Turner Byrd Mr. Harrison Ash Sarah Ash
Honoring Chain Lake Missionary Baptist Church
--An excerpt from the History of Chain Lake Missionary Baptist Church
On January 4, 1848, with Rev. David Lett presiding, Turner Byrd, Harrison and Sarah Ash, Wiley and Eliza Madry, Irving and Dorothy James, and Hartful Abrams agreed to incorporate in Cass County Michigan, a site was selected in Calvin township. It was located atop a hill dotted with sturdy oaks, maples and thick undergrowth. It overlooks one of a Chain of Lakes, from whence it derives its name.
Mrs. Green Allen Sr.
Mr. Green Allen Sr.
In approximately 1850, a log structure was built which served as a lively center for revivals and regular church services. In 1853, the Michigan Anti-Slavery Baptist Association was formed at the church with representation from Chain Lake, Niles, Detroit, Battle Creek, and Kalamazoo. After the Civil war, the association's name was changed to the Chain Lake Baptist Association. During a session at Chain Lake in 1858, the following resolution was adopted.
"Whereas, we believe that slavery is an evil in our land and contrary to the Bible, therefore, Resolved: That we will use every laudable means to banish it and all its kindred miseries from our land. Also believing that there may be some among us, or belonging to our churches that wink as the sin of slavery, we would thereby recommend the churches to admonish such members and if they continue to favor such wickedness, visit them with the severest censure of the church."
On September 9, 1858 Turner Byrd was ordained at the first Ordination service which was witnessed by 150 people and was held out of doors because of the inadequate capacity of the church. The inspiring singing and praying created a community wide incentive to worship. In 1860, a frame structure was built to meet their growing needs and changing times, at a cost of $1200."
The photos below depict some of the founders of Chain Lake Baptist Church. They, along with many others, were part of the Michigan Anti-Slavery Baptist Association founded in 1853 at the church.
Underground Railroad Society
of Cass County, Michigan