Oldtime Area Newspaper Clippings
Relating to Ionia County
Part 4

A BIG Thank You to the Portland Observer, Teresa Sweet, Robert Wilfred Gierman (deceased) for collecting the Sebewa information, and the Sebewa Association for these Tidbits!!


Published July 1891 (submitted by Barbara Jones)

George C. Nummer: Among the prominent and successful German-American Citizen of Ionia County resident in Easton Township since 1855. He had 80 acres, well improved, log cabin in which he first sheltered his family having been replaced by a commodious dwelling and other buildings erected as occasion demanded. His parents George A. and Elizabeth A. Nummer of old Tentonie families and their former home was in Saxe-Gotha-Germany. There the son of whom we write was born May 21,1823, attended school from 6years to 14years of age. In 1843 the family embarked at Bremen on a sailing vessel after a voyage of 57 days, during which much rough weather was encountered landed in New York. They went via the Erie Canal to Buffalo, thence to Detroit  on a steamer, and upon reaching that city barrowed $3.50 which they owed on the passage money, and discharged that obligation. A brother of our subject was living 10 miles from the city and with him the parents remained there until death. Our subject worked as a farm hand for $7.00 per month for a little more than a year, and subsequently spent two seasons in Lenoweer County working a farm shares. He gained a companion in Miss Hannah M. Halstead, with whom he married October 7, 1847. The bride was a native of the Empire. She was removed from her family by death August 14,1853. After having born three children, one of whom is now living Josephine, wife of Melvin Wood a resident of Ionia.

Mr. Nummer was again married December 28,1855 his bride Miss Irene Wilbur, who was born in St. Lawrence County,N.Y., March 29,1830. Her parents, Sylvanus and Sabren Blodgett, Wilbur, natives of New England, came to Easton Township in 1885 and died here after having done much pioneer work. Eight of the nine children are still living.

Namely Stephen, Irene Nummer, Ruby wife of Augustus Savage, Clarisha, wife of Lucia Ward, Corintha, wife of Charles Chambers, Sarah, who married J.D. Bradford, Electa and Alvira, wife of Stephen Nichols. The second union of our subject has been blessed by the birth of 3 children, LeRoy E., Oscar, Jennie F. The last name is deceased. LeRoy is now Clerk of Easton Township.

Mr. Nummer possesses many of the sterling qualities of his sturdy and industrious ancestors and stands in front rank among the farmers of this section. He is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church and of the Party. He enlisted January 3,1864 in Battery E., First Michigan Light Artillery which was attached to the Army of Tennessee.. He was with General Thomas and was doing guard duty at Nashville when taken sick and unfitted for soldier duty. He was honorable discharged August 24, in such a physical condition that he is in receipt of pension of $14.00 a month. He and his intelligent and amicable wife are honored members of society and active in various works of usefulliness.

From the Daily Sentinel-Standard, 1957, "Pioneer Family Members Gather" -  A reunion of the HAZEL family (surnames also include STALTER, SHATTUCK).

The following is from the Ionia Sentinel dated July 15, 1871 on the accidental death of Erastus M. Gates.
. . . . . . .  Jeannette Gates Smith, flowerlady@mashell.com

Fatal Accident-- A distressing accident occurred on the line of the D.L. and L.M.R.R., near Caywood's station, north of Greenville, on Sunday morning last.  A large elm tree was blown down by the wind and fell across a little board shanty, in which were sleeping employees of the company, at work on this part of the line.  Erastus M. Gates, a young man about 22 years of age, and a resident of this village, was instantly killed, and two or three other men were seriously injured.  Young Gates was struck on the neck by a board, and the body was was not mangled nor the skin broken.  The deceased was a brother of Eleazar E. Gates, route agent on the road, and was an unassuming young man, highly esteemed by those who knew him.  The
funeral took place at the Baptist Church, in this village on Monday.  The sympathy of many friends is with the family in this sudden and terrible affliction.

Here's the story of my g.g.grandfather, Michael McElroy. He had lived in WI up to 1870-74. In 1874, he was also in trouble with the Ionia Co. Sherriff (threatened a farmer over some pigs). Then the following occurred.

Diane Decker-Warneke

Michael McElroy's Mishap * Sebewa, Ionia County, Michigan 1879

Portland Observer, March 11, 1879


A horrible and outrageous murder was perpetrated in Sebewa last Friday by a fiend in human shape named McElroy, upon an old man named Henry Snyder. It appeared that Mr. Snyder wanted to get possession of his property on which McElroy was living, he (Snyder) having purchased it about a year ago on a foreclosure of mortgage sale. Mr. Snyder's lawyer in Ionia informed that gentleman that he could serve on McElroy a notice to quit as well as a constable. Armed with the legal document, Mr. Snyder proceeded on the 7th Inst., accompanied by his son, Joseph Snyder, Dan Fender and J.H. Kimball, to McElroy's house and finding the door open Mr. Snyder went in first, the rest following. Before the last man had got to the door and before Mr. Snyder had read the notice to quit, McElroy stepped out into another room and returned with a gun. Deliberately leveling it at the father of his son's wife] he fired the charge (buckshot) taking effect in the groin severing the femoral artery, from which he died in less than three hours.

