Old Bay Port is Michigan’s ‘Lost Colony’
One of the most enduring mysteries in America is the "lost colony" of Roanoke. The settlers there in what would become North Carolina vanished mysteriously. Michigan's lost colony is made of up German Methodists who founded a Utopian community called Ora Labora.
ThumbWind picks up the story of the colony:
In the 1860s, German immigrants started a religious colony called Ora Labora on the shores of Wild Fowl Bay. In its first year, 140 settlers established a hamlet in the wilderness. However, the colony was plagued by illness and within months of their arrival, the community suffered its first death of a little girl.
Ora Labora established the cemetery on the extreme southern edge of the colony. It is the final resting place for the pioneers of a town that has disappeared from all the maps. The burial ground still exists and is the only remnant of this long-lost colony. The Old Bay Port cemetery has 241 marked graves resting amongst wild trees and forests that beckon to take it over. The site located at the end of Sand Road off M-25 in McKinley Township. Look for the large rock marking the entrance to the site.
So what makes the colony lost? No one knows where the dead from the colony have their final resting place:
There are over 300 graves in the Old Bay Port Cemetery. Yet there is a bit of a mystery as local lore states that the graveyard was established by the German Methodist Colony called Ora Labora which operated from 1861-1867. Yet no recorded graves are found in the records of the cemetery from the first residents of this famous historical colony.
So the question remains, are there German immigrants who founded a community that has now been lost to time?
Visiting Bay Port today along M-25 in the Thumb, you'd find a quiet fishing community best known for its annual Fish Sandwich Days.
A few amateur ghost hunters visited in 2009 and proclaimed it the scariest cemetery in Michigan.