Sebewa Recollector
Items of Genealogical Interest

Volume 7 Number 3
Transcribed by LaVonne I. Bennett


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


THE SEBEWA RECOLLECTOR, Bulletin of the The Sebewa Center Association, Bulletin of The Sebewa Center Association, December 1971, Volume 7, Number 3

    

OLD RESIDENTS PASS THE SCENE

     During the past several weeks a number of old residents have left their earthly abode.

The list is Frances Thuma (wife of Ray Thuma), Harry Meyers, Frank McDonald, Florence (Tran) Hiar, William Petrie, Ada (Luscher) Johnson, Msry (Stemler Burnes Cogswell and George Sargeant.  Harry Meyers was a charter member of the Sebewa Center Association and the others with the exception of McDonald, Johnson and Cogswell had been members. 


A LIVE COAL IN THE ASHES

     Late in the season the Portland Kiwanis Club came up with a travelogue program.  Their programs begin at 7:30 P.M. on Thursdays at the Sun Theatre in Portland.      

     Following is their listing:

December 2, 1971      ETHIOPIA, FABLED KINGDOM       Joe Adair

January 6, 1972          AMERICA—OF THEE I SING           Robert Brouwer

February 10, 1972      WELCH WONDERLAND                  Walter S. Dodson

April 6, 1972              INCREDIBLE JAPAN                         James Forshee

May 4, 1972               DISCOVER BULGARIA                     Luben Balanoff 


WHO AND WHAT

     Who are we but a dip from the human gene pool, soaked in various concentrations of the culture of hundreds of generations of man’s experiences?  And who is so presumptious as to be proud or ashamed of that dip of inheritance that made him?  To claim irresponsibility for the rate of cultural absorption may be another matter. 


OFF TO AN EARLY START

“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it”.  Proverbs 22:6.  Assuming there is truth in the quotation it becomes clear that the litterbug cult is not going to be exterminated by preachments and catch phrases.  Some itsy bitsy tyke discarded his disposable diaper as roadside trash on Musgrove Highway a short time back.  Can you beat that for early training? 


OUR MEMBERSHIP LIST

     We have 322 currently paid membership in the Sebewa Center Association for the year of 1971-72.  Some of the new members are as follows:   Mr. and Mrs. A. H.(Helen Creighton) Robinson, Mr. and Mrs. Tom Cramer, Mr. and Mrs. George Gierman, Dr. and Mrs. Richard Berg, Mrs. Lora Mae Brown, Mr. and Mrs. Riley Sandborn Sr., Mr. and Mrs. Max E. McWhorter, Mr. and Mrs. Don Benschoter, James Van Buren, Miss Fern Conkrite. 


SEBFIELD OR SUNEWA?

     Perhaps the names do not quite fit but the new population strip for a couple of miles north of Sunfield will have to have a name and, left to chance, might get one worse than the above combinations. 


GETTING STARTED IN SEBEWA   By Iril Shilton

     About 75 years ago my father, Andrew Shilton, bought 40 acres in Sebewa and moved his family here from Orange Township.  The 40 acres was located at the west end of York Road.  His family consisted then of my mother, Hattie, my older brother, Ernest, and myself.  The land near the road was low and swampy, so the site for our first living quarters was on a knoll in the woods about 40 rods west of the road.  A lane was made back there from the road.

     After my father had bought the land, there was little money for anything else.  Our first winter was spent in a tent that my father rigged up.  The tent had room for four of us.  It was square and had a stove in it that kept us warm—sometimes too warm.  There was a shield for the stovepipe to keep it from setting fire to the tent.

     That fall a tall, lanky half-breed Indian came through the woods gathering herbs, which he would sell to Indian doctors.  Ernie and I were scared of him at first but we soon got to know him and took a liking to him.  He sometimes gave my father herbs that “would cure our ailments”.  He asked my father if he could pitch his tepee nearby and stay the winter.  His wigwam was covered with skins and as he had a surplus of skins he gave my mother some to cover our floor.  That made our tent more comfortable and cozier than before.

     The next spring my father had Jimmie Creighton saw out some lumber from our timber to build us a house.  It was a rough lumber, 15’ by 20’ house of a story and a half.  Ernie and I slept in the loft and reached it by a ladder in the corner.

