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Author of Now and Then in Lenawee. She had a lot to say.


Adrian Daily Telegraph, January 11, 1958

Mrs. Emily Irene (Rene) Kendrick, the widow of Cicero Sherman Kendrick, And a well-known Blissfield resident most of her life, died Friday afternoon at 4:30 in the home of her daughter in Adrian. Mrs. Kendrick had been in failing health in recent years and was taken to the home of Mrs. Leroy (Ruth) Smith at 514 North Broad Street two weeks ago.

Mrs. Kendrick, 90 years old, was the author of a historical column, “Now and Then in Lenawee” which was printed for a number of years with the farm page sections of the Adrian Daily Telegram. The column was widely read and won many friends for the author. It was discontinued at Mrs. Kendrick’s request several years ago.

She was born November 12, 1867at Lyons in Ionia County, the daughter of Marshall and Emily Swarthout Beach. The family moved when Mrs. Kendrick was 12 to Minneapolis and came to Lenawee County five years later. She taught a few years in Lenawee schools and married Mr. Kendrick Sept. 4, 1887, in Blissfield.

The young couple began house-keeping on a farm North of Blissfield continuing that occupation until 1917 when they moved into the village. Mr. Kendrick died in 1930.

Mrs. Kendrick described herself as a “farmers wife” when she first applied to the telegram as a columnist. Her efforts turned out to be highly entertaining bits of homespun philosophy as well as comments on the past and present political scenes. Readers reported clipping the columns for scrapbooks as well as sending them to former residents and relatives all over the country.

Mrs. Kendrick prepared a description of her life for the Telegram’s biographical file. It reads: “Ancestry on both sides of the family traces back to colonial days. Men have been explorers, pioneers and soldiers in every war. None were prominent in politics, only a few protestimonials, not many musicians and no criminals. None have become distinguished—just common folks. I inherit a love of adventure, literature, music and have an undeveloped artist tic taste. In late years, other than in my family, my interest has been in local history.”

Mrs. Kendrick was one of the early members of the Lenawee County Historical Society and helped form a Blissfield historical group which later was disbanded. She belonged to the Methodist church and was a member of the Blissfield Service Club. She also was active in Grange work and served loyally for many years with the American Red Cross.

She is survived by two daughters, Mrs. LeeRoy (Ruth) Smith of Adrian and Mrs. Floyd B. (Ethel) Hartman of near Blissfield with whom she made her home in recent years; nine grandchildren; `14 great-grandchildren and a half-brother, Raymond Beach of Memphis, Tennessee.

The funeral will be Monday P.M. 2:30- at the Tagsold Funeral Home in Blissfield. The Rev. Dalton Bishop and the Rev. Ralph Lewis will officiate. The burial will be in Pleasant View Cemetery, Blissfield.

Comments on


by Ralph L. Lewis 1993

In 1952 , as Ann Arbor pastor, Ralph L. Lewis went to a rural United Methodist church near Tecumseh, Michigan for pre-Easter services.

On the first night, Rene Beach Kendrick stood unannounced and spoke to the people. “This man LEWIS is for real, “ she said “Almost seventy years ago his grandfather Wm Hubbard Lewis and I, his cousin, knelt at the altar of a Methodist Church in this Lenawee County and became Christians.. That act as teenagers has profoundly affected our entire lives.”

Then in a sacred silence, this beautiful, sophisticated lady with white hair sat down before the meeting began. What an effective introduction! For years she had written her homespun articles in the Adrian Daily Telegraph newspaper so the congregation all knew her as a caring old neighbor. She was a niece of Huldah Beach Lewis (d. 1922) who was my own grandfather’s mother.

The few times she came from Blissfield to visit my grandfather Wm. Hubbard Lewis in Midland County 160 miles North, she and Cicero stayed with us in our white frame house. Grandfather lived in a two-room log house with an unfinished attic room over his bedroom on a 40-acre farm a mile West of us.

She always seemed so overpowering, so impressive, so beautiful to me. As clever as she was beautiful, we all felt her live and concern for anyone related to her cousin Will.

We all knew grandfather loved her and she was a jolly matriarch who loved all of us. What profound respect for each other those two carried to their graves.


