The county is located in the Northern Indiana region known as Michiana and is about east of South Bend, west of Toledo, Ohio, and northeast of Indianapolis. The area is well known for its large Amish population. For that reason, the county teams up with neighboring Elkhart County to promote tourism by referring to the area as Northern Indiana Amish Country.
The first settlement of LaGrange County was founded about a half mile west of Lima in 1828. Over the next four years, settlers flocked to parts of Lima, Springfield, and Van Buren Townships. Finally in 1832, LaGrange County was carved out of neighboring Elkhart County and established with Lima as the county seat. The town of LaGrange was platted in 1836 and settled in 1842 as the new county seat, closer to the center of the county. Lima's name was changed to Howe in 1909. LaGrange was laid out and platted in 1836.
LaGrange County's initial settlers were Yankee immigrants, that is to say they were from New England and were descended from the English Puritans who settled that region in the colonial era. They were part of a wave of New England settlers moving west into what was then the Northwest Territory after the completion of the Erie Canal. The original settlers in LaPorte County specifically hailed from the Massachusetts counties of Worcester County, Suffolk County and Berkshire County; the Connecticut counties of Hartford County and Windham County as well as the Connecticut towns of Sherman, Lebanon and Fairfield; and from the Vermont towns of Burlington, Brookfield, Huntington and Grand Isle. They were mainly members of the Congregational Church, but as a result of the Second Great Awakening many became Baptists and many also converted to Pentecostalism and Methodism. When they arrived in what is now LaGrange County, there was nothing but virgin forest and wild prairie, the New England settlers cleared roads, built farms, constructed churches, erected government buildings, and established post routes. As a result of this migration, LaGrange County was culturally continuous with early New England culture for many years.
In 1837, the government removed Chief Shipshewana and the Potawatomi Tribe from the northwest corner of the county. Several years later the Chief was allowed to return and died in Newbury Township in 1841. A town named Georgetown had been platted in 1837 but was abandoned due to lack of development. In 1844, the first Amish came from Pennsylvania to settle around the old town. The village continued not to grow and the town of Shipshewana was platted nearby in 1899 and incorporated in 1916 in Newbury Township.