Lapeer County, Michigan
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Located in the heart of Michigan’s thumb, Clifford is a small rural community that was established in 1862. Arden W. Lyman built the first building and it served as his home, the post office, and general store. He then named the village after his son, Clifford. By the end of 1871 there were several places of business located in the small village. The businesses included a Tin shop, Lyman’s Hardware, Powell’s Drug store, a Furniture store, an undertaker, Bale’s General store, McClure’s General store, three blacksmith shops, and a Hotel and Livery.
The Port Huron and Northwest Railroad, along with the Pontiac, Oxford, and Port Austin Railroads, caused the start of the present village in February of 1882 at the junction of these two railroads. George Goddard built a Hotel at the junction and several of the current businesses moved north to locate around the railroad. By the end of 1888 there were approximately 100 buildings in North Clifford. Among these buildings were 55 to 60 homes, a Baptist church and a Catholic church, a two room brick school building, two sawmills, a Grist mill, two elevators, the post office, four general stores, a meat market, two drug stores, a furniture store, a barber shop, a pool hall, and two bakeries. Along with two blacksmith shops, a carriage shop, and three liveries that were located behind three hotels. The best brick in the county came from the Brick and Tile yard. The village also boasted four Millinery stores, a doctor, an attorney, a Justice of the Peace, and a Photograph Gallery. There was even a telephone line between Clifford and Mayville.
The early settlers of Clifford lived in a land rich with lumber, fine soil, and natural resources. Their lives were filled with long hours of manual labor and made easier by the helping hands of their neighbors. Clifford also boasted a local newspaper called The Clifford Sun. Articles from this paper paint a picture of a close-nit, hard working community.
On May 23, 1891 the first village council meeting was held by the newly incorporated village of Clifford. The first village elections were held on April 27, 1891. The first village president was William Eneland; trustees were William Green, George Dimond, Charles H. Secor, Carroll W. Clark, William S. Kirby, and Herbert A. Pearson. William L. Doyle acted as the first clerk of the village and the treasurer was Benjamin Kirby.
There have been many changes over the years since the Village of Clifford came into existence. The modern day village is much smaller than the original version. While the Baptist and Catholic churches are still here; we only boast one general store, a post office, a restaurant, a car wash, laundry mat, one factory, a bar, an exercise facility, a fire hall and the village hall. The school house is now a library with a room available for rent. There is a very nice park with skate park and playground equipment. Only one of the elevators still stands, due to recent renovation by the DDA. The village is still a rural community with a sense of small town charm and neighborly cooperation, but most residents work outside the village.