     When it came time to go to school we found we were in the Travis District and we started at that school.  There were a lot of big boys at the Travis who seemed to enjoy making it tough for the little fellows.  My father decided enough was enough and he had a solution.  Our new house was built on a foundation of wood blocks.  By fitting a pair of skids under the house and using three teams of horses and moving the house a short distance, we began living in the Sebewa Center District and finished our schooling there.  Later, by skidding the same house between the stumps and stones, it was drawn to the location where I live and became a part of this house.  I wish I could remember the name of that half-breed Indian. 


MARRIED AT THE PARSONAGE AT IONIA November 9, 1909 by the Methodist minister, Rev. 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.   PORTLAND OBSERVER

      We add to this account that Ben and Maude celebrated their 62nd wedding anniversary on the appropriate day in November of this year. 


Iril Shilton will celebrate his 80th birthday in this December.  The announcement and celebration last year were premature. 


THE EAGLE SCREAMS—SECOND INSTALLMENT

     Editor’s note:  The first installment of THE EAGLE SCREAMS was not prefaced with enough cautionary explanation that the gory scenes depicted in it should be regarded as Welcome Lumbert’s hallucinations, to keep Weck from winning a few believers at this late date.  The pamphlets were mailed to many people in this locality in late June of 1905 with a postmark of Alto.  Although Weck does not identify himself at the front as author, he does so in the text as Oscar Lincoln, abducted son of Tad Lincoln, alias Welcome Lumbert.  Some of Weck’s plots put today’s TV mystery writers to shame.

     The reasons for reprinting these libelous tales are these: 

The original booklet has become scarce.

To show the shock treatment Weck gave the community at the time rather than vice versa.

The vocabulary and word picture ability of Weck was remarkable considering he could have spent no more than a few terms in a country school.  He deserves to be forgiven the occasional tangled sentence. 

The work contains many, many historical referenced to our locality of that time and of the years before that Weck could remember.  Most of them are accurate (excepting the murders) as to time and place.  The text is reprinted word for word.  Some inaccuracies in spelling and punctuation have been changed, partly because I read it onto tape and transcribed from that.  The second installment of THE EAGLE SCREAMS follows:

In the month of September A. D. 1903, William Turner knocked in the head with a hammer, Ansil Green’s wife of Sebewa and threw her body into a hog pen to conceal the crime.  He also took indecent liberties with a Miss Urie of Sebewa against her will, which terminated in suicide.  She confessed before she died to Mrs. John Olry to this effect...  Willard Lumbert said that he would swear falsely to clear Turner.

   William Turner kidnapped an infant male child said to be the son of Tad Lincoln, the son of Abraham Lincoln and martyred president and a son of Mary Anderson, daughter of Major General Robert Anderson of Fort Sumpter fame.  Turner took the child to Sebewa, Ionia County, Michigan.  There he made dupes and fools of the people by telling them that the child was likely to be crowned king.  The number of persons who were duped by this senseless bosh is truly disgusting.  They have given their money, their time and even their self-respect to fight against this kind hearted, noble borned grandson of Abraham Lincoln.  Turner compelled Mrs. Lincoln at the point of a drawn dagger to surrender her child to him on the evening of the 9th of August A.D. 1872 at Fremont, Ohio.  Oscar Lincoln, that being the child’s name was born in Washington, D.C. on the 20th day of February of the year he was stolen.

     William Turner knocked in the head and killed with the butt end of a buggy whip two ladies, a mother and daughter, by the name of Belcher in the autumn of the year of 1885.  This occurred on the road about four or five miles northeast of Portland, Michigan.  Oscar Lincoln and his foster father, Sylvester Lumbert, saw this crime committed.  Young Lincoln, though only thirteen years of age did all within his powers to have Turner arrested but as Lumbert and Turner were confederates, Lumbert would not corroborate Lincoln’s statements and the crime went unpunished.  Turner’s motive for killing these ladies was for money and revenge as he had heard Mrs. Belcher say that her brothers were Union soldiers and she was proud of it.  As the ladies were on their way to a funeral, they had but little money with them and Turner got about $15 but managed to induce Mr. Belcher to bury them just as they were dressed with their jewelry all on.  Turner went the night after the funeral and dug them up and robbed them of their jewelry.  He gave one of the watches to his niece, Miss Anette Bishop Lapo, who in turn gave it to her daughter, in whose possession the watch can be found.  Anette Bishop Lapo is the wife of Charlie Lapo of Woodbury, Michigan.

