Sebewa Recollector
Items of Genealogical Interest

Volume 12 Numbers 3 & 4
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,
December 1976-February 1977, Volume 12, Numbers 3 and 4; submitted with written permission of current Editor Grayden D. Slowins:

A CHANGE OF PACE

“What’s up?” you may ask, as you see this double sized issue with two dates at the masthead.  Primarily, my plans will make this double sized issue with two dates at the masthead.  Primarily, my plans will make it difficult to come up with another issue for February.  Combining the two issues gives a good opportunity to present Bertha Brock’s history of early Ionia County without chopping it into parts.  Mrs. Brock had a grasp of our early history and a feeling for it that is unmatched by most other accounts.  Our thanks to Rus Gregory for making it available to us.  Another advantage of combining the two issues is a saving of postage and delivery costs.


SOME MONEY HAS TO BE SPENT in maintenance of our schoolhouse.  Those who voted at precinct number two in the schoolhouse were not imagining things when they felt the floor settling at the north end of the building.  Failure to properly vent the crawl space beneath the floor allowed moisture to collect on the supporting stringers and they have finally rotted to where they must be replaced before another election or public use of the building is made.

The floor is in three sections, north to south.  The supports in the south third were mostly replaced after the 1967 tornado damage.  The mid-section has not suffered the rotting that the end sections did.  Some method of keeping the area dry will have to be adopted.  A simple plastic cover might do it.


WHAT HAPPENED IN 1976

While it is not our purpose to chronicle world events we may well record that we are aware of them.  A good turn-out in the November election indicated high voter interest in the contest that Jimmy Carter won.  Few could help feeling relief at the apparent ending of the civil war in Lebanon.  We could wish the same for Ireland.  Chairman Mao died in China and left the leadership of those 900 million people to a new group.  Fascination abounds with Viking I and II reports of the remote exploration of the surface of Mars.  Meantime, back at the ranch, Sebewa farm acreages continue to consolidate, the machinery gets bigger and bigger and the price of farm products goes down amidst continuing inflation.  The fall has been rather cold but we missed the heavy wet snow that so often comes in the late October or early November weather.


OKEMOS GETS AROUND

Perhaps even more than the Old Chief, his great great grandson, Edmund P. Fisher, 73, of Bay City, travels central Michigan delving into the haunts of Chief John Okemos, who was buried in Shimnecon in 1858.  It was my pleasure to meet Mr. Fisher at Bancroft November 18 where he gave the program for the meeting of the Shiawassee County Historical Society.  Mr. and Mrs. Fisher have been married 53 years.  He has a full head of iron-gray hair and eyes that read without the aid of glasses.  During his lifetime he has worked a variety of jobs.  Since retirement he has visited many mid-Michigan courthouses, libraries and other sources of information concerning genealogy and history of Indians who have lived in the area.  The Indian exclusion from early census records, their method of naming children, their own failure to leave written records have made his task of collecting such information a difficult one.


A LONG LIST OF TEACHERS OF THE SEBEWA CENTER SCHOOL DISTRICT #4 - 1965:


From the old school records we can make up the list of teachers 1854-1965. A few names are missing. Luryette Brown taught the school before the building was erected at the corner of Sunfield and Bippley Roads in 1856. The new brick building at the Center was opened in 1883.

1854: Luryette Brown; $5.oo per month. School Board members Ephraim Probasco, John Waddell.

1858: Catherine Halladay.

1859: Elizabeth Jewell, $10.00/month, School Board member John Waddell.

1861: Priscilla Shay, $10.00/mo., School Board members E. Probasco, Lucius Showerman, Wm. Benschoter.

1863: Hannah Steers, $7.00/mo., School Board member John Waddell.

1863: Florence Merchant, $8.00/mo., School Board member (SBM): John Waddell.

1864: Florence Merchant, $11.00/mo., SBM John Waddell.

1865: Lovina E. Meyers, $16.00/mo., SBM Orren Stebbins.

1865: Margaret Young, $11.00/mo., SBM Orren Stebbings.

1868: Harrison Ford, $39.00/mo.

1868: Emma Masson, $9.00/mo.

1869: John McCarger, $40.00/mo., SBM John H. McClelland (JHMcC).

1869: Mary M. Gunn, $16.00/mo., SBM JHMcC.

1870: E. B. Buckman, $35.00/mo., SBM JHMcC.

1870: Lora Kelley, $11.00/mo., SBM JHMcC.

1871: J. H. McClelland, $35.00/mo., SBM JHMcC.

1871: Emma Drake, $10.50/mo., SBM JHMcC.

1872: Jas. Stringham, $32.00/mo., SBM JHMcC.

1872: Amanda Stiffler, $12.00/mo., SBM JHMcC.

1873: David Stinchcomb, $39.00/mo., SBM JHMcC.

1873: Annie A. Cook, $16.00/mo., SBM JHMcC.

1874: James H. McClelland, $48.00/mo., SBM Orren Stebbins.

1874: Emma J. Culver, $16.00/mo., SBM Orren Stebbins.

1875: Irving A. Brown, $38.00/mo., SBM Orren Stebbins.

1875: Anna Rood, $16.00/mo., SBM Orren Stebbins.

1876: I. W. McConnell, $40.00/mo., SBM Orren Stebbins.

1876: Lydia Shipman, $16.00/mo., SBM Orren Stebbins.

1877: Cyrus F. Braden, $40.00/mo., SBM Charles Deatsman.

1877: Luella Stone, SBM Charles Deatsman.

1878: Flora Taylor, $12.00/mo., SBM Irving A. Brown.

1878: J. W. Balyeat, SBM Irving A. Brown.

1879: Nettie McConnell, $12.00/mo., SBM Irving A. Brown.

1880: J. H. McClelland, $32.00/mo., SBM Irving Brown, O. V. Showerman.

1880: Sabra Wyman, $25.00/mo., SBM Irving Brown, O. V. Showerman.

1881: C. S. Sacket, $26.00/mo., SBM Irving Brown, Isaac Bretz.

1881: Nellie Clark, $28.00/mo., SBM Irving Brown, Isaac Bretz.

1882: N. W. Wallace, $35.00/mo., SBM S. M. Severance, I. A. Brown, Joshua Gunn.

1883: Anna Goodemoot, $25.00/mo., SBM A. M. Ralston, I. A. Brown, Joshua Gunn.

1883: Oren Goodrich, $40.00/mo., SBM W. H. Shipman, I. A. Brown, Joshua Gunn.

1884: Bertha Hitchcock, $25.00/mo., SBM W. H. Shipman, I. A. Brown, Oscar Whorley.

1885: Jennie Lyda, $25.00/mo., SBM W. H. Shipman, I. A. Brown, Oscar Whorley.

1885: Emerson Ray, $35.00/mo., SBM W. H. Shipman, I. A. Brown, Oscar Whorley.

1887: Glenn Towsley, $28.00/mo., SBM Jacob Britten, I. A. Brown, Oscar Whorley.

1888: C. E. Sandborn, $30.00/mo., SBM Jacob Britten, I. A. Brown, J. C. Olry.

1889: Jno. C. Butler, $30.00/mo., SBM A. M. Ralston, I. A. Brown, J. C. Olry.

1890: C. W. Waring, $30.00/mo., SBM A. M. Ralston, I. A. Brown, J. S. Gunn.

1891: Essie Terry, $25.00/mo., SBM A. M. Ralston, I. A. Brown, J. S. Gunn.

1892: Lottie Erdman, $30.00/mo., SBM A. M. Ralston, I. A. Brown, J. S. Gunn.

1892: Chas. Kilmartin, $28.00/mo., SBM A. M. Ralston, Albert Meyers, J. S. Gunn.

