THE SEBEWA RECOLLECTOR, Historical Newsletter from Sebewa (Sebewa Township, Ionia County, Michigan); August 2012, Volume 48, Number 1; Submitted with written permission of Author Grayden D. Slowins:
DEATHS: William Sykes, Orlando O. Barton, Sylvester S. Jenkins, Napolean Bonapart Rice, Stanley Frank Pung, Marian A. (Shivlie) Goodemoot
Front page photo was taken in the Spring of 1938, at the HIGH Rural Grade School, properly known as Fractional District No. 1 in Sebewa & Danby Townships, Ionia County, Michigan, and located near East Sebewa (Sebewa Corners/Cornell). Back page lists the names of those students on the back page of this issue of THE SEBEWA RECOLLECTOR. The list is a little hard to follow, and clarifications from readers are always welcome: Back row from left: Gladys (Cooper) Baum – teacher; Betty Brown, Florence Erdman, Norleen Linville, Kathryn Sleight, Frieda Huizenga, Fred Erdman, Harold Evans, Gerald Knapp, Gladys Brown, unknown boy, Betty Butler, Pearl Piercefield; Second row from left: Merwin Baum, Weldon Brown, four unknown, Dorothy Stemler, Mary Lou Benschoter; Front row from left: Bill Showerman, unknown girl, Sally Schaffer, Georgianna Hollenbach, Piercefield boy.
“VOICES FROM THE PAST” & “THOUGHS WHILE STROLLING ON KENT STREET” Gathered from the back issues of PORTLAND REVIEW & OBSERVER
June 15, 1910: Miss Laura M. Smith has issued invitations for a shower for Miss Una Dilley, who is to wed Chester Blanchard, son of Emery W. & Adah J. Blanchard, at the home of her father, C. J. Dilley, in Chicago, next month. (The Dilleys were a pioneer family in Sebewa Township, Henry Dilley settling here before 1875 on the north side of Eaton Hwy. Thomas & Eliza Dilley are buried in East Sebewa Cemetery near the back fence in the oldest part. By 1891 Josiah Dilley had a farm just south of Portland at the southeast corner of Knox Road & Nelson Road, now long a part of the Dan Leik farm. Whatever buildings were once there are long gone, and Josiah & wife had a fine home on the corner of Grand River Avenue and West Bridge Street, at the top of “Dilley Hill” (Julius & Marie Cook home). Their land extended west to Church Street and Alton Park, and south to Market Street. The next generation, George Dilley, had a wife Una and the relationship of Miss Una Dilley to them is unclear, since her parents were Charles J. Dilley & Luetta A. Dilley of Chicago, who eventually came back to Portland to be buried.)
Miss Edna Chase, of Portland, and Mr. Harry Brown, of Sebewa, were married by Rev. C. I. Taylor.
April 10, 1932: The new factory to come to Portland is Salant & Salant, Inc. They will employ about 200 persons, of which 10% will be men, and the exclusive product will be shirts. Soon after the new factory had been assured on Thursday, by the signing of papers, an interesting display appeared in the window of the Maynard-Allen State Bank. In the center was a cartoon, drawn by Forrest C. Flowers, showing a wolf skulking away from the front entrance of the Ypsilanti Reed building as the sun comes up. “The sun of prosperity will drive out the wolf of depression,” the artist explains.
April 10, 1912: Orange Township voted $500 per mile in matching funds for a state-reward road running across the township from east to west, provided Portland Village, now that Spring is here, but none have ventured out in the country because of bad roads.
The remains of Mrs. Chase McClelland were brought to Sebewa for burial (in East Sebewa Cemetery). Her death occurred in Benzonia, Michigan. (Mr. & Mrs. Chase McClelland had farmed on the southwest corner of Bippley & Petrie Roads, where Herb & Harriet Evans later owned. His parents, Mr. & Mrs. James H. McClelland had Fred & Hope Hart’s farm on the north side of Musgrove Hwy. We have never found any connection between these McClellands and James, John and Sam McClelland of Portland.)
