Clare County Cleaver History:

The Clare County Cleaver
was Established in 1881.

We are the oldest business in Clare County.


Written by Dianne Alward-Biery
August 2016 for Harrison’s 125th Anniversary Celebration


The Clare County Cleaver has been serving its readership for 136 years– making the newspaper the longest continuous business in all of Clare County.

For the last 79 years, the paper has been guided by the steady hand of the Bucholz family, beginning with Emil Bucholz, who came to Harrison from West Branch in June 1937.

Here are some highlights of The Cleaver's history.

The newspaper was established in July of 1881, the exact date is unknown due to the loss of records in a fire in 1925. The typical duplicate files did not exist, as at that time Harrison had no library.

In compiling a history of Harrison for a 1934 WPA Writers project, Katherine Briggs described The Cleaver as the back room of a butcher shop located on the north side of Main Street between Broad and Second streets. That shop was owned by John Canfield, likely a partner of John Quinn, a Harrison attorney and the paper's first publisher. They were the originators of the paper's name, a nod to its locale.

Asa Aldrich acquired the paper from Quinn, and in 1909 sold it to Jesse Allen. Charles Roe ran the paper while Allen was away in Saginaw. When the U.S. entered World War I, Roe was commissioned and Asa Aldrich resumed publishing the paper. In short order, Aldrich sold it back to Allen.

From September 1936 to June 1937, The Cleaver was owned by Fred Wessell. In mid-June of 1937, Emil Bucholz became the paper's owner and it has remained in the Bucholz family ever since.

In the Dec. 26, 1925, fire which destroyed four buildings in less than an hour, the Cleaver lost its heavy equipment. Some equipment, books and mailing list were saved, and just two days later, the paper had set its pages and sent them off to be printed at The Clare Sentinel. A used printing press was purchased, and a small new building erected on Second Street, and the paper pressed on. The Cleaver remained a hand-set weekly until a Linotype machine was installed in 1930, and has been in its present Main Street location since 1940.

In mid 1937, West Branch resident Emil Bucholz, said to be a marvel of energy, organization and drive, drove his brown Terraplane over to Harrison to take over as publisher of  The Clare County Cleaver.

In 1981, the late Roy Allen, longtime newspaper man and son of previous owners Jesse and Martha Allen, wrote an article  for The Cleaver's 100th anniversary issue. He wrote that Bucholz didn't hesitate to put himself into the equation and the task at hand. Bucholz brought with him 20 years of experience in the newspaper business, and a belief that with enough planning and committed hard work, The Cleaver would be a growing, flourishing newspaper in a prosperous community.

Bucholz took on press repair, tuned up production, set up a new bookkeeping system, and did many of the routine jobs. He was “all in” and often said he “didn't believe in cutting off a dog's tail an inch at a time.”

Interestingly, when Bucholz found a home to rent enabling him to move his family to Harrison, the house turned out to have belonged to The Cleaver's first publisher, John Quinn.

On publication day, Emil's wife, Edith, and their sons Clifford, Dean, Glenn and Wayne dug in to help hand fold, wrap, bundle and stamp the newspapers and get them to the post office on time. In 2016, that early Wednesday morning family tradition continues.

Emil was active in community affairs, serving a couple terms as justice of the peace. As such, more than a few speedsters and game violators saw justice meted out from Bucholz' desk at the paper. He also was known to keep the company of famed naturalist/showman Spikehorn Meyer, whose exploits often appeared on the newspaper's pages.

Dean Bucholz returned from military service at the end of World War II, and was an active participant in the paper and served as the paper's editor prior to his death in 1965. He was a great schools/sports supporter.

The Cleaver later came to be owned/operated by Glenn Bucholz who also was active in the community, having served as a mayor of Harrison. Glenn passed away in 2008, leaving the newspaper in his family's hands.

A few years ago, the Cleaver underwent a facelift, with cheery blue siding and a refurbished office.

Currently carrying on their 79-year tradition in the Fourth Estate are Glenn's wife, Mable Bucholz; son Marty Bucholz and his wife, Joanne; daughter Glenda Rauch; and grandson Brian Rauch.

These are the descendants who now wrap, bag, bundle and stamp The Cleaver every week, ensuring the local news is delivered to its faithful readers.

Perhaps this is just what Emil Bucholz had in mind. Perhaps this is the power of the press.

Over a 100 Years of the Clare County Cleaver

Here is our 100th Anniversary Edition