Originally, the area of Mendon Township was part of Flowerfield Township. In 1833, Colon and Leonidas separated from Flowerfield. The area of Mendon Township followed suit and separated from Flowerfield ten years later in 1843 naming the township Wakeman Township in honor of the largest land owner, Adam Wakeman. In 1844, Wakeman Township changed it’s name. The settlers wanted the township to be named Marantette Township after Patrick Marantette, a prominent member of the community, but he suggested the township be named Mendon after the city in west France.
Map of St. Joseph Co., Michigan – Mendon 1855 (Source: loc.org)
Mr. Mouton was the first to grow crops in the area of Mendon Township in 1832 and later in 1835 Mr. Marantette was the first to grow wheat in the area. Farming remains a large industry in Mendon, the primary crops of Mendon Township are currently Corn and Soy.
First School in Mendon
Built in 1837, the first school in Mendon Township was funded by Mr. Marantette. The first classes at the then-new school were first taught by Wealthy Hunt.
In 1839, the first bridge was built over the St. Joseph River. The Wakeman Bridge was built 4 years later in 1843 and the Marantette Bridge was built in 1873. The Marantette bridge, although no longer being used, can still be found at the end of Railroad Street in Mendon. The current moss covered planks and tall ironworks bring our imaginations back in time for a moment. Please do not try to cross this bridge, no matter what Google Maps says, it is not a potential route to get to Simpson Road.