The Rev. Sylvester Cochrane, a Congregational minister from Vermont, first conceived of a settlement in Michigan after a visit here in 1835. Returning home he formed a group called the Union Colony, which settled in Vermontville the next year. The colonists were religiously oriented, and one of their stated purposes in settling here was to "remove the moral darkness" which they thought pervaded the West. Church services were first held in a log cabin and later in the Academy
across the street. The present church was dedicated in 1864. The building strongly resembles certain New England meetinghouses of the late eighteenth century, especially in its roof framing of roughly hewn timbers and in much of the interior woodwork.