Pioneer-Tribune Celebrates Its Fortieth Birthday To-day--Was Established April 29, 1880
The following article is being reprinted in its entirety as it appeared in the April 29, 1920, edition of the Pioneer-Tribune.
Today, the Pioneer-Tribune celebrates its fortieth birthday. It was on April 29, 1880 that Major Wright E. Clarke published the first number of the Schoolcraft Pioneer, a weekly publication, which has grown and expanded into the Pioneer-Tribune, a paper which stands as one of the largest and most successful publications in the state. The forty years that have passed have seen many changes in the city, which this paper has faithfully served; this span of years has brought about the transformation of Manistique from a crude lumber town of a few thousand to a city of some 7,000 population whose growth and prosperity is unexcelled by any community in the Upper Peninsula. These two score years have also wrought many changes in this newspaper; the small four page paper, laboriously set by hand, has given way to a paper of much larger volume in which the latest typesetting inventions are employed to accomplish the necessary work.
The Manistique of Major Clarke’s day was the old-time lumber town in every sense of the word, where the laws were openly violated and those who possessed the courage and bravery of the founder of the founder of this paper to wage a fight against these conditions were sadly in the minority. For many years Major Clarke carried on his campaign for law and order. He called attention in no mild terms to the detestable offenses against the peace and dignity of the town. These things he did at the risk of his own life. An attempt was made to shoot him during the spring of 1883, an incident which is mentioned in “The Iron Hunter” the interesting story of life in this section by Hon. Chase S. Osborn.
On New Year’s Day 1884 the shop of the Schoolcraft County Pioneer burned and with it were destroyed the files of this interesting paper from the day it was founded to that time. Concerning this incident, Major Clarke writes as follows in the first edition printed after the construction of a new plant:
“As to the conflagration we have little to say, more than we are satisfied that is was the work of an incendiary and that the fire was started because of the course we had taken in reference to the repeated and long continued violation of the law in this county. In this we have not made the fight against individuals, but a general one based on the great principal of right and justice. Our aim had been to deal with those opposed to us, plainly and truthfully and without the least idea of persecuting even our most bitter enemy. As to who applied the torch to our property and reduced the same to ashes, we have our opinions; but have muttered no name, nor shall we at this time. Last spring an attempt was made to take our life just because we advocated the enforcement of the law. Failing in that attempt, this time they thought to close our lips by destroying the medium through which we communicate with the public.”
When his plant was rebuilt Major Clarke, to show that he was by no means crushed, began to issue the Pioneer twice a week instead of just once as before.
In 1892 George Holbein began the publication of a weekly paper under the name of the Manistique Tribune. On December 2, 1896, Mr. Holbein purchased the property and goodwill of the Pioneer and consolidated the two papers issuing on December 4, of that year the first number of the Manistique Pioneer Tribune. The splendid work of Mr. Holbein, in his capacity as editor of this paper, which ended with his death a few years ago is known to nearly every resident of Manistique. For more than twenty years he worked faithfully to make Manistique a better city and to give its residents a newspaper of which they would be proud. That he succeeded no one will deny.
The fight waged by Major Clarke and Mr. Holbein for law and order, a better city and cleaner politics has had its wholesome effect. The city is the better for their having lived here. And in their fight for the respectful observance of the law, they built a newspaper which commands the esteem of the entire county, the influence of which has never been questioned. While the Pioneer-Tribune is celebrating the successful conclusion of forty years of service, it takes this occasion to call attention to the work of two men who did most to give it its present standing.