Sebewa Recollector
Items of Genealogical Interest

Volume 10 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,
April 1975, Volume 10, Number 5; submitted with written permission of Editor Grayden D. Slowins:

 

WECK’S MARKER—Probably it will be closer to 2 o’clock than l but we’ll hold to the date of May 10 to set Welcome Lumbert’s grave stone.


THE BICENTENNIAL KICKOFF
The first festival activity in Ionia County celebrating our nation’s bicentennial will come April 18, 1975 when the Sheriff’s Posse will reenact the Paul Revere Ride as made famous by Henry W. Longfellow’s poem.

Starting at Grand River Road and M 66 at 2 P.M., the posse will relay the charter the American Revolution Bicentennial Commission has granted Ionia County, north to Ionia via Rather School to the courthouse. Bulletins of the progress of the colorful ride will be radio sent by the sheriff’s department to radio station WION for public broadcast.

Sounds of dinner bells, school bells, church bells, sirens and other noisemakers enroute will alert everyone to the fact that something unusual is in progress. At the courthouse there will be a ceremonial acceptance of the charter.

Everybody is invited to be on hand for the event. Courthouse coffee will be served to visitors who will be welcomed to tour the building that has served as the seat of county government for 89 years.

THE SPIRIT OF 76 is the name of the new monthly newsletter of the Ionia County Bicentennial Commission. Rus Gregory, the Commission secretary- historian under the CETA program, is editor and publisher of the paper. Many topics of Ionia County history are explored in its pages. If you would like to be on the mailing list, send your name and address to THE IONIA COUNTY BICENTENNIAL COMMISSION, Courthouse Annex, Ionia, MI 48846. Some paper, postage and ink money included would be a nice gesture as the Commission’s finances as yet are, to use a familiar term, nearly double digit.


ANTIQUE SHOW. The Ionia Historical Society will hold its annual Antique Show May 17 & 18. It will be at the Floral Building at the fairgrounds instead of the usual downtown location.

OTHER FESTIVE OCCASIONS IN THE NEAR FUTURE. Vermontville will hold its annual Antique Show May 17 & 18. It will be at the Floral Building at the fairgrounds instead of the usual downtown location.

THE HERITAGE HILL FOUNDATION in Grand Rapids will open the restored Voight house for visitors on April 25 & 26. Special events besides the pancake feast will be going on both days.

THE HOWELL REGIMENTAL BAND will appear at the big Bicentennial event at DeWitt on Mother’s Day, May 11. Many other features will be offered by the townspeople of DeWitt that day. The band will be costumed as a Civil War unit.


A NOTE OF SADNESS comes as we chronicle the death of Wilma York, who died early in March. Wilma was the wife of John York, our Sebewa Center Association president.


CELEBRATIONS
100 years Centennial 200 years Bicentennial 300 years Tercentennial
400 years Quadricentennial 500 years Quincentennial 600 years
700 years Septicintennial 800 years Octigentenary 900 years
1000 years Millenium For the blank after 600 years, if you can find nothing better, try “Six Pack”. Maybe nonesuch would do for 900 years. The dictionary has these definitions, but to find them is harder than panning for gold in a gravel pit.
Names for six hundred and nine hundred still evade my best efforts.


SOMETHING NEW
Under federal sponsorship a new organization has come into being in the Portland area. It is called the PORTLAND AREA SERVICE GROUP, a non-profit corporation with a local board of directors. Sebewa is represented by Harriet Evans on that board.

The group’s activities will center around Senior Citizens, the handicapped, minority groups and low income people. Part of the activity will be to get volunteers within these groups to do for others what they can do best.

One program planned is for a weekly blood pressure check for those who can benefit from it. Other things in the offing are a nutrition program, tours and trips, visitation for shut-ins, transportation arrangements for those unable to provide their own necessary mobility and an outreach program for some who might otherwise be left out of most events.