April 17, 1932: One of the hardest jobs connected with cleaning the Ypsilanti-Reed building, soon to be occupied by the Salant & Salant shirt factory, was removing the accumulation of varnish & glue from the cement floors. Monday 38 men were employed in cleaning, and Tuesday the number was increased to 42. What will without question be the biggest indoor carnival ever attempted in Portland, will be held on Thursday in the Ypsilanti-Reed factory building, celebrating completion of the factory deal with Salant & Salant.
Jacob Visser is laying a new hardwood floor and making other repairs on the interior of the (north) store recently purchased by Leo Lehman in the Opera House building. (He will operate Lehman’s Shoe & Men’s Clothing Store.)
The fire department was called to the home of Loren Proctor, on the west side, at 6:00 Thursday morning, when a fire that originated upstairs, presumably from a disconnected stove pipe, had obtained a good start. It was extinguished, but there was considerable damage. (This house was the birthplace of famous writer, Clarence Budington Kelland. It was saved that time, but later in the Twentieth Century, it was perceived as an eyesore and deliberately burned; all that remains today is a bronze plaque on a large stone.
April 24, 1932: Because of the big way the carnival at the factory building went over Thursday night, the Board of Commerce decided to repeat it Friday night. One close to the Salant & Salant organization told the Review that machines for the new shirt factory should begin arriving in 10 days.
William Sykes, 76, prominent Muir business man and brother to Jack Sykes of Portland, died Saturday after a short illness. (We believe Willliam Sykes was great-grandfather to Probate Judge Robert Sykes, Jr. of Ionia.)
April 24, 1912: Portland citizens have pledged themselves to give a total of $400 per mile toward the cost of building a state-reward road out from the village. It is probably the highway running west to Orange town line will be first to receive attention.
Charles T. Lockwood has purchased a Flanders Motorcycle, the first vehicle of this type to be owned in Portland.
Mrs. Emma Martin and Mr. Frank Linebaugh were married at Ionia by Rev. M. M. Callan and are at home to their friends in the M. F. Cutcheon house, recently purchased by Mr. Linebaugh, on Bridge Street.
William Barclay is back at his old job as porter at Hotel Divine.
Sam McClelland is building an auto garage on his premises at the northeast corner of Kent & Brush Streets. (Many years later a runaway car rolled down Brush St., over the bank, into the back of the garage and out the front.
May 1, 1952: Deputy Sheriff Jay Clark and other officers were called to the former Frost home at Frost Corners, east of Portland, to investigate a break-in reported by Mrs. Elsie Bierstettel, who recently purchased the large country home, after it had been vacant several years. Officer Clark said the home appeared to have been ransacked, probably by youngsters, although it was not established that any items of furniture or household equipment had been taken. For many years the home was owned by the Frost family (Isaiah and then his son Tom), and later by Mr. & Mrs. Robert Wooden Sr., both now deceased. (According to the late Fern Conkrite, the mother of Mrs. Robert Wooden Sr. was an Azeltine, sister to Mrs. Thomas Frost Sr. Mrs. Fred J. Mauren Sr. was a sister to Robert Wooden Sr., and they inherited much of the Frost land and passed it down to their sons, Robert Wooden Jr. and Richard Wooden Sr.)
Orlando O. Barton, 88, passed away at his home in Portland (on Danby Street). Born in New York State on May 29, 1863, he had been a resident of this village for 35 years and was formerly a farmer in this area (on Marsalle Road). Surviving were a daughter, Miss Lela Barton, and a son, John Barton, both of Portland.
Sylvester S. Jenkins, 62, superintendent of the Portland water department and electric generating plants, died suddenly at his home. Born in Clinton County, September 7, 1889, he was the son of Mr. & Mrs. William Jenkins. He began working for the village in 1930, and previously he was associated with his father in the operation of the machine shop and one of the first garage businesses in Portland. The firm erected the building later owned by Vern Minkley. While in the army during World War I, he was a mechanical instructor for a detachment of soldiers at Michigan State College. In his younger days, he was a member of Portland’s independent baseball team. (At the time of his death, he and his wife, Florence, owned the 160 acre farm on the northeast corner of Peake Road & Monroe Road in Danby Township, and the I-96 Portland Rest Area is now on part of it.
