RECOLLECTOR Newsletter from Sebewa; Sebewa Township, Ionia County, MI.
SURNAMES: PIERSON, BULKELEY, WILLIAMS, SMITH, SAWTELL, SHAY, COBB, EDGEL, BENDICT, WARREN HULL, SWARTHOUT, SIBLE, COURSER, FRIEND, HALL, HOPPOUGH, FORD, SPEAS, ESPINOZA, BEVAN, TAFOYA, RAYMOND, SAYER, PRYER, WADSWORTH, PORTER, FRIEND
RUTH JEAN COBB EDGEL BENEDICT, 71, widow of Bernard EDGEL and wife of John BENEDICT, mother of Kim EDGEL, Connie WARREN and Shannan HULL, sister of Donna SWARTHOUT, Ronald, Larry and Robert COBB, Jr., daughter of Laura SIBLE & Robert COBB, Sr. Jean & Bernie ran the gas station, general store & lawn mower repair shop at Little Venice on M-50 at the east edge of Sunfield Township, where she was also Township Treasurer for many years. She married John BENEDICT in 2005 after both were widowed. John’s first wife was Marge COURSER BENEDICT, great-great-granddaughter of Sebewa Township pioneer settler, John FRIEND. Jean is buried in Sunfield Cemetery.
JEROME (JERRY) FRANK HALL, 67, husband of Betty Lou HOPPOUGH HALL, father of Betty Jo FORD, Benjamin and Jerome HALL II, brother of John HALL, Joanne SPEAS, Ethel ESPINOZA, Kathryn BEVAN and Susan TAFOYA, son of Ethel RAYMOND & Ellsworth HALL. Jerry farmed in Berlin and Orange Townships and operated Jerry’s Septic Service for 30 years. Jerry is buried in BALCOM Cemetery.
FRONT PAGE PHOTO OF REV. JOB PIERSON, CLIMATOLOGIST, LIBRARIAN, MAN OF WORDS
REVEREND JOB PIERSON 1824-1896
The original of the cover photo hangs on the wall in the back hall of Ionia Presbyterian Church. Job PIERSON was a minister in Ionia July 12, 1868 – July 12, 1878. While active in many religious and civic projects, he is perhaps best remembered for keeping the first and ongoing records of the daily weather statistics in Ionia, including readings of the river level, temperature highs & lows, rainfall & snow water equivalents. This task has been carried on for the past 13 years, in her back yard off Reimer Drive and on State Street Bridge, by Ionia Librarian Jane SAWTELL. Jane grew up in Holland, MI, and says she was interested in climatology since she was in Junior High, when she wrote a theme paper on the subject.
JOB PIERSON was born in Schaghticoke, NY, February 3, 1824, son of Clarissa BULKELEY and Job PIERSON, Sr., an attorney in Rensselaer County, NY. District Attorney and United States Congressman. After graduating from Williams College, Williamstown, MA, and Auburn Theological Seminary, Auburn, NY, the younger Job was pastor at Corning, NY, 1847-1849, West Stockbridge, MA 1849-1850, and was married to Rachel WILLIAMS SMITH of Gloucester, MA, in 1849.
He was appointed pastor at First Presbyterian Church, Catskill, NY, 1850-1853, and Pittsford, NY, 1853-1856. After a trip to Scotland, he was appointed pastor of a Presbyterian Church in Victor, NY, 1857-1863. In 1863 he was appointed to First Presbyterian Church in Kalamazoo, MI, and to Ionia First Presbyterian in 1868.
Job PIERSON was a trustee of both Olivet College (Congregational), where he received an Honorary Doctor of Divinity Degree, and Alma College, (Presbyterian) where he became Librarian after leaving Ionia in 1878. While there he completed and submitted 46,000 quotations to the Oxford English Dictionary. This was an effort continued by several editors over a period of nearly 70 years to catalog and annotate every word in the English Language at that time, fully defined, with preferred, variant, and obsolete spellings all listed, along with origins and pronunciations. Job retired from Alma College in 1892, but continued his work on the Oxford English Dictionary until his death February 3, 1896. Begun in 1860, the Dictionary was completed in 1928 and was 15,490 pages of single-spaced print defining 414,825 words! A revised edition in 20 volumes was published in 1989. The next edition could well be a million words in 40 volumes, but will be on dictionary.com instead!
