THE SEBEWA RECOLLECTOR Bulletin of The Sebewa Center Association, April 1980,
Volume 15, Number 5. Submitted with written permission of Editor Grayden D. Slowins: ROMANTIC 1930
The early months of 1980 are the golden wedding anniversaries of Mr. & Mrs. Viverne Cook, Mr. & Mrs. Carl Rischow and Mr. & Mrs. Allen Cross. Earlier in February Mr. & Mrs. Riley Sandborn Sr. marked their 60th wedding anniversary. Had friends and the posterity of these fruitful marriages met at one time in a joint celebration, no public building hereabouts could have accommodated the crowd.
Carl and Tena bought the High farm and moved from Grand Rapids. Carl spent a long day driving a team of horses on a wagon hauling their household goods to their new home.
YOUNG, FRED G.: A TAPED INTERVIEW WITH FRED G. YOUNG OF LAKE ODESSA IN 1953
I was born in 1867 on the 12th day of October. My father’s name was Albert A. Young and my mother’s name was Lucy A. Young and my name is Fred G. Young. I was born near Millbrook about 57 miles from Chicago in 1867.
Right now I would like to tell you they took good care of my birthplace. It was nothing like Lincoln’s. The house that I was born in has been divided, one half is a woodshed and the other a hog house.
In 1873 I started school in a little rural district. There was only eight or ten of us little fellows and I was the only boy in that school at the time. The girls were bringing in fancy work and I wanted to do something likewise. My mother gave me some carpet rags on which I commenced sewing in 1876. I have been sewing a little more or less ever since. While we are talking about the sewing line, I have made nine bed quilts and now I am on the tenth one today. That is all I am good for.
In 1878 I went to working in the fields. I was then ten years old. I was running a walking plow and did all kinds of work. In 1879-80 and 81 was when we had the binder introduced and the check-rower was brought about. I was running those machines for the first time in 1882. I kept at that until 1890 when I started out for myself. In 1876 we visited a family by the name of Gale who had been to the Philadelphia Exposition and brought home pictures and let me see them. They were quite interesting.
In 1890 I was married and we started out on a farm of about 100 acres. In 1893 we went to the World’s Fair in Chicago and while there I bought a 2-horse tread-power and brought it home. In 1894 I bought a hand-turned milk separator and used to skim as high as a ton of milk at one sitting. It took me three hours to turn it by hand. I afterwards used this tread-power as power for running the separator. I worked at the milk business from then on for 27 years.
This tread-power was run by two horses. They are put on this endless belt tread-power and walked and walked and walked. The drive wheel had a belt o it that would run a little gas pipe shaft to run the separator. I had turned it by hand for over a tone of milk for a three-hour stretch for many a day. You see, I bought milk from my neighbors. In after years I had four factories and at times I handled 38 thousand pounds of milk a day. In those days we were buying milk and skimming it and the skim milk went back to the farmers for stock feed. In after years we bought the whole milk and commenced making condensed milk in 1900 in a regular factory. The next factory I had was on a farm.
The tread-power was all right in the summer but when it came winter we did not have the heat so we got a steam engine. My wife learned to fire that boiler and run the engine and she took in 45 hundred pounds of milk a day. The customers dumped the cans and she weighed it in and made it into butter.
Four years after I went to work in this town, I commenced making condensed milk. It was shipped to all parts of Illinois---to Galesburg, Ottawa, LaSalle, Spring Valley, St. Louis, Missouri---we shipped all over until 1918.
In 1912 we commenced bottling milk and shipping it on an interurban road to Aurora, which was twelve miles away, for the milk delivery men. That eliminated the surplus and shortage, which was bound to occur at different seasons of the year. We then moved to Aurora and eliminated the shipping of this milk. We had fourteen delivery wagons and supplied bottled milk to the city in part. We used to bottle from 4,500 to 5,000 bottles a day.
When I started the creamery business in general I had the ice machine number five. There were only four that had ever been put out ahead of mine. We made the ice and froze the vats which contained the canned milk and supplies. We also made ice cream mixes. In order to meet the competition we went to making ice cream ourselves.
When I started in the competitive field of the creamery business I learned to do my own pipe fitting and we eventually bought our own light and power plant which in those days was an isolated feature in the little villages which are connected now but not then. I commenced wiring and put in a big generator and furnished a day circuit for a village of about 900. That was the first in that country---the first incandescent street lighting that town ever had. And while I am talking about it I put in the first electric telephone in Plano, a little village where they made the Plano harvester years ago. I wired up the first nine farmers who ever had electricity in and around Yorkville, Illinois. I sold out in 1913 to a concern in Chicago and went to Aurora as I have told you.
