County Seat Newspaper
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How Budd Lake was Named-Harrison, Clare County, Michigan

Place names are important to historians. How things are named is always interesting and historically telling. Recently, a Budd family descendant came to the Cleaver office with a letter that proved the naming of Budd Lake in Harrison after the Budd family.

Before Harrison was named, the lake was called Budd Lake.

In January 1878 the Times Herald and the Lake County Star reprinted news from the Farwell Register.  “The Board of Supervisors of Clare county at their late session, voted to remove the county seat from Farwell to Budd Lake, near the geographical center of the county.” Few copies of Farwell Register exist so fortunately news was often reprinted from newspaper to newspaper.

By November of 1878 the name Harrison still wasn’t being used but the name of the lake was still Budd.

The Clare Press reported, “The committee appointed by the Board of Supervisors to locate the county seat, have been making an Examination of the ground, and from present appearances will probably make two reports, one favoring the vicinity of Budd Lake, and the other a location as near the center of the county as the nature of the ground will admit.”

 The family story in the letter outlines several Budd brothers living near Budd Lake in the mid-1870s.

“When Isaac, and his wife Cornelia were building their log cabin, Isaac was on the roof laying shingles, when in the distance he could see sun shining on a lake, that no one knew was there, because of his discovery, it was named Budd Lake.”

We can appreciate this family story for it’s storytelling drama for the benefit of the next generations. However, the lake was on surveys and used by Native Americans on the trace to and from Isabella and Roscommon counites. The story is not unlike many other white settler tales since Columbus discovered the new world. A wonderful family lore for naming a place.

While there were no permanent Native American settlements on …   More

James Hill in Clare County: An Up North Landmark

A winter scene at the top of James Hill about 1900. James Hill is one of the most recognizable land features in Clare County. It rerouted railroads and caused issues when the automobile became popular and good passable roads were demanded by citizens. Today locals swear the weather forecast is different north and south of James Hill. Certainly, glaciers pushed good farming soil south of James Hill and the view is spectacular in all seasons.

Over 100 Years Ago

Clare Sentinel, 23 August 1912

Mr. R. Emerson said the James hill would be fixed and fixed properly before the threshing machines started north. Good. Thanks, Bro R.

 Clare Sentinel, 13 September 1912

We are nearly ready to draw our grain over the James Hill. Is it in good condition? Kindly help us out as it is a tough proposition for loaded teams. You Clare people touch them up a little.

Clare Sentinel, 28 June 1917

The people of Harrison will be able to resume their former state of cheerful contentment after July 1st. On the following day mail will be delivered to them every twenty four hours, which isn't so long to wait after you've got into, the habit of hearing the train whistle “down brakes” only every other day, to say nothing of Sunday which comes along regularly most every week. Motor car service will start from Clare to Harrison July 2nd, leaving here after the train arrives from the east in the morning, but not later than ten o’clock, one and one half hours being allowed to make the ascent (including up or around the James hill) The return starts at six p.m.  Nate Trubull has expressed a willingness to stick to the job for two years at $950 a year if he could layoff on Sunday. The department said he probably would need to. Also he can carry passengers, which should help to keep his mind off the job (and theirs off the regular tariff rates) He does not deliver mail along the way.


Main Street History on Old Postcard

 It’s rare we find a new photo of the Cleaver office. Despite its location on Main Street in Harrison in only two locations, we have surprisingly few early photos of the office.

As we wind down our 140th anniversary year this photo feels a bit like a gift from the history gods, but it was actually found by local genealogist Linda Bailey in the McKenna family papers. Linda knew I would be excited to see it and allowed me to scan the postcard.

 The card itself was mailed in 1956 but the inscription on the back said “How about this-it was taken along time ago-wasn’t it? Even before the road was paved.” This simple card and communication may not seem out of the ordinary, but we are grateful it was kept, and we can share it.

The rest of the post card inscription is a simple note to a McKenna family member. “Just finished the washing and am on my way home. Going up to Higgins Lake tonight with Clarabelle. Love, Mom and Dad.”