May 1, 1912: Local meat dealers say they are not trying to push business much these days, because of the high price of beef. Cattle are bringing 5 cents to 10 cents per pound dressed (!).
May 8, 1952: A Grandville man was apprehended last week for removing antique household items recently from the former Frost home at Frost Corners, east of Portland. Previously police had thought the unoccupied home had been ransacked by youngsters. However, a license number of a car seen parked near the house was turned over to the police by George Steward, a resident of the Frost Corners neighborhood. The number was traced to a Grandville man, who the Ionia County Sheriff’s office has described as a “mental case”. Officers said the man has taken a liking to antiques and had planned to take an old auto also stored at the Frost place. The items taken from the home have been recovered and the thief, who lost one leg in World War I and may lose the other, is not being prosecuted.
May 8, 1952: Mr. & Mrs. Val Johnson are on an automobile trip which has as its objective a visit to each of the 48 states and its capital city, and to each of the 182 National Parks in the country. They are making the trip with their house trailer attached to their car, but have covered many miles in various sections by other means of transportation where necessary. From their start on July 31, 1951, until now, they have covered 40,000 miles by auto; 3,000 miles by plane; have been on five ferry boats; 136 miles by seaplane; and a two-day trip by pack mule train. They have crossed the Continental Divide 16 times. They have now visited 36 states and their capital cities, and 137 National Parks. They have also visited more National Parks than any other persons, according to the Park Service records. When all have been visited, the Johnsons have been invited to Washington, D. C., to report. (This writer talked with them near the end of the trip and was told they had to backtrack, because of a couple small, remote parks they had missed.)
May 8, 1932: The first installment of 136 machines for the new shirt factory, which filled a railroad car, were expected on the factory siding Monday.
Mr.& Mrs. Allen Sandborn are the parents of a new daughter, Patricia Joanne, born Wednesday. The mother is the former Meredith Miles.
A large barn on the Norton Green farm, a little west of Campbells’ Corners, on the Collins Road, was destroyed by fire early Friday evening, when it was struck by lightning during an electrical storm. (This “Campbells’ Corners” was in Portland Township named after the James E. Campbell family, who once owned the George & Mary White Buck farm south of the corners. Today we would think of it as Krausz Corners, at the intersection of Goodwin Road & Lyons Road. Norton Green was on the north side of the road, across from his parents, Samuel & Melinda Green, on the south. Norton Green’s land became the main part of Eben Krausz’ farm, and Sam Green’s was later long owned by John Bell; today it all belongs to Gerald & Sylvia Krausz & sons.)
May 8, 1912: Has Portland gone gasoline mad? One would almost thing so, after noting the string of automobiles parked on Kent Street almost any pleasant evening. Take a count in Portland on a Saturday night and it will reveal more autos on the main business blocks than horse-drawn rigs. (The last hitching rails were along Maple Street in the 1940s and still in use.)
Funeral services were held Friday for Napoleon Bonapart Rice, who was for many years engaged in the flour milling business in Portland. (N. B. Rice was the husband of Mary Elizabeth Newman Rice, first white child born in Portland, daughter of James Newman, who along with his brother, Almeron, and father Elisha, were first settlers in Portland and founders of the flour mill.)
May 15, 1952: One of the most devastating attacks by dogs to be reported by sheep raisers in this area in recent years took place a few days ago at the farm of Sadie Keefer, who lives just west of Collins. Dogs killed a total of 35 in her flock, 16 adult ewes and 19 lambs were killed. Justice John C. Balderson, who has appraised such losses for many years, told the Review & Observer Monday that this was the largest loss he had ever appraised in a single flock. He estimated the loss at between $500 and $600. Mr. Balderson was called to the Harry Klein farm east of Bucks’ Corners (Barnes Road at Hamlin Road), a day or so later, where three sheep had been killed by dogs. (According to another article in that same paper, Justice J. C. Balderson was taken to St. Lawrence Hospital later in the day, complaining of severe pain in his side. After X-rays, an appendectomy was performed the next morning. He would have been around 80 years of age at the time, but he was a tough old ram, and had devoted much of his life to defending sheep flocks from dastardly deeds done by wild and straying dogs!)
