Sebewa Recollector
Items of Genealogical Interest

Volume 41 Number 4
Transcribed by LaVonne I. Bennett

     LaVonne has received permission from Grayden Slowins to edit and submit Sebewa Recollector items of genealogical interest, from the beginning year of 1965 through current editions.

THE SEBEWA RECOLLECTOR Newsletter from Sebewa; Sebewa Township, Ionia County, MI. 
February 2006, Volume 41, Number 4.  Submitted with written permission of Editor Grayden D. Slowins:




   Max Elwood McWHORTER, Jr., 86, husband of Joyce L. NELSON McWHORTER, father of Tom McWHORTER, Marsha KINCAID and the late John L. McWHORTER, brother of the late Carrol McWHORTER, son of Glycie CHATFIELD & Max McWHORTER, Sr., son of Libbie BARK & Burt McWHORTER, son of Richard O. McWHORTER, who arrived at the Sunfield/Roxand town line in the late 1840s, & Rachel Ann TUNISON, daughter of William & Susan TUNISON, who arrived in that neighborhood in 1838 to take up land adjacent to their brother-in-law, John DOW, who settled there in 1837.  Richard & Rachel Ann were married in 1850 and came over into Sebewa in 1851 to settle at W ½ of NW ¼ Sec 34 Sebewa, next to Benjamin McWHORTER at E ½ of NE ¼ Sec 33 Sebewa, there being 80 acres for each man, probably brothers.  These McWHORTER farms in Sebewa were on the south side of TUPPER Lake Road at the intersection with SHILTON Road.  Both halves were later owned by E. D. BISHOP and included the BISHOP School lot on the southeast corner.  Later owned by Rachael BINNS, Richard’s land is now owned by Don CUNNINGHAM, and various portions of Ben’s land, some of which once belonged to Voight FIGG, now belong to Gerald & Janet GILBERT and Roy & Alice SPITZLEY.

   Richard & Rachel Ann’s log cabin burned in 1858 and all their possessions were lost.  They returned to Sunfield Township and took possession of what became the family homestead along DOW and McWHORTER Roads.  Their children attended DOW School near their home as did future generations.  Then Richard was killed in the Civil War on June 18, 1864, at age 36, leaving the widow and daughters Susan & Loese, and son Burt, age one and a half years, who eventually married Libbie BARK.  Burt’s son Max married Glycie CHATFIELD, who had attended SHAYtown School, where their families were active in the Oddfellow Lodge above the SHAYtown store, and in the life of that community.

   Max & Glycie moved their family into Sunfield Village in 1934 to better survive the Great Depression by running a restaurant.  Max, Jr. joined the U.S. Army in June 1941 during WW II, in the spirit of his great-grandfather Richard, and served in New Guinea, Philippines, and Japan.  Discharged in 1946, he served in the reserves until 1951.  Married in 1947, he and Joyce moved back to his beloved boyhood farm home in 1948.  A longtime member and valued resource person to THE RECOLLECTOR, he was born September 29, 1919, died November 6, 2005, and was buried at Sunfield Cemetery with full military rites. 

RUBY MARIE HISSONG STOVALL, 81, widow of Clifton R. STOVALL, mother of William, Fred and Gerald KELLOGG, daughter of Eli HISSONG & Dora YORK, daughter of Christina & Stephen L. YORK, who settled on YORK Road in Sebewa Township before 1891, son of Josiah YORK, son of Zachariah YORK.  Rhesa YORK, a Civil War Veteran in the West Sebewa Cemetery was a great uncle.  Harry and Ernest YORK were her uncles; George, John, Helen and Zack were her cousins.  She retired from Chrysler Trim Plant in Lyons and was active in Lyons VFW Auxiliary.  She lived in Muir and is buried in West Sebewa Cemetery.

 FRONT PAGE PHOTO OF HALLADAY SCHOOL Teacher & Students, District No. 6 Sebewa Township, South of Sebewa Corners, 1951-1952:

   A group picture of the HALLADAY School taken during the 1951-1952 school year.  The teacher is Mrs. Lucille TORREY, who drove out from Grand Ledge each day.

