THE SEBEWA RECOLLECTOR Bulletin of the
FEBRUARY 1997, Volume 32, Number 4. (Sebewa Township, Ionia County, MI.)
Submitted with written permission of Grayden D. SLOWINS, Editor:
SURNAMES: GUY, PUMFREY, KANTNER, NEUNENFELDT, BOSWORTH, SMITH, SUNTKEN, SHAFFER,
YORK, ADDISON, DeHAVEN, BUTLER, BEVER, LILLIE, GIERMAN, HUMPHREY, PEACOCK,
DOWNING, HITCHCOCK, LINDLEY
MYRON W. (MIKE) GUY, 79, husband of Kathryn PUMFREY GUY, father of Kenneth,
brother of Neva KANTNER, Reva NEUNENFELDT, Valeta BOSWORTH, Alma SMITH & Arlene
SUNTKEN, son of Jacob & Gertrude SHAFFER GUY. Mike was a farmer and
VALAIRE YORK ADDISON, 89, widow of Robert, mother of Robert Jr., Cynthia ADDISON
& Laurie DeHAVEN, sister of Virginia BUTLER & Bruce YORK, daughter of Ernest G.
& Pearl BEVER YORK.
ROBERT C. LILLIE, 89,husband of Pauline GIERMAN LILLIE, brother of Bettie
HUMPHREY. He worked at Willow Run Bomber Plant, Johnson Furniture Co., Michigan
Trust Co., and private law practice.
MICHIGAN COURTHOUSES by Grayden SLOWINS: (With photo on front
page of DICKINSON & MENOMINEE COUNTY COURTHOUSES)
We continue our tour of Upper Peninsula courthouses with a visit to Dickinson
County Courthouse, in Iron Mountain, built in 1896. The courthouse and adjoining
jail are built of Upper Peninsula red sandstone, and the jail has a turret,
castellations, and gunports. Both are trimmed inside with dark-stained
hardwoods. No further history was available.
Next we visited Menominee County Courthouse in Menominee. The word Menominee is
said to mean “Wild Rice” in the Indian language. And the area at the mouth of
the Menominee River was settled by the Native American tribe called the
Menominee. While the area was quite densely populated by the Menominee Indian
tribe, who were content to fish and hunt, the white settlers who came in
developed the water-power of the Menominee River and its tributaries, both on
the Wisconsin and Michigan sides. The many sawmills in Marinette, WI, and
Menominee, MI, became well-known for their lumber industry. The river was
well-stocked with sturgeon and the fish-shipping industry also flourished.
What is now Menominee County was originally established as Bleeker County by an
act of the State Legislature on March 15, 1861. Its western boundary was the
Menominee River, which separates Wisconsin and Michigan before entering Green
Bay. It extended to Delta County on the east and Dickenson and Marquette
Counties on the north. When it came time to organize the county into a
self-governing unit, the residents of the area objected to having the county
called Bleeker. They raised money to send one of their leading citizens, an
attorney named Eleazer S. INGALLS, to Lansing to see if the new county could be
organized as Menominee. INGALLS was successful in that endeavor and the
legislature passed an act in 1863 providing that “The County of Bleeker is
hereby organized into the County of Menominee”.
The new organizing act, which changed the name of the county from Bleeker to
Menominee, also provided that John QUIMBY Sr., Nicholas GEWEHR, and E. S.
INGALLS be appointed to locate the county seat, and it was to be in Township 31
north, Range 27 West. Menominee was selected as the county seat and the
Supervisors meeting in Quimby’s Tavern set aside a parcel of land called “Court
House Square”. When Supervisors bought two acres of land on Ogden Avenue and
sold the court house square back to its original owners.
The first circuit judge to serve this new county had come from Detroit and was
Judge Daniel GOODWIN. By an act of the legislature in 1865, a new judicial
district was created, composed of the counties of Menominee, Delta, Mackinac,
Cheboygan, and Manitou. Judge GOODWIN was elected to a full six-year term to
begin January 1, 1876. Until the completion of the new courthouses in 1875, he
had held court in Quimby’s Tavern.
The Menoiminee County Courthouse is situated on two acres of land in the center
of the City of Menominee. In 1975 it was designated as a Michigan Historical
Site. At the Annual Township Elections on April 6, 1874, the citizens elected
“To procure plans, specifications, and estimates for a new courthouse and jail
in one building for the use of the County of Menominee, the cost of which shall
not exceed $30,000”.
And according to the minutes of the meeting of the Board of Supervisors on April
14, 1874, “An advertisement for plans and specifications was inserted in the
Menominee Herald and copies were forwarded to different architects”. The plans
and specifications drawn by G. P. RANDALL, architect, of Chicago, were selected
from among seven others received for consideration………
…….When completed in 1875, it was reported that “Now the county has a courthouse
which would be no discredit to any county in the State”. In 1902, a new jail was
attached to the south side and a projecting entry was added to the front…….
The Menominee County Board of Commissioners decided to retain the old
courthouse, surrounded by 20th century additions, as evidence of the county’s
individuality, when it made its decision to remodel in 1980. Care was given to
maintain the historical significance of the original 1874 structure, including
the cupola on the top of the building, which was restored to the original
The Delta County Courthouse and Jail in Escanaba, built in 1882, were not nearly
so fortunate. They were replaced by a flat-roofed building with lots of
window-walls and pink-glass panels that make it look like a dime-store. A
picture is all that remains to tell of the proud Romanesque towered structure
that once stood in its place.
