tips could be filed to a sharp point, and were never used when the owners were shooting at trees, because they were sure to stick in the wood.  One of these arrows, driven from a strong hickory bow, would pass clear through a deer.”

     He remembers when the body of old Chief Okemos was brought to the settlement for burial.  Most of the Indians were friendly, but there was one old chief of whom the boys were all afraid.

     One day an Indian walked into the schoolhouse where Elliot Wyman was receiving early instructions and frightened the scholars greatly.  He walked over to Mr. Wyman and dragged him outside where he proceeded to give him a sound thrashing, for what reason, no one knew.

     The schoolhouse at Shimnecon and the old mission building that stood near Grand River are still fresh in Mr. Doolittle’s memory.  Indians had their “moving days”, same as the whites and would load their ponies until only the heads could be seen sticking above the mass of luggage.  Behind, the pack ponies would come with others bearing the squaws and papooses.

     Every year, after the band had settled on a new reservation near Mt. Pleasand, some of them would return to Shimnecon to hunt and fish.  Some of them even brought their dead back to be laid away with their ancestors.

     Some of the graves in later years bore evidence of having been tampered with by parties who hoped to find down among the bleaching bones something of value, for usually valuable belongings were buried with the owners.

     The island, north of the McCormack farm, was once used as an Indian burying ground.  One time the body of a young woman was washed out by the water.  A beautiful veil was found nearby and the woman’s hair had grown to an unusual length.  The finders took home with them some of the hair and veil but their wives objected to having the gruesome relics in the house and they were destroyed. 


GETTING RID OF UNUSED FARM BUILDINGS By John R. Foley, Purdue University Extension Engineer (Reprinted by permission of PRAIRIE FARMERO)

     Rapid changes in agriculture often leave farm buildings obsolete.  This usually happens because we construct our farm buildings to last too long.  Often our planning isn’t up-to-date and we start building something which is obsolete before it is finished.

     Many of these buildings will never be used again in a productive enterprise.  So the obsolete building cannot justify much upkeep and begins to decline.  Buildings “out of production” soon become an eyesore in the community.

     These are not very many times in the history of an average farm when major structural improvements are made.  Since these changes are few, permanent, and costly, consider them carefully.  Wise and careful planning is the key to a building program that resists obsolescence.

     This is difficult to do on one’s own farm and sometimes outside help is needed to assist in planning. Quite often the best help another person can give is not to consider the existing building in the organization of a new system.  It is difficult, however, to take out of service a sound building which has been in use for many years.

     This raises another problem of obsolete buildings.  A building does not just disappear simply because it is not used.  It may last another 20 years in various stages of decay and is usually located near the road where everyone can see it.

     It becomes a collection place for junk which will never be used again.  And the surrounding area is a hazard to anything that passes thru, especially the mowing machine.  This results in a yearly growth of weeds and brush which harbors all sorts of undesirable wildlife and noxious plants.

     Some people claim that the lumber in the old building is valuable and that it can be salvaged and reused.  This is true if your time has practically no value.  The lumber you think you are going to save will cost you the price of new lumber by the time you get it out of the old building, cleaned up, and stacked.

     It probably is not the right size for a new building either and the new building should not be sized on the basis of a pile of used lumber.

     Some say that you can sell this old lumber as decorative siding for rustic effect.  But there is not really much demand and there’s a plentiful supply of rustic lumber.

     What we’ve been leading up to is a clean-up campaign.  How about making this the year to clean out and clean up undesirable and unused buildings?  This need not be a project that takes a lot of time, especially if the whole family gets into the act.

     One suggestion is get rid of an old building would be to call in your local fire department.  Maybe you could work out a donation for equipment and have them supervise a barn burning.

     You may need to pull some of the building down to get it to burn.  Empty buildings do not always burn well.  When the fire burns out, call in a bulldozer to cut a trench and bury all the old rocks, cornerstones, pieces of concrete, nails, pieces of track and metal roofing.

