About Our County
Content updated February 2016
Home to a wonderful variety of personalities and communities, St. Joseph County can be described by many great words.
Generous: Residents of St. Joseph County freely donate time and money to any number of causes that are near and dear to our hearts. Whether it's stepping up to participate in a fundraiser for a local family in need, or giving blood for local blood banks, or taking school kids out for new boots and shoes, there's a sense of community caring that is an invaluable asset to our county. Our United Way, local services clubs, churches and community foundations give our helping hearts many options for ways to give AND get involved.
Active: Warm summers and snowy winters make for great year round activity for residents in our county. We spend our summers hiking, kayaking, water skiing, paddleboard, running or participating in any number of sports on City-wide teams. In winter, we bundle up and head out for skiing, snow shoeing, ice fishing, snowmobiling and more. Staying active means staying healthy around here!
Entrepreneurial: The entrepreneurial spirit is strong in St. Joseph County! Our small, locally owned businesses offer custom, personal services to our residents. Even more importantly, our residents LOVE to shop local and to support our towns' economic growth. From the multi-generational "mom and pop" diner to the cute gift shop that just opened up on Main Street, our business owners work hard to provide the communities what they need with a personal touch.
Nostalgic: We love our history here in St. Joe! Our museums and historical societies keep us connected with the people and events that have shaped us into what we are today. Black and white images of what our downtowns use to be seem just as exciting as the plans for our newest construction. Even though we're always moving forward, we love remembering our past.
Fun: What's your idea of fun?? Is it putting on a bathing suit, grabbing a cold beverage and cruising around on your pontoon with your family and friends watching the sun go down? Or is it putting on your leathers and climbing on your bike for a day of riding down roads that take you from city scenery to wide open fields to tree canopied lanes? Or maybe it's putting on a new outfit and heading out to dinner and a concert at one of the local venues? Whatever your idea of fun is, we are sure to have it!
Content updated February 2016
The evidence of Mound Builders suggests an even earlier settlement but the earliest known date is 1721 when the Pottawatomie Tribe left Wisconsin and migrated to this area. At the close of the Revolutionary War, England relinquished Michigan to the United States and in 1787 it became part of the Northwest Territory. The Ordinance of 1787 governing the Territory prohibited slavery and provided one section of land in each 36 sections for school purposes. Major General Arthur St. Clair was governor.
The population of the entire Northwest Territory was estimated at 7,820 pioneers and 65,000 Native Americans. In 1805 William Hull was made Governor of the newly formed Territory of Michigan. The largest Native American settlements were in the northeasterly portion of St. Joseph County and the southeasterly part of Kalamazoo County. By 1821 Chief Topinabee had sold most of the present County to the pioneers for annual payments of $5,000 a year for 20 years. The Ottawa Tribe was to receive $1,500 a year for a blacksmith and teacher plus $1,000 a year forever.
County StatisticsFounded: 1829
County Seat: Centreville
Total - 521 square miles
Water - 23 square miles
Population (2010 Census):