THE SEBEWA RECOLLECTOR, Bulletin of the The Sebewa Center Association, Bulletin of The Sebewa Center Association, June 1971, Volume 6, Number 6
With our ANNUAL MEETING of June 1971 we finish the sixth year of the Sebewa Center Association. In that time we have lost three of our picturesque but non-essential buildings, one maple tree—all to the tornado—and the large elm to the northeast to the ravages of the Dutch Elm Disease that took all the other elms of any size. Our principal landmark, the old schoolhouse of District #4, remains as the object of our organized existence as an incorporated association.
The voice of the Association, THE SEBEWA RECOLLECTOR, with this issue finishes volume 6 and is ready to start the seventh. The tales that compose the heritage of this bit of rural geography have not all been told—even the old ones, and the more recent past has scarcely been touched. Those who have such stories should take the time and effort to get them written or tape recorded before carrying them solo into the unknown. Anyone editing such a collection as the RECOLLECTOR is, must depend on the supporting community for the material that goes into it. It is the interest in these stories that has kept our membership up at the 300 plus level.
It is the dues payment from the membership that meets the bills of the Association—the insurance and fuel bills for the schoolhouse, our incorporation filing fee, the cost of printing materials for the RECOLLECTOR and the ever increasing burden of postage—just double the rate of what it was when we started. The very moderate dues of $1 per person per year should be collected without our having to dip into the fund for postage to send reminders or depending on someone spending as much time collecting as the dues are worth. So will you please make the effort with the dollars—one for each Mr. and Mrs.—to get the 1971-72 dues paid early in the season?
Also it is from our membership that new members are found. If you know somebody whose fancy is pleased by the RECOLLECTOR stories, invite him to send his dues money to our secretary-treasurer, Mrs. Faith Shilton, R 1, Portland, MI 48875? She hopes to be replaced after her generous service in that office for three years. However, she will accept the dues money until a successor is chosen and even forward the dues after that if she receives them.
READ THIS NOW!
THE ANNUAL MEETING OF THE SEBEWA CENTER ASSOCIATION will be held at SEBEWA CENTER on SATURDAY, JUNE 12, 1971. Offices to be filled by election are those of Secretary-Treasurer and Trustee—both 3-year terms currently held by Faith Shilton and Wilbur Gierman respectively.
There will be the regular NOON potluck dinner and a short program following the business meeting.
A list of our membership might be of interest, though rather long for printing—thus we here include only the names of the few who have dues paid for the year of 1971-72: Mrs. Mary Murphy, Mr. and Mrs. J. Wesley Joynt, Mr. and Mrs. Edwin Jones, Mrs. Edgar Wilkes, Mr. and Mrs. Merle Sayer and Mr. and Mrs. C. E. Burgess.
It is with regret that we report the loss by death during the past year of the following members: Mrs. Cora Shepard, John Sherrard, Mrs. Marian Boughner and Melvin Buchner.
SCHOOL DISTRICT NUMBER 8, Township of SEBEWA, County of Ionia (with drawing of Teacher J. W. Peacock). List of pupils enrolled during the two years ending June 18, 1897. Travis District
Ella Shilton, Christian Wilson, Nellie Hanson, Carrie Evans, Pansy Shipman, Salina Grondine, Bella Ostrander, Lucy Kenyon, Addie Campbell, Fannie Gibbs, Nellie Shilton, Ida Frank, Anna Thorp, Vesta Crowell, Ollie York, Fanny Simons, Alice Sandborn, Nelly Gibbs, Lizzie Ward, Elpha Murray, Bernice Williams, Flossy Simons, Alma Ostrander, Viola Ostrander, Clarice Goodemoot, Ethel York, Bessie Shilton, Reva Murry, Barbara Crowell, Jessie Sandborn, Susie Terry, Mabel York, Dora York, Maude Oatley, Mamie Oatley, Maude Samain, Margie Samain, Nellie McAllister, George Young, Harry York, Earlley Curtis, Roy Williams, Millie Hehl, Bert Simons, Bert Ostrander, Mollie Thorp, Eddie Ward, Victor Wilson, James Kenyon, James York,, Harry Soules, Alton Simons, Leo Ward, George Luscher, Clarence Oatley, Ernest York, Howard Williams, Charles Kenyon, George Ostrander, Rollie Young, Clyde Franks, Frank Simons, Warren Luscher, Ernest Young, Daniel Shilton, John Ward, Anthony Williams, Hiram Tompson, Thomas Gibbs, Wright Wakely, Christopher Kenyon, Ernest Samain, Harry Sandborn.
