Sebewa Recollector
Items of Genealogical Interest

Volume 8 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 1973, Volume 8, Number 6    



     Saturday June 9, 1973 is the day of our annual meeting at Sebewa Center.  Their will be potluck dinner at noon followed by a short business meeting and a program.

     President John York has named Mrs. Ilene Carr and Mrs. Marcella Gierman to be in charge of the refreshment arrangements.  John and Wilma York will act as the program committee.

     The 3-year terms of Allen Cross as Vice President and Sherman Pranger as trustee expire this year.  The Board of Trustees named Harlan Leifheit and Henry Smith as a nominating committee to submit names as nominees for the two offices.  They will nominate Ilene Carr, Joyce Petrie, Wesley Meyers and Henry Smith.  Other nominations may be made from the floor if the candidate agrees to serve if elected.  The voting will take place at the business meeting. 


     To maintain our school building as a relic and to keep our organization intact, we must spend some money every year to cover the essential costs.  Our light bill minimum was increased last year to $36.  Insurance premiums have a way of creeping up as have most other charges that are basic.

     By keeping the rather high level of membership of 358 as we had the past year, we can meet these costs from the annual membership dues of $1.00 per person (This means a dollar each for husband and wife.)  THE SEBEWA RECOLLECTOR will continue to be sent to members as a benefit of membership.

     We should like you to mail your dues to our treasurer, Miss Mabel Ralston, R 3, Lake Odessa, Michigan  48849, for nobody can afford the time and trouble it takes to collect these small sums.  


     At the recent meeting of the Sebewa Center Association Board of Trustees, permission was granted to Sebewa Township to use our building as a voting precinct in coming elections.  State law limits the number of registered voters in any one precinct.  As Sebewa’s registered voters have now exceeded that number that is the limit, a second voting precinct and election board must now be set up.  Future election notices will explain the details.


     A little like a slug leaving his filmy trail in the night, a new blacktop has been laid over the south two miles of the Sunfield Road in Sebewa Township.  Maybe it was done while you were not looking, because “there it wasn’t and now it is”.  Williams Bros. were the repavers. 


     The north door of the schoolhouse is due for replacement this week.  Winter storms finished off what was already weakened and falling apart. 


     One day in 1918 Ida Fletcher had a quilt on the frame for quilting and invited some neighborhood ladies in to help with the work.  They decided to form a Community Club.  Nine ladies were present to make up the charter members.  Some of the earliest members were:  Ida Fletcher, Louise Elens, Ethel Thorp, Mildred Fletcher, Julis Elans, Edna McNeil, Lula Wallace, Anna Lehman, Nellie Nicholson, Thursa Goodmoot, Minnie Creighton.

     The original club was named THE WEST SEBEWA BENEVOLENT COMMUNITY CLUB.  They made baby layettes, mothers’ needs and so on.  One year they also fitted an entire family of six children with clothing, shoes and other needs and brought them to school and Sunday School.  They also assisted families who were victims of fire.

     At the first meeting it was agreed to meet the first Wednesday of each month and each member to pay 25 cents at the time of joining and dues of 10 cents a month thereafter.  The funds were to be used for benevolent purposes, flowers and such.  This was later changed to the second Thursday of each month and dues have remained the same until this day.

     Here are some notes from the secretary’s record book:  June 2, 1927—time was spent sewing for the flood sufferers.  There were 20 garments made and 42 other pieces such as comforters and bed spreads.  They decided to send $5 to the Bath School District (after the dynamiting tragedy).  The club received a note of appreciation from Governor Fred W. Green.  July 7, 1925—Decided to have ice cream socials through the summer.  November 3, 1927.  Paid out 98 cents for a quilt batt.  September 1928—a motion was made and seconded that the club present a quilt to the member of the club who might have the first baby.  The quilt was awarded to Florence Goodemoot.

     An amusing incident in the 30’s—Sadie Goodemoot, who has 8 children, entertained the club and ended up with bean threshers on the same day.  After serving the men first, the ladies enjoyed a lovely dinner.  The hostess then went to the parlor and entertained the ladies with piano music.

