Sebewa Recollector
Items of Genealogical Interest

Volume 8 Number 1
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, August 1972, Volume 8, Number 1    

VOLUME EIGHT, NUMBER ONE BEGINS THE EIGHTH YEAR of the Sebewa Center Association and THE SEBEWA RECOLLECTOR.  At the annual meeting of the Society in June, John S. York was elected president for a three year term.  Other officers hold their positions until the staggered three year terms expire.  Membership last year reached a record total of 345.  Dues for about half that number, including some new members, have already been pain for the 1972-73 year.  Dues for 1972-73 are payable to our secretary-treasurer, Miss Mabel Ralston, R 3, Lake Odessa, MI  48849.  While nearly everything else has irksomely gone up, our dues remain at $1 per person per year.


THE YEAR for Sebewa has been marked with an influx of mobile homes and new dwellings, not economically related to the farming industry.  There has been expansion of farming in the large scale vegetable growing in the much lands of the north part of the township by DeBruyn Produce Co.  In the south part there is the extensive beef feeding operation of McCullough’s Circle M farm on the former Theo Lenon property and that of Wayne Thrams.

     The Clarksville Road has been surveyed preparatory to blacktopping the remaining three miles of that six-mile crossing of the township.


REDISTRICTING of legislative districts has yanked the township out of Ionia County in two instances and reshaped the district in a third—all in the interest of one-man one-vote equalization of voter strength.  No one need to be too upset about redistricting for, like the weather, it will change again and again with time.


THE LAKE ODESSA AREA HISTORICAL SOCIETY HONORS WALTER REED

     As a highlight of the year’s activities for the Lake Odessa Area Historical Society an award with an open house celebration is staged for an outstanding citizen whose career is closely associated with the area.  This year Walter Reed, who spent his boyhood at West Sebewa, was so honored.  Interestingly, his 81st birthday came on the same day.

     Walter attended Lake Odessa High School with his last year at Grand Rapids.  In 1910 he was census taker for one half of the Township of Sebewa.  His early employment was in Detroit where, after a job shift, he became a seed salesman for the A. J. Brown Company.  It was that association that led to the establishment of the Lake Odessa Canning Company in 1919.  Over the years the company has expanded many times and now includes a modern quick freeze and frozen storage plant.  The Company has played an important part in the economy of the Lake Odessa area for more than fifty years.

     For several years Mr. Reed has operated a large beef breeding and feeding farm in Odessa Township where he has specialized in show animals.  Our good wishes are extended to Walter and the family managed food operation.


THE GROWING PRICKLES OF A NEW TOWN

Lake Odessa  July, 1891

     We notice that the thistles on each side of the walks have not been cut down yet.  Never mind!  Let ‘em grow.  They will make nice shade trees or a hedge fence.

     The streets of our village are covered with a growth of vegetation in the shape of thistles, weeds, dock etc.  This is not the carboniferous age but the age of progression and it is time that this vegetation was cut down.  What looks nicer in a town than to see streets kept clean of this fast growing vegetation?

May 15, 1891.  Lake Odessa.  125 teams were hitched on Main Street last Saturday at one time and we feel fully confident in saying that our village surpasses any town in the state for its size for trade.  Our merchants were kept busy all day long in doing up goods and counting out eggs and when night came there had been brought into Lake Odessa by the industrious farmers throughout the surrounding country, six thousand dozens of eggs and it wasn’t much of a day for eggs either.  Our devil has figured it out that this amount of eggs would fill 150 bushel baskets, weight ten tons, and, if placed in a string, would reach over three miles while the combined cackle of the hens that laid them could be plainly heard by Clarksville’s deafest merchant. 


SAFE BLOWN.   Sunfield 1891

Tuesday the 20th, Stinchcomb and Snyder’s Drug and Grocery Store in Sunfield was entered at 10 o’clock P.M. and their safe was blown open.  Fortunately no money was taken from it but about $30 was taken from a drawer.  The noise attracted the attention of several persons, one of whom was E. H. Deatsman, another merchant, who ran into the street where one of the burglars shot at him without effect.