Articles by


As printed in the Adrian Daily Telegram

November 3, 1950

VOTE, ANYWAY. With time before election running out, the pressures from frantic seekers for the favor of our votes, grows hourly more acute. It sort of traps the kind hearts and gentle people who just naturally hate to hurt anybody’s feelings and puts them in an uncomfortable spot. Vote they must, if they do not want to be ban citizens. But if, in their inexperience, in that solemn moment alone with as much conscience as they happen to have, they cast their vote for the wrong side, they have invited national ruin and destruction. So they are warned. Maybe it is to sidestep that possibility that so many of the eligibles fail to vote. Maybe their motto is “when in doubt, don’t”

Now all of that, I know sounds like a doting old “fozzle” trying to excuse the delinquencies of his descendants. But anyway it looks as though this year we are all much better briefed and less unsure of what it is all about than ever before. And too, it is the American Way we are coming more and more to value.

An enlightening glimpse of the same American Way, but which we seem to have left in a wide detour, is found in an old history of the earliest days of our country. Just as it is now, there was bitterness and contention that centered in the locating and building of the federal capital. In a few years before it was decided upon to have it set permanently in its present location the seat of government was a guest of a number of the larger cities. When it cam the turn of Philadelphia to entertain, elaborate plans were made for and “Executive Mansion.” But when George Washington saw the dimensions of the home the Pennsylvanians were building, he informed them at once that the would never occupy it, much less go to the expense of buying furniture for it.

In those Spartan days it never entered into the designs of that state to buy furniture for the Executive Mansion. Thus, the Chief Citizen, instead of accepting a pretentious dwelling, rented and furnished a modest house of Robert Morris.

Oh, well. It’s a rocky detour and long. But if we vote right we may get back on the main road. And maybe it’s not so far, after all . #




As printed in the Adrian Daily Telegram

November 10, 1950

When the historians of centuries to come that is if there are any, get around to record the goings-on to the present time and get the outstanding characteristics all classified and indexed, it is a little odd that so many items will be found under “M”. Glance along the headlines of any newspaper and then read on.

Play the game that Patty, the first-grader, and I often like to do. Check off all of a certain letter or a word that we know. Money. Murder, Mistakes, Matrimony, Millions, Marshal plan, Medals, machines, Misrepresentation, Maladminstration, Mal-contents, Maneuvering. Longer and longer the list grows if we include such words as Machiavellian, Macabre, which certainly have an application, shameful it is to own it up. The chapters on Music would pleasanter reading and so would the ones about Memorials and Monuments. Oh, there are many other words that will have to be used to relate and reconstruct the mutual misunderstandings between nations and within them, as we know about them now.

No doubt those records will have gained as much of glorification as we find now in the histories of what happened long ago, since “distance lends enchantment to the view.” Certainly those who will write of what we call today will have a big task to sort out the good and noble from the confused welter of events as they are seen by those of us who have a hand in making them.

Will the heroes of that distant day be anyone we voted for this week? Whose speeches will be quoted on what kind of anniversaries? And what familiar figure will stand in that far way hall of fame? #

November 17, 1950

WHAT ARE THEY FOR? Now that the M.S.C. up at Lansing is asking for out-dated farm tools and household utensils, out from junk piles and cobwebby corners will be dragged many an old useless article that will find itself playing an old part in the passing scene but a new one in a new role in the public eye, a curio, to be wondered about and explained and joked about. If most of them could talk, what stories they could tell, of their makers as well as their users. The necessity that mothered their inventing, matched by the ingenuity to find what was needed for their making in what lay near at hand were features of our pioneers’ days.

So many of the useful things were made of wood and without the use of any metal at all. All sorts of containers were of wood. Barrels had wooded hoops as did washtubs and buckets, while for baskets and the different kinds of smaller items of equipment there was always in the forests around them just the right sort of wood at hand to serve the purpose

But after all Lenawee wasn’t so far “out west” of where there was plenty of civilization and manufacturing and commerce, and so it came to pass that it wasn’t long before there was metal to use in building and making things to use. Nails, bolts, screws and locks and hinges and all the larger things like stoves and parts that went into making home made farm tools like drags and such things. Then it came to pass that at last it was that all-metal goods from farm tools to kitchens took the place of those made of wood.

