THE SEBEWA RECOLLECTOR Bulletin of the Sebewa Center
OCTOBER 1991, Volume 27, Number 2.
Submitted with written permission of Editor Grayden D. Slowins:
SURNAMES: WHITFORD, VanBenSCHOTEN, BENSCHOTER, LOWE, BROWN, SANDBORN, PETRIE,
SHOWERMAN, SMITH, COLLINGHAM, MORGAN, FELTON, HUBBARD, WEIPERT, ERDMAN, ALLEN,
HALLADAY, MERRIFIELD, LUSCHER, McNEIL, SNYDER, MOYER, HOPPES, PERKINS, HARPER,
MORSE, LaLONDE, HARPER, GOODEMOOT, GIERMAN, LYON, BURNHAM, CULVER, FENDER,
BRUNDAGE, CHILDS, INGALL, COOK, BROWN, PROBASCO, THUMA, KAUFMAN, LEIK, CASSEL,
ROSECRANS, WOLFERT, GUNN
BALLOON ASCENSIONS by Craig A. Whitford
Sebewa Center has had balloon ascensions for several summers now, as well as
Passovers from neighboring communities. Perhaps, in order to place things in the
proper historical perspective, we should take a look at the beginnings of this
sport. For Lansing, the first recorded aviation encounter was July 3, 1875, when
P. T. Barnum’s Great Rolling Hippodrome was performing there. One of the
featured attractions was the air-ship P. T. Barnum, piloted by the well-known
aeronaut, Professor William Harrison Donaldson. Most balloonists in those days
were major attractions in lifting off the ground. It was increadible! The
Lansing Republican, on July 6, 1875, said the balloon ascension took place at
4:30 PM. Several thousand people were present. Prof. Donaldson was the only one
to make the ascension, as the wind blew in fitful gusts and he said it was a
little risky. Once the balloon was relieved of its ballast, it bounded away from
earth and started its flight. Imagine the wonder and excitement of Lansing
Twelve weeks later Professor Donaldson was in Chicago to drum up excitement for
the coming circus. Several balloon ascensions were made with the balloonist
performing on a trapeze suspended from the balloon. Donaldson allowed a
newspaper reporter by the name of Junius Brimwood to accompany him on the final
trip. As the balloon arose, the breeze caught it and it drifted out over Lake
Michigan. The report states the lake was rough and the balloon was unable to
keep aloft. Then unexpectedly it gained altitude. It is believed Prof. Donaldson
lightened the load by throwing Brimwood into the lake. They did find Brimwood’s
body on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan near St. Joseph, MI. It was reported
later that Prof. Donaldson was in Canada. END
SOME UPDATES ON THE SCHOLARS IDENTIFIED IN THE AUGUST ISSUE IN THE SEBEWA
“HIGH” SCHOOL 1903 PHOTO:
MORRIS VANSCHOTEN should have been VanBenSchoten, son of Harvy VanBenSchoten,
that branch of Cornelius and Diana’s family that did not change to Benschoter.
Otho Lowe, son of Dayton Lowe, lived north of the church. Fred Brown Jr.,
Walter, Sr., Bert, Sr., Harry, Ted, Inez, and Ruth, were children of Fred Brown
Sr, who lived where Howard & Mary Sandborn live now.
ELSA BROWN was daughter of Herb Brown, who lived in the Ansel Green log house
next east, mentioned by Lloyd Reed in the June issue, where now owned by Ruth
Miller Erdman Petrie. Herbert later lived just north of Cornell in the Sandborn
EDNA & RUTH SHOWERMAN were daughters of Orlando V. Showerman and his second
wife, Helen. His children by his first wife, Emily, were Ernest, Elmer Jay, and
Myrtle. Orlando lived where Dennis Petrie did later. Flossie Henry was daughter
of Elmer Jay’s wife, Lydia Henry. Eva, Jane, & Ben Smith were children of Oliver
& Elizabeth Collingham Smith, who lived in the Collingham house, now Opal
Thuma’s. Mabel Morgan was daughter of Alexander Morgan. Ralph Felton lived in
the Ackerson house. Walter Hubbard lived on Erdman Road at the river.