Sometime in April the Service Group will have its new headquarters ready on Portland’s Kent Street. Mrs. Berniece Phillips is the director—a job that is funded by CETA. Mr. and Mrs. Galen Phillips live on the farm they purchased last year from Howard Cross in section 9 of Sebewa township.


AN OLD TALE SURFACES
In the scrapbook of Mrs. Oscar Cassel was this clipping, probably from one of the daily papers—perhaps The Grand Rapids Press:

SUNFIELD MISSED HONORING PIONEER DUE TO BLOT ON PETITION
Sunfield, February 18. Pioneers of this section petitioned the Legislature to have their settlement named Chatfield after one of the early settlers, Peter Chatfield. The first part of the word became blotted, making it illegible. The legislators could tell that it was “some” field but not “what” field, so they called it Sunfield.

The business part of the village used to be one half mile south of the present location and was called Burnstown; but after the Pere Marquette Railroad passed through the latter part of the 80’s a town was started on the present location.

Sunfield is situated on M43 and a link is being added from here north to M 16.
Note: the name Phillip Green, M 16, and the building of Sunfield Highway north of town seem to date the clipping as of the early 1920’s. Sebewa township records show minutes of a joint meeting of Sunfield and Sebewa township officials to lay out a road on the boundary line. The Sebewa township notes refer to Sunfield township.


25 CENTS AND A STAMP will get you a 3-page history of the unique settlement of Vermontville from Miss Esther Shepard, Vermontville, MI 49096.)


NEWS FROM THE PORTLAND REVIEW OF 1919
January 21, 1919. BANK OFFICERS
Sunfield State Bank is purchasing the hotel building, which stands on the principal corner of the business district and fitting it up for a bank.
New officers: President Albert Sayer
Vice President Fred Turner
Cashier D. G. Weippert
Assistant Cashier Carl Fors
Director C. N. VanHouten
Director Dr. W. H. McBride

Webber State Bank President Mrs. Mary Webber
Vice President Edwin A. Buck
Cashier Lorenzo Webber
Assistant cashiers Frank J. Badgley
Charles F. Gilden
Directors E. A. Richards
Jed H. Briggs
Mrs. Christine Webber Latta

Maynard Allen State Bank
President C. H. Howard
Vice President Fred H. Knox
Cashier Richard Bates
Assistant cashier Carl O. Derby
Directors John A. McClelland
George W. Allen

January 28, 1919. Playing at the Temple Theatre Tuesday evening, January 28
TO HELL WITH THE KAISER

January 28, 1919. WEST SEBEWA BOY DIES AT CAMP CUSTER
The remains of Private Hugh Goodemoot, who died at Camp Custer of spinal meningitis following influenza were buried at Lake Odessa Friday. They were brought home from Custer by Issi Fletcher and Donald Goodemoot. Hugh had been in the service since August 28, 1918 and was of a large family of children. His father is Russell Goodemoot, who lives at West Sebewa.

February 25, 1919. Fred Jarvis has received an order from the Arctic Ice Cream Co. for 1,000 tons of ice and will begin putting it in his storage house this week where he also has 600 tons of storage for local use. The fact that Portland has good ice has spread all over the country. Mr. Jarvis received a wire from Goshen, Ind. late last week asking if he could load 500 tons on cars at this station for shipment to Goshen. He was unable to do this because of the other contract.

March 4, 1919. Mulliken. The voters of the village of Mulliken are to decide March 10 weather they will bond for $5,000 for the purpose of taking over the excellent privately owned electric lighting system now in use there which will guarantee all night service. While $5,000 is the sum mentioned, it is believed that the whole amount will not be required. Bonds will only be issued for the actual cost of switching over from private to municipal ownership. It was only a few years ago that James Hensky, formerly of Portland, and a few other enterprising businessmen conceived the idea of installing a private plant. Since this was done Mulliken has been a well lighted little town and it is doubtful if the citizens would now be willing to go back to the old kerosene methods. The Mulliken Electric Light Company is not in position to make extensions that are needed to make the system complete. Should the plant become municipally owned, these will probably be undertaken.

