Local Church History

Sacred Heart of Mary Catholic Church & Cemetery located near here at Leach and Priest Streets, Silver Creek Township. Chief Leopold Pokagon and his tribe of Potawatomi Indians built a log church here in 1838 and deeded the forty acres of land on which it stood to the Catholic Bishop of Detroit. Pokagon, who came to Silver Creek Township from his village outside of nearby Niles, was buried on this site in 1841. During the early 1840s, the Holy Cross Fathers of Notre Dame in Indiana ministered to the Indians. In the mid-nineteenth century, many Irish immigrants settled in the vicinity and attended this parish. The white frame church built in 1861 burned in 1886 and was immediately replaced by the present structure. The cemetery traces many of the historical figures.


St Paul’s Episcopal Church, Dowagiac. It is the oldest public building in Dowagiac and, at the time, was the only auditorium. The structure was built in 1859. Women's rights advocates Victoria Woodhill, Belva Lockwood, Anna Shaw, Mary Livermore, and Susan B. Anthony spoke here, as did civil rights supporter Sojourner Truth. Performers appearing here included Ole Bull, the Norse violinist. Episcopalians first met here in 1897. The Romanesque style of the exterior has remained unchanged; however, the interior was remodeled extensively in 1959, when Dom. Francis Bacon O.S.B. (1903-1967) added mosaics and decorations reminiscent of very early churches. The first recorded Episcopal gathering in Cass County was conducted by Bishop Philander Chase in 1832. In 1858, under the auspices of the Trinity Church of Niles, the first Episcopal services in Dowagiac were held.