Van Buren County
Settlers attracted by lumbering came to this area in the 1830s. By the 1860s a mild climate, rich soil and easy access to the Chicago markets created a thriving fruit industry in Van Buren County. The county was one of thirteen platted by the territorial legislature in 1829, and one of six named for Andrew Jackson's cabinet members. A gubernatorial commission chose Lawrence as the seat of government, however, when the county was set-off in 1837, the board of supervisors chose Paw Paw. When the board decided to build a new courthouse in 1900, it considered moving the county seat. South Haven, the county's largest town, Lawrence, and Hartford all vied for the designation. In a county-wide election on April 1, 1901, citizens voted to keep the county seat in Paw Paw.