     We still piece and tie quilts and buy fruit and flowers for the sick.  We meet the second Thursday of each month and have a cake with a dime hidden in it and the one who gets the dime in her piece makes the cake for the next meeting and hides another dime in it.  We each buy our piece of cake for 10 cents, which helps our treasury.

     Our club song, written years ago by Nellie Nicholson and Thursa Goodemoot, is still in use at our meetings and pretty well tells the story of the club.

1 We are a Club, a jolly Club               

   We meet from time to time

   To do our bit in helping all

   And only pay a dime.

2 Send fruit and flowers to the sick

   Send gifts to babies all;

   Make showers for the brides to be

   Give sympathy to all.

3 We joined the Club to help along

   Our neighbors do their work

   Their trials, babies, sorrows, joys

   So we must never shirk.

4 Now won’t you join our happy group?

   ‘Twill surely be worthwile

   To lend a helping hand with us

   And cause the sad to smile.



   We piece quilts, tie quilts; Make them bright and gay, Work and chatter every meeting day, Selling some for profit, keeping some we may  For the poor and needy who may come our way.

Second Chorus:  Club work, Club work, all along the way, Sewing and piecing every meeting day  Scattering flowers and sunshine All along the way  Keeping up our Club work in the good old way.

--Mrs. O. J. Walkington 


     From the LAKE ODESSA WAVE-TIMES January 13, 1922.  Arlington Corey, Dwight Johnson, Thurlow Nichols and others enjoying entertainment by wireless telephony.

     More than 200,000 people throughout the United States sit at radio phones every night and get news of the world through their bed springs, radiators, drain leaders, etc.  GalliCurci singing in a dishpan, a Pittsburgh preacher’s new year’s sermon, pipe organ numbers down a water pipe, concerts, church choirs, lectures, market reports are continually passing through the air for hundreds of miles.

    Listening in is easy.  There is not much to it, just a small box the size of a dictionary, several wires and the usual house trimmings.  Rigging up is simple to the expert.  While it is better to have the antenna, the wire that catches the message, strung outside, it is not necessary.  It can be hung on a loop behind a picture frame.  It may be grounded to a water pipe or other house fixture.  In an eastern home a lad rigged up a set to his dish pan.

     In a recent conversation with Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Johnson we learned that two ordinary telephone receivers, one for each ear, held in place with a head piece similar to those used in telephone exchanges, catches what comes in on the electrical waves, sometimes as distinctly as though a telephone conversation were taking place between parties in the same town.

     There are frequent lapses when a readjustment at the instrument board is necessary.  These will be overcome with a more thorough understanding of the wireless telephone more commonly called the radio phone.

     More wonderful even than the telephone, connected as it is with wires,  is this unseen force that brings messages out of the air and puts a half of the United States within hearing distance.

     The wireless has caught amateurs all over the country.  It is fascinating, especially for the young.  “Each night an announcement of the programs to be given is made and the times for an entire week ahead”, said Mrs. Johnson.  It begins at seven o’clock after a summary of the news of the day, then a concert or a lecture for an hour.  A report of the correct time is given at nine o’clock.  During the day there are special news reports including the weather report.

     Monday of a week ago Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Johnson listened in to the Washington-Jefferson Universities game and said a report of each play and a position of the men on the field was made at the end of the play.  Could one imagine attending a big game 3,000 miles away?  One evening recently a concert by the Pittsburg Orchestra was enjoyed with violin and tenor solos.

     Other messages have been received here from New York City, Washington, D.C., Newark and Roselle, New Jersey, Chicago and Detroit.  It certainly must be fascinating to sit at one’s home and pick up messages until he begins to nod. 

NEWS OF 1921 AND 1922

     Recently I spent some 5 hours reading the microfilm copy of the Lake Odessa Wave-Times covering the period of late 1921 and early 1922.  Here are some of my impressions of the news as I recalled the items a day or two afterward.

     Woodland School Board members visited Haslett to see how a consolidated school worked.

     Sarah Tran’s sister, Nora, and their mother, Mrs. Means were guests of Mrs. Tran.

