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Gladwin County History


Gladwin County History

Our Name
Gladwin County was named for British Major Henry Gladwin of Fort Detroit. He was known for defending the fort at Detroit during the 1793 several month long siege, lead by Chief Pontiac while resisting the settlement of Michigan and Ohio.

Our Location
As a part of Michigan’s lower peninsula, it is in the central-northeastern location in which Gladwin County resides.

Early History
The forests of magnificent pines and oaks were numerous. The first people of the area were Native Americans of the Ojibway, Sauk, and Menominee tribes. They lived by hunting, fishing, and collecting wild rice.

The First Settlers
The year was 1861. And what is now called the city of Gladwin (being just a few miles out) was about to receive its first American settlers. The settlers were Marvel Secord and his family, whom by means of the Tittabawassee River came upon the mouth of the Sugar River by canoe. And henceforth, the settlement of Gladwin County began.

It wasn’t until the 1880’s, that the county began further development. It was the thick white pine forests that began to draw the establishment of many lumber towns in the area.

The Oil Boom
The oil boom of the 1930’s, both helped to finance the building of their new county courthouse in 1939, and also began the lead to an increase in population for the county.

Recent History
Gladwin County, the “Thermoforming Capital of the World”, in addition to its plastic industry, has an economy including: Auto parts suppliers, tool and die, wood products, RV manufacturing, construction, and agriculture.

The county’s many waterways, with several dams on the Tittabawassee, Sugar, Tobacco and Cedar rivers create many opportunities for tourism in area (including: boating, fishing, canoeing and sightseeing). Not only do the rivers bring tourism, but the beautiful state land as well. To the east, and residing on nearly a fourth of the entire county, lies the Tittabawassee State Forest. This adds hiking, hunting and snowmobiling to the list of many activities to do here in Gladwin County.


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