Gratiot County was founded on March 2, 1831. It was established February 3, 1855. The county took its name from Captain Charles Gratiot (1788-1855), who built Fort Gratiot in Port Huron, Michigan. Ithaca Michigan is the county seat for Gratiot County, established in 1856.
The first settlers in the county were from New England. They came to the county to farm the land. They first had to clear the land to build roads, farms and government buildings. They brought their passion for education and religion by creating many schools and churches. The very first white man to permanetly move to Gratiot County was Arnold Payne. He moved his family to what is now known as Fulton Township.
The first county officers were elected November 6, 1855. Probate Judge -- John R. Cheesman; Sheriff -- Geo. E. Walker; Clerk -- Orville M. Wood; Treasurer -- Ralph Ely; Register of Deeds -- Henry Lane; Prosecuting Attorney -- Franklin Miller; Circuit Court Commissioner -- Henry Lane; Surveyor -- Sidney S. Hastings; Coroners -- Lewis B. Loomis and Levi Smith.
The first courthouse was a log cabin. The second courthouse was built in 1870. This courthouse stood until 1902, when a new thrid courthouse was built, this courthouse still stands today. In 1978 the second floor of the courthouse was nearly destroyed by fire. In the 1990s an addition to the courthouse was made. After a county courthouse was erected the next building project was to purchase the land and build a county poor house. It was decided the county poor house was to be moved to a more central location in 1860.
The first known marriage to take place in the county was Martin W. Cramer to Dorinda Sias. It was performed by Sylvanus Groom, a justice of the peace in Pine River Township in the spring of 1855. The first funeral preformed in the county was that of a female child of Mr. and Mrs. Sylvanus Groom.
Gratiot News was the first newspaper for the county.
The very first murderer in the county was that of Thaddeus S. Green. The two young girls murdered were found lying on a bed and Green Stabbed himself in the throat on another bed.
In 1878 a St. Louis man, Albert H. Lowry was the first person to have installed the first telephone line. He is also said to have owned the first bicycle in Gratiot county.