M-61 through Harrison was completed in 1938 as part of connecting M-61 from Standish through Gladwin to Marion and beyond. This photo was probably taken in the early 1930s. The Cleaver reported in 1936 M-61 will be paved with an oil-aggregate surface from Harrison west four miles as part of a $30,000,00 worth of road upgrades in the State of Michigan. It’s hard to say if the portion in the City of Harrison was included in this paving.  

The post office was in this location next to the Cleaver until June of 1957 when they opened their new building on the corner of First and Oak Streets.

Check your old postcards and letters, you never know what historical gem could be hiding!   More


A letter from Orville J. Glerum of Evart dated March 22, 1938, and directed to Samuel V. Blair of Flint begins the matter.  The letter reads

       “You were at our office today and made inquiry about a certain stone.  Because of the  attitude which predominated your visit, the writer had determined, that the stone to which you referred is of such value that under no circumstance would any disposition of same be considered.

        I wish to inform you now that any trespass upon my property where stone is located is strictly forbidden.”

On reviewing an Affidavit for Writ of Replevin by Sam V. Blair, JP Kyle McKinnon issued a Writ of Replevin on April 1, 1938, for the seizure of “One stone with granite base and variegated formation on one side, weighing approximately one and a quarter ton” from Orville J. Glerum, apparently the owner of Northland Dairy Company, of Evart. The stone had been present on the street in Evart for over 20 years, however Orville J. Glerum seemingly with permission removed the stone and placed it as part of “water barrier wall” at the “summer cottage” property owned by his wife, Lottie Glerum, located in Clare County, Section 29, Garfield Township on 8 Eight Point Lake. 

On Clare County Under-Sheriff Deputy Henry Doll, ‘protected’ by a $2,000 bond provided without surety by plaintiff Blair, seizing the stone, it was appraised at $20 by E.B. Collins and Lance Thayer.   Under-sheriff Doll ‘returned’ the stone to plaintiff Blair.  The interest /ownership of the stone on the part of plaintiff Blair is not disclosed in the legal paperwork, however, in the opinion of this writer it may well be that plaintiff Blair had ‘second thoughts’ as to keeping the stone or for some undisclosed reason wanted to ’jab’ defendant Glerum.

Attorney William …   More

Spikehorn Meyer: Not just bears

A few clips from Clare County newspapers over the years about Spikehorn.

Clare Sentinel, 21 October 1938

A deal was completed this week in which J. E. (Spikehorn) Myers contracted to sell all the oil and gas rights on section 11, Hatton township. He states that he expects to use 500 acres for a wildlife reservation and proposes to build a fence around same suitable to hold bears, so that they may run at will. He expects to import about 20 to 30 cubs from Canada and the states in the spring.


Clare Sentinel, 20 July 1945

BEE SUPPLIES FREE—I have designed and built a new type of bee hive honey rack to hold the starter foundation combs, and now have no use for old style honey rack. Parties that have bees can have these at no cost. I also have some eight frame hives I have no. use for. My bees are all inspected, and supplies are all standard equipment that I am giving at no cost to anyone that is short of beehives or supplies.

SpikeHorn Meyer.

Clare Sentinel, 10 May 1946

Wanted-Someone to make 1000 bee hives. Will furnish lumber. Spike Horn Meyer, Harrison

 Clare Sentinel, 8 January 1954

'SPIKE' MEYER WANTS TEENEYBACK’ Spikehorn Meyer is rather sad these day’s, all because his favorite bear “Teeney” has. not been home since the deer season. It is believed that the Wear was shot and crippled by some hunter. However, on Sunday, December 6, according to Spike, the bear was seen playing with three children about a mile south of Spike’s bear den. Mr.' Meyer claims this is his most valuable bear, and would like to get her back. He claims it to be well trained and behaved and if returned a liberal reward will be forthcoming to the party that returns her. If you have seen this bear, Spike would like to be notified so that he could send candy to feed the bear in case it returned to the same place later on.   More

Harrison's C.W.A. Community Building

 Clare County Cleaver

December 15, 1933

HARRISON TO HAVE COMMUNITY BUILDING Work to Start Immediately on $18,000 Structure. Must be Finished by Feb. 1-5

If plans which began to take form this week do not go awry Harrison will have a new high school gymnasium and community hall before the end of winter. At a meeting held in the council room Monday evening a committee consisting of Mayor Burns, Mynard Maybee, and Bryan Fanning was appointed to confer with the powers in Lansing relative to securing Federal funds for the work. At the state capitol officials of the C.W.A. [Civil Works Administration] were willing to approve the project provided assurance was given that the work would be completed without delay.

