Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Saint Joseph County, Michigan: My Thoughts and Reflections

As some of you already know, I had a least three branches of ancestral families live in Saint Joseph County. Although, I was probably supposed to write about a town or place, I've decided to write about this county because my ancestors lived in various places in this county and because I have actually visited this county. (Even if it has been a couple years since I visited.)

Saint Joseph County (not the same as the city) is located in the lower Southwestern area of Michigan, and is one of the counties on the border with Indiana. The county is surrounded by the Michigan counties of Branch, Cass, Kalamazoo, Calhoun, and Van Buren and the Indiana counties of Elkhart and LaGrange. The village of Centreville has the county court house, and civil records for the county are held there. The only cities in the county are Three Rivers and Sturgis. Although I haven't been to Sturgis, it appears to me that both cities are small cities. Three Rivers was small to me. (Well, at least for someone who spent most of her childhood in Metro-Detroit.) The next, largest, nearby city outside of Three Rivers would be Kalamazoo. To get to Three Rivers, a person living in Kalamazoo would only have to head south on 131. (Or for Grand Rapids for that matter.) If one is traveling from the Detroit area to Three Rivers, the trip will take at least three hours. (Yes, it is a long drive for those who live on the east side of Michigan. Trust me.)

During the time of my ancestors, the county consisted mostly of farms and farmland, and even today, the county is still very rural. Although I didn't travel to every place in the county, most of county outside of Three Rivers consisted of farmland and villages. Many of the roads in the county are two-lane highways. The road between Three Rivers and Centreville is one such road. (The two are only about 5 or 10 miles apart and the drive is only about ten-fifteen minutes from one to the other.)

From reading the above, it may seem as though I don't like area. Actually, that is the farthest from the truth. I like the area, and I think it is beautiful. (Yes, I am big fan of the countryside.) I would love to live in the area if I ever get a chance to do so.

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