Local author speaks to SJC Genealogical Society

CONSTANTINE — Kelly Pucci, author of “Hidden History of St. Joseph County, Michigan” spoke about her book to members of the St. Joseph County Genealogical Society on Saturday, Sept. 9 at the Constantine Township Library.
Pucci is a member of the St. Joseph County Historical Society, Colon Lions Club, Colon DDA, and writes for a variety of publications.
Pucci’s book is a collection of vignettes, at least one on each of the 16 townships in St. Joseph County. The book was published in April 2017.
Pucci said as she interviewed people for the book, “I would find that everyone knew at least one fascinating story about the county.”
The History Press states that “Michigan established St. Joseph County in 1829. It was a fertile land with an abundance of fresh water supplied by the St. Joseph River. The county’s colorful past is the result of forgotten locals and visitors: Hezekiah Thomas fished for diamonds in Corey Lake, saloon smasher Carrie Nation sold miniature hatchets at the county fairgrounds, the United States Congress recognizes the village of Colon as the Magic Capital of the World, and Lakeside Cemetery is the final resting place of more magicians than any other cemetery on the globe.”
Pucci talked about Gov. John S. Barry (1802-1870) and his interest in sugar beets. Barry had two homes in Constantine. The home located on North Main Street was the first home built north of the bridge, and is maintained as a museum.
“In 1840 Barry traveled to France to study sugar beet cultivation, even though the U.S. didn’t have a sugar shortage. Since colonial times, fertile land provided enough sugar cane to satisfy the sweet tooth of everyone. Despite this, Barry undertook a grueling journey to France. He traveled on horseback, spent weeks on the Atlantic aboard a ship sailing to France, but by November 1841 he had returned home to become governor of Michigan,” Pucci said.
 

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