     In the spring of 1879 here lived at Sebewa Corners a man by the name of Albert Bradley.  Mr. Bradley and his wife kept a little store they had managed by careful economy and strict attention to business to accumulate a surplus of about $350.  With this they intended to add the line of millinery and finally close out their other goods, which they had already reduced to a minimum.  Then they intended to keep a hired girl to do the housework while Mrs. Bradley attended the millinery store.  Bill Turner spent practically all his time traveling about the country watching his chances to find where he could commit some kind of villainous deed or rob somebody.  He had a jovial way about him and always made himself agreeable and always sympathetical.  He has a way of worming himself into a person’s confidence that is truly remarkable.  When there is sickness about he is sure to visit them but it is also an evident fact tht as sure as he was permitted to give any medicine the patient died.  Turner surmised that the Bradleys had money, then after questioning Mr. Bradley about his affairs he found out just how much money he had and what he intended to do with it.  Then Turner set about working a scheme to get their money.  The first thing he done was tell Bradley that his wife was untrue to him, which was a lie.  Then after pointing out circumstances that he had claimed looked suspicious to him.  After that he got Charlie Hair to go in with him to help discourage Bradley.  He mentioned it to his wife but she, thinking he was only joking, paid no attention to her careless response to his insinuations, dispelling all of Bradley’s doubts.

     But as he had expressed his belief in that which he had been told, he did not like to recede too fast; but as he showed but little interest in the matter, Turner gave it up and said no more about it.  Although his scheme had failed, yet, nothing daunted, he hung around the place watching for an opportunity to rob them.  No opportunity came but as Mr. Bradley had said nothing to his wife in regard to his talk with Turner in regard to his jealousy, therefore Mrs. Bradley had no knowledge of it.

     Turner visited the store every day for a week and managed to spend from one to three hours each time.  During this time the Bradleys had made their plans for buying their goods.  Mr. Bradley was to start for Portland on Monday morning in time to catch an early train to Detroit in order to get there so that he would have plenty of time to do his business and get home the same day so as to avoid hotel bills and other unnecessary expense.  Turner heard all their plans and made his accordingly.

     He knew that in order for Bradley to get to the early train he would have to start very early as he had seven miles to walk over roads of mud and slush as the frost had just begun to go out of the ground.  Accordingly Turner, who then lived in Danby, got up in the night and hitched his horses to the buggy and drove to Manley Conkrite’s farm where Charlie Hiar was waiting for him and then drove to a cooper shop north of Sebewa Corners on the road that Albert Bradley would travel over on his way to Portland.  Arriving there, they tied their horses to a tree and went into the cooper shop and awaited Albert’s coming.  “Oh cruel Fate!  Oh blind deceit!  Wouldst thou but ope the eyes of him who patiently toils life’s wants to meet?  With harmless thoughts and honest mien while villain’s knaves, gluttons of lust await concealed his hopeful tread and work their ruse, destroy his life and in contentment eat his bread.  Oh, God and that if life”.

     Albert Bradley, according to previous arrangements, was upon his journey early Monday morning.  As he approached the cooper shop, which was located but a short distance from his home he was accosted by Bill Turner, although undoubtedly (he) realized the fact that foul play was imminent, yet he realized also that he was at the mercy of these two men and, do as he could, he had no method of escape.  Turner proceeded to inform him that Hiar had witnessed something the Saturday night before that would undoubtedly be of very high interest to him.  At that, Hiar came out of the shop and proceeded to tell his story, which proved quite interesting.  While Mr. Bradley was thus engaged, Turner slid up behind him and hit him on the head with an iron bar he had taken from the cooper shop and killed him.  Then together, Turner and Hiar, carried Albert’s body into the woods northeast of the shop and dug a shallow grave and buried him.