And so, when the collection of obsoletes is on exhibit, there are sure to be many objects it will baffle you to name. Could you tell a treadmill from a bootjack? Or the difference between a pestle and a maul? #




As printed in the Adrian Daily Telegram

November 24, 1950

WE DID IT AGAIN! After all old Santa Claus did not crown Thanksgiving off the sidewalk entirely, as it looked as though he was trying to when he moved in with all the toys and gifts and Christmas finery all over downtown. With Indian Summer lingering on, making it so pleasant out doors it just didn’t seem natural at all, and really premature to try to feel the usual thrill and interest of the happiest of holidays. Here and there was a reminder that there was going to be a thanksgiving too, this year.

But we noted the red letter on the calendar with surprise that the day was so near. Not only that, but somehow, with so many things going on that folks just can’t feel thankful for, it did seem that it wasn’t going to be too easy to be sincerely thankful anyway. So much uncertainty and anxiety and animosity in the air seemed to make such words as “prosperity” and “plenty” sound rather hollow and insincere. Who can enjoy them when they come at the cost of something so different? Theodore Roosevelt once said, “We all go up or go down together.” This year if we were to give thanks it would have to be for blessings of the past, or if we have a habit of thought that makes it possible to do so, to be thankful for the hope of blessings that wait for us when the battles are over. Promised blessings. At any rate it didn’t seen as thought we could be so casual and even flippant in all out feasting and good cheer as usual. There was something that seemed to say, “Oh, go ahead. Eat, Drink and be merry, the Russians have the A-bomb, and the citizens of the U.S. are all so-and-so’s. One big turkey dinner and one night of love, and what the _______.” But the day came and is gone. And frothy and fuzzy as it may seem on the surface, there were many, very many, who did find it in their hearts just it always has, to pay their debt of honest gratitude to “Our Father.” #

December 1, 1950

TOYS, TOYS, TOYS. Oh, What a lot of toys. And such toys, too. Toys everywhere, for there’s hardly a shop in town where there is not a display of everything you can imagine, and more than you ever dreamed of. There’s no doubt that children are thrilled and excited and even bewildered with all that is to be seen. How can anyone decide what they want for Christmas when there’s so much to want, for or course, you just can’t have everything.

But much as the array means to the youngsters, there is a much deeper interest of one kind or another for all who are older. For one thing there are the price tags. Then taking a farther away look, there is the wonder of the artistry and the mechanical skill that designed them. It just doesn’t seem right to call them playthings. There is hardly anything in ordinary use by grown ups that is not to be found in miniature and not only that but in workable shape.

When metal became scarce to use in toys in came all the plastic marvels as well as those of rubber. And no design was too fantastic to be used in furnishing something to amuse and delight so many of us that likes to be amused and delighted.

But really. After all, the most remarkable feature of the whole picture of the vast business of manufacturing and distributing into the channels of trade that is back of it all. The investment, the management, the workers make up one of the country’s biggest industries, and certainly one that serves a good purpose. Now we all of us, old and young, love these days of going shopping and isn’t it fine to find so many nice things to buy to give, come Christmas? #




As printed in the Adrian Daily Telegram

December 15, 1950

“ . . . AND ON EARTH, “WHAT?” Who, speaking of writing of the earth and we the people who inhabit it, or it seems infest it, can say one day what will be the next? If we care to take the trouble to dig into the records, we may get a good idea of how it always has bee, and never has there been a time when the doings of the present day and hour can be learned so immediately as now. What on earth, we say is going on! And telling us has come to be good business. So, being able to read and hear, we have a pretty good chance to know.

Away back when the angels sang over the fields of Bethlehem, the theme of their chorus was Peace. A world of Good Will. But at that time their message was one of expectation, of promise. For then as now, the world suffered from greedy conquest, aggression, taxation and religious differences and Peace, even if it were possible waited upon something not yet realized. But after all, isn’t it possible, that it was really there, just as it is this Christmas time, and here on earth too, only it is not recognized?