REVA & MARY WEIPERT were daughters of D. G. Weipert, who lived where William
Petrie lived later. Floyd Erdman was son of Frank Erdman, on the north east
corner of Erdman Rd. & Musgrove Hwy. Laura & Arthur Barton’s mother was an
Erdman. Anges Erdman, the teacher, was from another family. Edna, Vernon, &
George Allen (father of Maxine Sandborn) were children of Merritt Allen, on the
place now Pifer’s.
Bernice Halladay was daughter of Arthur, as mentioned last time. Warren & Vida
Merrifield were grandchildren of W. W. Merrifield, who was first on the Luke
Sandborn farm and later owned much land on both sides of the road west of Alex
Morgan, later owned in part by Don Benschoter and now Howard Meyers.
Another update tells us Gail Hitchcock & husband, Sam Smith, have leased the
south half of the Clanty Derby-George Morse farm from Dr. Patrick Laughlin. This
joins with her parent’s land on the north half and makes an ideal home for them
and their horses. Laughlins are in Idaho, where he works in a hospital setting
that is western and relaxed in his style.
LUKE & JANE SANDBORN are developing the James & Pearl Barr farm near the Barr
school in Sec. 4 Danby for beautiful homes, all with geothermal heating &
cooling. James H. Barr owned the land before 1875, and his son, Pearl, was back
around Portland in the 1940s, when he sold the land to Melborn & Fannie Sandborn.
CARR & HADEWAY burned & buried the house, barn, outbuildings & giant spruce
trees of the Jacob Luscher farm on July 25, 1991. This once-stately Victorian
home had fascinating rooms and cubicles, but had not been occupied for
approximately 30 years. The Luscher family began here with Jacob & Anna Luscher.
They were succeeded by Jacob Jr. & Minnie Erdman Luscher. Other sons were an
infant Wilbur and William, father of Warren, father of Walter. Jacob Jr. &
Minnie had Alma (Mrs. Lawrence Lon) Sandborn, Nora (Mrs. Harry) Tussing, Emma
(Mrs. Norman Jr.) Gibbs, Edna McNeil Lich Wenger, and an infant Homer. Minnie
died young and the children were raised by a second wife, Emma.
GRANDCHILDREN OF JACOB & MINNIE LUSCHER NAMED Sandborn were: Herbert,
Columbus Jr., Jacob, Riley, Lawrence, Allen, Vera, Raymond, & Melborn. Others
were Charles McNeil & a Gibbs girl who married Charles Wilson. Riley Sandborn
set the record for great-grandchildren of the Luschers with: Howard, Maxine
(Volk), June (Higbee) Riley Lavern, Louis, Joyce (Lyon), Richard, Janet
(Gilbert), Kendall, Bonnie (Jameson), Gary, Judy (McCrumb), and Betty (Russell).
ANOTHER UPDATE ON CIVIL WAR VETERANS tells us Mrs. Leon Moyer was a daughter
of Dr. George Snyder and thereby an aunt to Winnie Benschoter and to Mamie
Downing’s half & step-brothers & sisters. Moyers were living on the Charles
Halladay-Walter Brown farm when the house burned, and lived for a time in a
house east across Keefer Hwy from the John Bradley home & store. Later they
moved to the Eagle area and Mark Moyer, on Bippley Rd. by the creek, is their
great-grandson, grandson of Bruce, son of Bill.
Rhea R. HOPPES, 56, daughter of Harry & Beatric Field Fensom, wife of Raymond
Hoppes, mother of Mary Ann Warren, Shirley Lewis, Clifford Towner, Harry Towner,
Joe Towner, Joan Milbourne, and Marilyn Bentley.
Also, Paul E. PERKINS, 62, husband of Georgianna Hollenbach Perkins, father of
Sue Stemler, Robert Perkins & David Perkins. Retired from Fisher Body, they had
lived in Marion, North Carolina, in recent years. He is buried in Danby
Cemetery, which means we will probably miss out on burying our only female
Korean War Veteran, Georgianna. She traces back in a straight line to Jacob &
Lucy Boyington Collingham, her great-great-grandparents.
