Sebewa Recollector
Items of Genealogical Interest

Volume 20 Number 5
Transcribed by LaVonne I. Bennett

     LaVonne has received permission from Grayden Slowins to edit and submit Sebewa Recollector items of genealogical interest, from the beginning year of 1965 through current editions.

THE SEBEWA RECOLLECTOR; Bulletin of the Sebewa Center Association;
April 1985, Volume 20, Number 5. Written by Robert W. Gierman, Editor.
Submitted with written permission of current editor, Grayden D. Slowins:


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.


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.

AT SEBEWA CENTER CHURCH, Tuesday Evening, June 12, 1894, Portland Review


PROGRAM: March, Anthem – Quartette
PRAYER: Rev. N. E. Gibb
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 disease smallpox.

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 him.

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 church.

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 investigate.

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 easier. OBSERVER

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.




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.



Last update November 15, 2013