Items of Genealogical Interest
Volume 20 Number 5
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
April 1985, Volume 20, Number 5. Written by Robert W. Gierman, Editor.
Submitted with written permission of current editor, Grayden D. Slowins:
SURNAMES: INGALLS, GIERMAN, ESTEP
Arlene Ingalls Schrader of DeWitt has started an interesting listing of all the
Ingalls family data that she can find. It is revealing to note how large that
family is and how it seems to grow with each of her publications. Her address is
5640 W. Chadwick Road, DeWitt, MI 48820.
COMMENCEMENT PROGRAM FOR THE SEBEWA CENTER AND JOHNSON DISTRICTS OF 1894:
I (Robert W. Gierman) found (these) quite interesting. That was the year that my
mother completed the eighth grade at the age of 15. There are so many names in
the program that a good share of our readers can find an ancestor or a relative
there. Not until we published the excerpt from the Charles Estep diary did I
know anything of the family of Beach Estep. Clare Murphy, who later became a
school teacher, still has his name in the Sebewa Plat Book as the Clare Murphy
Est. on the 80 acres adjacent to the Sebewa Bible Missionary Church Campgrounds
in section 24.
Just before Christmas 1984 I mimeographed 100 copies of the 73 page Charles
Estep Diary. Ford Goodemoot as a grand nephew, took 20 of the copies. Of the
rest I have disposed of all but ten of the copies. Anyone wanting one of them
should contact me. The price is $5.00.
1ST ANNUAL COMMENCEMENT; DISTRICTS NO. 4 AND 7. SEBEWA
AT SEBEWA CENTER CHURCH, Tuesday Evening, June 12, 1894, Portland Review
CLASS MOTTO---WE CLIMB THE LADDER ROUND BY ROUND.
PROGRAM: March, Anthem – Quartette
PRAYER: Rev. N. E. Gibb
MUSIC, GIVE THE PASSING HOURS TO PLEASURE – Quartette
Salutatory, Welcome, Thrice Welcome – Carrie B. Daniels
Recitation, The Boys of Our Country – Beach Estep
Essay, Biography of Lincoln – Clare Murphy
Solo, Bertella Bradley
Essay, One Step Higher – Ella P. Deal
Recitation, After Examination – Mary E. Green
Essay, Evils of Ignorance – Rhoda W. Deatsman
Mouth Organ, Solo – Hugh Showerman
Essay, Biography of Napoleon – Fred C. Sindlinger
Recitation, Being a Boy – George Gierman
Essay, Pleasures of Knowledge – Ada B. Luscher
Music, Adieu, Adieu, My Mountain Home – Quartette
Essay, Citizenship and Education – Samuel L. Kauffman
Recitation, John Maynard – Barret E. Armour
Essay, Choice of a Profession – Nellie E. Meyers
Music, Quartette – Deatsman Brothers
Essay, We Climb the Ladder Round by Round – Jessie M. Baldwin
Recitation, A Chicken Quarrel – Orville E. Brown
Solo – Blanche Townsend
Recitation, Little Golden Hair – Winnie Estep
Valedictory, Yesterday and To-Day – Gladys M. Olry
Duet – Misses Bradley and Sindlinger
Presentation of Diplomas – S. F. Deatsman and Miss Hattie Olry
Music, Good Night – Quartette
Mrs. S. F. Deatsman – Organist
BACCALAUREATE ADDRESS, Sunday, June 3d at 2:20 P.M., Rev. N. E. Gibbs
Teachers S. F. Deatsman, District No 4; Miss Hattie Olry District No 7 (Johnson)
Class of ’94 Graduates:
District No 4: Gladys M. Olry, Rhoda M. Deatsman, Nellie E. Meyers, Ada B.
Luscher, Clare Murphy
District No 7: Carrie B. Daniels, Ella P. Deal, Jessie M. Baldwin, Samuel L.
