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The city is named after the Elkhart River, which flows through it and was historically known as the St. Joseph River. The river's name comes from the Algonquian word elkharte ("good" or "strong"), a reference to its strong current. History [ edit ] Elkhart County was organized in 1835, and originally contained a large area of what is now northern Indiana and southwestern Michigan. Settlers arrived in this area around 1829; they were mostly Yankee immigrants from New England who had moved to Ohio then traveled further westward into more unsettled areas of Indiana on their way to what would become Michigan Territory. They named their settlement Goshen (after an ancient land mentioned in the Bible) because many saw it as a "promised land", similar to that described by Moses in Exodus chapter 3:8-10. This sentiment was expressed by Jirah Blynman when he wrote "...