A history of St. Joseph County, Indiana
It is now more than three-quarters of a century since the organization and first settlement of St. Joseph county. Of those who were present at the beginning there is no one left to tell the story. Three generations have since been born to the rich inheritance of those first toilers. Of these, the oldest yet living have, perhaps, heard the pioneer history from the lips of the pioneers themselves.' As to the rest, if they know the story at all, they have learned it from tradition, from musty records, from letters, papers and documents of other days, and, it may be also, from such incidental references as are to be found in scattered pamphlets, books and other publications. For anything more definite concerning our early history we have been accustomed to look to the historical atlas of the county, published, in 1875, by Higgins, Belden & Company, of Chicago, and to certain historical and biographical works, particularly that published in the same city, in 1880, by Chapman & Company. The maps in the atlas referred to were excellent for their time, but have long been out of date. The footnotes in this atlas contain much valuable information that might otherwise have been lost. The Chapman work consisted of a brief history of Indiana, followed by detached sketches of the history of St. Joseph county and biographies of prominent citizens. These local sketches, like the notes in the Atlas, are of inestimable value, as preserving a variety of historical data furnished by men then still living, much of which also, if not thus preserved, might have been wholly forgotten. Since the publication of those works nearly a third of a century has passed, during which time many zealous students of our early history have gathered up the old traditions, searched the public records, turned over old newspaper files, and in a multitude of ways rescued from loss historical facts that were constantly slipping into oblivion. Chief among those students of antique historical lore have been David R. Leeper, Richard H. Lyon, George A. Baker and Charles H. Bartlett. Most of this good work has been done for or through the Northern Indiana Historical Society. To the labors of these painstaking searchers have been added numerous reminiscent writings prepared by older citizens, many of whom are now departed from us. It seemed high time to put into permanent form this wealth of material, new and old, to pick up these scattered threads of our splendid history and weave them into a continuous narrative, before they should again be scattered and perhaps lost forever.
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St. Joseph County, Indiana, is the middle county of the northernmost tier of counties of the state. To the east, in order, are the counties of Elkhart, LaGrange and Steuben; to the west, those of LaPorte, Porter and Lake. On the south are the counties of Marshall and Starke; and on the north is Berrien county, in the state of Michigan. The northern part of the county is in the valley of the St. Joseph, and the southern part in the valley of the Kankakee. From a tiny lake on the summit between the two valleys, and within the corporate limits of the city of South Bend, by a little stream known as McCartney's Creek, the waters flow to the northward and into the St. Joseph River, and so finally reach the Gulf of St. Lawrence. From a point a little to the south of the same Summit Lake, sometimes called LaSalle Lake, and also Stanfield Lake, the waters flow to the southward and form the source of the Kankakee river, and so, by the Illinois and the Mississippi, reach the Gulf of Mexico. Before reaching South Bend, the St. Joseph also flows in a southwesterly direction through Michigan and Indiana. At South Bend the river turns abruptly north, and flows thence into Lake Michigan.