     Another person living nearby and the owner of a loaded Winchester rifle was so frightened at the bold fellows that he entirely forgot of his arms, so they made good their escape. 

WOODBURY, 1891.  Burglars again!  Everyone should sleep with one eye open with a revolver in each hand.


RECENT DEATHS OF FORMER SEBEWA CENTER PEOPLE are Verle Sears of Grand Ledge and Mrs. Fern Olry of Grand Rapids.


THE ARTICLE starting on the following page by George Dallas Sidman was first published in the OWOSSO PRESS AMERICAN in Marcy of 1907.  A copy of the paper was placed in the cornerstone of the Owosso Post Office building then being erected.  More recently the contents of the cornerstone were presented to the Shiawassee County Historical Society by the Owosso Area Chamber of Commerce.  Recently the Sidman article was reprinted by THE SHIAWASSEE GAZETTE, the bulletin of the Shiawassee County Historical Society, Ivan A. Conger, Editor.  It is with Mr. Conger’s permission and good wishes that we present the portion of the Sidman article that seems of general interest.  M. Conger is also publisher of THE CURWOOD COLLECTOR devoted to all facets of the life and writing of James Oliver Curwood of Owasso.

     Mr. Conger furnishes four issues of THE CURWOOD COLLECTOR (1 year) for $2.00.  His address is:  Ivan A. Conger, 1825 Osaukie Rd., Owosso, MI  48867.


REMINISCENCES OF PIONEER DAYS IN SHIAWASSEE COUNTY, MICHIGAN By George Dallas Sidman

     Nearly three-score years have passed since my parents emigrated from a prosperous village in Onondaga County, N.Y. and settled in the back-woods of central Michigan and, although I was but eight years of age at the time, the recollections of that journey to the “Far West” and the subsequent events, as narrated herein, are vividly impressed upon my memory.

     We left York State in midwinter and traveled by emigrant cars on the New York Central and connecting railroads across Canada, arrived at Detroit two days later where we were introduced to the “Wolverine” state in a great snow storm that held us snowbound in that beautiful city for several days.

     From Detroit we proceeded to Pontiac over the most primitive railroad even of those early days.  Two rudely constructed box cars, one for passengers, with wooden benches for seats and the other for freight traffic, composed the train, which was hauled by dinky engine over a track made of strap iron rails, spiked to long beech stringers supported by ash ties, which, with an ungraded road bed through the center of a fifty-foot right of way in a forest nearly the whole distance, made up the plant and paraphernalia of the great “Detroit and Pontiac Railway”, whose limited (?) trains required anywhere from three to six hours in making the run, a distance of 25 miles.

     At Pontiac, the end of all railroad communication in that direction—or anywhere in northern Michigan, for that matter—my father hired a man with a team of horses and an old-fashioned “jumper” sled to convey the family and our household effects to the westward destination.  Thus we traveled, with our goods piled and packed around us in the open sleigh-box.

     The snow was very deep as a result of the great storm we had met at Detroit, and the drifts in the main roads, in many places ten or fifteen feet deep, made it necessary for the driver to turn out in the wilderness and travel the Indian trails and settlers’ by-roads nearly the whole distance, with no guides but the blazed trees along the route, signs that none but trained woodmen could read or understand.

     As there were no taverns and but few settlers along the by-roads and trails, where accomodations for man and beast might be obtained, it was necessary to carry provisions for ourselves and feed for the horses.

     Wild deer were frequently seen in the woods and wild turkey, partridge and squirrels were abundant game from which, by the aid of their guns, my father and the driver kept our larder well supplied with meat.

     When night came on, the sleigh would be hauled to the wayside, generally under the canopy of a wide-spreading tree, where great fires would be built and the meals prepared.  The fires would be kept burning all night with my father and the teamster taking turns in guarding the camp.  Although the weather was very severe, my mother and her three children, of which I was the eldest, slept comfortably on a straw mattress laid on the bottom of the sleigh box, over which was drawn a large tarpaulin, or wagon-over, which served as a protection from the cold.