1893: S. F. Deatsman, $30.00/mo., SBM Theodore Gunn, Albert Meyers, J. S. Gunn.

1896: Hugh Wellfare, $30.00/mo., SBM Theodore Gunn, Albert Meyers, J. S. Gunn.

1896: Ora C. Allen, $25.00/mo., SBM Henry Townsend, I. A. Brown, J. C. Olry.

1898: Mary Kimball, $22.00/mo., SBM Henry Townsend, I. A. Brown, J. C. Olry.

1900: Dora Fender, $27.00/mo., SBM Henry Townsend, I. A. Brown, J. C. Olry.

1901: George Hudson, $27.00/mo., SBM Henry Townsend, I. A. Brown, Richard Bickle.

1902: Lydia Sindlinger, $27.00/mo., SBM Emory Gunn, I. A. Brown, Richard Bickle.

1903: Alberta E. Culp, $30.00/mo., SBM Emory Gunn, I. A. Brown, Walter Rolston.

1904: Nellie E. Meyers, $30.00/mo., SBM Emory Gunn, I. A. Brown, Walter Ralson.

1905: Essie Figg, $33.00/mo., SBM Wm. Howland, I. A. Brown, Walter Ralston.

1907: Ruby Smith, $35.00/mo., SBM Wm. Howland, Leonard Cross, Fred Gunn.

1908: Ida Oatley, $38.00/mo., SBM Wm. Howland, Leonard Cross, Fred Gunn.

1909: Kathryn Howland, $50.00/mo., SBM Wm. Howland

1911: Gladys Shetterly, $40.00/mo., SBM Wm. Howland

1912: Jennie Weippert, $50.00/mo., SBM John Smith, Fred Gunn

1917: Clyde Smith, $50.00/mo.

1918: Mamie Williams, $50.00/mo.

1919: Lydia Watkins, $65.00/mo., SBM Leonard Cross, Fred Gunn, Robert Gierman.

1920: Kathryn Howland.

1920: Wilma Hunt, $80.00/mo., SBM Leonard Cross, Fred Gunn, Robert Gierman.

1923: Lynn Doolittle, $90.00/mo, SBM Leonard Cross, Fred Gunn, Ben Probasco.

1925: Mary McCormack, $90.00/mo. SBM Leonard Cross, Fred Gunn, Ben Probasco.

1927: Ruth Peacock, $90.00/mo., SBM Leonard Cross, Fred Gunn, Harry Meyers.

1929: Louise Fuller, $90.00/mo., SBM Carl Gierman, Fred Gunn, Harry Meyers.

1930: Frances Lippencott, $95.00/mo., SBM Carl Gierman, Homer Downing, George Gierman.

1931: Zack York, $70.00/mo., SBM Carl Gierman, Homer Downing, Fred Gunn.

1932: Zack York, $35.00/mo., SBM Carl Gierman, Homer Downing, Fred Gunn.

1934: Bernice Shumway, $50.00/mo., SBM Carl Gierman, Homer Downing, Fred Gunn.

1936: Mildred Ensworth, $100.00/mo., SBM Carl Gierman, Ross Tran, Frank Rathbun.

1942: Allene Lippincott, $95.00/mo., SBM Carl Gierman, Ross Tran, Frank Rathbun.

1945: Joyce Suscher, $325.00/mo., SBM Harry Meyers, Ross Tran, Iril Shilton.

1946: Mary Bidelman, $268.00/mo., SBM Ross Tran.

1947: Marie Possehn, $275.00/mo., SBM Ross Tran, Harry Meyers, Carl Gierman.

1948: Alberta Allen, $275.00/mo., SBM Ross Tran, Harry Meyers, Carl Gierman.

1949: Ingaborg Stoffel, $275.00/mo., SBM Ross Tran, Harry Meyers, Carl Gierman.

1949: Eleanor Ferris

1950: Maxine Torrey, $245.00/mo., SBM Ross Tran, Harry Meyers, Carl Gierman.

1955: Sharon Hunt, $211.00/mo., SBM Ross Tran, Harry Meyers, Maynard Gierman.

1959: Geneva Kneale, $425.00/mo., SBM Wilbur Gierman, Wesley Meyers, Harry Meyers.

1959: Jean Beyer, $425/mo., SBM Wilbur Gierman, Wesley Meyers, Harry Meyers.

1960: Naida Cook, $433.00/mo., SBM Wilbur Gierman, Wesley Meyers, Harry Meyers.

1963: Ariel Morris, $440.00/mo., SBM Wilbur Gierman, Wesley Meyers, Grayden Slowins.


OKEMOS Continued:     There has been a cash settlement for broken treaties by the Federal Government. The money is held in trust until Indian descendants can be identified and located.  Participation in the Federal payments is on a lineage basis and not on the basis of full blood, half blood or whatever.  Apparently a 1/32 will suffice.  Mr. Fisher says he is three quarters Indian and one quarter French.  From Chief Okemos he stems from John Okemos, Jackson Ogema and his daughter married to Joseph Fisher and then Fisher’s son, William, Edmund’s father.  Okemos seems to be a corruption of the Indian preferred name of Ogemn.  Edmund’s search for ancestry has proved to be a delightful retirement hobby, a source of many friends and a great benefit for many Indians whose knowledge of their origin was obscure.  Our best wishes go with his efforts.


HOW GOOD WERE THE GOOD OLD DAYS?   When I was searching for the date of the first Sunfield robbery in the files of THE PORTLAND OBSERVER I was struck with the number of headlines that captioned violent news of that paper of nearly fifty years ago.  The depression had not started and World War II was no imminent; but see what we were doing to ourselves!  The Portland papers reached out to other towns in those days as few of the local papers in the 1970s.  Are our towns becoming more self-centered or is it just that people depend on radio for news of surrounding communities?  The next time you are inclined to bemoan the present state of law and order it might be well to take another look at these headlines.  They begin with January 1928.

1-5-1928 - FATAL SHOOTING OF HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT AT BLUEBIRD SWEETS CANDY STORE.  CARELESSLY HANDLING REVOLVER IN HANIS OF PROPRIETOR MAY COST LIVE OF TREVOR CLARK.  (Recovered).  FAKE EYE DOCTOR TO BE TRIED HERE.

1-12-1928 – FARMER KILLED WHEN TREE FALLS.  THOMAS SMITH OF EASTON TOWNSHIP MEETS TRAGIC DEATH WHILE CUTTING WOOD.

1-19-1928 – SLAYER GIVEN LIFE SENTENCE.  QUICK JJUSTICE METED OUT GIRL KILLER WHEN HE PLEADS GUILTY IN FLINT COURT TO MURDER OF 5-YEAR-OLD DOROTHY SCHNEIDER.

1-26-1928 – IONIA WOMAN KILLED WEST OF PORTLAND.  MRS. LLOYD DUNN WAS ALMOST INSTANTLY KILLED AT TWO O’CLOCK THIS THURSDAY MORNING WHEN A CAR IN WHICH SHE AND HER HUSBAND AND TWO CHILDREN WERE RIDING BECAME STALLED ON U. S. 16 NEAR FERGUSON’S BLACKSMITH SHOP 7 MILES WEST OF PORTLAND AND WAS RAMMED BY A MACHINE DRIVEN BY Charles Schue OF GRAND RAPIDS.

2-9 - 1928 – RARE DISEASE CAUSES DEATH OF BABY GIRL, FIRST CASE OF SLEEPING SICKNESS MAKES APPEARANCE IN THIS VICINITY.

2-23 – ARMED BANDITS PLY VOCATION IN PORTLAND.  ENTER MEAT MARKET.  ESCAPE WITH $90.  TWELVE WERE TAKEN IN WEEKEND RAIDS AS LIQUOR LAW OFFENDERS.