Mr. & Mrs. Frank Gilbert of Portland celebrated their 57th wedding anniversary with an open house at the Conservation Club, put on by their nine children. Mr. Gilbert is 80 years old on the day of the wedding anniversary and has been employed at Portland Cooperative Elevator for the past 27 years, having been a farmer before that. Mrs. Gilbert is 73. The nine children, all living, were: Mrs. Margaret Hemingway, of Grand Ledge, Mrs. Ila Swartz, of Okemos, Mrs. Dorothy Judd and Mrs. Shirley Urie, of Portland, Burton Gilbert, of Sebewa Township, Francis Gilbert of Lansing, Owen Gilbert, Leo Gilbert and Mrs. Lucille Barnes, all of Portland.
The REVIEW reported on a Mothers’ Day feature in the Lansing State Journal on three women, two of whom happened to be former Portland residents. They were Mrs. Frank Remalie – age 84, and Mrs. Mary White Buck – age 88. Mr. & Mrs. Remalie moved to Portland from Lansing years before. Frank was a furnace installer there until he retired, and his death had occurred a couple years before this story. Mrs. Remalie was dubbed “Old Faithful” by acquaintances in Lansing Central Methodist Church, because of her regular attendance. Residing with her was a daughter, Mrs. Alethia Sweitzer and two children. Chester Remalie, her son, lived nearby. Another son, Lynn, was drowned in Grand River in Portland many years ago. (If memory serves us right, he fell through the ice and his body was found at the Municipal dam the next Spring.) Mrs. Buck was the widow of George Buck, and lived in Portland for many years. She was an active worker in the Portland Congregational Church, Sunday School and Guild over many years. She became a member of Pilgrim Congregational Church in Lansing. She resided with her daughter, Evelyn, who was a teacher in Lansing’s Pattengill Junior High School. Harold W. Buck of Portland was her son and resided in the old White-Buck family home on Smith Street. (Located south of the Baptist Church, that house was later demolished to make parking lot for the church. Tom Buck of Portland and George (Geo)(Joe) Buck, who, we believe, lives in a western state, are sons of Harold & Margaret Buck. The White-Buck family farm on Lyons Road has, in recent years, been sold and converted into a housing subdivision.
May 15, 1952: This issue also carries a notice of the approaching Alumni Banquet. A photo was reprinted from the 1938 graduation. It shows the 1000th graduate of Portland High School receiving her diploma. She was Miss Mary Young, daughter of “Mayor Bill” Young, and later she became Mrs.Elon Sandborn and lived in Lansing. Superintendent Fred J. Williams presented the diplomas. Looking on was Mrs. Mary White Buck, also a Lansing resident, and member of the first graduating class of Portland High School in 1882.
Grocer Bob Lear experimented with a novel idea, when he invited all “older” mothers to stop in at his store and sign his registry before Mothers’ Day. About 50 mothers took part; the oldest was Mrs. Cora (Charles) VanHouten, 91, of Smith Street (formerly of South Goddard Road, Sebewa Township); second oldest was Mrs. Emma Phillips of Quarterline Street, a few months younger and 90.
Mrs. Grace Martin, in from her home at Sebewa Corners, brings with her a hen’s egg laid that day. On the shell are the figures “12” as perfect as they could be put on with a lead pencil. Near these are other figures, apparently not readable. Are they algebra?
May 15, 1932: Sebewa Corners’ greatest industry is the poultry farm conducted by Knapp & Son, where there are 6,000 chickens.
