Welcome to the
St. Joseph County, MI
County Information Page

French explorers led initial exploration into this area, abundant in game with a combination of prarie and heavily wooded areas ideal for settlement. The native Potawatomi initally withstood the flood of emigration but were gradually displaced with finality in their own Trail of Tears. Northwest Territories portioned Indiana Territory which was then was divided to create a separate Michigan Territory in 1805; statehood was achieved in 1837.

First land sales began in 1818 and by 1840 most of the southern peninsula was under cultivation by settlers from New York, New England and Germany. St. Joseph County was formed in 1829 from Wayne County; its name taken from the St. Joseph River which flows through it. White Pigeon was one of the first platted towns and served as county seat until 1831 when Centerville was officially designated. In 1831 the first land office opened in White Pigeon in 1831; within three years most of the surrounding land was claimed and the office was moved to Bronson-later renamed Kalamazoo. Construction of the Chicago Road in 1835 (now US 12) and later railroads further opened St. Joseph County for settlement and industry. Ethnic heritage was perpetuated by religious tradition in early local churches; some still maintain early records of marriage and memership available for research.
Early record keeping centered in villages and churches, state law mandated registering of vital records in 1867, and achieved compliance by 1915. All of which were recorded in the county seat of Centerville.

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St. Joseph County Courthouse

County Clerk

Contact: Patti Bender, County Clerk,
St. Joseph County Courthouse Bldg., P.O. Box 189,
125 W. Main,
Centerville, MI 49032-0189
Telephone: (616) 467-5602 / FAX: 616-467-5628

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Many thanks to Roberta G. Bell Wolfe for submitting the information located on this page.
Go to St Joseph Co., MI USGenWeb homepage
This page was created on 28 Sep 1997
Design and updates of this page are by Denise Frederick, Copyright © 1997
This Page Has Been Visitedtimes....since since 3 Oct 1997