Sebewa Recollector
Items of Genealogical Interest

Volume 44 Number 2
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;
OCTOBER 2008.  Volume 44, Number 2.  Sebewa Township, Ionia County, Michigan. 
Submitted with written permission of Editor Grayden D. SLOWINS:


SURNAMES:  PRYER, GIERMAN, SESSIONS, MEYERS, KLAGER, BENSCHNEIDER, SEARS, BARTUS, GILLILAND, KING, HILLEY, PRICE, BJORK, ELDRIDGE, McLEOD, SLOWINSKI, SCHNABEL, EVEREST, McCARTNEY, FENDER, SWITZER, KIRKENDALL, SWITZER, DEVIES (DEVRIES), FOX, KENYON, SLOWINS, WOLVERTON, FROST, GLINES, FOX


 RECENT DEATHS:

MAURICE M. GIERMAN, 91, widower of Vera Margaret SESSIONS GIERMAN, father of Jan GIERMAN (Pamela KALBFLEISCH) and Deanna PUMPLIN (John BOLES), brother of the late Charles Albert GIERMAN, Robert Wilfred GIERMAN, Christine GIERMAN JARCHOW and Pauline GIERMAN LILLIE, son of Nellie Effie MEYERS GIERMAN & Robert Ernest GIERMAN, son of Christina KLAGER & Charles GIERMAN, son of Sophie BENSCHNEIDER & Frederick (Fritz) GIERMAN.
   Born in Sebewa Township January 1, 1917, Maurice was a lifelong dairy farmer, served ion Ionia County Board of Commissioners, Soil Conservation District and Farm Bureau Committees.  After retiring, he and Vera lived in Fairfield Glade, TN, and Bradenton, FL, and after her death he moved to Port Townsend, WA, to be near Deanna.  He died July 20, 2008, with a memorial service to be held in Sebewa Township later.
   NOTICE:  Memorial Service for Maurice GIERMAN, Thursday, September 18, 11:00 a.m., at Sebewa Center United Methodist Church, corner of BIPPLEY & SHILTON Roads.  Lunch to follow in Annex. 

WALLACE HUBERT SEARS, 90, widower of JohnAnna BARTUS SEARS and Freda TOWNSEND SEARS, father of John (Linda) and Loren (Catherine) SEARS and the late Charlene SEARS PATTERSON and Raymond (Catherine) SEARS, brother of Arlene (Howard) FORE and the late Verle SEARS, Frances SEARS and Edla BROWN, son of Edna GILLILAND & Roy SEARS, son of Anna J. & Wilmont SEARS, son of Samantha KING & Lorenzo SEARS.
   Born in Sebewa Township October 28, 1917, Wallace was married to JohnAnna for 60 years and was a devoted charter member of Portland Seventh-Day Adventist Church.  He farmed all his life on the family homestead in Sebewa Township and his grandfather’s homestead was just over into Danby on TUPPER Lake Rd.  Retired after 35 years at Motor Wheel, he died July 8, 2008, and is buried at East Sebewa Cemetery. 

DAVID JOHN HILLEY, 42, husband of Kellie PRICE HILLEY, father of Nick, Jessica and Kristin, brother of Brent HILLEY, Mike (Karie) HILLEY and Diane (Mike) LEHMAN, son of Judy BJORK & Terry HILLEY, son of Carlisle (Lefty) & Madonna ELDRIDGE HILLEY, daughter of Pearl McLEOD & Eddie ELDRIDGE, Sr., son of Rufus James (Jay) ELDRIDGE & Sophia SLOWINSKI, daughter of Louis SLOWINSKI, son of Daniel SLOWINSKI, Sr. & Anna SCHNABEL, daughter of Regina & Anton SCHNABEL, Sr.
   Born April 5, 1966, David graduated from Lakewood High School and ITT Technical Institute, was employed by G. E., servicing medical equipment in hospitals, lived on HENDERSON Road, Sebewa Twp.  Active in coaching sports for his kids, he attended Kilpatrick United Brethren Church and was involved in many community activities.  He died July 24, 2008. 

