Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.
Morning Star, January 28, 1996, pg. 4.
Continuing "on the road" this week in our Historical Notebook, we’ll turn south and head to Eckford Township. We’ll pass through Eckford Village and resist the temptation to write an article about it this time, and continue on to J Drive South (last week’s article about Tokio was on J Drive North) and head west to where it comes to a "T" at 20 Mile Road. on the southeast corner of the intersection once stood the Eckford Free Methodist Church.
The Eckford Free Methodist Church was organized in 1871, and members constructed a church building in Section 33 in 1877 on property acquired from the farm of Samuel Dennison. The cost of the building totalled about one thousand dolars. The church was located just down the road (west) of the Mains Schoolhouse across the road.
In those days, the church served as a community center, and was the social center for those in the south Eckford area. Events connected with the church made up much of the social life of area residents. A look at the biographies of several prominent Eckford area residents in those large Calhoun County biographical books published in the late 19th century will reveal that several were prominent members and supporters of the church.
Because the church could not always support a pastor, visiting ministers from Spring Arbor and elsewhere came in to conduct weekly services. Local lay ministers would fill in when ordained ministers were not available. Unfortunately, the lack of a permanent pastor to lead the congregation was a big factor in the closing of the church shortly after the turn of the century, around 1910. The church was abandoned, and the building was allowed to deteriorate and collapse. The land was eventually acquired by M.D. Hakes.
The church appears in the 1894 and 1906 county atlases, erroneously listed as an "M.E. (Methodist Episcopal)" church, when in fact it was a Free Methodist Church. From our Historical Notebook this week we present a portion of the 1894 plat map of Eckford Township, showings Sections 28 and 33, where the church was located. To the north of the church was the farm of John Mains, after whom the Mains School was named.
Eckford Free Methodist Church.
Next week, we’ll travel someplace else, here in our Historical Notebook.
All text copyright, 2021 © all rights reserved Frank Passic