Sebewa Recollector
Items of Genealogical Interest

Volume 4 Number 4
Transcribed by LaVonne I. Bennett


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


THE SEBEWA RECOLLECTOR, Bulletin of the The Sebewa Center Association, Bulletin of The Sebewa Center Association, February 1969, Volume 4, Number 4:

 

A SCHOOL GIRL’S VIEW OF SEBEWA; TOWNSHIP OF SEBEWA 

       A school paper by Zella Howe written 1871.

After listening to the other compositions upon a place of much greater importance, I have made up my mind mine will stand lowest upon the record and am sorry that I have taken this for my subject but “what can’t be cured must be endured” so I must make the best out of a bad bargain.

      Sebewa is not noted for its beautiful scenery, as you all know, especially those who have gone through the town during the spring thaw.  But it is noted for the numberless mosquitoes which are found there owing to the swamps, which I have heard say nearly every farm contained—and are a great pest to the inhabitants on account of their nightly visits and not leaving till the break of day.  They are always received with the most unpleasant feelings and people go so far to prevent their dreaded visits as to close the doors and windows at early sunset and build their fires to keep them from surrounding the house.  But it seems impossible to keep them out of doors, so great is their attachment for them.  But I do not suppose it was those fires that caused so much damage in the loss of property.

     The principal wild animals are the bear, muskrat, porcupine and others too numerous to mention.  The reptiles are the black snake, streaked snake, spotted adder, blue racer etc.

     Berries are found here in vast quantities, which are yearly transported to other towns.  The great whortleberry swamp, of which we have heard so much about on account of the thousands of bushels of berries which are picked yearly from those bushes, is a place of much interest to those who have never been there.

     The principal stream is Sebewa Creek, which is noted for its various windings, which render the descent more gradual.

     The chief employment of the people is farming, and although so many farmers, I have heard the people of the town say there was not a farm there worth plowing.  Although people have such a poor opinion of the place, there are nearly as many settlers there as in Danby.

     Zella Howe’s composition attracted enough attention to have it printed in the Portland Observer in 1871.  Probably it reflected the predominant attitude of the Sebewa Corners villagers toward the rest of the township at that time.  Wild as the countryside seemed to be, the township was more thickly populated then than it is now.

     A follow-up comment in the Observer said “If the article did not set forth the superior advantages of the township, that is no reason it does not possess them.  According to ‘what we know about farming’ as far as the township of Sebewa is developed, we agree with our complaining subscriber that it is not behind any section of the county and is destined to be one of the wealthiest and most productive”.  Miss Howe never made the printed page of the Observer again. 


OUR TRIP TO FLORIDA 48 YEARS AGO     By Ben Probasco

          It was in the fall of 1920, right after the presidential election that we left for Florida.  Old Doc Alton had made his winter trips to Florida and his orange groves; but for people like us to strike out in a Model T was something that had not been done very often.  Two new Ford touring cars packed-in my wife, Maude; my father, Gene; our sons, Uzel and Harold; my sister and her husband, Mr. and Mrs. Theron McNeil and their daughter, Athel.

     While we had the excuse that it would be good for my sister’s health, we had always thought it would be best that the kids should learn some of their geography first hand.  And maybe we wanted to see some country, too.  We left Weck Lumbert in charge of our farmstead, taking care of the livestock for the winter.

     Traveling in 1920 was not like it was to become when the auto had forced the building of roads that were suited to it.  We did not use a road map (who had one then?) but went south in the direction of principal cities and the state capitols.  When we found a road gong in our direction that was a little better than most, we knew enough to keep on it.  There were no pavements except a Main Street or so of bricks or cobble stones.

     We had a 16 x 16 foot tent and canvas cots on folding frames.  All this and as much other luggage as we could, we stowed in racks built on the left running boards of the cars.  Maude had a 2 burner gasoline camp stove to cook up a quick meal whenever we stopped to eat.   There was no trouble finding a place for the tent and overnight camping except in Indiana where the people seemed afraid we might steal their very farms.  Once we crossed the Mason-Dixon line it never failed that we had a caller or two bent on making our acquaintance and demonstrating the local brand of southern hospitality to the travelers who had camped up the road.