On Wednesday a public meeting was held at the court house and a committee appointed to have charge of the work. Fred Zubler, Maynard Maybee, Frank Stuckman, B.F. Hampton and Bryan Fanning are members of the committee.

The building as planned will be 50x150 feet in dimensions, with basement. It is to be provided with a heating plant. Several sites have been suggested, but a lot adjoining the school grounds on the east will probably be selected. Work must be started immediately and completed by February 15, 1934. The estimated cost will be about $18,000. Projects to rebuild the present water tank and make other improvements to the municipal water system at a cost of $4,000 and another to improve the west wing of the school house by finishing up the basement for a manual training room, also for the building of two tennis courts have been approved by the C.W.A. officials.

Clare County Cleaver

June 22, 1934


Brief Dedication Ceremony Precedes Exercises, Mr. Robinson and Dr. Beck First Speakers

A crowd of about 600 people gathered at the new Community Building, Thursday evening, June 14th to witness the Commencement exercises of the 1934 graduating class, and the …   More

Extraordinary Photo Captures Northern Michigan Prize Log

This photo is extraordinary for several reasons; it’s size, that it captured the log marks so clearly and the photographers who took the photo.

The cattle brand of the lumbering business, log marks were important outposts of law and order in pioneering communities where law enforcement was often weak. A mark on a log carried the right of ownership and was recognized on every lake and stream in Northern Michigan.

The owner of the log is Patrick Glynn, an immigrant from Ireland who started his career as a land looker and then went into lumbering by buying 4,000 acres in Midland and Gladwin Counites with several Saginaw businessmen in 1871.

Glynn’s camp was located four miles east of Coleman which was on the Flint and Pere Marquette rail line. The camp was located at the junction of MacGruder and Shaffer Roads.

William Goodridge, photographer, visited the camps in the winter of 184-75 and took a set of 12 stereo views of the operation. Goodridge and his brothers operated Goodridge Brothers Studio out of East Saginaw. The family is known as one of the most prolific African American photographers in North America. Their work was highlighted by John Vincent Jezierski in 2000 with a book called Enterprising Images: The Goodridge Brothers, African American Photographers, 1847-1922.

Several other photographers created stereo view sets of logging in Michigan, including a Goodridge competitor J.A. Jenney. While Jenney or Goodridge didn’t create any stereo view sets in Clare County, the men and the logging processes highlighted in the photos were on their way to Clare County in a few short years.   More

The Dover Wagon

Essentially a ‘running gear’ assembled/manufactured from 1928-1935 Ford vehicle axles, wheels, and tires provided by the customer to Everett Allen, Dover, Michigan.

    A write-up by Leo J. Fitzpatrick in December 2007 on donating a Dover Wagon to the Clare County Historical Society tells the ‘story’:

   This wagon was built by Everett Allen at his blacksmith shop in Dover in 1943. The person ordering the way furnished the front axles that were used from Ford vehicles built 1928 to 1935.  Ford Motor Company used 15-inch wheels in their 1935 vehicles.  The person ordering also furnished wheels and tires.   Everett Allen used Ford axles because they had a bow in the axle.  The bow     allowed the axle to be used upside down for better ground clearance and strength for the design of the wagon.   He said he built 68 of these wagons between the late 1930 all through the middle of the 1940’s.   Everett could build a wagon in a day and a half using his own iron and wood for a cost of      $35.00 for material and labor.

   This wagon was the 34th wagon that he made.  Bernard Fitzpatrick ordered in 1943.  It was the first rubber-tired implement on the Fitzpatrick farm. [ A Centennial Farm].  There was never a mechanical bread down in all the years it      was used.  It was a very good wagon to sue with a team of horses and it was an     excellent tow trailer on the road.  It was used regularly on the Fitzpatrick farm     for a period of 40 years.