2-1 – JUDGE HAWLEY SAYS JAIL FOR RUM HANDLERS.

3-1 – IONIA CHICKEN THIEF AGAIN UNDER ARREST.

3-15 – FARMERS ORGANIZE MINUTEMEN.  JOIN HANDS TO PROTECT THEIR PROPERTY.  DEAD BODY OF MAN FOUND ON HIGHWAY.

4-5 – 1928 - OFFICERS SEARCH FOR MAN WHO HAS ANATOMY FILLED WITH BUCKSHOT.

4-12 – IONIA COUNTY HIGHWAY TO BE MOTOR CYCLE PATROLLED.

4-19 – SEBEWA MAN IS TAKEN TO TRAVERSE CITY, RECLUSE TAKEN TO COUNTY HOME.  SEBEWA BOYS RAISE IRE OF RESIDENTS.  ATTACKED AGED MAN, JOHN COLE, WITH SNOWBALLS AND CLUBS.  ARE THREATENED WITH ARREST.  STATE POLICE MAKE BIG HAUL NEAR PEWAMO.  DOUBTFUL IF GOOD TAKEN FROM SAWDY CLOTHING STORE WILL EVER BE FOUND.  DETROIT MAN IN JAIL CHARGED WITH ROBBERY.

5-7 – 1928 - AUTO KILLS HORSE, DRIVER ESCAPES INJURY.  DOGS RAVAGE FLOCK AT LYONS.

5-17 – EATON SLAYERS GET LIFE TERMS.

5-24 – HUBBARDSTON WOMAN TAKES LIFE AT IONIA.  THREE ARE DEAD AS A RUSULT OF CRASH WEST OF PORTLAND.

6-14 – 1928 - SUICIDE ATTEMPT OF WOMAN FAILS.

6-24 – TWO PORTLAND MEN GIVEN PRISON TERMS.  THIEVES MAKE RAID ON STRAWBERRY PATCH.

6-28 – BURNS FATAL TO HUBBARDSTON BOY.

7-12-1928 – ST. JOHNS FARMER COMMITS SUICIDE.

7 – 19 – EIGHTEEN STRICKEN AT FAMILY REUNION AT RIVERSIDE PARK IN IONIA.  HUBBARDSTON WOMAN IN CRITICAL CONDITION.  GASOLINE EXPLODES WHILE FILLING STOVE.

7- 28 – CAVEMAN STUNT GEST MAN IN JAIL, CARRIES OFF WOMAN AND THREATENS TO CUT HER THROAT IF LOVE IS SPURNED.

8- 2 – 1928 - STORES CASH CHECKS THAT ARE NO GOOD.  CRASH FATAL TO WESTPHALIA MAN.

8-9 – DANCE GETS LYONS MAN IN TROUBLE.  HORACE ATWELL ROBBED OF $18.

8- 16 – HAS CLOSE CALL FROM DEATH BY MAD BULL.  SEVERAL RESIDENTS HAVE THEIR TONSILS REMOVED.  BOSTON MAN DEAD FOLLOWING CRASH.

8-23 – LOCAL PASTOR PURLOINS CAR FOR JOYRIDE.  NORTH PLAINS FATHER ARRESTED ON CHARGES OF ADULTRY.

8- 30 – MAD DOG SCARE CAUSES HUNT FOR MONGREL.  AGED COUPLE ARE INJURED IN CRASH.  CHRASH IS FATAL TO MRS. JOHN  N. SAILOR.

9 – 6- 1928 – DON M. BENEDICT CAUGHT BY CUPID.

9 -13 – ORANGE YOUNG MAN GOES TO JACKSON ON FORGERY CHARGE.

9 – 20 – SUNFIELD MAN HAS UNUSUAL BEAN CROP.   GERRIT SMITH OF SUNFIELD TOWNSHIP REPORTEDLY HAS AN UNUSUALLY  GOOD CROP OF BEANS THIS YEAR.  HE HAD SEVEN ACRES AND WHEN HE SOLD THE BEANS HE RECEIVED $770.  This is at the rate of $110 PER ACRE, THE ELEVATOR PAYING $7 PER ACRE THE ELEVATOR PAYING &7 per CWT.

10- 4- 1928 – SEBEWA AX MAN IN JAIL AT IONIA.  BOUND OVER TO CIRCUIT COURT.  CHARGED WITH RESISTING OFFICER.

9- 27 – 1928 – DANBY MAN FIRST IN COUNTY SENTENCED TO LIFE UNDER HABITUAL CRIMINAL ACT.

10 – 4 – 1927 – BOOZE VIOLATIONS HEAD CRIME LIST.

10 – 11 – 1928 -BLACK DIPHTHERIA CAUSES DEATH OF SEBEWA CHILD.

10 – 18 – MR. & MRS. HIGBEE IN BAD AUTO WRECK.  ADMITS THEFT OF WHEAT FROM GEO. MATHEWS’ BARN.

10 – 25 – ATTORNEY GENERAL SETTLES MUCH DISCUSSED QUESTION.  FARMERS OWN NUTS GROWN ON HIGHWAY.  NECK BROKEN IN AUTO ACCIDENT.  LANSING MAN INSTANTLY KILLED SUNDAY.

11 – 1 – 1928 – DOG OWNERS TO BE HAULED INTO COURT.  GUN WOUND FATAL TO LANSING GIRL.  CHARRED BODY FOUND IN RUINS OF BURNED TENT.  NEPHEW TO SEEK AID OF STATE POLICE.

11 – 8 – HERBERT HOOVER ELECTED PRESIDENT.

11 – 22 – SEBEWA MAN TRAPS WITHOUT LICENSE.  11 – 29 – FINED $25.

11 – 29 – FIVE STUDENTS SUSPENDED AT HIGH SCHOOL CHARGED WITH ATTENDING JUNIOR PARTY WITH SMELL OF LIQUOR ON BREATH.

1 – 4 – 19 – LOCAL PEOPLE IN AUTO WRECK ON WAY SOUTH.   ICY ROADS MAKE AUTOISTS SWEAR.

1 – 11 – BURNS CAUSE DEATH OF AGED SUNFIELD MAN.  KICKED BY HORSE.  EAGLE MAN DIES.

2 – 14 -1929 – SUNFIELD MAN IS VICTIM OF THIEVES.

3 – 7 – LETTER SIGNED K. K. K. IS FILLED WITH DIRE THREATS AGAINST SEBEWA FARMER.


RIDING ON THE PLANK

     From the publication THE PLANK ROAD, put out by Olivet College for the Eaton County Council of the Arts, Parks and Recreation Commission organizations sharing their aims comes this interesting but about Michigan’s early plank roads.  “The Plank Road from Kalamazoo to Grand Rapids in an early day, was a public blessing for a time without doubt, but it became evident in the early 1860s that there would be a railroad along the same line in the near future.  It was plain to the Plank Road Company that when this came to be, the time for the profitable operation of the toll road would be a thing of the past.  They allowed the road to get seriously out of repair, continuing to collect toll as long as the people would stand for it.  This poem was written during the last days of the “Old Plank” when the traveling public was seriously dissatisfied and disgusted.”  The poem and the quote preceding it are the work of the distant ancestor of Mrs. Gerald R. Dewitt, Sr. of 104 S. Hayford Avenue in Lansing.  THE PLANK ROAD would like to thank Mrs. Dewitt for her thoughtfulness in contributing to this publication.

