Items of Genealogical Interest
Volume 19 Number 4
LaVonne I. Bennett
LaVonne has received permission from Grayden Slowins to edit and submit Sebewa Recollector items of genealogical interest, from the beginning year of 1965 through current editions.
THE SEBEWA RECOLLECTOR; Bulletin of the Sebewa Center
February, 1984, Volume 19, Number 4: (Submitted with written permission of
editor, Grayden D. Slowins)
MAKING A LIVING IN SEBEWA.
What pioneer, entering Sebewa’s forested and swampy lands, ever thought of doing
other than raising a few animals and growing some crops to nurture them and his
family? Generally a few animals, at least for breeding stock, came with him from
the established farming areas of New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio.
Waterpower on Sebewa Creek and even Stony Creek was the first attraction to
divert men from plain agriculture. During the first hundred years of settlement,
there were two grist and flour mills established on Sebewa Creek. Some leftover
waterpower fed three or more sawmills. Some jobs that required power got it for
a while from horses turning a sweep, notably early threshing machines, hay
balers and the sorghum mill. Then came steam power before the gas engine and the
electric motor. Once we had Ephraim Shay’s dog-powered treadmill to operate a
Applications of power to the Township’s raw materials, mostly wood, led to
several portable steam sawmills. At Sebewa Corners a handle factory was once
tried. Steam was a factor in apple drying. At West Sebewa a broom factory was in
operation a few seasons. Down the Clarksville Road to the east in section 11, a
few fanning mills were manufactured. Brick and tile making were contemplated at
Sebewa Corners and on the south town line (section 33) thousands of bricks were
At different times and locations there were four Post Offices in Sebewa. Almost
from the start, there was a store and sometimes several stores in the Township.
More recently have been the enterprises of the Ingall Machine Shop, Hanna’s Meat
Processing and the vegetable growing and processing of the DeBruyn Company on
All of this just to preface the newest little industry---fox farming. On the
farm of Bill Weller, an enclosure operated by Garry Shetenhelm and Mike Selden,
has been built to make housing for Silver Fox and other varieties of breeding
stock. (This is not an invitation to come spook the animals). So far, none of
Sebewa’s industries has ever made it to the Stock Exchange, but surely, this is
not the final attempt to make money here in something other than routine
CEMETERY MATTERS. It has taken a while, but now the vandalism at the Sebewa
East Cemetery has had its scars removed. Just before our decidedly wintry
weather set in, Steve Yenchar and Dave Fountain of the Lowell Granite Company,
using tripod and winch, replaced the heavy monuments of Orlando Showerman, Isaac
Bretz, Elisha Braley and John Cross to their positions on their bases from which
they had so ingloriously been toppled. Steve provided the stone marker for the
grave of Phoebe Shay as a Bicentennial Year contribution.
A few years back, the Township engaged a C. E. T. A. worker to straighten a
number of markers that had sagged off the perpendicular. Since then, other
stones have, with time, assumed some odd stances. Some more work should be done.
HISTORY OF THE SUNFIELD SENTINEL – From THE SUNFIELD SENTINEL of September
28, 1939. THE SENTINEL IS NOW 50 YEARS OLD. Was started in 1889 by J. Quinn
Rounds and called the SUNFIELD SUN, THE SUNFIELD SENTINEL since 1896.
This week’s issue of THE SUNFIELD SENTINEL completes 50 years of publication
according to the Volume and Number, Vol. L, No. 52. However, J. Quinn Rounds,
who established the paper, stated in a letter, written in 1909, that the first
issue of the paper was in August, 1889 under the name THE SUNFIELD SUN. This
would mean that the paper is now a few weeks over 50 years old. The slight
difference is probably due to a fire in 1896, which suspended publication for a
few weeks; and also some errors may have been made in numbering.
Commencing with the issue of June 9, 1904 and continuing for some time, there
appeared in the heading of the paper, “Established in 1888”. After
investigation, it appears that this date was in error.
Owing to the fire in 1896, which destroyed the printing office, its building and
contents, there were no files prior to March 12, 1896, so, in giving a brief
history of the paper, it is impossible to get exact dates prior to that time.