     After the first time or two of setting up the tent, everybody had learned his special task and the tent could be made ready or camp be broken up in 5 minutes.  The kids had brought along a ball and usually started playing catch as soon as camp was set.  It was also a time to explore the new area to see what plants grew here, what brook ran there and what birds or animals skittered from the roadside.

     Leaving Michigan in the cool of November demanded that side curtains with their unbroken isinglass be in place.  When we needed heat in the car we simply conserved more of our own heat by wearing extra clothes.  The auto engineers were still busy making the wheels go around and had not yet thought that passenger comfort was any problem of theirs.  When we camped, I always set up a small sheet iron wood stove and warmed the tent in a hurry with whatever fuel we found available.

     On the way south we avoided the mountains by going to Louisville, Nashville, Rome and Atlanta, entering Florida at Live Oak.  The roads we followed often came to streams without bridges.  If they could be forded, ford we did.  A deeper stream called for some kind of ferry.  Somebody would have a scow ferry that would hold a car and by pulling on the rope that was stretched across the stream and paying a small fee, we’d get across and started on our way again.  We spent 14 days traveling south and 18 days on our return.  Although bridges were not always in the places we wanted them, there were some public facilities nearly always available.  One of these was the water supply perhaps intended more for the convenience of the horses still used in large numbers in the local traffic.  Especially in Louisville do I remember the wells and pumps we found every few blocks on the way through the city.  These were the old boxy wooden pumps set in open wells.  Elsewhere along the route we found more varieties of pumps than I had imagined there could be.  There was the windlass with its two old oaken buckets and even a stove pipe sort of thing that was let down in the well to be filled through a valve in the bottom of it before it was hauled back up brimming full.

     The Union cemetery at Murfreesboro, Tennessee covered with rows and rows of markers to the memory of Civil War dead recalled every story that the old veterans had ever told of that bloody war.  Later Heman Brown told me of the heavy defeat the Union Armies had suffered in that area.

     In Georgia we found our first cotton growing and the kids collected a few bolls as souvenirs to show their school chums when they returned home.  We did not, however, collect any of the many razor back hogs we found in our way on Georgia roads.  At first they seemed funny to us but when we saw more, they became a nuisance, especially when we had to wait for some old sow and her litter to decide they would give us room to pass.

     Without knowing anybody in Florida or being familiar with the state, we had to decide, somehow, where we would winter.  When we began getting warmed up enough it seemed time to stop our journey south.  Anyway we stopped going farther when we reached Umatilla.  This was about forty miles inland and a little south of Daytona Beach.

     In a few days, Theron had found work in an orange grove, picking and packing.  Nearby, Mr. Ingersoll, of the watchmakers, was developing cutover pine land into an orange grove.  I got a job with him as a tractor driver for his Fordson tractor.  There had been a sawmill there and we were able to get one of the unused company houses for our winter quarters.  Our gasoline camp stove was still useful.

     Some 20 years previous the pine timber had been taken from the land.  Ingersoll had hired the stumps pulled and the succeeding growth grubbed out.  It was my job to plow the land for the first time.  We blocked it off in 40 acre squares and plowed around and around them.  When the unplowed part of a block was getting small, I began to see an alarming number of blacksnakes.  They were something like our blue racers.  Some were nearly 10 feet long.  When I came upon a large one, I’d usually unhook the plow and chase him down with the fierce steel lugs of the Fordson.  I’d feel better that way whether the snake did or not.

      My Dad busied himself sawing up a big pile of old railroad ties for firewood.  As his output was greater than our needs, there was a neat pile of firewood left for whoever came after us.

     The three children enrolled at school at Umatilla.  They soon had many friends and we were settled for the winter.  Maude discovered the ladies were making decorative basketry from pine needles and raffia.  They used seashells for many little articles also.  Maud still has her shell purse.  It did not take long to learn from the natives.  Maude took a heap of Spanish moss, washed and dried it and then removed its crisp outer covering.  This supplied us with a fluffy hair-like stuffing for pillows and mattresses for the winter.

