The history of Mendon's first Roman Catholic Church
*St. Edward's Catholic Church*

The first religious services in the Mendon area were held by Roman Catholic missionaries in 1831-1832. Father Charles Boos of Detroit, enroute to Grand Rapids, visited the Indian trading post, and laid the foundations of the future Saint Edwards.

Mr. Marantette offered his home for devine services, and for twenty years white men and red men gathered there for worship. In 1861, Mr. Marantette arranged the upper floor of his store as a chapel, this served for eleven years.

Father Korst served the parish between 1866 and 1870, during this time the 25 families of the parish decided to build a proper church. Mr. Marantette gave the land for the church and cemetery, as well as a generous amount to the building fund. The first church was completed in 1871, but not dedicated until November 4, 1872. It was the first Catholic Church in St. Joseph County.

In 1906, it was decided to build a new church of field stone, which cost $10,000.00, the money and labor donated by the congregation. Construction took two years, with the walls three feet thick at base, and the steeple measuring 110 feet to the top of the cross. It was dedicated October 21, 1908, planned by Michael Haas, the construction committee included John A. Haas, Michael Dukette, and Patrick H. Marantette. Michael Dukette donated $500.00 to buy the four faced tower clock.

Father Korst didn't live to see the work he had begun, completed. He died in Detroit in 1907. Father Kauffman, the resident pastor, requested that his body be returned to Mendon for burial. Internment was in the section of the cemetery reserved for priests. The monument, which has a base of fieldstone, consists of a life size crucifixion group made of cement after the Munich model and cost, at that time, about $400.00. It was erected by the parishes of Coldwater, Bronson, Sturgis, White Pigeon, and Mendon.

Information for this page was taken from the Kalamazoo Valley Family NewsLetter, Vol #2, Summer Quarter, June 1973. A big thank you to Cynthia Duhamel for transcribing this information for the St. Joseph Co., MI USGenWeb site

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This page was created 16 Aug 1997
Design and updates of this page are by Denise Frederick / Copyright 1997