May 13, 1919. Jacob Evans for nearly 50 years a resident of Sebewa died at the ____ Sanitarium in Portland early Wednesday morning. He had been in poor health for several years. His mind had been affected and the last few months have been as a blank. Mr. White came from Grand Rapids to Sebewa to care for him three years ago and after a few months decided to open a sanitarium in Portland. Mr. Evans was then brought here and remained at the institution until his death.

In the Civil War his comrades knew him as Jacob Spotz, having failed to gain the consent of his parents to enlist, he ran away from home, assumed the name of Spotz and fought for his country with all his youthful vigor. In later years he was granted a pension—not as Jacob Evans but as Jacob Spotz, the only name by which the War Department knew him and his quarterly vouchers were so addressed.

At the close of the war he returned to Pennsylvania, the state of his birth, and married Susan Slinchbaugh, who survives him. The couple moved to Bath, Michigan where they lived for two years and then came to Sebewa, settling on the farm where the widow still resides. A daughter, Carrie, and son, Joseph, live with her. The other children are John Evans of Owosso, Bert of Sebewa, George in Danby. The remains were taken from the Sanitarium to the Banfield & Sons Mortuary where they remained until Friday morning. They were then taken to the home in Sebewa where the funeral services were held. Burial was in Sebewa Cemetery.

PRECURSER OF THE MODERNS
July 1, 1919. Millie Brown, a resident of Sebewa Township, was convicted by a jury in Justice Taylor’s court in Ionia Thursday of using indecent language before women and children. The fine and costs amounted to $32.00. She was given until July 1 to raise the money with the alternative of serving a 25-day jail sentence.

TORNADO AND HAIL. August 12, 1919. The storm had been traveling, south up to this point but veered to the east and stripped 17 acres of corn for Fred Gunn at Sebewa Center. Charles Gierman’s corn was stripped (hail), his oats, which were uncut were driven into the ground. Robert Gierman’s oats and barley were similarly damaged. Neither crop can be harvested. Henry Whorley’s corn was spoiled. Large maple trees near Emory Gunn farm were blown into the highway, blocking travel until they could be removed. Two doors were blown from Ben Lowe’s barn. Charles Ralston was probably the heaviest loser of all. The only buildings standing on his farm were his house and garage. Louis Steel is the tenant on the farm and loses equally with Mr. Ralston in the stock and crops. Three horses were killed as was also a Hereford bull, bought last fall at a cost of $200. The barns were demolished. The barn on the Marshall Ralston farm, also owned by Charles Ralston, was torn down. An elm tree fell across the highway and travel had to detour through a field. The windows of the Glenn Olry tenant house were blown out and debris from the Ralson barn wrecked the furniture inside the house. The family was not at home.

September 16, 1919. Portland Mineral Products Co. takes over machinery from Grant Carbaugh. The Portland Mineral Products Co. of which Robert Rose is manager has purchased the machinery in the old grist mill west of Sebewa Corners and is moving same to the plant located on the opposite side of the river from the municipal power house. The rolls, bolters and elevators will be used into fitting the calcium carbonate for market. Practically all the machinery is now on the grounds and shipments will be going out soon. The Sebewa mill was owned by Grant Carbaugh but has not been operated extensively for some time.


TALES FROM THE TREES
Not all history is written on the printed page. Though a little like a tattered and faded page, there is still a message from the past to be read from the trees growing about us if we will but give them a look.

Every tree has had various influences in its placement and shape and close observation will tell us what some of these forces are.  Sugar maple, soft maple, beech, hickory, walnut, willow, butternut, oak, bitternut, elm, ash, sycamore, tamarack, ironwood, cherry were primarily the native trees of this area. A few white pines were found as old trees in section 9 of Sebewa. The locust, spruce, paw paw, sassafras, box elder, mulberry, mountain ash, tree of heaven, osage orange and some others were probably all introduced to the area after the early settlers started changing forest land to farm and field.

