THE SEBEWA RECOLLECTOR Bulletin of the
DECEMBER 1997, Volume 33, Number 3. Submitted with written permission of Grayden
D. SLOWINS, Editor:
GIERMAN, WILCOX, HEINTZELMAN, OATLEY, KLAGER, COOK, WATKINS, HUNT, WENGER,
VOLLWILER, GOOD, ZIMMERMAN, SHERK, GRABIEL, LICH, SAAD, WILHELM, BYWATER, EDWINS,
WORTLEY, CARPENTER, HINDS, NARIGAN, JONES, TERRILL, INGALLS, BROWN, HOGLE,
HALBERT, SHOWERMAN, MAXIM, MUNN, WELD, GODDARD, REEDER, CARPENTER, GRIFFIN,
BRIGGS, OLRY, ESTEP, GRINER, BRETZ, PROBASCO, ESTES, WADDELL, PINKINGTON, SMITH,
HOGLE, RALSTON, LOWE, CONKRITE
GEORGE E. GIERMAN, 51, husband of Adrienne WILCOX GIERMAN, father of Ryan g.
GIERMAN, Jacqueline HOLM & Kristen LYNCH, grandfather of Mitchell & Madison
HOLM, brother of Eric GIERMAN, Cheryl WARREN & Janet RUDD, son of Marcella
HEINTZELMAN & Wilbur GIERMAN, son of Mae OATLEY & George GIERMAN, son of
Christina KLAGER & Charles GIERMAN, son of Frederick (Fritz) GIERMAN. He was a
Methodist minister and juvenile counselor in Lakeland, FL, and is buried there.
REVA M. COOK, 101, widow of Grover COOK, mother of Charlotte SUMNEY, Dorothy
FREY, Marilyn NICHOLSON, and the late Robert, Richard, and Donald COOK, daughter
of John & Althea WATKINS. Farmed on GODDARD Road. Buried at Lakeside Cemetery.
MANARD W. HUNT, 81, husband of Kathryn STEIN HUNT, father of Mary Jane HAMP,
Theresa BOYCE, Barbara HUNT, Patricia TREMAN & Joyce JOHNSON, John, Michael &
Thomas HUNT, brother of the late Lillian WEIBELHAUSE & Adeline KIEL, son of
Floyd HUNT & Mary Jane WENGER, daughter of Mary Elisabeth VOLLWILER & Isaac G.
WENGER, son of Elisabeth GOOD & Christian WENGER, son of Elisabeth ZIMMERMAN &
Joseph WENGER, son of Anna SHERK & Hans WENGER, son of Eve GRABIEL & Christian
WENGER, who emigrated from Eggwil & Wengen, Canton of Bern, Switzerland, to
Groffdale, Lancaster County, PA, in 1727. Manard was Postmaster in Clarksville
for 32 years. His parents were muck farmers in Sebewa and predecessors & mentors
of John LICH, Sr.MARILYN BYWATER SAAD, 71, wife of Fred SAAD, daughter of
Margery WILHELM & Carl BYWATER, son of Abel BYWATER. Mrs. Joseph WORTLEY was a
sister to Abel BYWATER, (t)o Mardi EDWINS, daughter of Walter WORTLEY, son of
Joseph WORTLEY, was a second cousin to Marilyn.
