THE SEBEWA RECOLLECTOR, Bulletin of the The Sebewa Center Association, Bulletin of The Sebewa Center Association, December 1969, Volume 5, Number 3
HOW WE LIVED SIXTY YEARS AGO AS RELATED BY THE RECORDS OF SAMUEL KAUFFMAN.
1. Wednesday. Clear, wind south, warm. I husked corn.
2. Cloudy, wind S.E., warm. I drawed corn.
3. Cloudy, wind S.E., warm. I drawed corn in in fodder. We went to Lake Odessa in evening to I.O.O.F. Lodge. Conferred the first degree
4. Cloudy, wind S.W., warm. I drawed corn.
5. Cloudy, wind S.W., warm, turned cold and rained all night with high wind at night. We were down to Steve Hunt’s.
6. Cloudy, wind N.E. to West. I husked corn.
7. Snowed all day, wind N.E. to West. We went over to Lottie’s folks. I.O.O.F. Hall burned at night.
8. Snow, wind S.W., temperature 10. I went to West Sebewa in forenoon. In afternoon helped Gene get sheep up.
9. Snow, wind S.W., temperature 10. I husked some corn.
10. Cloudy, wind S.E., temperature 20. We butchered a hog.
11. Cloudy, wind East, temperature 20. We went to Lake Odessa.
12. Snowed and rained all day. Temp 24 50 33. We were home all day.
13. Rain, wind SE, temp 35. I husked corn.
14. Snowed, wind SE, temp 28. I husked corn and made barnyard door.
15. Snow, wind SW, temp 25. I helped Shetterly butcher.
16. Snow, wind SW, temp 20. We had Aid Society.
17. Snow, high west wind, temp 18. I got horses shod.
18. Cloudy most of day, wind SW, temp 10. I went to Lake Odessa.
19. Cloudy and snow, wind SW, temp 10. We were home all day.
20. Cloudy and snow, wind SW, temp 10. I went over to Whorley’s and Fred Bulling’s after orders then went to West Sebewa and paid taxes.
21. Cloudy and snow, wind SW, temp 12. We went to Lake Odessa.
22. Cloudy, wind west, temp 15. I took a load of beans to Woodbury.
23. Snow and cloudy, wind SW, temp 20. I took a load of beans to Woodbury.
24. Cloudy, wind south, temp 20. I finished taking beans to Woodbury.
25. Snow, wind NE to NW, temp 26. We went up to Metes.
26. Cloudy, wind NW, temp 20. We were home all day.
27. Clear, wind west, temp 15 to 20. I went to Lake Odessa.
28. Clear, wind SW, temp 15. I helped Charlie butcher.
29. Cloudy, wind north, temp 6 to 10. I helped Gene butcher.
30. Cloudy, wind south, temp 6 to 10 to 4. I done chores.
31. Cloudy in forenoon. Wind south, temp 6 to 20. I went to Lake Odessa to mill.
CHRISTMAS IN IONIA FIFTY YEARS AGO (1833)
From THE MICHIGAN PIONEER COLLECTION, Volume 6, 1883 By Palmer H. Taylor
Meeting S. A. Yeomans one day last week I asked him to tell me about their first Christmas. He laughed heartily at my request and said “You know the interior of my father’s house and are able to give a wordy picture. You may tell how we ground our corn and, I thin, some friendly Indians gave us a saddle of venison, which was prepared for our dinner that day.
First, about the corn. The colony arrived at the end of their journey May 28, 1833. The corn, which had been planted by the Indians, was purchased by the newcomers. When fully ripe, the corn was taken care of. Now comes the necessity to grind it. Each family having corn had a tree felled near the house. The stump was hollowed out on the top by the use of an axe and fire so as to make something like a mortar. Into this cavity the corn was placed and then broken by means of a pestle. When broken, the corn was taken to the house of Samuel Dexter where it was ground in a large coffee mill. This was done after the day’s work was finished. Mr. Yeomans says he would go with his father to help grind the corn, one turn and then another for a half or two thirds of a pailful every night.
Now for Christmas. Fifty years ago there were no stores or shops where presents could be bought, so something must be gotten up out of the materials in the house. This house of Erastus Yeomans was very commodious, a very commodious log house standing a few rods west of the frame house, doors on each side. The latch string was always out, a large stoop on the south side. In the west end of this house was an old fashioned fireplace. The stick chimney was large enough for Santa Claus to drive his reindeer and sleigh into.