RIDING ON THE PLANK, a poem by Asa Harding Stoddard (1814-1906):  Did you ever, friend or stranger, Let me ask you free and frank, Brave the peril, dare the danger, Of a journey on the Plank?  Ever see the wild commotion, Hear the quick electric motion, Caused by riding on the Plank?  Horses balking, driver lashing, Wishing all plank roads in –blank- And their owners with them flashing, So it goes upon the Plank. Wagons creaking, groaning, crashing, Wrecks bestrewing either bank, Jarring, jolting, jambing, dashing This is riding on the Plank.  Hats and bonnets strangely rocking, Leave no space between them blank, Kisses stolen, oh what shocking, Things do happen, on the Plank.  Fathers swearing, children squalling, Angry mothers trying to spank, Seats upset and they go sprawling, In the wagon on the Plank.  Tipping over, mercy on us!  Broken ribs, or shattered shank, These afflictions come upon us, Come from riding on the Plank.  Here, if you can save the pieces, Lucky stars you well may thank, Though your doctor bill  increases, ‘Tis for riding on the Plank.  Ye, with torpid livers sickened, Cold and languid, lean and lank, Needing life-blood warmed and quickened, Try a journey on the Plank.  Ye, half dead with indigestion, Stomachs cold as Greenland’s bank, This will cure without a question, Take one ride upon the Plank.


INDIA TOUR WRAP-UP, Conclusion – As some of the things seen in India seemed not to fall into place in the preceding articles, I’ll try to collect them here.  The bulk of India’s population lives in villages and that includes almost all of the farmers.  As in many other parts of the world the farmers make a daily trek from village to fields to work their plots of ground.  The housing is compact and intermixed with the milk supply, the water buffalo.  Generally, families depend on their own or a neighbor’s buffalo for milk.  Peddlers of milk cannot be trusted to supply an unadulterated and pasteurized product.  Most Indians are Hindus and thus vegetarians and depend largely on milk for protein in their diet.

Fodder for the buffaloes is brought from the fields by oxcarts, pack animals or as a bundle on a woman’s head.  To make it more palatable for the animals, it is fed thru a cutter operated by hand power.  A wheel, heavy enough to have a flywheel effect, has two sharp blades on its spokes that swing around to have a scissors action against a stationary bar, very much the same principle as the cutters on our old-time silo fillers except that the power is human muscle.  This would hardly meet OSHA standards of safety.  I saw no locking mechanism to protect the hands of playful children.

Unless the village had stepped out ahead of most, its water supply was an open well of ten or twelve feet in diameter with masonry walls.  To draw water you dropped a bucket with a rope and hand over handed it up to ground level.  Laundry could be done on a flat stone near the water supply.  Waste water was seen coming from a corner or the houses in a trickle toward the street.  It seemed to seep and dry up before getting very far from the house.  Lawn mowers were not necessary for there were no untrod areas around the houses.  Garden stuff had to be raised in the fields instead of on a plot near the house.

One indulgence we found in a village was smoking the hookah, the Indian water pipe.  This pipe stood about two feet high with a small charcoal fire in a pan shaped bowl at the top.  The smoker placed some tobacco and a little brown sugar for flavor on the coals and then sucked on a tube that drew the smoke through the water filled base.  His puffing was much more exercising than cigarette smoking.  In the village we visited just outside New Delhi, most of the men, especially the younger ones, were in western dress of shirts and trousers instead of the traditional garb of a loose white wrap of cotton.  Wristwatches were not common.

The sari, seven or eight yards of cloth skillfully draped and wrapped, is the favorite costume of Indian women.  Our tour guide stopped our bus at a few of the better shops around the cities we visited.  When we barged in to where everything had been relatively quiet, each room sprang to life with a salesman ready to show his wares and quickly determine who among us was interested in the goods in his department.  Two of the women in our group took an interest in saris and staged quite a show in their purchases.  It was necessary to know how to wear a sari and a demonstration was in order.  Basic to the sari is a fitted belt at the waist.  The end of the sari is tucked into the belt, draped down for skirt length and carried back to the waist band, wrapped around in the proper manner and when the last end of the cloth strip is in place the lady is properly gowned.  A change in a fold here or a drape there gives the costume a different style.  Needless to say, there was much hilarity as husbands and bystanders used their imaginations in comment.

Nowhere did we see stores that resembled our supermarkets.  Wherever there was a concentration of people there was a concentration of small shops.  These were open front places that could be closed for the night.  Although most were smaller than our dining rooms, some were packed with enough goods to fill the display cases of a fairly large store.  When you presented yourself as a prospective customer, the merchant would get out item after item and display them in the best light until he had made a sale.  With customer gone he would have to fold, pack and stow to replace the merchandise and be ready for another customer.  In just such a space might be found a bicycle shop or a flour mill consisting of a grinder and sifter run by an electric motor.  I noticed several such mills.

One fellow who did not need a shop was the barber who could squat his customers at the curb and squat beside him with his scissors and razor to give him a trim and a shave.  We saw but little of long hair and beards.  The Sikhs were the exception.  Religious observance calls for them to go unshorn with their hair coiled atop their heads and neatly covered with a turban.  The turban is a long piece of cloth deftly wrapped in an orderly design about the head with the two loose ends anchored with two pins.  Shaping of the turban lasts for a week’s wear before it has to be redone.

Television was making its way around India and in some parts it was quite recently introduced.  TV sets operating in hotel or other public lobbies drew interested watchers.  At Arritsar the favorite station seemed to be the one in Lahore just across the border in Pakistan.  Only a few years previous the Pakistan Air Force had dropped bombs in the Arritsar area during that border war.  Movies, called the cinema there, are still s popular form of entertainment.  India ranks high in the production of movies.  In New Delhi I could not identify a single movie theater.  The movie houses were there, the people know where they were and a gaudy display of lights and pictures was not necessary to attract customers.  In Bombay a movie theater was on a prominent corner with the type of displays we are used to seeing.

There is very little obesity among Indians.  Perhaps bicycling is a help in maintaining the figure.  It seems easy for everyone to drop to his heels in a squatting position without wincing from the stretch of muscles around the knees.  The Indians noticed our discomfiture when they spread a blanket on the ground in a grape arbor and expected us to sit on it to enjoy grapes and soft drink refreshments.  At our awkwardness, puzzlement and then smiles were on their faces as they quickly ran for chairs.  Just as I had concluded that all Indians were lithe and supple I began to notice a different group in hotel lobbies when social activities started in the ballrooms.  Along with others in beautiful saris were a few matrons whose weight would threaten the frame of a bicycle.  Quite obviously it was the servants who maintained their households.

India complains she does not get a proper share of the world’s tourists.  Only recently has she turned her attention to developing the tourist industry with easy accommodations and transportation to places of interest.  Beggary, as a long established institution, is being challenged by corralling some of the professional beggars and shipping them off to work on national projects.  Beggars and insistent hawkers of cheap jewelry and other souvenir type items know the tourist routes and sort out the soft touches with their pleas and wares.  Besides lepers and a few physically handicapped characters asking for alms there was the standard disheveled woman carrying a naked baby, playing on the pity of those unused to such sights.  I have read since that professional beggars sometimes rent the baby for this purpose.  Next in line were the snake charmers with their reptile baskets and flutes or similar instruments intended to attract the tourist, perhaps more than the snakes.  Snake handling and picture taking is intended to result in tips and, of course, it does or the attraction would not be there.

At a rest stop, and it was a nice one, on the newly paved highway from New Delhi to Agra, just outside the entrance, there was a collection of a dancing bear, a performing monkey and the usual snake charmer accompanied by a clatter of music.  Evidently it paid off.  On the street in front of a museum in Bombay was a group of noisy people, two of whom were holding a hoop with sharp knives inserted, pointed to its center.  A few paces back an exhibitionist fellow was shouting and gesturing to indicate he was about to dive through the dangerous apparatus.  When nobody stopped to watch he began to save his breath for the next group to come along.