Dan Fender was the only witness to the shooting--as we understand it--of those who accompanied Mr. Snyder to the house. After the shooting, McElroy harnessed up his team and started off towards Ionia. It only took a few moments for two other parties to get a team in readiness and pursue the murderer in order that Sheriff Mattison might get hold of him on his arrival in Ionia. But upon calmer consideration they thought--after driving a considerable distance--that it might be a rather difficult task to overhaul and pass him without arising his suspicions. At the juncture, a man drove up behind them with a horse and buggy and was in the act of passing, when they stopped him, and after informing him how matters stood, requested him to drive on as rapidly as possible and inform the sheriff. McElroy, upon arriving in Ionia, was arrested very much to his surprise--by the sheriff on the charge of murder and safely lodged in jail. The murderer's previous character will not avail him much, and we understand that he was to receive his sentence next Monday on a recent conviction of shooting hogs. The murdered man was interred yesterday. He was about 65 years of age, quiet, peaceable, and very much respected.

Portland Observer, March 18, 1879


The buildings occupied by the McElroys burned by a mob of infuriated citizens.

The murder of Henry Snyder, in Sebewa, on the 7th inst., by Michael McElroy, the particulars of which were given in our last issue, created the most intense excitement in the neighborhood, which finally culminated in the burning of the buildings were the murder was committee, by an infuriated mob of citizens. The Ionia Sentinel of last week furnishes the following particulars of the affair:

"On Sunday, before or after services at the church, a man named Elliot announced on the outside that all friends of Snyder, deceased, were requested to meet at Horn's Corner, the next morning. Early Monday morning a large crowd was gathered at the place named, who chose the following committee to confer with Cook, McElroy's son-in-law [NOTE: Cook is married to Michael's oldest daughter, Ellen], and tell him 'to git', viz: Elliot, Josh Henry, James Chambers, James Layard, and James Gray. Horne's Corners is on the county line, at the corners of Barry and Eaton Counties, and the McElroy house is about 60 rods north, on the Sebewa side of the road. This committee waited on Cook, told him he must leave and asked how much time he wanted to get his property away. He said three days. Committee said no. He asked for one day. They went back to consult and returning said he could have just one hour, and they would help remove the things. All hands commenced removing the contents of the house, and placing them in the field on the Odessa side of the road. In about half an hour, the mob, numbering 115 persons, besides several lookers on, who took no active part, came on, after the manner, we suppose, of mobs in general, who's ardor in the fact of such foes as defenseless woman and children could not be restrained even for the short interval promised. The house and barn were soon heaps of smoldering ashes, time not having been allowed to remove the contents. The family who found shelter there consisted of Mrs. McElroy and her 13 year old daughter; Mr. And Mrs. Cook and their two little children. There were shouts of "Hang Cook," but no demonstrations of the kind, and he was slipped away and brought to Ionia. The women and children have found shelter at the Eagle Hotel, kept by H.W.Jackson, for the present. Tuesday morning, constable Covert and Cook went to Sebewa. Covert was warned that it was not safe to keep Cook there, but replied that he proposed to stay and keep Cook with him, until the property was secured. No one would give Cook shelter, those who would have been willing, not daring to do so, so both Covert and Cook slept outdoors with the goods. The next day the goods were distributed among four of the neighbors-Samuel Swinehard's, Dan Martin's and J. Chamber's barns and Deitrich's Store, no one person daring to run the risk of having their buildings burned by storing all the goods.

Covert and Cook started on Wednesday on their return, driving 13 head of cattle, belonging to Cook, which were left at James Humphrey's, about eight miles south, where they stayed all night, arriving here about noon yesterday. There have been some threats that the mob would take McElroy from jail, and Mr. Covert was told that a party would seize him when he was taken out for examination. Mr. Covert gave the people there some good advice, to the effect that no one who was not willing to be made cold meat of should consent to be one of the party. There seems to be no general apprehension of any attempt of this kind. The distance is too great, the roads are too muddy, and their sober second thoughts have had time to exert their beneficial influences.

McElroy's account of the shooting differs from the other side only in the somewhat essential feature, that when Snyder had backed nearly out of the room he suddenly sprang forward and grasped the gun, and that in the struggle for its possession it accidentally went off. We understand that this statement is corroborated by Alvin Cook, his son-in-law, with whom he lived, and who claims to have witnessed the whole affair. It does not seem to receive general credence however.

