225 West Main, P.O. Box 438, Harrison, MI 48625
















 County Profile

     Clare County History

A Brief History of Clare County

Clare County's eastern townships were organized by Midland County in March, 1870, and the western townships by Mecosta County in 1871. Farwell was the host village of our original county seat. Speculators had purchased land in Clare County as early as 1854, but large scale lumbering did not begin until after the Civil War. Homesteaders began arriving just prior to the Flint & Pere Marquette Railroad (1870) and claimed the better agricultural acreages under the Homestead Act of 1862, or by exchanging Military Script for eighty acres or more.

The Flint & Pere Marquette railroad came to Clare in 1870 and was extended to Evart in 1871. Now that the means were available, immigrants, woodsmen, homesteaders, and drifters began to populate our county. The lumbermen made the quickest and heaviest impact upon our resources by felling most of our forests. Necessity, being the mother of invention, caused a revolution in the woods when Scott Gerrish needed an efficient method to get tens of thousands of remote logs into the Muskegon River. He built and operated a special logging railroad between land locked timber tracts near Lake George and Temple, on the Muskegon River. These logs were rolled in stupendous quantities to the railways. This innovative railroad extended the wealth of the County by 300%, but most of this new money went to Saginaw, Muskegon, and Chicago.

Clare County has had its troubles with lawless elements. Some of this conflict was generated by farmers in Grant and Sheridan Townships when Lumbermen took local government from their control. The Board of Supervisors retaliated by withholding funds for a new jail at Harrison and the sheriff was not compensated for transporting lawless men to jails in Midland or Osceola Counties. The County went feral following this interval.

After the timber was gone, our homesteader/farmers took over the pine barrens and began nurturing our soil back to productivity. During the 1930's large oil fields were discovered and developed with capital supplied by various sorts of businessmen.

Since the Spanish-American war, we have sent our young men to help defeat America's enemies. By the 1990's Clare County had invested large amounts of fiscal resources into its educational and cultural institutions.

As a County, we look to the new century with eager anticipation. Residents, farmers, light industry and tourists benefit from our vision. Our citizens expect the good life because the infrastructure of our county is good and getting better. Clare County has become one of Michigan's favorite residential district for we have hunting, fishing, snowmobiling, golfing, and other recreational activities in our back yards.



The County of Clare does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age or disability in employment or the provision of services.

Due to the possibility of human errors and/or delays in updating information on this site, Clare County, its officers, officials, employees, agents, volunteers or its public bodies make no warranties of any kind, including but not limited to warranties of accuracy regarding any information contained on this web site. It is intended to be an informational source for public access to county government.


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