URSCC is very proud to announce that Cindy Yawkey has been awarded the 2016 award for Books: Children and Youth,
for her book They Have My Shoes, I Have My Freedom--A Story of the Underground Railroad.  

Take a Stand! Testify! 

No matter what your age, no matter what your interest, the Village of Vandalia Underground Railroad Days was sure to please.  Over 1000 visitors came to the tiny Village of Vandalia Michigan recently to enjoy the 9th annual collaboration between the Village and the Underground Railroad Society of Cass County (URSCC).  They took guided tours of UGRR sites that told the story of the Kentucky Slave Raid in 1847, and watched local students act it out.  They toured UGRR stations at the Bonine Carriage House and the Bogue House.  They toured the Bonine House and met Mary Charlotte Bonine, who was born in the house in 1934, and enjoyed talking about growing up in the beautiful Victorian home. 

Click on the poster to download a printable version.

On June 13, 2018 Students of Ross Beatty High School performed "The Kentucky Raid of 1847" a play written by Cindy Yawkey and directed by Cindy Yawkey and Fel Patton.

The Kentucky Raid

In 1847 black and white residents of Vandalia and Cassopolis stood up and stopped thirteen slave catchers from taking nine kidnapped slaves back to Kentucky.  They showed great courage and determination in stopping what they saw as a grave injustice.  Freedom seekers were allowed to testify in court and won. 

When we encounter bigotry, intolerance and injustice we must find our own courage to do what is right -- 

Take a Stand! Testify!

                                                 SAVE THE DATES!!


                                                             July 12, 13, 14  2019

Opening Night Friday, July 12 7 pm -- Dr. Von and Fran Washington perform "Seven Stops to Freedom"

Saturday, July 13, 11 am - 5 pm -- Kentucky Raid guided tours, 102nd USCT Encampment, Displays and Presentations in the Youth Center, Entertainment at "Ramptown Cabin" in the park, period craft demonstrations -- Bonine House, Carriage House and Bogue House open for tours.  Soul food dinner, family events

5:30 pm -- Gospel Sing, followed by Community Cook Out

Sunday, July 14, 11 am - 5 pm -- all the above, except the Gospel Sing,  plus outdoor Community Church Service, 11 am

                                     WATCH HERE FOR A COMPLETE SCHEDULE!!


​The Bonine House is closed for the season.  We are open June through September for free public tours.  Contact us if you would like to arrange a private tour for 10 or more. 


Lake Center Elementary, Portage MI -- June 6th 2018

9th Annual Underground Railroad Days Had Something for Everyone

Content copyright© 2018 URSCC. All rights reserved.

Click on the icons above to see a full sized version of the poster

Wax Museums at the Bonine House  June 2018

​Cindy has been a volunteer with URSCC since our beginning, and a docent in the Bonine House for several years.  ​​She has chronicled the restoration of the Bonine House in photographs, and began drawing sketches of the house and other UGRR sites in the area.  The sketches inspired the story of Lucinda, a slave in Georgia, and her journey to freedom in Michigan on the Underground Railroad.  While fiction, the story reflects the route that many of the freedom seekers used to enter Michigan on the Quaker Line of the UGRR.
Cindy's exquisite art and handwritten narrative display a unique talent and a voice that transcends age, race and time.  Her book is suitable for all ages.

The 32 page book is beautifully printed on 8.5x11 spiral-bound heavy stock.

Kentucky Raid of 1847 by students at Ross Beatty High School -- June 13, 2018

We've Come a Long Way!

Our 7th annual Christmas at the Bonine House was a lovely event.  Over 1000 visitors toured the house over the first two weekends in December.  Musical guests and winsome storytellers made CBH 2018 very special.  Santa, Mrs. Claus and Jingles the elf enchanted kids of all ages.  Thanks to all the URSCC members who put so much into this --decorators, greeters, docents, parking attendants, graphic designers, photographers--all who band together at this time of year to give a bit of holiday cheer to our community. 
                           Click here for photos of Christmas at the Bonine House 2018. 

                                (Please wait a few minutes for the photos to load)

                                      Merry Christmas!