     When it is covered up you can farm right over the spot.  The whole project probably won’t cost much over $100 and your farm may look $10,000 better.            End. 


IS IT TIME TO BURN THE WIGWAM AND HEAD FOR THE RESERVATION?

     In the accounts of Okemos and his people, the Treaty of Saginaw and the stories of pioneer settlement of this part of Michigan there is a partial picture of the pre-Columbian Indian culture and its demise in the Great Lakes area.  It is the story of that group of people and their ways of living being rooted aside by the stronger and more aggressive culture of the white man.  

     By depriving the Indian of his habitat, his game and food supply, his numbers were rapidly diminished.  Most of the Indians that were left after the ruin of his customary economy were enticed, cajoled or even forced onto the reservations or to the great open area west of the Mississippi.  Indian culture in this area largely disappeared and even lavish encouragement could never bring it back.

     The culture that replaced the Indian way of life was the one that we have known as farmers living on their land in loose communities with ties to the villages spaced about them.  Farming was the life style for rural Michigan and somehow gave the impression it was a permanent one.

     Of course everybody wanted a little better place to live, better roads, better schools and better retirements.  Multiplying that idea by the thousands of rural residents of Michigan brings great pressure for change.  Changes have come and their very acceptance has hurried the pace for more drastic changes to come.  The culture of the farming community seems to be as much on the skids as was that of the Indian 140 years ago.

     The fingers pointing the direction of agriculture are to be seen in the giant feed lots (perhaps Quincy is the closest), the 40,000 capacity pullet factory over the line in Orange township, the 2 million bird egg factory in California, 25 acres of lettuce under glass in Grand Rapids, the computer operated dairy herd about to be introduced in which the attendant is freed of the chore of setting the milking cups, and in the progressive drive toward greater and greater power in farming tools.

     Already one third of the farmers produce 85% of the nation’s food and fiber.  They are the ones who are doing it at a profit and will have the funds to expand further at the expense of the many in terms of land and resources.

     Is it any wonder then that Purdue’s agricultural engineers can recommend a burning campaign to rid farming communities of buildings that do no more than house the relics of an age that is almost past?  If we followed the cue of tipping the local fire department with a piece of equipment for their services in burning all the buildings that fall in the category of uneconomic use, our Sunfield, Sebewa, Danby Fire Protection District would be hard put to house all the new equipment coming its way.

     The admonition of “Get big or get out” is soon likely to have more economic teeth in its message than ever before.  Those who use farming as a moonlighting job supplementing some other source of income will probably be the last holdouts to the giant farms and the suburban developers.  After World War II, economic pressure sent to the Negroes of the rural South to the ghettos of the northern cities.  Call it Reservation, Ghetto or whatever, the next landing place of the economically displaced farming population of Michigan is not pleasant to contemplate. 


THE TREK NORTH – From the census of 1870 – Sebewa

     Name Oatley, Simeon, Age 48, Birthplace Ohio

     Sally, (wife), 41, N.Y.; Chester, 18 MI, Gravener, 16, MI; Jesse, 12, MI; Henry, 11, Mi; Barney, 6 MI, John 4, MI; Ida, 2, MI. 

Simeon Oatley came to Sebewa from Eaton County and established himself and family in section 10 at the southeast corner of Cassel and York Roads. 

     Name Gunn, Theodore, 38, New Jersey; Amelia (wife), 39, PA; David, 16, Ohio; Mary (Isabel), 15, MI; Jacob 13, MI; Isaac, 12, MI; Sarah, 10, MI; George, 8, MI; Margaret, 6, MI; Emory, 5, MI; Ella, 3, MI

     From the Census of 1880 – Sebewa:  Oatley, Gravener, 26, MI, Sarah (Gunn), 20, MI; Charles, 2, MI; Alonzo, 1, MI. 