   In 2007 it was rebuilt and donated by the Fitzpatrick family to the Clare      County Historical Society.

   Leo J. Fitzpatrick provided this information from is personal knowledge.   More

NeHi Soda Bottle from Harrison Michigan

Before the Hayes Township Civic Center was built, Bob Miller was working on a cleanup crew pulling stumps and clearing brush with heavy equipment. On his lunch break he happened to look down and find a bottle.

It was a Nehi bottle, bottled right here in Harrison, Michigan. At the time, Jeannie Morton told him the plant was in the old meat packing plant in the area of the new city hall and fire department just west of Harrison today.

Nehi (pronounced knee high) was a flavored soft drink (we call it pop!) first made in 1924 by the Chero-Cola/Union Bottle Works. They were found in Georgia by a grocer named Claud Hatcher. IN 1928 they adopted the name the Nehi Corporation. In 1955 they became the Royal Crown Company after the success of the RC Cola product. In April 2008, Nehi became a brand of Dr Pepper Snapple Group (now known as Keurig Dr Pepper) in the United States.

You can still find flavors of Nehi today in orange, grape, and peach. Mr. Miller is donating this bottle to the Clare County Historical Society.

If you know anything else about the Nehi bottling operation in Harrison please contact the Cleaver at 539-7496.

 Clare Sentinel, 8 May 1931

A.M. Henderson has his Ne-hi bottling plant nearly completed. He will be ready to deliver from the local plant the middle of the week.


The Harrison Wagon

This product by its name might suggest a connection to Clare County given that the Clare County seat is named Harrison – however, such is not the case.  The Harrison Wagon, while most likely purchased and used by Clare County farmers, was manufactured in Grand Rapids, Michigan, from about the 1850’s to 1907 when the company produced the Harrison automobile and was renamed the Harrison Motor Car Company.   More

Clare County Inventions-A Better Surveying Instrument

A Better Surveying Instrument

In 1850 William Austin Burt had surveyed the section lines in Grant, Sheridan and Surrey Townships in Clare County and most likely used a solar compass which he invented and patented in the 1830’s.  The solar compass (a/k/a sun compass and/or astronomical compass) was particularly important when surveying in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan because the solar compass was not affected by the Upper Peninsula’s iron ore deposits as was the usual surveying compass.  Note that the Upper Peninsula’s iron ore deposits created a magnetic field which interfered with the common surveying compass in finding magnetic North.   Wm. A. Burt’s invention got around the problem.   See Meek, Michigan’s Timber Battleground (1976), pages 4 and 15 and Wikipedia.


140 Years of Publishing and Perseverance

The butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker…none are found at the oddly named newspaper in Harrison, the Clare County Cleaver, that marks 140 years in business this July. Nursery rhymes aside, just why is this newspaper named the Cleaver? Most newspapers use Gazette, News, Journal, Post, Mail, Examiner, Chronicle, and more. In Clare County there has been the Clare Sentinel, the Clare Courier, the Farwell News, the Harrison Herald, Harrison Echo, the Clare Democrat and Press, and the Farwell Register.

The Cleaver was first printed in the back of butcher shop on Main Street in 1881. The office and press room shared space with a butcher shop and later the post office.  The first printers were John Quinn and John Russell, later taken over and published by two generations of the Canfield family; John and Alfred. Russell had published the first Harrison paper the Harrison Herald earlier in 1881. Alfred Canfield went on to publish the Clare Courier.

 Harrison was a lumber boom town for most of the 1880s. Businesses opened and closed at a furious pace as fortunes were won and lost both in the woods and at the saloons. It was thought it would take decades for the big timber to be lumbered off in Clare County. Due to new lumbering technologies and the railroad, it took a scant decade.

The seat of Clare County was moved to Harrison in 1879, a more central location in the county after the courthouse burned at Farwell in 1876. The county seat likely saved Harrison and the Cleaver from becoming a ghost town. The county seat brought an influx of business and visitors to Harrison and impacted the economy greatly. The Cleaver still publishes notices and does print work for county business as it has done since the beginning.

