Sebewa Recollector
Items of Genealogical Interest

Volume 26 Number 2
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 Association –
OCTOBER 1990, Volume 26, Number 2. Submitted with written permission of current Editor Grayden D. Slowins:


THE SEBEWA ASSOCIATION NEWS: With two balloon ascensions interfering, the postponed annual meeting was held on July 21 and Raymond Heinzleman was elected for a 3 year term and LaVern Carr was elected also for 3 years as to the Board of Directors.

ELFA CREIGHTON is having the buildings, both house and barn, torn down so that the former home of Jimmy Creighton and his baseball team of sons becomes a part of the field. At the same time the Alton GUNN tenant house has been jacked up and moved to Berlin Township on the Clarksville Road. LaVern CARR sold it or at least disposed of it to the son-in-law of Lynwood HYNES. At its previous location to the east on the north side of Bippley Road, it had been the BRITTEN home. Pete always came back to the school reunions and delighted in telling of old times. His sister, Mattie, married a Grand Ledge doctor and she, too, became a doctor.


Fifty years ago Henry Kenyon and his wife, Hilda, were married at the Fair. This year they were featured in the parade and were honored by being congratulated by Governor Blanchard and his wife. (The picture shown is by courtesy of The Ionia Sentinel Standard.)

HERE IS HOW NICELY EDNA HOWLAND KENYON WRITES in response to my request for permission to “make something of her 100th birthday, which comes up on October 19, 1990.

She left Portland a few years back to be within easy reach of her son, Norman and her daughter who both live in Florida.
Edna lives in the Majestic Towers Retirement Community as pictured below. To address your greeting cards, make it: Mrs. Edna Howland Kenyon, 1255 Pasadena Ave. S., St. Petersburg, FL 33707, Apt. 710.

She writes: “Dear Friend – I didn’t suppose that anything of note in my life could be worthy of putting in the Recollector. However if you wish to include something of my birthday of one hundred years I will feel honored. Birthdays of that length are becoming so common now as to be hardly of interest. Some have asked me to give them some advice how I have managed to live that length of time. But I have no answers. Living a simple routine life with plent of work on the same farm for over seventy years, might be a factor. After my husband Raymond’s death sixteen years ago, I continued to stay there, until eight years ago. The family decided I shouldn’t be living alone so I left the old homestead and since have been living in retirement homes. What the future holds whether short or longer time of ____ is the question. Thanking you for considering my one hundredth birthday of enough interest to write about. Truly, Edna __ Kenyon.

JAMES HARLE, husband of Marjorie Thuma Harle. James had taught mathematics at Davison for his entire career. Lou Gehrig’s Disease, a so far untreatable genetic disease, is what took him.

WINNIE BENSCHOTER after a long and pleasant life, capped by two or three years’ illness and a long stay in a nursing home.

LEWIS A. LEHMAN, 83, of 10340 State Road, Lake Odessa. He lived just across the road from Sebewa Township in Odessa.

GRETA A. FIRSTER, 84, of 138 West First St., Vermontville, passed away Monday, August 6, 1990, at Springbrook Manor, Grand Rapids. Because so many varied people have taken bus trips with her we include her obit here: “Mrs. Firster was born on February 10, 1906 in Castleton Township, the daughter of Gillman and Anna Harvey Linsea. She was a lifelong resident of the Vermontville area and attended local country schools, received her teaching degree from Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo.

She was married to George Firster. He preceded her in death in 1983. She taught school for 48 years, retiring from Maple Valley High where she taught World History and Government. After retiring she sponsored and organized Firster Tours for Senior Citizens, who traveled all over North America. She was also a nurse at Pennock Hospital and the Bliss Company years ago. She received many educational awards and hosted many foreign exchange students in her home. She was always helping people. She was a member of the Vermontville Congregational Church and the National Education Association.

Mrs. Firster is survived by her sister-in-law, Maxine Linsea of Grand Rapids; nephews, Michael Linsea and David Linsea of Middleville; niece Suzanne Smith of Grand Rapids; also several cousins.

She was also preceded in death by a brother, Vincent Linsea, in 1965.
Funeral services were held Thursday, August 9, at the Vermontville Congregational Church with Reverend Sally Nolan officiating. Burial was in the Woodlawn Cemetery, Vermontville.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Maple Valley Scholarship Fund or Vermontville Library.
Arrangements were made by Maple Valley Chapel-Genther Funeral Home, Nashville.”