     Theodore Gunn lived on a farm in Lenawee County before coming to Sebewa and locating at Cassel and Bippley Roads in Section 15.  As the 1880 census shows, Gravener Oatley, son of Simeon, married Sarah Gunn, daughter of Theodore.  They owned the 80 acres on the south side of Clarksville Road a quarter mile west of Keefer Highway.  Shortly after 1881 Gravener sold that 80 acres to his brother, Chester, and moved to the newly opened land near Mesick in Wexford County.  With this for introduction we take up with the letter from Charles Oatley, written in 1955, detailing his recollection of resettling in Wexford County.

     “I think that Pa sold the place in Sebewa in December and soon after New Year’s Pa came here and looked at the place and then went to Grand Rapids and bought it and came back and got ready to move.

     Grandpa Oatley came with him.  He brought his team and a load of furniture.  Pa had three horses.  He left one down there, either to Uncle Chester’s or Grandpa Oatley’s.  They were seven days on the road.  Pa led two cows behind his sleighs.  They left early Monday morning and got here the next Sunday evening about nine o’clock and went to cutting logs for the house.

     Ma and the three of us children stayed down there until the last of the month and then came on the train and got into Manton at about 6 o’clock in the evening and had 15 miles to ride after that on a cold February night.  We stayed at Uncle Henry’s place with Uncle Jesse living there.  The two families lived in that upright where Edmund later lived.  The house was 16 x 24 and had an upstairs for the two families and two or three of the hired men.  It was so crowded that we could not get cold and it was about the same in the barn.

     Pa bought his hay up in Wexford about 1 ˝ miles west of the Cornell church.  He kept working at the house and got the frame up and the roof on.  He sheeted up one thickness of lumber with the cracks open for air and we moved in the last day of March with no doors or windows at all and snow on the ground.

     Pa tied the horses to the wagon on the south side of the house.  He had not done anything for a barn yet.  One night the horses got cold and got to kicking and kicked in two of the stuffing of the house.  Monday morning he had to get more hay.  He got the horses hitched up and then realized he had forgotten something.  He tied the lines together and dropped them over a stump and came in the house.  The horses were cold and impatient and managed to pull the lines off the stump and they started after hay alone.  I don’t remember where Pa found them but it was out somewhere near where 42 is now.

     He got the hay home all right.  He soon had the log barn built and was trying to make a place ready for a garden when a man came along and bought one of the horses.  In a few days he traded the other one for a pair of oxen and we were right in style.

     Sherman was the nearest town.  The main road was what is now M 42.  The road from our place to Uncle Clinton’s was about as it is now and from Uncle Clinton’s it went off through the woods and came out through Mr. Sprague’s barnyard and it was that way for about two years when it was put down through the swamp where it is now only not quite so smooth.

     As near as I can remember it was about 1886 when they organized the school district.  Pa, Uncle Jesse, Uncle Clinton, Mr. Sprague, Mr. Allen Adams and Mr. Sam Adams did it.  When they built the schoolhouse they cut the trees around it so they would not fall on the building.  It was a small building sided on the outside and with lap siding on the inside.  It was ready for school in May.  We had 12 weeks of school then and they paid the teacher the great big price of $15 per month and he came back in September for a 16-week fall term.  This schoolhouse later burned in a forest fire.  Before the fire reached the building, the flag and books were buried to save them from the flames.

     The neighbors were the ones that I stated were in the school district.  During this time Peter Polmanteers had moved here for Sebewa.  There were three children from there, three from Spragues and three from Spidles, some from another family I have forgotten and Lon and myself.  As I remember, that was the size of our school the first term.  The next term we might have had two or three more pupils.

     We went barefoot all the time we could.  I have gone after the cows in the morning when I would be tickled to find one lying down so that I could drive her up and get my feet warm where she had lain.  We had one pair of shoes a year for a while.  We went barefoot to Sunday School also.

