The History of Ionia County Churches
Saints Peter and Paul Roman Catholic Church
Saints Peter and Paul Parish was founded in 1858 by Rev. Charles G. Bolte. The parish consisted of four counties with Ionia as the center. Included were churches at Lansing, St. Johns, Belding, Grattan, Maple Valley, Carson City, Hubbardston, Portland, Pewamo and Mount Pleasant. In all, all twelve churches were built by Father Bolte. In 1862, the Mount Olivet Cemetery was built, and the following year the first church and rectory were built. The first burial in Mount Olivet was that of Charles Joseph Rohler, on November 30, 1863. The first baptism in the church was that of Daniel Gerick, October 21, 1863 with Richard Jordan and Mary Hackett as godparents. The first marriage performed in the church was that of James Cotter, age 47 and Bridgett Dwyre, age 40 on May 10, 1864. The witnesses were Patrick and Katherine Daveran.
Zion United Methodist Church
In 1858, a group of German emigrants living in Ionia established the Zion Church of the Evangelical Association. Charter members were: Mr. and Mrs. G. Cutler, Mr. and Mrs. T. Cutler, Mr. and Mrs. G. Lauster, Mr. and Mrs. Morganthaler, Mr. and Mrs. W. Wing and Mr. Charles Kling. The German language was used exclusively until 1905. Various buildings and members homes were used as a meeting place. The home of George Schaufele was used until it burned. Then members met at the home of John Schneider. In 1867, a building was constructed for use as a church. That building is now a dwelling. In 1885, the present structure was built.
(From Ionia Michigan Centennial Book 1873-1973)
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Last update December 24, 2007