THE SEBEWA RECOLLECTOR Bulletin of the Sebewa Center
OCTOBER 1992, Volume 28, Number 2.
Submitted with written permission of Editor Grayden Slowins:
SURNAMES: PHILP, HISSONG, YORK, NORMINGTON, HENDRIX, DOOLITTLE, LENON, HAWKINS,
BRAKE, AMON, TREZISE, CUNNINGHAM, LOWREY, NELSON, REED, HAWLEY, THOMAS, McMULLEN,
MUSGROVE, HUBBELL, COOK, AUNGST, AUSTIN, DANIELS, SHELLENBARGER, LINEBAUGH,
MATOON, TRIEWEILER, SANDBORN, RIKER, REED, ELVERT, ADAMS, HILL, SALINE, JANES,
FERRIS, KUHLMAN, HUYNH, SHATTUCK, SEARS, GIBBS, GIBBS, ESTEP, McCRUMB, ILER,
HARDEN, BROWN, PIERCE, EVANS, SPITZLEY, HART, SEARS, WISELOGLE, BORMAN, BIPPLEY,
DORIS PHILP, 74, widow of Clarence Philp (not Phillips!), mother of Richard,
Linda & Russell, daughter of Eli Hissong & Dora York, daughter of Christina &
Stephen York, son of Rhesa York.
LIONEL R. NORMINGTON, 79, widower of Lucille, father of Doris, Sandra, Lois,
Robert, Dennis & Leon, son of Ray & Olive Hendrix Normington. He farmed on
Clarksville Road in Sebewa, where Elias York raised his brood of girls.
LYNN DOOLITTLE, 86, born in Mulliken, began his teaching career at Sebewa Center
School, ended as principal in the Dade County Florida School System. Leaves
grandchildren & great-grandchildren.
THEO LENON, 92, son of Minnie & Barney Lenon, brother of Dorothy Hawkins,
widower of Elizabeth Brake Amon, father of Richard Lenon and M. Joan Trezise. He
was born in a log cabin on a small farm in Sunfield Township, graduated from
Sunfield High School in 1918, served three months in the U. S. Navy in WWI, and
three years in the Naval Reserves. He married Elizabeth in 1919 and came home to
farm. In 1922 he began working for Smith Brothers Velte & Co. Elevator at their
Sunfield branch, eventually became joint owner with several farmers & Smiths,
and retired as Manager in 1979. He never lost his love of farming, and operated
700 acres in Sebewa Township on Tupper Lake Road now owned by Lyle & Don
Cunningham. He served on the State Milk Commission and the State Agriculture
Commission. He traveled in 75 countries of the world and was a popular speaker
on his travels, as well as long-time author of a weekly newspaper column giving
his out-spoken views on agriculture, politics, world affairs, and life in
general. Our most vivid memory of him was going with our folks (Elizabeth was a
first cousin to Crystal Brake Slowins) to his farm one evening during World War
II. He was busy helping Dan Brovont milk the Jersey (or Guernsey?) cows, but
stopped long enough to go with us to get 600 pounds of very scarce 2-12-6
fertilizer from his warehouse so we could plant six acres of wheat.
ARTHUR D. (TY) LOWREY, 81, husband of Helen, father of Brenton Lowrey & Jane
Nelson, brother of Norton Lowrey, son of Myrtle Reed & (John) Carl Lowrey, son
of Carrie G. Thomas & Ebenezer N. Lowrey, son of Jane McMullen & (Ebenezer)
Norton Lowrey. The family had farmed in Berlin Township for four generations. E.
Norton Sr. & Jane Lowrey farmed in Ohio, where she died, and after stopping off
two years in Indiana, he came to Sec. 27 & 28 Berlin Township in 1858, and
married a widow, Mary Hawley Thomas.
NORTON & JANE’S CHILDREN WERE:
1. Archibald Lowrey, killed in the Battle of Stone River.
2. John C. Lowrey, also a Civil War Veteran.
3. Ebenezer N. Lowrey, born 1842, Civil War Veteran.
4. Sirona Lowrey, wife of James Musgrove, mother of Robert.
5. Jane (Jennie) Lowrey, wife of Nathan Hubbell of Saranac.
NORTON & MARY’S CHILD WAS:
6. Abram (Pratt) Lowrey.
John C. Lowrey & wife Harriet farmed on the E ¼ SW ¼ Sec. 28 Berlin Township, on
what is known as the George Cook farm today, as well as NW ¼ NW ¼ Sec. 27. Their
daughter Bernice Jane was in the Eighth grade when Dan Slowinski was in the
First Grade at Coon School. The teacher quit mid-year and the Board made Bernice
Jane the teacher. She taught him well, because with only three years schooling,
he read the Grand Rapids Herald from front to back every nite of his adult life.