Job reportedly also contributed some 400 items to the Encyclopedia Britannica of his day. These would have been longer articles than the 46,000 items he prepared for the Oxford English Dictionary. But being unable to verify this contribution in any contemporary edition, we do not present this report as fact.
EPHRAIM SHAY’S DIARY 1861-1863 Continued:
Alarm proofed to be false, caused by a party of pickets mistaking their comrades for the enemy, resulting in the killing of one and seriously wounding two more. Saturday August 10th – working on entrenchments. Sunday 11th – attending the funeral for one of my comrades. I acted as one of the guards. Fired the usual salute (three rounds) over the grave. 12th and 13th worked on entrenchments.
Wednesday 14th – I volunteered to mount picket with Lieut., had no adventure. Thursday 15th – being hungry we concluded to have breakfast. We went to an old Secesh and Lieut. Ordered our breakfast and feed for horses. After breakfast scouted the country and returned to came about 11 AM. Found my Co. on board the S. B. Hannibal City ready to go on an expedition up the river. I dismounted, got my stationery box, gun & accouterments and arrived at the wharf just as the boat was starting. The stern swinging near the wharf, I gave my box to a soldier – who threw it on board, my gun to another, and making a spring, caught on the edge of the wheel house and by exertion climbed on board.
Received three letters, which one of the boys had got in lost mail; one from Priscilla, Catherine, and John RICHARDS. Arrived at St. Geneviev, disembarked, took double quick and surround the town. I acted as sentinel. I being up all night was very sleepy and got permission to sleep a short time. Friday 16th – passed the day doing business for the Major, I being his clerk for the expedition. In afternoon I copied a proclamation for the printing office to publish. After its publication we embarked and left for St. Louis, after taking from the bank 58 thousand dollars, or rather nearly 59 thousand. On 17th copied a report for Genl. FREMONT giving particulars of our transactions. I remained on board boat all day. Sunday 18th – remained on board the boat, at 6 PM left for Cape Girardeau. 19th arrived at Cape at 4 AM. 20th, 21st, 22nd, 23rd, 24th, 25th spent at drill and finishing fortifications.
Monday August 26th – had a heavy march, went 7 miles to rout enemy which was reported there. Commenced to rain, could go no further, as orders were strict to go to a certain toll gate. Had to return in the rain, mud got very deep, had knapsack and accounterments besides wet clothes to carry, which with the mud worried us very much. I never was so near given out in my life. 27th, 28th, 29th spent finishing fortifications. 30th about dark marching orders arrive and at 9 we started. Arrived and surrounded the town (of Jackson) before daylight. My Co. took quarters in a vacated house, had lots of fun. A regular dance in evening, about midnight the house sounded like a menagerie. Someone woked and commenced to imitate a cat, others as fast as they woke up commenced imitating other animals. One a dog, another a turkey, some crowded like a rooster and such a mess of different imitations in the dead of the night sounded laughable enough to make the most crusty crack a smile.
Saturday August 31st – remaining in Jackson, boys had lots of adventure. Some women they had sold themselves by a fair bargain to some handsome lad, others engaged to be married as soon as the war closed. Sunday September 1st – at about noon scouts reported troops approaching, all fell in line. Proved to be Genl. PRENTISS with his command. He made us a speech, told us to let no secessionist insult us. Left at 2:00 for Cape Girardeau, made the march in 3 hr. 30 min.
Monday September 2nd – commenced making out Muster Rolls, 3rd, 4th, 5th busy making muster rolls. Friday 6th not doing much of anything – a little drill. Saturday 7th – received marching orders and struck out and encamped just on the edge of town. Monday 9th through Monday 16th occupied with usual business of camp life. Tuesday 17th Capt. SMITH arrived from Bloomington. Wednesday 18th – was alarmed at 11 o’clock, had to sleep in arms, at daylight out on color line. Many citizens leaving for the country Thursday 19th through Monday 30th.