GERALD (JERRY) CARPENTER, 70, husband of Noreen HINDS CARPENTER, father of Sue
MOODIE, Christy WELLS, Mark & Scott CARPENTER, brother of Betty TORREY, Beth
TUBBS, Beverly BROWN, Lynda WARNER and the late Lois BROOKS FORMAN, son of Edna
NARIGAN & Hobart CARPENTER, descended from Cyril, Elkanah and Rev. Samuel
CARPENTER, pioneer Sebewa residents. He ran Jerry’s Tire & Battery dealership in
Lake Odessa. His father ran a farm machinery dealership in the middle of the
block on the east side of Fourth Aveneu, where part of the antique mall is
MICHIGAN COURTHOUSES CONTINUED by Grayden SLOWINS:(Photos on
front page of GRATIOT COUNTY COURTHOUSE – ITHACA – 1900 & SHIAWASSEE COUNTY
COUNTHOUSE – CORUNNA – 1903)
ISABELLA COUNTY courthouse is a modern white stone and black steel structure at
Mt. Pleasant. It has just closed for the day and we head out to Cold Water Lake
County Park near John ENGLER’S hometown, Beal City, to camp for the night. It’s
a nice park with a nice lake, and we rest in the picnic area while two young
women rangers rake seaweed from the beach and load it on an old Chevy pickup.
MECOSTA COUNTY courthouse in Big Rapids is another modern two-story flat-top of
pale tan brick & narrow gray stone & metal trim. It is far different from the
Victorian-Italianate structure we remember from our college days, and we can’t
recall what happened to the old one. Perhaps it was simply outgrown &
demolished. At least the Civil War monument remains.
NEWAGO COUNTY courthouse in White Cloud is a flat-roofed, one-story building of
multi-shaded brown bricks. It is one of the more attractive county buildings of
its style period.
OCEANA COUNTY courthouse in Hart comes close to duplicating the MISSAUKEE
building in Lake City, which we described as a small-town AT & T telephone
building. Except this one is just one story and a bit more sprawling. Here again
the Civil War soldier remains to tell us it is indeed a place with some history.
The MONTCALM COUNTY courthouse in Stanton, built in 1905, reminds us of the
buildings in Baldwin & Sandusky, except the bricks are light brown instead of
red. The sandstone basement and white pillars & trim give it dignity. It
replaced a three-story Victorian-Italianate edifice, built in 1879-1880, which
burned in February of 1905.
GRATIOT COUNTY courthouse at Ithaca, built in 1900, has many similarities to the
Ionia courthouse, inside and out. The historic four offices on the first floor
are very similar, right down to the faux marble fireplaces with their carbide
gas logs. It is no surprise to learn that the architect was Claire ALLEN, who
had been the contractor on the start of the Ionia courthouse in 1883. GRATIOT
County Clerk was a gracious tour guide.
CLINTON COUNTY courthouse at St. Johns, built in 1869 with David W. GIBBS as
architect, is also very familiar, except it has a mansard roof. GIBBS was the
architect for the Ionia & Eaton courthouses. Clinton County added two wings in
front, similar to those at Rogers City and to Ionia’s old “new” jail, but more
closely attached than Ionia’s. Now Clinton residents are debating whether to add
still more to the stately old matron, or go to their modern county complex near
the edge of town and start all over new. Clinton County was named after Governor
DeWitt CLINTON of New York, and DeWitt was the first county seat. When the seat
was moved to St. Johns, court met in a rented building called PLUMSTEAD Hall
SHIAWASEE COUNTY courthouse, built in 1903 at Corunna, is even closer to Ionia
and Gratiot courthouses in design, and to no one’s surprise Claire ALLEN was the
architect. It would appear that David W. GIBBS perfected the design and ALLEN
made just enough “improvements” to call it his own. This site was first
designated as the public square in 1839, with county offices occupying temporary
facilities here until 1851, when a brick courthouse was built. It was replaced
with the present structure for $75,000. All three of these others have a working
clock in their tower, while Ionia never has.
LIVINGSTON COUNTY courthouse at Howell, built in 1890, is a three-story red
brick & sandstone building showing the Richardsonian Romanesque or Romanesque
Revival style seen earlier, and was designed by Albert E. FRENCH. Many of the
original Victorian furnishings remain. The county was named after Edward
LIVINGSTON, Secretary of State in President Andrew Jackson’s cabinet. Although
many county officers are in the new county building nearby, the decision to
restore the courthouse was influenced in part by a deed restriction which says
the courthouse square will revert to heirs of original owners if no longer used
for a courthouse.