However, from information from old residents of the community and the letter
from Mr. Rounds together with the files since March 12, of 1896, the following
appears to be the facts of the half century career of the Sunfield paper:
The paper was established in August, 1889 by J. Quinn Rounds, who conducted the
publication until sold to Jenkins and Legge---exact date of sale not known. But,
Mr. Rounds says in his letter, “I left Sunfield in the fall of 1894, leaving the
paper in charge of young fellows and sale was made, I think, in the spring of
1895”. Mr. Legge was killed in a street car accident in Grand Rapids and it is
evident that Mr. Jenkins carried on the publication until the fire, which
undoubtedly was in February 1896 and would make the paper in those men’s hands
about a year. As far as can be learned, there is not a copy of the SUNFIELD SUN
in existence today.
On March 12, 1890 appeared the first issue under the name SUNFIELD SENTINEL and
probably the first issue following the fire. In this issue, W. J. Jenkins states
“I have turned over the newspaper and good will to M. L. Phares”. It is also
stated that “THE SUNFIELD SENTINEL is the new name”. But the printed heading was
just “SUNFIELD SENTINEL”. “The Sunfield Sentinel Company, M. L. Phares, manager”
appears as publisher in this issue. The paper was a 5-column, eight-page in
size, four pages local and four printed service.
Mr. Phares continued in the newspaper here a very short time, for in the issue
of May 2, 1896, he announced “I have sold my interest to Clement J. Strang” and
Mr. Strang took over the publication. On December 30, 1897 Mr. Strang enlarged
the paper to a six-column, eight-page size.
In the issue of October 7, 1898, Mr. Strang announced that J(eff) T. Mansil (who
had been employed in the office two years) would take over the management and
commence with the next issue. February 2, 1899 the paper was changed back to a
five-column, eight-page size.
August 30, 1900 Jeff T. Mansil announced the sale of the SENTINEL to James H.
Cramer. It was during 1900 that “THE” preceded “SUNFIELD” in the new heading,
which appeared on the paper giving it the full name as it appears now, “THE
On January 26, 1905 James H. Cramer announced the sale to the present publisher
and editor, Frank M. Merritt, who took over the business January 30, 1905. On
March 2, 1916 the paper was changed to a six-column eight-page paper and
continued that size until the Depression, which made it necessary to change to
an eight-column, four-page size. In 1936 when the editor was in Ann Arbor for an
operation, it was necessary to have the paper printed in another office, and to
make it convenient to get the work done, the size was changed to a seven-column,
four-page publication, which size has been used since.
Another paper was printed in Sunfield for a little over a year during 1892-93 by
Isaac flint and was called SUNFIELD NEWS. Mrs. Roy Richards of this place is a
daughter of this editor.
October 1, 1939. COPIES OF THE SUNFIELD SUN FOUND. They confirm Date of
Establishment Paper and Having Many Interesting News Items.
Last week in printing the article regarding THE SUNFIELD SENTINEL being fifty
years old, it was stated “so far as can be learned, there is not a copy of the
SUNFIELD SUN in existence today”. After reading the article, some of the
SENTINEL subscribers searched about and several copies of the paper were found.
Jim Jackson has two or three copies of the paper and brought one to the Sentinel
office Saturday. Ora Allen brought a copy of the SUNFIELD SUN and a copy of THE
INDUSTRIAL SUN Monday, which were mailed to his father, William Allen. Others
report having copies of the SUNFIELD SUN. All are five-column, eight-page size
with four pages local and four pages ready-print services. J. Quinn Rounds is
given as editor and publisher and Mrs. Ida M. Rounds as assistant editor.
First we wish to refer to the paper brought in by Mr. Jackson because it is the
oldest. It is dated Friday, December 20, 1889, Volume I, No. 20. Figuring from
this date and number, it would bring the first issue of the paper August 9,
1889, which confirms the statement of last week that the paper was established
in August, 1889.
Here are some of the local business places listed in the issue: E. H. Deatsman &
Co., general store; S. M. Keene, livery; W. E. Venande, drugs; Bera Bros.,
general store; J. A. Stemler, Sunfield Pump Works; John Freehouse, brick and
tile; L. H. Wood & Co., general store; J. H. Hammond, hardware; Dennis Hager,
meat market; W. F. Terrill, robes, blankets etc.; D. W. Knapp, barbershop;
Detroit Lansing & Northern R. R., H. M. Garrison, local agent; Cheetham House,
A. J. Searl, leasee; H. Knapp, druggist; D. Kliendist, artist (photographer);
Sunfield Elevator; and also two Grand Ledge advertisers, George Sheets and
Dudley & Titus.