Schoolcraft County did a little better in constructing its flat, brown-brick
Courthouse in a tastefully modern design similar to the one we saw to the north
of Newberry in Luce County. But it looks more like a modern High School than a
seat of county government.
A GIFT IN PARTING by Pat SHELLENBARGER:
Editor’s note: This article from the Grand Rapids Press is about the Sexton of
BURDELL Township Cemetery near Cadillac. But it speaks for all of us who perform
that final act of respect for all who have lived on this earth.
Grave digger Clarence SAMUELSON says: ………began digging graves and pruning the
trees more than 20 years ago by helping his cousin, Hartley HOLMQUIST, who was
the sexton……..He bent down and rubbed the moss off a headstone: HOLMQUIST,
Hartley A. 1906-1981. “Golly”, SAMUELSON said, standing erect, “It don’t seem
that long since he died. Yeah, he was my cousin and he was eight days younger
than I was….
Traditionally, the deceased is buried facing east toward the rising sun…..a
married couple are buried with the husband on the right, wife on the left, same
as when you’re married”.
To him, burying someone is like a gift. “It’s the last thing you can do for
‘em…..a lot of these people, I knowed ‘em and now they’re laying out here. Yeah,
it gets pretty lonesome without ‘em when youlived with ‘em that long. They all
come out here eventually. It don’t make no difference if they’re a pauper or a
millionaire. They’re all the same when I get through with ‘em.” He picks up his
rake, shovel, and coat and heads for his pickup truck. END
A HISTORY OF SEBEWA CEMETERIES by Grayden SLOWINS:
There are two cemeteries and a single burial site in Sebewa Township at the
present time. A third cemetery, called the CARPENTER or REEDER Cemetery, was a
private cemetery located in the northeast corner NE ¼ Sec. 32 at the
intersection of KIMMEL & TUPPER Lake Roads. It was about one-fourth acre in
size. In 1905 this cemetery was taken up and the CARPENTERS were moved to the
West Sebewa Cemetery and the REEDERS were moved to East Sebewa Cemetery.
The West Cemetery was started on August 1, 1872, when Thomas LEIK sold Sebewa
Township a one-acre plot, 12 ½ rods deep x 13 rods long, just to the west of the
lot 15 rods long, at northeast corner NE ¼ Sec. 30, MUSGROVE Hwy. & GODDARD Rd,
which he had sold to the Baptist Church two years earlier. The Baptist Church
assumed the care of the cemetery in the early days, but from day one the
cemetery belonged to the Township. On May 10, 1919, the Township purchased an
additional 40 feet (2 rods & 7 feet) on the west end from Frank & Carrie KIMBLE,
successors to the Thomas LEIK estate. In 1929, a State law was passed stating
that any cemetery which no longer had the funds for proper care must be taken
over by the local unit of government. Due to the Depression, the Baptist Church
turned the care back to Sebewa Township. On September 22, 1952, Maurice & Vera
GIERMAN sold a lot 12 ½ rods deep x 7 rods long to the Township. On August 25,
1986, GIERMANS sold a lot 12 ½ rods deep x 13 rods long to the Township. This
makes 12 ½ rods x 35 rods 7 feet or two & three-fourths across.
The cemetery known originally as Sebewa Cemetery and now as East Sebewa
Cemetery, was started with 1.234 acre at the center of the north side of NE ¼
Sec. 24 on Bippley Road near KEEFER Hwy., purchased from Jacob HIGH on May 14,
1858. Polly BAKER was the first recorded burial there, on August 29, 1861,
however it is believed some of the unmarked and unrecorded graves may have been
there as early as 1845. Our earliest marked grave in the Township is that of
Jonathan INGALLS, Soldier of The Revolution, born 1762, died 1843, buried along
the roadside on KEEFER Hwy., one-fourth mile south of MUSGROVE Hwy. in Sec. 25.
On October 8, 1904, 2 acres were purchased from Jacob COLLINGHAM’S log yard and
added to the west end of the East Cemetery, bringing the property line to the
center of Sebewa Creek. On January 6, 1972, a driveway along the top of the
creek bank at the west end of the cemetery was traded to Clyde & Opal THUMA for
a driveway along the south and east sides, plus one acre additional on the east
end. This brought the total to 4.159 acres.
Some sextons at one or both cemeteries over the years were:
Harvey GUNN – east
William PETRIE – east
Edwin LEAK – west
Lynn & Alice BAILIFF
Carl & Tena RISCHOW
Orrin & Lavancha AUSTIN
Clyde & Bertha AVERY
Grayden & Ann SLOWINS
CORRECTION: Our last issue – Volume 32 – Number 3, should have
read December 1996. We publish six times a year, and there is no NOVEMBER issue.
Benjamin C. PEACOCK & Catherine DOWNING’S children were:
Thomas L. PEACOCK, MD; Harlan J., Jesse, Cora (WARING), Dora (JOHNSON), Della (REGHIE),
Harlan J. PEACOCK & Alice HITCHCOCK’S children were:
Robert, Homer J., Howard (Ted), Wayne, Elwood (died age 6), Harlan Jr. (died
young), Catherine (SMITH), Bertha (CROEL), Ruth (PETERSON), Ivah (GUERNSEY).
Samuel Leander PEACOCK & Eunice LINDLEY’S children were:
Luella (COOK), Thomas Leander, Elwood (Jim), Leona (VanGOE), Albert, LeRoy,
Walter. Samuel L. PEACOCK’S death was given wrong in some copies of the last
issue. It should be October 15, 1918.