IN 1918 I QUIT THE CREAMERY BUSINESS AND CAME TO MICHIGAN. I have been here 35 years. Since then I have worked (with grandson John McDowell) in the plumbing business and heating and put in water systems, probably over an hundred pumps.
In 1884-88 was the first Democratic president we had had since the Civil War. We organized a band in our little town and our leader was a cripple. Whenever we were on the march he rode a pony. We made lots of campaign marches for in those times we had torchlight processions for the campaigns and we marched three or four nights a week. Today, of the seventeen of us, only two of us are left. I have the old horn that is now almost ninety years old and I can’t blow a tone on it anymore.
Our leader, as I said, was a cripple. He kept on the march riding a pony. Once we came to a little town of eight or ten houses and we were ordered to play there out in the country. We had gone out a little way before we had to go over a stile into a school yard where they held their political rally and speech. We figured we would lose this pony when we went over that stile playing this tune but the pony came right over the stile just the same as we did and we never missed a note. In our efforts to please the people in our playing for the campaign travel and marches we were recompensed or paid sometimes altogether for the fall season, about two hundred dollars apiece. We did a great business.
In 1918 I sold the creamery and I bought some land in Missouri where I thought my fortune was made. For the first three years I remember there it rained and flooded us out and we couldn’t make enough to pay the ditch tax. It was a reclaimed swamp of about a million and a half acres. The reason I came to Michigan was that a man had property there and he had property here and we made the trade. That is how I made the move to Michigan and Lake Odessa.
BASCOM, ELLIOTT MILO
“NEWS OF SUNFIELD’S OLD MEXICAN VET 1901
We were pleased to notice the following item in a recent number of the WASHINGTON POST. “A gray old hero from the ranks at Chapultepec, whose heroism has been unsung except as part of the force that swept up the citadel, stood face to face yesterday with the battle painting over the Senate stairway. He clung to the marble railing, following with a trembling finger the topography of the height, and in the piping voice of a very aged man told how he and other volunteers scaled the precipitous sides more than fifty-seven years ago.
“’It warn’t so cloudy and foggy’, exclaimed the old veteran, musing upon the outlines of the picture, ‘and there warn’t so much uniform. We didn’t see it as we crept around that path’.
“Then he pulled from his old pocket-book a piece of paper, worn from much handling and read it aloud in the same piping voice to the crowd that had gathered. It was ‘A Certificate of Merit’, signed by James K. Polk, President and William L. Marcy, Secretary of War, to E. M. Bascom, Second Infantry, F. Company, for valor in the Mexican War, and granted extra pay of $2 a month during the remainder of his enlistment.’
“Having feasted his eyes on the towering citadel as fondly as though he, single handed, had made its Mexican occupants captive, the old pilgrim retraced his steps to the Soldier’s Home.”
E. M. Bascom left Sunfield Tuesday for California and likes the temperature and climate so well that he has decided to spend the present winter and perhaps his remaining years in that state.
He has a sister a short distance from Los Angeles, with whom he will make his home. He leaves many friends in Sunfield who hope that the Sunny Climate and coast winds of the Golden State will cause him a long life and much happiness. FROM CALIFORNIA
A letter From E. M. Bascom Who is Resorting in His Old Home State
Colegrove, Cal. Oct. 5th.
I would like very much to see THE (SUNFIELD) SENTINEL and expect that now that I have my address established, that it will be forthcoming. I am well but at present am quite tired.
After leaving Sunfield, I visited the Soldiers’ Home at Grand Rapids. I would say that it is the finest set of buildings I ever saw and being surrounded by trees and flowers as it is, makes a typical place for our Country’s protectors to pass their remaining days in restfulness. I found a number of Mexican veterans but was acquainted with none of them.
I arrived at Los Angeles Sunday morning about 9 o’clock and it was the most rocky country I ever passed through. Some places it was all rocks, and for miles apparently there was not a living creature. I left Chicaho (Chicago?) on Wednesday at 11 o’clock via the Santa Fee Route.
On Monday and Tuesday it was cool and foggy in the morning, but cleared off during the forenoon and was warm and beautiful. The city of Los Angeles has grown so that I could not recognize a place in it, thus far, of course, I have not been all over it, and do not expect that I will.
The soil here seems very dry except where irrigated, but the trees are fresh and contain lots of fruit. There is a considerable quantity of peaches and lemons raised here. The land is very high, my sister paying $200 an acre with nothing upon it. It is in what is called the “frostless belt”. It is 9 miles west of Los Angeles, but an electric road passes within half a mile of us.
