Though the road signs leading into the Village tell us that Clarkston was established in 1832, the first land purchases were actually made even earlier than that. The Williams family, then living in Waterford Township, purchased the first land in 1823, however, they never settled there.
In 1831, the first settlers built homesteads. They included Butler Holcomb, John and Thomas Beardslee, and Melvin Dorr.
It was, however, in 1832 that the population of the Township really began to grow. Most of the settlers came from New York and New Jersey. This included Jeremiah Clark, who established a homestead in 1832. His brother, Nelson, joined him shortly thereafter, settling here in 1836 and building his home in what would become the Village of Clarkston. This home, built in 1839, still exists today at 71 North Main Street.
Clarkston village was organized and named around 1842. It was named for the two settlers who did the most to improve the town, Jeremiah and Nelson Clark.
Jeremiah and Nelson built both a sawmill and gristmill, were active in local politics (Jeremiah served as Township Supervisor and Justice of the Peace), started a fish hatchery, opened a general store, planted the first apple trees and acted as postmasters. They also platted the village in 1840. In 1842, the settlers voted to name the village Clarkston.