Nashville News, April 5, 1879

The deputy sheriff, of Ionia, has arrested 16 of the leading men engaged in burning the buildings on the Snyder farm and distressing of the McElroy family.

Portland Observer, May 21, 1879


The trail of Michael McElroy for the murder of Henry Snyder, in Sebewa, commenced on Monday. Prosecuting Attorney W.B. Wells, assisted by O.W Bealman, appearing for the People, and Benj. Vespe, assisted by Blanchard, Bell & Cagwin, for the defendant.

The afternoon of Monday was passed in sifting the panel of sixty jurors, which finally resulted in the choice of the following: E.B. Tuttle, Frank
Wood, Henry H. Rowley, David H. Conchonan, Melvin Martin, Dorr Osgood, Matthew Brown, D.W. Woodman, Jas. Elton, Wm. Howard, James DeLong, John Canfield.

The public interest in the case seems to have largely died out, the court room being less than half full during the trail.

The prosecution claims that it was a case of murder, and seeks to prove that at the time the fatal shot was fired Snyder was retreating backward
out of the house, and was several feet distant from the gun. This position is supported by the testimony of Daniel Fender, the only one of the party who claims to have seen him at the time he received his death wound. Fender is a young man of a frank, straight-forward bearing, and his appearance on the stand was decidedly favorable to the honesty of his testimony. So far as one could judge, he neither attempted to evade the questions of the cross examination, or to color or suppress any of the facts within his knowledge as to the occurrence on the morning of the homicide.

The theory of the defense is that Snyder sprung back into the room, after retreating into the kitchen, and grabbed the gun at the muzzle end, and
that during the struggle for its possession, Mrs. McElroy also having hold of the gun, it was accidentally discharged. They claim that previous
occurrence justified McElroy in the believe that his life was in danger, and that the taking down of the gun and warning them to leave his house was a justifiable measure of defense. The testimony of Mrs. Cook, daughter of the accused, is confirmatory of this theory so far as the circumstances under which the gun was discharged is concerned, the conflict in the testimony being mainly in this vital point. Mrs. Cook is rather an intelligent appearing woman, and told her story in a direct and positive manner, illustrating with a broom and the assistance of Mr. Blanchard, who conducted the cross examination on the part of the defense, the manner in which her father held the gun from the time he brought it into the room until it was discharged.

The following are the important points in the testimony so far as relating to the manner of the occurrence:

Daniel Fender sworn: Lives 2 miles 70 rods from McElroy's. Went with party to serve notice to leave the place. Did not hear what Snyder said when we went in. McElroy said we had better get out, or words to that effect. I went out, followed by the others. When I turned to look back I was about 15 feet from the house; saw Snyder backing out. Snyder was from 4 to 8 feet from McElroy when I heard the report of the gun. When I heard report of gun, Joseph Snyder was outside of entry door. I saw McElroy, Mrs. McElroy and Mrs. Cook in the house. I started to go away when old man Snyder asked me not to go. I helped him away. Helped take off his clothes. We took Snyder to Ferdinand Swietzer's.

Jasper Kimball testified that he was outside when the shot was fired, and did not see Snyder. Heard Snyder say he was shot, and thinks he was in summer kitchen near door leading into middle part. Did not notice where young Snyder was at the time. Did not see Fender and don't know whether he could see into the house or not.

Ellen Cook sworn: Am daughter of McElroy. On that morning Mr. Snyder came in first, followed by young Snyder and Kimball and Fender. Old man Snyder says, "How do you do?" Father says, "Better than my neighbors wish me." Father asked if any more were coming, and said, "I want you to get out of my house." Going into the bedroom, he returned with his gun and said, "Now I tell you to get out of this house." All went out, old man Snyder backing out slowly. Father did not point gun at them. The muzzle was inclined down. When Snyder reached the summer kitchen he suddenly sprang back into the room and grasped the muzzle with both hands trying to pull it away. After they had struggled a few moments mother took hold. Soon after I heard a click, then a report of the gun. Old man Snyder had hold of the gun when it went off. Did not hear Snyder say anything after it was shot. Saw 15 to 20 men at corners, 40 or 55 rods distant, when these men came to the house.  Father told Snyder to let go of the gun. Father was jerked forward several times and was once nearly on his knees. We had been told that parties were coming to mob us.

Dr. Tremayne testified as to the character and location of the wounds. There were two holes 1-1/2 inches apart near the groin. Found the femoral
artery ruptured.

Mrs. McElroy's testimony corroborated that of Mrs. Cook.

The testimony was finished about 10 a.m. on Wednesday, the rest of the day being occupied by  the pleas of counsel. G.W. Bealman opening for the prosecution, followed by Benj. Vesper and J.C. Blanchard for the defense. Prosecuting Attorney Wells making the closing argument. Yesterday morning Judge Lovell charged the jury in the presence of the largest audience assembled during the trail, the room being about two thirds filled. The jury returned about 10 a.m. and came in 9 o'clock this morning reporting that they could not agree and were discharged. We understand that they stood nine for acquittal to three for conviction.