Tuesday October 1st through Sunday 6th all spent with no occurrence of any note. Principal doings were drill and throwing up fortifications. Changed our camp from west to east side of town on the bank of the Tennessee. Monday 7th – heard heavy cannonading all day. Tuesday 8th through Monday 21st all spent with usual routine of camp life. On 21st received orders to march, left at 8 PM, marched to Viola, 19 miles distant, by 3 AM on Tuesday 22nd. Left again about 2 AM on 23rd and arrived in camp 11 AM about 1 mile from Viola. For the first time, except once in Ohio when washing sheep for Uncle John DRAKE I took a swallow of the liquid, I got very tired and could hardly go any farther. We had been marched with but one rest and that only of about 10 minutes. My Capt, although a temperate man, had a flask of liquor and induced me to take some. Did it because under the state I then was in I thought it necessary. Evening of 23rd had toothache very bad, went to hospital to have it extracted. Doctor broke it off, which increases the pain. Had to use chloroform to get out the rest.
Thursday October 24th – wrote Priscilla a letter. Friday 25th through Sunday 27th usual occupations of camp. Also 27th had a dress parade before Genl SMITH’S headquarters, returned to Genl WALLACE’S headquarters and he made a short speech. Told us that there was a regiment of Secesh calling themselves the Missouri 8th and possibly we might meet them. The boys seemed crazy with delight when he told them that if they said so, he would get a meeting of the two regiments. To a man they cried out “Do it! Do it!” Boys were all excited thinking they had sport ahead. Monday 28th – Col. SMITH sent a challenge to the Col. Of the Secesh 8th Missouri to meet him on equal footing anywhere between Mayfield and our camp.
Tuesday 29th – Mrs. FREMONT rode through camp, rumored that we are to leave for Cairo. Wednesday October 30th till Monday November 18th spent as usual in camp with drill and inspections and on 18th fell in line with Brigade and marched out 4 or 5 miles in country then returned. November 19th – company drill. Wednesday 29th at 2 o’clock fell in line and went down on the bank of the Ohio. Viewed the review of the 23rd Ill Chicago Artillery and Cavalry. In evening all the boys of our camp got out and commenced to yell like crazy men. The yell was answered by all camps within hearing. Soldiers in all parts, wherever they chanced to be, answered, and the Secesh, thinking something was about to happen, were scared nearly to death.
Thursday 21st – went through the form of a review. 22nd company drill and 23rd Capt SMITH went to Bloomington. Sunday 24th through Thursday 28th spent in company drill when weather would permit, it being quite cold part the time. 29th hail & sleet, very uncomfortable. 30th ground white with snow. Lieut PECKHAM left with his Co. for an expedition up the river to Caseyville, Illinois.
Sunday December 1st to Saturday 14th occupied with Co. drill, and on Sunday the 15th the whole Second Brigade met on our drill grounds.
To clear off the brush and trees for lots of space (for drill), we would take a large rope, tie it to the top of a large tree, and then all get hold of it and by digging a little around the roots, pull it up and draw it off from the grounds. Have seen about 1000 on the rope at one time, great sport! Several times the rope broke. In the end a string of perhaps a hundred trees were piled on the ground.