The museums were interesting with immense collections of guns, swords, armor costumes and many other items of antiquity and by antiquity they do not refer to the things of yesterday but to things that are centuries and centuries old.  One thing in the museum that took the keen interest of the group was a model of the City of the Dead of the Parsees.  The Parsees are a group who several generations ago came to Bombay from Persia.  They now number about eighty thousand, holding to the religious customs that were, at least in part, responsible for their being refugees.  They have prospered as merchants.  They do not believe in contamination of the soil, or fire or of water with their dead bodies.  Their method is to place their corpses in a walled open air oval in the high outskirts of Bombay.  Awaiting that placement is a flock of vultures eager to clean the bones.  When the bones are properly cleaned and bleached they are collected, ground to a powder and scattered on the grounds about.  Our guide told us of the hapless fellow who was a suicide by cyanide poisoning.  He took many of the vultures with him.  We saw survivors perched in the trees about, ready for their next ceremonial task.  The Hindu dead are usually cremated.  Because I had don a number of tombstone rubbings I was on the watch for cemeteries and tombstones.  I saw only two cemeteries, small, with tombstones that looked ancient.

From our Holiday Inn hotel in Agra we could see the Taj Mahal looming over the skyline of the city’s trees.  Our tour had been timed so as to have a view of the Taj in bright moonlight as well as in the glare of the tropical sunshine.  In either light the high marble dome with the four cornering minarets was a thing of great beauty.  In the early 1600’s Shah Jehan hired twenty-two thousand workmen to labor for twenty years to build this tomb of white marble inlaid with designs of precious and semiprecious stones.

Mumtaz Mahal died in childbirth of her fourteenth child.  When the tomb was completed Shah Jehan had the architect’s hands cut off so that the building would not be duplicated.  Inside the tomb and under the high dome a high pitched voice echoed fifteen seconds before it became inaudible.

India has often been invaded from the north by the Moguls or Moslems.  The successive invasions tended to lighten the skins of the native Indians.  Thus the population of northern India is a shade or two lighter than that found in Southern India.  The invading Mogul emperors established their domains, adopted most of the ideas of Hindu art and culture, regimented the available labor and proceeded to build grandiose forts, seats of government, temples and tombs.  These relics are the tourist attractions of today.  Workmen are kept busy constantly in maintenance of these structures built three hundred or more years ago.  It is this old architecture and not the modern buildings that makes India an interesting place to visit.

There is much more that could be told.  I hope I have piqued your curiosity enough for you to want to go see for yourself.               HWG


THE DETROIT NEWS               Sunday, May 25, 1913  IONIA WILL THIS WEEK CELEBRATE EIGHTIETH ANNIVERSARY OF ARRIVAL OF COLONY OF 62 PEOPLE FROM HERKIMER COUNTY, N.Y., LED BY SAMUEL DEXTER; STORY OF GRAND RIVER VALLEY AND ITS FIRST SETTLEMENT.                               BY MRS. L. P. BROCK

IONIA, Michigan, May 24.—The little city of Ionia, nestling close to the foot of the hills on the north side of Grand River, climbing up their sides, and spreading over the level country at their top—charming in name, location and environments, will on Wednesday, May 28, arrive at the eightieth anniversary of the coming of its first white settlers, the colony from New York led by Samuel Dexter, and Ionians feel that they have much to be proud of, not only in the high character of its colonists, but of the interesting Indian lore attached to this region, for much as this locality was loved by the whites, even as much was it loved by the race that preceded them, who hunted in the forests, fished in the streams and built their wigwams by the banks of the river that was their broad highway, flowing through—as they considered it—their Indian paradise.

Michigan was inhabited by three tribes of the great Algonquin nation which inhabited all the land south of Hudson Bay, east of the Mississippi and north of the present state of Tennessee, except the state of New York, which was the possession of the five confederate tribes of the fierce and war loving Iroquois.  The Pottawatomies lived in the south part of the state, the Chippewas in the north part and northern peninsula, and for many years the Sauks occupied the country around Grand River, but were finally overcome by the Ottawas, whose home it became for many generations.  All of these tribes though so widely scattered, often warring desperately among themselves, belonged to one great stock, and spoke various dialects of one language.

As nearly as can be ascertained at the beginning of the eighteenth century the Pottawatomies numbered about 800 warriors, the Ottawas about 1,200 and the Chippewas, with whom these these tribes were linked in a very close confederacy, numbered more than both of them.

At the coming of the whites, 80 years ago, its human occupants, the Ottawas, some Chippewas, and perhaps a few Pottawatomies, remnants of three of the most powerful tribes known in what at an early day was designated the Northwest Territory, were mostly to be found along the banks of the Grand, where their villages were located at the mouths of rivers flowing into it.

The Ottawas were originally located in the vicinity of the Ottawa river in Canada, from which they derive their name, but were driven from there by the terrible Iroquois, from New York, who were always making war on other Indian tribes.  They fled to the land of the Chippewas.  The Iroquois followed them to their new haunts, but the two tribes combined and were enabled to repulse the Iroquois, who afterward seldom sought a warpath which led so far to the north.

The celebrated Father Marquette visited the northern peninsula in 1668 and established a mission for the Ottawas at St. Es’prit, near the west end of Lake Superior.  But in 1670, the Ottawas no longer fearing the Iroquois, established their principal village on the island of Mackinac, and then at St. Ignace, just across the strait, Father Marquette established a mission for them in 1671.

From that point the Ottawas spread southward, especially along the east shore of Lake Michigan, which was of easy access by means of their boats, and thence by paddling up Grand River they first invaded the hunting grounds of the Sauks, the last quarter of the seventeenth century.  These excursions, of course, ended in a series of conflicts which culminated in the Sauks fleeing, terror-stricken, from the graves and hunting grounds of their forefathers, down the river and across Lake Michigan into what is now Wisconsin, where they located.

The same year that Father Marquette established the mission at St. Ignace there occurred another scene at Sault Ste. Marie of great significance to the occupants of this region.  The French had obtained a foothold in Canada in 1535, and in 1670 the indenture of Canada sent Lieut. Lusson, a French officer, into the Lake Superior region to hunt minerals.  To signalize his expedition by an imposing ceremony, he called together all the tribes of the lake county to meet him at the Soo, and no less than 14 tribal organizations being represented, he made a proclamation, taking over the present state of Michigan and adjacent lands in the name of his sovereign, Louis XIV of France, promising the tribes in return protection from their foes.  “Long live the King”, said Lusson.  “Long live the king” said the Frenchmen present and the thousands of savages yelled in unison.  They would not have been so read to turn over their lands in any way, to an unknown potentate across the sea, if they had not become afraid of the Iroquois, who by this time were being fitted out with muskets and ammunition by the Dutch at New York.  Thus the state of Michigan, in a way, passed into the hands of the French.

