Alcona County, Michigan

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Alcona County, Michigan
Logo of Alcona County, Michigan
Map of Michigan highlighting Alcona County
Location in the state of Michigan
Map of the United States highlighting Michigan
Michigan's location in the U.S.
Founded established 1840
organized 1869[1]
Seat Harrisville
Largest city Harrisville
 • Total 1,790.54 sq mi (4,637 km2)
 • Land 674.43 sq mi (1,747 km2)
 • Water 1,116.10 sq mi (2,891 km2), 62.33%
 • (2010) 10,942
 • Density 18/sq mi (7/km²)
Congressional district 1st
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4

Alcona County is a county of the U.S. state of Michigan. As of the 2010 census, the population was 10,942.[2] Its county seat is Harrisville.[3] Alphabetically it is the first county in Michigan, as its flag states "First of 83".


The county was created by the state legislature on April 1, 1840.[4] It was at first named "Negwegon County", after the name of a well-known Chippewa chief, also known as "Little Wing", who was an American ally against the British in the War of 1812. It was renamed to Alcona County on March 8, 1843, after a neologism manufactured by Henry Schoolcraft from parts of words from Native American languages, plus Arabic, Greek and Latin,[5] which were amalgamated to mean "fine or excellent plain".[6][1] See and compare, List of Michigan county name etymologies, List of Michigan counties, and List of abolished U.S. counties.

Initially, it was attached to Mackinac County for administrative purposes. The attachment shifted to Cheboygan County in 1853, to Alpena County in 1857, Iosco County in 1858, and Alpena County in 1859. Harrisville Township, then comprising the entire county, was organized in 1860. County government was organized in 1869.[7] The County's slogan on its seal (a single gold star on a green field in the shape of Alcona County) is "First of 83," which refers to its place alphabetically among Michigan counties.[8]

Alcona County has been forced to explore options to remedy a major budget shortfall resulting from an official's embezzlement. Former County Treasurer Thomas Katona pleaded guilty in June 2007 to charges that he embezzled over 1.2 million dollars from county funds to invest them into a Nigerian scam he fell for.[9][10]

Katona was sentenced to 9–14 years imprisonment on June 12, 2007 by the 23rd Circuit Court. Judge William Myles said Katona's crimes warranted more severe punishment than called for in state sentencing guidelines, due to the amount of money involved and the number of victims in the case.[11]


  • According to the 2000 census, the county has a total area of 1,790.54 square miles (4,637.5 km2), of which 674.43 square miles (1,746.8 km2) (or 37.67%) is land and 1,116.10 square miles (2,890.7 km2) (or 62.33%) is water.[12]
  • Alcona County has been a part of developing the Oscoda-Wurtsmith Airport, which became a public airport in 1993. It now occupies a portion of the former Wurtsmith Air Force Base, which is in Oscoda Township, Michigan in neighboring Iosco County, Michigan. It is primarily used for cargo and light general aviation activities. The Airport offers 24-hour near all weather daily access.
  • The area is part of the Au Sable State Forest, specifically the
    • Grayling FMU (Alcona, Crawford, Oscoda, and northern Iosco counties).
  • The county is considered to be part of Northern Michigan.

Geographic features[edit]

  • Hubbard Lake, which is among the twenty largest inland lakes in the state.[13]
  • Lake Huron
  • Additionally, the county has other many lakes, including:

Alcona Lake, Badger Lake, Bear Lake, Brownlee Lake, Byron Lake, Cedar Lake, Clear Lake, Crooked Lake, Crystal Lake, Curtis Lake, Honawan Lake, Horseshoe Lake, Hunter Lake, Indian Lake, Jewell Lake,Jenkins lake , Lost Lake, North Hoist Lake, North Lake, O'Brien Lake, Poplar Lake, Reid Lake, South Hoist Lake, and Tompson Lake.[14] Jenkins lake (located about .6mile West of Curtis lake, McNichols lake (located about .5 miles North East of Curtis Lake.


Adjacent counties[edit]

National protected area[edit]


The county government operates the jail, maintains rural roads, operates the major local courts, keeps files of deeds and mortgages, maintains vital records, administers public health regulations, and participates with the state in the provision of welfare and other social services. The county board of commissioners controls the budget but has only limited authority to make laws or ordinances. In Michigan, most local government functions — police and fire, building and zoning, tax assessment, street maintenance, etc. — are the responsibility of individual cities and townships.

Presently, the Alcona County Circuit Court is part of the 23rd Circuit of Michigan. This is a multicounty circuit, which also includes Arenac, Iosco and Oscoda Counties. Until relatively recently, this court was part of the 26th Circuit, which included Alpena and Montmorency Counties.

