Do you have ancestors from Michigan or an interest in Michigan history? We’ve added the Homer Index to our archives of Michigan papers bringing the total number of digitized Michigan papers to 93! Homer is about 30 miles southeast of Battle Creek, and the Index covers news in Calhoun and Hillsdale counties.

The Index is a weekly that has been in publication since 1872 when the first issue promised an independent paper that would “further the interests of the community.” The Index reported on Homer pioneers that settled this Michigan township established in 1862. 

The Homer Index May 31, 1876

In 1876, the Index reported on the Centennial International Exhibition. It was the first World’s Fair held on the nation’s 100th birthday in Philadelphia. Some Homer locals traveled to attend the Exhibition and described pavilions filled with wonders like machines to wash clothing and dishes. The Declaration of Independence was transported back to Independence Hall for the event, and many of the nearly 10 million visitors got to see it.

In the late 1800s, the Index reported on a bird problem. Flocks of English sparrows had arrived in town, damaging crops, eating all the chicken feed, and chasing away other songbirds. The birds were introduced to the United States in the mid-1800s to eat harmful insects. They multiplied and were quickly spreading across the continent. Michigan enacted laws to get rid of the birds. Killing sparrows became a pastime for many young boys in Homer. They could bring sparrow heads to the county clerk and receive a bounty for each one. The Index reported on payouts for young men like James Lane, who brought the heads of 1200 sparrows to the clerk’s office in 1900, and received $24 (the equivalent of $750 today)!

The Homer Index September 3, 1890

In December 1941, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, and America entered WWII. A few weeks later, Homer residents learned that one of their own died in the attack. Over the next several years, many soldiers from Homer and surrounding towns stepped up to serve. The Index published their letters home and reported on additional local casualties.

You’ll find lighter topics covered in the Index over the years. For instance, this 1951 front-page story complaining about a driver’s poor parking skills made us giggle. But you’ll also find sweet stories of neighbors helping neighbors. In 1976, a group of farmers set aside their chores to help an Eckford neighbor during a time of crisis. Carl Harris was at the hospital with his seriously ill son, but it was time to plow his 350-acre farm. Several dozen local farmers showed up to get the job done. After they finished at the Harris farm, they moved to another farm and did the same thing.

If you have ancestors from Homer, or surrounding areas like Clarendon, Albion, and Tekonsha, search the pages of the Index for things like obituaries and local news. Start searching the Index today on!

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21 thoughts on “New Michigan Paper!

  1. I would love to see a new page be added to the site that details what has been added or, especially, updated. I know there’s the New & Updated page (, but that doesn’t give any details as to what issues were updated. I’d like to know, for example, if issues from 1915 were added to the Boston Globe (just made that up. They’re already there). It would be helpful for researchers of all types to know if a paper they are or have been using, has had older issues added.

    1. I have wanted this for a long time and think it is quite feasible with the current metadata they already have. It would just take a little programming and adding some web pages to access this.

        1. I’d love it if you just went back to doing your job of expanding content instead of just doing trivial stuff on this blog.

          Seriously your site really hasn’t changed much in the last few years and I doubt if anyone is even in charge.

          This is as broken as Google and the big people.

  2. How do you decide which newspapers to digitally image? Is it mainly a copywrite issue?

    1. Cancelling is pretty easy. Go to your subscription settings. Never had a problem and you’ll still have service till midnight of your next bill period.

    1. I quite agree however It’s the stupid Microsoft white font everyone loves to use.

      Google is the worst offender at this actually where Microsoft which started the crap has a prettier search engine now.

  3. I really need the Scranton (PA) Times from the 1870s. It coined Binghamton’s (NY) nickname, “Parlor City,” in 1873. Joe Biden was born in Scranton, so it’s nice to have a full run of The Times-Tribune. I wrote to, but I figured that I should write to you, also. It is very important.

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