     That same fall Pa went down to Sebewa and got the other horse and sold it to mate it with one of the others that he had sold in the spring.  I can remember the first funeral that we went to—every team there was an ox team.  It was a good many years before there was a hearse in the country.  As I remember it, it was just a little while before Ella and I were married that a hearse came to our town.  And that was a hearse drawn by horses.

     This is as I remember it.             – Charley Oatley

     Remaining of the family of Gravener and Sarah Oatley are Mrs. Mae Gierman of Sebewa and Mildred and Lila Oatley of Mesick. 


THE TREASURE AVAILABLE TO YOU FROM YOUR LIBRARY

     In Ionia County there are a number of libraries whose books are available to any resident of the county by virtue of the financing that is allocated on a county-wide basis.  A library card is yours for the asking at any of the libraries.  You will find them at Ionia, Portland, Saranac, Belding and Lakewood and perhaps another one or two.  Since the RECOLLECTOR we have held mostly to local history, it seems that a list of books that would supplement the topics covered in these pages might be of interest.     

     Here from the Portland Library is a list of book titles that concern the history of Michigan or various aspects of local areas in Michigan.  Doubtless each library has a Michigan Section including many of the books listed here and others on the subject.  Visit your library for the details of the books that might be of interest to you.  Check out one or two that appeal to you and you are almost certain to return for more.

     Following is the Portland list of Michigan Section books:

Michigan by Bailey Bernadine

PENINSULAR COUNTRY by Burroughs, Raymond D.

MICHIGAN by Carpenter, Allen

POT SHOTS FROM A GROSSE ISLE KITCHEN by Corbett, Lucy and Sidney

OPEN DOOR TO THE GREAT LAKES by Gringhuis, Dirk

A CENTURY OF IRON AND MEN by Hatcher, Harlan

THE GREAT LAKES by Hatcher, Harlan

FIFTY YEARS OUT OF COLLEGE by Kains, Maurice G.

WE LIVE IN THE NORTH by Lenski, Lois

MEN AT WORK IN THE GREAT LAKES by Lent, Henry B.

MY STATE AND ITS STORY by Lewis, Ferris

COUNTRY SCHOOL MA’AM by Lutes, Della

GREAT LAKES COUNTRY by McKee, Russell

THE HEARTLAND—ILL., IND. MICH, OH, WIS by McLaughlin, Robert

MICHIGAN by Nye, Russell B.

NORTH TO ADVENTURE IN MICHIGAN (UP) by Putnam, Beatrice

THE GRANGE IN MICHIGAN by Trump, Fred

MICHIGAN, A HISTORY OF GOVERNMENTS by Cooley, Thomas M.

MICHIGAN, A HISTORY OF THE WOLVERINE STATE by Dunbar, Willis F.

THE STORY OF NOBLE DEVOTION (ADRIAN COLLEGE) by Freeman, Harlan

MICHIGAN AS A PROVINCE by Utley and Cutcheon

THE TRIUMPH OF AN IDEA (HENRY FORD) by Graves, Ralph

AND THEN CAME FORD, by Mertz, Charles

A WOMAN’S LIFE WORK (CIVIL WAR), by Haviland, Laura

FORGOTTEN COMMUNITIES OF CENTRAL MICHIGAN by Ceasar, Ford S.

THEY NEED NOT VANISH (CONSERVATION) by Martin, Helen

MICHIGAN’S COUNTY FLAGS AND HISTORIES by Quaife, Milo M.

DETROIT IS MY HOME TOWN by Ringay, Malcolm W.

THE STORY OF DETROIT by Catlin, George B.

THE HISTORICAL GEOGRAPHY OF DETROIT by Perkins, Almon E.

EDUCATION IN THE WILDERNESS by Dain, Floyd R.

EDUCATION IN DETROIT PRIOR TO 1850 By Rosalita, Sister Mary

SCHOOLS FOR AN URBAN SOCIETY by Disbrow, Donald W.