After this date the Indians comprising the Michigan league usually acted together in their warlike expeditions, and with the aid of the French, held comparatively peaceable possession of this, their home, for nearly one hundred years.  But the English wanted territory and in 1754 was begun the “Old French and Indian War”, which finally resulted in the acquiring by the English of all the French territory east of the Mississippi and in February, 1763, the treaty of peace was signed between France and England.  When the Indians were told of this they were furious, and a great uprising was planned by Pontiac, a full-blooded Ottawa and head chief of the tribe here—then about 50 years old.  History points him out as excelling in sagacity and strategy as any Indian chief known.  He gathered all the nations of the lakes and rivers of the north together and the destruction of all the English forts and garrisons were to take place on a certain day.  The feeling of the Indians are well expressed in the following historically authenticated facts.  Maj. Rogers with his Rangers, was sent to Detroit to replace the French with an English garrison and on nearing the post he was met by Pontiac.  “What is your business in my country and how dare you enter it without my permission?” was the haughty demand of the Indian chief.  Rogers told his errand.  Pontiac replied with dignity “I stand in the path”, and again in a part of a speech of another chief to an English trader:  “Englishman, although you have conquered the French, you have not yet conquered us.  We are not your slaves.  These lakes, these woods were left to us by our ancestors, they are our inheritance and we will part with them to none.”  But the race that was to usurp them was at hand and needless to say, after numerous attempts to foil the English, Pontiac renounced forever his great scheme and the greatest chief that ever walked the trails through this beautiful valley had to give way to the greater race.  He was murdered near St. Louis, by an Illinois Indian, hired to do so by an English trader, it is said, and was buried with all the honors of war by his friend, St. Ange, French commandant at St. Louis, but the Ottawas sprang to arms to avenge his death and almost exterminated the Illinois tribe.

Then came the war of the Revolution and the formation of a new government, but it was 1796 before the British surrendered the post at Detroit to the United States and not until then did the government obtain any control of the territory known as the state of Michigan.  In 1807 Gen. Hull made an agreement with the chiefs of the Ottawas, Chippewas and Pattawatomies, by which they ceded a large portion of their lands in eastern Michigan to the United States government.  In 1812 war was again declared in which the Indians joined forces with the British, but with the victory of the United States, all hopes of the Indians holding onto their lands were vanquished—peace and protection were generously extended to them by the government, and then the war-like career of this great league, which had extended for more than a hundred years, was at an end.

They no longer kept strictly to tribes, and when the whites came here it was no unusual thing to find bands made up of Indians from all three tribes.  Soon after the close of the war of 1812, it became evident to Gen. Cass, then governor of the territory, that more land would have to be acquired from the Indians to accommodate the immigration spreading in all directions from Detroit, so he planned to secure further cessions from the tribes, laid his plans before the government, obtained authority to proceed in the matter, and called the chiefs together in Council at Saginaw in 1819, this cession to include our own locality.  The council was held in a large bower, which by direction of Gen. Cass, had been built by Louis Campau, the French trader.  Great opposition resulted but in the end the Indians ceded to the United States six million of acres which included most of Ionia county and were to receive annually forever one thousand dollars in silver coin, also annuities from other treaties to be paid in silver, the Indians reserving the right to hunt and fish so long as the government owned the land, and they were permitted to make sugar, until the lands were sold to settlers, but without any unnecessary waste of trees.  In 1821, at Chicago, that part of Ionia county that was not covered by the treaty at Saginaw was purchased by the government.

Many Indians were still here when the first white settlers came, but according to treaty stipulations they had a right to be here, until actual settlers purchased the land, after which, the Indians, as they had agreed, retired readily, yet mournfully, from their old haunts, their cultivated patches and their villages, to still deeper wilds in the northern wilderness.

During the latter part of the 17th hand earlier part of the 18th century the present state of Michigan contained a widely-scattered class of inhabitants, called Indian traders.  Generally French, their business was buying fur and pelts from the Indians, and in exchange selling them calico and other commodities, and they were governed by certain rules issued by the respective governments that had controlled this region.  Their trade must be confined to their own section; they must be fair and friendly in trade; attend no council held by Indians; convey to them no liquors; no traders allowed without a license; inculcate ideas of peace among the Indians; and assure them of the protection of the government, etc.  The commodities they gave to the Indians sometimes came from Detroit on Indian ponies, but more often from Montreal by boats, portaged through the lakes and streams of upper Canada, then to Mackinac, where they were distributed to the various traders.

Along the Grand River at about the time of the settlement here of the first whites were Louis Campau, who had lived since 1828 at what is now Grand Rapids with his wife, Sophie de Marsac—for whom the D. A. R. chapter of that city is named.  At Lowell was Rix Robinson, who married an Indian princess, a daughter of one of the great war-chiefs of the Ottawas, who was own cousin to Pontiac.

Robinson was one of the few who remained true to his Indian wife, whom he married in accordance with tribal custom, and a short time ago the residents of that section raised a memorial to his name in the locality of his old home.

East of Ionia there was established the post of Louis Genereaux, who had been here some years when the settlers arrived.  He was quite successful as a trader, and owner of a large bateaux, with which his goods and peltries were transferred up and down the Grand.  He also had an Indian wife and a half-reed son, Louis, Jr., who was a wild youth and brought sorrow to his father by killing or roasting to death an Indian, for which he was sent to prison for a long term.  Soon after, the father removed from the locality then known as Genereauville.

While many of the Ottawa in other sections had been in the habit of leaving for Mackinac at the close of the sugar-making season, assembling by boat at the mouth of the Grand, then proceed in company up the lake, to return by the same route in the fall—it is said the Indians in this locality stayed here the year round.  The rich bottom land gave ample facilities for raising their garden stuff, while fish and game were to be had in abundance.  In 1830 the chief Indian village was just east of here at the mouth of the Maple and numbered some 800.  The principal chief was Cocoosh, while Black Cloud was second in command.  There was a small village at Ionia, whose chief was Cobmoosa, an Indian of much dignity and manliness, who was second in command of the Flat River band and their principal encampment was near Lowell.

The importance of Grand river during these days was great, and sometimes the craft upon it presented a very imposing sight.  It was about 1856 before the railroad was built, and as this section was very isolated, about 150 miles from Detroit, the country between unsettled, the roads terrible during the greatest part of the year, to say nothing of unbridged rivers and streams, no wonder the river was looked upon as the surest way of access to the outer world, even if it was by way of the straits.  Then there were the boats of the Indians, the serviceable craft of the traders, going up and down the waters of the river.  December 1, 1837, a sidewheel steamer, the “Gov. Mason”, came up to Ionia, then on to Lyons when the water was high.  But with the coming of the railroad the great need and use of the river was ended.

In the thirties the fame of Michigan lands reached the east, and, as ever, adventuresome souls were eager to push out into the new west.  In the fall of 1832 Hon. Samuel Dexter of Herkimer, N. Y. came on a prospecting trip and in company with his friend, Dr. Jewett, later of Lyons, Ionia County, road horseback through the southern and western Michigan, looking up government lands.  After following the lake shore to Chicago he came back to Michigan and located lands at what is now Grand Rapids, on the east side of the river across from a large Indian village, and near the home of Louis Campau and his wife, the French trader.  He entered a tract of land two miles long and eighty rods wide near where is now the very heart of the city of Grand Rapids (afterward giving to Kent county ground for their courthouse site), and then came on east of Ionia, where he located a quarter section.  He then returned to his home in New York to make preparations for removal to the new home he had chosen, selling out his possessions, inducing others to join him and preparing himself, his wife and nine children for a life in an unbroken wilderness, miles from any sign of civilization.  He was then 47 years of age and had been a member of the New York legislature for one or two terms.  He was the seventh in descent from Sir Gregory Dexter, who came from London with Roger Williams to Providence, R. I. in 1643.  Sir Gregory Dexter owned a printing establishment in London and printed Roger William’s dictionary of the Indian language, a copy of which is in the Library of Congress, a very rare specimen.  The two men formed a close friendship, so great that Dexter sold his business and came back to the Colonies with Williams.  The King granted him a charter of the whole state of Rhode Island.  He also became a preacher and at Roger Williams’ death, succeeded him and therefore became the second Baptist preacher in Providence.

