Saint Mary Parish
Beginning in the 1850s, Williamston Catholics worshipped with visiting priests. They often traveled ten miles by carriage or horseback on rutted, muddy roads to St. Patrick Church in Woodhull (present-day Shaftsburg) to worship with Father Louis Van Den Driessche (Van Dries) of Lansing. In 1866 two brothers, Jerome and James Waldo, entered into a contract with Detroit Bishop Peter Paul Lefevre, stipulating that they would sell a plot of land in the village of Williamston to the diocese for twenty-five cents, provided that a church worth at least one thousand dollars was built within three years. In 1869 a frame church costing eleven hundred dollars was erected on this site and named Saint Mary. Father John Lovett became the first resident pastor in 1879. Descendants of St. Mary's founding families continue to worship here.