I, VIRGINIA INGRAM, would like to dedicate this memorable experience (ALASKA BOUND – OUR 3,650 MILE BUS TRIP TO ALASKA) to several people:

First of all my dear husband, “Bill” who encouraged me to go “and enjoy yourself” and I did. My daughter Marilyn without whom I would not have been able to go.

Last, but not least, the “Indian Chief” and his four little Indian bus drivers, in line as they drove:
BUS #8, Gerrit Douma, Charlotte, our fearless leader, Head Honcho, Wonderful Guide and Pace Setter, who at bus driver meetings, or at our evening meal, would say “now here is the good news and the bad news” or “We’ll get there before dark” as we advanced to different time zones.
Bus #4, Kathy Adams, Charlotte---our “Sweetheart” who turned every young man’s head with her bubbly personality. Her many calls home because of her concern for her young family---must have given the phone company a big boost.
Bus #17, Beverly Zuantrell, Charlotte---a “Sweetie” always concerned about everyone, keeping an eye on both front and back buses to see that we were okay. She never used the rest room but got some great camera views of those who did.
Bus #36, “THE BUS” Marilyn Disch, Charlotte, our darling who provided everyone with laughter during our stops, and looked after her mother (me) with non-stop devotion as luggage handler, tornado buffer, hair dresser, etc.
Bus #1, Gladys Mitchell, Nashville, Our Faithful Guard, who brought up the rear and watched over all of us. With her CB, kept Gerrit informed of any of the needs of the group. “A good job done, Gladys”.

Virginia Ingram, mother of Marilyn, passenger in her bus, and enjoying myself to the n’th degree. My only regret was that Bill wasn’t along to share it with me.

All of these people made my trip an enjoyable one. Gladys told everyone we met, “This lady is 70 years old and making this trip”. I didn’t think it unusual except that I was allowed to go. If health permits, I will enjoy traveling until I’m 85 or 90---if I am permitted to live that long. I might add it is always wonderful to get back home. Gerrit stopped at many points of interest along the way (sort of like seeing things through his eyes) so we could enjoy the beauty of both the USA and Canada. In Canada the horizon was endless. The beautiful as well as ominous sky was a wonder to behold. Marilyn and I saw many pictures in the billowy clouds. The people of Canada are very courteous and gracious, more laid back than we, more relaves and not hurried.
I will travel any day with any of you little Indians.

An added thanks goes to my granddaughter, Pam Disch, for her contribution in typing and compiling this account.
My best to all of you, Virginia Ingram

Mr. and Mrs. William Ingram live at the site of the closed Goodwin bridge in Portland Township.

The object of our trip was to deliver five buses to the Fairbanks school system in Fairbanks, Alaska. The trip was contracted by Gerrit Douma of Charlotte, who arranged for the participation of four excellent bus drivers from the Charlotte and Nashville school systems. We left Charlotte on Sunday, June 24, 1990 at 1:03 p.m. Gerrit drove his car and his son, Tom, a pickup and a trailer to transport us all to the point of departure. Tom then returned, using the trailer to haul the car back to Charlotte.

We went through Indiana and reached our point of departure at Aurora, Illinois, about 5:30 p.m. Three rooms were reserved for us at the Comfort Motel. Marilyn, Kathy and I roomed together with Gladys and Bev sharing another. Gerrit roomed by himself---for obvious reasons. We arose at 5:00 a.m. on Monday, June 25 and enjoyed a continental breakfast before being transported to the terminal at Plainfield by bus. There are three such delivery terminals around the Chicago area. I watched the luggage while the others checked out their year-old buses for the trip. While sitting there a gentleman who had transported buses from Arkansas to the terminal, came and visited with me. The ones he delivered were built in Arkansas. Our buses were Ward body and GMC.

I was the only passenger, going with my daughter, Marilyn. The seat backs were high so I had to sit on my sleeping bag and a blanket that Marilyn had brought along, to see over the top. We left the terminal. Along the way we stopped for fuel and had breakfast at Denny’s. Denny has a policy where if your breakfast is not served within ten minutes, it is free. We were served twenty minutes after ordering. Marilyn suggested to Gerrit that we tell the waitress. He did. She took their bill (Mine was always separate due to just being a passenger—all the group had their expenses paid). The waitress came back and they had deducted $10.00 from the $17.00 bill. At l0:00 a.m. we were on the road for a most memorable trip. We were in Wisconsin at 12:30 and stopped at a large food store at Beloit for fruit, munchies and ice. Each of the buses had a cooler.

