Northeast of Bayport at the end of Sand Road is the Old Bayport Cemetery, It sits on a hill with large trees standing between the tombstones and monuments. I imagine when the cemetery was created over 150 years ago the trees were just little saplings. The old cemetery is the final resting place for some of the people of the Ora Labora colony.
The colony was formed in 1862 when Rev, Emil Baur purchased 740 acres on Wild Fowl Bay. For $25 members could join the colony named Ora Labora after the Latin phrase “ora et labora” which means pray and work. The colony started out with about 140 members and grew to about 280. Although the members were honest hard working people most were unskilled at farming, lumbering and construction. For instance, after purchasing cows and cattle they roamed away since they did not know they needed fences. After building a 300-foot long dock into Saginaw Bay one summer the ice in the winter destroyed the dock.
Some of the members became ill and a little girl was the first one to die in 1862 which incidentally was when the cemetery was established. During the Civil War, many of the male members joined the Michigan Militia to fight in the war. After the war, most of them did not return to the colony. After incurring massive debt for supplies they purchased and they were down to about 12 members left the colony disbanded in 1867 and the remaining property was divided up amongst remaining people.
The great fire of 1871 obliterated what was left of the colony and all the remains are the stone markers on the hill and the end of Sand Road.
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