These pioneers, coming from the East, brought some of their eastern notions with them and one was to keep Christmas. In order to have something for each little stocking, Aunt Phoebe must sit up after the children had gone to bed and sometimes they would be urged to retire earlier than they had desired to. When apparently out of sight, the Christmas work was brought out and by late bedtime Christmas Eve something was placed in each stocking. I will only guess what it was. For the youngest a pair of red mittens specked with a braided string of red and white.
Now for the dinner. The fireplace was large enough to take a quarter of a cord of wood, of four foot wood if necessary. From one side of the chimney to the other a stout pole was placed on which to hang long pot hooks and trammels. While the kettles were boiling over the fire the saddle of venison was suspended from a beam above by a stout cord in front and as it was cooked on one side, it was turned around so that each part was most thoroughly done. A large pan was on the hearth to catch the drippings and the old fashioned long handled frying pan was brought into use to bake the shortcake.
So Christmas fifty years ago was a merry Christmas to each one as they came in sight, a pair of mittens for the children and a dinner good enough for the President.
OUR LAND AND MINE—A GLIMPSE BEHIND THE SCENE
The Ordinance of 1787 was adopted by the Congress of Confederation (Continental Congress) preceding our constitutional government that became effective Jun 21, 1788; to govern the Western Territories ceded to the United States Government by the states. This territory later was divided into the states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin.
The language of the Ordinance of 1787 relating to the Indians was as follows: “The utmost good faith shall always be observed towards the Indians, their lands and property, rights and liberty, they shall never be invaded or disturbed, unless in just and lawful wars authorized by Congress; but laws founded in justice and humanity shall from time to time be made, for preventing wrongs being done to them, and for preserving peace and friendship with them”.
The accompanying article, The Treaty of Saginaw, is presented to show how theory and practice were carried out in relation to the land on which we live in central Michigan. The territory ceded at the Treaty of Saginaw would seem from the description to take in a good portion of Ionia County and the broad sweep of central Michigan land east of the diagonal running through Ionia county. The cession amounted to six million (6,000,000) acres.
In 1830 Congress passed the Indian Removal Act to clear all the land east of the Mississippi River for White settlement. Between 1830 and 1840 the War Department moved 100,000 Indians from the east side to the west side of the Mississippi. Settlement west of the Mississippi met with hostility of other Indian bands already located in that area. Hunting and the means of livelihood in the west was different and most of the Indians of the eastern woodlands were not adaptive to it.
The Treaty of Saginaw was not an isolated instance but one of a series of cessions over a period of years that relieved the Indians of the land they had occupied for centuries. Taken one treaty at a time, the Whites rather easily rationalized the taking of the land from the “savages”. Looking back, the total effect of those treaty actions seems rather awful and would certainly not be tolerated by today’s national conscience.
For the full effect of the treaty story, we suggest you read it in two or three times with intervals of a few days between readings.
A WEDDING GIFT 70 YEARS AGO
When Lawrence Knapp and Mae Jackson were married at the turn of the century, her father, Charles Jackson of Roxand, wished to get them off to a good start with a wedding gift. Howard Knapp discovered among his father’s papers the following:
Statement to Mr. Charles Jackson, Roxand, Michigan
1 10’ #213 table $6.00, ½ dozen 6/4 chairs $5.50, 1 Bedstead $3.50, 1 Mattress $2.50, 1 Set Springs $1.50, 6 Curtains $1.50, 5 Curtains $.50. Total $21.00.
Received Payment October 24, 1898, T. J. Bandfield.
THE TREATY OF SAGINAW
A paper by Hon. Ephriam S. Williams (Flint) read at the Annual Meeting of 1884 of the Michigan Pioneer Society. From Volume 7 of MICHIGAN PIONEER COLLECTION.
The title to the southeasterly part of Michigan was obtained from the natives by a treaty of 1807. The northerly line of this grant included only small portions of what are now counties of Lapeer and Genesee and a little north of their southern boundaries, thus leaving the Saginaw River and its principal affluents, the Flint, Cass, Shiawassee and Tittabawasee rivers entirely unaffected by the provisions of that treaty. This portion of the state remained in Indian possession with the rights of the natives intact and unaffected till the Treaty of Saginaw in 1819. In that treaty we are particularly interested for the cession of land then made by the natives with reservations therein provided for included the rich and flourishing valleys of the Saginaw and its tributaries.
General Lewis Cass, who was commissioned to act as the agent of the general government in securing to it this important addition to our territory. He was then in the vigor of his manhood with a laudable ambition to achieve a national reputation and to identify himself by his exertions with the acquisition of such a valuable body of land. He felt the importance of the enterprise in which he was about to embark and that, if successful, it would be an achievement on which any statesman might well ground a claim for the gratitude of those then living at and near Detroit and might be excused if he looked to such achievement as the groundwork of future national honors.
