County Seat Newspaper
of Clare County

The Typewriter That Survived a Fire

Clare County Cleaver Publisher Jesse Allen's Typewriter


This typewriter was originally given to the Harrison Community Library in the 1990s. It was loaned to the Clare County Historical Society in the 2000s and recently returned so it can go in the new museum area at the Surrey House, the future home of the Harrison District Library. The serial number reveals this Remington would have been built between 1904 and 1908.

The fire that burned the Cleaver was on December 26, 1925. The Cleaver issue January 1, 1926, reported about the fire and that edition of newspaper was printed at the Clare Sentinel in Clare until the Cleaver could get a press and get back up running. The Cleaver office has been in the same location on Main Street it moved into after the fire at 183 W. Main Street, Harrison.

On October 6, 1998, Merlin (Roy) Allen wrote from Bridgeport, Michigan:

This Remington Model 12 typewriter was used by Jesse F. Allen, publisher of the Clare County Cleaver. He owned the paper from January 1909 to September 1936. Bought used from the Allen Printing Company, Lansing, in 1921, the machine was used in the Cleaver office until he sold the business, after which he used it personally. In 1925, when the Cleaver building burned to the ground, it was among the few articles found.

Typewriters were relatively expensive and scarce during the y ears this machine was used at the Clare County Cleaver office. It is very likely that at that time, fewer than a dozen typewriters were in use in Harrison. I know of one at the post office (an old Oliver), two or three at retailers, two at the school, four or five in the courthouse, one in Quinn’s law office; and that’s about it.

When Jesse Allen died in 1949, the old Remington was passed on to the children, and went from household to household. Since 1975, granddaughter Dolores (Wood) Gronda and I have shared its care and custody. We pass it on now to the Harrison Museum.


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