Sebewa Recollector
Items of Genealogical Interest

Volume 42 Number 3
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. 
December 2006, Volume 42, Number 3.  Submitted with written permission of Editor Grayden D. Slowins:




DOROTHY M. MINIKEY ANDREWS, 82, widow of Raymond ANDREWS, mother of Michael ANDREWS, Stuart ANDREWS who once lived in Sebewa, Kristine YATES, Pamela DRUMMOND of Ionia and Deborah BLUNDY of Sebewa, and the late Evelyn WILDER, sister of Lyle MINIKEY, Ruth WOODBURY, and the late Donald MINIKEY, Opal WILSON and Helen HAGEN, daughter of Fred & Eva HOPKINS MINIKEY.  Formerly employed at Chrysler Lyons Trim Plant, she continued in home crafts of sewing, knitting, painting and woodworking. 

HAZEL MARGARET JACKSON COLE, 76, widow of A. Russell COLE, mother of Faith RICHARD and John PORTER, sister of Hugh JACKSON, Hertha FRANKS, Hope HART and the late Helen HAGER, Hilda PORTER and Harold JACKSON, daughter of Frank A. JACKSON & Golda A. SOUTHWELL, daughter of Henry SOUTHWELL & Minnie LOWE, daughter of Henrietta & Dayton Otho LOWE, son of Clarissa & Egbert Y. LOWE, who owned and operated in partnership with Ionia County Clerk Charles L. HALLADAY, the sawmill located on Sebewa Creek at MUSGROVE Hwy, nest to the proposed Coldwater, Marshall & Mackinaw Railroad bed, and originally built by Jonathan INGALLS’ son-in-law and grandson-in-law, John F. TERRILL and Anson W. HALBERT.  Hazel was buried in Sunfield Cemetery, the LOWES and SOUTHWELLS are in East Sebewa Cemetery. 

MARJORIE MARIE AVES SWILER, 83, widow of Harold KASSNER SWILER, mother of Wayne Arlo SWILER, Lorraine Lois SWILER, Linda Louise FOX, Carol Lynn ENGLE and Doris Jean SUTTON, sister of Ottice Elaine AUSTIN, Norma Lucille BEVER and Mary Christine TOWNER, daughter of Arlow AVES & Mildred LEAK, daughter of Hermine BULLING & Edwin LEAK, son of Mary Ann DAY & David LEAK, son of Christopher LEAK & Mary WOODS, who came to Sebewa Township from Donington, Lincolnshire, England, before our Civil War.  Arlo AVES was son of Estella GREINER & Charles AVES, son of Harriet CATT & Charles AVES, Sr., son of Elizabeth AVES.  Estella GREINER was daughter of Christina & Peter GREINER.  Marjorie & Wayne were lifelong farmers and world & national travelers.  Buried in North Eagle Cemetery, the LEAKS and AVES in West Sebewa Cemetery. 

GORDON LEE VanHOUTEN, 74, husband of Phyllis MARTIN VanHOUTEN, father of Deborah STEPHENS and Stephen VanHOUTEN, brother of Ruth Ann SANFT, David VanHOUTEN, Alice HILL, Louella MEYERS and the late Bud WHITE, son of Alma BUCK & C. Wayne VanHOUTEN, son of Amanda BRADEN & John Jacob VanHOUTEN, son of John Henry VanHOUTEN & Betsey Ann RYDER, daughter of Elsia E. & Stephen RYDER, who came to Sebewa Township in 1854, just before the birth of John Jacob VanHOUTEN in 1855.  Gordon sold cars at BERGER Motors in Ionia and WITTENBACH Motors in Lowell, and played in The Proper Strangers band for thirty years and then at the Commission on Aging. 