     On their way home they divided the money between them.  It was daylight when they turned to go east of Halladay’s corners and they got to Manley Conkrite’s just as he was milking his cows.  Turner immediately circulated a story to the effect that Bradley had left his wife and the country for parts unknown.  In burying Bradley they dug into the south side of a knoll where the spring sun had melted the frost and years later some farmers plowed the skeleton out.  It was recognized as Albert Bradley’s by his brother, John, after Turner had suggested to him that it might be his.  Then Turner started the story around that Erastus Deatsman, to whom Mrs. Bradley was afterwards married, killed him.  Then Turner, fearing Hiar would weaken  and give him away, poisoned him with slow poison by putting it in patent medicine which he kept Hiar supplied with, pretending all the while to be doing him a favor.  Turner kept it up until Hiar died.

     In the late autumn of A.D. 1894 Sebewa was visited by a smallpox epidemic.  Among those to get vaccinated was Albert, the only son of John Bradley.  A short time afterward it was given out that he had the smallpox but was not very sick.  Bill Turner visited him and stayed with him two or three hours.  It’s needless to say he died that same night.  Turner also murdered Jake Culp of Odessa and robbed him of $150 and put his body in Augst Lake.

     Ralph Friend and William Williams murdered Louis Augst and they got about $800 and went west where Friend murdered Williams and went back to Sebewa with the bulk of all the money.  He told his folks, however, that he made it in dealing in horses.

     Because of some trifling offense, Turner poisoned to death Mrs. F. N. Cornell of Sebewa Corners.  The poisonous drug that Turner uses when he wishes to produce heart failure is strychnine and laudanum.  The following is a list of some of the people killed by Turner by using this method:  Perry Manning, William Bates, P. T. Bergens, Frank Friend, J. Badgley, F. A. Russel, Bill Turner Sr. and Nick Pline, all of Portland; Henry Caswell, Henry Halladay, Lute Showerman, Henry Rogers, Mrs. Weck High, Mrs. Lill White, Oliver Stambaugh, Mr. Benjamin Travis, Mrs. Elliot Wyman, John Ramsey, a stock buyer, Thomas Ladd and Josh Henry of Sebewa; Old Mr. Riker, Old Man Blythestone, Andrew Therin, Elmer Brown besides several others at Kiddville near Belding, Michigan:  Mrs. Joseph Childs, John Parks, John Travis and his wife and his son, Bert;  Dave Bennett and his mother-in-law and his father-in-law, Old Mrs. Walker and Mr. Walker, George Pool and William Bishop, all of Sunfield, Michigan.  Turner killed a farmer by the name of Sindlinger, who lived west of Sebewa Corners.  He struck him and knocked him senseless, after which he robbed him of a part of his money, then put his head in under the wagon and started the team and the wheel passed over his head and he never regained consciousness and soon died.  The wagon was loaded with a water tank at the time.

     Dennis, the youngest son of George Pool, was married to a Miss Ola Bithener of Fowler near Greenville, Michigan.  They spent the most of their time roaming about the country.  On the morning of July 5, 1896, accompanied by a young man, they drove an old bay mare that was very poor, hitched to an old open buggy.  They arrived at Sunfield amidst a heavy shower of rain and Frank Richard let them drive into his blacksmith shop and stay until after the shower.  Mrs. Ola Pool’s mother’s maiden name was Price and she was a sister of Edward Price but known as Thomas J. Spencer, who was the son of Old Rebel General Price of the Tennessee Division.  These people formed themselves into a gang for the sake of obtaining revenge but as much for the sake of plunder.

     About a week after Dennis’s arrival they held a meeting at the home of Spencer for the sake of initiating Ola Pool into their Red Rag Gang.  On this occasion it was deemed appropriate that to have ready and present at the opportune moment, the head of a man.  Young Lincoln, who was somewhat gifted in detective ability and having kept a general surveillance upon them all of his life, became aware of the proceedings a very short time before the meeting was held.  He accordingly started in to apprehend them, knowing the sheriff and his deputies to be all away upon business, and only having a very few minutes to spare, acted accordingly.