Kauffman, Fred C. Sindlinger
Boards of Education:
District No. 4: A W. Meyers, T. S. Gunn, A. M. Ralston
District No. 7: O. W. Daniels, O. B. Sextone, C. P. Cook
SMALLPOX IN SEBEWA – The PORTLAND OBSERVER account – November 1, 1894.
Six cases of the disease in Danby and Sebewa Townships. BUT THEY ARE QUARANTINED
AND WILL CONTINUE SO. Everything is being done to prevent the spread of the
disease by Sebewa and Danby authorities.
Soon after we went to press last week a report came to us that smallpox had
broken out in the family of Charles Halladay, Supervisor of Sebewa Township.
They have two children who are down with the disease. Since then report after
report has come to the OBSERVER concerning the disease there with none of them
agreeing concerning the extent to which the disease had spread. Taking into
consideration that the same exaggeration would follow in this instance that has
followed and preceded our diphtheria cases, we give the facts as given us by a
gentleman of that Township. It seems that before election, Supervisor Halladay
was broken out upon the face and hands and a number of places with blotches,
which developed into sores. He thought they were the result of some blood
disorder and paid no attention to it. In pursuance of his official duties, he
sat on the election of the 5th inst. Where he came in contact with a large
majority of the voters of the township. With many of whom he shook hands. Soon
after election, however, two girls in his family were taken the same as Mr.
Halladay had been and none, however, being confined to the bed by the maladay.
At this stage, Dr. Snyder of Sebewa was called in to see what was the brouble
and he diagnosed the disease as smallpox.
Of course this decision soon became known and many people were thrown into a
state of great nervousness by it. For, if Dr. Snyder was right in his surmise,
almost every family in the Township had been exposed to the loathsome disease
through the voting member of the family. Immediately a vaccination crusade began
from that time until now, arms have been scraped at the rate of several score a
day and everything else so far as possible has been done to prevent the spread
of the disease.
Notwithstanding this, however, new cases were reported and on Friday, Dr. Allen
upon the invitation of Mrs. F. N. Cornell and George Friend of Sebewa, visited
Mr. Halladay’s family and after an examination, unhesitatingly pronounced the
While these gentlemen were here, they were in telephonic communication with Dr.
Baker, Secretary of the State Board of Health and asked him to come to Sebewa
and decide if the disease was really smallpox. He refused to come, himself, his
public business not allowing him to do so. If the people of Sebewa have been
exposed to the disease, a large number of the people of Portland certainly have.
On Saturday last, there were more people in Portland from Sebewa than had been
here in months before, probably because they did not wish to go to Sebewa and
again expose themselves to the same disease. A large number of Sebewa people
besides trading here on that day took advantage of the opportunity to be
vaccinated by the local physicians and probably a couple of hundred bared their
arms for this purpose. The physicians here apprehend no outbreak of the disease
in this vicinity as the Sebewa authorities exercised proper precautions and
strictly quarantined those whom they knew had the disease and all cases
following will be quarantined.
In view of the fact that Mr. Halladay, by virtue of the law, as president of the
Board of Health and being unable to act, George Friend has been chosen by the
Town Board as Health Officer and he expects to pursue his duties fearlessly and
for the good of all until the town is free from the disease. The cases at Sebewa
up until the time of going to press, so far as we have been able to learn are
Mr. Halladay’s two youngest children, a boy and a girl, Mr. Halladay’s hired
man, and Albert Bradley, son of John W. Bradley, who is the latest victim as
reported to us. He had been vaccinated, however, and no danger is expected to
develop from his case. The others are all getting along nicely and it is to be
hoped no new case will develop.
F. N. Cornell, the Sebewa merchant, wishes the OBSERVER to announce that there
are no cases at his place, that all have been vaccinated and all are doing
nicely and that his store is doing business as usual and no one need stay away
on account of the smallpox.