INGHAM COUNTY courthouse at Mason, built in 1904, is fairly close to the
GIBBS-ALLEN design, but no information on who was the architect is readily
available. This county was organized in 1838, and named after Samuel D. INGHAM,
Secretary of the Treasury in President Andrew Jackson’s cabinet.
MASON became the county seat in 1840. The first county offices were on the sides
of the square until 1858, when the first courthouse was built. The dark woodwork
in the rotunda area and stairways is especially striking in the present
courthouse. The most interesting item, however, was a map on the rotunda wall
showing Ingham & Livingston Counties in 1869. Ann’s great-great grandparents,
Hulda ELLIS MERRILL & John LAKIN had a farm in Putnam Township, Livingston
County, with 150 acres on the north side of BURGESS Road and 40 acres on the
south side. We located the section numbers and there they were!
After camping for the night at Sugarloaf Lake Campground in Waterloo State
Recreation Area, with a pleasant evening’s stroll among the campfires, we travel
to MONROE COUNTY. The county was established in July, 1817, as one of the first
steps in the organization of the MICHIGAN TERRITORY after the War of 1812. The
old settlement of Frenchtown, which centered on the same square, took the name
MONROE and became the county seat. Controversy over the county’s southern border
culminated in the bloodless Michigan-Ohio “Toledo War” in 1835-1836.
In settlement the United States Congress gave a strip of MONROE County that
became Toledo to Ohio. In return, Michigan was given the Upper Peninsula. The
present MONROE COUNTY courthouse was built in 1880 and shows strong Italianate
architecture. It is built of gray sandstone, with a tall white bell-clock tower
on one corner and shorter towers on the other three corners. Across the street
is the first Presbyterian Church in Michigan, where services were first
conducted in 1816 by Rev. John MONTEITH, who later became the first president of
the University of Michigan. He dedicated the present building in 1848. It was
here that General George Armstrong CUSTER married Elizabeth BACON.
HISTORY OF SEBEWA TOWNSHIP by GRAYDEN SLOWINS; with excerpts
from HISTORY OF IONIA COUNTY – 1881 – by John S. SCHENCK:
Sebewa, known in the United States survey as Town Five North, Range Six West,
lies on the southern line of Ionia County, having Orange Township on the north,
Easton County’s Sunfield Township on the south, Danby Township on the east, and
Odessa Township on the west.
In the central and northwestern portions of the town there are stretches of
swamp-lands of considerable extent. The soil is generally clay loam and famous
for its wheat-producing quality. The timber is mainly beech and maple, the
liberal presence of the latter making the yield of sugar no small item in the
town’s products. Three churches are among the architectural features, while more
than that number of religious organizations worship in the school-house. Sebewa
Creek, on the east, has sufficient power in Sebewa to drive three mills, and
that power is at present (1881) fully utilized. The only village is a small one
on the east town-line known as The Corners.
It is vaguely asserted that the first white settler bore the name of JONES,
first name unknown. It is known that he and his wife came to the town during
1836 and squatted on Sec. 1. They apparently did not recognize the force of the
undertaking upon which they had entered, for they soon sickened of the job and
packed up and left. It must have been pretty lonesome, hemmed in on all sides by
howling wolves and so poor they had to live on herbs and roots.
The first attempt at a permanent settlement, and the one from which the history
properly dates, concerns the coming in 1838, of John F. TERRILL, Charles W.
INGALLS, and John BROWN. TERRILL located on N ½ NE ¼ Sec. 25 and BROWN and
INGALLS on Sec. 36. (BROWN and INGALLS were really on Sec. 24 and 13 or soon
moved there.) Jonathan INGALLS, Soldier of the Revolution, also came with this
settlement. Charles W. was his son, and Polly (Mrs. John) TERRILL and Sarah
(Sally, Mrs. John) BROWN were his daughters. In all, he had thirteen children.