This was the last day of school card furnished his pupils by Jesse Peacock. This copy was from the “things” of Nelly Gibbs Arneser furnished us by Mrs. Norman Arnes.
LOCAL IMPRESSIONS OF THE BUILDING OF THE DETROIT, LANSING AND NORTHERN RAILROAD FROM GRAND LEDGE TO GRAND RAPIDS THROUGH MULLIKEN, SUNFIELD, LAKE ODESSA AND CLARKSVILLE AS TAKEN FROM THE FILES OF THE PORTLAND OBSERVER.
June 1, 1887—The little hamlet of Bonanza is all broke up over the prospects of having a railroad and people from all the adjoining neighborhoods are going there with a view to locating. It is not yet known just what route the railroad will take and it would be well for speculators to watch and see what such men as Mr. Wager and other wealthy and influential persons do before they put much money into the scheme.
September 14, 1887—Sunfield. The work on the new railroad is fast nearing completion and every effort is being put forth to have the road completed before the weather sets in. The grade east of Sebewa Creek has disappeared, a total of 11 feet being gone and the bottom is not yet. Why go wild over Lake Odessa? There is not enough farming country surrounding to establish a Chicago or Detroit there but when you stop and consider the broad range of nearly 20 miles each way from Sunfield and the prospects of three roads, who can hesitate locating here?
March 21, 1888—Mulliken. Passenger engine #31 and one coach went through town Sunday with a number of prominent railroad officials aboard.
April 18, 1888—Mulliken. Passenger engine #10 and one coach went through town Sunday on its way to Lake Odessa.
May 16, 1888—Sunfield. A sad and fatal accident occurred here Thursday May 10 on the new railroad. The men had started to work and were running quite fast when one of the handles on the first hand car broke, letting Barney Linfield fall across the track. Both hand cars with about 20 men passed over his body. He was taken to a house nearby and given the best of care. Dr. Charles Snyder was called and after careful examination said there was no hope for his recovery. He thought his internal injuries were fatal. The accident occurred at 6:30 AM and the unfortunate man expired at one o’clock in the afternoon. His partner secured a coffin and funeral services were held by the Rev. Benj. Fryfogel officiating.
May 23, 1888—Sebewa. There will be a railroad meeting at the town hall at Sebewa on Wednesday evening, May 23, to see what the people think about the required bonus of $2,000 per mile.
June 6, 1888—Sebewa. There is considerable excitement over the proposed C. K. & S. Railroad and many of our citizens are taking hold in earnest and will do all they can to see the project through.
June 27, 1888. In speaking of the new railroad building at Lake Odessa, the WAVE of that place says that the contractors were W. Carpenter and E. B. Powell of Portland, who deserve great credit for the excellent workmanship that characterizes every feature of the building. The people of Lake Odessa and vicinity may well feel proud of their railroad buildings.
September 12, 1888. The post office at Bonanza has been officially changed to Lake Odessa—certainly a prettier name.
September 12, 1888. Work was begun on the Portland extension of the C. K. & S. road at Hastings on Friday last. The road will be built and equipped to Woodland as soon as possible this fall when, we understand, the base of operations will be transferred to this village and work begun on the cuts and grades to the west side. There is no doubt now but that by another fall at furthest Portland will have her second railroad and our readers need not be surprised if by that time the Coldwater & Marshall roadbed has been utilized by some company and the cars on that most desirable route will be running into Portland.
September 26, 1888—Sunfield. 675,000 brick have been ordered here for Lake Odessa parties. 100,000 will be shipped this week.
The railroad earnings from August 17th, the day of the opening of the depot, to September 1st are: freight earnings of $505.00 and tickets sold $117.00. Total earnings $622.00 in fifteen days.
November 21, 1888. A peculiar freak of nature in mother earth is a sinkhole near Hastings of the C. K. & S. which is again giving trouble. The hole is about 100 feet in length and acts very much like a lot of dough in a pan. When weight is put into the center, the edges rise and turn in toward the middle. A train is depositing gravel at the rate of 68 carloads a day and still the sinking goes on.