     Wm. Meyers Sr. died at Bronson Hospital in Kalamazoo.  Stomach cancer was reported as the cause of death.  His daughter, Mrs. Wilma York, tells us the cancer report was erroneous.  His ailment stemmed from an injury from an auto colliding with his buggy.  Mr. Meyers was not yet 65 years old.

     Alice Tran had surgery at Bronson Hospital.  She was visited by Carrie McNeil and Verah Gunn.

     Beulah Cassel gave an excellent report on a Sunday School Convention.

     Mrs. Willie (Vera) Meyers died leaving two small sons.

     Sunfield Shipping Association held its annual meeting at Sunfield, with 200 present.  The Association shipped 92 cars of livestock during the year and netted shippers $117.997.  They also handled 110 tons of fertilizer during the year.

     Mrs. Glen Cramer was injured in an automobile accident on M 39 in the Smock Hills area.  Loose gravel was blamed for the accident.

     Rev. Newell was going strong with the Lake Odessa Bible Conference.

     Halloween at Lake Odessa was marked by many upset buildings and misplaced litter.  Things were back to normal in a few days for another year.

     An 1891 Lake Odessa Wave was brought to the Wave office and the news from this 30-year-old paper made a stir under the heading “This was news.”

     A young Mr. Bippley was killed in an auto accident west of Woodland.

     Frank Mapea, Albert Sayer and J. H. Bera made news by closing their cottages at Crystal Lake for the winter.

    Grandpa Jacob Whorley was quite ill and had several of his family visit him.

     The West Sebewa Odd Fellow Lodge was formally united with the Lake Odessa Odd Fellows and the lodge activities at West Sebewa ceased.

     Mrs. Kathryn Peacock died.  Three hundred persons attended her funeral.

     Verah Gunn lost a tooth from a flying chip when she was chopping wood.

     Pauline Gierman and Kenneth Cassel had whooping cough.

     Margaret Sindlinger was born.

     Fred Gunn bought a 6-cylinder Buick from Harry Mapes.

     Mrs. Peter Knapp died.  Peat sold his Sunfield business.  The lady who bought it made it the third restaurant in operation in Sunfield.

     The new Sunfield municipal lighting plant had 93 customers and others were wiring all the time.

     Dolph Gragg entertained by singing at the Lake Odessa Canning Company employee’s party.  Dolph died a few months later.

     Little seven-year-old Edgar Fleetham had a birthday party at which his friends presented him with a cash purse.

     Charlie and Wilfred Gierman and Verle Sears wrote the 8th grade examination at Lake Odessa and passed, to the credit of their teacher, Miss Hunt.

     Mrs. H. H. Mapes and children of Olivet visited a weekend in Sunfield.  Her two older daughters were attending Olivet College.

     Smith Bros and Velte Co. bought the George Triphagen elevator in Sunfield.  Theo Lenon rented the house on 2nd Street from Mac Slater and began working for the Smith Bros. Velte elevator.

     Portland had the huge ox-roast and farmers’ picnic at the municipal hydro plant grounds.

     Several models of new Fords were selling at less than $500.  Wholesale prices in general were down 42%.

     The Lake Odessa Schoolhouse burned in December of 1921.  Firemen had “put out” the fire and left the scene when it took off again in an unused furnace duct and consumed the building.  School records were in a safe and were not destroyed.  The building consisted of an original and two later additions.  The new school building was ready for occupancy early in 1923.

     Carl Palmer of Sunfield was married establishing his claim to being the youngest married man in Michigan.  Earlier he was known as the youngest enlisted man in World War I.

     Sugar beet harvest was a big activity in the vicinity of Sunfield.

     The Sunfield correspondent summed up the 1922 election by saying that now the loud promises given before the election would be disregarded and the Governor would decide it was time to have a new car. 


     Michigan Pioneer Historical Collection

     While Lucius Lyon was always busy as surveyor, senator, real estate developer, a member of the House of Representatives, a salt well prospector and developer of a harvesting machine he also took a great interest in farming as shown in the following letters:

     To Giles Isham November 3, (1835).  I wish to have as much of my prairie land at the mouth of the Maple (at the Grand) plowed, planted and sowed next spring as possibly can be for I am satisfied that everything we can raise will command a high price in cash on the ground as fast as we may wish to dispose of it.  Knowing as you now do the situation of my property and business, I leave to you to carry into effect my views and wishes in relation to it as thoroughly and at the same time as economically as possible and in any manner in which you think my interest requires.