THE MICHIGAN RECORD IN HIGHER EDUCATION by Dunbar, Willis F.

THE MICHIGAN SEARCH FOR EDUCATIONAL STANDARDS by Starring and Knauss

IN THE SERVICE OF THE FARMER by Brody, Clark L.

PEG LEG by Adams, Roy W.

THE DOLL MAKER by Arnow, Harriette S.

THE COURAGE OF CAPTAIN PLUM by Curwood, James O.

TWO SOFAS IN THE PARLOR by DeJong, David C.

BLUE RIVER by Doner, Mary F.

CLOUD OF ARROWS by Doner, Mary F.

GLASS MOUNTAIN by Doner, Mary F.

NOT BY BREAD ALONE by Doner, Mary F.

RAVENSWOOD by Doner, Mary F.

JOE PETE by McClinchey, Florence E.

INDIAN DRUM by McHarg & Dalmer

HOW IT WAS IN HARTFORD by Dunbar, Willis F.

CLAY ACRES by Fisher, Pauline B.

THE LOON FEATHER by Fuller, Iola

FIRE ON THE WIND by Garth, David

FORGOTTEN YESTERDAYS by Greene, Merritt

LAND OF THE CROOKED TREE by Hedrick, U. P.

PREACHER ON HORSEBACK by Matschat, Cecile H.

BORN STRONGER by Miller, Helen T.

LADY UNAFRAID by Nelson, J. Raleigh

THE OUTLANDER by Orr, Myron D.

NORTH OF SAGINAW BAY by Peterson, E. J.

THE WHITE SQUAW by Peterson, E. J.

THE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN MCCARGO by Ratigan, William

SOO CANAL by Ratigan, William

STRAITS OF MACKINAC by Ratigan, William

THE OWL’S ROOST by Sandburg, Helga

LAND I WILL SHOW THEE by Schoolland, Marian M.

ANATOMY OF A MURDER by Traver, Robert

DANNY AND THE BOYS by Traver, Robert

LAUGHING WHITEFISH by Traver, Robert

WHAT END BUT LOVE by Webber, Gordon

WHISTLE STOP by Wolff, Maritta

THE CITY OF FLINT GROWS UP by Crow, Carl

THE MICHIGAN FUR TRADE by Johnson, Ida A.

SADDLEBAG DOCTOR (GRAND RAPIDS) by Vis, William R.

MEMORIES OF THE LAKES by Bowen, Dana T.

THE LONG SHIPS PASSING by Havighurst, Walter

LAKE HURON by Landon, Fred

LAKE SUPERIOR by Nute, Grace L.

LAKE MICHIGAN by Quaife, Milo M.

GREAT LAKES SHIPWRECKS AND SURVIVALS by Ratigan, William

DO YOU KNOW by Atwell, Willis

OUT OF THE PAST—INTO THE FUTURE  by Coggan, Blanche B.

VOICES FROM A WILDERNESS by Cole, Maurice F.

LAND OF FOUR FLAGS by Cunningham, Wilbur

ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL BEGINNINGS OF MICHIGAN by Fuller, George W.

PICTORIAL HISTORY OF THE GREAT LAKES by Hatcher, Harlan

THE OLD AUSABLE Miller, Hazen L.

BETWEEN THE IRON AND THE PINE by Reimann, Lewis C.

INCREDIBLE SENEY by Reimann, Lewis C.

WHEN PINE WAS KING by Reimann, Lewis C.

MICHIGAN IN FOUR CENTURIES by Bald, F. Clever

MICHIGAN IN THE WAR by Robertson, John

MICHIGAN IN THE WORLD WAR by Fuller, George

THE INDIANS OF MICHIGAN by Greenman, Emerson F.

BENEATH THE SINGING PINES by Walker, Louise J.

WOODLAND WIGWAMS by Walker, Louise J.

MICHIGAN, LAND OF BIG WATER by Praeger, Ethel M.