     One time we visited Daytona Beach.  Everyone had a good time on the sand.  We still have some of the sand and seashells as reminders of that trip.  It was at Daytona that Theron burned out a connecting rod on his Ford.  Right on the spot we tore down the engine and removed the rod.  I then drove into town for the repair and in due time we had the Lizzie going again.  At St. Augustine the kids explored the wonders of the walls, the moat, the dungeon and the cannon.  They were deeply impressed as no picture in a history book could impress them.    

     As spring arrived we started home through Jacksonville and Waycross, Georgia.  That 77-mile stretch of ruts and choice of several tracks took us 10 hours.  No other cars were making any better time.  We kept to an eastern route to see Raleigh and on to Washington, D.C.  The size of the Washington monument surprised us.  The Lincoln Memorial had not yet been built.  I also remember the fox squirrels that were everywhere in Washington.

     Then it was on to Hagerstown, Maryland and Uniontown, Pennsylvania.  Next it was crossing the mountains on roads that were picked and chosen more than graded.  We climbed for three miles—my left leg still aches a little to think of holding it on the low pedal all that time.  Once in a while we had to stop, block the wheels and go for water to replace what had boiled out from the radiators.

     Going down the mountain was no better.  At the bottom of the grade was a garage going full time just replacing burned out brake bands.  We got the bands and replaced our own.  The natives smilingly told us we would not have burned the bands had we alternated with the brake and reverse and given each a chance to receive a little oil.

     So it was, on to home.  The neighbors were expecting us.  Dulcie Showerman stopped us and loaded us with fresh baked bread and other welcoming goodies.  Lydia Meyers soon spotted our unloading commotion and proved the Sebewa hospitality with some of the food we had been away from for so long.

     We made it back in time for the spring election.  The boys treated the school children to Florida oranges. 


ILLNESS AND DEATH

     It is hardly our purpose to compete with the local newspapers for news items and we run the risk of failure to mention one item as newsworthy as another because of our own lack of knowledge.  However, some of our membership is outside the range of the Sunfield Sentinel, the Lake Odessa Wave and the Portland Review.  Death and hospitalization have affected some of our membership.  Clayton Clark, husband of Reva Cross Clark, died this winter.  More recently Walter Murphy, married to Mary Linhart since last fall, died in Florida.  Mr. and Mrs. Herbert Seybold lost their granddaughter, Marlene Seybold, in a Danby house fire.  Mrs. Nora Sindlinger has been hospitalized at Blodgett Hospital for three weeks from a serious heart condition and an auto accident on slippery Musgrove Highway.  Anne Slowins had had surgery at Ionia and John York is scheduled for surgery at Lansing.  Walter Heintzleman, after a long stay in Grand Rapids Osteopathic Hospital, has returned home. 


VOLUME 39 MICHIGAN HISTORICAL COLLECTION  By Mrs. Harriet Munro Longyear

SETTLEMENT OF CLINTON COUNTY

     Mr. Clarence M. Burton, when president of Michigan Pioneer and Historical, asked the pioneers of this society to write what they could remember of their early life in Michigan.  I have complied with that request.

     My father, Jesse Munro, was a native of Rutland County, Vermont.  When 21 years of age he decided to seek his fortune in the west.  New York State at that time was considered far west as it was a good deal of a wilderness.  There were no railroads, no canals.  He walked and carried his belongings on his back, save when occasionally he secured a ride on a farmer’s wagon.

     On arriving at Buffalo he decided to enlist in the Army of 1812.  He served on sentry duty at Black Rock until the close of the war, only a few months later.

     He purchased land five miles east of Buffalo on the Batavia Road and lived there until 1836.  He then sold his property and came further west to find a place to settle with his family.  He and my mother, together with my mother’s brother, Hiram Parker, traveled through Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin without finding anything that pleased them.  Then they decided to look through Michigan, the one state they had no idea of settling in when they left home.

     They had seen Michiganders, as they were called, returning to the State of New York.  Their sallow complexion and the tales they told of shaking of the fever and ague made my father think that Michigan was no place for him.  Nevertheless, they decided to see for themselves and gave Michigan a look.  Much to their surprise they found the state satisfactory.  They liked the beautiful forests with their magnificent trees.  My father was captivated at first sight, arguing that land which supported such a growth of trees would raise anything planted.  So he located land in Clinton County.  There were the black walnut, butternut, hickory, black cherry, bird’s-eye-maple, curled-maple, sugar-maple, silver leafed-maple, beech, basswood, sycamore, ironwood, white and black and burr-oaks—many being between three and four feet in diameter; and the tulip tree with its beautiful foliage and noble blossoms.