     He called upon Supervisor, Henry Bera, and proceeded to inform him as to the conditions, also making a compact with him to take action to apprehend the gang.  But as the time for action grew near, Lincoln called at the Post Office and found, to his disappointment, that Bera had taken himself out of town on the least pretext of an excuse and it was learned afterwards that his excuse was entirely a hoax.  As soon as Lincoln saw how matters stood, he hastened to the meeting place in time to tell the young man that Bill Turner was going to kill him.  But he would not believe Lincoln but walked unheedingly into the trap and lost his life for his carelessness.  Turner knocked in his head with a piece of a rail and then cut his head off and put it in a bag.  The bag had Norris Perkins’ name on it and they killed the man and buried his headless body about 8 rods east and a little north of Welch’s livery barn.  They got done with the burying just as the nine o’clock train went through.  Then they proceeded to the Spencer home.  There was four rigs as follows:  T. J. Spencer and his wife, top buggy; T. E. Stinchcomb and William Turner, top buggy; Ewilda Stinchcomb Brown and Anette Bishop Lapo, top buggy; Dennis Pool and wife, open buggy.  It was also rumored that a private detective rode on the back of one of the buggies.

     When they reached Spencer’s, Dennis would not go in the house but his wife went in and was duly initiated into the Red Rag Gang.  At the close of the ceremony, Spencer took the head out in the lob back of the house and buried it.  While Day Kelly was working the place he plowed the head out and made Spencer pay quiet money but Spencer got even by poisoning to death Day Kelly’s wife and brother-in-law.  Spencer put the head in a square box and took it to the woods and buried it.  During the summer, A.D. 1903 while John Starkey was excavating for a place to bury some dead sheep, he again disinterred the head.  He presented the matter to Supervisor J. H. Palmer but he, also, belonged to the Turner Gang, having participated with his brother, Martin, in the killing of Willis Barton, a young man who accompanied their sister here from Adrian where she had been put in a school for truancy.  Palmer took the head back by the railroad and buried it.  Afterwards William Turner went in the night and dug the head up and took it home with him and buried it in between two pine trees which stand in front of the house.             End Part Two.   


ANNIHILATION OF THE SAUKS

     An excerpt from HISTORY OF KENT COUNTY Published by C.C. Chapman & Co. of Chicago December 1881.  The writing was done by an editorial team and authenticated by a committee of the Old Residents Association of the Grand River Valley.

     About the year of 1520 the Chippewas gained possession of this district, when the massacre of Skull Island resulted in almost the total annihilation of the original possessors, the Sauks.  The story of this massacre was thus related by William R. McCormick to the writer:

     On nearly all the tributaries can be found mounds filled with human bones, which I have opened for my own satisfaction, and found them lying in all directions, showing they were thrown together without any regularity, upon which I became satisfied they were killed in battle.  This awakened in me a curiosity to find out what people they were, and where and what had become of them.  I often questioned the Indians in regard to it, but they would invariable say that there were two or three very old Indians living on the bay that could tell me all about it, giving me their names.  Accordingly, in one of my journeys to the bay I sought out the Indians in question.  I think this was in 1834.  I found him a very old man and asked him his age.  He said he thought he was a great deal over 100 years.  His faculties were as bright as a man of 50.  I told him I understood he could give me the tradition of his race.  He replied he could, as it was handed down to him by his grandfather who he said was older than he was now when he told him.  For fear I would not get it correct I called to my aid an educated man who was part Indian, Peter Grewett, a man well known by the early settlers as an Indian trader, and is still living, I believe, in Gratiot county, and has spent his life with the Indians, in the fur trade, and was for many years in the employment of the American Fur Company.