Sunday December 15th – started with inspection in morning, then wrote letters to Priscilla and Grandma. Meeting at 2 o’clock heard a Union preacher driven from the South. Then the Dress Parade at 4 and the Col took us down on the levee to drill us to see if we had forgotten it. Monday 16th – Second Co. Kentucky boys left for Smithland. Brigade continued pulling stumps. I did not go out. Tuesday 17th – Battalion drill at 10 o’clock. 18th usual camp occupations – retired early. At 9 PM order came to prepare for an expedition. Dressed myself, got ready, fell in line with Co. Went to Genl WALLACE’S headquarters, joined a Co of Illinois under Major ELSTIN with 11th Indiana and marched on. Arrived at Eddysville 4 AM on 19th. Sourrounded a house this die of town (took one prisoner). Then went to town, surrounded it. Found armed force of Secesh Cavalry, left in afternoon. The day before some of the boys got some Secesh trophies. One got a sash which had a Secesh flag on it, beautifully finished, worth at least $23. The way he found it was, as he was passing a house a man standing in the yard asked what his business was. He replied that he was in search of traitors. The man said he would not find them, but that before tomorrow night every Union man in turn would be hung and he would help do it. Frank, with gun in hand, closed the fence to take him prisoner. The Secesh took to his heels and went in house, Frank in pursuit. As Frank was searching a room under the stairs, he saw the sash and kept it. The Secesh got out of his sight and he could not find him.
I had no particular adventure. Once the party I belonged to thought we had surprised a camp, as we saw a fire resembling a camp fire and also heard a gun, as if giving an alarm. But on coming up it proved to be a man butchering hogs. We embarked on a boat at 11 AM and arrived at Paducah at 4 AM on Friday 20th. 21st thru 24th nothing but drills. Wednesday December 25th – no drill in evening, heard a scuffle out in camp, saw a Sgt taking a man to the guard house.
Prisoner attempted to run, Sgt fired at him with his revolver, but missed. A wonder that the ball could go through camp without hitting someone. It passed over the heads of two boys in one tent, passing through the tent near the top. It was a carelss piece of work, proper enough to shoot the prisoner for trying to get away, but dangerous among so many. Friday 27th – commenced to book up clothing in account, make out receipt bill. 28th making out Muster Roll to muster in for payment.
Sunday 29th – busy on clothing account muster rolls, and Brg Genl WALLACE went on a scout with 200 Cavalry. Monday 30th – this morning at 1 o’clock Genl WALLACE was near Camp Beauregard, returned to Viola. Secesh came up on trail and fired on him at Viola. He being in command was principal mark. After the first fire, he turned to them and told them if they wanted to get him, they must make better shots, then put spurs to his horse and got out of the way. He chose a position out in a field to await attack, but enemy fled after first fire, there being 4 times the number of enemy.
He sent for reinforcements. Genl SMITH sent out 11th Indiana, 9th Illinois, and orders positive to return immediately without fail. WALLACE bit his lip at such orders, but needed to obey. He with his reinforcements could have easily whipped the Secesh, but if they should also be reinforced, it might lead to a premature battle, which would spoil the plan of taking Columbus. Perhaps he did well in obeying, had he been the victor he would have been court-martialed. Two Cos of the 8th now went out to sustain the pickets if necessary. Night passed quietly. Tuesday 31st – usual drill, I worked on Muster Rolls in afternoon.
Wednesday January 1st, 1862 – in morning was mustered for pay, no drill or fatigue duty today, boys had lots of sport. I was in town twice during the day, saw Corpl HAYES (now a 1st Lieut. in Indiana 11TH) who was so conspicuous in a skirmish party of 13 against about 73 of the enemy. They killed 42 and lost but one man, and he was killed after they left. Being wounded, he was left at a private house, where the Secesh found and killed him. HAYES was wounded also, but got back to camp. He is a large man about 40 years old. About noon a number of boys mounted on mules, armed with everything imaginable from a clip & a pair of revolvers to wooden swords, included no two dressed alike, nor any two with the same kind of weapon, made lots of sport. They called themselves the Secesh Cavalry. In the afternoon a lot of boys calling themselves the Secesh Infantry visited our camp, clad similar to the cavalry and if possible more comical. Some of our boys got a pair of wheels of different sizes, mounted a log on it, and went down town performing all the drill of a light battery. The whole town was all excitement, sports of all kinds helped to make a Merry New Year.
