The Clinton County Historical Society was founded in 1974, as an off-shoot of the Bicentennial interest in local history. The Clinton County Pioneer Society, a direct ancestor of the Society, was disbanded in the 1930s.
The Society was organized with Robert Conn as chairman and Hila Bross as secretary pro tem. By 1980, the organization had grown to over 200 members.
The constitution was adopted in April of 1974. The first elected officers were: Douglas Carpenter, president; Robert Barnes, vice-president; Faye Hanson, recording secretary; Jan Seperic, corresponding secretary; and John Rumbaugh, treasurer. The Society's first activities centered around the "I Was Here in 1876" signs which were purchased by those who had homes or buildings at least a century old. The History of Shiawassee and Clinton Counties, Michigan 1880, was reprinted. The genealogists help large numbers of people research and write about their Clinton County ancestors. An archive is maintained in DeWitt Township.
Perhaps the most visible project of the Society to date is the Paine-Gillam-Scott Museum located just west of the Clinton County Courthouse. One the finest house museums in the area, this local attraction truly has become a part of the community with thousands of visitors coming to the museum for special events and to browse and view changing displays. The annual Victorian Christmas is a highlight of the season in St. Johns.