An item from the PORTLAND OBSERVER suggests the source of the many spruce and pine trees that decorate the lawns of old residences. Here is the quotation from May 1, 1877. “Rare chance to procure evergreens of R. Hopkins near the Knox schoolhouse (south a quarter mile on the Danby side of the town line). One to two thousand from two to four feet high. Norway spruce, scotch pine, arbor vitae and balsam.

Observing the lawn plantings of these old evergreens, we see several trees that show the old neighborhood practice of using the top of a spruce or a pine for the community Christmas tree. In those early days there were no commercial Christmas tree plantings and nobody thought to fill a village lot with such trees for sale at Christmas time. One grand tree for a community program was sufficient for the holiday celebration. After such public use, parts of the tree were usually salvaged for personal family festivities in a home or two.

Tree salesmen persuaded some farmers to grow their own fence posts by planting locust trees. Clusters of green against a background of the fall colors of yellows and reds show where the locusts were planted. Salesmen also promoted living fences of osage orange hedges. Most of these have been grubbed out as a greater nuisance than a utility. Traces of an osage orange hedge are to be found on the Howard Meyers farm just south of Bippley Road on Sunfield Highway. Many will recall the osage on the Downing place on Musgrove Highway and on the Goodemoot farm on Clarksville Road. One old time windbreak of evergreens remains on the Clarksville Road near Shilton Road.

The tamaracks grew in the swampy areas of section 9. Ben Probasco recalls his father telling him that the low areas on either side of the drainage ditch in sections 14 and 15 were thick with tamarack trees. So many were wind tipped that it was nearly an impassible wilderness. Drainage doomed the tamaracks.

Stories told by the elders have it that in section 16 there was a large wild plum thicket. Around that, because of the wetness, soft maple prevailed over the hardwoods. Sycamore seemingly never made a dense growth but were scattered among other trees, growing pole-like, free of limbs for many many feet above ground. Some of the old sycamores were prone to rot on the inside and thus produced many of the hollow logs we used to hear about. Some hollow sycamores were used smoke houses and others even for corn cribs. Today’s sycamores seldom produce seedlings so that a native sapling is a rarity. Grand River is a rough boundary line of the northern limit of native sycamore.

As late as the 1870’s the virgin forest of this area was still being felled in windrows and burned to clear the space for wheat and corn. I recall that in the period just before 1920 the woods contained many a rotted hulk of a giant tree and huge stumps had not yet completely rotted. It was a boyhood pleasure to set fire to these dried and rotting stumps. Many a raise and dip in the floor of a woods indicated where such a giant had been toppled by wind and the roots had brought up yards of soil with them when the trees had been uprooted. Those “mounds” were Indian burial sites to the imagination of youngsters.

1957 was the last year the local elms thrived before the Dutch Elm disease began thinning them out in great numbers. As if sensing the plague about to strike, the elms of that year produced bushels of seeds. Seedlings have started every year since and untended fence rows filled with new elms about to make another try.

Presumably, when they are large enough for the beetle to travel under the bark, they will go the way of their predecessors. One dividend of the death of all the old elms was the abundance of morel mushrooms that grew about the elm root systems.

Untilled and unpastured land soon is taken over by woody growth. Birds and wild animals as well as wind contribute to the plantings. In the area around any old dead elm the birds soon have an assortment of wild cherry and hawthorn competing for the space. Juniper seedlings make their appearance at scattered location, evidence of birds in flight. Raccoons seem to love pitted fruit and leave the pits in concentrations from which some trees cannot fail to grow.

At an early day Christian Sindlinger and Maryland Brown made a planting of Lombardy poplars. Cottonwoods are quick to accept the invitation of moisture and protection of a drainage ditch. At certain seasons the cottonwoods probably contain more water than does the ditch. It is my guess that the cottonwoods were brought to this area after its settlement.

The future of trees, like everything else is not a determined thing. On the one side the bulldozer proclaims “No room here for anything but food producing crops. More fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides and factory-like processes and weather control must be used to fill the stomach of the human world”. Opposed is the idea that some things should be left to nature’s random processes with a good amount of native greenery left for wildlife cover. Another prospect is that plant breeders will start doing “miracles” with trees as they have with grains and garden plants, producing new varieties of faster growth and better quality of wood.