General Cass appeared upon the Saginaw upon the site of what is now Saginaw city on the tenth day of September A. D. 1819 with his staff of interpreters and assisstants. Before starting from Detroit the General had directed Mr. Louis Campau, who had been since 1816 an established Indian trader at that point upon the Saginaw, to build a council house and make the necessary arrangements for the reception of the Commissioner and his company. Two government vessels, laden with stores for the subsistence of persons on the treaty grounds were sent around by Lake St. Clair and Huron. On one of these was a company of United States soldiers commanded by Captain Cass, a brother of the General, who had been ordered to the treaty grounds for the protection of those in attendance.
Mr. Campau and his employees constructed the council house. It was spacious and commanding, extending several hundred feet along the bank of the river a few rods back from the shore and of requisite width to accommodate the large number of natives who were expected to be present. Trees conveniently situated furnished the columns of the council hall and boughs interlaced above made the roof. The sides and ends were open. It was of an order of architecture not recognized by Ruskin, Downing, Upjohn or any other writer upon that branch of art. It was doubtless, more nearly assimilated to that temple described by that post of nature, Bryant, in the opening of his Forest Hymn, one of the finest of all his poems. The groves were God’s first temple ere man learned to hew the shaft and lay the architechtraves and spread the roof above them ere he framed the lofty vault together and roll back the sound of anthems.
A platform made of logs faced or evened by the axe, elevated about a foot above the ground and large enough to accommodate upon rustic benches Commissioner Cass and the other officials occupied the central portion of the council room. Huge logs in their native mightiness had been rolled upon the other space to be used as seats by the native lords of the soil in solemn council.
The number of Indians present upon the arrival of the Commissioner was not so large as was expected. The number present upon the treaty ground on the third day, which was the fullest council that was held has been variously estimated at from one thousand five hundred to four thousand, mainly Chippewas, but not all. Some were Ottawas of pure and mixed blood. The treaty is spoken of as the United States on the one side and the Chippewa Nation on the other. There are the names of chiefs and head men affixed to the treaty, who were of Ottawa descent.
There were but three regular councils or audiences held during the ten or twelve days that the negotiations were pending. At such formal councils the chiefs, warriors and head men and braves only were called and admitted into the council hall although, the sides being open and the opportunity for hearing and seeing being unimpeded, the Indian women and their children gathered in timid groups close by. They were the silent but by no means disinterested spectators of the solemn negotiations proceeding within, which involved no less than a full and final surrender of the burial places of their fathers, the ancient hunting grounds of their people, the fair and beautiful heritage of the forest and the corn ground, lake and river.
At the first council General Cass made known to the natives through Henry Cotter and Whitmore Knaggs the object of his journey from Detroit and the general purpose of our government. He was answered by their chief speakers with a gravity and eloquence peculiar to Indian councils. The chief speaker, O Ge Maw Ke Ke Too, opposed the proposition made by Commissioner Cass with indignation. He was then quite young, not over 21 years of age, a model of eloquence, graceful and handsome. He wore afterward upon his breast a superb government medal presented to him after the treaty by General Cass and which he always wore during his life. He was considered the leading business chief. His totem was always required to all papers between the government and the tribes.
He addressed the Commissioner—“You do not know our wishes. Our people wonder what has brought you so far from your home. Your young men have invited us to come and light the council fire. We are here to smoke the pipe of peace but not to sell our lands. Our American Father wants them. Our English Father treats us better. He has never asked for them. Your people trespass upon our hunting grounds. You flock to our shores. Our waters grow warm. Our land melts like a cake of ice. Our possessions grow smaller and smaller. The warm wave of the white man rolls in upon us and melts us away. Our women reproach us. Our children want homes. Shall we sell from under them the spot where they spread their blankets? We have not called you here. We smoke with you the pipe of peach.
To this the Commissioner replied with earnestness reproving the speaker for his arrogant assumption in saying that their great Father at Washington had just closed a war in which he had whipped the English King and the Indians, too, that their lands were forfeited, in fact, by the rules of war, but he did not propose to take them without rendering back an equivalent, notwithstanding their late acts of hostility. That their women and children should have secured to them ample tribal reserves on which they could live unmolested by their white neighbors where they could spread their blankets, receive aid and be instructed in agriculture.
Upon the treaty grounds the two friends acted unanimously and in perfect unison. Smith had no position at the treaty, either as interpreter for or agent of General Cass. He was personally known to the General for when not at his trading post he was at Detroit where he had a white family; but it is evident that he was looked upon with some distrust by the Commissioner.