CITY IN A FOREST (LANSING) by Darling, Birt

PIONEER RECOLLECTIONS (LANSING) by Mevis, Daniel S.

PAUL BUNYAN OF THE GREAT LAKES by Newton, Stanley D.

PAUL BUNYAN by Stevens, James

THE SAGINAW PAUL BUNYAN by Stevens, James

THE CROOKED TREE AND INDIAN LEGENDS by Wright, John C.

THE POET MAN by Richards, Elon A.

THREE FLAGS AT THE STRAITS by Havighurst, Walter

HOLY OLD MACKINAW by Holbrook, Stewart

MIRACLE BRIDGE AT MACKINAW  by Steinman, David C.

LIFE AMONG THE DOCTORS by DeKruiff, Paul

A MAN AGAINST INSANITY by DeKruiff, Paul

THE SITUATION IN FLUSHING by Love, Edmund G.

OLIVET 100 YEARS

ALL ABOARD by Dunbar, Willis

MICHIGAN TODAY by Elliott, Eugene B.

MICHIGAN TREES by Otis, Charles H.

HISTORY OF THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN by Hinsdale, Burke A. 

A favorable response to publishing this list of books might encourage further exploration of this field.  Your silence can lead to only one conclusion. 


THE GRAND RIVER WAS NOT ALWAYS GRAND

The Indians gave the name WASHTENONG to the stream we know as Grand River. 


THE LATCHSTRING 

     Log houses of the pioneers were built with the materials of the woods with a minimum of hardware or anything that had to be brought in from outside the area.  The latch on the door was a bar of wood pinned on the door and fitted into a slot on the wall.  To release the latch it could be lifted on the inside or pulled up from the outside by the latch string through a hole in the door above the latch.  To lock the door the latchstring was pulled inside the door.  Thus the expression of friendliness, “Our latchstring is always out” came about.

     A stick against a cabin door was an “Indian lock”.  The Indians universally respected this sign and would not molest a cabin protected by it.  An Indian lock of two crossed sticks would similarly protect an outdoor cache of provisions, tools or whatever needed to be stored until the owner returned. 


THE NOON MARK

     The noon mark on the log cabin floor substituted for clock or watch in many cases with the pioneers.  The sun at high noon cast the shortest shadow on the floor.  Once carefully observed and marked, the settler had the beginnings of his sun dial. 


THE SYCAMORES

     The area of Michigan south of the Grand River was native to the Sycamore trees.  Giant logs, hollowed from rot, cut in sections were naturals as smoke houses, storage tanks and small corn cribs for the pioneers. 


SAMPLINGS FROM THE AUTOGRAPH ALBUMS OF MAGGIE (GUNN) WHORLEY AND ELLA H. GUNN

      The names signed to the verses below will be recognized as old timers of the community.  Most of them were of school age when the verses were inscribed in the little books that were the hobbies of the young ladies of the day. 

     May 6, 1883  Dear Ella:  These few lines are tendered By a friend sincere and true But to be remembered when Far away  from you.  From your friend, Jacob Sayer.

     Ella:  March 13th, 1884 – Ella:  When days are dark And friends are few Remember me and I will you  Your friend, Eva M. Probasco

     Dear Friendj Ella:  March 12, 1884  When at eve thou rovest By the star thou lovest O then remember me From your friend, W. W. Hastings, Sebewa

     Dear Ellie:  Forget me not Forget me never Til yonder sun Has set forever – W. H. Arnold.