As the lumber business declined many businesses failed, shanty boys moved on to timber farther north and farming communities replaced wild saloon towns. During this decline in 1899, the Cleaver briefly stopped publishing for a few …   More

Civil War Medal of Honor Winner Lived in Farwell

Civil War Medal of Honor Winner Lived in Farwell

When I ran across this postcard of “The General” and it mentioned W.W. Brown from Farwell my interest was piqued. I had not heard his name, or this story connected to Farwell and Clare County when I researched Farwell (Arcadia Publishing, 2016.)

I still cannot find a census or other proof beyond newspaper clippings that Wilson Wright Brown lived in Farwell. In researching Brown, I’ve found his rank to that of a private, a lieutenant, a sergeant, and a captain!

Brown was born in Ohio on Dec. 25, 1839 and died in there on Dec. 26, 1916. He was one of the 19 men who received the Medal of Honor for his participation in the Andrews’ Raid during the Civil War. His citation read, “One of the 19 of 22 men (including 2 civilians) who, by direction of Gen. Mitchell (or Buell) penetrated nearly 200 miles south into enemy territory and captured a railroad train at Big Shanty, Ga., in an attempt to destroy the bridges and tracks between Chattanooga and Atlanta.”

Brown’s obituary leaves no clues about his residence in Farwell. He died at his home listed as 874 Forsyth, Toledo, Ohio. He is survived by fours sons and three daughter all of Ohio.

Clare Sentinel, April 26, 1907

Captain W.W. Brown will give a lecture Saturday, April 27th at 7:30 p.m. in the G.A.R. hall relating to Andrew’s raid of which was engineer.

Clare Sentinel, January 24, 1908


Capt. Brown of Farwell Remembered as Engineer of the “Great Railroad Chase.” A bill introduced in the United States senate to raise the pension of Capt. W. W. Brown, of Farwell from $30 to $50 per month recalls a thrilling story of the great rebellion. In the spring of 1862 Capt. J. J. Andrew with twenty-three men started on an expedition to cut railroad and telegraph communications between Chattanooga and Atlanta. Mr. Brown, then a private from Ohio, was one of the …   More

Brass Baggage Tag Stands the Test of Time

Every once in a while, a piece of history pops up that makes me stunningly happy that it exists. Recently, I purchased an unusual piece of Harrison history on an auction site.

While coat checks and baggage tags aren’t unusual, one that is over 140 years old and from a business in a rough and tumble logging town are very hard to come by. This brass tag is from the Johnson House of Harrison that operated from May of 1880 through the 1890s when it was changed to the Lockwood House.

The brass tag was made by John Robbins of Boston. How it got from Harrison into the hand of a metal detector who rescued it near Saginaw is anyone’s guess. We can fictionalize a shanty boy (as lumberjacks were called in the 1880s) that checked his belongings at the Johnson House but somehow left Harrison with the baggage/coat check tag but without his property. Maybe it was a hasty retreat from the saloon or a street brawl, as Harrison was famous for in its lumber heyday.

The tag was found by Mark and his father Archie. Their hobby throughout the 1970s and 80s was weekend warrior treasure hunters. Mark cherishes those days they got up 5 a.m. to enjoy their hobby together. In retirement he is sorting through some of those treasures, researching the history and thankfully with this item, selling them.

The Johnson House opened on May 24, 1880 according to the Clare Press. The building is still standing today as part of the Surrey House, soon to be the new home of Harrison District Library. The southern half and third story were added after 1900.

After it was built it went through many remodels as the rough and tumble business of feeding and sheltering gruff businessmen and entertaining shanty boys took its toll. In the 1880s Harrison had the reputation of being Michigan’s “toughest” town. It was then a sprawling metropolis of 2,000, containing 22 saloons, a dozen restaurants, 5 hotels and many business houses.

The local newspapers report things …   More

Cleaver Forming Readership Advisory Committee

The Cleaver seeks to form a Readership Advisory Committee for the purpose of providing content suggestions. As a subscription-based newspaper our obligation is not just to our advertisers but also our readers. Readers are important partners in keeping the newspaper relevant to our communities in Clare County.