     Our New York State home sold in 1836 for $10,000.  We came from Buffalo to Detroit on the steamer, Robert Fulton.  The family consisted of my father and mother, five daughters and two sons.  There were three hired men, two were sent with the stock through Ohio and one accompanied the family.

     Detroit was very disappointing with the older members of the family, a very uninteresting town as I remember it.  The buildings were low and very unpretentious, right down in the mud, a small old French town.

     The men with the stock arrived after having been delayed by bad roads.  There were three horses, a yoke of young oxen and two cows.  The workers applied themselves to loading up the goods and making ready for the journey.  The first day out from Detroit we went only ten miles.  The road was simply terrible.  There were places where there were half a dozen tracks where different travelers had endeavored to get around the deep mud holes but each one seemed equally bad.  The wagon wheels would sink below the hubs and one team was powerless to draw the load.  There was little travel through the country as inhabitants were far apart.  Whenever there was an inhabitant, we sought hospitality.  We were never obliged to go further for accomodations.  We were asked to share with them what they had.

     One place I remember was a large log house with very wide doors.  After supper the doors were thrown open, the two being on the opposite sides of the house.  A yoke of oxen then drew a log ten feet long and three feet in diameter two feet through was drawn in and placed on top of the first one for a back stick.  A third one of similar size, by the same process, was placed on large stones in place of andirons for a forestick.  Smaller split wood was then piled upon these logs and then there was a fire to last 24 hours with a few additions of small sticks during the day.

     At another place we were entertained overnight, there was no floor to the house.  The family lived on the bare earth.  It was worn smooth and hard.  At this place they were building a new log house and the men all spent the night in the new structure where they had a fire but no beds.  The workmen spent the night in entertaining their guests by howling like wolves so there was very little sleep for anyone.  In the morning the man of the house apologized for his workmen.  He said he had kept them on wolf soup for so long that they had partaken of the nature of that animal.  We were inclined to believe him because their imitation was very good as we learned the following winter in our new home.

     We finally arrived at what was then called by everybody, Scotts, now DeWitt.  There we found good accomodations.  They were prepared to take care of travelers, having a double log house provided with appetizing food.  At this place my father left the family while he and his three men went on to build a log house.  Another regular stopping place was owned by Mr. and Mrs. Niles, who had been there long enough to be known and who were always ready to help new settlers.  My father stopped with them and procured provisions.  He was obliged to make a road from the Niles settlement to his land about six miles west.  They went to work with a will, felled the trees and trimmed them, ready to put together for a habitation.  They soon had the logs put in place and a cover for them.  The roofing consisted of logs hollowed out like a trough, laid side by side, edges close together, trough side up and then another row, reversed, covered the edges of the first.  This made a rain and snow proof roof.  The lumber used in making the doors and window casings was from the boxing of the furniture.

     There were no sawmills in the country.  Floors were made of logs split into halves and adzed off.  Smooth boulders were used in making the back and jambs of the ample fireplace.  A stick chimney finished and topped it out.  A settler living one mile west of us, having heard strange noises, made an investigation.  He found my father with a house nearly ready for occupancy.  He said “What are you going to do with such a house?  Are you intending to keep a hotel?”

     My father answered “When you see my family you will see that it is not any too large”.  This family proved to be desirable acquaintances.  There were five sons, well-educated and companionable.

     After three week’s time, father came for us.  The rains had raised Looking Glass River so that it could not be forded.  We were all taken across the river in an Indian canoe.  A pole was used instead of a paddle.  We enjoyed the drive through the woods.  It was night when we arrived at the Niles settlement but there was a large living room and a blazing wood fire, which gave brightness to the scene and a welcome for the newcomers as is only known to those who settle in a new country.

