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About Clearwater County

In 1860 todays Clearwater County was a part of Washington Territory. After the discovery of gold in 1860 and a rush of people to the area, Pierce was made the county seat of a vast Shoshone County in 1861, two years prior to the establishment of the Idaho Territory. The Pierce Courthouse , erected in 1862, is Idaho's oldest public building . The county seat was moved from Pierce to Murray in 1884 and then to Wallace in 1898 to better serve the majority of the county's population. Until December 1904 Shoshone County included present-day Clearwater County to the south of the Wallace mining area. The population of the southern area increased with homesteading in the Fraser and Weippe area in the late 1890's. The vast distance and time required for travel to Wallace from the Clearwater River area prompted the move of the southern portion to Nez Perce County. That portion was annexed by Nez Perce County in December 1904 and remained for several years before being established as Clearwater County February 27, 1911.

Clearwater County was named for the Clearwater River whose name was translated from the Nez Perce term, Koos-Koos-Kia, meaning "clear water". In September 1805, Lewis and Clark followed an old Indian trail between the north and middle forks of the Clearwater River and met the Nez Perce near the present site of Weippe on the Weippe Prairie. Although no doubt known to the Nez Perce Indians for many years, gold was first "discovered" in 1860 by Elias D. Pierce and Wilbur F. Bassett along a creek christened "Oro Fino Creek" meaning "fine gold".

Clearwater County is located in the panhandle of Idaho along the Montana border. Cities include: Elk River, Orofino, Pierce, and Weippe. Unincorporated communities include: Ahsahka, Band Mill, Cardiff Spur, Cavendish, Dent, Fraser, Freeman Creek, Grangemont, Greer, Headquarters, Rudo and Teakean.

About the County Coordinator

Hello! My name is Michal Beck and I am your County Coordinator. I have been working this site since 2012, taking over from Jill Nock. If you have any questions about the county or would like to help add to the website, you can contact me at (208) 464-2489 or email to fordscreekresearch@yahoo.com

County Seat: Orofino
County Clerk
Box 586
Orofino, ID 83544-0586
Phone: (208) 476-5615
Fax: (208) 476-9315

Neighboring Counties

Shoshone county is located north side of Clearwater county. While on the west side there are three counties: Latah, Nez Perce, and Lewis counties. On the south side is Idaho county. On the east side is the state of Montana with Mineral and Missoula counties at the border.

Useful Links

Onsite Links

Offsite Links

Census Records
Land & Treaty Records
Mailing List
Map Links
Marriage, Divorce and Death Records
Other Links
Family Photos

Clearwater County Historical Society/Museum
Other Area Museums
Clearwater County Libraries
Clearwater County WWI Draft Registrations
Clearwater Tribune Newspaper
Ghost Towns of Clearwater County
Historical Places in Clearwater County
How to Obtain Idaho Vital Records
Idaho State Death Index 1911-1951
Idaho State Historical Society
IDGenWeb Archives Project
Nez Perce National Historic Trail
Cyndi's List

Copyright Notice

All materials contained on these pages are furnished for the free use of those engaged in researching their family origins. Any commercial use or distribution, without the consent of the host/author of these pages is prohibited. All images used on these pages were obtained from sources permitting free distribution, or generated by the author, and are subject to the same restrictions/permissions. All persons contributing material for posting on these pages do so in recognition of their free, non-commercial distribution, and further, is responsible to assure that no copyright is violated by their submission.

Created & Designed by Jill Nock ©2011
Redesigned by Michal Berreth Beck © 2012
Last Updated: January 12, 2017

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