November 21, 1888. Railroad time table from Mulliken: Trains going east 8:16 AM and 5:56 PM. West10:46 and 8:46 PM.
November 21, 1888: Sebewa. If our citizens take hold of railroad matters in the future as they did political matters in the past, perhaps we will be able to get a railroad yet.
January 23,1889—Sunfield. Travelers should remember that the Chatham House opposite the depot is a first class Hotel.
February 20, 1889. The Hastings Banner says “We are reliably informed that the C. K. & S. will have trains running into Woodbury by the first of May”.
March 6, 1889. A prominent Hastings gentleman assured us at Detroit last Friday that he was in possession of positive knowledge that the Kalamazoo, Hastings and Saginaw Railroad Company have already contracted for sufficient steel rails to extend their road to St. Johns. He says the road will come to St. Johns sure if a bonus can be raised—St. Johns Republican.
March 29, 1889. Last Saturday, May 18, was a large day for Woodland. Precisely on time as per advertisement, the work train of the C. K. & S. trotted down to the highway within 60 rods of the center of the township. A large and enthusiastic crowd was there to welcome it. A station will be built on the C. K. & S. crossing as soon as they are running as far as that.
November 9, 1889. Woodbury as a village still exists only in the imagination. It is a splendid location for a town, level and high and dry.
The C. K. & S. takes two hours from Woodbury to Kalamazoo. It rode like an old road. It is well fenced, excellently balanced and in prime condition.
June 12, 1892. H. L. Reed, formerly a blacksmith at Sebewa, met with a terrible accident Saturday. He has recently been located at Shultz, a station on the C. K. & S. south of Hastings. It appears that he had started with a jug of hard cider for Hastings but became very tired when about a mile from his destination and was quietly taking a rest on the railroad track when the six o’clock train came along and completely severed his arm about five inches from the shoulder. The train stopped as soon as possible and brought the man back to the city. A surgeon was summoned and immediately dressed the wound. When last heard from the patient was doing finely.
August 31, 1892. Complaining does not pay. The man who owned the farm where Lake Odessa is now is complained bitterly that the new D. L. & N. Railroad was going right through his farm corner ways and that his place would be ruined. Wager, the Ionia capitalist heard this and called to see the old man and engaged him in conversation on the subject. During their talk the farmer stated how many acres, which fields the railroad would cut in two, etc. and stating his regular price on the farm said he would accept half of it if he could sell and move away. Wager at once wrote a check sufficient to bind the bargain and the farm was his. By laying it out into lots and selling them at $100 each he realized handsomely while the complaining farmer not only lost his farm but made himself and others miserable.
January 11, 1893. One of the most horrible accidents occurred at the Sunfield crossing of the D. L. & N. Railway a short distance west of Sunfield’s principal street on Saturday afternoon last, resulting in the death of Mrs. Cora Harger and Mrs. George Alleman of Sebewa, well known in Portland.
March 27, 1889. One of John Doyle’s patent steam hand cars passed through Portland on Saturday last and went right along as though nothing had happened. It was attractively painted with a seat at either end. On the forward end were seated a number of men while another tended the engine, which was placed in the center of the car and went along at a fair rate of speed without any effort.
March 27, 1889. The contractor for the C. K. & S. road informed Ed Buck that he had a contract and orders to grade to the crossing of the Grand Rapids and Lansing road and no further. This crossing is about four miles this side (north) of Woodland.
OH POLLUTION, HOW DID YOU START?
Portland, Michigan April 29, 1896. C. H. Maynard will erect another elegant home on Bridge Street. He has obtained permission to make sewer connections with J. A. Webber’s sewer, which empties into Grand River.
Later this same sewer was sold to the Village of Portland for municipal use.
Later still—a livery barn was built to extend over Looking Glass River near the foot of Kent St. with a convenient trap door for the disposal of you know what to you know where and that was called using your head for convenience, not pollution.
THE BIRTH AND DEATH OF THE SUN IN SUNFIELD
As it was seen by its competitor, THE PORTLAND OBSERVER.
August 7, 1889. The first issue of the SUNFIELD SUN makes its appearance in the village to the south of us on Friday of this week.