     To Ira Lyon, November 16, 1835.  I am well pleased with all your arrangements as detailed in your letters.  31 cents per bushel for storing and transporting 400 bushels of oats from Moran’s down the Thornapple and up the Grand River to Koo Koosch Prairie seems to be rather a high price.  But I presume you did the best you could in the matter and I am satisfied.  Will 400 bushels be sufficient to sow 200 acres?  If not, you had better send more.  If you can sell whatever wheat you may have to spare at $1.50 per bushel, I think it is about as much as you will be able to get in cash.  I shall leave here in a few days for Washington.

     To Sherman McLean, May 26, 1839 from Lyons.  I have been in Rochester and purchased a quantity of sugar beet seed from France.  I am now engaged in planting it and intended to plant about 100 acres but the spring continues so uncommonly dry that I fear all our crops will suffer and I shall, therefore, only risk planting about 20 or 25 acres this year.  This, if it does well, will answer for this year and next year, I can go on a more extensive scale.  I find it necessary to make the rows at least 24 inches apart in order to use the cultivator to advantage and I make rows two ways so as to make the cultivator do nearly all the work of weeding.

     To H. L. Ellsworth, Commissioner of Patents, dated Detroit, March 19, 1840.  Enclosed for record and assignment from Hiram Moore conveying to Rix Robinson and Lucius Lyon four and one-half sixteenths each in all the improvements that may be made by Moore and Hascall’s harvesting machine.  You asked me to inform you how the beet sugar business succeeds in Michigan.  I have to say that the only attempt to make sugar from the best, which has yet been made in this state so far as I have any knowledge is at White Pigeon Prairie, St. Joseph County where a house and fixtures for the purpose have been erected.  I do not know much about their operation, having never seen them, but I hear that they have made a large quantity of molasses but have hitherto been unable to get from it much of any crystallized sugar.  They were proceeding on the old French method of rasping the beet as practiced by Count Chaptal and other French manufacturers sixteen years ago.  I never believed that method could be made profitable in this country and have therefore paid little attention to the White Pigeon works.

    I understand, however, that the company have employed John S. Barry of Constantine of St. Joseph County to go to France and Germany to procure information on the subject and bring out workmen who are practically acquainted with the best methods of manufacturing sugar as practiced there at the present time.

     I am fully satisfied that the best will grow well on the soil of this state for I raised last summer a crop of about 30 acres on my farm at Lyons and though they were very much injured by the worms and grasshoppers when small, I still got about ten tons to the acre with about the same expense as that as many acres of potatoes would have cost me.

     To James W. Tabor, April 4, 1839 from Detroit.—I enclose herewith a small package of the seed of the sugar beet which was raised the summer before last in Pennsylvania and I want you to plant it in rows about two and a half feet apart one way and ten or twelve inches apart the other as soon as you think the frost will not cut down the plants.  You had better put two seeds in a place so that one of the plants can be pulled up if both should grow when large enough to be out of danger.  The ground for beets ought to be plowed very deep and be thoroughly pulverized.  That where potatoes have been grown the year previous is generally well fitted for the purpose and you had better plant your potato fields with a view of planting the beets the next year.  They may be planted any time before the middle of June but it is better to plant them as soon as the frosty nights are over in the spring.  I shall try to get seed enough to plant one hundred acres but think it doubtful if I can secure more than enough for ten acres.  The seed cost $1.25 a pound and it will take about seven pounds to the acre.  I also enclose two kinds of English beans received from the Commissioner of Patents and four seeds of watermelon grown in Pennsylvania which you could plant in some place and see if they are any better than we have here.