Later John & Harriet lived on Tupper Lake Street in Lake Odessa, second block
west of Jordan Lake Avenue, in the house on the north side with a cement-block
porch. They owned the block of store buildings that included Urtel’s General
Store, and the block that included Elfstrom’s Shoe Store.
Beatrice Jane Lowrey married Jack Aungst and had daughters Jennie & Eva. Eva
married Dan Austin and their daughter Beulah married Oren Daniels and became
mother of Larry, Dallas, Gary, & Margene.
Ebenezer N. Lowrey was 16 years old when his father moved to Michigan and had
attended school in Ohio & Indiana. He was engaged in farming at the outbreak of
the Civil War and promptly enlisted in Company B, Sixteenth Regiment, Michigan
Infantry Volunteers. He was wounded at Cold Harbor and Gettysburg, thirteen
times in all, and carried the Cold Harbor bullet in his body all his life. After
the war he came back to the farm and married his step-mother’s daughter, Carrie
G. Thomas. They farmed on the NE1/4 Sec. 28 & SE1/4 NW1/4 Sec. 28 & SW1/4 NW11/4
Sec. 27, 240 acres in all, where they built a beautiful VanderHeyden ivory brick
Victorian-Italianate home in 1892. Their son Carl sold this estate to Walter
Reed in the 1950s and the present owners, Bill & Ruth Allen, have replaced the
house with a modern ranch-type. They were active in the G. A. R. & Women’s
Relief Corp, the Berlin Center Methodist Church, the Republican Party and the
THEIR CHILDREN WERE:
1. Frances Lowrey, died at one month.
2. Willard Lowrey, a civil engineer in British Columbia.
3. John Carl Lowrey, farmer in Berlin Township.
4. Richard Roy Lowrey, farmer in Boston Township.
5. Cecil C. Lowrey, died young.
6. Harvey H. Lowrey, born 1878, Ionia County School Commissioner and later
Superintendent of Inkster Consolidated Schools.
7. Ed. N. Lowrey, born 1880, Sheriff of Ionia County.
8. Earl E. Lowrey, farmer on the home place in Berlin Township.
9. Hazel J. Lowrey, a teacher.
ABRAM PRATT LOWREY farmed the original homestead of Norton & Mary Lowrey, being
the SE1/4 Sec. 28 Berlin, where he was born and his son Charles N. Lowrey was
born, and Charles’ daughter Phyllis Shellenbarger (Mrs. Claud) was born, and her
son was born. The farm is well beyond its centennial year.
ROY B. LINEBAUGH, 69, son of Ida Matoon & J. Calvin Linebaugh, son of William J.
& Polly Linebaugh. He was brother of Gertrude Trierweiler, Carl, Howard &
William Linebaugh. William J. & Polly Linebaugh owned and farmed 160 acres on
south side of Portland Rd. second farm east of Mellstead Rd, Sec. 33 & 34
Orange, now part of the Riley Sandborn estate, near Kilmartin School. Polly
lived in retirement above one of the stores on Kent Street in Portland.
THEIR CHILDREN WERE:
1. Frank Linebaugh.
2. Lafayette Linebaugh.
3. Roy Linebaugh.
4. John Calvin Linebaugh.
5. Faye Linebaugh, married a Riker.
6. Bert Linebaugh.
7. Chester Linebaugh.
8. Floyd Linebaugh, married a Reed.
9. Tillie Linebaugh, married Ray Elvert.
10. Mertie Linebaugh.
Frank Linebaugh was a teacher, farmer & orchardist on Emery Road 160 acres at SW
¼ Sec. 8 Danby, and retired to the large house on NW corner of Lincoln & Bridge
Streets in Portland, where he was Village Assessor. He was married twice, to
Adams sisters. The first was mother of his daughters and the second raised them.
He was the father of Gladys Hill & Emma (Tiny) Saline.