Every couple of hours were given the opportunity to stretch our legs and get some relief. At these times the buses were fueled and checked over. Gerrit, having been over this route many times before, knew all the points of interest, which made it very enjoyable. I will try to hit the highlights of this trip then each person can add their own thoughts.

We passed by the Wisconsin Dells. At 7:30 p.m., we stopped for dinner in Wisconsin and reached Minnesota at 8:30. Our “fearless leader” asked the girls (at a drivers’ meeting) if they would like to drive on to St. Cloud, Minnesota. They said “okay”, not realizing how far St. Cloud was. They drove until 11:00 p.m. Though the extra mileage was exhausting on a very hot day, it gave us an opportunity to enjoy a beautiful sunset as we approached St. Cloud. It was well worth it. By the time we had finished the first day, we had traveled 501 miles. Once in the motel, which was very nice, we were ready to collapse. It was a very long day and aside from being tired, I felt good.

Tuesday morning’s wake-up call came at 6:30 (Tuesday, June 26). Throughout the trip Kathy did her usual ironing, hair styling, etc. each morning. Marilyn also spent the morning showering, fixing her hair, applying her make-up and packing. When time permitted she did my hair as well. Quite often after a long day of driving, showers were enjoyed in the evening as well as the morning.

This particular morning presented itself with a bit of trouble. Marilyn’s bus would not start. After much discussion, and 20 minutes of working on the problem, the other drivers persuaded Geritt that the choke lever should be pulled out. Once this was done, the bus started right away. Before leaving we enjoyed a cup of coffee from the motel. Breakfast and a bus drivers’ meeting came after a couple of hours on the road. Everyone along the way was interested in what we were doing. We had many interesting topics of conversation. Before leaving we purchased more ice and groceries.

Two good meals were consumed each day with our noon meal consisting of munchies. Marilyn kept me busy getting her ice to suck on or a piece of fruit to munch. The other drivers kept their ice chests next to their seats for easy access. Mealtime was never boring, with good conversation from all. Gerrit always started the day with a silent prayer at breakfast. It was a happy up-beat group. Everyone enjoyed the trip and all the happenings that surrounded it.

I had planned to write on the bus and keep my diary up to date. This quickly became an impossible task due to the jarring. Some of my notes are illegible.

We crossed into North Dakota at 2:00 p.m……I called Bill at Red and Jean’s and found out Loina passed away today. We arrived in Minot, North Dakota at 8:00 p.m. The buses were fueled for the next morning and we checked into the Select Total. We enjoyed a relaxing dinner at the “Rollin’ Pin”. At one of our stops during the hot day we treated ourselves to a “Tastee Freeze”.

Wednesday, June 27, 1990 we started early once again and were on the road at 7:00 a.m. We stopped and took pictures of the beautiful rolling hills of North Dakota. The scenery was breathtaking with cattle grazing everywhere and hay all put up along the roadside ditches. The temperature this morning was 63 degrees. We fueled up just before the point of entry into Canada. Our departure from U. S. was not a pleasant experience. Not only was it raining, but we had an unforgettable breakfast. Gerrit had prepared us for a fancy restaurant at Portal, USA. The waitress was a real winner. Of course we all had to use the rest room, which might have upset her. Anyway, she was quite rude.

We arrived at Canadian customs at 9:00 a.m. (gained one hour). Bev and Kathy were called into Customs since they had never been in Canada. We took pictures in the entrance building and picked up some interesting material and signed the register. The lady there was very nice and helpful. As we entered Saskatchewan we saw coal strip mining. We stopped at historical Weyburn Museum for a few minutes where we picked up some cards, etc. A lot of road construction and pumping oil wells were encountered along the way.

As we traveled north on Highway 2 toward Prince Albert, Kathy picked up a tornado warning coming our way just a short distance from Saskatoon. We could see it billowing in the sky. After a brief drivers’ meeting we decided to try to run it out. The storm was moving in a southeasterly direction as we traveled northwesterly. As we got back into the buses the wind came up and hail and rain were coming down. We drove a short distance and the weather became increasingly worse.

Marilyn would not drive any farther. We could see the tornado coming toward us. The other drivers continued on, Gladys stopped a minute, then went on ahead with the others. Marilyn stopped the bus and we got into the ditch down from the bus. She threw her rain coat over me and crawled under the rain coat with her body over us. We remained in the ditch for several minutes. Once the rain, hail and wind subsided, Marilyn looked over the top of the ditch. The tornado was not moving very fast at that point. We got back in the bus and took off like a big bird.