For several days the most active efforts of the authorized interpreters and agents of the government were ineffectual in conciliating Ne-ome, O Ge Maw, Ke Ke Too and the other chiefs. Not a step in progress was made until Mr. Knaggs and the other agents who assumed, but with what authority is doubtful, to speak for the government outside the council room, had promised the faithful Ne-ome that in addition to various and ample reservations for the different bands of several thousand acres, each, there should be reserved as requested by Wah Be Sins, Smith, eleven sections of land of 640 acres each to be located at or near the Grand Traverse of the Flint. Eleven names as such reserves, all Indian names were passed over to Mr. Knaggs on a slip of paper in his tent. A council was again held several days after the first one and was fully attended by all the chiefs and warriors. This, with some other point of difficulty, had become quieted. The storm, which had first threatened to overwhelm the best efforts of the Commissioner and the active agents, had passed over and in its place a calm and open discussion----ad of the terms and basis on which a just and honorable treaty should be, as at length it was, concluded.
There was but one more general council held, which was mainly formal for the purpose of having affixed to the engrossed copy of the treaty the signature of General Cass and the witnesses and the totems of the chiefs and headmen of the Chippewas and Ottawas.
A removal of the Chippewas west of the Mississippi, at least west of Lake Michigan was one of the purposes sought to be gained by our government at the treaty in addition to the cession of the valuable body of land lying upon the Saginaw and its affluants. In the instructions from the War Department to the Commissioner for this purpose is set out among others but it was discovered by the General soon after his arrival at the council that it was impossible to carry out that part of his instructions which related to the removal of the Indians without hazarding the consummation of a treaty on any terms. This county had been so long occupied by their people and was so well adapted to their hunter state in the remarkable abundance of fish in its rivers, lakes and bays and in the game yet left to them and not very materially diminished in the forest but they were not inclined to listen to any proposition of removal.
The exterior lines of the territory ceded at this treaty were as follows:
“Beginning at a point on the present Indian boundary line which runs due north from the mouth of the great Au Glaize, six miles south of the place where the base line, so called, intersects the same in the northeasterly part of what is now Jackson County, thence west 60 miles to a point in Kalamazoo County, thence in a direct line to the head of Thunder Bay River, thence down the same, following the course thereof to the mouth, thence northeast to the boundary line between United States and the British province of Upper Canada, thence with the same to the line established by the Treaty of Detroit of 1807; thence with said line to the place of beginning.”
Conclusion of the description of the treaty signing will follow in a later issue.
WHO WAS SEEBEWA?
The man who tells us there was a Seebewa died early nearly ninety years ago. But some five years before his death Flavius J. Littlejohn of Allegan wrote a book called “Legends of Michigan and the Old Northwest”. In it he relates in narrative fashion the stories of the Indian tribes of Michigan of the late 1700s and early 1800s before they were much disturbed by white settlers.
He pictures the tribal groups as centered on Michigan various river systems. On the Grand it was the Ottawas with Chief Okemos. Seebewa was his scout.
On the Kalamazoo river was another Ottawa group with Wakazoo as chief using the horseshoe be bend at Allegan as headquarters.
Chief Chessaning was in charge of the Hurons on the Shiawassee river.
On the Saginaw river, as you will note in the Saginaw Treaty description, was Chief Ne-ome and his band.
Chief Pokagon headed the Pottowatomies on the St. Joseph and Paw Paw rivers.
Chief Elkhart of the Shawnees on the Wabash river once made an unsuccessful incursion of southwest Michigan in a bid for some of Pokagon’s territory.
Chief Missaukie was on the Manistee river and Chief Tekonsha was at Battle Creek.
Chief White Water and a band of Ottawas formed a settlement at the lower end of Grand Traverse bay.
The action of the book treats Michigan geography as familiarly as you might know your back forty. Battles and skirmishes flourish in the book from Ssaginaw, Ann Arbor, Battle Creek and Three Rivers to Manitou Island, Green Bay, Sleeping Bear, Lake Superior and the Soo.
The book also relates the battle of Tippecanoe in which William Henry Harrison defeated The Prophet, brother of Tecumseh, and opened the vast Indiana area to white settlement. Tecumseh was promoting an Indian league to join forces to push the whites back east out of the Ohio Valley. The Prophet prematurely precipitated the Battle of Tippecanoe and spoiled the larger test of strength that Tecumseh was planning.
In 1956 the books of the original edition of 1875 were becoming rare. It was then that the Allegan Historical Society republished the book and made it again available to the public.
A copy of Legends of Michigan and the Old Northwest is to be found in the Sunfield District Library.