Ionia Sentinel, Oct. 10, 1879


The special term of the circuit court for the trial of Michael McElroy, for the murder of Henry Snyder, commended its session on Monday afternoon to select a jury, which was obtained after calling 60 names of the list of 75. The following are the names of those chosen: Cas. Potter, Julius S. Tibbits, Chas. W. Joslin, Cornelius W. Stowe, W.B. McVeigh, S.M. Smith, Wm. Penny, Josiah Dilley, Sanford Vanderson, Harry P. Gates, O.A. Day, and Orin F. Furton. The counsel finished their arguments on the case Friday evening. The judge will charge the jury on Saturday morning. The verdict will be given to our readers next week.

Portland Observer, Oct. 29, 1879


Contrary to general expectations, the jury in the McElroy case reached a speedy verdict. Judge Lovell finished his charge about 10:30 a.m., on
Saturday and before 1 p.m. the jury sent for an officer, having agreed. The judge, council and prisoner were sent for, and the verdict of "not guilty" formally announced. McElroy was considerably affected.

Under all the circumstance, it is perhaps fortunate that the case has been finally disposed of, as it has lately been evident that it was hardly
possible to secure a jury that would convince. The testimony of McElroy's family, the only actual eye witness, was so positive as to the
circumstances of the tragedy, the struggle for the possession of the gun, etc., and it was substantially unimpeached, that no jury could be selected that would not embrace members including in mercy's side, at least from the doubt involved by the contradictory evidence. While this is the case, public opinion remains very much as before as to the probability of the guilt of the accused.

The case was skillfully fought by the counsel on both sides.

Submitted by Bonnie Petee
Report of the Pioneer Society of the State of Michigan Vol 3, 1881- Lansing, Michigan
Robert Smith Printing Co., State Printers and Binders - 1903
Ionia County - MEMORIAL REPORT - by h. h. rich - February 4, 1880

The following persons, among the pioneers of the Territory and State of Michigan, have passed away since the last annual meeting of the State Pioneer Society:

John Tompkins, Esq., died September 27, 1879, aged 73 years, settled in Ionia in 1836.

Mrs. John E. Morrison, Sen., died January 8, 1880. Settled in Ionia county in 1835.

Mrs. Sally Crawford, wife of Robert Crawford, Esq., died January 14, 1880, aged 81 years and 5 months; settled in Oakland County in March, 1825; moved to and settled in Shiawassee County in 1836; thence to Lyons, Ionia County, in 1857.

Mrs. Polly W. Rosecrantz, died January 17, 1880, aged 86 years and 9 months; settled in Ionia County in 1840.

Summitted by Cindy Bryant  - cbryant@qtm.net
From a 1912 issue of the Palo Newspaper

The Palo (rest of paper gone) - Vol XVIII NO.6  FR---- (rest gone) (Would be after Aug 2, 1912)

Mrs. Dora Estella Beach
  Dora Estella, adopted daughter of Mr. and Mrs. C.A. Mabie, was born in Holly, Mich. Nov. 4th, 1864 and died at her home in Palo, Aug 2nd, 1912 aged 47 years, 8 mos, 27 days.   At the age of two years, she with her parents moved to a farm in
Bushnell where she re  (crease in paper, line missing) F.Beach (her husband was Myron F. Beach) May 12, 1884.  Four children were born to this union, Mrs Lillian Morris of Alliance, Ohio, Alvin A. Mrs. Maude Hoople and Nellie
I. of Palo.   Nearly all her life was spent in Palo and vicinity.  In the latter part of the winter of 1894 she gave her heart to Christ and on May 27th of the same year following her Lord in Baptism, uniting with the palo Baptist church.   She leaves to mourn her departure a loving companion, the four children already mentioned, two sisters, Mrs. Fred Hunt of Chicago, Mrs. Fred Hope of Sunfield, four grandchildren and other more didtant relatives and many friends.   During her last illness of five months all that loving hands could do was done, but in vain.    The funeral was held Sunday afternoon at Baptist church conducted by
Rev. I.B. Buffum and was largely attended.  The bearers chosen were: H.D.Pew, John Galloway, A.C. Little, M. Kirby, Fred Gauss and R.W. Griffin,  Burial in Palo Cemetery.
We wish in this way to extend our heartfelt thanks to the friends and neighbors who so kindly assisited us during the sickness and after the death of our beloved wife and mother. Especially do we wish to thank Rev. Buffum for words of comfort and to the singers for the music.  And to all firends who gave the floral tributes.  May God bless you all.  MYRON F. BEACH AND

ALSO IN THAT PAPER WERE LITTLE GOSSIP SECTIONS. I copied what I could without furthur destroying the remants of the original paper.