Whatever direction prevails, there will be change. So take a good look around; the tales told by the trees will be another story fifty years hence!


HOW ABOUT YOUR PENKNIFE? If I asked, “Why is it a penknife?” most people would hesitate with an answer. The dictionary gives an easy answer but it is much more fun to hear it from Rev. Isaac Mourer, Odessa township pioneer writing in the LAKE ODESSA WAVE of 1912.

Isaac was born and went to school in the east in a one-room log schoolhouse. His male teacher, who seemed to enjoy proving his discipline, once thumped Isaac on the head with his penknife enough to cut his scalp and make a bloody mess. Father Maurer mad a protest sufficient to stop the practice. Isaac explained that the teacher had the weapon handy because he had to keep the quill pens sharpened to fresh points—thus the penknife.


SEBEWA TOWNSHIP OFFICERS—CONTINUED

OFFICE OF SCHOOL INSPECTOR:
William Hogle 1845
Anson W. Halbart 1846
Benjamin Wald 1847
Rufus Goddard 1848, 50
Elkanah Drake 1849
William Dann 1851, 52
Jeramiah H. Whelpley 1853, 55
Ebenezer Bliss 1854
John Cook 1855-56, 59, 67-68
Henry C. Carpenter 1857, 62, 63
Francis W. Brown 1859
John Waring 1860, 62, 72, 98
Thomas Steele 1864
Luman C. Smith 1865
Eli B. Buckman 1866, 69, 73
Elkanah Carpenter 1867
J. H. McClelland 1869-70
Orlando V. Showerman 1871, 1884
Irving A. Brown 1872, 74, 78, 99
M. W. Knoll 1874, 76
Samuel K. Braden 1875-77, 1880
John G. Olry 1879
Calumous Sandborn 1881
George H. Baldwin 1883
John McAllister 1883
Albert Figg 1885
Harvey L. Benschooter 1886
Chester Sandborn 1887
Riley W. Wilson 1888
Albert R. Sandborn 1889
Merritt Allen 1890
Rolla Peacock 1890
Frank J. Showerman 1891
Oran W. Daniels 1893
John Morrisey 1898
Geo. A. Goodemoot 1899
Clayton Petrie 1900
John C. Haskins 1901
Dora Fender 1903
Lydia Sindlinger 1904-05, 07, 09
Ira Dilley 1906
Elias York 190?-09

Note: Dora Fender and Lydia Sindlinger served as school inspector before women’s sufferage. A controlling case by the Michigan Supreme Court disallowed a woman to hold office because she was not an eligible voter.

OFFICE OF BOARD OF REVIEW:
Henry P Youngs 1898
Orlando V. Showerman 1899
Geo. E. Waring 1900
Lilleous White 1903
Henry Whorley 1903
Marshall Peabody 1904
Fred Gunn 1906
John A. Williams 1908
Charles P. Kelly 1910
Harry L. York 1913
William Howland 1916
Hugh Showerman 1917
Adam Fender 1918
Jacob Sayer 1919
William Roseveare 1922
J. Snow Peabody 1923
E. J. Downing 1929
Glenn Olry 1930
Peter Creighton 1933
Victor Wilson 1934
Oren W. Daniels 1941
Ernest J. York 1942
Elmond Strong 1945
Maurice Gierman 1951
Zeno Leak 1957
Harlan Leifheit 1961
Riley Sandborn Jr. 1963
Louis Bower 1964
George Carr 1966
Earl Goodemoot 1972

OFFICE OF DIRECTOR OF THE POOR
John Waddell 1845
John F. Tirrell 1846
Richard Fleetham 1846
Joseph Munn 1848
Jacob Showerman 1848
John Maxim 1849
Albert Thompson 1849
Stephen Rider 1853
Major Brown 1853
Jacob Plants 1855
John Waddell Jr. 1856
John F. Olry 1857
James C. Davis 1858

NOTE: Dora Fender and Lydia Sindlinger served as school inspectors before women’s sufferage. controlling cause by the Michigan Supreme Court disallowed a woman to hold office because she was not an eligible voter.