A lot has changed in the world since the Cleaver first printed on Main Street in Harrison in 1881. The Cleaver has survived to serve the community through economic ups and downs, wars, and 140 years of changes in how we live. As the owner and editor of the paper I consider myself just the steward of the Cleaver. If anything, it owns me, and the responsibility to carry it through my working life and beyond is something I take seriously.

Volunteers are sought from a wide demographic, but all must be avid newspaper/news readers and hold the highest regard for journalistic integrity. Ideally, the committee will be comprised of a mix of Democrats, Republicans, and a those who consider themselves apolitical and those ages 15 years and older. The six- to eight-member committee will meet two to four times a year in person or via Zoom.

We will be asking (and hopefully answering) what is important to readers, what types of local, state and national news best serve our readers, and reaching out to our readership at large for feedback.

If you would like to apply and be a part of the next 140 years of the Cleaver, stop by the office at 183 W. Main St. in Harrison for a short application or send a note of interest to the office at P.O. Box 436, Harrison, MI 48625 or to   More

Happy 150 Clare County!

One of the earliest documents relating to Clare County history forms the Farwell City Company. It was formed in 1870 as a joint stock company by prominent businessmen Gurdon Corning, Lorenzo Curtis, Edmund Hall, James Hay, Thomas Merrill, James Pearson, Erza Rust, and Ammi Wright. Theses businessmen, lumbermen, and mostly millionaires invested widely in many business ventures, of which Farwell was one. Several streets in Farwell are named for founding members of the company.

Farwell was once the largest and most important community in Clare County. As the first county seat, it was the beginning of county government and a hub of lumbering and business activity. Farwell was off to a prosperous beginning, and many businesses came to Farwell to serve lumber camps, settlers, and new farmers. This was interrupted in July 1877 when the courthouse burned in a suspicious fire. The cause of the fire was never determined, but it sparked controversy and debate that continues today.

A temporary courthouse was put in use, and the squabble began over where to locate a new one. The county seat was sought after as it brought jobs, business, and prominence to wherever it was located. Clare and Farwell both lobbied for the county seat. The Michigan legislature had passed a law that county courthouses must be as centrally located as possible. Though it was still a wilderness, the town of Harrison, in the middle of the county, was being planned as the Flint & Pere Marquette Railroad was making its way north.

There are conflicting stories about influential lumbermen like Winfield Scott Gerrish paying his men in drink to go to the polls for keeping the county seat in Farwell. His logging railroad was nearing the Budd Lake area as he continued to clear lumber and profits from his Lake George & Muskegon River Railroad. This story was likely newspaper fodder to rally the farmers against lumbering and business interests by claiming men like Gerrish could influence their men …   More

(2020) No “Play Ball!” Heard This Year

Saturday would have been opening day of Little League in Harrison, Michigan.  I'd have already sat through a month of freezing cold practices as the 1,783 sports season of my Mom life begins.  The ski equipment and winter gear were just cleared out my car, but baseball equipment didn't replace them.

There is no Little League parade this year and no Spring sports season.  No lining up to watch for the sea of color-coded kids walking to the fields to sing the National Anthem and hear the loud booming voice of league president Jim Neff yell, "PLAY BALL."  He's really good at that.

I know most of the kids in the parade.   I snap their pictures and wave.  The parade is one of my favorite parts of baseball each year.  The Veterans Honor Guard is always there to do the salute and raise the flag. 

Though I've always been somewhat of a reluctant sports Mom the thought of telling our kids the season was canceled was difficult.  Suddenly, I wanted nothing more than to sit at the fields with my friends watching our kids. 

Most parents feel the same way. Our social media accounts are popping up with memories of seasons past, opening days, great plays, and bittersweet defeats.  It’s not fun to lose or sit in the freezing rain and a watch a game or a practice.  But afterwards when your child says, “thanks for staying out there with me Mom” or buy ice cream to celebrate or sooth it feels like a rare parenting victory. 

Not having a baseball season or any other sports season is painful for many.  It’s one of the many reminders how quickly our lives have changed and the small and large things we are sacrificing.  Sports was never very important to me until I had four boys to raise and watched them learn, work hard, and be coached to be better players and better people by playing sports.