Well this morning I took a short walk. On one side of the road was an orchard of peaches and oranges. The peaches were gone, but the oranges were large and nice. On the opposite side there was one field containing several acres of tomatoes that were still blossoming and another field of peas not yet out of the ground. I saw two Chinamen fitting the ground for peas, they rent the land for from $6 to $7 per acre. My sister says they pick the peas and sell them green in the winter. The soil is quite hard and lumpy, yet, I think it is good. Well as my fingers begin to cramp, I will close for this time. Yours, E. M. Bascom.
WAS A MEXICAN WAR VETERAN
E. M. Bascom Died at the Soldiers’ Home Hospital Saturday P. M. He Has a Remarkable History
Elliott M. Basom, for many years a resident of this (Sunfield, MI) place, died at the Soldiers’ Home Hospital, Grand Rapids, Saturday afternoon, February 16, 1907, at about 5 o’clock, age 81 years, 6 months and 5 days. While Mr. Bascom had not been in good health for some time past, he was up and about until the day before his death. During the middle of the week he had remarked to a friend that he intended to come here for a visit soon but that he was not feeling very well just then and would put if off for a few days.
His friend urged him to come at once but he decided to remain. He grew rapidly worse and on Friday he was taken to the hospital. Saturday about noon a message was sent to M. M. Bascom, his son, of this village, saying that if he wished to see his father alive to come at once. This was the first his relatives here had heard of his critical condition. R. M. Bascom and his sister, Mrs. Frank DeLand, took the afternoon fast train for Grand Rapids.
They did not arrive, however, until after their father’s death. Death was due to pneumonia and senility. The body was brought here Monday morning and funeral was held Tuesday at 9 o’clock at the house and at 10 at the U. B. Church, where a large congregation of friends and relatives came to pay their last respects to the honored deceased. Rev. A. Hoffman Officiated. Burial was at the Welch cemetery by the side of his second wife and one son.
ELLIOTT MILO BASCOM was born in Bergen, Genesee County, New York, October 11, 1825, and in the old Empire state was solemnized the marriage of Mr. Bascom to Miss Mary Jennison. Soon after their marriage they moved to Iowa, locating in Washington county, being pioneers of that state. In 1874 Mrs. Bascom, who was then 37 years old, died and the next year Mr. Bascom sold his farm in that state and came to Michigan, locating in Sunfield township, buying 30 acres of land, which was improved at that time.
In 1876 he was again married, to Mrs. Sallie Ann Cook, and they resided on his place until about 1895 when his second wife died and from then until 1901 he resided with his son, Ransom, of this village. In 1901 he went to the Soldiers’ home, Washington, D. C., where he spent the winter and since then has been residing at the Soldiers’ Home at Grand Rapids and with his son here. The records show that he last entered the Soldiers’ Home at Grand Rapids last July.
Mr. Bascom served five years in the regular army, having been a member of Company F., Second United States Infantry, and was a valiant soldier in the Mexican War. The events of the Mexican War, that seem to the present generation like ancient history, were very vivid memories to him up to the time of his death. The writer has had the pleasure many times of listening to the old veteran as he related his experiences in the fierce struggle and, as he lived over again those exciting times, the expressions of his face clearly indicated that in his mind he was again back to the battlefield, fighting and marching on to victory.
At the Battle of Chapultepec he so distinguished himself as to receive a certificate of merit signed by James K. Polk, then president of the United States, and countersigned by William L. Marcy, Secretary of State. The battle occurred September 12, 184;7, and the following is verbatim copy of the certificate.
“Army of the United States: Certificate of Merit. Know all whom it may concern that Private Elliott M. Bascom, of Company F of the Second Regiment of Infantry, having distinguished himself in the Battle of Chapultepec on the 13th day of September, 1847 on the recommendation of Captain Morris, commanded the regiment, I do hereby award to this said Private Elliott M. Bascom this certificate of Merit which, under the provision of the seventeenth section of the act approved March 3, 1847, entitles him to extra pay at the rate of two dollars per month. Given under my hand, at the city of Washington, this 3rd day of May, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and forty-eight. Signed, James K. Polk, President of the United States; William L. Marcy, Secretary of State.” This certificate Mr. Bascom had carried with him many years and, although somewhat worn, was perfectly legible.
Mr. Bascom was a Republican in politics and once had the pleasure of visiting with President Roosevelt at the White House. He experienced religion over 40 years ago and was a member of the United Brethren Church of this place. His first wife was a Methodist Episcopal. They became the parents of four children, two of whom survive, Ransom M. Bascom and Mrs. Frank DeLand of this place. The other two children were Etta, who died in infancy, and Charles Frances who met his death by drowning in 1886, being 15 years of age at the time.
Wherever Mr. Bascom went he fast made friends and at the time of his death he was widely known and highly honored by all who knew him. There are few men with as remarkable a history in the locality.” End
Last update November 16, 2013