OFFICE OF CONSTABLE
Eleazer Brown 1849
Elkanah Carptenter 51
John Olry 52
William Reeder 53
David Griffin 53
Francis H. Brown 53
Daniel W. Rose 53
Jerome Trim 55
Hiram Husted 55
Oliver Row 56
Lucius Showerman 56
Dan Halladay 56
Ephraim Probasco 57
William Estep 57
E. G. Steele 58
Solomon Hess 58
Oren Stebbins 58
A. M. Ralston 58
Richard O. McWhorter 58
Joseph Cruddoc 58
Charles O. Stone 59
Cornelius S. Jackson 59
John W. Stone 59
Josiah C. Clark 59
Henry Lawrence 60
Henry Sprague 61
Ranslaer Mills 62
Richard M. Steere 62
Hiram Nead 62
Robert Gibbs 63
Watson Merchant 65
Edward Griffin 66
William Goedrich 66
William A. Spencer 67
Stephen Rider 67
Christian J. Yager 67
J. M. Peabody 68
Norman Gibbs 68
James H. Creighton 68
George E. Friend 68
A. N. Evans 69
Ranslaer Peling 69
Perry Moore 69
J. C. Blackston 71
A. J. Stoll 71
Samuel Oberhaltzer 72
Jerome B. Heaton 72
John Friend 74
Charles Aves 74
Frank (?) Friend 75
J. H. Lapo 75
John Williams 79
John C. Briggs 79
Charles O. Hair 79
Joshua S. Henry 80
H. A. Soule 1880
Edward Bishop 8?
Joseph Hammond 81
Charles Kelly 81
James O. Divis 81
William Olry 81
William Heintzelman 82
Frank Halsy 82
John Bretz 82
Levant Probasco 83
Frank Hosey 83
Milo Smith 84
Luke LaLonge 84
Charles P. Cook 84
Salem Ostrander 1885
Allen Olmstead 85
Fred W. Burhans 86
Eugene Ross 86
William Jeffreis 85
William A. Miller 86
James Peate 87
Walter Mapes 87
John Porter 87
Charles F. Harper 88
George Thorp 88
Marion Carbaugh 88
Stephen W. King 88
George Goodemoot 89
Nathaniel Buell 89
George Burhans 90
Ora Allen 90
Russell Goodemoot 90
William Priestman 90
Peter Beers 91
Lafayette Smith 91
James Mott 97
W. H. Rogers 98
Lincoln Austin 99
Elem Tran 1906
Fred McNeil 07
E. J. Downing 07
George Gunn 07
John Foster 08
Benjamin Lowe 08
Jay Palmeter 09
Asa Cassel 09
Joseph Bliss 10
Jall J. Ingalls 10
? H. Wolfert 13
John D. Cole 17
Carl Thrams 28
Theo Bulling 55
Volney Thuma 55
John D. Dickinson 59
Gerald Stoel 59
George Carr 61
Maurice Leak 1963
Lionel Normington 63
Lyle Kneale 64

OFFICE OF HEALTH OFFICER
J. H. McClelland 1877
Lucius Showerman 79
Dr. A. M. Martin 80
John H. Cook 81
E. G. Waring 94
Archie Meyers 1915
Harry Gibson 17
Samuel Kauffman 18
Fred Bulling 20
William Roseveare 32

Dates given are for the first year elected to office. Many were elected for one or more succeeding terms.


Lakewood Vikings Win State Class B Basketball Championship.

Seldom, if ever, has such a spirit of community enthusiasm been generated as was capped by the Lakewood Basketball Team’s winning of the State Class B championship at Ann Arbor March 22.