Obit for A.L. Bemis, but not enough remained of the paper to type it all. He died at East Lansing, and was a resident of Carson City, surviving his wife by 6 weeks.
Local mention:
Mr and Mrs W.R. Moss returned to Chicago Friday evening.
Miss Ruth White of Alto spent a few days last week with Miss Mary Graham.
Miss Jesse Eldgridge of Adrian came last week for a few days visit with Miss Anna Bull.
Moses Bellanger and son Sidbey attended a family reunion at Ferris Center Saturday.
Mrs. P. Markle and daughter Edityh drove to Stanton Monday and visited Mrs. Eva Hodge at that place.
Mr. and Mrs. H.A. Hull returned last Monday from an over Sunday visit with friends at Fruitport.
Mrs. L.R. Van Vleck and Miss Helen Koebel visited Mr. and Mrs. H.E. Newshouse at Plymoth a few days last week.

Aug 12- John Guerney of Coral is visiting at Bert Font's.
Mrs. W.R. Faulkner, daughter and Clara Faulkner were in Fenwick Friday.
Mrs. Olive Heth returned from Ionia Saturday.  Her health is no better.
Miss Mae Halliban of Fenwick spent a week visiting young friends in this vicinity.
Herbert Smith and family Byron Haskins and wife, Chas Brooks and family spent Sunday at Long Lake.
Mr & Mrs. Robert Hall and Mrs. Comstock, Marle and H.H. Decker and family spent Sunday at Henry Decker's.
The Misses Rosenfelder of Toledo and Cleveland, Ohio who are canping at Long Lake spent Thursday at A.L. Faulkner's.
One of the pleasant gathering of the season was held at the home of  Mr. and Mrs. Benj. Comstock Wednesday, Aug 7th., the affair being the reunion of Co.R. 16th Michigan Infantry of which Mr. Comstock was a member.  Members present were from McBride, Langston, Greenville, Palo, Sheridan, Bushnell, Saranac, and Clarksville. Other guests were present... next meeting to be held at E.N. Lowry's of Saranac the first Wednesday in August 1913.

Aug 13 - Dora North spent last week visiting friends at Perrington.
M.S. Gambee and family were the guest of C.N. Long Sunday.Mr & Mars Clare heisler of Gratiot co visited at H.E. Heisler's Saturday night.
Mrs. Morris of Grand Rapids has been visiting her aunt, Mrs. Deborah Miller, the past week.
Florence Miller spent last week at Peter Miller's helping care for her grandmother who is sick.
Oscar Maynard and Susie McGregor were married last week, we do not know the day nor the place.
Mr & Mrs Roy Bailey and Mr & Mrs H.S. Dehart visited at R.C. DeHart's in Amsden Sunday.
Mrs. Geo. Sheldon of Evergreen twp died at her home last Friday night from cancer after long and much suffering.
Mrs. Wm Long of Elmhall has been here for the past week helping take care of her sister, Mrs. J.H. Braman. who is quite sick.
Mrs. Wm Crowner and 4 children of Doby Springs, Oklahoma came last wednesday for a visit with her parents, Mr. and Mrs. John Corey, and other relatives here. It has been 14 years since she has been in Michigan.

Aug 12 - Joseph Pease and Wm. McClow went to Detroit Sunday
Little Winifred Arntz is with her grandmother, Mrs. Harvey Dye.
Mr. & Mrs Fred Lyon are entertaining friends from Remus this week.
Stanley Gilmore took a load of 21 to the Shilo Sunday school picnic Friday.
Mr & Mrs W.B. Conner and John  Wilson of Detroit are enjoying and outing at Long Lake.
Frank Pray and wife entertained their grandfather, J. Comstock and sister Mrs Elmer Curtis and children.
Leonard Warren and wife and parents, Mr & Mrs White of Muir were Sunday guest of Mr & Mrs Perrin of Fenwick.
This community was saddened to hear of the death of one old friend Chas. Joslin who died suddenly at his home at Maceden, N.Y.  His sister, Mrs. Harm Rinker of Ionia went Friday to bring him here for burial at the Shanty Plains cemetery.

Aug 13 - James McNeilly had the misfortune to loose a horse Sunday.
Mrs White of Lyons visited her son, Len Warren, part of the week.
E.J. Dodson and family spent last week at their new cottage at Long Lake.
Miss Joyce Munn spent last week with Miss Lech Lowe of Carson City.
The Woodward Lake Aid Society was held at the house of Mrs. F. Hoover  Wednesday.
Miss Bernice Ives of Grandville was the gues of Miss Louise Munn for a few days.
Miss Trowbridge of Stanton is spending a few days with her cousin Amber McClow.
Mrs. E.M. Munn recieved sas news of the death of her mother in Kent, England.
Charles Stone was called to Ohio Wednesday on account of the serious illness of his sister.
Mr & Mrs Louis Curtis visited Mr & Mrs Peter Gallogher in Ionia first of the week.