Born in 1762, Jonathan died here in 1843 and his monument is by the side of
KEEFER Hwy. near the land which belonged to his son-in-law, John TERRILL. The
INGALLS family was covered in Volume 30 – Number 1, August 1994.
William HOGLE came the first year and married one of John TERRILL’S daughters.
Anson W. HALBERT came in 1841 and married another daughter. HALBERT was the
first merchant in Sebewa, selling from a stock in his log house. In 1843,
TERRILL and HALBERT built the first mill, a saw-mill west of the Corners.
Jacob SHOWERMAN and Eleazer BROWN joined the Sebewa settlement with their
families in 1839. SHOWERMAN had come on a land-hunting expedition in 1836 and
found only JONES on Sec. 1. He picked 160 acres in SE ¼ Sec. 22 and after
recording at Ionia land-office, he had returned to New York. BROWN had 160
straddling the line at NW ¼ 26 and NE ¼ 27, where his widow still resides
(1881). The first birth was her daughter Luriette in 1841. The SHOWERMAN and
BROWN families have been covered in earlier issues. John MAXIM & Joseph MUNN
also came in 1839.
In 1843-1844 Benjamin D. WELD and Rufus GODDARD came to the southwest quarter of
the town. GODDARD’S fifteen-year-old son Daniel, who still lives on the land
(1881), provided the neighborhood mill service, that is to say he usually went
to mill for everybody. The condition of the roads was so horrible that it was as
much as he could do to haul ten bushels of wheat to NEWMAN’S mill at Portland
and back again in two days. Young GODDARD would usually set out early in the
morning with his ten-bushel load drawn by a pair of oxen, reaching the mill by
ten o’clock that night. While his grist was being ground, he would wrap himself
in a blanket in his wagon and by daybreak was off again for home. This land is
owned in 1997 by Daniel INGALL.
Other settlers in the 1843-1849 period were: Elkanah CARPENTER, William REEDER,
David GRIFFIN, Major BROWN and Weston BRIGGS in the southwest, John F. OLRY,
William ESTEP, John ESTEP, Peter GRINER, Isaac BRETZ, and Ephraim PROBASCO in
the center area, plus Andrew ESTES, John WADDELL, Thomas WADDELL, Stephen
PILKINGTON, John C. SMITH, and Moses HOGLE to the east.
The west-northwest area was settled in the 1850s by Pierce G. COOK, A. M.
RALSTON, Nathan STEWART, Frank BROWN, Solomon HESS, J. C. CLARK, George SNYDER,
John WARING, Orrin STEBBINS, and John JOHNSON.
The north-northeast area was settled in 1850s by Orrin MERCHANT in Sec. 1,
Edward SANDBORN, Peter MAPES, Thomas J. ALLEN, Jacob GREEN, Chauncey LOTT, and
A. GARLOCK. John, Elijah, David, Thomas, James, and Isaac LEAK came to the
west-southwest quarter in the 1860s, just before or just after the Civil War.
Rush, George & Isaac BALDWIN came after the war. John Joy PEACOCK and his wife,
Margaret Caroline DOWNING PEACOCK and their children also came in 1865.
There were just 40 families in the 1850 United States Census of Sebewa Township:
Orrin MERCHANT, Peter MAPES, George DICKINSON, Charles W. INGALLS, William HOGLE,
William PACKARD, John C. SMITH, Jacob GREEN, Jacob SHOWERMAN, Eleazer BROWN,
Albert THOMPSON, CHAUNCEY LOTT, Charles WHITE, Richard FLEETHAM, David GRIFFIN,
William DAVIS, Moses HOGLE, Samuel CARPENTER, William REEDER, Rufus GODDARD,
Stephen RIDER, Elkanah DRAKE, Benjamin WELD, Elkanah CARPENTER, Hiran TRIM, John
F. OLRY, John COOPER, John ESTEP, John WADDELL, Walter HARMON, Charles DERBY,
John MAXIM, Joseph MUNN, John EVANS, Daniel BENJAMIN, Pierce G. COOK, Jacob
VINTON, and George AUSTIN.