Society and professional cards: United Brethren Church, Rev. W. A. Weller,
pastor; G. A. R., George Richards, commander and F. O. Putnam, adjutant; Ladies
Relief Corps, Mrs. Emma Peabody, president and Mrs. F. O. Putnam, secretary; I.
O. O. F., John Ellsworth, M. G. William Barnum, R. S.; Dr. George W. Snyder,
Sebewa; Dr. Charles M. and E. M. Snyder, Shaytown; Dr. O. W. Bailey, Hoytville
and Dr. G. W. Lusk, Sunfield.
Some news items from the 1889 paper: Frank Lemmon is cutting meat for Dennis
T. E. Stinchcomb has bought Levi Woods’ interest in the ruins and will build a
brick block with a hall over the entire block.
Fred Collier was called papa again Sunday.
L. B. Lemmon moved to his farm Monday but we are glad the post office still
holds his interest here.
C. N. Haddix and Steven Perkins give the dissolution of partnership notice with
Mr. Haddix to continue the business.
Short news items from Mulliken give the following names: J. Hill, P. Trim, Oscar
Crane, Byron Whelpley, Ed Merritt, Riley Reed, Mrs. Thomas Wilcox, Mrs. Steve
Meyers. There are also news items from Sunfield Center and Shaytown.
Markets: White wheat #1, 71 cents, #2 Red, 72 cents, Oats 20 cents, Beans $1.25
per bushel, Butter 17 cents, eggs 20 cents, Hogs $3 to $3.25, Cattle $2 to
$2.50, Potatoes 30 cents per bushel, clover seed $3 to $3.10 and Timothy seed,
Undoubtedly there were more business places in Sunfield at the time the paper
was printed than given above but did not advertise in the paper. There is some
interesting material in the paper brought in by Ora Allen. We are very thankful
to Mr. Jackson and Mr. Allen for bringing in the papers.
Congratulations on the fifty year career of THE SUNFIELD SENTINEL and the
successful publication for nearly 35 years with the present editor and wife (the
latter now assists part time on the paper) are now pouring in from local people
and from many distant points. End of the 1939 SENTINEL account.
Frank Merritt, after 44 years as editor and publisher of the SENTINEL, sold the
paper to Allen B. Green. Mr. Green brought out his first issue May 19, 1949.
Green had had newspaper experience in Ionia and was publisher of another state
weekly paper at the same time.
By June 1, 1950 it was announced that Olive Woodlock was the new publisher and
nothing more was heard of Green. Patrecia A. Woodlock, daughter of Olive, became
editor with the June 22, 1950 issue but by October 12, 1950 Patrecia’s name
disappeared from the heading that left Olive Woodlock as publisher.
A Sunfield young man, Winston Cheal, took over as publisher June 28, 1951 and
his wife, Mary Ann, was listed as editor beginning with the July 12, 1951 issue.
The Cheals continued the paper until July 23, 1953 when they sold to John and
Gloria Nelson. For the past thirty years the paper has continued in the style
that is familiar today. Since Mr. Merritt’s time the paper has not used the
“pre-print” inside pages that were common to most local newspapers in the early
Recently the back issues of the SENTINEL have been microfilmed up to 1956. The
microfilm is on file at the Library of Michigan (new name for the State Library)
at Lansing with copies at the Sunfield District Library. The Sunfield Library
has file copies of the SENTINEL from 1956 to the present. Thus a wealth of local
history is available to anyone willing to take the time to search for it.
THE G. A. R. IN SEBEWA – From THE PORTLAND OBSERVER we get the account of
forming the G. A. R. Post (Henry Rice Post #151) at Sebewa Corners in 1883.
There is no indication as to why the Grand Army of the Republic waited 18 years
after the close of the Civil War to form a local veterans post.
May 9, 1883. The ex-soldiers of this vicinity are about to organize a G.A.R.
Post. They hold their first meeting Saturday evening, May 19th.
May 16, 1883. The ex-soldiers held their first meeting last Saturday evening.
They will hold their next meeting Saturday evening, May 19th.
May 23, 1883. The ex-soldiers of this place will hold their third meeting next
Saturday evening, the 27th inst.
