County Seat Newspaper
of Clare County

The Who and Where of Local History: or Not


When I do genealogy it’s easy to track and be familiar with families that aren’t yours but have similar names and live in the same places. The same thing happens when researching locally. Budd Lake, New Jersey, the half dozen or so Surrey Houses in the United States, Harrison Township, St Clair, Harrison, Ohio, even Clare, Ireland - all these places and others are sometimes confused with places in our Clare County.

Researching Lake, Crooked Lake or Lake Station is difficult too. If you try to search Lake Michigan, you can imagine the thousands of results that come up.

I’ve addressed this before when a little creamer pitcher was donated to the Harrison District Library that was branded with a Surrey House logo. It wasn’t our Surrey House, but I kept the piece anyway, labelled and stored with the proper information.

I recently saw this postcard of Lily Lake and it was identified as Clare County. I got excited for a moment because I don’t have many historic photos of Lily Lake in Greenwood Township.

On inspection though the terrain and shape of the lake doesn’t match. The seller online of the card gives no other information about it the card and it never says it’s from Clare County. The front says Lily Lake and the back is blank. There is a Lily Lake in many states in the U.S.

Even after a long discussion with my friend and history buff Cody Beemer we couldn’t really say for sure it was or wasn’t ‘our’ Lily Lake. I lean strongly that it is not. I invite anyone else to weigh in!

I was given this photo of an older gentleman with the possibility it could be Spikehorn Meyers. I was so thrilled and taken aback by the photo at first, I couldn’t think critically. A somewhat cleaned and trimmed up John E. Meyers that could only be toward the end of his life in the late 1950s. The photo was taken by local photographer Leonard Hawks. That he would photograph Spike wouldn’t be out of the ordinary.

 There was color film in the 1950s even if was expensive. Spike was a popular guy and certainly worthy of a color photo. The only color photography I have seen of Spike was in a tourism video from the 1950s. It is available online and I will post the link in the online version of this article.

A closer look and the nose, ears, and face just didn’t look like Spike, who we have hundreds, if not thousands of photos. His portrait hangs in the Cleaver, so we see him every day. D

It's hard to compare photos of people. The posture matches but the hairline doesn’t and on and on until you can’t make sense of it at all!

I asked every person who knew Spike I could think of including Mel Brewer whose family worked at the bear ranch. I asked every historian friend. I compared it to every close-up photo of Spike.

I do not think the color photo is Spike, but I can see why anyone would come to that conclusion. I invite you to inspect the photos and tell me what you think. Maybe someone locally will recognize this gentleman and identify him.


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