There was a radiant peace in the hearts of those who had fervent expectations of the coming of the Kingdom. And there was another kind, a very dubious kind that was sought by those who submitted, without revolt, to the oppression of their masters. And, elusive as it has always seemed to be, there is always that inner peace that is the twin of Good Will. Peace is possible. #

December 22, 1950

SO THIS IS IT. We have been warned, we have been threatened, we have feared, we have hoped to escape it. But now, here ‘tis. War. Armageddon? It can be.

Over the years, by whatever ways we have come by our understanding of religion, it is likely that those parts of Scripture classed as prophecy have not meant so very much to us. By their mystery and the contrasting interpretations, most of us were more or less puzzled and willing to wait and see. At best, we sorted out what comforted us and let pass those which chilled us with warnings of the doom and the fate that waits for us along the highways and byways of forbidden paths. If we worried about any of it at all, it was to ask, “Well, where do we come in?” What does it mean, latter days? And it shall come to pass? But now we are being told, even though we do not search the Scriptures for the answers. Angry voices over the air; the headlines, the columns of fine print all agree in telling us that awful day is here. Now it is war for all of us. None shall escape its rigors and it’s sacrifices. We accept it. It’s our war.

Maybe we turn to the Book to see if there is proof or denial that it must be. But there they are, where they have been all the time, the same words of doom, of the fate that waits for those who stray into forbidden ways. A fate that we have hilariously invited.

It’s going to be a new war. Different in a hundred different ways. But there is something else in the Book. You know as well as I do. It’s what we call Christmas. #




As printed in the Adrian Daily Telegram

December 29, 1950

HOWDY DO, 1951. Only a few days ago we were counting the days before Christmas, and now the big day has come and gone and we are still counting the days. This time checking off the time for less happily anticipated time of reckonings. Santa Claus has gone on his way and no matter whether we have been good or not, what New Years bring to us is largely either up to us or to the play of fate or providence, over which we have but small control.

The New Year is usually pictured as a charming little cherub, naked and innocent. But this year it would seem to be more realistic to feature it as a great big burly old bully, not only like old Goliath, threatening us and scaring us out of our wits, but loaded down with a big bag of problems, mistakes and worse, left on our calendar to be dealt with. Many of us will be waiting for him in little private sanctuaries if not in churches, breathing out frightened prayers for deliverance from what it seems that he is bringing in.

Others will greet him with the same old gaiety that is only a thin covering of the same dread and apprehension. No, there’s nothing infantile about New Year’s Day. None of us can say “Git outa here with your_____ an’ don’t come back no more.”

But there’s one thing, just as always, that ha carried us through the stormy days, and that is the “hope that springs eternal in the human heart.” One thing about it, like so much else, the new kind of war, and cold tablets and such things, this likely will be a new kind of year, too. Who know how soon young David will find some smooth pebbles in the brook, and stand there, as bare of military gear as the little infant in the pictures is of swaddling clothes and hurl them with deadly aim at the mark that will do the most good. #

January 12, 1951

THE FACTS ARE-- However much and how vocally most of us rebel against whatever disturb our so called peace, when the time comes when we are faced with facts that have to be reckoned with, we usually go right ahead and deal with hem. And for the most part, we do so in more or less of the spirit that has driven warriors out to do battle throughout the ages, winners and losers alike.

Actually, how tame the pages of literature would be without the tales of struggle and valor that marked the battles in the march of time. Writers of history with more or less of partiality and poets in the throes of inspiration have bequeathed us a wealth of heroic records, which is a fine idea; heroes and what they have won are soon forgotten as each new war takes the place of the last one.

It might be a good idea if those of us who are thrilled by the pursuit of victory and the joy of conquest could be satisfied with reading what has been written instead of thinking up bigger and worse ways to fight. It would be better if history, instead of repeating itself so brutally, could be confined to the conquests in the realm of a new and better place to live in and better folks to live in it. That’s only a dream as of yet.