RAYMOND EVEREST, 82, widower of Lucille McCARTNEY, brother of Thelma JOHNSON, Louisa BURGER, Vera BEEBE and the late young Charles EVEREST, son of Harry & Dora M. FENDER EVEREST, daughter of Louisa SWITZER & Adam FENDER, son of Rebecca KIRKENDALL & Jacob FENDER.
   The SWITZER family pioneered on SW ¼ Sec. 31 Sebewa Township, on the land now known as the WORTLEY farm, in 1866.  Adam FENDER came home from the Civil War and homesteaded on his “Soldier’s Patent” in NW ¼ Sec. 30 Sebewa Township, on the land now known as the HAMPEL farm, where he was also Justice-of-the-Peace, Sebewa Township Supervisor 1897-1917, twice chairman of the Ionia County Board of Supervisors, stockholder in Farmers & Merchants Bank of Lake Odessa, member of Samuel GRINELL GAR Post in Sunfield and West Sebewa IOOF Lodge.  Raymond was a WW II Veteran and an electrician in Ionia.


FRONT PAGE PHOTO OF PRYER SCHOOL – DANBY TOWNSHIP DISTRICT NO. 2 – 1880S.  Also known as GRUBTOWN School.  Portrait quality copies of the original photo, suitable for framing, are available:

   Only a few students have been identified, and some may actually be alumnae, due to records of age spread, but this school was attended by many ancestors of recent residents in that neighborhood, including William H. PRYER, grandfather of Bill PRYER, Margy PEAKE MOYER and Forrest PEAKE; Elizabeth PRYER McCRUMB; and Frank W. PRYER, grandfather to Ann LAKIN SLOWINS and Phyllis LAKIN BOYER.

Back row – fourth from left – Frank PRYER

Second row – first may be a McCRUMB boy

Third row – Blanch PRYER BROOKS (standing), Emmet McCRUMB, Bertha YORK McLEAN, unknown boy, Carrie SMITH LYONS, last is Reuben GRAFT

Front row – Verne McCRUMB & Frank McCRUMB


UPDATES TO OUR HISTORY OF SEBEWA IN JUNE ISSUE:  Our son Joe reminds us that we had a used New Idea hay-rake and a used N-I trailer-type mower and then a used Allis-Chalmers rear-mounted mower and a used New Holland hay conditioner, before the New Idea Cut/Ditioner combined the two tasks and did them better.  Also the baler did not have a bale-thrower at first, nor high-sided wagons, and just the year before we came to Sebewa Township, we were still putting up loose hay with a hay-loader at the Portland Township farm.


WOLVERTON UPDATES:  Carol WOLVERTON WINTEN FRIDSMA, daughter of Ella MARTEN & Lester WOLVERTON, son of Agnes MILLER (not Martha (Mattie) & Elmer WOLVERTON, has siblings Catherine & Corrine and late Robert & Richard, did not know Israel WOLVERTON ran a stagecoach inn.


 PORTLAND REVIEW November 10, 1936:
   Dr. and Mrs. C. C. YOUNG, who have for some time been interested in the collection and sale of books, have fitted up the interior of the WEBBER family’s garage at the foot of WEBBER Hill (Lincoln Street) for a book shop.  Their business is operated under the name Torchlight Book Exchange.  They buy and sell first editions new and old. 
   Anthony ZERFAS and family have moved to Portland from Allegan and are occupying the house owned by William DeVRIES next to the High School.  Mr. ZERFAS is a brother to John ZERFAS and will be associated with the latter in the implement business in this village.  He formerly managed a similar business in Allegan. 