JULIA LORENA CASSEL WHORLEY, 92, widow of L. Carlton WHORLEY, mother of William C. WHORLEY, James T. WHORLEY and Alice Yvonne WHORLEY, sister of the late Elta HOFFMAN, Jennie FENDER BRUNDAGE, Emma KNISELY, Alice SCHLOSSER and Joseph CASSEL, daughter of Florence FRANKS & J. Franklin CASSEL, son of Catherine & James CASSEL.  Florence FRANKS CASSEL was daughter of Julia SHANNON & Andrew FRANKS, who settled in Sebewa before 1891.  Julia was a farmer all her life, was a housekeeper in Lansing before marriage, retired after 27 years at General Tire and its predecessors in Ionia, and was an avid reader all her life.  Buried in Easton Cemetery.


   Worcester ENGLISH was first to locate in the permanent settlement in Boston Township, in January, 1837 and the second settler was Timothy WHITE who arrived in March that same year.  Mr. WHITE opened his home for weary travelers and all down through the years it was known as WHITE’S Tavern.  This farm has remained in the family since and is presently owned by his great-great-grandson and wife, James FRED and Jacqueline CAHOON.  DESIGNATED A SESQUICENTENNIAL FARM IN 1987.

EPHRAIM SHAY’S DIARY 1861-1863   Continued:

   Wednesday February 5th – started for boat at 12 o’clock AM, left at one, and now at 8 PM are near our stopping place, as lights are seen ahead.  Thursday 6th – boys are all excitement, getting 2 days rations and preparing to leave the boat.  Rumors that the enemy have evacuated the Fort after burning everything inside it.  Also that a Secesh General is 10 miles out in the country stuck in the mud.  I do not credit them.  At 11 o’clock the 11th Indiana takes the lead, nest Chicago Artillery, then (our) 8th Missouri.  The balance of the Regts I cannot tell the names of from here. 

   At 11:45 AM the signal to prepare to go to the front is run up.  It consists of 4 flags, the uppermost being 2 blue stripes, one white, one red.  Next flag all white, next white with a small square of blue in the corner, the last has 2 red and one white stripe.  At this signal all the boats commenced to fire up and at 12 started.  At 12:30 the gun boats are under way, the 5 ironclad boats ahead, the 3 wood gun boats behind.  The TYLER in the center, CONESTOGA on the left, LEXINGTON on the right.  1:30 PM the ball has commenced, the gun boats have opened fire on the fort.  1:50 firing grows heavier.  There goes a broadside.  I can see the smoke as the breeze blows it eastward, and I hear nothing from the Infantry watching the fight.  2 PM – there goes the 128 pound gun in the fort, now the firing is not so heavy, now it increases.

   The troops from the east side have only half of them gone from appearances.  Our Regt is on the west side.  Now that they have orders to fall in, they do it with a yell of delight.  The Regt is now in motion, it is 2:16 PM, light firing continues.  The WHB is coming down the river.  The Capt is waving his hat, the news is good I guess.  The firing has nearly ceased, the WHB is now going back.  A gun boat is floating down, it is the ESSEX.  The WHB goes up to the gunboat and seems to speak to her.  2:50 PM – the firing has ceased, the fight has lasted about 80 minutes.

   It doesn’t seem possible that the fort is taken so soon, staid on board the boat.  Friday 7th – early the ferry BULLET crossed the river, coaled up, and went to the fort.  I got off and examined the fort, saw the effects of cannon balls, saw the rifled cannon – the only one in the fort – bursted, also some of the men which it killed.  One had his head and arms blown off, another his skull mashed, another his throat nearly cut off, and all were burned black by the powder, their clothes entirely off around their breasts.  Saw the prisoners, about 80, got a complet idea of the fierce power of the balls from the gun boats, as I saw one which was half buried.  Saw many shotguns, knives, a Secesh Col’s uniform.

   Within about an hour after landing at the fort, we crossed the river and lashed fast opposite our camps, or rather Fort Helman, I believe that is the name of it.  Saturday 8th – remained on the boat.  Sunday 9th –remained on boat, going back and forth to camp occasionally.  Monday 10th – same.  Tuesday 11th – removed to camp on hill just behind the unfinished fort.  Wednesday 12th – straighting up the tent, drawing some forage, and wrote a letter to Jim.  Lieut. WHITE gave me a letter which came from Jim.