     The only settlements of any account that we passed on that six days’ journey in the wilderness were the villages of Flint, in Genesee County and Corunna, Shiawasee County, both county seats and neither having a population at that time of more than two hundred souls.  Occasionally we would come to the log cabin or rude hut of a homesteader or squatter, surrounded in a few instances by several acres of cleared land and enclosed by a rail fence to mark its boundary.  Once we remained overnight with a family who had emigrated from our neighborhood in New York and who was living in a most primitive cabin imaginable.  They were not more glad to obtain the latest news from “civilization” than we were to share the hospitality of their rude home in that wilderness.

     At Corunna, the “Mecca” of our journeying, the family remained for several days at a tavern until my father could locate his homestead and build a temporary hut for our dwelling, which was situated about seven miles, as near as I recollect, in a north-easterly direction from Corunna, in what is now known as New Haven Township.

     Our new home was a log cabin of the most primitive character, made of rough logs, notched at the ends to tie and hold the corners of the hut together and to permit them to rest closely upon each other.  The openings between the logs were chinked with quartered strips of saplings and the interstices stuffed with tree moss and plastered from the outside with a mortar made of common clay.  The roof of the cabin was made of long sections of basswood bark, laid alternately, concave and convex on rafters of hewed saplings, which served the purpose of protection from the elements until the hot days of summer came and warped the bark out of shape and made it necessary to substitute split oak shingles.  The floor of the cabin was the hard beaten earth which needed no scrubbing and but little sweeping, especially in the wet weather.

     A large fireplace at one end of the cabin in which great logs of wood six feet in length, could be laid, with an outside chimney made of sticks and daubed from the inside with a thick covering of clay mortar, furnished heat in the winter and means of cooking food.  We had no stoves and but very little other furniture except my mother’s spinning-wheel, a necessary adjunct to housekeeping in those days, with a bureau, two or three chests of clothing, an old-fashioned rocking-chair and a few cooking utensils, articles that had been brought from York State with us.

     There were but two rooms in the cabin—a bedroom and the general living room, in the former of which, rude bunks made of ironwood poles were built against the walls in place of bedsteads and supplied with straw mattresses.  A great hewed plank of oak set on four legs served as a table, and a number of three-legged stools of the same primitive character constituted the furniture of the living room.

     The antlers of a great buck, nailed within easy reach on the wall of the cabin supported an old smooth bore rifle owned by my father, a heritage of his boyhood days, which was kept loaded and primed.  The gun was our most important possession because of the means it gave of supplying the larder with meat and wild game, as well as protection in case of danger from the ravages or attacks of wild animals.

     Our cabin was built on a rise of ground in the midst of a great forest of hardwood trees, principally of maple, hickory, elm, basswood and ash, with an occasional white oak of mammoth proportions overtopping all others in height and dimensions.

     On the banks of a tributary of the Shiawassee River, and less than a mile from our cabin, was the village or camp of a small tribe of Chippewa Indians, or “Fishers”, as they were called.  We had been in our new home several months, however, before I had an opportunity of visiting their village.

     Our nearest neighbor was a man named Baker, whose cabin was a mile distant and reached by a narrow road and foot-path through the woods that could only be followed in winter by the blazed trees along the way.  My father had entered into partnership with Baker for the manufacture of maple sugar the following spring, and as the winter was well advanced when we got settled in the new home, preparations to that end were commenced at once.

     Each homestead possessed large tracts of hard maple trees, from which that toothsome sweet is made, and the two men decided to make the most of what promised, after the hard winter, to be a good sugar season.  For convenience of both families and in order to make a fair division of the trees to be tapped, the “sugar camp” was built directly on the boundary line between the homesteads and nearly midway between the two cabins.

     Both men were excellent choppers and it was not long after our arrival before they were hard at work whittling out “spiles” and hollowing short sections of basswood logs into troughs, with which to tap the trees and collect the sap.