Samuel Dexter’s father was also named Samuel Dexter, who married Candance Winsor, a lineal descendant of Roger Williams, and he was a Revolutionary Soldier and ensign in Col. Lippitt’s Rhode Island regiment.  They had thirteen children, the fifth, Darius Dexter, being the grandfather of Mrs. William Jennings Bryan, the wife of our present Secretary of State.  Samuel Dexter, whose colony settled Ionia, being their seventh child, John and Darius, the fourth and fifth sons founded the village of Dexterville, which is now a suburb of Jamestown on Chautauqua Lake, New York, and the house in which Darius Dexter lived still stands there.  These two brothers went west in 1838 and Darius settled in Pike Co., Illinois.  His daughter, Lavina, married John Baird, the father of Mrs. Bryan.  John went to Wisconsin, near Kenosha, and settled on a farm, which today is owned by his grandson, now seventy-one years of age, and it is known as “Dexter Farm”.  George and Stephen, the twelfth and thirteenth children came to Michigan and located land on the north bank of Whitmore Lake north of Ann Arbor, but quite soon removed to Ionia county and about 1835 located farms in Easton Township, a few miles from the new settlement their brother founded, in which locality they afterward lived and died.

Upon Mr. Dexter’s return home from his Michigan trip, he interviewed people, and wrote many letters in praise of the “west” as it was then and his enthusiasm induced others to join him in the new enterprise of securing land.  He sold his farm for twelve thousand dollars, quite a bit of money to bring into a new territory, especially as it was all in gold and silver.  It was packed in kegs labeled “axes”, and there was always the watchful eyes of two men on guard over it.

The colony, when it got under way April 22, 1933, numbered 62 people consisting of six families:  Samuel Dexter’s, Erastus Yeoman’s, Oliver Arnold’s, Darius Winsor’s and Edward and Joe Guild’s, also five young men, Wm. B. Lincoln, a young practicing physician, and four others, who left the colony soon after its arrival in Ionia.  They chartered a canal boat for use as far as Buffalo, put on board only such articles as would be actually necessary to them in their new home, and their own teams drawing the boat on the Erie canal.

To many of their neighbors, such an undertaking seemed one of folly, but the resolution had been deliberately taken, and although the abandonment of old home and friends was a severe trial, it was bravely met.  Their venture had become widely known, so that the first day or two they found the landing places along the canal crowded with old friends, who had come to take a last look and say a parting word.  At Buffalo they transferred themselves to a steamboat, in due time arriving at Detroit, and then the real hardships were to begin.  Most of the household goods were shipped by boat via the Straits of Mackinac to Grand Haven to be brought by small boat up Grand River, but the rest of the goods and the families were loaded on the wagons, teams attached and with a guide, who as assistant surveyor, was familiar with the country, they struck out into the wilderness, most of the way cutting the road as they went.  The first day out of Detroit they could make but seven miles, the roads were so heavy.  They stayed one night at Pontiac, at that time a very small place, having a hard name, so much that if anyone wanted to send a person to a bad place, he would say “You go to Pontiac”.  Nearly two weeks were consumed in the journey from Detroit to their destination and to the women and children unaccustomed to hard fare, wild scenes, exposure and severe fatigue, the labor was almost overwhelming.  They had much trouble in crossing marshes and fording streams.  Many women walked and sometimes when they got stuck in marshes the men had to carry them ashore.  At night the men would build great fires and the women would then cook and they baked biscuits in the bakers set up in front of the fires.  At Shiawassee there were three children sick with the scarlet fever, a son of Edward Guild, and Providence and Riley Dexter.  Two of the children got better but on May 26 about four in the afternoon, Riley, the youngest child of Samuel Dexter, died when the company was about 30 miles east of Ionia.  Mr. Guild had a small trunk, which he gave for a coffin and the child was laid in the grave by the light of the campfires, his father making a feeling prayer before the coffin lowered.  They piled the grave with logs to protect it from the wolves and also carved his name, age and date of death on a large tree at its head.

The second day after, May 28, they arrived” home” about 10 o’clock in the morning and their first meal was dinner eaten a little way south of where the large armory now stands.  As they could not expect their household furnishings that were sent around the lakes by boat for some time, the men drove stakes in the ground and put sticks across them, then laid the side boards of a wagon box on for a top, so had the first extension table in Ionia county.

The Indians, who founded the village here, numbering about 500 inhabitants, and who had known of Mr. Dexter’s intention to return from the visit among them the fall before, had given up his coming on account of the late arrival of the colony, and had put in their gardens of corn, melon, squashes, etc.  There were five wigwams that were built of bark, four down by the river near the present Pere Marquette car shops—not more than ten feet square, two bunks on one side, one above the other.  The other was a little way northwest of these and about 14 feet square.  The Indians disliked to give up their homes and gardens, but knowing they were simply holding their lands by sufferance until actual settlers arrived, they readily, though mournfully, gave up, after Mr. Dexter paid them for their bark wigwams and gardens, he doing business through a guide, who acted as interpreter.  The largest wigwam was then occupied by the women and children of Mr. Dexter’s family, the others were occupied by the families of the rest of the colonists, the men occupying tents, wagon boxes and such other shelter as circumstances would permit.  Two log houses were immediately commenced, one for Mr. Dexter and one for Mr. Winsor and very soon after, one for Mr. Yeomans.  Mr. Dexter’s was built where the Jacob Schmoltz brick house now stands.  Mr. Winsor’s was just west of the creek that crosses East Main Street and Mr. Yeoman’s in what is now Easton on land still held by his descendants.  In a few days after their arrival, some of the men of the colony started for the Land Office at White Pigeon.  They met Louis Campau, who begged them to come to settle at Grand Rapids where he and his wife had lived so long alone.  So Joel Guild decided to go—took up some land then and within a month “Uncle Louis” and some of his help came up to Ionia in bateaux for the Guild family, they arriving at Grand Rapids June 23, that being the day Grand Rapids called her “birthday”, having been started as a white settlement by the family of one of the Ionia colony.  Edward Guild and family sometime after joined his brother there, as did also Mr. Winsor’s where they afterward lived and died.

The first white child born in the community was Eugene, son of Darius Winsor, whose birth occurred in August, a little time after the arrival here and the first death was also in his family—that of his little 6-year-old daughter, which took place the same summer and who was buried on the hill, not far from the present Central School grounds, on the I. H. Thayer property.  There were four men of the original colony who always made Ionia their home—Samuel Dexter, Erastus Yeomans, Oliver Arnold and W. B. Lincoln.

Oliver Arnold was the pioneer mechanic and foundryman, and chose for his home a spot across the river, at the foot of the hills immediately south of Ionia, where has grown up quite a burg, called South Ionia.  There he took advantage of the water power furnished by a creek flowing down from among the hills, and established a growing business, which is still conducted by his grandson.

Erastus Yeomans lived nearly all his long life of over 90 years on the land he located in Easton, very near Ionia.  He was appointed first postmaster of Ionia County, receiving the appointment under President Jackson, which position he held for six years.  In 1841 he was elected associate judge of the county, serving in that capacity for eight years.  He was always “Judge” Yeomans after that, and lived a highly honored and respected life.  In his latter years he lived in his large home in the west end of Ionia, which still stands.

Dr. W. B. Lincoln was Ionia county’s first physician and had his hands full from the start, being called from everywhere, over a large territory, rapidly filling with settlers.  He had a large practice for years, extending from Grand Rapids, 40 miles west of Ionia, to about an equal distance in other directions.  He was also the first school teacher, Mr. Dexter hiring him to teach the children of the community at his home, and old letters from these children speak of him as “having a most gentle and fine influence over the young people, looking well after their language”.  He also built the first frame house in Ionia, erected in 1834, still doing duty as part of Dr. Allen’s residence.

