Social media is not a recent invention. Twitter, Facebook, and even blogging are just the latest means people have used to spread the word about themselves and learn about their neighbors. (And, of course, there’s gossip, a form of social media that has been around forever.)
Newspapers have also been good sources of information. Back in the 30’s and 40’s Hedda Hopper dished dirt and spread the word on Hollywood celebs. And in rural communities in the days before the telephone made it easy to communicate and the Model T made it easy to get around, no self-respecting newspapers would have been without a column with information on the local community’s goings ons. While the content they printed was pretty tame, they did provide a way for people to learn about their neighbors.
The Clare Sentinel was one of those newspapers with such a column that ran on a weekly basis. Below is part of one column that shows the news in the communities of Clare communities of Dodge, Dover and Mann Siding. Only Dodge* is still in existence.
While 100 years ago or so, the column provided readers with news, now the column provides us a window into the general life of Clare County inhabitants.
*What is somewhat noteworthy is that the column appeared less than a month after a big fire that struck Dodge and its giant mill and burned for three days. The mill was never rebuilt and eventually, Dodge disappeared from maps until the late 1940′s.
The Clare Sentinel
April 26, 1894
- Mr. Joseph Carrow was out of town on business Friday.
Mt. L. M. Shumway was out of town Thursday.
- The doctor has been somewhat under the weather the past week.
After a few days absence on business, H. Derail is again in town.
The party at Wm. Bolier’s was a pleasant affair. All report a jolly time.
Master Herma Dehart went to Midland Tuesday where he is to spend a portion of his vacation visiting relatives.
Boltone and Stillwill were visiting friends and relatives in Mt. Pleasant last week.
Will Davis has moved into his new house. It is hard to tell how long he will live there because he is always on the move.
- The quilting bee at Mrs. Boulton’s was a success to the letter and all agree in saying they enjoyed themselves.
- A heavy snow storm visited this part Friday night.
An uncle of Hiram and Silas Brown is visiting them
Charley Dingman who has been visiting parents and friends for the past three weeks returned to his home in Traverse City .
- Miss Laura Walters visited Mrs. Leonard on Friday last.
- We think the time that Elder Rogers occupied at the Eagle belonged to the Lord, not to the people.
- A great many ladies enter Mrs. L. B. Lyons shop but scarcely none come away without a new hat. Her prices are within the reach of all. Butter and eggs are taken in exchange.
- The mill is still running.
- Mrs. Wm. Parrish and daughter called on Mrs. L. B. Lyon last Friday.
Harry Beacon has the quinsey. (note: a throat infection)
W. L. Lyons is making a nice improvement to his store.
- Geo. Dennis has moved in his new house.
One of Mrs. Donley’s children is quite sick.
D. Denno and wife were in Clare Tuesday.
A. N. Whitlock has purchased a span of horses from a man in Farwell.
Mrs. L. B. Lyons was the recipient of a new sewing machine from her father. It is nice to have a kind father.