There is still the same impulse that inspired the honored Light Brigade whose heroic charge was set in verse by Tennyson. ”Was there a man dismayed? Not through the soldier knew some one had blundered. Theirs not to make reply. Theirs but to do or die. Into the valley of Death rode the six hundred.” Good reading that. #




As printed in the Adrian Daily Telegram

January 26, 1951

FOR THE SAKE OF AN ARGUMENT Our present world predicament has had a long build-up and so naturally, it is not one to be either easily or soon disposed of. And just as naturally, all we who are citizens feel no little concern and are more or less vocal about it, which only ads to the confusion. We certainly do differ about what is the best way to get out of the dilemma. As usual the difference of opinion narrows down to two opposite theories. As it was long years ago, the enemy to be dealt with was the sale of liquor. On one side were those who advocated force, the strong arm of the law. On the other, not so militant, were those who talked about moral persuasion. In the end they decided on appeasement.

Speaking of conquest by force, reminds of a little story. It you’ve heard it, stop me. A determined urchin was dragging a dejected dog along when he mat a benevolent old gentleman. In a kindly voice the man asked, “Little lad, does your dog love you?” “You betcher life he does. If he didn’t I’d kick the stuffin” outa im.”

Buried deep under the rubble of human experience are certain nuggets of wisdom, that like the stones on a rocky hillside have a way of working to the surface. And like the stones they can be very annoying. To mention one, there is that persistent “love you enemies.” Disturbing. It seems to stand right there between us and the pride and satisfaction we feel, or hope to feel, in the scene where our A-bombs have done their work.

Conquest through armed force. Control through coercion. After we’ve got it, what have we? A dog with the stuffin’ kicked out isn’t good for much. #

February 2, 1951

LETTER TO UNCLE SAM You know, there’s someone I, for one, feel sorry for. That is, our Uncle Sam. But sympathy doesn’t do much good unless it is expressed. There are all sorts of greeting cards for that purpose that are wonderful in saying what we don’t know how to. But to judge by myself what comforts more than these is a little personal letter.

So this morning after hearing over the radio and reading in the paper and seeing in the cartoons what the old fellow is up against, it is plan that he is not only standing in the need of prayer, but of a little sympathy. So, after I get around to it, I’ll write him, or more correctly, to him, and let him know that as it was in the old song, “With all his faults I love him still.”

Right now, if his face isn’t red, he hasn’t sensed what had happened to him. Really, it seems as though he is sitting there in the middle of the ring (I get this figure of speech off the radio) dizzily trying to figure out where he was hit and whodunit. He is trying to name the aggressor. And he doesn’t look pretty. Worse yet, so many of those in the ringside seats are climbing over the ropes and punching each other as they try to get to him and get him on his feet that he just can’t figure it out. It is awful. Nobody anywhere it denying it.

Now what I want to tell him as gently as I can is that where he made one mistake was when he got so brash about telling the world what a big man he thought he was. “We are the greatest nation on earth—etc., etc.” We should have remembered when Britannia ruled the waves. As a steady job pole sitting isn’t so hot. And there’s a lot of austerity in a piece of humble pie. No, I wouldn’t want to hurt his feelings, but facts are facts. #




As printed in the Adrian Daily Telegram

February 9, 1951

ONE WAY Maybe one reason for so much confusion now days is because there are so many ways of coming to the same conclusion, or of getting to the same place, all of them so different; some are more direct, some seem pleasanter and others just plain experimental. And that observation is no more true of the means of reaching any goal than it is of our present scramble to find peace. In al of them there are hurdles to be gotten over and obstacles to be gotten around and slippery spots to be avoided. But the worst are always the rifts. Deep chasms that have to be crossed. Mark Twain in one of his flights of fancy told of a railway construction gang that made a tunnel through one mountain and right on across the valley and through the next one. But the generally accepted way is to build a bridge. And what marvels of construction there are in bridge building.

But when it comes to progress in making the road to Peace there are so many gaps in human relations that are harder to bridge. Little differences about insignificant things. Little hates. Little red races that have to be “saved” at any cost. And these little bits of of peace are as important in the building of Peace as the little screws and bolts and shims are in the building of any great structure.

Now there’s nothing very spectacular in overlooking a slight. And likely old Shylock wasn’t very happy with his black market meat. But after all, there are those who will tell, or would if there were any use in telling, that there is a very delicate and precious tie that binds a forgiver to the on forgiven. ##
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