PORTLAND RECORDS ITS LARGEST VOTE:  Residents of Township cast 1470 ballots in two precincts, aiding in a nationwide Democrat landslide.  Tuesday’s vote was the largest ever recorded in this township.  Democrat ROOSEVELT received a majority of 99.  Most other offices went Republican, but often not by much.  D. Hale BRAKE (R) had a majority of 8 in the race for state senator, while W. Clyde STOUT (D) had a majority of 122 for State Representative.
   Frank D. FITZGERALD (R) had a majority of 188 for Governor, DICKINSON (R) for lieutenant Governor had 58.  Raymond W. STARR (D) tied David H. CROWLEY (R) in the county for attorney general, and Harry TOY (R) for supreme court justice had a majority of 6.  For congress, Prentiss M. BROWN (D) had 30 over Wilbur M. BRUCKER (R).
   Frank E. DOREMUS, founder of the PORTLAND REVIEW in 1885, had served in township offices and as postmaster in Portland, then in the State Legislature from this district.  After moving to Detroit he was appointed city comptroller and later served several terms in congress from the First District there as a democrat, voluntarily retiring from that office a short time before this election of ’36, and commented that a majority of 99 votes in Portland Township for a democrat president would have caused great consternation in earlier days.
   Results of the county election returned all present officials to office with no comment on their party, except that Geer SMITH (R) beat Burton B. SIBLEY (D) by 17 votes for prosecuting attorney.  Other winners were:  Dale K. JEPSON – judge of probate, William C. HOLTZ – clerk, Lydia A. PATRICK – Treasurer, Roy DOUGLAS – register of deeds, Ed HIGBEE – drain commissioner, Hurbert A. ROSS – sheriff.  M. Clyde STOUT was reelected state representative by a majority of 1224 and D. Hale BRAKE as state senator by a majority of 500 votes. 

TO REPAIR SEBEWA TOWNSHIP DRAIN.  A drain improvement project which would employ 30 men was to be started in Sebewa Township that November.  A proposal for cleaning out and repairing the Hall INGALL Drain in the southwest part of the township was approved by the board of determination.  Estimated cost was $6000 and labor was to be taken from the county relief rolls.
   A corps of 33 men were engaged in surveying the fields of Ionia County farmers who had made application to participate in federal soil conservation benefits.  It was expected the measuring of the land would be completed by December 1, in plenty of time to make final sign up for participation in the 1937 programs. 

PORTLAND REVIEW & OBSERVER, April 30, 1942:
   Katherine (Trena, Tryntje) DeVIES, 64, widow of Steven (Stephen) DeVRIES, mother of Louis DeVRIES, Rovina MULDER, Nick, Ralph, William Jake, Steven and John DeVRIES, and Gertrude PETERSON, sister of Louis and Ralph CLEVERINGA of Iowa, Mrs. Dick WINKLE of South Dakota, Mrs. Henry DEUSTERMARS of Ionia, and Mrs. Arthur WASSINK of Saranac.
   Born in the Netherlands, she came to this country at age 13 and the family settled in Iowa, where she married.  Later they lived in Minnesota and came to Michigan in 1923, purchasing the farm in Sebewa (on KNOX Road).  Steven died within a few months and she struggled to raise the family alone.
   (Led by William, several of the sons & grandsons worked and prospered in the construction and remodeling of homes and other buildings, a business carried on by Bill’s son Charles in Grand Rapids and California until retirement.)
   Bearers were Garrit SMITH, John HUIZENGA, Jacob STALLINGA, Henry HOORT, Sr., Jacob BRANSON and Maurice ZWELP. 

NOTICE CHICKEN OWNERS.  It will be unlawful to allow chickens to run at large on and after May 1, 1942, in the residential district of the Village of Portland.  Jay Clark, Village Marshal. 

REMEMBER WHEN:  Harrison RICH had one of the finest portable sawmills in this part of the country?  It was before Portland had a railroad.  He brought the steam boiler into Portland on flat timbers bolted together for skids, hauling it from the railroad at Muir.  There being no snow on the frozen ground that winter, it took six yoke of oxen to haul it over the bare ground.  The route was on the town-line road between Portland and Orange (KEEFER Hwy.), then down the old pike (Grand River Trail) to Mr. RICH’S place.  He owned about 200 acres well timbered with oak.  When the Lansing-Ionia railroad was built through Portland, he had the contract for several thousand ties.  He also did custom sawing at people’s farms, and later sold the rig to Theodure GUNN of Sebewa (on BIPPLEY Road). 