     Two large iron kettles, each suspended from the end of a long pole, pivoted to a post set in the ground and forming a fulcrum by which the kettles could be raised and easily moved from right to left, formed the means for boiling the sap down to syrup and “sugaring off”.  A couple of great troughs for storage purposes and several neck-yokes for carrying the sap in buckets, completed the equipment of the camp, all of which required several weeks’ hard work to prepare.

     The preparations for sugar making were hardly complete when the cold freezing nights and warm sunny days of early spring announced the season in which to tap the trees and commence the real work in hand.

      On account of the deep snow and cold weather, with a lack of suitable clothing for the climate, I had not been permitted to take part in or witness much, if any, of the preparations at the sugar camp, but the warm days soon dispelled the snow and I became an active participant in the new venture.

     The Michigan boy of this day and generation will, no doubt, wonder what a child of eight years might find to do in work of such a strenuous character as I have outlined and it may be a severe test of his credulity to be informed that my principal duty was to tramp through the sugar bush several times each day, ringing a dinner bell or otherwise making as much noise as I knew how, in order to frighten the wild deer away and thus keep them from drinking the sap from the troughs.  It was  glorious fun the first day to be able to make as much noise as I pleased and to hear my voice echo and re-echo through that great forest—a novelty to me then—but I soon tied of that kind of  sport and finally it became an irksome task from which I begged to be relieved.  Did the boy ever live who could long find pleasure in any kind of sport that might be made a useful ally in business?

     One morning when the yield of sap at the “sugar bush” had been lighter than usual, presumably because the deer had taken advantage of my indolence, or had ceased to fear the noises I could make Mr. Baker brought his daughter, a girl then thirteen years old, to assist me in my strange task. 

     I may never forget Irene Baker as I saw her on that occasion for the first time.  I did not know then, of course, but learned afterward, that Irene was one-fourth Indian, her mother being the half-breed daughter of a chief of the Fisher tribe, whom Baker had married in a legal manner by the white man’s ceremony.  Irene was the only offspring of the unnatural union and was the counterpart of her mother, who, yet in the midday of life, was a beautiful woman of the Indian type.

     Mr. Baker, whose Christian name I have forgotten, was a stalwart Yankee who had drifted to the western states when a young man and had been connected with a party of government surveyors, but, probably because of the opportunities the Wolverine state offered at that time for homes, perhaps supplemented by the black eyes of the Indian maiden, he had bargained for a quarter section of land and settled there.  It was through Mr. Baker, in some way unknown to or forgotten by me, that my father was induced to settle in that locality.  Alas!  Both the homesteads were subsequently lost to the settlers through the chicanery of foreign land speculators and a rascally lawyer at Corunna.

     When I first saw Irene Baker I thought she was the most beautiful girl I had ever met.  Well do I remember her costume!  She wore a dark colored home-made linsey Woolsey waist with a skirt of the same material that came to her knees, below which beaded leggings and moccasins, both of tanned buckskin, completed her attire, except for a jaunty cap made of the whole skin of a fox squirrel that surmounted her well-poised head, the tail of the animal hanging down and mingling with the long braids of jet black hair that hung down her back.  Across her left arm she carried a small rifle and pendant from her left shoulder was a powder horn and bullet pouch, the latter decorated with a number of gaudy-colored buckskin strings each of which, as I afterward learned, represented a deer that she had shot and killed in those forests.  What a record for a maiden of thirteen summers!

     I am not sure that I was to form the acquaintance of so formidable a creature, who carried a gun and evidently knew how to use it, an accomplishment I had yet to learn at her hands.  I soon learned, however, that Irene stood in as much awe of me as I did of her, for the reason that I had ridden on the wonderful steam cars and steamboats, neither of which she had ever seen except in pictures.

     Mr. Baker instructed Irene in her duties, which were not new to her, and it was not very long before she and I were fast friends and boon companions and, I may say here, that we performed our duties so well, as deer stalkers, that our parents commended us to the skies, and thanks to us in part the sugar venture proved a success, the most of the crop was sent to Detroit where good prices were obtained.