A daughter, Marjorie (Margery?) Joanne was born to Mr. & Mrs. Basil Kinney May 15.
Mrs. George Fisher, whose home is close to the west end of the Shotwell Bridge over Grand River on David Highway in Portland Township, reports seeing two large goldfish, about 10 inches long, swimming near the bank along her lawn on several occasions.
May 15, 1912: Mrs. S. S. Ramsey is the first Portland woman to own an automobile. She accompanied Peter Fineis to Battle Creek and picked out a pretty Buick roadster of 20 horsepower. Mrs. Ramsey recently sold her concrete residence on Beers Street (Riverside Drive) to Arthur Williams, clerk in E. A. Richards Grocery Store (and later manager of the A & P Store in Portland).
Mrs. Sarah (Hiram) Treece, formerly of Sebewa Township, who has been ill for some time, was taken to the home of her daughter, Mrs. James Thompson, at Belding.
Albert Keefer of Orange Township has purchased a fifteen-horsepower tractor that will draw three plows and turn up as much soil in a day as would four teams. (?!) (As we recall, our family’s twenty-three-horse Allis-Chalmers Model “C” was capable of plowing as much in a day as a three-horse hitch. The Model “B” was equal to a two-horse team. Similar ratings were shown for the Farmall Model “C” and Model “BN”. Seems Mr. Keefer’s tractor may have been overrated and hadn’t competed in the Nebraska Plowing Trials yet.)
May 22, 1952: Frank O’Brian tells of an interesting early Portland relic on display in Charlton Park Museum located between Hastings & Nashville. It is a “Baker Horsepower Machine” made in Portland, MI. It is years and years old, but machine does not carry a date. Frank Goff, 93, tells Mr. O’Brian it was probably a product of the old foundry which stood at the north end of Kent Street. Frank O’Brien explains that a “Horsepower Machine” consisted of a series of “sweeps” attached to a central gear mechanism. On the above model there are five sweeps, each of which handled two horses and the complete contraption furnished ten “horsepower” for threshing. He has given a number of items from his old mill property in Sebewa Township to the museum. (Most of these items actually came from his machine shop in the Detroit area and were never used in Weippert’s Mill.)
Mrs. Leon Lockwood, former Maude Samaine of Sebewa Township, who has long lived in Ionia (in the John C. Blanchard house, now a museum), was directly responsible for the capture of an escaping suspect near her home last week. When police went to front door of suspect’s home in the east part of Ionia, he ran out the back door. Then followed a street-to-street and yard-to-yard chase. It was this sprinting that Mrs. Lockwood and her family dog put to a stop. The man ran into the Lockwood back yard just as Mrs. Lockwood came out door. She grabbed a broom and started whacking, and the dog, wanting to get in on the action, tripped up the intruder, who fell into the little creek that runs through Lockwoods’ yard on East Main Street. Further, she was credited with having located a gas main leak which Consumers workers stopped; she came across it in her chase along creek.
May 22, 1912: Now that 50 automobiles are owned in Portland and vicinity, the Village Council has deemed it wise to appoint two traffic officers for Saturday evenings and other occasions when crowds are expected. Norman T. Sandborn and Frank Little are to serve in this capacity. One will be stationed at the foot of Kent Street and the other at the corner of Bridge and Kent.
While the crowd was returning from Saturday’s ball game, the wire suspension bridge over the Looking-Glass River at the foot of Kent Street dropped several feet, by reason of the breaking of one of the wire cables supporting it. A number of people were on the bridge, but kept their heads and crossed dry and safe.
RECENT DEATHS: Stanley Frank Pung, 83, born in Westphalia, December 5, 1928, died June 8, 2012, husband of Iva Galer Pung, father of Linda (Gary) Clarke, Bill (Kathy) Pung, Karen (Joe) Towner, Bob Pung, and Lori (Jeff) Stolte; grandfather of Lindsay, Eric and Brittany Clarke, Chrisssi (Trevor) Mahoney, Erin (Jesse) Caszatt, Mark (Amy) Pung, Jenna and Anna Pung; and six great-grandchildren; brother of Donald (Elizabeth) Pung and the late Richard P. (Rosemary) Pung, son of Norman & Laurina Stump Pung. They owned Jacob Evans farm in Sebewa Township, also land in Danby & Portland. Buried in Portland Cemetery.
