THE SEBEWA RECOLLECTOR Bulletin of the Sebewa Center
DECEMBER 2001, Volume 37, Number 3 (Sebewa Township, Ionia County, MI).
Submitted with written permission of Editor Grayden D. SLOWINS:
SURNAMES: Allen, Desgranges, Lane, VanHouten, Hough, Braden, Ryder, Wolverton,
Rankin, Wackman, Stockinger, Norwood, Baldwin, Parmenter, Polmanter, Polmater,
Meyers, Carroll, Wrisley, David, Stump
WILLIAM R. (Bill) ALLEN, 53, husband of Ruth Ann ALLEN, father of Michael W.
ALLEN and Billie Jo ALLEN-MILLER, brother of James ALLEN and Barbara KRUIS, son
of Alona J. DESGRANGES & Roger A. ALLEN, son of Laura LANE & William ALLEN, son
of Clara E. ALLEN, son of Clara & George ALLEN, who settled on Portland Road in
Berlin Township before 1891.
Bill ALLEN was a farmer, barn & house painter, and tree trimmer. He painted our
farm buildings and Sebewa Town Hall several times, and we continue to get
compliments, especially for the “Painted Lady” trim job he did on our Victorian
home. He was an active member of the Ionia Corners Fox Club, which has been
ridding the area of coyotes in recent years. After his funeral, fifteen combines
and numerous semis harvested his 400 acres of corn and soybeans in less than
four hours. Many tears were shed as it was said that Bill would have been the
first in the field for anyone else.
KEITH L. VanHOUTEN, 74, husband of Dortha VanHOUTEN, father of Mike and Linda
VanHOUTEN, brother of Geneva DENNY and late Clarence, Chalmer, Gerald, Theo, and
Paul VanHOUTEN, son of Clara HOUGH & William Glenn VanHOUTEN, son of Amanda
BRADEN & John Jacob VanHOUTEN, son of of John Henry VanHOUTEN & Betsey Ann
RYDER, daughter of Elsia E. & Stephen RYDER, who settled at the corner of TUPPER
Lake Road and GODDARD Road in Sebewa Township in 1854. Keith worked in Tool &
Die for Chrysler Plant in Lyons and is buried at Balcom Cemetery.
RICHARD WOLVERTON, 80, husband of Polly WOLVERTON, father of Joani SLAGER,
Kerrie IDEMA, and the late Kathy and Randy WOLVERTON, brother of Corinne BROWN,
Carol WINTON, and the late Katherine and Robert WOLVERTON, son of Ella & Lester
WOLVERTOON, son of Mattie RANKIN & Elmer S. WOLVERTON, son of Elsie WACKMAN &
Israel M. WOLVERTON, who settled on Kelsey Hwy. in Orange Township in 1863, and
operated the Township’s first Tavern (Stage Coach Inn) in their large brick home
now owned by Eleanor FERRIS. Rich was a farmer, livestock dealer, and FFA
National Champion Livestock Judge in his youth. Buried at Lakeside.
EARL J. (SONNIE) ALLEN, 73, husband of Johanna STOCKDINGER ALLEN, whom he
married in Vienna, Austria, in 1948, father of David ALLEN, brother of Donald &
Charles ALLEN, and a half-sister, the late Daisy PARMENTER, son of Earl J., Sr.,
& Reatha NORWOOD ALLEN, daughter of Chester & Pearl BALDWIN NORWOOD, pioneer
settlers in Portland Township. The PARMENTER (POLMANTEER, POLMATER) family (Reatha’s
first marriage) were early settlers on Eaton Highway in Sebewa Township before
1875. The Earl ALLEN family lived in Sebewa Corners for a time in the 1950s &
1960s, but Sonnie grew up across the back fence from our farm in Portland, and
we do not know if they are part of the pioneer Sebewa ALLEN families. Earl
served in the US Army in World War II and Korea, then 30 years as a corrections
officer in Michigan Reformatory.
