Centreville’s First Pioneer


Robert Clark Jr., Electra W. Dean, Charles Nobel, and Daniel B. Miller were the initial landowners and took part in surveying the land around Centreville but were not the first to settle. In June of 1832, T. W. Langley a manufacturer from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania was touring west and stopped in White Pigeon, Michigan. There he met a teacher by the name of Columbia Lancaster who had built the first house in Centreville (History of St. Joseph County Michigan). Hearing of the county seat Langley, accompanied Lancaster to Centreville observed the oaks, and Nottawa Prairie and liked what he saw. He returned to Philadelphia where he gathered up his wife Margaret, their five children, his nephew, and his two colored servants, William Bell and Anne Williams; they became the first two of their race to call St. Joseph County home. The Langley family and their supplies arrived in Centreville on October 3, 1832 (History of St. Joseph County Michigan). Mr. Langley bought his land from George Kline and set up a flouring mill outside of Centreville on what was known as Hog Creek. In three months Langley had bought all of Centreville, set up a courthouse, a school, a church, a post office, and stores, doing more for the county than any man before him (History of St. Joseph County Michigan).