     I shall never forget the first time I ever fired a gun!  Irene was my instructor with her own rifle as the instrument to that end.  She placed a mark on a tree and after showing me how to hold the gun and manipulate it, ordered me to fire.  I was nearly frightened out of my wits when the explosion occurred and the bullet sped wide of the mark.  Not many days passed under Irene’s instruction, however, before I could shoot without fear and trembling and eventually I became an excellent old smooth bore rifle, in which shot of any caliber, as well as large bullets, could be used.  It was as much as I could do to carry the old gun, much less shoot it off-hand, but in the woods I could always find a place to rest it when I wished to shoot, and as my game was mostly squirrels it did not matter very much, especially as I generally used dried peas in place of shot for small animals and birds.  Occasionally a woodchuck or porcupine fell victim to my prowess and once I discovered and brought down a big raccoon that was taking a mid-day nap on the top limb of a giant oak.

     One day, not long after I had commenced life as an independent nimrod, I was going to Mr. Baker’s house on an errand, when I saw a strange animal, the size and appearance of an ordinary house cat, ambling in the path directly ahead of me.  Not having my gun with me at the time but with courage greater than discretion, I picked up a club and ran after the brute, which, as soon as it saw me, doubled up in a heap in the path and when I was almost in striking distance gave me a blow in the face that nearly knocked me down.  The terrible stench of that one-sided encounter and the manner in which all humanity, as well as Baker’s dog, shunned my presence for several days afterward taught me that the polecat, or skunk, was an animal never to be trifled with.                          To be continued.


From the PORTRAIT BIOGRAPHICAL ALBUM OF IONIA AND MONTCALM COUNTIES of Chapman Bros. 1885 is taken this “portrait” of Orlando V. Showerman reflecting the 1885 view of pioneering.  Mr. Showerman lived on Musgrove Highway where Mr. and Mrs. Dennis Petrie now live.  Later the Showermans moved to Lake Odessa in retirement.

     The recollections of Mr. Showerman do not go back beyond the scenes in Ionia County to which he was brought when an infant nine months old.  It was in the pioneer times when traveling in the Mississippi valley was almost entirely accomplished with ox teams and when much of the territory of Michigan was but a wilderness covered with dense forest, which was a haunt for wild beasts.  Our subject’s father (Jacob) and Reser Brown, who came west together had to cut the brush from the Sebewa line to their locations.  In a few days a shanty was erected in which the Showerman family lived for several years.  Wolves were numerous and quite bold, sometimes even killing the young stock near the settlers’ dwellings.  The Showerman family, like the others, suffered from bodily ills and at one time the father gave his last cow but one to pay the balance due on a doctor’s bill.

     The subject of this biographical notice was born in Genesee County, New York, November 5, 1838 and was the seventh in a family of eight children.  Those who grew to maturity were Lucius, Cyrenius, Eugenia, Deborah and Orlando.  Eugenia is the wife of Wm. Benschooter of Nebraska and Deborah, who has long been deceased, was the wife of Benj. Probasco.  The history of his parents is given in the sketch of his brother, Lucius, on another page.  The schooling of our subject was necessarily limited and his attendance in the log school covered a period of less than three months per year.  The last term, in order to study under Allen Kimball, who was one of the best teachers of the day, he had to go three miles through the woods but he considered the time well spent.  He remembers when the howling of the wolves would make his blood run cold.  He recalls with interest the return of his father from a Fourth of July celebration with the astonishing news that there were people there that day whom he did not know.

     From the age of 14 years, young Showerman, was quite a hunter and soon became an expert rifleman.  The first day he went out alone he succeeded in killing a deer.  There was but one man in the vicinity who made a better record in the next few years than he.  October 5, 1862 Mr. Showerman left his home and a young wife to whom he had been married but a short time but who bade him God’s speed in his country’s call as he became a private in Company E, Sixth Michigan Cavalry, being mustered in at Grand Rapids October 11 and went at once to the front.  He served under Generals Kilpatrick a, Custer and Sheridan at various times and took part in over 40 of the 60 engagements in which his regiment participated.  He was absent from the command at one time more than three months, passing through a hospital experience that was very irksome to him.  Among the better known battles in which he fought are Fredericksburg, Snickers Gap, Dinwiddie Courthouse, Spottsylvanie and Wilderness, Gettysburg and Appomattox.

