Calvin Community Center Houses of Worship
Cass County, MI

I am adding churches and houses of worship photos as I receive them. If you have histories, congregation lists or photos of the early
Houses of Worship in Cass County, Michigan, please contact us at
Updated on January 2, 2014


Bethel AME Church
Bethel AME Church
rugged church
Original Old Rugged Cross Church
Mt. Zion AME Church
Mt. Zion Church
Original Chain Lake Cabin church
Chain Lake Log Cabin
Original Church
Chain Lake Church built 1860
Chain Lake Church
1860 to 1966
Chain Lake Baptist Church
Chain Lake Baptist Church
Todays church
Calvin Community Center
Calvin Community Chapel
nondenominational church
founded 1928, Calvin Twp.
Cass County
Dailey Church
Dailey Church
Photos and History Brochure
Calvin Community Center
Calvin Community Chapel
nondenominational church
founded 1928, Calvin Twp.
Cass County
Smith's Chapel
photo taken Jan 13, 1938
contributed by Richard Paddock
Chief Pokagaon Plaque
Sacred Heart Of Mary Catholic
Silver Creek
Old Union Protestant at Dailey
Old Union Protestant at Dailey
Predecessor of Dailey church
Smith"s Chapel
Smith's Chapel
built 1840 in
Milton Twp
Silver Creek UMC
Silver Creek UMC
Erected 1868-69
contributed by:  Suzanne Wicks
Methodist Church
Methodist church
Presbyterian Church
circa - 1856
Baptist and Methodist Churches
Edwardsburg - see ***  below
Presbyterian Church today
in Edwardsburg rebuit 1923
Episcopal Church
Now St. Paul's
306 Courtland, Dowagiac

Episcopal Church  -2nd shot
see below for history
built 1859

Old Founding Churches and Religions of Cass County, Michigan

1831 - American Home Missionary Society leader Luther Humphrey - organized the Presbyterian Church of Edwardsburg. Worship was held in homes until 1856 when a chapel was built.

1832 - Episcopal Church - Services first conducted by Bishop Philander Chase.

1838 - Chief Leopold Pokagon built a log church for the Catholic Bishop of Detroit. During the early 1840s Holy Cross Fathers of Notre Dame held services for the Indians, until 1844 when Father Theophile Marlvault became the first priest to be assigned to this parish. Later - (1847 to 1870, a Father Louis Baroux served. He is buried on the grounds in 1897. A white framed church that was constructed in about 1861 burned in 1886 and was replaced by the present structure.

1838 - First African-American Church organized.

1838 - Chain Lake Baptist Church is located on the south side of Chain Lake Road between Calvin Center Road and Union Road in Calvin Center Township. The one-acre cemetery contains seventeen hundred graves, of which four hundred date from the nineteenth century. The gently rolling landscaped grounds contain several family monuments, dozens of fieldstone headstones, and more recent marble markers. The family monuments recall the names of William, George and Green Allen, Kitchen Artis, Dr. Charles Newsom, the township’s first regular physician, and other early pioneer settlers in Calvin Township.
  The Chain Lake Baptist Church Cemetery is the final resting place of pioneers of one of Michigan’s and Cass County’s oldest black communities, Calvin Center Township. The first permanent black settlers came to Calvin in 1845 when John Stewart, Lamoon Howell and Ezechial Cole migrated here from Logan County, Ohio. The Chain Lake Baptist Church was organized by Elder David Lett on January 14, 1848 with eight members. A log church costing $1200 was erected two years later. On Marsh 8, 1856, church trustee Turner Byrd and his wife donated an acre of land for use as a cemetery for church members. The Chain Lake Baptist Church Cemetery historically recalls the burial site of Cass County’s and southwest Michigan’s oldest black pioneer settlers and residents. It has remained in continued use for one hundred and thirty years.

1838 - Sacred Heart Of Mary Catholic Church and Chief Pokagon - photo above stating facts about the church and chief. Also Jeannie Watson tells us
Chief Leopold Pokagon, the Potawatomi Native American Indian who negotiated the amendment to the Treaty of Chicago in 1833 is buried at St. Mary's. He saved the Pokagons from the Congressional Indian Removal Act and a forced walk to a reservation in Kansas. He, also, donated that land to the Catholic Church.

1830s to 1840s circuit riding Methodist ministers held services in Pakagon township.

1839 - The first Methodist church of Milton Township with a church being built the following year.

1841 The 1st Regular Baptist Church of Newberg (AKA - Poe's Church) was organized and church erected in 1858.

1840  Smith's Chapel (Milton Townhisp) established - land donated by Canon Smith who purchased the property in 1829 - church named in his honor.
            Oldest church in Cass County.  (See Discover Cass County site for more information on this beautiful old structure.

 *** - Baptist and Methodist churches. Baptist church was moved north or town near Shanahan's and used as a barn

1843 - Silver Creek UMC on Middle Crossing and Garrett roads just northwest of Dowagiac. It was organized in 1843 and the preset church (see photo above) was erected in 1868-69. The timers used in the construction were taken from near by forests. The finished lumber was hauled from Watervliet in wagon, by volunteers. The blocks were made and given by Harris Concrete and brought to the site by wagons. It's centennial was celebrated on May 25, 1969.  Information contributed by: Suzanne Wicks.

1849 - Mt. Zion Church was organized in 1849. Meeting were first held in private homes. About 1850, a logs Church was erected that measured 12’ x 16’. In 1854 a larger building was constructed which measured 30’ x 40’. The two churches were built by a group of African American Pioneers, who migrated from Northampton Co. NC, to Logan Co. OH and finally to Cass Co. MI and settled in Porter Township and Calvin Township.