Marian A. (Shivlie) Goodemoot, 83, born in Lake City, MI, November 5, 1928, died May 1, 2012, widow of Richard Goodemoot, mother of Kenneth (Teri) Goodemoot, Keith Goodemoot, Jane (Tim) Taylor, and Kendall ( Missy) Goodemoot, grandmother of Corey Goodemoot, Darby (Dawn) Goodemoot, Lynsey (Derick) Evangelista, Richard Goodemoot, Justin Taylor, Brandon Goodemoot, Alex Goodemoot, Skyler Goodemoot, Alauna Goodemoot, and Houston Goodemoot; great-grandmother of Josh Goodemoot, and Alex Goodemoot, sister of the late Lawrence (Elsie) Shivlie and late Betty Shivlie, sister-in-law of Merle (Virginia) Goodemoot, daughter of the late Louie & Flossie (Schoolie) Shivlie. Marian was married to Richard on August 9, 1950, in Lake City. They lived all their married life on the Goodemoot land in Sebewa Township, Ionia County, with their home on Goddard Road. Richard died December 25, 2010, after 60 years of marriage. Marian was a music teacher in area schools before her retirement and a member of West Sebewa Community Club. Buried in Odessa Lakeside Cemetery.
UPDATES & CORRECTIONS: Thanks to a call from Walt Sprague, plus further research in past issues of PORTLAND REVIEW & OBSERVER, we must report that the building built in 1937, with Federal Funding and WPA labor, and nicknamed “Village Truck Garage”, was the building now long occupied by Portland Products Company, originally called Danby Manufacturing Co., which moved there from Bill Sprague’s garage just south of town on Charlotte Hwy. The late Ben Goff drew plans and supervised construction of the building for the village, and the first occupant brought in to provide jobs was the Air-Washer Corporation of Lansing. Then in 1940 Holly Carburetor Corporation leased that building while their building was being built about a mile further west. They built cast iron manifolds for Ford Tractors in the village building and did not want the grit from castings to contaminate their carburetors. They continued to use the building for storage until about 1947. They were succeeded in their own building by Portland Manufacturing Co., and now Thompson-Ramo-Wooldridge (TRW). Danby Manufacturing/Portland Products leased half of the village building in 1947, bought the whole building in 1950, and added on to their building eight times. The Barley-Earhart building on Divine Highway was part of the old Ramsey-Alton/Ypsilanti-Reed Furniture Factory, which employed 400 people, and later the Salant & Salant Shirt Factory, which employed 20 men and 200 women.
Another update, this time a note from Sharon Hunt White Kyser, clarifies the information on Willard & Addie Kinney, early tenants on the Frank & Stella Pryer farm. Willard was Basil’s uncle, and his brother was Basil’s dad. Addie Fuller Kinney, Carrie Fuller Snow, and Miss Francellia Fuller were sisters, daughters of Ira Fuller. Basil’s wife Hester, as well as Sharon’s mom, Irene (Walter) Hunt, and Dorothy (Harvey) Neller, were daughters of Carrie Fuller & George Snow. If you reason this through carefully, you will see Basil & Hester were not related by blood, only by marriage.
Dear Readers: This is Issue No. 1 of our new fiscal year, which began July 1. This is the 48th year of publication for THE RECOLLECTOR and our 22nd year as editor; before that we were contributing articles for use by Robert Wilfred Gierman, first editor. Research is the best exercise for memory, but in our age group we should not make promises; so our aim is to publish 6 issues per year, and the cost is $6.00 for paper, ink, and postage. Full sets of back issues are available at $68 special, here at our home, or we will take a loss on the shipping and send them for $75, to clear them out.
Grayden D. Slowins, Editor
Last update May 27, 2013