He was first township clerk, chosen at the meeting, authorized by the legislative council, to be held on Monday, April 6, 1835 at the home of Antoine Campau & Co., purchasers, a short time before, of the business of Louis Genereaux, the fur trader.  He was also the first bridegroom of the community, his marriage to Cinthy, daughter of Oliver Arnold, taking place at the residence of the bride’s father, on Sunday, July 5, 1835, ‘Squire Dexter performing the ceremony.  They lived a long and happy life together, leaving three daughters, one of whom, Mrs. Dr. H. B. Barnes, has always resided in Ionia.

Samuel Dexter always busied himself in doing all that he could to better the condition of the new community, in which he was so interested.  The corn, that matured the first summer, was at first pounded in a mortar dug out by the Indians in a hollow stump, but Mr. Dexter went to Detroit and brought back a large coffee mill, having a handle on each side, by which two men could grind corn, making meal instead of the course samp produced by the “stump” process.  That winter, all the new settlers around, so rapidly coming into this new country, used this mill, coming from Lyons, and as far away as Portland.  In September, following the colony’s arrival in May—according to a letter written by his daughter, Prudence, many years ago, built a sawmill, on the plat of ground just west of the armory, now called Dexter park, that was at least the second mill built in Ionia county, though history is not very definite about that.  H. V. Libhardt (father of Mrs. H. R. Wagner, of Ionia and Washington, D. C.) came with his family in July, 1833, to settle at Lyons, and soon built a little sawmill, which might have been the first.  Mr. Dexter used the waterpower from the creek, crossing Main Street at Dexter Street, it being carried to the mill in an overhead race, a big wooden trough up on stilts as high as the second story windows, a splendid slippery place when his grandchildren used to have gay times wading up in the air.  The next year (according to the letter) Mr. Dexter put into the sawmill a small run of stone that ground the first wheat raised in Ionia county.  The first grist belonged to Asa Spencer, and that hour was a joyful one for the settlement, as the people had occasionally been compelled to go to Pontiac for flour, sometimes making the journey on foot owing to bad roads, and a relief from such a condition must have been a very welcome one.

Mr. Dexter was exceedingly generous in the use of his money and lands.  He gave land to the Baptist society to build a church on which the present edifice stands.  Also he gave the west part of the present courthouse grounds to the county for a courthouse site, and lots in Ionia to anyone who would build a house thereon, and many of its later wealthy citizens got a start in this way.

He was entrusted largely with the affairs of the growing community.  A Land Office was early established in Ionia and once, that Mr. Dexter carried the funds to Detroit for deposit, he had an unfortunate experience.  He was at that time accompanied by his son-in-law, Jonathan Tibbitts.  The money, $200,000 and over, was placed in kegs and was carried by ox teams.  The teams waded and swam Grand River—the wagons and the money kegs were carried across in canoes by the Indians and one canoe loaded with kegs tipped over in the river, but after much difficulty the heavy kegs were finally recovered.

He was ever a miller, and from his little sawmill finally evolved the large Novelty Mills, that a few years ago burned down, now replaced by Dexter Park and the large State Armory, in excavating for which, one of the old grinding stones was found.

As has been stated before, Mr. Dexter brought nine children with him from U. T. and one daughter was born after they came here—but very few of his descendants live here now.  His daughter, Celia, married Alonzo Sessions, at one time Lieutenant Governor of Michigan, and their youngest daughter is the wife of Mayor Arthur P. Loomis, formerly private secretary to Gov. Warner.  They live in their fine farm home, a short distance over the hill from South Ionia, and Mrs. Loomis is the nearest kin of Mr. Dexter left here.

He died in Ionia in August, 1856, in his 69th year, at the home occupied by him for many years, across the street from his mill, his gardens being on the northeast corner of Dexter and Main Street, and was buried in Oakhill Cemetery, a beautiful spot, overlooking the little city he founded.

The month of November, 1833, saw a welcome addition to the colony, in the coming of Alfred Cornell and family—numbering 12 persons—from Madison county, U. T. (Madison County, N.Y. corners Herkimer County northeast and southwest)—their trip from Detroit taking two weeks.  Willing hands turned in to build a house for them and though bed quilts and blankets had to do duty for doors and windows, the house was no less a home.  Mr. Cornell was afterwards chaplain at the Michigan Reformatory and in 1876 wrote the following words of those early days:

“You may naturally say, they must have suffered very great privation and endured very great sufferings.  Not at all, my friends, not at all.  Thank you for your kindly sympathy, but know this—there are none of the pioneer settlers now living, who do not look back with pleasure—even desire—to the days when an untrodden wilderness surrounded them; when the nearest settlement was 100 miles away.  The memories of those days are full of the sweetness of real life, virtuous and noble aspirations.  Never before did husband and wife so realize their oneness, never the family union so complete and perfect, or neighbors live in such joyful fellowship.  The circumstances and surroundings were favorable for the development of the noblest qualities—to the stirring up of generous impulses, awakening of the kindlier feelings that insure and innocence.  Helping others, they helped themselves; seeking to make others happy, they increased their own happiness.  Everything was to be done, and they rejoiced in the doing of it.  Every new acre of improvement produced joy.  Every fruit tree planted was watched over with ever-increasing interest, as the family estimated the time when it would yield them its ripened fruit.  Every new building marked an advance in civilization and all were jubilant.  No man, who has come into the possession of the paternal patrimony, with the lands all cultivated, buildings all made, fruit trees in bearing condition, can have a just appreciation of the vitalizing power and life-giving energy embodied in pioneer life, or the abiding pleasure with which the early pioneer looks back to the days and doings when the wilderness was made to bud and blossom as the rose”.

People often wonder how the town came to be named Ionia.  Many think it should have been named Dexter, and state history has this to say:  The name given to the territory embraced within the limits of the county, by the Fourth Legislative Council of the Territory of Michigan, which convened at Detroit, January 4, 1831, was suggested, doubtless, by some member of that body familiar with ancient history.”  After the settlement became the county seat in 1835 or 1836, people called it “Ionia County Seat” for a long time, until it finally became simply “Ionia”.

Ionia in ancient geography, was a country on the western coast of Asia Minor, and was named after the Ionians, who returned from Attica to these shores from which they had previously emigrated to European Greece, and founded there 13 cities for themselves, and drove the old inhabitants out of their seats.  (How closely our modern Ionians followed their ancient namesake when they drove the Ottawas from their cornfields and hunting grounds).

Though Ionia never possessed great political power, the commerce of its cities extended to the shores of the Black Sea, as well as to the coasts of the Mediterranean.  Ionia was the cradle of Greek epic and elegiac poetry, history, philosophy medicine and other science.  It developed a new style of architecture, and it was the birthplace of several celebrated painters.

Ionia has the rare distinction of bearing a name that has only five letters and yet has four syllables.


IONIA  -  The grandest political demonstration every witnessed in this city occurred last night.  The Republicans had upwards of 350 mounted horsemen and 300 footmen with torches and accompanied by two bands.

The Greenbackers, also led by two bands had fully as many torchbearers as the Republicans.  During their passage through Main Street the air was filled with fireworks and for many blocks away the streets were light as day.

The Republicans were addressed at Armory Hall by Trowbridge and the Greenbackers at the public square by A. A. Ellis and J. C. Blanchard.  The streets were crowded with lookers-on.  Large delegations from the surrounding towns took part in the parade.

IONIA – The high toned young bloods of Ionia went out into the country to a dance, got too full to enjoy the dance and started out on a cruise.  Coming to a schoolhouse, they broke in through a window, piled all the furniture in the middle of the room and poured a can of kerosene oil over it.  They broke the desks, tore the books and raised Cain generally.  There is a prospect that they will have to answer before a court for their folly.

That was not the Ford-Carter campaign nor today’s youth on a binge.  The first item was dated November 2, 1880 and the second November 24, 1880 from THE PORTLAND OBSERVER.

 

 

Last update November 17, 2014