May 30, 1883. The ex-soldiers partly organized a post last Saturday evening.
They hold their next meeting Saturday evening, June 2.
June 20, 1883. THE G. A. R. AT SEBEWA
The G. A. R. Boom at Sebewa was formally inaugurated on Saturday, last, by the
muster of Henry Rice Post #151 and 27 members, A. a. Garlock, Commander.
Commander Crawford of Lyons Post officiated, assisted by other comrades of that
place, Portland and Hoytville. The occasion seems to have opened a new page in
G. A. R. experiences. The muster was preceded by an emphatic public
demonstration, less the work of ex-soldiers, apparently, than of their fathers,
mothers, wives and children, of whom the population of the place and vicinity
seemed principally composed.
In addition to the parade, speaking music, etc., there was a banquet, which will
remain a standing surprise to the visiting comrades. Practice of a new system of
military drill closed the public exercises of the day, the events of which are a
story deeply impressed upon the hearts and memories, not of the ex-soldiers
merely, but by the children and youths by whom it shall be perpetuated, a living
inspiration to patriotic devotion. The fostering of a spirit of loyalty is one
of the chief objects of the G. A. R. to the promotion of which, the action of
the Sebewa people is a pledge of public support gratefully received by the
comrades as a token of public appreciation. COMRADE
June 20, 1883. The soldiers were provided with a fine dinner last Saturday on
the occasion of the mustering in of the G. A. R. Post. If they went to battle as
they went for that table, they must have been a terror to the Rebels. Portland
and Lyons Posts were well represented. MESSENGER
Officers of the Henry Rice Post #151 elected January 9, 1884 are as follows: E.
C., A. A. Garlock; S. V. C., George Friend; J. V. C. S., S. M. Peabody;
Chaplain, A. Lippincott.
February 13, 1884. The G. A. R. Post of Sebewa will hold an oyster party at the
Corners on Wednesday evening next. Come everyone and have a good time.
May 28, 1884. Henry Rice Post, G. A. R. of this place will observe Memorial Day
in an appropriate manner for which they are making extensive preparations.
Sebewa Lodge I. O. O. F., Sebewa Lodge I. O. C. T., Sebewa Red Ribbon Clubs,
Sebewa M. E. Sabbath School and several Sabbath Schools have accepted
invitations to be present. A grand basket picnic will be had after the memorial
exercises are over. Come one and all and insist in doing honors to the fallen
defenders of our country. MOHAWK
Nowhere in the news items do I find a reason for naming #151 the Henry Rice
Post. Civil War records show that a Henry O. Rice enlisted in Co. D, Ninth
Infantry on October 3, 1864 at Lyons for three years at age 19. He died of
disease at Shelbyville, Tennessee. Others in the war records bore the name of
Henry Rice but none were from this area.
The local G. A. R. Post was obligated to send monthly reports and pay small dues
to the State G. A. R. organization. These reports are on file at the State
Archives in Lansing. Local meetings were monthly except for a time when they
were on alternate Wednesdays. The report of December 14, 1895 was the last to be
sent to the state organization. Some new members were added after the
organizational meeting, but soon, there began to be a loss of members from
deaths and withdrawals. Sebewa’s last Civil War veteran was John Bradley, who
died in April of 1934.
The following is the membership roll:
Alford A. Garlock (born), Illinois; J. M. Peabody, MA; G. E. Friend, OH; Z. B.
Slater, OH; G. W. Snyder, NY; J. W. Reeder, NY; A. N. Evans; Asa Pike; L. N.
King; Thos. Waddell, NY; F. N. Friend, OH; Elisha Brailey; V. B. Polmanteer, MI;
S. DeCamp, OH; L. J. Heaton; Mansil Pike; L. Brailey; L. W. Overley; Dr. G. W.
Lusk, NY; B. F. Dean; A. B. Lippincott, MI; M. Middaugh, MI; J. M. Bradley; J.
L. Shaver, OH; D. W. Litchfield, OH; D. D. Krebs, OH; F. Linhart, PA; J. F.
Hyde, OH; L. B. Waring, NY; William Wadsworth, OH; O. W. Daniels, NY; J. C.
