Clare County

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Basic Information

Address: 225 W. Main Street Clare, MI 48625
Phone Number: 9895392510
Fax Number: 9895392588
Person of Contact: Tracy L. Byard
County Seat: Harrison, MI

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Additional Information

Year Organized: 1840
Square Miles: 575
Size of Board: 7
Townships: Arthur, Franklin, Freeman, Frost, Garfield, Grant, Greenwood, Hamilton, Hatton, Hayes, Lincoln, Redding, Sheridan, Summerfield, Surrey and Winterfield
Cites: Clare, Harrison and Village of Farwell
Schools: Clare, Harrison and Farwell
School Districts: Clare, Harrison and Farwell
Libraries: Harrison Public Library, Farwell Public Library and Pere Marquette District Library
Museums: Clare County Historical Museum and Farwell Area Historical Museum
Parks: Wilson State Park
Population: 30,926

The 2010 United States Census[12] indicates Clare County had a 2010 population of 30,926. This is a decrease of -326 people from the 2000 United States Census. Overall, the county had a -1.0% growth rate during this ten-year period. In 2010 there were 12,966 households and 8,584 families in the county. The population density was 54.8 per square mile (21.2 square kilometers). There were 23,233 housing units at an average density of 41.2 per square mile (15.9 square kilometers). The racial and ethnic makeup of the county was 95.8% White, 0.5% Black or African American, 0.6% Native American, 0.3% Asian, 1.5% Hispanic or Latino, 0.1% from other races, and 1.3% from two or more races.

There were 12,966 households out of which 25.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.0% were husband and wife families, 10.0% had a female householder with no husband present, 33.8% were non-families, and 28.0% were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.36 and the average family size was 2.83.

In the county, the population was spread out with 20.9% under age of 18, 7.9% from 18 to 24, 20.8% from 25 to 44, 30.4% from 45 to 64, and 19.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 45 years. For every 100 females there were 99.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 97.9 males.

The 2010 American Community Survey 3-year estimate[12] indicates the median income for a household in the county was $33,338 and the median income for a family was $40,983. Males had a median income of $24,220 versus $13,587 for females. The per capita income for the county was $18,516. About 2.3% of families and 23.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 36.8% of those under the age 18 and 8.5% of those age 65 or over.

Medium Income: $33,015
County History:
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 F&PM 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 landlocked timber tracts near Lake George and Temple, on the Muskegon River. These logs were railed in stupendous quantities to the rollways. 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 entered a 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 districts for we have hunting, fishing, snowmobiling, golfing, and other recreations in our back yards. The Gateway to the North!