     After the surrender of General Lee, Mr. Showerman supposed that his mission was ended but instead of being sent home, the regiment went to the Black Hills to fight Indians under the leadership of General Custer.  They were kept there three months after their term of service had expired, owing to the unsettled state of affairs of the frontier, but were finally discharged at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, November 24, 1865.  Mr. Showerman left the army as a first Corporal, having served as a noncommissioned officer for two years.  He never received a wound but incurred disabilities for which he now draws a pension of $10 per month.  Patriotism may be called a family trait among the Showermans as the father of the subject when more than sixty years old served a year and a half as a member of the 27th Michigan Infantry.

     At the age of 22 years, Mr. Showerman was married to Miss Emily Jewell, daughter of William D. and Sarah Childs Jewell of Sebewa, formerly of New Hampshire, whence they came to Michigan in 1850.  It was this faithful wife and true hearted woman who gave her consent to her young husband’s absence and with an encouraging smile, which belied her aching heart, sent him to the battlefields where danger and perhaps death awaited him.  She shared his fortunes for a number of years but bade him a final farewell December 2, 1883 when she exchanged time for eternity.  She was a member of the Methodist Church at Sebewa and was a conscientious and humble Christian.  To her there had been born six children, four of whom are living and two, Ernest O. and Myrtle D. still at home.  Ellen is the wife of Fred Collier, a farmer of Eaton County and Elmer J. has recently gone to Montana.

     August 3, 1884 Mr. Showerman was married to Susan McConnel of Wacousta who died March 27, 1885.  She was a member of the Congregational Church at her former home.  Mr. Showerman was again married, wedding Helen Merrifield, March 7, 1887.  This lady is the daughter of Wilson and Rosanna Howland Merrifield and has lived in Sebewa township for years.  Of this union there was born a daughter, Edna Rose, whose natal day was April 12, 1888.  The present Mrs. Showerman belongs to the Methodist Church at Sebewa and her husband is a member of the same congregation.  She has a thorough understanding of the domestic arts and a pleasing disposition.

     In the affairs of the township, Mr. Showerman has been quite prominent, always manifesting an interest in that which would promote the welfare of the citizens.  He has served five terms as treasurer.  Although a Democrat, he is not ultra in his political views.  He voted for Abraham Lincoln and has never regretted that step and he favors prohibition and anit-monopoly.  The share which he has had in the development of the country, for the interest he has taken for the general good and for his upright life, he is respected by all who enjoy his acquaintance.

                     End.


SEBEWA TRAPPER—This from a report in the 1920’s

     One of the few women trappers of Michigan is Miss Verah Gunn, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Isaac Gunn of Sebewa Township.  She recently cashed in on her winter’s catch and was well repaid for the time she had devoted to this.  In four weeks Miss Gunn caught five skunks, one coon, one muskrat and three weasels.  During the winter Miss Gunn had about twenty traps set in the vicinity of her home near Sebewa Center.  She located them herself and also attended to them.  The traps seldom kill the animals that are caught, the trapper having to do this before the steel jaws of the trap are released.  Not just the sort of a job that a woman would like, but Miss Gunn is an independent young lady and has not depended upon an escort for assistance.

     She admits it has sometimes been a difficult job but she has never allowed one of the trapped animals to escape.  On one trip to the traps she captured a skunk, coon and weasel.  Carrying the carcasses home, she removed the pelts herself, even sharpening her own knives.  Miss Gunn was complimented by the three dealers to whom she took the furs before selling them this winter.  They told her more skill had been shown removing and curing the pelts than that exhibited by older and more experienced trappers.