Front row L to R:  Dean MERRILL, Dale STAMBAUGH, Helen FENSOM, Linda FENSOM, Lola COOK, Don LEIK, Paul TODD, Rick STANK, Ronald SHORTZ, Darrell SHORTZ.

Middle row L to R:  Jim SANDBORN, Jim WOHLSCHEID, Mack TODD, Larry PETRIE, Linda WOHLSCHEID, Jim STANK, Lowell TODD, Margaret CUSTER, John TODD.

Back row L to R:  Leland CUSTER, Robert SANDBORN, Kendall COOK, R. Ben SMITH, Lois WOHLSCHEID, Hazel FENSOM, Alice SMITH, Edwin DOOLITTLE. 

Additional information regarding the School photos we printed in February 2005:  Alice (SMITH) BERNENS of Maywood, Nebraska, writes she was in the fifth grade and her brother Ben was in sixth grade.  A couple years before the seventh and eighth grades had been sent into Sunfield, so her older sisters, Mary (SMITH) KLEINFELT and Margaret (SMITH) TROYER, and her brother Charles SMITH were on the bus to town.  They lived one mile east of the school.  Their parents were Alzeo (Mike) SMITH & C. Louise (JESSUP) SMITH and they also attended the HALLADAY School in the 1920s and were shown in the photos we printed in February 2005.  Additions or corrections to the HALLADAY School story or any other story are always welcome.


   About 1942 a HALLADAY School reunion was held at the schoolhouse with 95 present.  A potluck dinner was enjoyed and a fine program was presented under charge of the president, Mrs. Lee CULVER.  Mrs. Herbert AVERY was the secretary.  At the business meeting Percy BALL was elected president for the coming year and Ida REAHM, secretary.  A complete history of the school district had been compiled by Mrs. Zoe BROOKS and was read by Miss Lillian BIDWELL.  

   The first information regarding schools in Sebewa Township was dated February 11, 1846, with formation of Fractional District No. 1 of Sebewa & Danby, now called the HIGH School, on the north side of Sebewa Corners.  Sebewa Center School District No. 4 was formed March 25, 1846, and first organized September 27, 1847.  Fractional District No. 6 of Sebewa & Danby had boundaries set in 1846, but was not organized until April 13, 1852.  Julie WYMAN taught the first school in this district called HALLADAY on the site later part of the Carl BIDWELL farm.  Then Mrs. Samantha KING (Lorenzo) SEARS taught in her log home a mile east for a time.

   But when it came time to build the present frame schoolhouse sometime before 1863, it was back on the Daniel HALLADAY/Carleton BIDWELL farm at the SE ¼ of Sec 25 Sebewa.  At first the building was painted blue and called “The Blue School”, but the name HALLADAY prevailed.  Richard FLEETHAM owned that corner lot and is said to have donated the land.  The first reunion was held in June 1915 and every year thereafter until the time of this writing.

Cpl. Thomas L. PEACOCK, Co. K 338 Inf. – 370 Co. 409 Train Transport Munitions 211 – Mallet Reserve

Sedan, France. Dec 22, 1918

Dear Mother and Folks,

   I received your letter of Nov. 29th today, was expecting one and of course was glad to hear from home.

   We haven’t had much “flu” here yet, just a few cases.  It is still rainy here and cold.  I don’t understand why you don’t receive my letters more regularly, because I write at least once a week.  Did you receive my snaps taken at Aix?

   I made a 250 kilometer trip a few days ago from Sedan to Epernay and Ailly and then back again.  Started at seven in the morning and got back at 10:00 at night.  I drove a Renault touring car.

   We hear that we are to get service bars for the battles we have been in, seven in all:  March 1918, 2nd battle of the Somme; May 1918 3rd battle of the Ainse; June 1918, Defense of Compiegue; July 1918 2nd battle of the Marne (the first battle of the Marne in 1914 was one of the worst battles of the war and the 2nd was a very important one too); August 1918, 3rd battle of the Somme; September, 1918, advance north of Compiegue; October 1918, 2nd battle of Champagne and advance north until the signing of the armistice; so you see we have been in a good deal of the fracas.  We are to wear a new insignia on our arms.  Major MALLET was the French major in command of our service.  We haven’t any American officer higher than Captain in this branch.  Being in French service we have a French commander.