   Thursday 13th – busy in tent in afternoon running balls for revolver. Some boys here had a little skirmish with the enemy today.  From what I hear, it appears that 12 men sent in word that they were Union men and wanted to take the oath of allegiance and would meet at a certain school house 3 miles distant from camp.  Accordingly, by the Col’s orders, the 28th Illinois sent a Co. of armed men out there.

   They had hardly got to the place mentioned, when some 4 or 5 hundred Secesh Cavalry surrounded or attempted to surround them, but our boys soon cleared out and fetched the 12 men prisoners into camp.  Some boys of my Co. were out on a foraging excursion today and were fired on by 11 mounted men.  They returned the fire with but little damage apparently, one horse seemed wounded.

   The forces which went to attack Fort Donaldson are today having hot work from reports.  I lean that our gunboats shelled them out of the fort and that our infantry had them surrounded.  About 17,000 on each side are engaged.  We have 10,000 on the opposite side of the river.  Lieut. WHITE was within 4 miles of the fort today, he told me what I have written.  He says our loss most probably will be heavy.

   Friday 14th – this morning about 43 o’clock our Regt. and Indiana 11th left camp for Fort Donaldson, the fight continues there with much spirit.  They took only their blankets, haversacks, etc.  The winter snow evens the ground and melts but little.  Towards noon very heavy fire, which continued for several hours, was heard.  Occasional heavy guns are heard till late in the night.

   Today I bought a stove.  It is a regular cooking stove with oven & it cost $10.00  I am so situated I cannot hire my cooking, and unless I have things convenient, cannot do it myself.  My partners will bear half the expense.  Saturday 15th – snowed a little more last night, heavy firing heard all night, which continues today.  Our troops are now doing the heaviest fighting ever done in the United States.  I only wish I could be present with my comrades, but someone must attend to things in absence of the Regt. and I do not know as I am any better to do it than anyone else.  I hear rumors, but cannot credit any of it.

   Cold day melting only a little on the east side of the hill, can hear heavy guns yet at 10 o’clock PM.  Sunday 16th – heard firing this morning, rumor came in camp that our boys were hotly engaging the enemy.  Yet another rumor came in camp tonight that the fort is ours, that the enemy surrendered at 10 AM today.  Also that Capt. SWARTHOUT was killed.  Later rumors state that Col. SMITH is killed.

   I do not credit the report, although it may be true.  8 o’clock PM a very bright and large illumination visible in the direction of Fort Henry.  Drums or rather martial music and bands are heard over near Fort Henry.  I think it is a jubilee over the fall of Fort Donaldson. I think the illumination is also an exultation over the fall of a Secesh stronghold.  Monday 17th – news of Fort Donaldson still arrives, I can hardly credit all I hear.  My Regt. got back to camp tonight.  I had a splendid supper for some of my Co. officers.  I have not time to write particulars of the fight.  Tuesday 18th – busy turning over horses and moving, at 2 AM, stores down near the river.  My Capt. is now QM of all forces this side of the river at Fort Helman.

   Wednesday February 19th – busy issuing forage and opening books for forage accounts.  Thursday 20th through Friday 28th usual work of issuing forage.  Saturday March 1 through Tuesday 4th issuing forage.  Wednesday March 5th – Capt. SMITH transferred.  All QM & Commissary stores transferred to F. BILAPP, former QM of 8th Missouri.  Thursday 6th – commenced packing up all stores preparatory to embarking on S B to go on an expedition up the Tennessee River.  Got everything which we wished to take with us on S.B. TELEGRAPH NO. 3.  By dark, balance of QM and Commissary turned over to QM of 2nd Illinois.         TO BE CONTINUED

SUGGESTED COLOR TOUR – Saturday, October 21, 2006:

1.  Greenview Point – travel from Ionia through Lyons on Riverside Drive to this park, named in honor of Governor Fred W. GREEN of Ionia, who often stopped there on his way to or from the Capitol in Lansing, 1927-1930.  Back then M-21 ran along Riverside Drive south of the river.  Circle back through Lyons to:

2.  Muir – Superior (Main) Street – once a manufacturing town for doors, window sashes, and blinds (shutters), there were three large sawmills along the river-front south of Superior Street.  Logs came down the Maple River in Springtime high water and were separated by men with pike-poles who rode them.  Then take HAYES & BORDEN Roads to:

3.  Hubbardston and Matherton – quiet gristmill towns on Fish Creek, above the Maple River.  Vandals burned the stately, but long-closed mills.  Travel on down Hubbardston Road past:

4.  DEVERAUX Sawmill – a large, modern, state-of-the-art, lumber manufacturing concern on Hubbardston Road at Nickelplate Road, and on to:

5.  Pewamo – plotted by Ionia’s John BLANCARD and named for his childhood American Indian playmate, it was once home to a large Allis-Chalmers farm machinery dealership.  Jig & jog east on Park Road, south ¼ mile on Clintonia Road, and west on DEXTER Trail to:

6.  SPAULDING Cemetery – a pioneer cemetery on DEXTER Trail near SPAULDING Road, named for Perry SPAULDING’S and Barb SPAULDING HOLLON’s ancestors, who lived across the corner on what has long been the Carl KRAMER farm.  Come south seven miles on SPAULDING Road to Looking Glass Avenue and jog east into Clinton County on Clintonia, Cutler, Monroe, Howe, and Peake Roads, to get across the Looking Glass River and back into Ionia County.  Then south on Charlotte Hwy. to Towner Road, west to Okemos Road, and south to:

7.  SHIMNECON (Me-Shim-Ne-Conning) – site of a former American Indian village/campground.  Chief OKEMOS is buried there.  There is a monument for the chief’s grave and an Indian Mission church, store, and Danby Township Hall once stood there.  Back-track to Charlotte Hwy and across the beautiful new bridge to MUSGROVE Hwy. and west to:

8.  Jonathan INGALLS’ grave – 0.4 miles south on KEEFER Hwy., this is for Sebewa Township’s very own Revolutionary War Veteran.  There are just four buried in Ionia County – Snow Cemetery, Letts Cemetery, and Smyrna Cemetery have the other three.  Kent County has only one and there are only 137 total in Michigan.  Then north on KEEFER, west on BIPPLEY Road, skipping past one mill site and railroad bed on to MUSGROVE Hwy. to:

9.  Sebewa’s second dam and mill site on Sebewa Creek – where one little old mill still exists.  Then on west to SHILTON Road and:

10.  Sebewa’s new Township Hall – a short tour includes the nice restrooms available, plus gas heat, air conditioning, handicap parking and entrance at ground level, all the comforts for election workers.

(Editor’s Note:  In February 1991 and August 1998 The Sebewa RECOLLECTOR carried articles on the founding of Boston Township, Ionia County, in 1837, and the first platting of Saranac in 1835-1836, which was never recorded.  The first Boston settler was Worcester ENGLISH, in January 1837, followed by Timothy WHITE in March 1837, then James TALLANT and Jesse WILLIAMS in May 1837, and Harvey HATCH in 1843.  ENGLISH, TALLANT, WILLIAMS, and HATCH were married to four of the five sisters of Timothy WHITE.  ENGLISH arrived first, so the community  was known as ENGLISH Settlement for a while, otherwise it probably should have been called WHITE Settlement in honor of the women.  This issue has a reprint from the Ionia County News of April 8, 1927, telling the story by a woman who was there almost from the beginning.)

   Mrs. Harriet HATCH SHERMAN, 86, well-known former resident of Boston Township, who now resides with her son, George SHERMAN, in Grand Rapids, has written an interesting article for the NEWS on historical incidents of many decades ago.  She describes the hardships and modes of living when the south part of Boston and most of Campbell Townships were a vast wilderness.

   She has many relatives in Ionia County, and a host of friends.  The homesteads mentioned in the story are on the new M-16 in Boston Township, near the overhead bridge (railroad – west county line).