Aug 13-Miss Ivah Harter has been under doctor's care
Mr & Mrs H Minier visited at Gabe Minier's last Thurday.
Mrs Harry Mattison spent Wednesday night with her parents in Ionia.
Mrs. H.C. Showers kept house for her mother, Mrs. Peterson, week before last.
Mrs. Carl Graves went to Grand Rapids Saturday to visit her sister Minnie.
Mr & Mrs G. Minier also Mr & Mrs Whit Minier took dinner at H. Minier's Sunday.
Mrs & Mrs Hargrave also Roy Hargrave attended a reunion at Mr. Hoover's Sunday.
Mrs. H. Minier has been enjoying a visit from her daughter Mrs. E.E. Slye and her children Lyle and Catherine.
Myron Beach, Lillian Morris and son Velois, Nellie Beach, and Willard Knaggs took dinner with Wm. Hoople and family Sunday.
Little Esther Martin had the misfortune to break both small bones in her right arm about 12 days ago.  She is getting along nicely.

Aug 6 - Perry Funk is a visitor at Grand Rapids this week.
R.E. Chapman is able to be in the store again.
Mr & Mrs Smith Crankshaw visited at Lansing last week.
Mrs. Albert Eddy is visiting her parents in Ionia for a few days.
T.W. Worden and son Robert visited at Wm.Noddens in Orleas Monday.
Mr & Mrs Dave Wood of Stanton visited at R.E. Chapmans' Sunday.
Mr & Mrs Fred Morris are enjoying the sights at Ionia during the Aviation meet.
Mr & Mrs Lewis Edmunds of Dushville are visiting friends at this place this week.
Evans ball team played the Fenwick ball team last Saturday, score 8 to 5 in favor of Fenwick.
Miss Edna Worden returned last Saturday evening from Mt. Pleasant where she has been attending the summer Normal.

Aug 13 - Mrs. Berkely Sherd visited her parents over Sunday.
Mrs. Perry Walker of Butternut visited her son Bert, last week.
Mr. Stephen Haysmer visited friends in Grand rapids last week.
Several little girl friends of Helen Sherd helped her celebrate her fith birthday Saturday.
Mr. Anton Neilson has rented his farm to Mr. Walter Hoy for the coming year.
Mr Neilson expects to go to his native home in Denmark in the spring.  He has not been there since he was 14 years of age.
Mrs. Henry Robinson was completely surprised last Thursday when several of his friends gathered at his home to remind him it was his birthday.

Mrs. Geo. E Morris returned to Alliance Thursday.
Julius Tibbitts of Lyons dropped dead at his home Wednesday.
Mr. W.J. Steere and children of St. Johns came Wednesday evening.
Mrs. D.B. Chase and sister Mrs Crawford arrived in Palo Thursday.  Mrs Chase has been away all winter.
Miss Grace Graham is becoming quite an expert at the telephone office.  Miss
Nellie Beach expects to work in the exchange office after this week.

Aug 12 - Wm Wescott spent Sunday in Greenville
Miss Francis Thomas returned Saturday from Grand Rapids.
Miss Gladys Bashare visited over Sunday at V.H. Sherd's.
Mrs. B.H. Sherd amd daughter took dinner at M.D. Sherd's Sunday.
Sylvester Mabie of Detroit was an over Sunday guest of his aunt, Mrs Fancett.
Mr. F.D. Flisher and family left last Monday for Grand Rapids where they visited friends.

Ionia Daily Sentinel - Wednesday, April 20, 1881

Death of Rowland E. Trowbridge - The following telegram from S. V. R. Trowbridge dated at Birmingham this afternoon was received by A. B. Morse: "Father died at half past three o'clock this afternoon".

Orange-Sudden Death - On Friday p. m. last, as May, wife of Fellows Gates was returning from Tremayne's corners, when near J. P. Coon's she complained of feeling ill, and was taken into Mrs. Halsteads. She asked to have her husband and children sent for at once, but only one of them reached her before she became unconscious, in which state she remained some fifteen hours and then passed away at 9 a.m. Saturday morning. She was a native of Massachusetts, but had lived a good part of her life in Canada, till about thirty years ago, when they settled here. She leaves to mourn her loss an aged companion, with whom she had lived fifty-six years, eight children, all of whom were present at her funeral, twenty-eight grand children and seven great grand children. She had been a professor of religion for more than half a century, and was up to the time of her death, one of the most active workers in the Freewill Baptist church, being in attendance a the covenant meeting on the Saturday before and on the Sabbath, walking to the church half a mile to attend worship. Truly "a mother in Israel" has fallen. - Portland Observer please copy.