We note from our fellow historical newsletter, THE BONANZA BUGLE, that we
omitted from our High Family article in Volume 22, Number 5, April 1987, the
life of Frances L. MORSE LaLONDE. She was born in Lake Odessa, October 7, 1910,
died in Bishop, California, December 4, 1989, daughter of Dr. Frederick and
Nellie HIGH MORSE, formerly of Sebewa. She was wife of Furman LaLonde, mother of
Christine Bishop and Richard LaLonde, sister of the late Dr. George Morse.
HOWARD M. HARPER, 95, born in Sebewa on the Max VanHouten farm, son of Charles
F. & Blanche BATRAN HARPER, husband of Minnie MILLS who died in 1947 and later
Opal KOOS, father of Arden Harper, Vernon Dean Harper, and the late Phylene
(Mrs. Karl) Klahn. Charles Harper owned the Zeno Leak farm in 1875, but traded
it to J. McAllister for the VanHouten place before Howard was born. Howard was
the last of five brothers and two sisters. He was an author as well as a farmer.
FORD A. GOODEMOOT, 75, born in Odessa Township, son of Donald & Sarah (Sadie)
Fox Goodemoot, husband of Lorraine Curtis who died in 1962 and later Madeline
Durkee Stadel, father of Alan & Von Goodemoot, Sharon Brink, & Jeanie Mulford,
brother of Mike, Don, Rex, and the late Francis Goodemoot, Marian McDowell,
Helen Livermore Robinson, and Peg Faulkner. He was a farmer and worked for Reith
Riley Blacktopping. His parents lived on the John Lehman-Homer Downing farm at
West Sebewa between those two owners, and dismantled the Presbyterian Church to
build farm structures.
JACK PAUL GIERMAN, 75, son of William C. & Mary A. Gierman, husband of Barbara
Jane Ramsey, father of Dianne, William, & Robert, brother of Pauline. Automotive
engineer with GM. Born in Ionia, second cousin once removed to Robert Wilfred
EDMOND LYON, 76, son of Sanford & Dorothy Green Lyon, husband of Eloise Steward,
father of Mike Lyon & Marilyn Forney, brother of Jim & Edward Lyon and Joan
Everly. Born in Lake Odessa, his father was rural mail carrier on Lake Odessa
Route #3 into Sebewa for 44 years, from the time Sebewa lost it in 1914 until he
retired in 1958.
MAUREEN (REENIE) BURNHAM, 68, daughter of Frank & Clara Hoag, twin sister of
Pauline Wilson of California, mother of Brenda & Richard Childers. A former
employee of Mapes Furniture, she & second husband Albert lived in Susan Haddix
house and buried East Cemetery.
KENNETH GEORGE CASSEL, 80, son of Asa N. & Beulah A. Cassel, grandson of James &
Catherine Cassel and George & Viola Gunn, great-grandson of Theodore & Amelia
Rarick Gunn, father of Larry.
ALMA WOLFERT ROSECRANS, 86, daughter of Cornelius Wolfert, sister of Leslie &
Vera. The Wolfert family once lived in the Jacob Luscher house whose demise we
record in this issue.
FROM THE EARLY HISTORY OF THE SEBEWA CENTER CHURCH, by Miss Ella Gunn on the
occasion of the 50th Anniversary, we gather the following: After organizing a
Sunday School in February, 1891, plans for a church were in order. The Board was
elected May 9, 1891, and organized by electing Theodore Gunn, chairman; Joshua
S. Gunn, treasurer; and Irving A. Brown, secretary. It was voted to proceed
immediately to the erection of a church building. Theodore Gunn, J. S. Gunn, &
I. A. Brown were appointed as a building committee to prepare plans &
specifications. These were adopted May 30 and advertised for bids as follows:
“The building committee of the Methodist Church of Sebewa Center will receive
sealed bids for furnishing material and building a church at the center of
Sebewa until and including Saturday, June 13, 1891. Said church will be 32 x 50
feet in size. Plans and specifications may be seen at the residence of J. S.
Gunn at Sebewa Center and bids may be addressed to him at Sebewa. The right to
reject any and all bids is reserved.”
The Board made a contract July 7, 1891, with Bradford Kellogg of Charlotte to
build the church for $2000, to be completed by October 1, 1891.