The LOWE family is more difficult to track. They were not here for the 1850 U.S.
Census shown above. Lot 10 – Block 1 in the oldest part of the East Cemetery
contains the graves of Ben LOWE, Mary Ann LOWE, Willam LOWE & Josphus LOWE. Only
Mary Ann has a date – she died in May, 1860. Lot 146 in the West Cemetery
contains the graves of Benjamin LOWE, born 1862, died May 12, 1947, and Francis
Hannah LOWE, born 1867, died March 15, 1931. Two different Ben LOWES. Lot 70 in
the newer part of the East Cemetery contains the graves of Date (Dayton) LOWE,
who died November 10, 1939, and Henrietta LOWE, who died April 9, 1934.
A search of the Death Records at Ionia County Clerk’s Office, which began in
1867, along with the Register of Deeds and Register of Probate reveals the
Egbert Y. LOWE owned and operated the LOWE & HALLADAY sawmill at Sebewa Corners
in 1875. His partner was Charles L. HALLADAY, Ionia County Clerk, whose farm lay
on the south and west sides of the mill-pond. LOWE’S house and log-yard were
located between the pond and the grade for the proposed Coldwater, Marshall &
Mackinaw Railroad. This house was owned by Theodore & Beatrice EVANS in recent
years. The sawmill itself was actually across on the north side of MUSGROVE Hwy.
With some refinements, this was the same mill started by John F. TERRILL and
Anson W. HALBERT in 1843. A flour mill was located above the east mill-race,
about where the Howard & Bertha KNAPP house has replaced the original structure.
This may have been operated by Egbert Y. LOWE’S brother Ezekiel. According to
death records, Egbert Y. & Clarissa LOWE’S sons were Egbert W. LOWE and Dayton
Egbert W. (Bert) LOWE, born 1852 – died 1934, succeeded his father in the mill,
operating under the name LOWE & REEDER in 1891. Later Bert lived near Sunfield.
Dayton requested the probate of Bert’s will in 1934, swearing to be his brother,
and Thomas JOHNSON, attorney at Lake Odessa, did it.
Fern CONKRITE, age 102 and now living in Portland, says Dayton (Date) LOWE, born
1856 – died 1939, lived in the little house just north of the old Methodist
Church in Sebewa Corners. It has fallen and/or been torn down and replaced by a
trailer. Date and Henrietta had a little acreage along Stoney Creek on PETRIE
Road, where John VISSER Sr. & John VISSER Jr. now live. In summer they milked
their cows in a little barn there each morning and night, and brought the milk
back home. That was mostly pasture land and they made hay behind the houses in
town and kept the cows in the barn by the house in winter. Date & Henrietta’s
children were Otho & Minnie.
Minnie LOWE, born in 1882 – died January 22, 1911, married Grant GARBAUGH, who
died February 12, 1950, and they are buried on Lot 66 in the newer part of East
Sebewa Cemetery. They ran the mill after Bert and had two daughters, perhaps
named Helen & Goldie.
Otho LOWE married Dawn McCrumb, born 1893 – died 1927, of Danby and farmed on
TUPPER Lake Road east of KEEFER Hwy. They had four sons and she died at the
birth of a fifth child. She and the infant are buried in Danby Cemetery. Otho
and the boys moved back with Date. One boy lived and died in Sunfield, two in
Lansing, one in the South. One was named Mike.
Ezekiel LOWE, born 1820 – died 1886, was a brother to Egbert Y. LOWE and also
owned land around the mills. Egbert deeded land to Ezekiel’s wife, Sarah, in
1880. When Ezekiel died in 1886, an Order for Determination of Heirs was filed
in Probate Court, listing the widow as Sarah, the sons as Charles and George,
listing the property as ten acres in the area of the mill-pond, and sworn to by
Dayton O. LOWE, nephew.