     To T. H. Lyon, dated South Hadley, Mall., April 28, (1840).  Yesterday morning I saw David L. Childs and had a long conversation with him about the manufacture of sugar from the best in the country.  He has lately written a book on the subject and expresses the strongest confidence that the cultivation of the beet for making sugar will be more profitable than any other branch of farming.  He will be prepared on the 1st of September next to take scholars and instruct them in the art of making sugar from the beet by a practical acquaintance with the manufacture for three or four months.  His charge for instructing each scholar will be $100.  In this way he will disseminate practical knowledge which may be of vast importance to the country ***.  The consumption of cane sugar is at least 12 pounds for each person, and estimating the population of Michigan at 215,000, the consumption of cane sugar in our State would be 2,580,000 pounds annually.  The entries at the custom house show that we import about ten times as much brown sugar as we do of white, and that the cost of the brown per pound is only two-thirds that of the white.  Assuring that our brown sugar cost in Michigan 10 cents per pound, our 2,580,000 would cost $258,000, if it were all brown.  Add, for additional cost of manufacturer, $25,000, and it makes the cost of the sugar annually imported and sold in our State $283,800, all of which money, according to Mr. Child’s book, we can keep among ourselves by manufacturing sugar from the beet, which he says may be done at an expense not exceeding 5 cents per pound, or about half what it now costs our merchants to bring it on. 

ORIGINAL SURVEYS IN IONIA COUNTY  (From Histories of Ionia and Montcalm Counties by John S. Schenck, 1881)

     The townships of Ionia County, excepting Keene, Otisco, and Orleans, were laid out and subdivided prior to the year 1832.  The work was performed by various parties and it is to show by whom and when these surveys were made that we speak of them—briefly though it may be—in this connection.

     Danby (township 5 north of range 5 west) was surveyed and subdivided by Lucius Lyon, deputy United States surveyor (surveyors were all termed deputy United States surveyors, and performed their work under instructions from the contracts made with the Surveyor-General of the United States) in the winter of 1830-31.  He described the direction taken by various Indian trails, and spoke of plains, oak openings, willow, tamarack, the maple-swamps, also of Indian wigwams on Section 8, left bank of the Grand River.

     Portland (township 6 north, range 5 west) was also surveyed by Mr. Lyon early in the winter of 1830-31.  He made mention of the “Indian trail to Chigamaskin”, and denominated this as a rolling and good township.

     The township-lines of Lyons (township 7 north, of range 5 west) were run out by Robert Clarke, Jr., in February, 1831.  In going north on the west line of section 18 he said:  “South of river the land is rich bottoms, and an Indian village (Cocosh’s) is on the river to the east of south end of this mile.  North of the river it is hilly barrens, land second rate.  Timber:  oak, elm, cherry, maple etc.”  At the conclusion of his work, February 15th, he added:  “Commenced raining this morning, the first day that it has thawed any since the 4th day of January—forty-two days.”

     In May and June of the same year Orange Risdon subdivided the township.  Going north between sections 22 and 23, he crossed the “broad Indian trail to Detroit fifty-five chains from the south line of said sections”.  Other trails were encountered, besides oak-openings, ash-swamps, wet willow-and ash-bottoms, prairies drowned maple bottoms, steep bluffs, and oak-plains.  Between sections 18 and 19 the quarter-section post was placed “where raises a mound”.

     North Plains (township 8 north, range 5 west) had its boundry-lines run by Lucius Lyon in March, 1831 and it was subdivided by Orange Risdon in the summer of that year.  On the 16th of August he said:  “Broke compass, and was obliged to go to Detroit to have it repaired”.  His work was recommenced September 11th.

     Sebewa (township 5 north, range 6 west) had its township-lines run by Robert Clarke, Jr., in February, 1831, and it was subdivided by Orange Risdon from May 27 to June 27, 1831.  He made mention of excellent mill-streams, Indian trails, prairie bottoms, excellent timber, --“straight and thrifty”, --rolling surface, good soil, numerous spring-streams, and, in meandering the river of “Indian fields” and Genereau’s ferry.

     The township-lines of Ronald (township 8 north, range 6 west) were run out by Robert Clarke Jr., in March, 1831.  It was subdivided by Orange Risdon in July of that year.  He also meandered a lake on section 18, and spoke of Indian trails, and many small brooks, fine springs of cold water, between sections 3 and 10, and a tract of large timber destroyed by fire.

