Adapted from: Geary, Edward A. A History of Emery County. Salt Lake City: Utah State Historical Society, 1996; “Clawson Town History.” http://www.emerycounty.com/towns/history/clawson.htm. Accessed April 22, 2020; “Bringing imagination to life the old-fashioned way: Emery County retiree uses machinist talents to create art.” Salt Lake Tribune, Mach 27, 2011. https://archive.sltrib.com/article.php?id=51231933&itype=CMSID. Accessed April 22, 2020.
Clawson was settled later than many of the other Emery County settlements. With the completion of the Ferron North ditch in 1896, newly accessible water on the north flat made settlement there feasible. Settlers constructed the first homesteads, simple log houses, in the Spring of 1897, about two miles east of the site of current Clawson. They soon faced the usual challenges of homesteading settlements, including dealing with grasshoppers and getting enough water—settlers had to walk three miles for water in the winter, as their canal froze. The area was commonly known as ‘poverty flat’, likely due to the harsh conditions.
The area’s first school was held in Guy King’s Home in 1898, with the school teacher, Florence Barney, coming from the Ferron on horseback to teach the students. The town was surveyed in 1901 under the name of Kingston, but this survey was never filed.
In 1902, the settlement began to face problems with alkalinity, a byproduct of irrigation in the area. The president of the Emery stake asked the bishop of the Ferron ward, Hyrum Nelson, to help the settlers choose a new site. According to local tradition, one of the clips on Nelson’s new buggy broke when he arrived at the site where Clawson is now located. He repaired the clip, but no sooner had he done so than his other clip broke. Nelson reportedly declared, “This is proof enough for me. This is the place.” He informed the settlers—some of whom were hesitant about the move—that he had observed that the drainage problems would make the area where they currently lived too swampy for them to move their houses in several years. The prediction came true. Not only did the new site provide the settlers with higher ground, it also located them along the road that would become Utah Highway 10.
Although it is widely believed that Clawson received its name in 1904 when Rudger Clawson, an apostle of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, came to the settlement to organize a ward there, evidence shows that this is not the case, as newspapers from the time referred to the settlement as Clawson immediately after its establishment in 1902. It is possible that Rudger Clawson was assigned to go to the settlement in 1904 because the town already bore his name.
Clawson had some initial growth, as a culinary water system was installed in the 1910s and a new school was constructed in 1920. The school was closed during the Depression, and students were bussed to school in nearby Ferron. The Clawson school was remodeled as a church meeting house.
In the 1970s, the construction of power plants near Emery county’s mines injected a major boost to the local economy, and there was a short construction boom. As a result of the boom, Clawson was finally incorporated as a town in 1981. A feature on the edge of town today is an artistic rendering of a UFO landing site, created by Vaughn Reid, a retiree from nearby Orangeville. The population of Clawson today is a little under 200.