     Dear Ella:  While sitting alone And thinking of the past Remember that you have a friend As long as friendship lasts.  March 12, 1884  Leonard Cross

     Ella:  When in the distant future You meet with cares of life Remember your old schoolmate Your friend in early strife.  Your friend, Alva Deatsman February 26th, 1883

     Sebewa, Dec. 14th, 1883  In scribbling in books Remembrace insures With greatest of pleasure Your friend, Frank Showerman

     To Ella:  Sebewa, Mar. 12, 1884  When you get old and ugly As old people sometimes do Remember that you have a friend That is old and ugly too.  Your friend and schoolmate Robert H. Barrell

     March 12, 1884.  Ella The grass is green around the door The violets they are blue Think of the one that wrote these lines As I oft times think of you  Your friend, Kate Van Houten

     Ella:  May the sweat virtue flowers Of faith, hope and love Shed their refreshing fragrances On thy path through life.  April 27, 1882.  Rosetta Gunn   

     To Ella:  May wisdom direct May fortune attend May you never forget Your affectionate friend, Oren Staples  12-16-1883  

   Benjamin Lowe: Remember me when far away -  And God I should not stray  - And walk with Him and stay every day - For God gave His only be gotten Son -That we might live.  May the 2, 1882    

     Benjamin Lowe:  Remember that God loveth them That keepth His commandments And from Him you should not stray, But always watch and pray And do not forget me the live-long day.  May the 2, 1882

May the 21 of ’82: 

     Maggie:  When in the distant future You meet with cares and strife Remember your old schoolmate Your friend in early life.  Josephine Deatsman  Jan. 27, 1882’.

    Maggie:  To know that friends Do oft grow old And let their friendship die I hope that this will never be The case with you and I.  Jan. 27, 1882  Ellen Showerman

     February  7, 1882  The rose is red, the violet blue The poppies stink and so do you. Anne Copeland

     Maggie:  Jan 30th, 1882: Remember me when the winds do wave The grass upon they schoolmate’s grave.  Frank Showerman

     Maggie:  Choose not your friends From outward show The feather Floats high But the pearl lies low.  May 15, 1885  Jennie E. Lyda

     Maggie:  Some loves one Some loves two  I love one And that is you Jan. 27, 1882 Rosetta Gunn

     Maggie: The storm clouds come oer the summer sky And flowers fair in their beauty die But love that is true is an evcrgreen That fadeth not ‘neath a sky serene.  Jan. 27, 1882  Mattie Britten

     Margie:  Jan. 30, 1882  May happy be your future lot As down the path of life you trot.

Eli Deatsman

     Friend Maggie  April 1st, 1883  Remember me my dearest friend Remember me when life shall end And in the hour when we must part Remember me with all your heart.  Your Friend, Emma Sayer.

Friend Maggie:  April 30th, 1883.  In storms of life When you need an umbrella May you have to uphold it a handsome young fellow.  ----Goodemoot  West Sebewa

     To Friend Maggie:  Sailing down the stream of life In your little bark canoe May you have a pleasant trip With just room enough for two.  July 16, 1883  Ida F. Heintzelman 


A ‘MEMBER WHEN By Mrs. Jennie Lyda Weippert  PORTLAND REVIEW About 1930

     When the following doctors rode over the almost impassible roads around Portland—Drs. Barnard, Lee, Beers, Hugg, Snyder, Allen, Willey, Massey, Dellenbaugh, Alton?

     THE NIGHT was never too cold, nor snow or mud too deep for them to struggle through.  Neither were the people told, as some city doctors tell now, that they do not answer calls on Sunday.  One felt secure that if one were to be taken ill, the favorite doctor would arrive as soon as possible.

     What stories of danger, weariness and toil they could have told of their efforts to reach their patients.  Here is a story of Dr. Beers, the truthfulness of which I cannot vouch for:  One bitter, cold night, when returning from a late call in the country he encountered so fierce a blizzard that he was unable to see the road, so, giving the reins to the horse, he stopped for a time.  Being unable to see where he was, he turned the horse loose and, having an old-fashioned bob sleigh, he crawled in, covered up, and was soon fast asleep.  Awakening early in the morning he was surprised to find himself in his own yard, with the horse standing at the barn door, waiting to be let in.


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

 



Last update April 02, 2013