October 2, 1889. Mulliken. THE SUNFIELD SUN reporter walked into town one day a week or so ago and took in the sights. His issue of the succeeding week indicates his idea of building up a large circulation in Hoytville and Mulliken is to tell the people that their houses are worth 15 cents per dozen and call them all the names he can think of. We want such a paper. It’s nice reading—especially for children.
August 13, 1890. THE GOSPEL SUN, a new religious paper issued at Sunfield, is received somewhat demoralized, the fourth page being where the first ought to have been and vice versa. This defeat will be remedied next time but if the projectors of the enterprise hope to make a success of the venture, they will have to put out a much better looking paper than the initial number is.
April 13, 1892. The office of the SUNFIELD SUN was destroyed by fire on Friday of last week, while Mr. Rounds, the proprietor, was away from home. He lost most of his material but saved his press and a few cases of type.
August 12, 1892. THE SUNFIELD SUN has been changed to the INDUSTRIAL SUN and has been made the organ of the Farmers’ Alliance for Eaton County.
April 20, 1892. Sunfield is to have a second paper called the NEWS.
March 13, 1895. 3 weeks ago the OBSERVER announced that E. H. Spencer, for one successive week editor of THE SUNFIELD ENTERPRISE, alias SUN, has skipped the country, taking with him several hundred dollars belonging to the American Express Company and other People. When he went away, he said he was going to Decatur, Michigan to buy a new press for his printing office. He did not for on Friday he was brought back from Tacoma, Washington to where he had been tracked and was immediately sentenced to 18 months in the Ionia House of Correction where he is now serving time.
August 28, 1895. Some of our citizens who went on the excursion to Grand Rapids on Sunday last were witness to a horrible accident whereby George F. Legge, one of the editors of the SUNFIELD SUN, lost his life by being cut in two by an electric street car in that city. He was 21 years of age and a young man of good habits and reputation. He had become sick from smoking a cigar, got off the car returning from Ramona Park and stepped in front of an oncoming car.
September 7, 1898. THE SUNFIELD SENTINEL says that Ormond Miner of Portland and Flora Arnold of Sebewa were married last Sunday.
AND FOR LAKE ODESSA
May 25, 1892. Lake Odessa has another paper, the LAKESIDE HERALD, published by Guy Hart. The HEARLD is some larger than a postage stamp.
June 8, 1892. The LAKESIDE HERALD came to our table last week, the excuse it has for existing, the editor does not state.
CELBRATING THE GLORIOUS FOURTH OF JULY IN 1914
July 9, 1914. Out in Danby township a family has been thrown into mourning while a pall has been cast over the entire community by the premature death of Charles Collingham, 6-year-old son of Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Collingham of Danby whose life was snuffed out as the result of a 4th of July accident at Sebewa Corners about 8:30 Saturday morning.
Daniel Collingham with his wife and three children was spending the 4th of July with Peter Collingham and family at the Corners, the men being brothers. Early in the day, young Collingham accompanied his brother a few years his senior to a grassy plot immediately across the street from Cornell’s store where a number of boys were celebrating Independence Day with a toy cannon of cast iron construction. Several charges were exploded successfully. In an effort to surpass their previous attempts at noise making, the boys loaded the little cannon to capacity with powder and gravel. One of them lit the fuse while the spectators scurried into Cornell’s store immediately across the road and closed the doors. Young Collingham was the last to get inside the store and stood directly in front of the door looking thru the glass. The canon barked and broke into a score of pieces. A fragment weighing about six pounds struck a building about eight rods distant and tore the plaster from the walls. Another of about the same weight was carried about sixteen rods, striking another building with similar affect while a third went through the glass door of the Cornell store and struck young Collingham directly back of the right ear in the head.
The lad was knocked to the floor unconscious and his wound bled profusely. The young victim died at four o’clock Sunday morning from the loss of blood and the Glorious Fourth had claimed its toll.
July 15, 1888—Sebewa. Everybody spent the fourth at Lake Odessa.
West Sebewa. West Sebewa was pretty nearly deserted on the fourth as almost everyone went to Lake Odessa. Your correspondent, assisted by a mowing scythe, celebrated the glorious fourth in the hay field.