     The old Indian, Puttasamine by name, commenced as follows:  He said the Sauks occupied the whole of the Saginaw river and its tributaries, extending from Thunder Bay on the north to the head of the Shiawassee on the south, and from Lake Michigan on the west to Detroit on the east through the valley of the Grand River.  The country was occupied by the Chippewas and the Ottowas, while the Menomonies were at the head of Green Bay in Wisconsin, and another tribe west of the Mississippi which he called Sioux.  The main village of the Sauks stood on the west side of the Saginaw river, just below where the residence of Frank Fitzhugh now is, and opposite the mill of N. B. Bradley.  The sauks were always at war with their Chippewa neighbors on the north and the Pottawatomies on the south, and also with other nations in Canada, until at last a council was called, consisting of the Chippewas, Pottawatomies, Monomonies, Ottawas and Six Nations of New York.  At an appointed time they all met at the Island of Mackinaw, where they fitted out a large army and started in bark canoes, and came down the west shore of Lake Huron.  They then stole along the west shore of Saginaw Bay by night, and lay concealed during the day, until they arrived at a place called Petobegong, about ten miles from the mouth of the Saginaw.  Here they landed part of their army, while the rest crossed the bay and landed to the east of the mouth of the Saginaw river in the night.  In the morning both armies started up the river, one on each side, so as to attack both villages at once.  The army on the west side attacked the main village first by surprise, and massacred nearly all; the balance retreated across the river to another village, which stood near where the courthouse now stands, near the ferry in Portsmouth.  At this time that part of the army that had landed on the east side of the river came up, and a desperate battle ensued in the vicinity of the residence of William R. McCormick, that being the highest land, and where they had attempted to fortify themselves; and at the present time, by digging in this hill, you will find it full of human bones of the victims of that battle.  Here they were again defeated.  They then crossed the river and retreated to Skull Island, which is the next island above what is now Stone’s Island.  Here they considered themselves safe, as their enemies had no canoes and they could not fortify themselves.  But the next night after their retreat to the island the ice froze thick enough for the allies to cross, which they did, when another massacre ensued; here they were all exterminated with the exception of 12 females.  Since that time this island has been known as “Skull Island”, from the number of skulls found on it in after years.  The allies then divided, some going up the Cass, some up the Flint, others up the Shiawassee, Tittabawassee, Maple and Grand, where there were different bands located.  But the largest battles were fought on the Flint, on the bluff.

     Another Indian traditionist says another reinforcement met them here, coming through Detroit.  Here there is a large number of mounds filled with bones, which can be seen at the present day.  They then came down the river and fought another battle on the bluff, about a mile from the present village of Flushing, on the farm formerly owned by a Mr. Bailey.  Here there is also a large number of mounds yet to be seen; and, if you should dig them open as I have, you will find them filled with human bones.

     The next battle was fought about 16 miles from Flushing, on the farm formerly occupied by the late James McCormick.  There were several battles fought on the Cass at what is now called the Bend, or Bridgeport Center, where there was a fortification of earthwork which was plainly to be seen 35 years ago.  The next important battle was fought on the Tittabawassee, just above the farm on which the late James Fraser first settled when he came to the Saginaw Valley.  This differs from the rest, as the remains of the slain were all buried in one mound, and it is a very large one.

     After the extermination of the whole nation, with the exception of the 12 females before spoken of, a council of the allies was then held, to know what should be done with them.  Some were for torturing and killing, others for sparing their lives; finally it was agreed that they should be sent west of the Mississippi, and an arrangement was made with the Sioux, that no tribe should molest them, and the Sioux should be responsible for their protection, which agreement was faithfully kept.  The conquered country, of which the Grand River Valley is a part; was then divided among them all as a common hunting ground.  But a great many who came here to hunt never returned, nor were ever heard of.  It became the opinion of the Indians that the spirits of the dead Sauks still haunted their hunting grounds and were killing off their hunters, when in fact it was a few Sauks who had escaped the massacre and still lingered around their hunting grounds, watching for straggling hunters and killing them whenever an opportunity occurred.  Ton-do-gong, an Indian chief who died in 1840, said he killed a Sauk while hunting when a boy.  This must have been over 80 years ago, and up to a few years ago the Indians still believed there was a Sauk in the vicinity.  They had seen the place where he had made his fires and slept.  I have known them to get together and not hunt for several days, for the reason, they said, there was a Sauk in the woods; they had seen where he had slept; you could not make them believe otherwise.

