In the mid 1840's and early 1850's Free Black families from North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and Ohio came to Cass County, MI knowing that this area was a safe haven. They purchased land, mostly in Calvin Township, and created thriving farms. They established Chain Lake Baptist, Mt. Zion ME, and Bethel AME churches, and later Calvin Community Chapel. They formed an Anti-Slavery organization and very likely helped on the Underground Railroad. Calvin Township residents became a self- governed, successful community, and respected citizens of Cass County. They sent over 100 young men to fight in the Civil War.
Booker T. Washington visited Calvin Township in 1902 and wrote about this community in his article