This will be the subject of many a scrap book to be shown the budding athletes a generation or two hence. I regret that Orr Caswell and Dick Johnson could not have lived to see this Triumph.


CARRYING THE MAIL
December 1, 1911. From THE LAKE ODESSAS WAVE:
The first post office established in Odessa Township was South Cass. It was kept by Mr. George Sickels in his little log house on his farm in the center of the township. The house stood on a rise of ground close to where the farmhouse now stands, which is owned and occupied by William Hansbarger. The writer (Rev. I. H. Mourer) well remembers his first vist to the post office to get his and Mr. David Crapo’s mail, the man with whom I then lived.

As I entered the house and called for my mail, Mrs. Sickels arose from her chair and reached up on a board, which was nailed to the joist overhead, making a sort of a shelf on which two cigar boxes stood. In the little boxes they kept the mail, one for letters and the other for papers.

This was the post office for the entire township. You would naturally think there would be a big bunch of mail but there were but twenty-six voters in the township and only 5 or 6 papers taken. The letters that came at one mail time numbered some four or five so the boxes were plenty large enough. The letters usually came unpaid and the receiver had to pay 5 cents on each letter—quite a difference between the postage then and now. But that was 57 years ago. Most of the mail came from Charlotte over the old Clinton Trail and was carried on horseback. The route was from Charlotte to Saranac. The mail carrier came through once a week.

The Clinton Trail was but a trail some of the way. The trees had grown up each side of it so thick and so high that in riding on the horse, the brush would take the hat from the carrier’s head. The writer remembers very vividly of making one trip, from Charlotte to Saranac. From South Cass going northwest on the old trail there were two log cabins before we reached Morrison Lake. Then we passed four log houses from the lake to Saranac so there were only seven houses between South Cass and Saranac.

The road south was equally wild except the Russell Settlement where, in after years was Bonanza. On the trail south there was twelve miles without a house, so most of the mail that came to South Cass was a rough one and in the spring of the year, the water, standing in many places twelve inches deep. The trees had been cut into logs, which were turned to one side so as to let a team through, that is an ox team.

 The road to South Cass from the south was something fierce. The writer well remembers being called to Bonanza to attend a funeral. The deceased had lived in the north part of the township near what they now call Limerick. The undertaker lived at Woodland Center, coming, with his hearse clear to Bonanza, so that his horses were tired out. He hired a farmer to go north to South Cass to bring the body to Bonanza for burial. As the farmer was going north near South Cass to bring the body to Bonanza for burial. As the farmer was going north near South Cass he drove through a bad place in the road and the hearse tipped over, the driver falling under it in the mud and was held there for two long hours. Finally a man came along and helped the fellow out from under the hearse and he proceeded on his journey, procured the body and brought it to Bonanza where we held a funeral service.

The glass was all broken out of one side of the hearse and it was covered with mud. Where Old Bonanza is was once considered the center of civilization. Everything centered there as two stores were kept there.


DOINGS AT THE CEMETERIES
Time and events have a way of aging a cemetery beyond the remedial care of ordinary maintenance. Especially in the Sebewa east cemetery, monuments on inadequate foundations have gone tilt and some stones have broken. A time or two in the past, some stones have been toppled by vandals.

Recently, Township officials have taken advantage of the Federal Comprehensive Training Act (CETA) to secure funds to hire a stonemason, whose job will be to restore the stone markers to a state of orderliness and security. The work will be done in the summer months of this year.

Many of the early burials in the cemeteries are now without any known descendants to assume responsibility for the care of the graves and markers. Should you feel that “somebody in the family” should be responsible for the graves, ask yourself how many of your own thirty parents, grandparents, great grand parents and great, great grandparents’ graves you ever visit, let alone provide care for.

It seems to come down to a community problem. If the CETA program works out as planned, some otherwise unemployed man will have a job this summer and Sebewa’s cemeteries should be objects of community pride for several years to come.


 FROM:  The Sebewa Recollector, Robert W. Gierman, Editor, R 1, Portland, Michigan  48875

Last update August 29, 2014