We can live without playing a season of Little League and a great many …   More

Not So Dirty Jobs

Sometimes it can feel like a Reality TV show when I’m out reporting. It’s also fun to spend a little time in someone else’s world on their job. Last week I was able to witness the road commission set a bridge into place and then write about it for our readers.

I’m not quite like Mike Rowe on “Dirty Jobs.” I’m quite sure I don’t fit in on a construction site. I wore suede boots which I quickly switched to my son’s Muck-style boots that happened to be in the car. A plus when you have growing boys – you can share shoes if you dare to.

The big excitement of day as I mentioned in my article was a crane coming to set the bridge – the only piece of the job the road commission couldn’t do themselves. But cranes don’t show up and fly through the job. It’s a long set-up process, so I picked up my other son so I he could witness it, too, since high school is still virtual – a little hands-on learning instead of the virtual world our kids have been stuck in.

The crane arrived at 9:30 and was ready to move the bridge at noon. The pride and enthusiasm from road commission employees was evident over such a large project being completed. Everyone I talked to was friendly and happy to explain what was going on.

Embarrassingly enough, I locked my keys in my car in all the excitement. And this isn’t the first time. The last time I was at Wilson State Park in the pouring rain. The time before that I was at the post office. All in 2020. Fox Wrecker always recues me, and I make the call of shame to my friend and insurance agent Dan Durga who takes care of it.

The upside was we had more time to hang out and watch the road commission on the job. I was impressed by their camaraderie. They even spared a hot dog from their lunch for my son (14-year-olds must eat every 15 minutes.)

This was one of their most exciting days on the road commission. I’m sure most days are the …   More

Surrey House Menu Cover from the 1980s

Menu cover from the Surrey House in Harrison from the early 1980s. The art is signed by local resident Thelma “Tem” Hubbell who was a popular commercial artist and beloved community member.

The Surrey House, as it notes here, was the Ohio Tavern and before that it was the Johnson House. Newspapers first mention the structure on April 23, 1880, “Shaver and McIntyre have the frame up for the new Johnson House.” A week later the newspaper reports, “Shaver and McIntyre are rushing the Johnson House and it will be ready to occupy in a few days.”   More

Essential Clare County History Reading List

Often people ask for local history books and here is a great list of books to read if you are interested in Clare, Farwell, Harrison or Clare County history:

Clare by Robert Knapp (Arcadia Publishing, 2012) Pictorial history of Clare  in the Images of America series.  

Clare Remembered 1879-1979 by the Clare Area Centennial Committee (1978)

Cut and Run! Railroad Logging in Clare County by Dr. James S. Hannum M.D.  (Hannum House Publications 2014)

Farwell by Angela Kellogg and Nick Loomis (Arcadia Publishing, 2016) Pictorial history of Farwell  in the Images of America series.  

Harrison by Angela Kellogg and Cody Beemer (Arcadia Publishing, 2014) Pictorial history of Harrison  in the Images of America series.  

Josiah Littlefield, Lumberman-Conservationist: An Autobiography 

Michigan's Heartland by Forrest Meek

Michigan Timber Battleground by Forrest Meek

Mystery Man Gangster, Oil and Murder in Michigan by Robert Knapp (Cliophile Press 2014)

Sacred Buildings: Historic Clare Michigan Churches by Ken Lingaur (2018)

Small Town Citizen, Minion of the Mob: Sam Garfield's Two Lives Purple Gangsters, Meyer Lansky and Life in Clare, Michigan by Robert Knapp (Cliophile Press 2018)

Spikehorn  The Life Story of John E. Meyer by T.M. Sellers (1994)

Ticket to Hell by  Roy Dodge

Where They Lived by Ken Linguar 

The Road to Marion Town  by J. August Lithen

Clare County at 150: History and Stories 1871-2021  by Jon Ringelberg (2021)

From Pine Forest to Market City: The History of Clare Michigan's Downtown  by Ken Linguar

Clare County Murder 1871-2020 (2020) by Jon Ringelberg

For light reading here is some just-for-fun  fiction about the Clare county area:

Harrison Town: Discovering God's Grace in Bears, Prayers and County Fair by Michael Newman (2011)

Unending Devotion by Jody Hedlund (2012)

Do you know a book that should …   More

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