Clark, NY; E. A. Truxton, NY; J. A. Britton, MI; Jonah Carpenter, MA; Elkanah
Carpenter, MA; John Arnold, ME; Sam Bigham, MD; Robert Force, PA; Perry Arnold,
ME; Wm. Miner, MI; Burt Judson, NY; Manley Conkrite, MI; Jas. H. McClelland, PA;
C. J. Yeager, GER.
There were other Civil War veterans in the area who never let their names be
added to the roll of Henry Rice Post #151.
The above brings to mind the question of were there ever veterans’ organizations
for the Revolutionary War, War of 1812, the Mexican War and the Spanish American
In May of 1879 the funeral was held for Daniel Taylor, aged 72. He was a veteran
of the Black Hawk War of 1830. Rev. VanAuken of Sebewa Corners officiated and
Blanchard & Morehouse of Portland made funeral arrangements. It thus is likely
that his burial was in the Portland cemetery.
FROM CHARLES ESTEP’S DIARY---THE WATERWORKS
Thursday, June 7, 1883. Pump peddler stayed here last night. I went to mill
today. I got Prince shod. Will (Aves) helped Brownfield to plant corn this
forenoon and Lapo in the afternoon.
Thursday, September 27, 1883. Otis Tryon and young Lumbert came here this
morning to commence a well. We worked at it this forenoon. In the afternoon Will
Aves and I went and helped Father to draw hay. I got one load.
Friday, September 28, 1883. We worked at the well some. Jabe bored down and
found quicksand, so we will have to curb. I went over to Thomas Leak’s and got
some ash lumber and we made a curb. Also butchered a hog for the market. It has
Monday, October 1, 1883. We worked at the well today, got along first rate. I
put a bell on the white cow. R. P. Baldwin did his threshing today. Evans and
Derby did the job. Will helped them this afternoon. We commenced stoning this
afternoon; stoned about six feet.
Tuesday, October 2, 1883. Will helped Brownfield’s to thresh out the Smith place
today. I helped work at the well. We found water today, plenty of it. We
commenced stoning this afternoon.
Wednesday, October 3, 1883. Will husked corn part of the day. We finished the
well today. We struck water that is about six feet through it. I went over to
John McAlister’s this evening and got my pay for cutting corn.
Friday, October 5, 1883. Will helped his father today. I didn’t do much. I
banked up the well some. I bargained for a new chain pump. They are to put it in
next Monday. I am to pay $10.00 in one year without interest. They were here to
Saturday, October 6, 1883. I went over to D. Leak’s and got some sand to plaster
my cistern and point up the house. Afternoon I went over to J. Bryse’s and got
some lumber for the well.
Monday, October 8, 1883. I worked at the cistern today. I threw out enough to
hold forty barrel. I am digging it seven feet over. I expect to dig it seven
feet deep, which will hold about 64 barrels. The men did not bring the pump as I
expected. Will sold A. N. Lapo 20 shocks of corn fodder for $3.00. Will husked
Tuesday, October 9, 1883. I worked at the cistern today and got it all dug. I
took up the old one I dug a year ago last June to get the lumber and logs to put
over the new one. I only dug 6 ˝ feet deep, about 6 feet below the timber. It
will hold about 54 barrels.
Wednesday, October 10, 1883. It rained quite hard last night. I got up at one
o’clock and covered up the cistern. Dave Leak helped me. We put the cover on and
plastered it. On one spot the water came in and run the plaster off and we had
to leave that.
Thursday, October 11, 1883. Dave pointed up the house for me today and we
finished plastering the cistern, so it is all done now.
Friday, October 11, 1883. I banked it up around the new cistern today and filled
the old one up again. Will was down home today.
Saturday, October 13, 1883. I went to the Corners this afternoon. Will went with
me; stayed. I got some oats ground for the calves. Tinkered this afternoon. It
rained a little all day quite hard about five o’clock.
Sunday, October 14, 1883. Cistern caved in last night. No church today. I went
up, but no Sunday School. We went down to C. S. Lawrence’s visiting today.
Tuesday, October 16, 1883. I did odd jobs all day today, commenced on a platform
for my well but did not get that done. Mr. Lapo finished threshing. The
clover-seed didn’t go a half bushel to the acre.
Friday, October 19, 1883. I helped John McAlister to thresh this forenoon. In
the afternoon I got George Boynton to help me clean out my cistern and move the
Thursday, November 22, 1883. I dropped my square in the cistern and had to draw
most all the water out to get it.
November 16, 2013