Clare County Cleaver History:

The Clare County Cleaver
was Established in 1881.

We are the oldest business in Clare County.


The Cleaver History

The home of the Young family shown here in the early 1900s.  Sitting on the porch, Homer Ellsworth, Standing, Algernon Young and sitting, his wife Elizabeth Young.  Mr. Young was a Justice of the Peace and a Postmaster.

The home became the location of the Clare County Cleaver after the fire in 1925 and is still the location of the Cleaver office today.  A Cleaver subscription was just $1.50 per year in 1926.

For text box photo:

Message from the publisher of the Cleaver, January 1, 1926.

Way Back in the Day-1926

92 Years Agoto our patrons and friends

Clare County Cleaver, January 1, 1926

Four Buildings Destroyed in Saturday night blaze.  County Garage, Restaurant, Masonic Building and Cleaver Office Wiped Out.

Zero Weather Hampers Fire Fighters. Property Loss Will Reach $25,000.

Fire which started Saturday evening in Mrs. H. B. Jones restaurant burned four buildings and destroyed property valued at nearly $30,000. The blaze was discovered at about eight o’clock, and although the firemen responded promptly, in less than an hour four buildings were destroyed. The Jones restaurant, the Masonic building, the Cleaver block and the county garage were the ones to go down in the flames.

All of the buildings, except the county garage, were of frame construction, and the blaze, having gained considerable headway before discovery swept from one to the other with resistless fury. The west wall of the county garage crumpled under the intense heat and the roof was also burned off. The extreme cold hampered the efforts of the fire fighters, but it is very doubtful if any human agency could have confined the flames to a smaller area. Every effort was made to carry from the burning buildings everything moveable, but the flames advanced so rapidly, that little could be accomplished. Some furniture was removed from the lower floor of the restaurant, but practically everything on the second floor was destroyed. The Masons were able to save their charter and a few small articles of lodge furniture. The Cleaver was able to save some equipment, books, mailing lists, etc., but all the machinery was too heavy to be moved in the limited time available. All storage cars and light trucks were removed from the county garage, but the tractor grader and one large truck which could not be moved were considerably damaged by fire.

The printing equipment of the Cleaver was insured for $1000. The property of the Jones restaurant carried no insurance. The origin of the blaze is not positively known. The fire was first seen in the ceiling near the stove pipe, but whether it was caused by the pipe or a defective light wire is not known. A call for aid sent to Clare was promptly responded to and hardly a half hour elapsed from the time the call was answered in our neighboring city before the Clare fire engine was pumping water upon the burning buildings, and helping to prevent further destruction. Tills fire, as have others, brings to the attention of Harrison citizens the need of more efficient equipment. A few years ago the state insisted upon the purchase of a chemical outfit at considerable cost. This machine has fizzled with marvelous persistency. When the alarm was, given Saturday evening the chemical was brought promptly to the scene. While one fireman grabbed the nozzle and aimed it at the burning ceiling another, familiar with the mechanism of the machine, pushed plungers and turned levers. Eagerly the spectators watched for the stream which was to smother the blaze, but nothing happened and once more the useless implement was pushed aside to make way for the old reliable water hose, but this, too, proved unequal to the task, However, it did, with assistance of the Clare engine, confine the blaze to a comparatively small area. An engine of the type sent by Clare would be a most valuable supplement to Harrison's abundant water supply. The machinery at the water works capable probably of answering any demand made upon it.


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