January 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, spent making Quarterly Returns, finishing Muster Rolls and squaring Clothing Account. 7th drill & making out requisitions, drew my quarterly amount of stationery at night. As I sit writing a band is serenading one of our officers not 100 feet from me. The music is excellent. Wednesday 8th – a very rainy day. I have been principally engaged in writing this diary. Thursday 9th – warm, damp, foggy day, roads very muddy, spent day getting ready to march. Orders came about 9 AM to be ready at 3 PM, but it was postponed until tomorrow morning. Can get no clue as to our destination, but guess is we are going to prevent reinforcements from going from Bowling Green, to Columbus. I guess an attack on Columbus is meditated. Have heard heavy guns firing occasionally through the day.
Friday morning 10th – 23 minutes past 5 I have had my breakfast and only wait the order to march. It is a pleasant morning, warm but very muddy. I expect that it will be the last morning spent by many in Paducah. Appearances look as if a formidable blow was about to be made, which will make Succession tremble, I hope. Preparations have been going on long enough to be ready, although I fear we are not. I may be mistaken, but from the best information I have, our force is too small to make a short battle, and it will be long and bloody. One must surely conquer. The boys are all excitement getting ready. The wagon is here and I must soon go help load it. Each takes 4 tents and about 6 or 8 days’ provisions. Yesterday provisions were being loaded all day at the Post Commissary. Nearly all the supplies have left.
No mail came last night, but I must stop writing. It is now evening and I am no nearer Camp Beauregard or Columbus than I was this morning, although our wagon was loaded, our knapsacks packed, haversacks with 48 hours provisions in them. Still our preparation was useless, as the march was contramanded, were in line at 8 AM, went down to headquarters, got all in readiness, waiting for the command forward, when we were ordered back to quarters with instructions to be ready at a moment’s notice. On Daily Parade this evening an order was read countermanding the previous order and to march at 8 AM tomorrow. What all this means I cannot tell. The roads were very bad today, being extremely muddy from recent rains, and about noon the weather looked threatening, in fact it did rain some. I was much disappointed, thinking this morning the time for an advance had come. Perhaps this is but a delay, we are still ordered to be ready at any moment. Each man must have two days provisions in his haversack all the while. For now it is bedtime.
Saturday, January 11th – 12:30 PM had Co. drill and dress parade this forenoon, no order to march yet, expecting it hourly. The reason we did not go yesterday, as near as I can learn, is that 17,000 troops to have arrived at Cairo yesterday did not come, consequently the delay. General WALLACE was ordered to Cairo day before yesterday and he received orders to have the forces in Paducah in marching order. At 4 AM yesterday he returned and did so, but by 4 o’clock received a dispatch to defer marching until 8 AM. He did so and at 8 we were in line.
No order to advance arrived, so we came back to camp for dinner. A boat brought orders to be ready to march as soon as the 17,000 from up the river reach Cairo, and now we are momentarily expecting the command. The telegraph line did not work yesterday, owning to being blown down, it is now all right. 8:30 PM news came by the boat that their 13,000 troops are crossing at Cairo, Il. All the while about 18,000 of our troops are expected at Cairo from up the river at any moment. In all probability we will leave this place tonight or tomorrow. This evening about 2 PM one of the Indiana 11th boys was killed by a clerk in a grocery store a few steps from our camp. From what I hear, the soldier was drunk and asked for some liquor. While the clerk was getting it, the soldier took a bottle which was near and poured the whiskey into his canteen and then started to go out. The clerk saw him and threw a weight at him, knocking him down, and as he was getting up again, threw another, striking him near the right temple, which caused his death in a short time. I hear they have caught the fellow and that he will be hung tomorrow morning. This fell ow is known to be a strong secessionist and killing the soldier as he did is thought to make him a hero.
Sunday 12th – morning warm and comfortable to go around in short sleeves, evening uncomfortably cold with overcoats on. Have heard nothing of the fellow who killed one of the Indiana boys last evening. Expect that he is in the Provost Marshall’s Guard House. No move has been made yet, hourly expecting orders to fall in line and take up the line of march. Papers brought by today’s mail say that the movement now on foot is destined up the Tennessee River. I think not, though it may be so. The plan is a favorable one, but my guess is the movement will go straight down the Mississippi to Columbus, KY.