LAKE ODESSA—INSTANT VILLAGE

     Two essays by high school students of 1892—only four years after the village was founded as published in the LAKE ODESSA WAVE of March 18, 1892.

     PARAGRAPH BY LINA MELINN.  Prior to the year of 1887, the site of the village was a well tilled farm where the sturdy pioneer carefully tilled the soil.  But the construction of the railroad produced a change and the quiet gave place to great activity.  Thither came people from all the surrounding country.  Streets were laid out, buildings erected and places of business established and, as if by magic, grew up the present village of Lake Odessa, which gives assurance of prosperity and happiness far beyond the expectation of the founders. 

LEE CHAPMAN’S ESSAY.  Lake Odessa possesses a very interesting history.  Among the early pioneers of this locality was Sam Chapman.  He selected for his home the tract of land known as the original H. R. Wager plot.  Clearing away the forest, he made it a well tilled productive farm.  The farm was successfully owned by Messers Bywater, Norcutt and Townsend.  The latter sold it about four years ago to H. R. Wager, the father of Lake Odessa, who platted it and laid securely the foundation of the village.

     The citizens of Bonanza, then a prosperous village, full of business and enterprise, were desirous of securing the passage of the railroad through their village.  The conflicting interests produced a strong rivalry, which ended in the success of Mr. Wager.  Streets were graded through the fields, businessmen flocked in from surrounding towns and brick and frame buildings were erected.   

     The advantages of our town are many.  It is surrounded by fertile, well cultivated farms owned by intelligent farmers producing a great variety of crops.  A number of retail stores do a thriving business and many well to do merchants, doctors, lawyers, etc. claim Lake Odessa as their homes.

     It has a number of manufacturing establishments, which afford employment to working men and several more are proposed or building.  The amount of business done in our village compares favorably with that of other towns two or three times its size.  Its large number of retail stores, crowded with customers, the streets lined with teams and the sidewalks filled with men, women and children are sights to be seen on almost any day.  These are convincing indications of the extensive business of the village.

     Lake Odessa possesses one of the finest school buildings in the state with a competent and efficient corps of teachers.   The school board endeavors to make our school one of the best of its kind and is heartily supported by the patrons of the district.

     Lake Odessa has numerous societies and three religious denominations.  Substantial homes and brick stores are models of neatness, durability and elegance.

     (Note:  The three churches at that time were United Brethren, Baptist and Methodist.)


      SEBEWA SCARED THEM 100 YEARS AGO – From the PORTLAND OBSERVER of December 31, 1872.

     The excitement in regard to the smallpox in Sebewa seems to have been greater than there was any call for and reports very much exaggerated have been put in circulation.  Mr. Henry Halladay called on us yesterday morning and informed us that there is at present but two cases of smallpox in the neighborhood and that it has been seventeen days since any person has been exposed.  The two cases are the old gentleman, Mr. Halladay and his wife.  The latter was vaccinated when her husband came down with the disease and now has the varioloid.  Both are doing well and are able to be up.

     As to how the disease got there, it is hard to tell.  Mr. Halladay, who, it was said, was exposed in Boston and afterwards had the varioloid says that he has no knowledge of ever having been exposed and does not know that he had varioloid.  If he did, as was reported, he thinks it strange that none of his family took it, as he had four children who had never been vaccinated, one of whom slept with him during the entire time he was ill.  However, all precaution is being taken and he thinks there is no danger of the disease spreading.

     January 14, 1873.  We are informed by Dr. Albro of Danby, that there are now three cases of smallpox or varioloid in the Halladay neighborhood, a daughter of Henry Halladay having come down with the varioloid a few days since.  She was promptly removed to the house where the two other cases exist.  (Varioloid is defined as a mile case of smallpox in persons previously vaccinated.)

     May 26, 1874.  Frank Cook of Sebewa, formerly a student in our (Portland) Union School, has, during the past eight months, passed through a siege of smallpox and a half dozen other malignant diseases and is now but a shadow of his former self.  He is recovering slowly.


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

 



Last update June 12, 2013