   (The Robert KIETZMAN family owns the Worchester ENGLISH farm.  The J. Fred CAHOON family owns the Timothy WHITE farm next west, with 170 unbroken years of family ownership.  The Harvey HATCH farm was next west of Timothy WHITE and has long been the PARSONS family farm.  The James TALLANT and Jesse WILLIAMS farms were across the road from WHITE and have been split several times.)

   Her (Mrs. Harriet HATCH SHERMAN’s) story is as follows, (written in 1927):

In the Fall of 1843, my father, Harvey HATCH, with his family left the town of Monroe, Ashtabula County, Ohio, for the far west Michigan.  Friends and neighbors gathered at the old home to say good-bye, for they never expected to see us again.  They all cried and felt bad, but after the last good-bye was said, with a crack of the whip and a “get up” to the oxen, the covered wagon started on the long journey.  The women and children rode, while the men walked and drove the cattle.  I was only four and one-half years old, so will write as I remember the happenings of the trip and after arriving in Michigan.

   They used to let my older brother John and me out of the wagon to pick wintergreen whenever we came to some.  The wagons would soon be out of sight in the thick woods, then he would tell me we would never see the wagons again and that the bears would get us.  Then he would have to stay in the wagon a while.  I remember them tell when we got to the other side of the Maumee Swamp, which was near Toledo, that we were well on the way and that was the worst of going west.  Everyone dreaded the swamp.  I cannot tell how many days it took to reach the swamp, but when we reached there we stayed at what was called in those days a tavern.

   I must tell you a story about the Maumee Swamp, which took place several years later.  It was told at the South Boston Grange Hall by an old lady from Lowell.  She said they were driving from the State of New York to a place in Michigan called Sandstone (a Township in Jackson County, east of Parma).

   When they reached the Maumee Swamp they put up for the night at the tavern.  The next morning they started through the swamp, but at night went back to the same tavern and spent the night.  This they did for five days and nights, and I have often wondered if the oxen were hitched to the wrong end of the wagon.

   Well, to return to our journey. I think we were a little more progressive, as we went straight through and never turned back.  The next thing was to reach the “settlement” as it was called.  We came by way of Battle Creek and Whitneyville.  Our last night on the road was at John CHATTERDON’S, near CRONIER’S Corners, two miles east of Whitneyville.

   The next I remember hearing them say, we had struck the turnpike, which was near the NEEDHAM farm.  From there we went east until we reached the top of HATCH Hollow, where we had our first breakdown.  It was just night and there we were in the woods.  It was dark and cold and snowing a little. There was no other way but to walk, so brother Oscar took me on his back and started on the Indian trail, the only road to our Uncle Timothy WHITE’S, a mile and a half.

   I remember I heard a hoot owl and I was afraid, but brother said “That is only a bird; it won’t hurt you”.  I thought it made the biggest noise of any bird I ever saw.  But after a while he said he could see a light, and we were soon at Uncle Tim’s back door.  We went in and there was a big fire in the fireplace.  It looked good to us for we were cold and hungry.  Aunt Roxinda soon had a hot supper ready.  Uncle Tim started out with his oxen and tin lantern to help the rest find their way to the house.

   The next morning the neighbors came to see us.  They were all aunts, uncles and cousins.  Just before we arrived an uncle, Jessee WILLIAMS, had died, which cast a gloom over the settlement.  My father then took up his own homestead, just west of Uncle Tim’s, the lands joining.  The first thing was to clear a place and build a house, so they went to work and soon had us the largest log house around – we had two rooms (!).  We moved in when our household goods came.  They had been shipped by boat from Conneaut, Ohio, to Grand Haven, Michigan, where they were transferred to the river boats and sent to Grand Rapids, then our folks had to drive there and get them.

   The next 4th of July, the first celebration ever held in Ionia County was held at our house, which stood exactly where the Parson’s house now stands.  They brought a cannon from Grand Rapids and hired a man by the name of Thomas HOWE to fire it.  It made quite a noise.  The celebration lasted all day and at night the partition was taken out of the house and they danced until broad daylight.  Talk about good things to eat!  Well, you should have been there.