     There we met Mr. and Mrs. Beers, who had come the week before from Connecticut.  They were building a house.  We became warm friends, notwithstanding we were five miles from each other.  We visited and continued the acquaintance during our lives.  There is now a daughter living in Lansin, Mrs. Anna Smith; two grandsons—Guerdon and Charles Smith, survivors of our pioneer friends.

     The journey was ended the following day.  We were home.  Each one found something interesting.  The little brook that ran near the house gave us great pleasure.  The new house was warm and comfortable.  It was now November.  A light snow fell soon after we arrived.

     Father spent the winter in going to and from Detroit and Dexter for supplies, taking ten days to two weeks each trip.  There was no fruit except dried fruits.  Portland, five miles west, was a small village.  There was one store that kept a few groceries and a stock of domestic goods—Indian maple sugar, etc.

     The inhabitants were eastern people, delightful to know.  Two young men called and came in a “new country” sleigh.  It was made of ironwood poles, the bark taken off from only the undersides of the runners.  This was the first sleigh of its kind I had ever seen.  I was greatly amused.

     Lyons, ten miles from Portland, was a larger and more flourishing town.   We joined in the festivities of both places.  All were neighbors.  As there were few children near us, Mr. Shaff, our neighbor, suggested that his son teach the winter school and my older sister teach the summer school.  His suggestion was carried into effect.  He provided a room in his house until more scholars came into the neighborhood.

     The State Road Commissioners came through surveying the state road, which passed by our door.  That was most exciting to us.  Father, with his men built a bridge at his own expense, across Looking Glass River, one mile east from us.  This bridge remained there for many years for the good of the public.

    The winters were severe.  Deep snow, and feed for the stock was very scarce.  IN the spring the soft maple trees were chopped down for the animals when the buds were full and red.  They would trim out a large tree top in a short time and run to the next one when that fell.  They subsisted on buds until vegetation became plentiful.  Then they were free to roam where they pleased, baring the swamps where vegetation was luring.

   Our new milch cow ventured too far and was lost in the mire.  That was a real tragedy, so much was depending on the milk for the family.  Bravery and self- control had to be called into action, each one bearing his or her share of sympathy for our mother, who knew better than us younger ones what it cost to go without milk.

     The sugar maple trees were tapped and maple sirup and sugar were plentiful.  400# of sugar were made, which relieved one of the wants of a new country.  Fish were plentiful, the men catching with dip-nets hundreds of a night.  All surplus was put into half-barrels and salted for future use.  Wild onions grew along the banks of our brook.  In the fall, wild plums, crab apples and frost grapes were plentiful.  Honey was found in trees.  In the beautiful forests of Michigan there was not only honey but also beeswax, which furnished us with wax candles.

     One day when the men were building the house they neglected to replenish the fire after their midday meal.  When they stopped work for the night and came to prepare their supper, the fire was out.  Numerous efforts to kindle it were made with flint and steel without results.  There were no dry kindlings—everything fresh and damp.  The only alternative was to go to Mr. Niles’ for supper and breakfast, six miles, returning in the morning, one man carrying by hand, a firebrand, swinging it to keep it burning.  There were no matches at that time.

     Our discomforts and deprivations were many, but all were overcome by cheerfulness and heroic perseverance.  Mother was always cheerful.  Reptiles and insects there were, but I will leave them to your imagination to picture.  Indians were friendly and always hungry.  Their liking for white man’s bread was simply appalling.  We bought venison of them whenever they brought it to us.  We had no reason to fear them.     The end. 


THE INDIAN POINT OF VIEW

     The above account of the settlement of Clinton County by Mrs. Longyear is the typical story of the first pioneer families making their homes in Central Michigan.  Similar stories could have been written by the Showermans, Terrills, Browns, Goddards and others who were the pioneer families in Sebewa.  They were looking for new opportunity in a new country and, with heroic efforts, they achieved a living and a place for their children to grow in a way that made them proud.

     Although the settlers seemed scarcely aware of it, their pressure for homesteads was putting a glacial push on the Indian culture that had prevailed in the area for centuries.  The Government made deals with the Indians, at least some Indians, for rights to the land.  Surveyors had marked out county and township lines and there was a rush to buy cheap Government land.

