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Churches In Our Communities

     Migration of early settlers from other countries and states to Hartford, Keeler, Lawrence, and surrounding communities played a very important role in shaping the religious backbone of our small rural settlements.  Many traveled from eastern states to find a new life as they forged their way through rugged, undeveloped land.  Some died of diseases on the way across country. Those who survived the long tiresome journey found a new beginning as they cleared the land to create new towns and villages.  Many soldiers settled their families in the local area after serving in the Civil War.  Evidence of their hard work in forming dedicated congregations and church buildings created a solid religious base that Hartford dwellers continue to witness into the19th and 20th centuries.  Integrating into community life, devoted religious citizens became church leaders, held governmental positions, and were serious about the need to plan and build schools so their children could learn to read and write for the new world they were creating.  Many of the church members and leaders became an integral axis of Hartford, Lawrence, and Keeler business marketing ventures.  In 2005, remnants of the original family lines of the settlements built in the 1800s remain a positive influence in our churches, schools, and businesses.
      A past and present church membership database is being set up for each church in our community.   It will be interesting to follow the family lines through our religious history and the positive influence they had in shaping future Hartford, Keeler, and Lawrence generations.  If you would like to volunteer with the database entry, send the webmaster an email so this can be completed much faster.  If you have a computer, can type accurately, possess good proofreading skills (to record church history as accurately as possible), and are willing to put in a few hours…I would be happy to work with you in training on Microsoft Access database entry.  

     Following are brief histories of our churches as they developed in Hartford, Keeler, and Lawrence.   Please email the webmaster to report any errors or to provide additional information in the history of our religious beginnings.  This listing is incomplete, as there is much research to do.  If your church is not listed below and you have a recorded history, please contact me with historic information.

Universalist Church
Baptist Church 1858-1918
Christian Church 1898-1920
Congregational Church 1918-1922
[First] Church of Christ  1917
Full Gospel Assembly  1945 – present
Hartford Federated Church 1931 – present
Hartford General Baptist Church 2010 – present
Methodist Church 1855 – present
Catholic Church 1851 – present

Information for this web site was gathered from personal interviews, newspaper articles, scrapbooks, personal photo albums, and other documented materials - many available to the public at the Hartford Public Library or Van Buren County Historical Museum.  Please report any typographical errors, updated information, or incorrectly stated information to the webmaster for correction.  Reprinting for personal and instructional purposes is permitted, however, unauthorized commercial reprinting of this information or unauthorized linking to photos-pictures on this site is strictly prohibited without written permission from the webmaster. 

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HartfordHistory Icon - Hartford MI

Pearls In Our Past - Hartford Michigan
A Pictorial History of Hartford Michigan
Emma Thornburg Sefcik
Competent Secretarial Service
History of Hartford Michigan
Copyright © 2000 - All rights reserved.

Revised: March 23, 2009