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Gladwin County, Michigan facts for kids

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Gladwin County
Gladwin County Courthouse in Gladwin
Gladwin County Courthouse in Gladwin
Official seal of Gladwin County
Map of Michigan highlighting Gladwin County
Location within the U.S. state of Michigan
Map of the United States highlighting Michigan
Michigan's location within the U.S.
Country  United States
State  Michigan
Founded 1831 (created)
1875 (organized)
Named for Henry Gladwin
Seat Gladwin
Largest city Gladwin
 • Total 516 sq mi (1,340 km2)
 • Land 502 sq mi (1,300 km2)
 • Water 14 sq mi (40 km2)  2.7%%
 • Total 25,386
 • Density 51/sq mi (20/km2)
Time zone UTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
Congressional district 4th

Gladwin County is a county located in the U.S. state of Michigan. As of the 2020 Census, the population was 25,386. The county seat is Gladwin.



Gladwin County is a headwaters area. Most of the water that flows out of the county via the Tittabawasee river comes from Gladwin County, only a very small portion flows in from Clare or Roscommon counties. Native Americans crossed this area, and even spent summers here where the fishing was good and summer berries plentiful.

Research is underway to determine the importance of an ancient trail that was noted by the crew of the 1839 re-survey of Township 17 north Range 2 west, which later became Beaverton Township. The eastern terminus of the "Muskegon River Trail" was plotted at the confluence of the three branches of the Tobacco (Assa-mo-quoi-Sepe) River in the northwest corner of Section 12. It is possible that an early cross-country route from Saginaw Bay to Lake Michigan proceeded up the Saginaw, Tittabawasee and Tobacco Rivers to approximately the point west across Ross Lake from the Beaverton City Cemetery. At that point the canoes would be portaged along the trail to the Muskegon river, then floated down to Lake Michigan.

Many native artifacts have been found along that route that attest to seasonal occupation, but so far no signs have been found to indicate any permanent, year-around settlement.

European arrival

The earliest documented visitors to the area that later became Gladwin County were the surveyors who platted that land according to the provisions of the Northwest Ordinance. Most of the early work was completed during the 1830s. Unfortunately, parts of the first survey were actually done in a bar room in Saginaw. The surveyors had predicted it would be centuries before anyone would move to such a God-forsaken, mosquito-infested swamp.

The earliest census to mention residents in the area was in 1860.

The county is named for Henry Gladwin, British military commandant at Detroit in 1763 during Pontiac's War. The county was set off and named in 1831 and organized in 1875.


The year 2011 marked 150 years since the first permanent settler, Marvel Secord, took up residence along the Tittabawassee River in what is now Secord Township. He was a trapper and trader who provided supplies to lumbering camps in the area.

Another man, William Brayton, may have had the right to claim first settler status. The 1860 census listed 14 residents, including two families with children. Of these, 11 were associated with lumbering camps that had begun to appear that year, and three were listed as "hunters." One of the "day laborers" at a camp, however, brought his wife to the county. The first issue of the Gladwin County Record in 1878 lists him as having 20 acres of wheat under cultivation. His stepson, Dr. Russell E. Finch moved here in 1875, becoming the first physician in the county. Mr. Brayton died here in 1895. His claim to being the first permanent settler appears valid, except that just before the 1880 census was taken he and his wife went to Lynn, Massachusetts to care for his dying father. He returned to Gladwin after settling his father's estate in 1882.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 516 square miles (1,340 km2), of which 502 square miles (1,300 km2) is land and 14 square miles (36 km2) (2.7%) is water. It is the second-smallest county in Michigan by total area. Gladwin County is considered to be a part of Central Michigan and/or Northern Michigan.

Major highways

  • M-18 runs north to Houghton Lake area. To the south the highway connects with US 10.
  • M-30, like M-18, runs south to US 10. Going north it routes to West Branch.
  • M-61 travels west to Harrison and east to Standish.
  • F-97 runs north into Roscommon County

Adjacent counties


Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 1,127
1890 4,208 273.4%
1900 6,564 56.0%
1910 8,413 28.2%
1920 8,827 4.9%
1930 7,424 −15.9%
1940 9,385 26.4%
1950 9,451 0.7%
1960 10,769 13.9%
1970 13,471 25.1%
1980 19,957 48.1%
1990 21,896 9.7%
2000 26,023 18.8%
2010 25,692 −1.3%
2020 25,386 −1.2%
US Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2018

As of the 2000 United States Census, of 2000, there were 26,023 people, 10,561 households, and 7,614 families in the county. The population density was 51 people per square mile (20/km2). There were 16,828 housing units at an average density of 33 per square mile (13/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 97.65% White, 0.13% Black or African American, 0.56% Native American, 0.27% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.31% from other races, and 1.06% from two or more races. 0.96% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 28.1% were of German, 11.5% American, 11.1% English, 9.4% Irish, 7.3% Polish and 6.4% French ancestry according to Census 2000. 96.3% spoke English, 1.7% German and 1.1% Spanish as their first language.

There were 10,561 households, out of which 27.10% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 60.50% were married couples living together, 8.00% had a female householder with no husband present, and 27.90% were non-families. 24.00% of all households were made up of individuals, and 11.20% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.43 and the average family size was 2.85.

The county population contained 23.20% under the age of 18, 6.50% from 18 to 24, 24.20% from 25 to 44, 27.80% from 45 to 64, and 18.30% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females there were 98.50 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.30 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $32,019, and the median income for a family was $37,090. Males had a median income of $33,871 versus $21,956 for females. The per capita income for the county was $16,614. About 10.40% of families and 13.80% of the population were below the poverty line, including 19.40% of those under age 18 and 7.30% of those age 65 or over.




Ghost town

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See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Condado de Gladwin para niños

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