   I received a letter from Aunt Thursa (PEACOCK GOODEMOOT) last night.  Tell Albert if he insists on running off bridges, I will have to show him how to run a car when I come back, as that is all I have done here.  I have been where they were shooting our bridges out quite regularly and hundreds of times all night without lights.  If we had our lights on we wouldn’t be here now.  They come within inches of us sometimes and have made a few hits, killing some of our boys, so we surely were careful, especially at night.  We have seen our worst on the Picardy front and 2nd battle of the Marne.

   We haven’t worked quite so hard lately, as the railroads are coming closer every day and when they get in our work is almost finished.  The Boches blowed every bridge in their retreat and lots of graded roads.  They haven’t had much in the stores here but post cards and matches.  We get tobacco and cigarettes from the commissary, two packages of tobacco issued every ten days.

   Am sorry I haven’t anything to send you for Xmas but my best wishes, but maybe I can make it up next year.  I think we will be released in about two months.  Well, I must close as ‘tis getting dark.  It’s about 5:00 here and about noon there.  With love, Leander.

   (Editor’s Note:  This letter comes to us courtesy of Leander’s daughter, Betty (PEACOCK) CAREY, thru the Bonanza Bugle.  See Volume 32 No. 3 of THE RECOLLECTOR for more from Leander PEACOCK).

BROWN FAMILY UPDATE:  In past stories we have indicated a distant blood relationship between Gaylia (BROWN) BROWN and her late husband George BROWN, which she says did not in fact exist, although both families did live in Lake Odessa at one time.  But Gaylia’s father was adopted by a BROWN family in the Flint area.  Her birth grandparents were Solomon C. DOUD & Emily KIDDER of the Lake Odessa – Sunfield area. 

   Her Grandfather DOUD served two hitches in the Civil War and was an old man when her father and his sister were born.  His wife died and he adopted the children out and disappeared.  He wrote to his son (Gaylia’s dad) once in 1899 and spoke of some property in the Sunfield area.  Gaylia’s father was called Milton DOUD BROWN and her mother was Ruby DAVIS. 

   Her parents also were older when she was born.  Her mother was 42 and her dad older than that, so the generations were stretched out.  They came back to Lake Odessa in 1936 and her dad died there.  She finished growing up there and married George BROWN.  George was a descendent of first settler John BROWN, who came to Sebewa Township in 1838 to the first farm north of Sebewa Corners.


   The Congregationalists broke ground yesterday on their lots for the foundation of their church.  They will put the building on the east side of the lot at the corner of Bridge and Church (now Warren) Streets, leaving the balance of the orchard to be used for outdoor meeting, picnics, etc.  Mr. U. B. WARD of Lansing has taken the contract for removing the church from its present position (corner of South Kent and Beers/Riverside Streets) to the new location for $75.00.

   Their new site was purchased of Dr. HUGG at the cost of $13.00.  It includes all the ground between Smith and Church Streets, half a block in depth.  It is known as the “orchard grove” where all the public meetings were held last summer.  When the removal of the church has been accomplished all the churches of the village will be within a stone’s throw of each other, and there will be little choice which one to attend, as far as location is concerned.

OFFICIAL MEMBERSHIP REPORT – District No. 4 Sebewa Township
Ionia County Sebewa Center School  Naida J. COOK Teacher 1962-63

Student Name                 Sex             Grade

CROSS, Leonard                M                8

MEYERS, Howard                M                8

GIERMAN, Janet                F                7

MEYERS, Duane                 M                7

MEYERS, Patricia              F                6

SEYBOLD, Douglas              M                5

MEYERS, Martha                F                4

WIREMAN, Callie               F                4

WIREMAN, Nancy                F                4

Student Name                 Sex              Grade 

FENDER, Kay                   F                 2

SEYBOLD, Judy                 F                 2

WIREMAN, Lou Ann              F                 2

FOX, Shellery                 F                 1

GIERMAN, Eric                 M                 1

MEYERS, Debbie                F                 1

SLOWINS, Joe                  M                 1

WIREMAN, Connie               F                 1

DROSTE, Toni                  F                 K

FOX, Carolyn                  F                 K

WIREMAN, Steven               M                 K


OFFICIAL MEMBERSHIP REPORT  District No. 4  Sebewa Township
Ionia County  Sebewa Center School  Ariel MORRIS Teacher 1963-64

