Westphalia was founded in 1836 by a group of German settlers. It was named after the province of Westphalia in Germany.
St. Mary Church, Westphalia Michigan
These settlers were German Catholics who emigrated from the Westphalia region cities of Wimbach, Meerhof, and Hesse, Germany, among others, and found the rich soil ideal for farming. Some family members stayed in Detroit, while others moved into the wilderness to clear farmland. The German Catholic parish was established almost immediately after the settlers first arrived. After buying the land at Ionia, Father Anton Kopp traveled back to Detroit to visite Bishop Friedrich Reese, and returned back to his assigned parish in September of 1837 and celebrated Masses in the homes of the settlers in what is now St. Mary's Parish.