LINDA D. MEYERS CARROLL, 58, wife of James CARROLL, mother of Troy, Todd & Chad
CARROLL, sister of Eric & Brett MEYERS, Ellen MAYNARD & Suzy HILTS, daughter of
June WRISLEY & Homer MEYERS, a descendant of the pioneer MEYERS family who
settled in Sebewa Township before 1875 and just over the line in Woodland
Township in the late 1830s. Linda was buried in East Sebewa Cemetery.
MICHIGAN TOWNSHIPS ASSOCIATION (MTA) FALL DISTRICT MEETINGS TOUR by Grayden
Wednesday, September 12, 2001, we headed north on M-66……Ithaca, for the first
Fall District meeting, in MTA District 12. This is our home district and we did
not camp overnight. Everyone was pretty much in a state of shock from the events
of September 11 in New York City and Washington, D.C. To think it had been only
four days since we headed home from the National Association of Towns &
Townships Annual Conference in Washington! We came and went by chartered bus.
Some folks flew, and two Directors stayed behind for extra sight-seeing. One got
caught in the traffic grid-lock outside Reagan National Airport just after the
Pentagon was struck.
She cell-phoned to the car-rental agency and they told her to drive the car back
to Michigan and there would be no charge other than her gas. That was just one
of many kind acts the nation has seen in this time of disaster.
Thursday, Sept. 13, we again drove directly to the meeting site, this time for
District 16 at Ramada Inn in Coldwater. Then home for the weekend………Monday,
Sept. 17, into Holland for District 11 meeting………Tuesday for trip to Jackson for
District 17 meeting………Monday, Sept 24……to Owosso for MTA District 13
meeting………Tuesday, Sept 25, Bad Axe for MTA District 14 meeting. This group
reports the highest percentage of ‘Good’ Board meetings, and yet the lowest
percentage of Boards that receive a packet with agenda & information before each
The members of MTA District 19 are some of the most responsive and interactive,
and have a history of best attendance at Annual Conference. They also represent
more rapidly-developing Townships, so need lots of help with their problems. I
accidently left a story about Evie DAVID out of my speech, but they needed the
time for questions………on to Dundee……ate supperwith MTA Executive
Director……Thursday, Sept 27, final District Meeting, in District 18.
THE EVELYN DAVID STORY by Grayden SLOWINS:
The story about Evelyn DAVID, our Membership Information Director at MTA, tells
how I first came to hire her. She was a Sebewa native with two small children
and working at Meijer. I first hired her as an Election Inspector about 1974. In
1976, I appointed her Chairperson of Elections for the Primary & General
Elections. When 488 people out of a possible 500 voted their paper ballots, a
turnout of 97 ½%, mostly for President Gerald R. FORD, our congressman, we had a
long night. The next year our Township Supervisor died in office and I convinced
the Board to appoint Evie, the first woman Supervisor/Assessor in central
Michigan. All Fall, while hauling corn to town for her brother, John, she took a
different road to town each day and eyeballed the property changes, then went
back later to measure. Come Board of Review time, Evie was ready. So were some
of the old-style farmers.
Bill STUMP came in with bibbed overalls and chewing tobacco and said “I’m going
to show that girlie a thing or two”. He kept calling her girlie all thru the
hearing. “Girlie, I’ve got a five-acre swamp in the middle of my farm and you
didn’t subtract it from my cropland!”
(Evie answered) “Oh, yes, I did. But would you say it measured about eight rods
by ten rods?” We farmers think in rods, not yards like city folks.
He thought a minute and said “yes, I guess that’s about right”.
“Well, that’s not five acres, that’s half an acre”, (Evie answered).
He thought again and said “By golly Girlie, you got that right!”
(She continued) “But while I was out there, I noticed you cleared some more
cropland along the edge of the woods. Would you say about two acres?”
(He answered) “Yes, I did, and two acres sounds about right”. So he left with
his assessment raised and he was happy as a clam, because Evie got it right! And
that’s how she handles every question called in to MTA. She came to MTA about
six months before I did, and we were sorry to lose her in Sebewa Township.