Alcona County elected officials[edit]


Historical population
Census Pop.
1860 185
1870 696 276.2%
1880 3,107 346.4%
1890 5,409 74.1%
1900 5,691 5.2%
1910 5,703 0.2%
1920 5,912 3.7%
1930 4,989 −15.6%
1940 5,463 9.5%
1950 5,856 7.2%
1960 6,352 8.5%
1970 7,113 12.0%
1980 9,740 36.9%
1990 10,145 4.2%
2000 11,719 15.5%
2010 10,942 −6.6%
Est. 2012 10,635 −2.8%
U.S. Decennial Census[21]
2012 Estimate[22]

As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 10,942 people residing in the county. 97.9% were White, 0.6% Native American, 0.2% Asian, 0.1% Black or African American, 0.2% of some other race and 0.9% of two or more races. 1.1% were Hispanic or Latino (of any race). 22.8% were of German, 12.0% French, French Canadian or Cajun, 12.0% English, 8.4% Polish, 7.8% Irish and 7.5% American ancestry.[23]

As of the census 2000,[24] there were 11,719 people, 5,132 households, and 3,566 families residing in the county. The population density was 17 people per square mile (7/km²). There were 10,584 housing units at an average density of 16 per square mile (6/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 98.04% White, 0.16% Black or African American, 0.62% Native American, 0.18% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.06% from other races, and 0.93% from two or more races. 0.69% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 23.0% were of German, 13.5% English, 9.9% American, 9.2% Irish, 7.7% Polish, 7.5% French and 5.0% French Canadian ancestry according to Census 2000. 98.2% spoke English as their first language. Those citing "American" ancestry in Alcona County are of overwhelmingly English extraction, however most English Americans identify simply as having American ancestry because their roots have been in North America for so long, in some cases since the 1600s.[25][26][27][28][29]

There were 5,132 households out of which 20.40% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 60.10% were married couples living together, 5.80% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.50% were non-families. 26.60% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.20% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.24 and the average family size was 2.67.

In the county the population was spread out with 19.00% under the age of 18, 4.60% from 18 to 24, 20.90% from 25 to 44, 31.00% from 45 to 64, and 24.50% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 49 years. For every 100 females there were 102.20 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 99.20 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $31,362, and the median income for a family was $35,669. Males had a median income of $29,712 versus $20,566 for females. The per capita income for the county was $17,653. About 9.10% of families and 12.60% of the population were below the poverty line, including 17.80% of those under age 18 and 9.00% of those age 65 or over.

Other affiliations[edit]

Cities, villages, and townships[edit]




Historical markers[edit]

There are two recognized historical markers in the county:[31]



See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Bibliography on Alcona County". Clarke Historical Library, Central Michigan University. Retrieved January 17, 2013. 
  2. ^ "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 26, 2013. 
  3. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  4. ^ Powers, p. 87
  5. ^ Names of Michigan Counties
  6. ^ Powers, p. 94
  7. ^ Powers, p. 88
  8. ^ Alcona County official website.
  9. ^ "Officials begin talks on how to make painful budget cuts," The Bay City Times, May 31, 2007.
  10. ^ Michigan Attorney General press release, June 12, 2007
  11. ^ "Former Alcona treasurer sentenced to 9-14 years," The Bay City Times, June 13, 2007. Accessed June 24, 2007.
  12. ^ "Census 2010 Gazetteer Files". Retrieved July 2, 2013. 
  13. ^ Top 20 Michigan inland lakes.
  14. ^ Michigan Department of Natural Resources maps of lakes in Alcona County.
  15. ^ Photos of ends of M-72.
  16. ^ History of Michigan highways.
  17. ^ Michigan Bar Journal. April 2012. p. 639. 
  18. ^ a b c d e f g "List of Area elected officials". Alcona County Review. Retrieved May 1, 2012. 
  19. ^ a b c d e Michigan Bar Journal. April 2012. p. 113. 
  20. ^ Michigan County Road Commissions, Alcona County accessed May 1, 2012
  21. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". Retrieved June 22, 2013. 
  22. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2012". Retrieved June 22, 2013. 
  23. ^ "American FactFinder"
  24. ^ Statistical profile of Alcona County, Michigan, United States Census Bureau, Census 2000
  25. ^ "Ancestry of the Population by State: 1980 - Table 3" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-02-10. 
  26. ^ Sharing the Dream: White Males in a Multicultural America By Dominic J. Pulera.
  27. ^ Reynolds Farley, 'The New Census Question about Ancestry: What Did It Tell Us?', Demography, Vol. 28, No. 3 (August 1991), pp. 414, 421.
  28. ^ Stanley Lieberson and Lawrence Santi, 'The Use of Nativity Data to Estimate Ethnic Characteristics and Patterns', Social Science Research, Vol. 14, No. 1 (1985), pp. 44-6.
  29. ^ Stanley Lieberson and Mary C. Waters, 'Ethnic Groups in Flux: The Changing Ethnic Responses of American Whites', Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, Vol. 487, No. 79 (September 1986), pp. 82-86.
  30. ^ Diocese of Gaylord.
  31. ^ Michigan Historic Markers
  32. ^ Springport Inn.
  33. ^ Platt, Connie Faussett, Northern Journal (November-December, 2004), Captain Joseph VanBuskirk of Springport (Harrisville, Michigan).
  34. ^ Alcona County Review
  35. ^ Alpena News (serving N.E. Michigan)
  36. ^ Oscoda Press home page

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 44°43′N 83°16′W / 44.71°N 83.27°W / 44.71; -83.27