August 28, 1889. Lake Odessa. At Lake Odessa on the occasion of the farmers’ picnic, street fakirs and other such things were so thick that Gov. Luce in his address gave the authorities a scolding for allowing such business to go on. Quite a number lost large sums of money to the sharpers and no one pities them.
August 21, 1889. West Sebewa. Quite a number went from here to Lake Odessa, last Saturday to attend the farmers’ picnic.
July 4, 1894—Sebewa. A large number of people from this vicinity went to Lake Odessa last Saturday, both by rail and with teams, the colored camp meeting being the attraction. The colored camp meeting, which has been in progress the past two weeks, is the biggest fake ever put upon a confiding public and many were the people who were taken in thereat.
ANDERSONVILLE PRISON PARK—120 MILES SOUTH OF ATLANTA, GEORGIA
The early history of Andersonville National Cemetery is to a considerable extent the inevitable sequel of the grim events which transpired some 300 yards to the southeast in a stockade area of 28 acres known variously as the Confederate State Military Prison, Camp Sumter, and more familiarly as Andersonville Prison.
In 1863 when the uneasy course of the war and a growing shortage of food supplies in the Virginia area made apparent the necessity for the removal of the great body of Union prisoners of war from the confederate prison camps near Richmond, Virginia, Brigadier General John H. Winder, Superintendent of Military Prisons for the Confederacy began looking about for a site more distant from the immediate theater of war that could be utilized as a military prison. Winder’s agents and surveyors, among whom was his son Captain W. S. Winder, went south in search of such a location. A site on what was then known as the South Western Railroad near Anderson, Georgia was finally decided upon by General Winder’s agents. There in November 1863 Confederate soldiers with a labor force of negro slaves requisitioned for the work from plantations owners of the area began clearing the tall Georgia pines which covered the area about a mile east of the Anderson railroad depot.
Through the winter of 1863 and 1864 the work continued. The sandy Georgia soil was stripped of its lofty pines which were cut into twenty foot logs. The logs planted five feet in the ground formed an almost impregnable double stockade about the area. An inner stockade enclosed an area roughly 1540 feet long and 750 feet wide, and was in turn enclosed by another stockade enclosing some fifteen (later twenty-six) acres. Sentry boxes were placed at intervals along the top of the inner stockade. A deadline eighteen feet from the inner stockade walls marked by poles and slats driven into the ground further restricted the inhabitable area of the prison enclosure. A stream of water, a branch of Sweetwater Creek, ran through the prison yard dividing it roughly in half. Two entrances to the stockade, the North Gate and the South Gate, each protected by a double stockade, were provided on the west side.
Forts equipped with artillery to repel disturbances within the prison were located at each corner of the outer stockade. Other structures adjacent to the prison included a bakery and cook house with a hospital stocked six hundred feet by three hundred feet which contained twenty-two sheds mostly without sides. These structures were erected about three months before Andersonville Prison was abandoned.
General Winder appointed Captain Henry Wirz as superintendent of the prison. Captain Wirz, a native of Switzerland, was a physician by profession and had resided in Louisiana before the war. Prior to his assignment at Andersonville, he had been severely wounded in the right arm while serving with the Confederate forces at the battle of Seven Pines. The first contingent of Union prisoners arrived at Anderson Station from Belle Island, Virginia on 15 February 1864. From that time until April 1865 nearly 50,000 men of the forces of the Federal Government were to be confined behind the stout pine walls of the Andersonville prison stockade. The largest number of prisoners incarcerated at any one time was over 33,000 men. More than 930 prisoners died every month during the thirteen months existence of the prison. The greatest death toll on any one day occurred on 23 August 1864 when 97 prisoners died.
Andersonville Prison ceased to exist in April 1865 and the grounds were appropriated by the United States. The stockcade was cut down, all buildings removed and the area placed under cultivation for various crops until May 1890 when it was purchased by the Department of Georgia Grand Army of the Republic for $1,500. The area purchased consisted of about 71 acres, and included all ground occupied by the prison, the fortifications surrounding it and a right of way 100 feet wide leading to the railroad station. In 1896-1897 this property was transferred to the Woman’s Relief Corps, Auxiliary of the G.A.R., which organization purchased an additional 14 ½ acres. In 1910 this organization donated the property now known as Andersonville Prison Park to the United States, which donation was accepted by the government through the War Department pursuant to a special Act of Congress, Act of 2 March 1910 (36 Stat. 230). The area was named Andersonville Prison Park by General Orders No. 7, War Department, 1936.