     Odessa (township 5, north, range 7 west) was surveyed and subdivided by John Mullett in October, 1830, “in pursuance of instructions from a contract with Surveyor-General William Lytle, made August 25, 1830”.  He also meandered its lake-surface.

     Mr. Mullett also ran out the township-and section-lines of Berlin (township 6 north, range 7 west) in March and April, 1831.  He made mention of an Indian trail, course northeast and southwest, crossing the north line of section 5, also of the hills and bluffs in that portion of the township.  At the same time he meandered the Grand River in section 6, and a lake on sections 19 and 20.

     Easton (township 7-7) was subdivided by Orange Risdon in June and July, 1831.  He was unstinted in his praises of the township, and spoke of Indian trails, cranberry-swamps, oak-openings, dry-oak ridges, many springs, “a ridge of good pine” on sections 10 and 15, “rolling land of the richest description” on sections 20 and 21, “rich bottoms well timbered with ash, elm, black-walnut and butternut” on sections 21 and 32, superior rolling lands and “extensive Indian sugar-establishments on sections 29 and 30.

     Orleans (township 8 north, range 7 west)—which, with Keene and Otisco, was not acquired by the treaty of Washington (1836)—was surveyed by Noah Brookfield, assisted by William Parker and Perkins Snyder, chainman, and John Herrold, marker, in March and October, 1837, in pursuance of a contract made with Robert T. Lytle, Surveyor-General for the States of Indiana, Ohio, and Michigan.  A lake on sections 2 and 3 was meandered at the same time.

     The township-and section-lines of Campbell (township 5 north, range 8 west) were run by John Mullett in October and November, 1830.  An Indian trail, course east and west, crossed the southern part of the township, and, according to his field-notes, it was a heavily-timbered region.  He also meandered the lakes on sections 1, 2, 8, and 17.

     Boston (township 6 north, range 8 west) was also surveyed by Noah Brookfield and his assistants, Parker, Snyder, and Herrold, in April and October, 1836.  The township of Otisco (designated in the survey as township 8 north, on range 8 west) was also surveyed by Mr. Brookfield in April and October 1837—a time subsequent to the coming of its first settlers. 


       If you have old papers you wish to preserve, do not use cellophane tape to bind up frayed edges or tears.  The tape has self destructive properties and with time will deteriorate and ruin the material it was intended to patch. 


     The corner of the farm now owned by George Richards, which contains the little cemetery just southeast of the Lakeside Cemetery, is an historic spot.  The first United Brethren Church build in Michigan was built on this corner and was known as the Meyers U. B. Church.  It was built in 1851 by Stephen Haight and Emanuel Cramer.  John Meyers with his family of nine children were prominent in the early church life.

     Such men as Rev. Schafer, son-in-law of Bishop Weaver and Rev. Bridenstine were pastors.  Rev. Hamp was the last pastor.  Mrs. Kathryn Meyers, step-mother of Jesse Meyers was a teacher of the infant class and many men owe their first religious impressions to her work.

     Warren Meyers’ family were prominent members as well as the C. A. Waches and family of Rev. Isaac Mourer.  The latter was pastor of this church for two years.  Rev. Mourer tells us that of Rev. F. Furgeson, Rev. M. Murthlin and Rev. Garber, who served as pastors, the latter preached in the village of Charlotte on his 99th birthday.  He lived to be 100 years old.

     Rev. Mourer tells of the log schoolhouse, which stood just opposite of the church on the southeast corner where the meetings were held before the church was built.  The church was moved to the farm of Elmer Tasker in 1897 to be used as a barn.  The John Meyers mentioned above was the grandfather of nearly all the Meyers in this vicinity including Jesse Meyers of this Village and Emanuel Cramer, the father of Mrs. C. F. Braden.—Lake Odessa Wave Times 1-19-23.

     Dale Griffin tells us that this old church building was razed before some of the material was used in the barn mentioned.  Cloise Tasker confirms this and we have Ed Leak studying the timbers in his barn to see if he can identify these historic bits.  Recently A. V. Meyers discovered in his father’s old book case a tintype picture of the John Meyers mentioned above.  As he was born in 1900 it appears that the photo was made before 1850.

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

Last update August 07, 2013