     But to go back to the Indian tradition—the country was considered as haunted, and no more Indians came here to hunt, although game was abundant.  Finally it was converted into what would be termed among civilized nations a penal colony.  Every Indian who committed a crime would flee or be banished to the haunted hunting grounds to escape punishment, for the Indian laws were more severe and strict then than now.  “This was long before we became degraded by coming in contact with the whites” said the Indian.

     The Chippewas becoming most numerous, finally their language predominated, but at the present time the Indians of the Lower Peninsula do not speak in all respects the same as the Chippewas  on Lake Superior, from which they originally sprung, showing that the mixing of different nations has been the cause of the variety in dialect.  Put-ta-qua-sa-mine said his grandfather told it to him when he was a boy, which was 90 years before, and that it had been handed down to his grandfather from his ancestors, and was a custom with him to repeat it often to his people, so the tradition or history should not be lost; and a successor was always appointed in case the traditionalist should die, that the history of the nation should not be lost, and be handed down from generation to generation.

     In speaking with two other old Indians on the same subject, it is found that their tradition is precisely the same, word for word, with one exception.  They say the battles on the Flint were fought by the army coming from Detroit.  There can be little doubt of the above being a correct narrative, as much so as if it had been written at the time and handed down to us as a matter of history.  It forms the most simple and probable history of the destruction of the Sauks, and the coming of the Otchipwas.

 

LOCATION OF THE BATTLEFIELD.  About 12 miles below Saginaw City is “Skull Island”, so named by the Indians in consideration that upon it exists an endless quantity of “dead heads”, which were left here after a great fight, years long past, between the Chippewas and Sauks, their owners having no farther use for them, especially after they had passed through the hands of a set of hair dressers who took off skin and hair together.  These Indians were queer fellows in their days; and at this battle of Skull Island, which the Chippewas had traveled “many a weary mile to enjoy” they made a general Kilkenny cat-fight of it, and as, like Maturin’s tragedies, “all stabbed and everybody died”, except about six on each side, each party of them retired and celebrated the victory, leaving the field in undisturbed possession of the “skulls”, which, having seen the folly of fighting, were willing to lie quiet, friend and foe “cheek by jowl”, and compose themselves for a few more years of hunting and fishing, by the glorious expectation of taking a squint at the “happy hunting grounds” and the proud consequence of having dedicated their respective knowledge-boxes to the christening of about two acres of Bad Island.

     Just below this locality of warlike memory lies Sag-e-nong, upon a high bank on the west side of the river.  The meaning of the word is the “land of Sauks”.  The place known to white men as Saginaw lies 12 miles or more up the river, and is called Ka-pay-shaw-wink, which means the “camping ground”.  Here it was that the tribes living hereabouts were wont to assemble statedly to hold council together, often continuing some days.

                                                                                                            The End


A CHRISTMAS LETTER TO FRIENDS

     The letter from Henry and Dora (Vandepoel) Tysse of Holland tells of the stroke Dora suffered last June and the recovery she is making from it.  Mrs. Minnie Vandepoel (Dora’s mother) is in a convalescent home and remains rational and cooperative at her advanced age. 


SEBEWA CENTER UNITED METHODIST CHURCH HAS 80TH ANNIVERSARY OPENHOUSE

      One hundred thirty or more people from a wide circle met at the Sebewa Center church the last Sunday in October to celebrate the 80th anniversary of the building of the church.  Rev. Thomas Thompson and Rev. Robert Keith were former pastors who attended. 


OCTOBER 25, 1899.   SEBEWA to the PORTLAND OBSERVER

      Wesley Cramer, while taking gravel from the pit near the new church last Tuesday, was caught under a large mass of dirt, which fell upon him.  He was rescued in an exhausted condition.  It was a narrow escape from death by suffocation.  He was not seriously injured.  “The new church referred to was that of the German Evangelical Society and was located on the corner of Tupper Lake Road and the Sunfield Road to the northwest.  Locally it was known as Mrs. Stambaugh’s church.) 


New memberships in The Sebewa Center Association are welcomed.  Dues of $1 per person may be paid to Miss Mabel Ralston, R 3, Lake Odessa, MI  48849 for the 1971-72 year of June to June.  THE SEBEWA RECOLLECTOR is furnished the members.


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

 



Last update May 27, 2013