At the intersection of Mackinaw and Amelith Road was the town of Amelith, and If you’re familiar with Saginaw County, I am sure you are thinking that the town would be in Bay County, and you would be correct. Years ago it was platted as Saginaw County, but the Citizens of Amileth and Frankenlust had easier access to Bay City than Saginaw and they changed the county lines at their request.
Reverand Ferdinand Seivers founded a colony in Frankenlust township and his father-in-law Frederick Koch was so impressed with the area that he started a town of his own calling it Amelith. He named the town after his homeland in Germany. Koch purchased two thousand acres of the former Saginaw Bay Chippewa Reserve at $1.25 an acre. In 1851 the first settlers arrived from the Bavarian town of Tosstel. In 1894 the town was given a post office and at one time the town included a coal mine, and a cheese factory, along with stores, mills and saloons. By 1900 the mine had closed and immigration had ceased and the post office closed in 1904
About the only thing that remains from the old town is the St John’s Lutheran Church that was founded by Pastor Ferdinand Sievers and organized June 1852 to serve a colony of German immigrants, some fleeing the turmoil that followed the European revolutions of 1848. Initially, the church met in a log cabin that once housed recent arrivals to the colony of Amelith. In 1870 a wood-frame Gothic style church was built. The present structure was completed in 1912. Schools run by the church began in 1853 with teachers speaking German until World War I. Some church services were spoken in the German language as late as 1979. During World War II, German prisoners housed at Camp Freeland were ministered to by St. John’s Lutheran Church. You can read my post about Camp Freeland POW camp HERE
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