THE LATEST. On Monday afternoon Drs. Allen and Alton went to Sebewa to consult
with authorities and found that besides having been made health officer,
Supervisor Halladay had deputized George Friend as Supervisor, communication
between him and Mr. Halladay to be made through Dr. Snyder, who visits the
Halladay family every day. Besides the cases mentioned above, they found one in
the person of Rollie Derby at the Corners and two suspected ones in the house of
Arthur Halladay. The case at Bradley’s, they say, is a bad one. All have
promised to be as careful as the necessity of the nature of the disease demands
and the strictest quarantine will be made of those who now have the disease or
suspected of having particularly having been exposed to it. The reports that
have come to Portland that many others besides those mentioned above have the
disease was, upon investigation, found to be without foundation. There are no
cases so far as is known in the Township except at the Corners, either in Danby
or Sebewa. While at Sebewa the Doctors were in consultation with Drs. Snyder and
Kiblinger at the Corners together with other leading men there and agreed that
the utmost care had been and was being exercised since the disease became known
to prevent its spread. Thus far, no one who sat on the Board with Mr. Halladay
has been afflicted and there were indications of it with but one of them and
that was on the sixth, two weeks ago.
Drs. Alton and Allen advocate that the townships of Danby and Sebewa both give
free vaccination to all who could not afford to pay for it in those townships.
This is thought to be a good idea and probably will be adopted. A large amount
of literature from the State Board of Health has been ordered sent to both
Sebewa and Danby for general distribution. A like quantity has been ordered for
Portland and will soon be ready for use in order to assist so far as possible in
preventing the disease, should any appear here, which is not likely.
Just before going to press, Tuesday afternoon, we received word that there were
no new cases of smallpox at Sebewa Corners besides the ones already mentioned.
Everybody is in good spirits.
November 28, 1894. SEBEWA not only has smallpox but has a gang of chicken
thieves, who have been operating quite extensively for the past two or three
weeks. Many roosts have been pretty nearly depleted between two days. In some
instances where they did not get the first trip all that there was, they
returned and finished the job.
November 28, 1894. TOOK IMPORTANT ACTION. A PUBLIC MEETING VOTES FOR A PATROL
SYSTEM. ROAD FROM SEBEWA TO PORTLAND TO BE UNDER POLICE QUARD. NO ONE TO ENTER
THE VILLAGE UNLESS FIRST QUESTIONED. A public meeting was called Thursday by the
Village Board to take some action looking to the safety of our people from the
smallpox infected portion of Sebewa. The meeting was quite well attended but
there were very few businessmen of the village present. The large majority of
those present were such as have no interest in the business places as
businessmen but as much interested in the good health of the town as anybody.
The good health features seemed to take precedence over everything else, which
is as it should be, to a certain extent.
G. M. Morse moved that a patrol be established at all ingresses to the village
from the infected districts, to be appointed by the Board under the supervision
of the Health Officer of the Village. On being put to a vote, the motion was
carried. The meeting then adjourned.
The Township has stationed N. T. Sandborn on patrol at Merchants Corners west of
town and the village has put Wm. Hecox on the River Road between the village and
the Peck place, by which road many come to Portland from Sebewa. On Saturday
many people from the infected district of Sebewa got as far as these points. The
action of the meeting was explained to them and they turned back without making
any trouble whatsoever. They received courteous treatment by the patrol, and
giving the same in return except in one or two instances.
On Sunday the Township Board ordered Dr. Allen not to go to Sebewa; or if he
went, not to return to Portland after visiting the patients he had there who
were showing any signs of smallpox, or those who had variloid or smallpox. He
went, however, and came back again, notwithstanding, but before going consulted
J. S. Bennett concerning his liability under such orders. Mr. Bennett advised
him to go and if the Township Board desired to make a test case of it, it would
be an excellent opportunity to try it. Dr. Allen says this is the first instance
of the kind that ever came under his observation and if the lives of his
patients can be jeopardized in this way, he wants to know it.