Married - VanVleck / Baker - At Palo, April 19 by Rev. J. Roberts, Mr. Cassias VaVleck and Miss Nellie Baker, both of Palo, Michigan

Choice Millinery - Miss Kate Gundrum offers to the ladies of Ionia a choice and well-selected stock of milinery goods at reasonable proces. Ladies are invited to call and examine goods before purchasing.

submitted by: Becky Hoff at THoff57416@aol.com

A Copy of a speech my grandmother, Watie Pike Pritchard had given to the Ladies' Aid Society of the M. E. Easton Church about 1940.

I have tried to put it in readable form as it was only her notes and not a word for word copy. It is still a little choppy but I didn't want to alter the style in which I think she delivered it. She apparently had researched her speech by reading "The History of Ionia and Montcalm Counties", but also included stories of local people and events that she personally knew.

The first settlers in Easton were the Cornells who came from Canada in 1833-1834. They owned 300 acres and now part of this farm is the State House of Corrections. The asylum also was on the south side of the prison. George Case set out the first apple trees in Easton on the Sanford place. The log house that was built there by George Case was called the oldest or most ancient house in Easton. Jared Conner moved into this cabin and also took possession of the land along the river. He fixed a site for a village there and called it Utica. He sold a few lots but his plans fell through.

The Simon Welchs came from New York and they located on Section 19. There they opened a road side tavern, Welch's Tavern, which was a well know and popular resort. His brother, Vine Welch also had a blacksmith shop there, which later was bought by Benjamin Pike. The Pike's brought their children with them from Canada except for their oldest daughter who only came to visit them here. They came here with horse and wagon and ferried across the Detroit River on the journey to Michigan. They came up over the hills and across what is now the Roy Eldin farm and at the Pike farm. The road went about through the center of the farm and the old house stood on the north bank of the creek. The road then winded around and came out farther south and west to what was a tavern on the Turnball farm.

The first post office was at the Silas Sprague farm and was called Avon, Mr. Sprauge being named the postmaster. It was later discontinued and moved to Dildine. With Ionia’s Post office being so close by, no Post office was necessary.

The Easton people were not very religious minded for no church was built. Those who went to church attended church either in Ionia or other towns. There were two M.E. classes, the United Brethren and the Weslyan Methodist class. The latter meet at the Dexter school house and the United at Dildine. The church at Dexter continued all throughout the years until the Easton Community Church was built. Although maybe not a religious community, I believe nearly everyone went to church when I was a girl.

William Conner was the first white child born in Easton in the log house. When he grew up he married Temperance Lernore. They were the parents of nine sons, Ed, Jerry, Frank, Charlie, George, Ferry, Gorden, Chasus, and Harvey.

The Dexter school was named for the family on whose land it was built. Later it was moved to the foot of the hill and used for a barn and the new brick school was built about 70 years ago. There never was a well on the school grounds until recent years. The children would carry the water from a spring in the Virgil Conner woods or from a well at Will Conner's place.

There were three Conner families who settled at Dexter although they were no relation. Levi Conner, who lived at the foot of the hill used to get his water at a spring in our field. The water was very clear and cold. He would use a wooden barrel and then had a box over the top with a hinged cover to keep out dirt and animals. The boys use to go there nights and fill it with stone, and then Levi would have a time digging them out.

The people who came here in the early days were from Canada or the New England states, in wagons having to ford the streams. Among the first to arrive were the Dexters, Arnolds, Welchs, Renwicks, Curtises, Ellisons, Conners, Pikes, Stowells, Taylors, Browns, Strongs, Sharps, Kimbles, Parks, Jepsons and Stebbins. To north resided the Snells, Musselmans, Wilburs, Brandfords and McKendrys. To the west Lees, Calvins, Coverts, Potters and the Hunters could be found.

Just below where the town hall in Keene stands was a general store run by Ephrain Abbott. He engaged in the making of chairs, rakes and pokes, Also repairing all kinds of farming implements there, this place was called PoDunk.

The Covert family came here from New York in a covered wagon with eleven children. They were weeks on the way having to ford the Grand River just below where the Grand Trunk railway bridge is and stayed in the log tavern there. It had a still where they sold liquor and they spread their blankets out on the floor and spent the night.

Among the first school teachers at Dexter School were Major Chase and Gerddie Davis. Noble Strong had been the owner of our farm and Chase and Davis each married one the Strong girls.

My mother and grandmother moved to Michigan from Indiana, coming with mother's oldest sister and family on the train. When they got to Saranac the highway was overflooded. My aunt's husband, Peter Blough had come on ahead. He got someone to row him across in a boat and told them to stay overnight at the hotel and go on to Ionia by train the morning. They had been told in Indiana that people in Michigan always cooked their potatoes with the skins on. In the morning for breakfast they had potatoes boiled with skins on, something they had never eaten before.

