Community, Services & Programs: County History - Costly Victory

County History Topics

* St. Joseph County by John Marvin:
* Introduction
* Costly Victory
* Changing Times
* St. Joseph County by John Marvin (Cont.):
* County Government Inaugurated
* Historical Firsts
* Early Background


St. Joseph County

by John Marvin


Costly Victory

But victory was costly to Chief Elkhart, for the vanquished Pottawatomie carried away with them, in their flight, Princess Mishawaka, daughter of the fierce Shawnee leader. Herewith, began the romance of the princess, a romance of St. Joseph County that was to separate her from her people but to bring her happiness with her scout lover. Chief Elkhart set up his village in the favorable spot where the Pottawatomie had their teepees - where the Rocky River, the Portage River and the St. Joseph River came together, the present site of Three Rivers.

The oak openings, rivers, lakes and prairies of St. Joseph County and the hunting, the fishing and the crops they afforded were too dear to the Pottawatomie to be given up without a desperate struggle. Chief Pokagon called into council of war the Ottawa's of the Kalamazoo Valley, under Chief Waukazoo, and the Ottawa's of the Grand River Valley, under Chief Okemos.

The three bands decided to unite and drive out the invader. This they did, attacking from all sides by fleets of canoes and by land. The Shawnees had entrenched themselves and were ready to meet one band, but when two other bands made attacks from other directions the Shawnees were taken by surprise and routed. They fled in panic. Later, old Chief Elkhart sued for peace, departing with his followers to the Valley of the Wabash, from whence they had come.

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St. Joseph County, MI Statistics

Founded: 1829
County Seat: Centreville

Total - 521 square miles
Water - 23 square miles

Population (2010 Census):
61,295 people
23,244 households
16,275 families