Lafayette (Lafe) Linebaugh owned a 270 acre farm on Goodwin Road, Sec. 11 & 14
Orange Township, was married to Addie, and famous for their large Sugar Bush.
Their only child, Webster, succeeded them on the farm but died young. He left
five daughters: Margaret Janes, Virginia Ferris, Jean Kuhlman, Patricia Thomas &
Judy Huynh, plus a son James.
Roy Linebaugh married Beulah Sears and farmed on the Sam Gibbs farm at E ½ SE ¼
Sec. 13 Orange, now known as the Morris & William Shattuck farm. He died young
and she remarried to Kelly and lived on SW corner of Lincoln & Hill Streets in
Portland. Roy was father of John Linebaugh, the plumber, and of Dorothy Gibbs
Estep. John was father of Joyce McCrumb, Robert & another daughter. Dorothy was
mother of Priscilla (Percy) Gibbs Estep Iler Harden, and another daughter.
J. Calvin Linebaugh was a teacher, principal, Ionia County School Commissioner
before Harvey Lowrey. He had a small farm in Orange, where Wright-Way Carpet
Store is now, and was married to Ida Matoon. Their children were Gertrude, Roy
GB., Carl, Howard, William.
SYDNEY J. BROWN, 91, son of John & Annie Pierce Brown, widower of Mildred Evans
Pierce, father of Gladys Brown Spitzley. He was born in Cornwall, England, came
to this country as a young man, farmed, operated S. J. Brown Livestock Trucking
and retired as manager of Michigan Livestock Exchange in Portland. This family
ties into the Evans Family History (Volume 24, NO. 1, 2, 3, 5) and the Spitzley
Family History (Volume 27 – No. 4).
Gladys married William Joseph Spitzley, son of William Mathias (Hardware Bill)
Spitzley. Their son William Jr. is at least William the Fifth. One of the
pallbearers is their daughter, Patricia Spitzley. We encourage this trend, and
plan to have all women pallbearers. Third child is Elizabeth Spitzley Hart.
MISSING AND PRESUMED DEAD: CATHERINE & RAYMOND SEARS, SON OF JOHNANNA & WALLACE
SEARS, SON OF EDNA & ROY SEARS, SON OF WILMONT SEARS, are missing and presumed
dead. They left their home in Kalamazoo on July 18, boarded a rented plane at
Battle Creek, piloted by Tom Lammon, along with Mrs. Lammon. They planned to
visit brother John at Beaver Island, who pilots his own plane and has a home
They took off about 9-10:00 AM and last made radar & radio contact about 12 noon
over the water north of Traverse City. They asked permission to drop below the
clouds, but the supposed cloud was really a fog bank and extended down to the
water. Two weeks later a wheel & fiberglass parts were found just offshore up
the coast from Harbor Springs, between Cross Village and Good Hart. They leave
two little daughters. Wallace Sears is our Secretary/Treasurer. His address is
11501 S. Sunfield Hwy., Portland, MI 48875.
MEMORIES by Fred Wiselogle (continued)
In 1906 Flo’s grandfather, Tom Leak, a prosperous Sebewa farmer took her on a
trip to England to renew acquaintances with relatives living in Grismby. Though
I can’t recall ever meeting Tom, I can remember a later recital by my mother of
Some of you will recall that back in 1981 Phil and Doreen Borman, of Grmsby,
England, entertained the Historical Society, then meeting in the Page Building,
with a set of movies taken around Grimbsby by Phil. Here’s the background to
that visit: Ten years before that my father forwarded an old postcard sent in
1907 by Flo to her uncle, a Ben Wall in Grimsby. My mother had retained it all
those years and then my father had kept it after she passed away. Marveling at
that, I decided almost as a joke on my father to determine whether any relatives
of the Leaks were still living in Grimsby. So – in 1971 – I sent off a letter to
Ben Wall’s address of 1907; the recipient, obviously bewildered, forwarded my
request to the local paper and they published it.
And a niece of Ben’s, one Gertrude Borman, who as a young girl of 10 had met my
mother during their visit to Grimsby back in 1906, spotted the article and
responded. It was her son, Phil, with his wife, Doreen, who returned the visit
of my mother some 75 years later – and we have corresponded ever since.