Sunday January 19th – I never saw as bad roads as we traveled yesterday and today. We have worked hard both days and gained only about 2 miles, it’s discouraging. Tonight we encamp in a pleasant place in the openings. We are now in a Secesh neighborhood, the headquarters of Clay KING and his band. Two wealthy Secesh only a few roads ahead from our camp have left with all their movable effects such as could be got away with. Half their meat, groceries, beds, and such were left behind, which the boys use. Also much of their stock, all the sheep & hogs. Such are the effects of civil war, I hope it will soon cease. Monday 20th – today, by cutting our roads through the woods, we succeeded in making a good day’s march. Passed several Secesh houses which were known by the owners leaving them. The Union men staid at home glad to see us. Passed through a nursery and encamped nine miles from the Tennessee River. Tuesday 21st – reached the river, found the gun boat LEXINGTON and the transport WILSON awaiting us, commenced unloading commissary. Wednesday 22nd – finished unloading. The gun boat went up to Fort Henry once or twice through the day, examining the fort. They threw a few shots at a Rebel boat DUNBAR, which they met coming down the river last evening to reconnoiter. Also at some pickets on shore, some at the fort. Thursday 23rd – left camp for a march to Paducah. By gun boat last night orders came from Genl. GRANT to return to that battle. The boys all wanted to take Fort Henry, but we could not disobey orders, so returned. Reached Paducah on Saturday 25th about 3 o’clock PM.
Sunday 26th – resting from our march. The rains lately have raised the river very high. I feel rather dull today, a long march has quite an effect. A rumor that we (8th Missouri) are to join Jim Lane’s command. The 55th Illinois came here while we were away and they say they are to take our place. Things look a little as though we are going to leave. The paymaster is here and I guess we will get our pay soon. I received five letters last night, one from Priscilla, one from Jane, one from Kate, one from Zella, and one from Jay.
Monday 27th – writing letters, went to levee a short time, concluded to get a transfer to our gun boat if possible. Wrote a letter to Commodore FOOTE. Milo & Frank are going with me if we can get the transfer. Tuesday 28th – today have been busy getting the payrolls signed and clothing accounts signed. Received our money up to Dec 31st. Boys having a boisterous time, their money is being spent very freely. I can hardly believe my eyes when I see boys, who have worked so hard & undergone hardship, get their money then spend it as freely as if it cost nothing. I believe many a boy will contract habits while soldiering which he will never entirely overcome. What an account the causes of this war will have to face at the final day.
Wednesday 29th – rainy day, did nothing but a little writing. Thursday 30th – Capt SMITH being appointed Quartermaster for 2nd Brigade, detached me to act as Forage Master. Friday 31st – issued hay & grain orders, quite busy.
Saturday February 1st – busy issuing orders and receiving hay & grain, 2nd issued but little, it being Sunday, all issuing delayed to Monday except urgent cases. Went up to Co. D 8th Missouri a short time visiting at hospital, after supper wrote letter to Jay HENDERSON. Rumors that we march tomorrow, no orders here yet to that effect. Monday 3rd – issuing forage orders. 4th – issuing orders and packing Quartermaster stores to move. TO BE CONTINUED.
PORTLAND OBSERVER, February 22, 1912: Clarence SAYER of Sebewa has been appointed Ionia County agent for the Everitt and R. C. H. motor cars.
PORTLAND OBSERVER, February 20, 1936: Dr. & Mrs. Roy PRYER of Danby left this morning for the South. They will go to Melbourne, Florida, where they will spend some time with Mr. & Mrs. L. H. WADSWORTH.
PORTLAND OBSERVER, February 17, 1886: Several guests were invited to Squire Porter’s residence Thursday evening to celebrate the 17th birthday of his son Wellie. (Wellington married Morna FRIEND, second youngest daughter of John FRIEND, both families being from Sebewa).
Last update November 10, 2013