EVENTS OF 1937 – Orson V. FROST, 87, passed away at his home north of Portland. 

EVENTS OF 1932 – The SALANT & SALANT shirt factory building was filled to capacity for its grand-opening Friday evening.  The machines will arrive and be set up within ten days.  (This building sometimes was part of the Ypsilanti REED Furniture branch plant and later of BARLEY EARHART Corporation.  It was built by the village of Portland to attract industry and sometimes referred to as “City Hall” because of the method of funding.) 
   The wrought-iron outside balcony on the front of the Opera House in Portland was torn down as a safety measure.  In olden days, trumpet blasts from players on this balcony signaled the beginning of stage plays.  Political candidates who were canvassing the country also sometimes held forth from this lofty perch. 

EVENTS OF 1922 – Only three G. A. R. members were able to attend the funeral services for their comrade, the late Horace GLINES, who passed away this week.  They were William MINER, John KLOTZ and Joseph HANCHETT. 

Back to April 30, 1942 – Elmer CREIGHTON, from Sebewa Township, is now in the U. S. Army Camp in Biloxi, Miss. 

PORTLAND REVIEW, November 4, 1943:
   Mr. and Mrs. Lester M. CAMPBELL have purchased Mr. & Mrs. George CORLEW’S home on Church Street, west side, the former Dick DUDBECK home, and have taken possession, the CORLEWS having left by auto for Arizona.  (Later CORLEWS returned and lived in a smaller home on Charlotte Hwy.)  Mr. CAMPBELL has been doing trucking for some time and will continue in this work, renting out the farm southwest of the village in Danby.  (Later Mr. CAMPBELL owned the founding NEWMAN family’s “Old Homestead” rentals on East Grand River Ave. and sold the farm to the Fred SCHANSKI family. 

Fred JARVIS, of this village, and his partner, Sam JOHNSON, of Lake Odessa, have been awarded the contract to operate a piggery at Grand Rapids, consuming all garbage collected in the city.  It is a big contract and calls for use of 1,500 to 2,500 hogs at a time.  The first 1,000 must be on the site in the west part of Grand Rapids by November 8.  Several years ago Mr. JARVIS (as did Claude PLANT, Sr. & “Butcher Bill” YOUNGS) went into hog raising on a large scale, quartered along Grand River south of the village (Okemos Road was called Piggery Road back then) and hauled garbage from parts of Grand Rapids to Portland.  He still feeds the garbage collected in Portland to this site. 

Pere Marquette Railway is completing a long series of repairs in the vicinity of Portland.  Sam STEMM of Lake Odessa, former section foreman here, now heads a repair crew regularly used on the main line.  One of the first things done was to lay several miles of new rails between Eagle and Portland, and to raise and improve the roadbed just west of that village.  All new ties and many timbers on the trestle over the LookingGlass River in Portland were required, and similar repairs across the Grand River.  For several months the repair crews lived in sleeping cars attached to a work train, but have now left. 

Funeral services for Anthony FOX, 83, were held at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Lansing.  He is survived by one daughter, Miss Rose FOX, and four sons, Hermon, Roynald, Lee, all of Lansing, and Dr. Harold M. FOX of Portland.  Mr. FOX was a merchant in Fowler for 30 years and moved to Lansing 22 years ago. 

Mr. & Mrs. William SPITZLEY (Farmer Bill, formerly of David Hwy), now Portland residents on Pleasant Street, were honored on their 55th wedding anniversary Sunday.  Eighty guests were present. 

August VANDEVEENE has started construction of a new meat cold storage and display building on his farm west of the village, in connection with his fruit and produce departments which he formerly operated on Kent Street.  William DeVRIES is doing the building. 