The Woman’s Relief Corps has erected several commemorative monuments within the Prison Park, including a monument to the work of Lizabeth A. Turner, past president of the Corps, the Clara Barton monument erected in 1915 to commemorate her service in preserving the names and marking the graves of those who died while confined in the prison; and a monument erected in 1934 as a tribute to the Union soldiers from the following states whose remains are interred in Andersonville National Cemetery: Delaware, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, New Hampshire, Vermont and West Virginia. A sundial commemorating the work of the Woman’s Relief Corps, Auxiliary to Grand Army of the Republic in the preservation and improvement of the Prison Park area is located immediately adjacent to the flag staff. Of interest, too, are the locations of some 29 Andersonville prison wells and escape tunnels, which are marked and enclosed by iron fences.
Another outstanding landmark in the Prison Park area is the Providence Spring House which was erected by the Woman’s Relief Corps, Auxiliary of the G. A. R., in 1901. This stone structure houses Providence Spring reputed to have made its appearance as a source of fresh water at a time when the oppressive heat of summer, crowded conditions and inadequate sanitary facilities had rendered existence within the walls of the stockades almost intolerable. Legend has it that on the night of 12 August 1864 a violent electrical storm broke over the area of the prison camp, and that a bolt of lightning gouged a hole in a little hillside from which clear spring water gushed forth. To the worn and weary inmates of the prison camp this manifestation of the forces of nature appeared truly as an Act of Providence. The fountain within the spring house was erected by the National Association of Union Ex-Prisoners of War, and was dedicated on Memorial Day, 30 May 1901. Over it are inscribed these words from Lincoln’s second inaugural address: “With Charity To All and Malice Toward None”.
ANDERSONVILLE NATIONAL CEMETERY. Many of the early national cemeteries were established at or near battlefields of the Civil War, or in the vicinity of military hospitals established by reason of the exigencies of war. No such circumstances dictated the location of Andersonville National Cemetery. The initial interments in the area that became Andersonville National Cemetery were of those who died in the nearby prison camp.
With the dissolution of Andersonville Prison in April 1865 the area 300 yards north of the prison which had been used as a burial ground for deceased prisoners was likewise appropriated by the United States Government. It was established as a national cemetery on 26 July 1865. “On the morning of the 17th August, at sunrise, the stars and stripes were hoisted in the center of the cemetery, when a national salute was fired and several national songs sung by those present.
By 1868 additional interments, including the remains of Union soldiers originally buried in cemeteries at Milledgeville, Macon, Sandersonville, Irvinton and Americus, Georgia, had increased the total burials in Andersonville National Cemetery to 13,669—12,746 known and 923 unknown. The first cemetery superintendent, Henry Williams, a discharged sergeant of Co. E., Second Division of Cavalry was appointed on 22 November 1867.
Anderson National Cemetery, like the neighboring Prison Park presents an appearance today far different from that observed by the haggard prisoners of the dark days of 1864 and 1865. The cemetery is composed of 14 sections—A through N. The graves of the six miscreant raiders, who for their crimes and misdoings were tried and hanged by their fellow prisoners at Andersonville Prison, are located apart from other interments in a small rectangular plot in Section J a short distance beyond and to the right of the flag pole as one enters the main gate of the cemetery. The graves are marked by government headstones bearing the name and state of the individual interred.
The burial trenches wherein rest the remains of so many of those who died at Andersonville Prison are located in Sections E, F, H, J and K. Simple and dignified white marble government headstones now mark the final resting place of all interred within the hallowed ground of the cemetery. Visitors to the cemetery today will also note the large imposing monuments erected by the states of Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania to honor the Civil War dead from their areas interred in the cemetery. All of this along with well-kept gravesites, carefully maintained walks and driveways, tastefully developed landscaping of trees and shrubs and an imposing granite speaker’s rostrum serve to convey to all who come within its gates that Andersonville National Cemetery is today a haven of rest and peace. (From War Department Government Print)
Our thanks to Mrs. Ariel Morris for her interest in the Andersonville story and securing this information about the prison and cemetery.
THE SEBEWA RECOLLECTOR
Last update May 27, 2013