ALBERT BRADLEY, one of the Sebewa smallpox victims mentioned in last week’s
OBSERVER, as being in a very dangerous condition, died at 7:00 last Thursday
evening and was buried as soon after as possible. Peter Knapp of Sebewa Corners
came to Portland for the coffin. Mr. Bradley was about 23 years of age, well
liked and highly respected by all who knew him. Up to this writing, none of the
other members of the family in which this death occurred have shown any symptoms
of the disease. He was buried at midnight by his father and Wesley Reeder of
Danby, the latter having had the disease some years ago.
Dr. Alton, who visited Albert Bradley on Monday of last week told the OBSERVER
that although he knew the young man intimately when he was well, when he saw him
in his home he was in such a condition that it was impossible to see any
resemblance to his former self. Both Drs. Alton and Allen pronounced it one of
the worst cases they ever saw. The OBSERVER extends to Mr. John Bradley, the
father of the young man, its sympathies in the death of his son by so loathsome
a disease and expresses the hope that no further affliction may be visited upon
The latest report from Sebewa to the OBSERVER is that all the cases mentioned
last week, with exception of Bradley, are very much improved. The new cases are
Mrs. Sanford Deatsman, a very light attack of varioloid, and that of Joshua
Gunn, Jr., whose maladay is pronounced smallpox. Our neighbors at Sebewa are
beginning to brighten materially as the favorable turn of affairs in the
direction smallpox seems to be taking. The Township Board of Orange has ordered
free vaccinations throughout the township. The health officer has also ordered a
quarantine against Sebewa and that all roads leading from Sebewa and through
Orange be closed to travel from that direction.
December 12, 1894. Smallpox whipped. End of the OBSERVER ACCOUNT.
I recall that it was told to me that my grandfather, Charles A. Gierman, was
turned back from Sunfield at Eaton Highway during this period of quarantine. RWG
June 19, 1895. Commencement exercises of District No. 1, Sebewa were abandoned
on account of the smallpox scare at the Corners. Before it was known that no
exercises would be held, there was crowd enough to fill the church twice over. A
large number went from Portland but were turned back before they got to the
All kinds of stories were immediately put afloat concerning Sebewa and the
recent smallpox scare. Friday the patient, who was so sick with the smallpox was
out on the place at work and F. N. Cornell, the hustling merchant about the
Corners, came to Portland and engaged Drs. Alton and Allen to come out and
On Saturday morning, last, upon request of F. N. Cornell, Drs. Alton and Allen
went to Sebewa to investigate the matter and if possible, satisfy themselves and
the community whether or not it was smallpox that had made its appearance upon
the person of Mr. Halladay. They made a thorough examination of the alleged
smallpox patient and an investigation of the premises, found that there was no
smallpox whatsoever although the symptoms were somewhat similar to those of a
smallpox patient---lame back, sore throat, etc. And there were a couple of
blotches on Mr. Halladay’s forehead and on his body. These, the doctors decided,
were the results of a combined attack of biliousness and a cold.
Soon after leaving Sebewa for home, Drs. Alton and Allen met Dr. Albro going to
see his patient and they returned with him and the three went over the grounds
together again and Dr. Albro admitted that although the symptoms when he went
there had every indication of pointing towards smallpox and he could not see how
they had all disappeared and that there were none whatsoever now. Supervisor
Culver of Danby Township, acting as health officer, be removed and it was not
long before it was known that the alarm was a false one and the people not only
of Danby and Sebewa Townships but the entire surrounding country breathed
Now, a little less than a hundred years later, people are advised that smallpox
has been eradicated from the world and the vaccination is no longer recommended.
Take a deep breath and go freely to commencement exercises where you find them.
SURNAME: VAN BENSCHOTEN
HARVEY LEE VAN BENSCHOTEN
From PORTAIT AND BIOGRAPHICAL ALBUM – Chapman Bros. 1891.