Christmas at the Bonine House 2018

Special thanks to the Michigan Humanities Council for their generous support of Underground Railroad Days 2018

The digitized portion of the Bonine House Research Library (over 9,000 scans) is now online.  

Click here to go to the library page or use the navigation bar

URSCC Capital Projects 2018


Bonine House
--East screened porch, and back portico   $40,000
--West block window replacement and masonry repair  $20,000
--Downstairs painting and parlor trim restoration  $15,000
--Installation of Kitchen and Bathrooms   $40,000
--Chair lift for back staircase  $10,000
--Installation of a geothermal heating/cooling system  $15,000
 Total:  $140,000

Carriage House
--Re roof CH  $20,000
--Remove concrete in front of CH  $20,000
--Siding for CH  $20,000
Total:  $60,000

                                                     Grand Total Fundraising Goal 2018:  $200,000

Accomplished so far—
Since purchasing the Bonine House and Carriage House in 2011, we have:

--taken down the old (c1930’s) garage on the property 2011
--rebuilt the southwest corner of the house 2011
--excavated dead and dying trees in preparation for landscaping 2012
--repaired and restored the tower roof  2012
--replaced the roof on the entire house  2012
--repaired plaster throughout the house 2013
-- tuckpointed inside and outside the foundation 2013
--repaired and replaced bricks and masonry on the front of the house 2014
--repaired and replaced soffit and fascia on three sides 2014
--replaced basement window wells and windows, eaves troughs and downspouts 2014
--prepped and painted upstairs bedrooms 2014
--stripped and primed the upstairs hallway 2014
--installed stone walkway and bushes in front of the house,  two lamp posts  2014
--installed new beams and replaced foundation on the west side of the Carriage House 2014-15
--created URSCC Library and Research Room and Cass Co and UGRR Room 2015 
--created the “Family Room” for other families who lived in the Bonine House 2015
--prepped and primed downstairs rooms and entrance 2015
--repaired and restored the north wall of the Bonine House 2015-16
--added limestone front steps 2016
--repaired and restored front window trim 2016
--repaired and restored bay area soffit and fascia and re-roofed 2016
--returned several pieces of the original James E. and Sarah Bogue Bonine furniture  2016
--completed the Bonine House Research Library, digitizing the contents 2016-2017
--installed new perimeter beams on south, and east side of the Carriage House 2017
--excavated and restored south and east foundation on the Carriage House 2017
--built out south door section of the Carriage House 2017
--refinished floors on the first floor of the Bonine House 2017
--removed glass block and installed matching window on west side of Bonine House 2017
--installed four new ceiling fans and lights in the Bonine House Library and display rooms 2017
--returned additional pieces of original Bonine furniture 2017

                 URSCC  PO Box 124, Vandalia MI  49095   info@urscc.org   

Cindy's book is available for purchase at The Bonine House

For more photos and updates on the Bonine House restoration, click here

For Carriage House restoration photos and updates, click here

​James E Bonine Carriage House M-60 and Calvin Center Road,across M-60 from Bonine House.  (Photo is from the back of the building.)

James E. Bonine House Corner of M-60 and Penn Rd., Vandalia, MI  49095 


Preserve and restore the James E. Bonine House and Carriage House as outstanding examples of Victorian domestic architecture.

Create an education and community events center in the Bonine House as a focal point for understanding the role local Quakers, African-Americans and other abolitionist groups played in the UGRR.  Restore the Carriage House as a period museum and station on the Underground Railroad.

Create a cultural tourism destination for Underground Railroad enthusiasts that will bring visitors and tourism dollars into the community

URSCC Mission

The mission of the Underground Railroad Society of Cass County (URSCC) is to provide a focal point for exploration into the origins and activities of the Underground Railroad; the unique role the people of Cass County and the surrounding region played throughout its existence, and how it impacted local, state and national history.

Cindy Yawkey Wins Michigan Historical Society State History Award!


Cass County Underground Railroad Wax Museum at the Bonine House

 Watch the characters come to life and tell their story!

 Tuesday, April 30:

Jessica Struble's class:  8:30 am

Amy Pikes's class:  10:30 am

Hannah Deubner's class:  12:30 pm