Bainbridge Township
7315 Territorial Road
Watervliet, MI 49098
Phone: (269) 468-8040
Fax: (269) 468-3498

Office Hours:
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday
7:30 am – 12:30 pm  Mar. thru Nov.

8:00 am-12:30 pm Dec. thru Feb.

Building/Zoning Hours:
Tuesday & Thursday
7:30 am – 9:30 am  Mar. thru Nov.

8:00 am-10:00 am Dec. thru Feb.

Assessor Hours:
9:00 am – 12:30 pm


Bainbridge Township lies on a plateau which slopes toward the Paw Paw River to the north and Pipestone Creek to the south.  In keeping with the Continental Congress Ordinance of 1785, the land in Michigan was surveyed and Bainbridge became Township 4 South and Range 17 West.  It is one of three townships in Berrien County that is 6 miles square with 36 sections.  Other townships in the county have uneven boundaries caused by lakes and rivers.

Bartholomew Sharrai, a French Canadian, is credited as being the first permanent settler in Bainbridge Township.  He came in 1833 and settled in section 8, on a tract of land located on North Branch Road.  Another Canadian soon followed him; a man named “Ruleaux”, who filed claim to a piece of land adjacent to Sharrai’s.  Ruleaux built a crude log cabin, stocked it to the rim with whiskey and called it a tavern.  Within two years, the area would be known as “Ruleaux’s Place”.

In February of 1836, James Enos and his two brothers purchased Ruleaux’s Place in an attempt to make it a little more respectable.  The tavern became one of the regular stops for stagecoaches traveling between St. Joseph and Detroit.  Following this success, another tavern was erected which became the site of the first township elections in 1837.

The earliest trading in the township took place between the settlers and the Indians.  The settlers exchanged knives, beads, and trinkets for Indian furs.  With the construction of primitive roads, the trading continued through Yankee Peddlers who walked from house to house carrying satchels or backpacks.  Even if no purchase was made, the peddler would stay for two meals and a night’s lodging.  Even shoemakers would travel from home to home and stay as long as it took to make shoes for the entire family.

Bainbridge Township remains primarily a fruit farming community, governed by friendly folks and dedicated to a good quality of life.