Harvey Lee VanBenschoten---Some time during the middle of the sixteenth century,
when Philip II was endeavoring to establish the Spanish Inquisition in the
Netherlands, backed by the army of Spain under the command of the terrible Duke
of Alva, and supported in every way by the Roman Catholic Heirarchy, two Holland
noblemen by the name of Van Benschoten, renounced their allegiance to the ruling
sovereign and entered the service of William of Orange, known to history as
William the Silent. For thus espousing the sacred cause of political and
religious liberty and patriotically resisting the machinations of this
despotism, they incurred the displeasure of the Pope and as a result were
excommunicated. Their property was decreed confiscated and an order was issued
that they should be vanished from the realm.
As this event occurred previous to the time when William of Orange had made a
success of his efforts, the sentence was easy of execution. Consequently these
two noblemen hastily converted their property into gold and secretly took
passage for the New World. On their way to this country the ship on which they
sailed foundered and all on board perished save a few, among whom were the two
noblemen. They floated on some timbers and drifted to an island near by, whence
they were soon rescued by a Dutch trading-vessel and carried to a small
trading-station that has been successively known as Manhattan, New Amsterdam and
New York City. Their gold went down in the vessel, but they soon regained their
fortunes by engaging extensively in the fur trade. One of the ancestors of this
family, Nicholas Van Benschoten, of Amsterdam, invented the thimble.
During the time of the Dutch Governor, Peter Stuyvestant, the Van Benschoten
family was one of the prominent Knickerbocker families in New York. Washington
Irving in his humorous book “The Knickerbocker History of New York”, in
describing the gathering of the old Dutch families to give battle to the Swedes,
thus speaks of them: “Then came the VanBenschotens, of Nyack and Kakiat, who
were the first did ever kick with the left foot; they were gallant bushwackers
and hunters of coons by moonlight”.
From one of these families sprang Harvey Lee Von Benschoten, the subject of this
sketch. His great-grandfather, Aaron, was born in New York City before the
Revolutionary War, and removed into Sullivan County, that State, where he raised
a large family, among whom was Cornelius, the grandfather of Harvey. Cornelius
was a tanner and currier by trade and acquired a great reputation in that line.
The family removed to Ohio in the fall of 1816, and among the large family was
Cornelius, the grandfather of Harvey. Cornelius was the son of George D., who
was a farmer, and who is still living and resides in the township of Sebewa,
Ionia County, Michigan.
The subject of this sketch was born in that township just named, January 27,
1863. He spent the first fourteen years of his life in this township, attending
a country school and helping in the farm work. He then spent six years in the
Portland Public Schools and one year in the Michigan Agricultural College, and
was graduated from the Portland High School in the summer of 1883. In the fall
of the same year, he entered the Normal College at Valpariso, Ind., where he
remained one year, taking a special course. He then returned home and taught
school for two years, gaining an enviable reputation as a teacher.
The young man now commenced the study of law in the office of Clarence Cole at
Portland, and after three months there, entered the department of law at
Michigan University, from which he graduated with a degree of Bachelor of Laws
in June, 1888. At this time he was admitted to practice in the Washtenaw County
Bar. He formed a partnership, which lasted for a few months, with Charles W.
Thompson of Port Sanilac, Michigan and after this entered into a partnership
with Mr. Bennett which lasted until May, 1890, since which time Mr. Van
Benschoter has been practicing alone.
At the commencement exercises of the Union Christian College he was awarded the
degree of M. S. on a Thesis on the subject of “Our Country’s Duty to Humanity”.
He was married November 15, 1888 to Mary (Collins) Staley, of Collins, Michigan,
a descendant of two old and prominent New York families. A son was born February
17, 1890, and bears the name of Maurice Thompson, being named after the popular
novelist and poet. Our subject has been prominently identified with the history
of the Democratic party in the Fifth District of Michigan for the past four
years, but has never aspired to any office but once, when he was elected School
Inspector of Sebewa by a large majority. End
Note---Harvey Lee Van Ben Schoten researched his name and changed it back to
that of his Dutch ancestors from the name his father and others were using. Don
Benschoter’s father was a cousin to Harvey.
November 15, 2013