Earlier grist mills and saw mills were a great help to the people. The first one was on the Simon Welch farm where the B. B. park is. Later they also had 25 cows and used to make lots of cheese. Then the Bellays built a saw mill and later a grist mill. They also ground wheat for flour there. There was a dam back of the mill and the water was used to turn the wheels which ground the grain. Finally a flood took out the darn and it would have been a big expense to replace with all the new mills being run by electricity.

Everyone made their own candles. The first lamps were a rag placed in a dish of grease and were called a bitch. Then came the kerosene lamps that had to be filled with oil everyday, the wicks trimmed and the chimney washed. Then there were gasoline lamps and Alladin lamps with mantles that would char over. You would think you had a good light and then have to turn them down until the char would burn off.

The men use to cut the hay and grain with a cradle, bind it in bunches and flail it out on the barn floor.

Everyone had cows. After the cows were milked, the milk was strained in big pans or crocks. The next morning the cream was skimmed into a crock and then churned with a dash or barrel churn. Will Robinson was our first milkman. He drove the milk to Saranac where it was separated and the skim milk returned that night, thus covering the road twice each day. In all his trips he never sat down or at least no one ever saw him.

Charlie Locher was our first mail carrier. If the road got too bad for his horses to get through, he would put the horse in the barn at Jim Renwick's and made the rounds on foot carrying the mail on his back. You always got your mail some how!

Virgil Conner was our Sunday School Superintendent for many years. Mrs. Brown was always a teacher in the church even up to the time the new church was built. The first Ladies' Aid Society was organized at Mrs. Wilson's Jan.25, 1897, Mrs. George Stebbins, president, and my mother treasurer. We use to have a Sunday School picnics in the woods near the Brown woods and for several years in Levi Conner’s. There we served the public, a program after the dinner, booths for candy and fancy goods. Also there was a good ball game. Twenty-five cents was asked for the dinner, but I have no idea what the money was used for as both the Easton church and the Dexter neighborhood furnished the meal. The new church was built in the year 1927. Four hundred were served at the dedication supper at $1.00 per plate. The main part of the menu was chicken and biscuits. Nettie Hulliberger made all the biscuits at our place and Henry and George took them to the church as needed. At that time, L.A.S. officers were Mrs. Perry Stebbins president, secretary, Mrs. Frank Covert and treasurer, Mrs. Henry Pritchard. The L.A.S. gave $11.00 to the church the day it was dedicated.

Submitted by Becky Hoff at THoff57416@aol.com

This was an article I found in the scrapbook. I found it interesting and thought I would pass it along.

In many houses are found twin boys, but it is a rare occurence when both live to celebrate their seventy-fifth birthday: On the 25th day of May in the year 1827, twin boys were born in Herkimer Co., N. Y. They came to the home of Dexter and Olive Kimball Arnold, and were called Walter Damon and William Dexter. When they were eight and a half years, the family started for Michigan, spending long, weary weeks on the journey, reaching Washington Center (now known as Ionia) in the fall of 1835. Here with father, mother and two brothers, Anson and Irving, they were welcomed by a large circle of uncles, aunts and cousins, the families of Oliver Arnold and Erastus Yeomans. Their first home was a log cabin in the woods on a farm in Easton township, which included a portion of the Vanderheyden place in Ionia. Their boyhood days were spent on the farm in the woods and in the distict school. They attended the first one held in a regular school building in Ionia, enrolling there in June, 1836. Both remained on the home farm until they reached their majority, then their paths diverged. Walter entering the store of Chas. Moseman as bookkeeper, while William chose farming as his life work. Walter served as clerk with Moseman Harter, Stevenson and Rich successively, until 1854 when he became the partner of Hampton Rich in the varied interests of the old " Banner Store". In land matters their partnership continued until the death of Mr. Rich in 1900. He also spent a few years as deputy register of deeds then as a farmer in Easton and now lives in a pleasant home in the city of Ionia. In politics he is a Republican. In religion he is a Baptist, having been an active, interested member of that church since 1865, serving several terms as trustee and deacon. Wm D. chose farming and lived many years on a fine farm in Easton giving much thought to the best interests of his neighborhood, serving his church. Weslyn Methodist, as steward, placing his influence on the right side of the termperance question and serving for several years as township supervisor. The story of the lives of these two brothers would read like the history of many of those who have helped to make Ionia county one of the historic spots in the state of Michigan. For a number of years their birthday has been the occasion of coming together of the members of the two families, the twins and their wives, their children and grandchildren. This year they met with Wm D. on Saturday, May 24th, at his fine new home in Saranac, and cousins of the first second and third generations joined in making the day one long to be remembered.



Last update 1/5/2008