     Following is a look at the other side of the picture in a communication addressed to President Monroe through Governor Hull (Territorial Governor) in 1809 by the Wyandot Indians near Detroit.

     Only now is the Government belatedly recognizing the unfair treatment of the displaced Ottawas and the Chippewas and is making toward a cash restitution to some of their descendants. 

MICHIGAN HISTORICAL COLLECTION, VOLUME 40 PAGE 304

     The Speech of the Principal Chiefs and Warriors of the Wyandot Delivered on this 30th day of September 1809.  

To His Excellency, Governor Hull:

     Father, listen to your children, the Wyandots, delivered by their chiefs and warriors in which they let you know these sentiments.

     Father, listen, for we speak to you now to let you know the sentiments of our minds.  We thought the land we resided upon was our own.  Formerly, our Old Chiefs, who are now dead and gone, made a great promise to the Great Spirit above that they never would move from the land we, their children, now live upon and occupy.

     Father, listen, you informed us that the land we occupy belongs to you at a treaty of Greenville, made with our Father, General Wayne.  He promised to us the land on which we lived and for that reason we will never consent to give up talking upon this subject.

      Father, listen, you will remember that some of our Principal Chiefs went last fall to visit our Great Father, the President of the United States.  Our Chiefs were very sorry that they could not get an opportunity to talk with our Great Father, the President of the United States, personally.

     Father, listen, when you arrived at this place amongst your children, you always give your children good advice to cultivate the land.  Your children of the Wyandot Tribe of Indians have followed your advice to their great benefit and satisfaction.

     Father, we were astonished when you told  us there was a small tract of land at Brownstown and Maguawgo for our use for fifty years and a vacancy in the middle between the two villages.

     Father, listen to what your children, the Wyandots, say this small tract of land is entirely too small for  us.  What will become of our children that are growing up?  Father, listen, you have cut off from us the best part of our land.  Your Children, the Principal Chiefs, the Old Warriors, the Head Warriors with some of our sensible young men of the Wyandot Nation request you to grant them the following favor:

     That the boundary of our lands should commence at a small run about a half mile from Walk-in-the-Water’s dwelling house on the northeast side to run from thence along the Detroit River until it crosses the river Huron for one mile.  That is the river Heron beyond Brownstown to the southwest, thence to extend back to the extent of the United States purchase or a line established by the Treaty of Detroit beyond which, the Rocky River we will forever abandon any further claim.

     Father, you know there is a bed of land between the two villages.  The Chiefs of the Wyandots and the Sensible young men of our nation wish you to let them have that bed of land which lies between the two villages.  Father, the reason why your Children like this bed of land so well, they have made valuable improvements on it, which have cost them both labor and expenses and what is still more sensible to our feelings, we love the land that covers the bones of our fathers.

     Father, listen, these lands are our sole dependence for cultivation and hunting.  Father, listen again, you inform us concerning our lands that we are only to enjoy them for fifty years.  Your Children are very uneasy at this information.  They say “Let us enjoy and have our land forever”.

     Father, listen, your Children say “Let your Children, the Wyandots, have their land for 100 years”.  The reason why we say 100 years is this:  If you Children and the Principal Chiefs of the Wyandots live so long at peace and quietness, and that day comes at the end of 100 years, Father, we will, again, talk on the same subject.  Father, listen, it surprises us, your Children, that our Great Father, the President of the United States, should take as much upon himself as the Great Spirit above, as he wants all the land on this Island.  Father, we thing he takes the words out of the mouth of the Great Spirit.  He does not consider that he is master.  Father, he does not think of the Great Spirit Above that he is omnipotent and master of us all and everything in this world.

     Father, listen to the request of your Wyandot Children.  Grant us, we supplicate you our land in the quantity we have requested in this speech, then Father, we will thank the voice of the Great Spirit Above and thank our Father, the President of the United States in granting this.

     Father, listen, you requested your Children last spring to take into consideration this subject concerning our land.  We have complied with your reaquest and now give this answer.

     Father, listen, we hope that you will not think that it is for want of respect to you that we make known our sentiments on paper by our friend, Jacob Visger, Father, as you have repeatedly promised your Children that you would respect them, we will never forget your parental care of us, if you will assist us, at this present time and forwarding these, our wishes and sentiments, to our Father, the President of the United States.