Rev. Dick J. OOSTENINK, new pastor of Portland Christian Reformed Church was ordained there recently.  Rev. OOSTENINK has been pastor of the church since last spring, succeeding Rev. L. Van HAITSMA, who resigned due to poor health.  Revs. LUCHIES< RAZELDAL, ARWINGA, RIKKERS, LOCOTESI, and DeHOAN took part in the service.  A reception and supper followed. 

PORTLAND REVIEW:  NOVEMBER 1943:  REMEMBER WHEN:  James CHURCHILL, one of the town’s best known merchants, kept store just east of McCLELLAND’S, later taking in Jason WOODBURY, and calling the firm CHURCHILL & WOODBURY?
   At various times there was talk of building an electric railway line (an “Inter-Urban”) from Lansing through Portland to Grand Rapids? 

PORTLAND REVIEW:  NOVEMBER 1933:  Mr. and Mrs. Frank ADGATE, who were married 50 years ago, were honored by a family gathering at their home on the west side October 29.
   An eight-pound son was recently born to Mr. and Mrs. Floyd EVANS of Danby Township.  Mr. EVANS was for some time employed in the SMITH Hardware Store, but is now engaged full time in farming. 

PORTLAND REVIEW:  NOVEMBER 1923:  Thomas J. BANDFIELD (Mortician and furniture manufacturer/dealer) has a radio receiving set in his home, and is able to get programs from Pittsburg, PA, Troy, NY, and other cities where broadcasting stations are located.  The set was assembled in New York by his son, Harold BANDFIELD and his son-in-law, David T. MAY, and was installed last week when Mr. & Mrs. MAY were on a visit. 

PORTLAND REVIEW:  NOVEMBER 1903:  BUCK & WILSON last week received 2000 western sheep, which they purchased at the Chicago Stockyards. 

PORTLAND REVIEW:  NOVEMBER 4, 1943:  Mr. and Mrs. Walt RUMMEL and son, from (near) Saginaw, spent Sunday at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Robert BROOKS in Portland, and with Mrs. Roy PRYER and son William in East Lansing. 

PORTLAND REVIEW:  NOVEMBER 11, 1943:  Mr. and Mrs. Norman E. GIBBS will hold an open house from 3:00 to 5:00 on Sunday, November 14, at their home west of Portland on US-16, the occasion being their golden wedding anniversary (former longtime residents of Sebewa Township). 

The State Administration Board a few days ago gave the State Health Department an O.K. on production of Penicillin.  Dr. C. C. YOUNG of Portland, Director of the State Health Department, will be in charge of producing the new “wonder drug”, and has proposed that it be made for free distribution to state doctors for civilian use.  Dr. Young estimates cost of the project at $15,000 until next June.  The Auditor General has suggested that Dr. Young request the necessary funds when the legislature meets in January, but that preliminary work be started at once.

   Dr. YOUNG informed the Board that penicillin must be produced in rooms separated from other laboratory activities, and he was granted two spacious rooms in the State garage building adjacent to the Health Department.  Penicillin, the drug credited with miracle cures in many cases, is not now available for general civilian use, although limited quantities are used by the armed forces and for certain special civilian cases. 

PORTLAND REVIEW:  NOVEMBER 1943:  REMEMBER WHEN:  Few youngsters had fountain pens?  (or ball-point pens?)  Specially designated students used to pass out the ink wells in school and gather them up just before school closed in the afternoon.  Some boys, in those days, chewed tobacco and spat the juice into the ink bottles.  Next day when the bottles were passed out, some students might have ink with a brown tinge. 

PORTLAND REVIEW:  NOVEMBER 11, 1943:  Test oil wells are being driven in the Pewamo & Westphalia area.  Three out of four in Dallas Township, Clinton County, north of Westphalia have brought in oil, and a fifth well is planned.  A test well in Ionia County, north of Pewamo, (Nicholas MILLER farm, Section 36 North Plains Township) has been abandoned as a dry hole.  So a site just northeast of there, but in Lebanon Township, Clinton County, will be tried next. 

Edward COMPTON of Danby Township, who broke his leg during haying time, is able to be about now without crutches and plowed a little this week with a walking plow. 

