14. Charles Osborn Home 1842-1847:  M-60 and Calvin Center Rd.  Charles Osborn, a Quaker Minister, was called "the father of all us Abolitionists" by William Lloyd Garrison.  He started publication of "The Philanthropist" newspaper in 1816 in Mount Pleasant, OH.  Osborn lived in this house with his second wife, Hanna Swain.  Along with Stephen Bogue, he started the Youngs Prairie Anti-Slavery Society Meeting in 1842.  His son Josiah and grandsons Jefferson and Ellison were involved in the Kentucky Raid.  The house was moved to this location from behind the Carriage House.  (private property)

5.  Mt. Zion Church and Cemetery: Mt. Zion Rd. and Kessington St. Organized in 1849, built in 1854, the first trustees included Lawson Howell and William Allen.  The church was abandoned in the 1920's and burned to the ground in 2012.  Many members of the 102nd Colored Troops in the Civil War are buried here.

12.  Isaac Bonine Homestead "Cedarlee":  Penn Rd. south of the railroad tracks.  Established around 1836 and now owned by descendants of Isaac and Sarah Talbot Bonine.  Carl and Lee Sparks are great-great nephews of James E. Bonine.  Cedarlee refers to the white cedars along the drive  (on the "lee" side of the property), which were being planted when Lincoln was assassinated.  They stopped planting for a time to pay tribute.  (private property)

11.  Prairie Grove Cemetery: Penn Rd. north of Fox St.  Isaac Bonine (father of James E.) constructed Prairie Grove Meeting House in 1841 in the northeast corner of this cemetery, likely as a result of the split in the Birch Lake Quakers over UGRR activity.  After reuniting in 1856, Prairie Grove was used alternately with Birch Lake until the Vandalia Meeting House was constructed in 1880.  Isaac and Sarah Bonine, Stephen and Hannah Bogue and other abolitionists are buried here.  (James E. and Sarah Bogue Bonine are buried in Silverbrook Cemetery in Niles.)

9 & 10  Bonine House and Carriage House: M-60 and Calvin Center Road.  James E. Bonine built a Greek Revival farmhouse around 1845.  He remodeled it after the Civil War, adding porches and and the north addition.  He built the Gothic Revival Carriage House around 1850.  Freedom seekers weree sheltered there, making James E. and Sarah Bogue Bonine stationmasters on the UGRR.  Both properties are owned by URSCC and are in the process of restoration.  (See the Restoration Pages on this site for more information on the progress.

2. Henry and Martha Shepard Home: Camplite and S. Bogue St. (now Vandalia Cemetery).  Henry escaped slavery and became a conductor on the UGRR here.  At age 46 he fought in the Civil War.  Martha Barton Shepard was given to a doctor heading to Michigan at 6 years old.  She came to Cassopolis and married Henry at age 16.  They had 15 children, all attending Penn Twp. schools.  Henry testified against the Kentucky Raiders, charging them with breaking and entering his home in the first Kentucky Raid trial.

Cass County UGRR Site Driving Tour

Underground Railroad Society

of Cass County, Michigan

urscc.org

6.   Bethel AME Church and Cemetery:  Mt. Zion Rd. Just west of Calvin Center Rd.  Organized in 1856, and built in 1870, there was a library of 103 volumes attached to the original church.  Many early black pioneers are buried in the cemetery, as well as several USCT Civil War soldiers.

We have expanded our driving tour to 19 sites and revised our map  

The new 4-part printable tour map is available here.

Click below for each of the four parts:

Part 1    Part 2     Part 3     Part 4

Content copyright© 2014 URSCC. All rights reserved.

UGRR Site Driving Tour 

16.  Stephen Bogue House: M-60 and Crooked Creek Rd. Stephen Bogue was a well known stationmaster on the UGRR and a founding member of Youngs Prairie Anti-Slavery Society.  His daughter, Sarah Ann Bogue, married James E. Bonine in 1844.  Bogue was prominent in the 1847 Kentucky Raid. He donated land and platted the Village of Vandalia. Many of his descendants still live in the area.  The stone was placed by a women's group in 1931.  (private property)

15.  William Jones House: M-60 and Gard's Prairie Rd..  William Jones was a Quaker and a strong abolitionist, married to Stephen Bogue's oldest sister.  He is cited as a stationmaster on the UGRR and played a prominent role in the Kentucky Raid. (private property)

3.  Birch Lake Cemetery and Meeting House: James Rd. north of Brownsville Rd.  Founding Meeting for Quakers who settled her in the mid 1830's to escape the hated institution of slavery. Prominent members, Osborns, Easts and Lees played important roles in the Kentucky Raid of 1847.  Birch Lake Meeting eventually became Penn Friends Meeting and is still active as a church.

18.   Cass County Local History Library:  145 N Broadway.  Built in 1909, one of 53 Carnegie Libraries located in Michigan.  The library houses extensive information on Cass County and has a large UGRR clipping file. (closed Friday and Sunday.

19.  Sanctuary and Deliverance Mural:  Broadway (M-62) downtown Cassopolis.  Conceived and created by local artist, Ruth Andrews and community volunteers, this mural is the result of a collaboration between the Minority Coalition of Cass County and the Michigan Humanities Council.  The mural depicts events in the 1847 Kentucky Raid and was created to encourage dialogue and reflection on that event and relevant issues. 

13.  Penn Friends Church: Penn Rd. and Quaker St. Formed by Isaac Bonine as Prairie Grove Meeting in 1848 in what is now Prairie Grove Cemetery as an offshoot of Birch Lake Meeting.  The name changed to Penn Friends Meeting in 1875, and moved to the current location at Penn and Quaker Streets in Penn village.  The church pictured was completed in 1880 and later moved to the Ed Lowe Foundation.

1. UGRR State Marker/O'Dell's Mill: M-60 and Milo Barnes Park, Vandalia.  The marker outlines UGRR history from about 1837 to the beginning of the Civil War.  O'Dell's Mill was located on Christiana Creek, running through the park. During the Kentucky Raid of 1847 a crowd of Quakers, free blacks and other abolitionists, slave catchers and freedom seekers came together at this site.  After much heated debate, the crowd walked to the courthouse in Cassopolis.

17.  Cass County Courthouse/Michigan Milestone Marker:  Broadway and State St. (M-62) at the light, downtown Cassopolis. The current courthouse was built in 1899, replacing the site of the Kentucky Raid trial of 1847.  The Michigan Milestone Marker honoring the story, was placed there by the State Bar of Michigan in 2005.

8.  Ramptown:  Bonine St. west of Calvin Center Rd.  James E. Bonine purchased section 33 in 1853.  He lent freedom seekers and free blacks 5-10 acres of land.  In exchange for clearing it, they built cabins, gardened, sent their children to school and earned their own money.  The settlement of about 30 cabins came to be called Ramptown after ramps (wild leeks) that grew there.  Many residents eventually purchased their own farms and prospered.

4.   Chain Lake Missionary Baptist Church: Chain Lake St. east of Carver Rd.  Founded in 1838, Chain Lake is one of the oldest African American churches in Michigan, and the oldest in Cass County.  The log church was built in 1850 and an Anti-Slavery Society was formed in 1853.  Many church members served in the Civil War and their graves dot the cemetery.  Descendants of the founders still reside in the community.

7.  Brownsville School #1:  20447 Osborn St.  Michigan ordered neighborhood schools built in 1837.  By 1850 there were over 350 blacks in Calvin Twp. that grew to over 1300 by 1860.  By 1850 schools were established in five districts.  They were integrated as were all schools in Calvin and Penn Twps.  This one room school house was used until 1957.