     Show Han Wit, or Black Chief, Mae’ra or Walk-in-the-Water

Sin Dae We No, Te Yuck Quant, Han Nec Saw or Split Log,, Ha Yen Wa Dae or Isadore, Yuc Sha Waw No, Yae Ta or Skylight, Ta Han Nun Ka 


OUR PUBLIC IMAGE

     In a recent issue of the Sunfield Sentinel, Theo Lenon, one of our valued Sebewa Center Association members, writing in his weekly spice column, includes the following:

     “I am sure if every farmer in the Sunfield area would absolutely clean his roadside, rip out old fence rows (and many of them the only thing they have to do on a fence row is hitch the tractor to one end of the fence and start the tractor up and haul it off, possibly go back, then dig around the bushes and pull them out) we could raise the value of every acre of land in the Sunfield area $100 per acre and each farm would have more tillable acres also.  We suggest that farmers in this area take a Sunday afternoon ride up around Westphalia and Breckenridge and see what this program would do for our community…”

     To all of which we say “Whoa, there” before stepping over into Dutchman’s Heaven with all the checkerboard neatness and order.  There have been a few days this winter and surely there will be more in the spring when some of the slovenly old fence rows meant a little protection from the cutting wind.  Without that protection or some replacement for it, there is bound to come a time when tender crops will suffer severe damage from an uncontrolled gritty blast.  When the grit begins to move, we can be sure that some of the more valuable parts of the soil have moved on to increase the valuation of the farm that provided same windbreaks.

      With our ear out to farmer talk it seems that there are two groups who might want to increase valuations of farm lands.  They are:  1.  The man who wants to sell and get the heck out.  2.  The man who wants to increase the tax base.  Already it seems that we feel the hot breath of corporate farming on our backs.  Late news tells of a $20 million fund in the works planning to establish a 30 thousand head cattle feeding farm near Coldwater.  Must we try to attract such giants by making our area look like a desirable place to move in?

     Then, too, there is the effect on ecology.  What is to become of the furred and feathered frequenters of the fence rows or the deer that can be spotted a mile and a half away?  Maybe the game will have to move to town for protection.

     Or could it all be that our ambition does not run in the right direction?

     Anyone wishing to present a different view or to amplify this discussion will find space in these pages. 


SOME ITEMS FROM 1883

     Mr. Ezekial Downing is the inventor of a machine to test the lungs.  Try it.

     Last Thursday a gale glew down a couple of wind engines in this vicinity, one for Mr. Luscher and one for Joshua Gunn, also a lot of timber and fences.

     A Mr. Slater of Ohio has purchased the 40 acre farm which was formerly owned by E. Probasco, his uncle, and moved into it.

     Sebewa has caught the improvement spirit.  Fixing up is A. A. Garlock, who is building a new grape arbor. 


THE WHITE TORNADO

      The White Tornado, so-called because of its contrast in color to the usual black funnel in that kind of wind storms, struck Sebewa in the late afternoon of August 5, 1968.  Reportedly it had its inception at the Kent County Airport before the eyes of men at the weather station.  It did some damage on Henderson Road in Odessa Township before crossing M66 just south of Knoll Road into Sebewa.  Barely had it crossed when the tail snapped down to remove Bruce Downing’s barn and seriously damage his house.  Continuing east by north, it whipped the roof from Richard Goodemoot’s barn and did the same for Ora Walkington as it passed into Orange Township.

      Elfa Creighton snapped a good color photo of the high thin twister.  Her shot of it was recently shown on a Grand Rapids TV weather show by Buck Matthews.

     News of the tornado damage brought an unusual amount of sightseeing traffic to that part of Sebewa in the week that followed. 


MEMBERSHIP FIGURE

      The dues-paid membership for the Sebewa Center Association for the year of 1968-69 has now reached three hundred twenty (320).


THE SEBEWA RECOLLECTOR
Bulletin of The Sebewa Center Association
Robert W. Gierman, Editor
R 1
Portland, Michigan 48875  U. S. A.

 



Last update March 18, 2013