The Charter members of the Church included Joseph and Rebecca Allen, William and Winne Anderson Allen, Fannie Allen, Bennett Allen, John H. Anderson and Rachel Allen.
Some of the first trustees were: Richard Woods, Benjamin Hawley, Lemuel Archer, Lawson Howell, William Scott, and Joseph Allen. 

In 1882 the congregation numbered 200 and the church property including a parsonage in Calvin Center, MI was valued at $3000.
Mt. Zion, was called the Mother Church of the county, as the Churches in Volinia, Calvin Center, Cassopolis, and Dowagiac became organized later.

Some of the early ministers of were:
Rev. Polk,    Rev. William Simpson
Rev. Gregory  Rev. Stafford Byrd ( Calvin product)
Rev. Joseph M. Evans ( Calvin/North Porter product)
Mt. Zion AME Church now lies abandoned and surrounded by trees.

Information from the files of: Rosanna Allen Wilson, Esther R. Sanders,
and Maurice W.

Note: The Mt. Zion Church, hand written Sunday School records from 1887 to 1891,
(with information on the starting time, opening song, prayer by, school attendance (number),
collection total, closing song, and name of the Rev. who made remarks), are in my collection of family artifacts. 

1853 the Michigan Antislavery Baptist Association, later named the Chain Lake Baptist Association formed Early settlers of this region can be found on other web sites through out the web.

1856 - Bethel AME Church - Bethel AME Church in Calvin Center was organized in 1856, by the Rev. Richard Johnson. They held their first services in the log school house.

Rev. Richard Johnson and Bill Dungey hewed out timber for the building. In 1870 a frame structure was erected, and it was valued at $800. The membership in 1882 was 64. The Sunday School had a membership of 40 scholars. There was a library attached to the Church containing 103 volumes.

The Trustees in 1882 were Peter Day, Alexander Mathews, Samuel Curtis Sr., George Scott and Mr. Byrd.
The Stewards were Peter Day, Gilbert Brown and Solomon Griffin.
Some of the early ministers were: Rev. John Myers, Rev. Jeffries, and Rev. Knight,
The Church was remodeled in 1960, and still actively holding services, each Sunday.
Information from the files of: Rosanna Allen Wilson, ( as told by Mary Curtis 1938), Esther R. Sanders, and Maurice W. Sanders

Note: A Unique Experience In Black Culture and History
“ Old World Background – New Word Experiences”
Battle Creek, MI Mount Zion A.M.E. Chruch

Compiled 2003, by Frank R. Brown.
History Introduction – “In 1849 the second A.M.E. church in the State, 
Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church, was organized at Calvin Center, Cass County”
-- Bethel AME Church, MS, in the custody of Rosa Wilson, R.F.D. 3, Cassopolis, Mich.

1856 - Presbyterian Church - circa - 1856 - Edwardsburg - was located on the corner of Elkhart and Lake Street. See

1859 - St. Paul's Church - under the leadership of Justus Gage, built the Universalist Church in Dowagiac. 

1876 - The Old Rugged Church of Pokagon founded - Methodists - purchased a building in Pokagon, which previously was an 1862  hops barn, and remodeled it into a church. They added a bell tower, painted leaded glass windows, and a kitchen and upper level Sunday School room. It became the First Methodist Episcopal Church of Pokagon.

1892 - Methodist Church built 1892 and parsonage in about 1913. Steeples were removed in 1924 after windstorm damage.  

1913 - The hymn, "The Old Rugged Cross," was sung publicly in its entirety for the first time in the First Methodist Episcopal Church of Pokagon. The composer, Methodist evangelist Rev. George Bennard, was in Pokagon for several weeks to help with revival meetings at the church, and completed the hymn while he was there. The congregation sold the church in 1915 and moved across the street to what is now the Pokagon United Methodist Church.

1925     Mt. Zion Church Missionaries - Click on photo

1928 - Calvin Community Chapel History link

From the pastor of Dailey Church - At one time, the church and the cemetery we connected, though the cemetery pre-dates the church. The church was originally Union Protestant Church, but just recently we changed our name to Dailey Church. Though we are a member of The Missionary Church, Inc.
Dailey Church History Link

1998 -- The former First Methodist Episcopal Church of Pokagon, then near collapse, was purchased for restoration by Robert and Mary Shaffer of Dowagiac, Mich. They formed the multi-denominational Old Rugged Cross Foundation -- a 501(c)3 tax-exempt corporation -- to manage the restoration, maintenance and operation of the historic church as a museum and location for Christian services such as weddings and funerals.

Cass County Historical Markers - Cass County, Michigan   (wonderful off site pages)

Churches of Cass County, MI
Publication and Films

Society of Friends. Birch Lake Monthly Meeting (Cass County, Michigan) (Main Author)
  FHL US/CAN Film [ 1532121 Items 2-3 ]
Microfilm of original records in the Lilly Library, Earlham College, Richmond, Indiana.
Record contains minutes of the women's meetings, 1859-1880, minutes of the joint meetings, 1883-1921, minutes of monthly meetings, 1841-1853.

Michigan, Cass - Church records
Manuscript (On Film)
Salt Lake City : Filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 1987

on 1 microfilm reel ; 35 mm.
Film Notes
Note - Location [Film]
Church records -  FHL US/CAN Film [ 1532121 Items 2-3 ]


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