Now, back to the early nineteen hundreds. Florence left Bippley and went on to
teach school in Springport. It was there that she met Andy, who by now had
changed jobs and was an assistant freight agent for the Michigan Central
Railroad at the depot in Albion. They were married in the Sebewa Baptist Church
in July, 1911. Reverend Dick Cross assures me that the church still retains the
records of their wedding.
I was born in Albion on my father’s birthday, May 18, 1912. My mother claims she
heard the noon whistle during my arrival – though it certainly was not daylight
savings time: why, it wasn’t even eastern standard time for Michigan was then in
the Central Time zone – keeping up with Chicago.
I don’t recall much of my life in Albion as we moved some 2-3 years later to a
rented house ($10 a month) at 410 Pennsylvania Avenue, Lansing – within easy
walking distance of the railroad passenger depot there. You see my father had
been promoted, jumping over his boss, to be the Lansing passenger agent for the
Michigan Central Railroad.
I began my schooling (kindergarten) by walking north across Michigan Avenue to
Clinton School on the east side of Pennsylvania Avenue. I can still recall a few
events of those early days. My parents took me to a vaudeville show in a theater
on Michigan Avenue across the then terrifying bridge over the Grand River –
scary because the roadway was open mesh through which one could see the river
below while walking across. I thought the chorus girls beautiful when they sang
– and in that respect I haven’t changed a bit over the years; my folks took me
one evening to see a human fly climb to the top of the Capitol Building. We all
gasped in relief when he reached the top. And I can remember an early Christmas
at home. The tree was decorated with lighted candles, of course – and around the
base my father had installed a track on which operated a battery-powered
electric train set – running around the tree. I was probably 3 or 4 years old at
the time and I’m not sure my father ever let me play with the train alone!
In 1917 Dad was promoted to passenger agent for the Michigan Central Railroad in
Ann Arbor, and so we moved to a modern 3-story house on 403 Church Street –
directly across from the main University campus. This was the first house that
my parents ever owned and I suppose cost them in the range of $2,500. I can
recall a family gathering when we learned of the armistice celebrating the end
of the First World War.
Our house in Ann Arbor was very modern for 1917; why, we had lighting fixtures
in every room that could be operated either with gas or electricity. Apparently,
the builders couldn’t foresee just which form of lighting would endure so they
gave us a choice. We had a gas stove in the kitchen; of course every burner had
to be lighted with a match. We had an icebox and city water – but we also had a
hand pump leading to a cistern – and we pumped up cistern water for all of our
washing. Oh, to be sure, it was pretty brown – but it was soft; at least bar
soap would lather in it.
Milk was delivered daily from a horse drawn wagon. We had no garage; the corner
lot was too small. But then we didn’t need one; we didn’t have a car.
I can’t recall how we paid our electric bills. But I do remember that we paid
our gas bills with cash. Indeed, with coin. There was a gas meter in the
basement containing a slot that accepted quarters. And when, in the course of
preparing a meal, the stove suddenly shut off, my mother knew that she had to
locate a quarter. Go down stairs and insert it in the meter- and presto, the gas
was back on again, perhaps for another couple of weeks. Our bathroom had an
instant heater for bath water; it was mounted high over the tub and one lighted
the heater, turned on the water and presto – hot water drained into the tub for
one’s bath. One shut the gas off, then got in the tub. Oh, the agony if the main
gas supply shut off just as one started to fill the tub!
We had a great furnace in the basement. And right next to it the coal bin. Our
furnace was modern – in the sense that we had all the needed controls in the
living room. My mother was the thermostat. The control consisted of a horizontal
arm pivoted in the center with two chains leading from the ends down through
holes in the floor to the furnace. One end was connected to the draft door in
the front of and below the firepot of the furnace. The other end was connected
to a damper door behind the furnace opening into the chimney. If it got too hot
– one opened the damper, letting cold air directly into the chimney, reducing
the draft and thereby cutting down on the air going over the burning coals.
When it got too cold the lever was reversed, closing the damper and opening the
draft door to permit more air to pass over the burning coals. It was beautiful,
simple and straightforward – and required no connection to an electric socket,
not even any batteries. Of course if one didn’t go down every four hours to
stoke the furnace with more coal – why, raising the draft door was quite futile.
A few years later my father was promoted again and now worked in Detroit, in
that once magnificent Depot there. But we never left Ann Arbor. Commuting to
Detroit was a snap. Many passenger trains ran every day between Detroit and
Chicago with frequent stops along the way. My father, of course, had a pass to
travel without cost on any railroad in the United States and there was a street
car line in Ann Arbor going from our house right to the depot.