   The next year the celebration was held in Ionia, but we children could not attend, so we decided to have one of our own.  We took soft soap and scrubbed our corn crib out so we could have a tavern; then we borrowed Mrs. TALLANT’S big wooden cradle for the women to put their babies in.  The boys got all the caps (for guns) along the street and got a big stone ready for the cannon.  About 10 o’clock my father got about 25 or 30 of us children lined up for the big parade.  For drums we had woodchuck hides stretched over hoops, and a hog’s bladder filled with stones to shake, tin pans to bang, etc.  Well, we marched up the road and back.

   Then my brother would lay the caps on the big stone and hit them with a hammer – that was our cannon.  We sang songs, spoke pieces, and had lunch.  Then my mother would sing, then we’d fire the cannon again, and so on all day.  I think it was the best celebration I ever had.  I remember a little Indian boy being there.  We thought he would do something, but all he did was sit under a tree and laugh.

   The next thing that happened was the drowning in PRATT Lake of Mr. KINNIE and Orvis ABBOTT, a cousin.  At that time there was no cemetery.  They didn’t know where to lay those bodies, so my Uncle Tim WHITE gave to the Township of Boston the southeast corner of his farm, with the understanding that all lots were to be free.  So Mr. KINNIE and Mr. ABBOTT were the first to be laid to rest in the South Boston Cemetery.

   Now I will tell you how Boston got its name.  One of the first families to settle here was James TALLANT.  He came from the City of Boston, Mass.  He used to be a coachman for a Dr. PARKER there, and Mr. TALLANT’S brother was Mayor of Boston, Mass., so the people gave the Township the name BOSTON also.

   We used to call what is now CAMPBELL Township “Over in the Timberland” for there was not a family there. But after a while word reached us a family had moved into “The Timberland”.  My father and uncle Tim WHITE said they must go over, hunt them up, and make a road to them.  They found them.  They had built a small shanty to live in.  Their names were Martin and Perry CAMPBELL, and their sister, Mrs. HINES.  So they began to talk about giving the timberland a name.  Someone said to name it after the first settlers, so it was called CAMPBELL Township.

   About this time Uncle Tim WHITE began to talk about building a new house.  So the men went to the pineries in the winter and cut the logs and sawed the timber.  In the spring it was floated down the river.  It took a long time for all the work to be done by hand.  In those days the house was framed on the ground, then when it was ready they would have a raising, all the men in the neighborhood would get together and put up the house.  Well, the raising day came for Uncle Tim’s house.  My father bossed the job and the other men had pike poles.  He stood in front of the raisers with his hat in his hand and would shout “All together – he! ho! he!” – and then up it would go a little, then the men would rest on their pike poles.  Then “All together – he! ho! he!” – and so on until it was in place.  Then when the frame had all been put in place, the men lined up in front of it, took off their hats and gave three cheers for Lady POLK.  POLK was President from 1845 to 1849, so it must have been about 1847 or 1848 that the house was built.  POLK was a Democrat and so was my uncle.

   The house is still standing and has never been out of the family since they settled there in the spring of 1837.  One of Uncle Tim’s daughters, Mrs. Ora MORTON, lived there all her life.  Since her death several years ago, his great-granddaughter, Mrs. Maurice CAHOON, and husband are living there.  The same brass knobs are on the doors that were put on when the house was built.  I sat all day on the rail fence across the road and watched the raising of the house.

   The next thing to mar the pleasure of the place happened in the month of May.  We had a cyclone which blew our house roof off.  I had two brothers sick in bed with the ague, and all the men in the neighborhood had gone to PRATT Lake to wash sheep, which was the custom in those days.  As soon as it stopped raining the neighbors came to see if we were all right. 

   Then they began to worry about the men at the lake.  After a while we saw my father coming.  He looked worried and Mother said “Where are the rest, are they killed?”  But they were all right and when he found out we were all safe, he said he must go back to the lake, for at the time the storm struck, Ephraim, my brother, was on the lake in an Indian Canoe and they had not seen him since.