Not far from the southwest corner of Orange Township, Ionia County on the farm of Mrs. B. K. Possehn was the site of oil drilling activities from July 1, 1969 to August 12, 1969. Starting at 860 feet above sea level, the 8 5/8” rotary drilled well went to a depth of 6,399 feet before drilling stopped and it was classified as a dry hole, meaning that no commercial amounts of oil or gas were encountered. The first 903 feet are steel cased and the remainder is cement.
The drilling log shows the almost 1 ¼ miles of sedimentary rock as follows:
FROM TO FORMATION
Surface 214 Drift
214 406 Saginaw Formation (shale and limestone)
406 480 Bayport limestone
480 672 Michigan Formation (shale and dolomite)
672 938 Marshall Sandstone
938 1942 Coldwater Shale
1942 2348 Mississippian Shales
2348 2682 Traverse Limestone
2682 2690 Bell Shale
2690 3330 Dundee Limestone
3330 3733 Detroit River
3733 3796 “E” Shale
3796 3858 “D” Salt
3858 3877 Sandstone
3877 4058 “B” Salt
4058 4231 A-2 Dolomite
4231 4552 A-2 Salt
4552 4612 A-1 Dolomite
4612 4809 A-1 Salt
4809 4896 Niagaran Dolomite
4896 4999 Brassfield Shales
4999 5384 Clinton Shale and Limestone
5384 5624 Utica Shale
5624 5918 Trenton Limestone
5918 5961 Black River Shale
5961 6142 Black River Limestone
6142 6220 Gull River Limestone
6220 6282 Glenwood Shale and Limestone
6282 6366 Knox Dolomite
6366 6386 Krysik Sandstone
6386 Total Distance Dolomite
6399 Total Distance
The Ionia County Road Commission salt well in that vicinity is 2910 feet deep
AN ADVENTURE BY Bayard Taylor (1825-1878)
High up on the lonely mountains, the Indians watched and waited; There were wolves in the forest, and bears in the bush, And I on my path belated.
The rain and the night together came down, and the wind came after, Bending the props of the pine-tree roof, And snapping many a rafter.
I crept along in the distance, stunned and bruised and blinded.—Crept to a fir with thick set boughs, And a sheltering rock behind it.
There, from the blowing and raining, crouching, I sought to hide me; Something rustled, two green eyes shone, And a wolf lay down beside me.
There, we two, in the storm and wind, --I and the wolf together,--Side by side, through the long, long night, Hid from the awful weather.
His wet fur pressed against me; each of us warmed the other; Each of us felt, in the stormy dark, That beast and man was brother.
And when the falling forest no longer crashed in warning, Each of us went from our hiding-place Forth in the wild, wet morning.
From Swinton’s Fourth Reader
On many a stormy night this poem was a bedtime favorite related from memory by Nellie Gierman.
SEBEWA NEWS FROM THE TRAVIS SCHOOL DISTRICT NOVEMBER 16, 1909
Mr. and Mrs. Charles A. Bates of Detroit are visiting Mr. and Mrs. George Thorp. Mr. Bates is assistant district superintendent of the Pullman Company at Detroit. Mrs. Bates is a sister of Mrs. Thorp.
Married at the parsonage at Ionia November 9 by the Methodist minister, Reverend E. G. Lewis, Ben Probasco and Miss Maude Oatley, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. B. Oatley. The bride is one of Sebewa’s lovliest young ladies and the groom is a well-to-do young farmer. Clarence and Miss Lulu Oatley, brother and sister of the bride, were the witnesses.
N. Buel visited his daughter, Mrs. Fred Gunn, last Sunday.
Mrs. Fell has moved to Barryton to live with her daughter, Mrs. A. Rebedue.
Dan Samaine visited his daughter, Mrs. Fred Brickley, over Sunday.
Wilson Luscher is in Lansing having his eyes treated by a specialist.
Mrs. A. Lindley, who has been caring for her young grandson, Forrest A. Franks, returned to her home Sunday evening.
Mrs. Jacob Evans and Miss Ethel Youngs visited Mrs. Peter Ward of Orange on Thursday.
NOW—FROM THE SUNFIELD SENTINEL of November 28, 1969—MR. AND MRS. BEN PROBASCO WED 60 YEARS. On November 9th Mr. and Mrs. Ben Probasco of rural Sunfield observed their 60th wedding anniversary at their home on Sunfield Highway. Mrs. Probasco’s brother, Mr. and Mrs. Carl Oatley, of Traverse City were among the many callers. They received 85 cards.
THE SEBEWA RECOLLECTOR
Last update March 29, 2013