PORTLAND REVIEW:  NOVEMBER 11, 1943:  Mr. and Mrs. John LICH of west Sebewa are parents of a baby girl. 

PORTLAND REVIEW:  NOVEMBER 1938:  Frank YOUNG, a Lansing flyer, made a forced landing on Ernest YORK’S farm in Sebewa, (Sunfield Hwy) when the motor of his plane came loose while he was on a flight to Grand Rapids. 

PORTLAND REVIEW:  NOVEMBER 1923:  Ray PRYER, wife and daughter have returned to Seattle, Washington.  (?) 

PORTLAND REVIEW:  NOVEMBER 1903:  Burt SEARS lost his farm home Sunday morning by fire.  A son was born to Mr. and Mrs. Lorenzo WEBBER.  T. J. BANDFIELD is having an addition built on the back of his store. 

PORTLAND REVIEW:  NOVEMBER 18, 1943:  Lionel KENYON, 79, well-known Portland resident on DeWitt Street, (East Grand River Ave.) for past 38 years, died at the home of his daughter, Mr. and Mrs. Charles CRANE, on Beers Street (Riverside Drive) in Portland.  Born Novmeber 10, 1864, in New York State, he came to Swartz Creek, Michigan, with his parents as a boy, where he lived until age 12, when the family moved to Sebewa Township.  Mr. KENYON was the last of nine children.  In addition to his daughter, he leaves grandchildren Lt. Gerald L. CRANE, Anna and Lois CRANE.  (This KENYON family lived at the southeast corner of CLARKSVILLE Road & SHILTON Road and the grandparents were Christopher and Phidalia.  One of their sons was Florian, who married George BALDWIN’S daughter Jesse, but Lionel was not their son.)

   Mr. & Mrs. Dalton MILLER have moved from the Lawrence KNAPP farm (John FRIEND’S farm) to the C. P. WARD house at Sebewa Corners.  (Dalton then worked for General Motors in Lansing and bought the Barbara SCHNEIDER 37-acre farm just north of Portland on Divine Hwy.  Gorma & Clarence BAILEY operated the KNAPP farms.) 

PORTLAND REVIEW:  NOVEMBER 18, 1943:  Nearly forty friends and relatives gathered at Sebewa Corners Odd Fellow Hall last Thursday night at a party for Pvt. Lynn LOWE and his brother Lawrence M. (Mike) LOWE.  Lynn was home on furlough from Camp Walters, TX, and Lawrence was accepted for Navy duty a week ago and left this week Monday for Detroit and Camp Peary, VA.  They are sons of Otho LOWE. 

George DILLEY, for many years in the barber business in Portland (He gave horrible haircuts), is a patient at Univeristy Hospital, Ann Arbor, where he was taken last week.  Mr. DILLEY was taken ill at his home on Beers Street Thursday, being removed to that hospital a few hours later.  He underwent an operation the following day, from which he has been making good recovery.  (The old Henry DILLEY family homestead was on Eaton Hwy at PETRIE Road in Sebewa Township, until recently the Loren SAYER farm.  George’s parents, Thomas & Eliza, retired to a home on the high side of DILLEY Hill in Portland, although we understand that original house burned and another was moved into its place with the widening of the US-16 curve and new bridge.  Thomas & Eliza are buried in East Sebewa Cemetery near the south fence in the old part, and their graves were cared for all her long life by Mrs. Joe TRUMPOWER, George’s daughter, drving her 1955 Chevrolet.  Her husband was also a barber, in Lake Odessa.) 

JOHN STEMLER, who lives east of Sebewa Corners, dug a number of unusually large potatoes this year, and among the biggest ones was one that weighed two pounds and ten ounces.  John took it up to the Sebewa Corners Store to exhibit it, and Burton LUMBERT, proprietor of the place, sent it to his relatives in Kentucky to demonstrate the size of Michigan-grown potatoes. 