We caught up with the others not too far down the road. Everyone was frightened in his own way, not really knowing what to do. I’m sure the tornado passed right over where we had been. When we got to a gas station in Saskatoon, the stores had been evacuated.

There had been quite a bit of destruction in and around the city for about six miles but no bodily injuries. Two of our drivers, Kathy and Gladys, took pictures of the tornado. We all saw a tail separate from the larger mass, but it disappeared as fast as it came. When Marilyn and I got off the bus, we looked like drowned rats. We had a laugh over that at dinner that night---about Marilyn throwing her mother in the ditch. I think they were all equally frightened and much relieved when it had passed. We had the distinction of being called “ditch inspectors”. This was around 3:00 p.m.

We stayed overnight at Imperial Motel in Lloydminster. We had an enjoyable time swimming and relaxing in the hot tub. Gerrit, Kathy and Marilyn went down the water slide several times. Gladys and Bev went shopping. Marilyn called Rosie. Kathie called her family.

June 28, 1990 found us on the road at 6:30 a.m. We entered Alberta, Canada at 6:55. Yesterday we drove 580 miles, about half the way through our trip. There are huge farms, many with their own drying bins and silos. Oil wells are pumping and many ponds along the road as well as beautiful lakes---but no fishing. I inquired about the reason for not seeing any boats or activity on the lakes. They are shallow and freeze to the bottom in the winter. Therefore no fish can live. Many two lane highways, much road building. Trees are used for field boundries, very few fences. They use women as we do for flag persons for road building.
We stopped for breakfast in Vegerville, “Smitty’s Pancake House”. I liked these restaurants as they had senior citizen menus just right for me. Regular meals were far more than I could eat. Gladys shopped for some items, Bev bought a camera since Gerrit had left his jacket home, he bought one as it had started getting cool. There are more riding horses in Alberta than we have seen elsewhere.

We stopped at 10:20 so Gerrit could fix Glady’s CB. At Whitecourt we filled up with fuel, got a few munchies and checked the gift items. While there Gerrit stuck his head in Marilyn’s bus and said “what’s that?”. I said “garbage” (thinking he was referring to a small bag we had setting there to throw into a container).

He said “No, that” referring to Marilyn’s rock collection. I don’t think he could believe his eyes. I said “yes, she collects rocks”. He just shook his head. Whitecourt is the snowmobile capital of Alberta. We also saw a field of buffalo and deer.

At 7:10 p.m. we entered British Columbia and took pictures of the Canadian Rockies. The Canadian Rockies are breathtaking. You would think there was nothing more beautiful; then, around the bend there was one to surpass the previous one. The horizon was endless.

We took pictures of signs about 12 miles down the road. After fueling the buses we called it a day and stayed at Fort St. John. It is 10:00 p.m. (1:00 a.m. our time)---now three hours difference. Our Fearless Leader---at drivers’ meetings always told them we’d get there before dark. About the second day the girls caught on to that one. Since daylight lasted longer each day, we made good time. Our lodging was at Coachman Inn.

We were up at 4:30 a.m. on Friday, June 28 and took off at 5:35. Breakfast was enjoyed at Fort Saint John where we left at 6:55. Gerrit treated me to a roll and coffee along with the whole crew at Pink Mountain at the foot of the Canadian Rockies---a nice long rest stop.

When we reached Dawson Creek we were at the beginning of the 1523 mile Alcan Highway. We parked the buses and Gerrit took us to the middle of town to the monument of the Alaskan Highway. At the middle of the thoroughfare traffic stopped all four ways to let us take pictures. One of the girls remarked that that had been Charlotte, the motorists would have gotten us all. A short distance beyond Dawson Creek we ran into road construction---again. We stopped and took pictures of one of the highest points on the Alcan Highway. Farther down the road we took pictures of a beautiful gorge and saw Rocky Mountain Stone Sheep. Shortly after, Gerrit pulled off at a gas station (set somewhat back from the road).

Kathy didn’t see him (winding roads along the whole route, and could not always see the lead bus) and barreled right on by. The other buses noticed him and stopped for fuel. Bev filled up and went on ahead, finally catching up with her. Kathy had stopped, waiting for those behind her. We always traveled in the same order---Gerrit, Kathy, Bev, Marilyn and Gladys. Marilyn asked the gas station attendant if he would call the police and have Kathy stop. He said they do their own policing. The remaining buses left and before long we found our runaway girl and Bev waiting for us at a turn off enjoying the beautiful scenery. TO BE CONCLUDED NEXT ISSUE.



Last update November 15, 2013