   “But don’t worry” was all he could say.  I shall never forget how my mother prayed for the safety of that boy.  At night he came home.  The storm had taken his paddles, he just had to sit still and let the canoe go as it would, finally bringing him to shore.  You may know how thankful we all were.

   Someone, in writing about the HATCH family some time ago, said they lived on the corner where the South Boston M. E. Church used to stand.  This is not correct, for when the HATCHES owned that place the house stood exactly where the Parson’s house now stands and the corner was an Indian camping ground.  There I spent many happy days playing with the Indian children.

   Now I will tell you something about Lowell, as it is now called.  Uncle Tim WHITE rented his farm to Mr. Sears STORY and moved to Flat River, as we called it then.  There was not a bridge across the Grand River then.  There was a stage running from Grand Rapids to Portland that carried mostly land-lookers.  They had to have a stopping plane, so Uncle Tim built and ran the first tavern, which stood where the PULLIN Block now stands (in Lowell).  About this time they called the town Dansville, after a fur trader by the name of Daniel MARSAE.  Not many liked this name, so they talked about another.  Mr. WHITE came from Lowell, Mass., so some said “Let’s honor him by calling it Lowell”, which name still remains.

   Then they began to talk about a bridge across Grand River, for in the summer they had to ferry at the mouth of the Flat River and in the winter they crossed on the ice near where John LEWIS now lives.  So the upper bridge was built.  Then came the steamboats.  Some thought people were crazy to think of such a thing, but not long after that the “Daniel BALL”, the “John BALL” and the “Humming Bird” came steaming up the Grand, and I rode on all of them.

   Next came the railroad, the Detroit, Grand Haven & Milwaukee, the first cars I ever saw.  I went to Frogville, two miles east of Lowell, near the Henry ALDEN farm, where the road ended at that time.  There was a man by the name of Ben WRIGHT that ran the bus between Lowell and Frogville.  I also remember the first postmaster in Lowell, Frank WHITE’S grandfather.  In those days it cost 10 cents to send a letter to Ohio, all letters were sealed with red wax.

  I have heard the blowing of the stage horn, the screeching of the boat whistles and railroad engines, the whooping of Indians, the whistle of the Whip-poor-will, howling dogs at cooning and the howl of the wolf.  I have seen the slaying of the bear and the deer.  I have felt the sting of the flea and mosquito, which gave us plenty of exercise, have felt the shake of the ague, but non hindered old age.

   I haven’t told you how pleased everyone was when we heard C. S. HOOKER and son John were talking of going to Flat River to build a grist mill.  When it was built and ready for grinding, we felt that our bread was at our door, as when we first came to Michigan everyone went to Kalamazoo for flour and provisions, taking a week to go with the ox team.  Later a mill was erected at Ionia, then at Lowell. 

   I have not mentioned that Flat River was an Indian village, so will tell you a little of the Indians.  Every year they raised Indian corn, then when it was ripe they had a “Green Corn” dance, which was a great affair.  A white dog was killed, cooked with the corn, and Indians came from far and near to the feast, which lasted into the night. 

   We could hear the tom-toms at our house.  Then, when they drew their payment of $25 and a blanket each, young and old, they would go to Grand Rapids and stay until their money was gone.  Then they would come back with only the blankets and some twisted tobacco for the men.  The squaws would have their blanket, a string of beads, and a few yards of Indian calico so thin you could strain water through it and not get it wet.

   And now, children, I will tell you how we used to slide down hill.  We had no boughten sleds.  Sometimes a half dozen children would get on a long board and someone would shove it down the hill.  One winter I slid down hill in a round wooden bowl, which took a good oarsman to sail it, and when spring came there was no bottom in the bowl nor heels on my shoes.  When we settled in Boston there were 43 aunts, uncles, and cousins living within one mile, ten children in our family, and I am the only one living of all those families (1927).             END


Last update November 10, 2013