PORTLAND REVIEW:  NOVEMBER 1903:  A contract for a new $5,000 iron bridge over the Grand River at the south end of Kent Street will be let December 17.  (This bridge was always known as the Portland-Danby Bridge through-out its history, because it was very close to the township line.  When time came to pay for replacing it at age 100, however, it suddenly became just the Danby Bridge!!) 

IONIA COUNTY NEWS:  FEBRUARY 11, 1932:  The paper displayed fourteen Notices of Mortgage Foreclosure Sale.  Unlike today however, most were for farms, not houses. 

IONIA COUNTY NEWS:  JUNE 22, 1933:  Ionia County Board of Supervisors (called Commissioners since the 1968 election) met in June session Monday through Saturday, to equalize property tax assessments.  Two to four million dollars had been cut annually for the previous few years.  This year Ionia City was cut another $500,000 and Belding $400,000.  But equalizing the cuts made by boards of review in the various townships was expected to bring this total cut to not more than $1,500,000 this year. 

Mr. and Mrs. Donald GOODEMOOT of West Sebewa have a ten pound son, Rex Wolcott, born Tuesday morning, June 20, 1933. 

PORTLAND REVIEW:  JANUARY 22, 1948:  Portland’s Oldest Industry Destroyed By Fire!  The milling company was founded by Portland’s first settlers, Elisha NEWMAN and sons Almeron and James, who selected land in 1833 and built their first mill in 1836, grinding the first flour in January 1837.  After a few years they took in James’ son-in-law N. B. RICE, becoming NEWMAN & RICE, and built a larger mill.

   The NEWMAN & RICE mill burned in 1893 and was immediately rebuilt on the same site.  Portland Milling Company succeeded them and made Fine-As-Gold Flour for many years.  In 1924 the Valley City Milling Company, whose mill in Grand Rapids had burned, purchased the Portland mill and it became the home of Lily White Flour and other brands.

   Across Divine Hwy. to the east stood Portland’s first schoolhouse, which was used as the mill office into the 1940s, and replaced by a new four storage building, with offices on the ground floor.  Interior of the mill itself had been remodeled and updated with new machinery.  An addition was built on the south side, over the railroad siding, and three big concrete grain silos were added at the east end of the main mill.  An enclosed overhead transfer system ran from the mill to the storage building.  All this doubled the flour-making capacity to 1,200 cwt. In 24 hours.

   The offices and storage building, the Rowena Feed-making plant to the east, and Rowena Dog-diets bakery east of that, were not damaged by the fire, largely due to being shielded by the grain silos.  According to Fred N. ROWE Sr., Board Chairman, President, and General Manager, the feeds and dog-food production would continue here, but flour production would be contracted out, at least for the present.  Therefore, sadly, some jobs would be lost.

   Another fire, thought to be started from a defective chimney, destroyed the old Christian SINDLINGER farm home (on KIMMEL Road) in Sebawa Township, the day before the mill fire in Portland.  It was occupied by Willard SINDLINGER and his sister Minnie SINDLINGER, who was confined to her bed at the time.

   Charles CAREY and family will return soon from Flat Rock, Michigan, where they have been residing for the past year on a farm owned by J. C. KREGER.  They had previously been occupants of Mr. KREGER’S farm in Danby.  Now they are to live on George LEIK’S farm southwest of Portland.  Elmer FEDEWA and family, present occupants of the LEIK farm, will move to the Leo C. LEHMAN farm, (former George and Mrs. Glenn FLETCHER.  (Eugene and Ellen CAREY and baby LaVern were Sebewa Township residents and are buried in East Sebewa Cemetery – perhaps parents of Charles?) 

PORTLAND REVIEW:  JANUARY 1908:  The banking business begun as Lorenzo WEBBER (Sr) & Son and long conducted under the firm name of John A. WEBBER & Son, has been merged into the WEBBER State Savings Bank.  Mrs. Mary E. WEBBER is president.  Oscar DERBY, formerly of the firm of KENNEDY & DERBY Hardware, with Duncan KENNEDY, has purchased Wm. RYAN’S bakery and Arthur BAILEY will remain as baker.


 

Last update November 10, 2013