From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Calvin and Porter Townships (Cass County), Michigan

Around 1840, escaped slaves, mostly from Kentucky, found their way to Calvin and Porter in Michigan. Quakers had established the settlements, and when slave owners attempted to reclaim the slaves, their efforts were resisted and the communities continued to grow.

Ex-slaves from the Saunders' plantation in West Virginia moved to Calvin in 1849 and became the majority of the population. Over the years, the population spilled over into Porter.

Both Calvin and Porter are located in the South Bend/Mishawaka metro area of Michigan on the Indiana border. Today Calvin's population is about 2,000, Porter's about 3,800.

For more see the reprint by Booker T. Washington, "Two Generations Under Freedom," The Michigan Citizen, 12/19/1992, vol. XV, issue 4, p. A12;  Negro Folktales in Michigan, edited by R. M. Dorson; and "Calvin Township" on the Undeground Railroad Society of Cass County, Michigan website. For more on the raids led by Kentucky slave owners see B. C. Wilson, "Kentucky kidnappers, fugitives, and abolitionists in Antebellum Cass County, Michigan," Michigan History, vol. 6, issue 4, pp. 339-358.  See also the Perry Sanford entry.

Item Relations

Cited in this Entry

NKAA Source: Michigan citizen (newspaper)
NKAA Source: Negro folktales in Michigan
NKAA Source: Michigan history (periodical)

Related Entries Citing this Entry

NKAA Entry: Sanford, Perry

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Calvin and Porter Townships (Cass County), Michigan,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed July 25, 2024,

Last modified: 2021-07-19 17:07:52