Student Name                 Sex              Grade 

GIERMAN, Janet                F                 8

MEYERS, Duane                 M                 8

MEYERS, Patricia              F                 7

SEYBOLD, Douglas              M                 6

MEYERS, Martha                F                 5

FENDER, Kay                   F                 3

SEYBOLD, Judy                 F                 3

FOX, Shellery                 F                 2

GIERMAN, Eric                 M                 2

MEYERS, Deborah               F                 2

SLOWINS, Joe                  M                 2

DROSTE, Toni                  F                 1

FOX, Carolyn                  F                 1

FOX, Buddy                    M                 K

SLOWINS, Karen                F                 K

FYAN, Joanne                  F                 8

FYAN, Wayne                   M                 8

FYAN, Gordon                  M                 6

FYAN, Susan                   F                 4

FYAN, Lueanne                 F                 2


OFFICIAL MEMBERSHIP REPORT District No. 4 Sebewa Township
Ionia County Sebewa Center School  Ariel MORRIS Teacher 1964-65

Student Name                Sex               Grade

MEYERS, Martha               F                  6

FENDER, Kay                  F                  4

SEYBOLD, Judy                F                  4

GIERMAN, Eric                M                  3

MEYERS, Debbie               F                  3

Student Name               Sex                Grade

SLOWINS, Joe                M                   3

DROSTE, Toni                F                   2

SLOWINS, Karen              F                   1


   Elmer A. RUSCH doesn’t need a history book.  The straight-talking farmer lived the legacy as Clerk of Thomas Township in Saginaw County for 35 years and as a resident since before World War II.  Today residents consider him a living, breathing monument to this Saginaw neighbor area.  He has shoveled shale onto the roads before they were paved, stacked voter registration forms in his home before the town hall existed and dug graves in the township cemetery for more neighbors than he cares to remember.  He knew this suburb before it offered water & sewer utilities.  He can trace his public service to 1947, when he was named Thomas Township Highway Commissioner…………Born of German immigrants in Okeene, Oklahoma, RUSCH came to Michigan in 1937, jobless and with just $3.00 in his pocket.  He longed for something more than sugar beet farms, which consumed his working hours as a teenager.  Not only did his father raise them on his 114 acres, but his summer wages came from blocking, weeding & harvesting other farmers’ beets………His opportunity came in the late 1930s, when, newly wed to a school teacher named Erma WURTZEL, he put $100 down on his first 20 acres………He served the township as Highway Commissioner and as Sexton of Owen Cemetery.  But the community most recognizes Elmer RUSCH for his 35-year tenure as Thomas Township Clerk.  His colleagues described RUSCH as a penny-pinching, straight-talking civil servant with no taste for the politically correct.  Voters kept electing him from 1953 to 1988…….

   As Clerk, RUSCH managed the township’s finances with borderline stinginess, holding government spending to the same standard he held for himself saving for the farm.

   The pace has slowed these days for the longtime township resident.  Instead of getting up to milk cows at 5:00 AM and mixing full-time farming with a half-dozen community obligations, RUSCH jokes that he now spends most of his time in a rocking chair.  Don’t let his retirement fool you, though.  RUSCH still dabbles in township affairs.  In 1990 he wrote a check for $140,000 to Thomas Township to buy their bonds for installing water mains along Lone Road.  His involvement saved the township closing costs and bonding fees.  His involvement is also fitting for a man some residents describe as the embodiment of Thomas Township.  “He’s a walking history book” Weise said.  “You ask him a question and he’ll tell you everything about it.  He knows this township like the back of his hand.  And he knows the cemetery as well.  Ask him about someone’s grave and he’ll say “I know right where it is!”

(EDITOR’S NOTE:  Have you seen the bumper sticker:  “Have You Hugged Your Township Official Today?”  Or perhaps an old retired Clerk?)



Last update November 10, 2013