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Millard Phillips of Dowagiac, for many years secretary of the Farmers Mutual Insurance Company and still holding the position, has the distinction of owning the farm on which Silver Creek's first settler built his cabin. This is the old E. B. Godfrey property near the Red Mill, where James McDaniel came in 1834 and made his entry of land in 1835.


It was in McDaniel's wickiup (a hut consisting of an oval frame covered with brushwood or grass, formerly used by nomadic peoples in the western and southwestern US), the first settlers of the township held their first election, the act of legislature in organizing the township, specifying that this first election should be held there. McDaniel started the erection of a sawmill on the outlet of Magician Lake, its white bottom giving it the name of Silver Creek and the township took that for its name also.

Later, he sold the mill site to John Barney, who in time devoted the mill to making furniture. McDaniel, in time, moved to Arkansas. Michigan and Arkansas both became a state in 1837.


Farther down the stream, Eleazer B. Foster established a sawmill and during the Civil War had a contract with the government for making black walnut gun stocks. He was also the township's postmaster, possibly the first one, having the office in his house.


Just above the McDaniel wickiup, John Hoyt built the Red Mill, which for half a century cared for the wants of the farmers and later the Marquerite Mill was erected farther down the little stream and named for the wildflower of that name, which grows in profusion in its vicinity. Of all these evidences of industry along Siler Creek, only the Red Mill is now still standing and it has ceased to grind wheat. And also, the Millard Phillips ranch and its immediate vicinity can be called the cradle of Silver Creek, now one of the most prosperous townships in the county and the home of the first Catholic Church built west of Ann Arbor.


The French missionaries brought the Catholic faith to Southwest Michigan in the 1700's. With the treaty of 1833, between the Potawatomi Indians and the US Government, Chief Leopold Pokagon bought 700 acres in Silver Creek and deeded 40 acres to build a log church. Following WWI, many people from South Bend, Chicago and other large cities started vacationing at the nearby lakes and became our summer visitors. Today, fourth and fifth generations of these families still join us in the summer. In 1979, to accommodate the summer crowds, a Pavilion, with an attached hall, was build to hold outdoor masses.

township hall building when it was cullaine school
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