On occasion, Dad would take me in to see his office in Detroit – open 24 hours a
day and always filled with clerks selling tickets to a never ending stream of
passengers. There I first saw mechanical adding machines, with numbers set on
the perimeters of wheels and a handle, going kerchunk, kerchunk, to make the
additions. Oh, how I wanted to bring one home to help out in my school work. But
even more breathtaking was a similar mechanical machine; masterful ingenuity
that would multiply two numbers. It was called a Comptometer and I felt that
this was the absolute ultimate as far as calculating numbers was concerned.
By 1924 my parents felt sufficiently comfortable, financially, to afford a car –
a second hand model T Ford coupe, complete with vase inside to hold flowers. It
cost $450. Now for the first time we were really mobile and could, almost every
weekend, visit my grandparents in Springport and in Lake Odessa. Indeed, my
mother and I sometimes spent a week with Fred and Maggie Yager on Sixth Avenue.
I’ll never forget the rigidity of my grandmother’s work schedule. Monday was
wash day; Tuesday was ironing day. And here I witnessed a technology problem.
Maggie did her ironing in the kitchen using ssad irons – heavy cast metal,
pointed at both ends, heated on the cooktop of the wood-fueled kitchen range.
When the metal was suitably hot, she latched on to it with a wooden handle,
turned around and quickly ironed as many clothes as she could before it got too
chilly. Meantime another sad iron was heating up; Maggie deftly returned the
cooled iron to the stove, picked up the new heated one and resumed her weekly
But change intervened. The village of Lake Odessa had electricity and new,
electric powered irons suddenly became popular. Every housewife on Sixth Avenue
bought one. The problem was that Consumers Power, and to us that meant Forrest
Branch, couldn’t supply enough power to Sixth Avenue to let everybody iron at
the same time. The voltage went down and the irons just wouldn’t heat. The
solution: why, my grandmother just got up earlier in the morning to beat the
rush. For her, Tuesdays began long before daybreak.
When I graduated from University High School in Ann Arbor in 1928 I had no
problem deciding where to go to college. After all, the University of Michigan
campus was right across the street from our home. I went there – for eight
years, getting a bachelor’s degree in 1932, a master’s degree in 1934 and ending
up in 1936 with a Doctorate of Science, majoring in organic chemistry. And all
that time I lived at home.
Now chemistry is a laboratory science and one does experiments. These have to be
quantitative, just like making ice cream or baking bread. So we had to weigh
ingredients, record the weights – do things to the mixture and weigh the end
result again. We ended up with a lot of numbers and these had to be put into
formulas and calculated. All this involved multiplication and division of
multi-digit numbers – a long and painful exercise.
But, thank goodness, someone had come along to ease our anguish. He had invented
logarithms………so, in the thirties all scientists used logarithms to do their
multiplications and divisions. We looked down at the few souls who insisted on
doing long division and multiplication of multi-digit numbers. How smug and
superior we felt!
My mother and father had an understanding in Ann Arbor that any money she earned
was hers to use to furnish our house. So we took in roomers – always college
students – Tom Gilson, Cary Peabody, Dave and later George Smith – all from Lake
Odessa and then others whom I did not know. One that I still recall, a crippled
polio victim, Gordon Sindecuse, later became a famous dentist in Kalamazoo and
recently contributed a few million dollars to the University in appreciation of
his education there. As far as I know he is still alive, and comfortable in the
Tampa, Florida area.
So with the room rent money, my mother outfitted our house with extravagances –
pictures, sofas, console phonographs crank wound, of course. There was dining
room furniture, a baby grand piano, a violin for me. Of course I had to take
lessons @ 50 cents an hour; alas, I did not become an accomplished musician.
In the twenties radio suddenly became a fad – and the “in” thing to do was to
build your own; commercial sets just weren’t available. One needed an outside
aerial – a plain wire stretched between two poles mounted along the length of
the roof and brought into the dining room by a lead in wire. Then there was a
ground wire soldered to the incoming water pipe and also brought up from the
basement to complete the circuitry. My father – as did everyone in our
neighborhood – built our own set. He started with a Quaker Oatmeal box around
which was strung plain copper wire closely spaced with great care. A cross piece
with a contact…………(TO BE CONTINUED)