1890: Aug. 16th - 1967
The Comber Herald called itself “The People’s Paper” and was “issued in the local interests of the Village of Comber, and the Townships of Tilbury West, Tilbury North, and Rochester”. It was published from an office on Main Street and cost $1 per year in advance. As well as a local audience, the newspaper also had American subscribers. For them, the cost was $1.50 per year. On November 29th, 1900, p. 4, the publisher and editor, Charles Clark, described the paper’s content as follows: “The Herald furnishes you with a complete epitome of all happenings of the district, and gives you in addition a first class serial story, the Talmage sermon and other valuable features.”
The publisher and editor, Charles Clark, took over an earlier newspaper called the Comber Independent on February 20th, 1890 (Comber Herald: 1915/03/11 p.1). The Comber Independent had been founded by Alfred Mellish on August 9th, 1883 and was published weekly, on Thursdays. Charles Clark continued with its publication until August 9th, 1890, at which point, he changed its name to the Comber Herald. The publishing scheduled remained the same and the numbering scheme from the old title was retained. There are no known existing issues of the Comber Independent.
Charles Clark was born on July 25th, 1862 in London, England and came to Canada in 1874 as an orphan. He married Permilla J. Parke and they had 3 sons: Cecil O., Roy L., and Elmer H. He spent his whole working life in the printing/publishing industry. He began his journalistic career in 1883 working for the Ridgetown Plaindealer, which was then owned by Emmanuel McKay (Kingsville Reporter, 1916/03/30 p.5). During the mid to late 1880s he worked for a number of local newspapers, e.g. the Essex Liberal, and the Leamington Post.
Politically, Clark was well known as a liberal and had strong liberal connections, but in the 1908 provincial election, he did run as a conservative independent in protest of the behaviour of Dr. C. M. Anderson, the official conservative candidate. The Leamington Post (1907/04/04 p.1) commented: “Mr. Clark has been a favorite of fortune….the Herald always got a slice of [federal liberal] government pudding, while it occasionally got a nice meal from the conservative dish.”
Charles Clark also liked to wax poetic and was both appreciated and teased by other newspaper men. Several times, his “poetic” language was reprinted in other county papers. Below is his acceptance of an invitation to Victoria Day celebrations in 1895 (Windsor Evening Record 1895/05/21 p.2):
We are coming toward the setting sun,
For a full day of solid fun;
To view the Scottish Kilties fair,
To enjoy the breeze of Lake St. Clair;
To hear sweet music from the Battalion bands,
To gaze on maidens wearing “tans”.
A day of real enjoyment and a lark,
Is the desire of your friend, Charlie Clark.
Charles Clark was also quite active in the Comber community, for example, as a police trustee and a commissioner for the local telephone system.
During the years of Clark’s editorship, the paper was a successful and growing concern, and Clark himself was well liked and respected by his peers. Upon his retirement from the Comber Herald in 1916, the Windsor Evening Record (1916/04/14 p.5) describes Clark as follows: “The trait of character which shone forth most brilliantly in his writings was that of straight-forwardness. He always stood for anything which was for the betterment of the community which he so ably and diligently served. In following closely the rules of impartiality which he had rigidly set himself to from the start in this newspaper business, Mr. Clark made a host of friends who are indeed sorry to lose him.”
The same year, Clark purchased the Walkerville Printing Company, which he then ran with his sons. He later published the Walkerville News.
The Comber Herald was taken over in April 1916 by E. E. Lancaster, a native of Madoc, Ontario. It continued publishing until 1967, when it was absorbed by the Tilbury Times.